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.

Iowa Public Transit Association Crowns State's Top Bus Drivers

Thursday, July 02, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - July 2, 2015 - Two men earned the prestigious designation of Iowa's top bus drivers by out-performing the field of 32 finalists at the 29th annual Iowa Public Transit Association (IPTA) "Roadeo" in Des Moines.


Kevin Gries with CyRide in Ames and Kurt Mackel-Wiederanders with DART in Des Moines took home top honors in the large bus and small bus division competitions, respectively. In addition to championship hardware and cash prizes, the winners qualify to compete in International Roadeo events next spring in Charlotte, N.C.


"The annual Roadeo is a great way to celebrate the professional bus operators who serve Iowa's public commuters daily," said IPTA Executive Director, Bev Thomas.


"The participants are tested on a multitude of driving skills, as well as time efficiency. All of the drivers did an excellent job, and we are proud to send two of our members to compete on the international stage."


Competitors were tested and timed on a pre-trip inspection check, an obstacle course and a wheelchair loading test. The challenges are designed to both test and teach drivers about universal best practices for the safety and security of public transit passengers.


In the pre-trip inspection test, drivers sought out eight equipment-related defects and one security hazard. These abnormalities are designed to replicate real-life scenarios.

Throughout the Bus Roadeo obstacle course there are 11 driving obstacles and three other scoring opportunities. Staff of the Iowa Department of Transportation, IPTA membership, and local transit and community volunteers acted as judges for the competition.


"Iowa's public transit system fulfills a vital need for thousands of Iowans every single day, and our drivers have a long-standing tradition of outstanding work and service," said Thomas. "Events, such as this, are a fun and friendly arena where these public servants are celebrated and awarded for the skills they provide Iowa's commuters."

Click here for a list of the winners.