ALTON — There was no horsing around at the fourth annual Illinois Central School Bus Road-e-o last month … well, maybe a little.
The annual event was held April 11 at Illinois Central’s Caseyville location, and Alton was represented well by bus drivers Gina Geisen and Whitney Wiley, who took home second place in the rookie division.
“We tend to become lackadaisical as we see the same bus every day,” Alton location shop manager and Road-e-o committee member Chad Ingold said. “When the driver comes here to compete, this is not their normal bus and it makes them think to go back and look at their normal bus and see what he or she may be overlooking.”
During the event, drivers test their skills on a written exam to determine knowledge of basic laws and commercial driver’s license laws, inspecting (or “pre-tripping”) a bus for defects, and driving a course designed to simulate everyday conditions.
Ingold says they like to change up the exam from year to year. This time, defects to look for included a loose lug nut on one tire, a bolt sticking out of another, a broken clamp on a tailpipe, and a potentially dangerous “flying projectile” sitting on the dashboard.
New to the exam this year was a bus height clearance test, where drivers must gauge whether the bus will pass under a low clearance situation.
Along with Alton, drivers from Caseyville, Waterloo, and O’Fallon, Ill., along with St. Louis and Ladue, Mo., competed in the event. Drivers from the Alton and Waterloo locations now are preparing for the upcoming Illinois Association for Pupil Transportation State Rodeo, taking place in Peoria in June.
Here’s hoping they can rope another award to bring home.
Founded in May 2004, North America Central School Bus is one of the fastest-growing bus companies in the country, outsourcing student transportation to control transportation costs and provide superior service.
The Alton depot is located at 4525 N. Alby St. It has a window display at Alton Square Mall dedicated to the rules and education of school bus safety.