|The bus roadeo included six courses where drivers competed for points based on skill and thoroughness.|
Liberty University Transit Services held its first bus “roadeo” on Saturday, a fun event to exhibit how Liberty’s bus drivers are continuing to emphasize safety.
Guests enjoyed a meal provided by Sodexo, Liberty's Dining Services provider and inflatables for children.
The event included six courses: backing up, brake distance, curb training, back-parallel parking, and width judgment when parking. Four Liberty-owned buses were used during the competition, including two Motor Coach Industries (MCI) buses and two Liberty transit buses.
“This was a fun day for all of our employees and their families to come together, but it was also a great resource for us to examine where our drivers can sharpen their skills and what we are improving in order to ensure students’ safety for the upcoming school year,” said Theodore Sweet, Liberty’s transportation and transit manager.
Drivers were scored on a 410-point scale. The first 300 points were solely based on how well they completed the courses. The next 100 points were based on how well they completed their pre-trip inspection. Each Liberty driver is required to examine the bus each time they drive. Drivers were also given 10 bonus points if they found a wallet implanted under the driver’s seat or other items that were hidden specifically for the inspection.
Sweet said Liberty Transit Services has already made vast improvements to the system for the upcoming year, including the addition of more full-time drivers. The staff has been involved in a new two-week-long training program that covers nine different bus routes, teaching them safety precautions for each route.
Transit Services has also added a new bus route (Route 75) to transport students to Camp Hydaway seven days a week. It has also improved its apartment complex routes for commuter students by increasing the frequency of stops.
The bus stop at Green Hall is also being improved this summer. The area will be gated for buses only, giving drivers more room to maneuver in an expanded space. Students will see a quicker bus rotation and will be able to wait under eight new bus shelters.
“At Liberty Transit we take more pride in the student because they are part of us. All of our drivers are told to be polite, to be kind, and are encouraged to try to get to know the students,” Sweet said. “We want it to be considered a family in which we care about the students and their safety all the time.”
Liberty Transit Services has 29 buses on nine different routes providing students continuous access to campus locations on weekdays, weeknights, and weekends.
Liberty also contracts with Greater Lynchburg Transit Company for additional routes for on- and off-campus locations.