Over 90 school bus drivers competed in the 47th annual contest, administered by the New York School Bus Contractors Association on May 19.
Despite it being held on a rainy day, NYSBCA President Bree Allen called the event a “huge success.” Held at Rockland Lake State Park in Valley Cottage, N.Y., the competition began with a “comprehensive” written exam and skills testing, which were held throughout the afternoon.
Drivers had to demonstrate how to correctly inspect a bus, load and unload students, operate a school bus through various driving courses, manage railroad crossings, and complete other hands-on activities. They could compete in either the Type C, Type D, or Type A school bus divisions.
The first and second place winners of the Type D division both drive for Towne Bus. First-place winner Elizabeth Santana drives in Westchester County and runner-up Jose Torres drives for Holtsville.
In the Type C division, Towne Bus driver Joyce Olenick was fourth and WE Transport driver Henry Dominguez was fifth.
In the Type A division, Richard Tunstall of Towne Bus in Bay Shore was third and James Baumer of WE Transport won fifth place.
All of the winners are now eligible to compete in the International School Bus Driver Safety Competition, scheduled for July 21-22, by the National School Transportation Association, based in Philadelphia, Pa.
“The competition was also a big win for student safety, as all of the drivers will take what they learned and apply their knowledge and skills to their day-to-driving at their respective school districts and private school transportation companies,” Allen stated.