DOWNEY – A Downey Dial-A-Ride transit driver won first place in the annual All-State Paratransit Safety Rodeo held Feb. 28.
The rodeo is a competition in which drivers from across California test their safety and driving skills against other transit organizations.
Three Downey transit drivers competed in this year’s competition: Primitivo Figueroa (21 years of service), Bernabe Ibarra (five years of service) and Jose Espinoza (five years of service). Eleven cities/transit companies competed this year with a total of 52 drivers competing in the rodeo.
This year the Downey team placed 5th as a team and Jose Espinoza won 1st place in the individual category. Espinoza won $125 and a scholarship to compete in the National Transportation Rodeo in Portland, Ore., on May 22, where he will compete against the best drivers in the nation.
To qualify for the Paratransit Safety Rodeo, drivers must have a valid California B class driver’s license to operate a 25-ft. cutaway 15-or-more passenger bus, and since Feb. 1 2013 have a clean record with no chargeable/avoidable accidents, and not have had a suspension, any disciplinary action or more than three unauthorized absences.
Contestants are judged on their pre-trip inspection of the bus, wheelchair loading and securement, smoothness of operation, and a driving skills course that includes 11 challenging exercises.
The rodeo is held at various locations throughout California every year. This year, it was held in the city of Clovis.