The 2013 Best of BUSRide Awards

With the Best of BUSRide Awards, BUSRide devotes an issue to the bus industry’s best and brightest. In this annual presentation, BUSRide bestows badges on the safest, greenest, most efficient and innovative transit agencies, coach operators, and bus and equipment manufacturers in transportation.

A coveted Best of BUSRide Award recognizes both public transit authorities and private bus and coach companies for giving attention above and beyond the norm. An unlimited number of awards go to the companies that have demonstrated concern, commitment, leadership and innovation to make a difference in critical areas.


First Transit

The down-up culture at First Transit, Cincinnati, OH, means employees care about getting safety right.

Thomas Harris, First Transit and First Services’ vice president, safety and human resources, says a First Transit location in Louisville, KY, has added a unique twist to safety training by engaging drivers’ families. The location has hung signs designed by the drivers’ children, reminding staff of crucial safety tips. This practice encourages drivers to internalize safety principles by teaching them at home.

“It’s a good idea because it really gets the drivers involved and engaged in the process,” Harris says. “The drivers have taken great pride in the artwork that their children make.”

Pacific Western

Accident prevention is integral to the corporate culture of the Pacific Western Group of Companies, Calgary, AB, Canada.

The Pacific Western safety culture empowers every employee to recognize potential safety issues — from the merest parking lot ding to the catastrophic event. The message is simple:  never is any job so important or so urgent that a person cannot forego the time to do it safely.

Pacific Western says collisions and lapses do not just happen. Training reinforces the goal to continually seek out the causes, devise protective measures and promote a safety-minded attitude at every level within the company.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA, remains a family-owned business and is one of the largest privately owned intercity bus companies in the
United States.

Peter Pan is one of the few bus companies in North America to employ six or more veteran coach drivers who have driven three million miles or more without an accident. The company equates their total miles to nearly 100 trips to the moon, all while maintaining the highest safety ratings from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Veolia Transportation

To achieve a “safety first, service always” mindset, Veolia Transportation, Lombard, IL, have developed tools and programs designed to provide the information and technology employees need to meet their goals.

Veolia’s proprietary Operator Development Training Program (ODP) is considered an industry leader in both classroom and behind-the-wheel training for bus and paratransit.

Veolia’s National Safety Audit Program helps to further assure continuous improvement in safety performance by measuring compliance with federal, state and local requirements.

DRIVE is an innovative engagement and incentive program for employees. DRIVE is led by employees and supported by local managers. DRIVE teams tap the collective expertise of employees to identify potential safety issues and propose solutions to the management team.

The safety philosophy at VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX, centers around four key areas: communication and recognition, training and education, equipment and infrastructure, and analysis and investigation.

The agency constantly reminds drivers to be cognizant of simple practices, like minding the parking brake or to always watch out for pedestrians.

VIA designs infrastructure with pedestrian and rider safety in mind. The agency designs new transit centers to minimize the points at which bus and pedestrian traffic cross. New paint schemes for buses increase visibility.


Fall Protection Systems (FPS), Florissant, MO, provide rigid rail systems for bus and coach maintenance applications that attach to the ceiling of an existing facility. FPS, a 20-year-old company, has installed fall protection solutions for maintenance bays servicing a variety of transportation vehicles.

The system basically features a path of rigid track running the length of the maintenance area. Multiple tracks may be installed to support more workers. Each worker, wearing a harness and retractable lanyard to a rolling trolley, moves back and forth. This allows them to move freely across the roof of the bus, as opposed to workers harnessed to a cable stretched between two points.


Rigid Lifelines, Morgantown, PA, a division of SPANCO, takes compliance a step further than most.

Rigid Lifelines says, assuming the building has been approved, and most large transit maintenance facilities have, facilities will support the installation of its fall protection systems without any welding.

If a worker falls and isn’t deflected toward the ground before the system activates, the retractable lanyard engages immediately. With a rope or cable system that is typically a little looser, a person would actually fall a longer distance before fall rescue.



The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), Las Vegas, NV, offers Club Ride Commuter Services, a free program that promotes cleaner, greener modes for getting to work.

The program currently boasts more than 260 employer partners and more than 23,000 employee participants, encouraging transit, carpooling, walking and cycling rather than driving alone. The result has been 4.7 million fewer miles driven on Southern Nevada roadways during 2009. The RTC operates one of the newest fleets of buses in the nation including compressed natural gas-fueled vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles.


Committed to helping the United States achieve energy independence, Proterra, Greenville, S.C., says it sources more than 80 percent of the content and components for its EcoRide™ buses in the United States from 33 states.

The all-electric 35-foot Proterra EcoRide™ BE35 transit bus expanded its public service this year. The model is the first of its kind to pass through the arduous shakedown by the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center in Pennsylvania, the decisive test for transit buses.

Proterra says the proprietary charging stations also differentiate the company from other bus manufacturers.


The University of Vermont Certification for Sustainable Transportation (CST) focuses on the environmental concerns among motorcoach operators and charter tour operators. The Certification for Sustainable Transportation’s eRating vehicle certification and driver training programs can help manufacturers promote their most fuel efficient, lowest emission vehicles.

The criteria for four levels of certification focuses on EPA emissions compliant engines; meeting or exceeding industry miles per gallon fuel averages; an endorsed carbon-trading program to offset carbon emissions; use of alternative fuels; a strict, documented and verifiable energy conservation and recycling program; and emerging environmental technologies.

Addressing motorcoach OEMs, CST eRating program uses a comprehensive set of criteria to award certification to an entire product line before the vehicles leave the factory.


Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Des Plaines, IL, has made “Going Green” a dynamic part of its message and day-to-day policies. From shifts in employee behavior to increased eco-friendly technology, the company has bought in to the green mentality.

MCI’s service centers have a contract with Safety-Kleen to recycle the oil and metal from oil filters. The centers recycle all antifreeze and are currently switching from solvent-based cleaners to aqueous ones. This means less release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air.

“Go Green, Go Coach, Go MCI” is the company’s conservation slogan, and they’ve done all in their power to embrace it fully.



Bremskerl, South Elgin, IL, has introduced a full line of eco-friendly air disc brake pads for the North American market. Bremskerl’s 8010 formulation is supplied at both the OE and aftermarket level. Bremskerl 8010 is currently in use by multiple transit and private fleet operators in North America and abroad.

Bremskerl’s air disc brake pads have ECE R90 homologation and meet both the Washington Better Brakes Law and California SB346 legislation thru 2021. Like all formulations Bremskerl manufacturers, its 8010 formulation is RoHS and REACH compliant.


SmartDrive Systems, San Diego, CA, gives fleets and drivers unprecedented driving performance insight and analysis, helping save fuel, expenses and lives. Its video analysis, predictive analytics and personalized performance program help fleets improve driving skills, lower operating costs and deliver significant ROI. With an easy-to-use managed service, fleets and drivers can access and self-manage driving performance anytime, anywhere.

This innovative safety and fuel efficiency solution is deployed across more than 10 percent of the public transit market in the United States, and is used by such well known corporations as Brinks, CR England, Republic Services, AAA, Loomis USA, Veolia, Ryder, Salvation Army, LA Metro, SuperShuttle, LA Metro, the U.S. Marine Corps and other leading organizations.

Crosspoint alternate

Crosspoint Kinetics, LLC, Indianapolis, IN, a newly formed subsidiary of Cummins Crosspoint, LLC, has completed the installation of 43 second-generation electric hybrid systems into Madison County Transit’s (MCT) Granite City, IL, bus fleet.

The Crosspoint Kinetics Hybrid System improves acceleration performance, lowers fuel consumption, and reduces emissions for Madison County Transit’s operators and riders by capturing regenerative braking energy from frequent stops and reusing that energy for fuel-intensive accelerations.

Crosspoint Kinetics worked closely with Turtle Top, Southern Bus and Mobility, and Madison County Transit officials to optimize the hybrid system for use in fixed-route and para-transit applications.


More clean energy buses are being added to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) San Jose, CA, bus fleet, helping the organization achieve better fuel economy and meet emission reduction targets. At the October Board of Directors meeting, a contract was approved for the total purchase of 35 forty-foot buses powered by hybrid diesel-electric technology from Gillig LLC out of Hayward, California.

VTA’s current 425 bus-fleet includes vehicles that have reached their useful life span with over 600,000 miles on them and have been in operation for over 16 years. With this new addition of buses, VTA will have converted one-third of its fleet to clean-energy vehicles, enhancing VTA’s bus operations that already achieves 90 percent on-time reliability and 99.7 percent service delivery.


AT logo

Specially designed for large heavy-duty commercial vehicles, Airtabs™ are unique vortex generators that control airflow over a moving coach. They reduce wind resistance and aerodynamic drag to improve fuel economy.

The air rushing to fill the vacuum left by a moving vehicle creates drag and turbulence. This causes the engine to burn more fuel to produce the necessary power to overcome the resistance.

Wishbone-shaped Airtabs™ attach easily at the rear of the coach to create two tight vortices. These vortices combine to reduce suction and drag at the rear of vehicles traveling at speeds above 35 mph.

By altering the airflow at the rear of the vehicle, Airtabs™ also improve vehicle stability by disrupting the array of small vortices.


Radio Engineering Industries (REI), Omaha, NE, provides a variety of safety solutions: mobile video surveillance, GPS/AVL tracking solutions, camera observation systems and audio/video equipment.

REI recently introduced A.R.M.O.R.-Insight, a fleet management software solution that provides a 360° view of a customer’s entire fleet or individual vehicle.  REI’s web-based, fleet management solution provides comprehensive, user-friendly reporting tools that help increase efficiencies.

With A.R.M.O.R-Insight, the fleet manager can choose from three software tools – Executive Dashboard 360° Fleet Overview, Individual Vehicle View or Executive Dashboard Individual Vehicle View.  Each tool helps manage information specifically for the fleet or for a specific vehicle.


Scheig Associates, Gig Harbor, WA, was founded in 1980 by Dr. Richard F. Scheig. Scheig has developed over 80 job-specific hiring systems for companies in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia, serving the transportation, education, distribution, construction, healthcare, insurance, childcare, call center, banking and sales industries.

Scheig’s Motor Coach Works Hiring & Performance System is a three-phase system consisting of an online pre-employment assessment, behaviorally based interview questions and a performance evaluation.

Scheig’s next project in the transportation industry involves creating a test for superior transit drivers.

GFI checks

SPX Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL, says its proven experience sets it apart and makes it uniquely qualified to continue partnering with transit agencies for many years to come.

Genfare launched the Vendstar-e ticket vending machine (TVM) at the APTA Annual Conference in Seattle. Vendstar-e is an innovative TVM designed to accept and process credit and debit cards and conveniently issue smart cards and/or magnetic cards for quick and easy passenger travel.

Responding to the changing market and increased client demands for debit and credit vending equipment, Genfare designed the Vendstar-e to be quick, convenient and reliable to effectively assist riders in purchasing or managing tickets and passes.



FRAM Filtration, Perrysburg, OH, and its Luber-finer brand of heavy duty filters continued its support of local communities by awarding a $1,000 National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program award to Amber Scarbrough, a resident of Fairfield, IL, and a 2012 graduate of Fairfield High School.

Luber-finer has been a sponsor of the National FFA and its Scholarship Program for more than 17 years. The National FFA was founded in 1928 as the “Future Farmers of America.” Today, membership exceeds 500,000 and the organization is part of agricultural-education programs at the middle and high-school levels throughout the United States.


As part of the Atlanta Jazz Festival’s 31 Days of Jazz, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), in partnership with the City of Atlanta, offered customers the opportunity to enjoy great jazz performances and spin the MARTA prize wheel for a chance to win a Breeze card.

MARTA hosted these live performances to celebrate the outstanding musical talent in their city and give their customers a preview of the then-upcoming Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park.

MARTA Jazz Mondays is one in a series of ongoing initiatives the Authority has underway to cost-effectively enhance the transit experience for customers as well as celebrate the Atlanta community.