More than 23 million rides are provided annually by Iowa's transit systems. Public transit service is provided in every county in Iowa. Iowa transit systems rely on state and federal transit assistance to make rides available and affordable for Iowans. Local support such as tax revenue, fares, and donations provide a large share of agencies' operating budgets.

Area bus drivers rank top 10 in Roadeo test

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
For 25 years, Iowa City Transit bus driver Carl Nelson has sought a first-place Roadeo trophy.Nelson isn't riding broncos, wrestling steers or rounding up cattle. Instead, he tackled the open road in an annual test of his skills as a bus driver.

Nelson, a bus driver of 36 years, came in second during this year's Iowa Public Transit Association Roadeo competition, which took place June 21 at the Davenport Public Works Facility. There, 40 drivers from throughout Iowa competed in divisions for small and large buses.Iowa City Transit, Coralville Transit and University of Iowa Cambus drivers all received top-10 rankings during the event.

Iowa City Transit driver Nick Hanger placed fourth in the large bus division and Coralville Transit driver Patricia McCauley placed sixth in the same division. Cambus drivers Clint Matthews and Chris Woody placed in eighth and 10th places in the large bus division, respectively. Woody said he served as an alternate for a driver named Tyler Pleggenkuhle, who the Iowa Public Transit Association lists as the 10th-place winner.

Nelson said he enjoys challenging himself during the annual Roadeo."I just like being there and competing, and seeing how well I can do," he said.During the competition, drivers took on 11 obstacles they might face in their day-to-day lives as bus drivers, such as driving between narrowly spaced barrels, a situation that simulates driving in tight situations on the road, said Randy Zobrist, executive director of Riverbend Public Transit.

"If you aren't real accurate, barrels go flying," he said.Large bus drivers also participated in a pre-trip inspection challenge, while small bus drivers participated in a test of their skills at securing wheelchairs in place on the bus.

First-place winners go on to the national competition in addition to receiving $200 and a trophy. The second-place winner receives $150 and the third-place winner receives $100. Read more