CDTA’s Annual Bus Maintenance Roadeo Competition kicks off in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – CDTA is rolling into September with its annual bus maintenance roadeo, an event that gives maintenance techs a chance to test their skills against each other in a competitive way.

Bragging rights are on the line as maintenance technicians strive for excellence in competition. There’s over 120 people on the maintenance team that keep all of the buses running.

The bus maintenance roadeo is designed to test the skills tech’s have learned through internal training programs.

“These guys prepare all year round, every time we get a new piece of technology we orient a new training program and we put all of our technicians through training,” Steve Wacksman, Assistant Director of Maintenance, said.

CDTA maintenance techs will compete in a series of timed events featuring a written test, bus inspection, and several trouble shooting exercises with pre-set defects in the areas of HVAC repair, engine repair, air brake diagnostics, and multiplex equipment. Teams of three have to work together to find the defects in their equipment.

“This is a great way to work as a team, they kind of choreograph how they are going to do it,” Wacksman said. “Usually there’s one person that’s recording, a couple of people looking for defects, so they work it out amongst each group.”

The judges will be CDTA staff, who will oversee and complete the tech’s final scores.

The competition is designed to test the skills tech’s have learned through internal training programs, pitting experiences competitors against first timers, with seven to ten minutes to figure out what’s wrong.

“Usually you are not under the pressure so it’s kind of new to us, we are new here so we don’t know what to expect,” Technician, Michael Gillespie, said. “We are kind of the new guys on the block. Hopefully, we are here to kick somebody’s butt.”

The teams put their tools to work and the winning team will have another competition next weekend in New York City.

“There’s so many different parts of the department,” Technician, Phil Jordan, said. “Some guys kinda get stuck doing one thing so it gives them a chance to test their knowledge on other things that they may not do every day. So it’s a good way to see how you stack up against other guys in your facility.”

If the teams win there, the top team of three technicians will be invited to represent CDTA at the National American Public Transportation Association competition in the spring.

Everything gets started at the CDTA Albany garage, Technician Training Center, at 8:30 a.m.

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