LaGrange, Ga., March 31, 2017 – This past Saturday, 31 of Troup County School Systems (TCSS) bus drivers and transportation employees gathered at the bus shop for some friendly competition as the annual School Bus Road-e-o started early in the morning.
After all scores were tallied, Mark Siersma was named the first place winner. With nine years of experience, he has qualified to attend the state competition each year he has been on the job. He has also competed in the Special Needs Road-e-o for two years. Last year, he was first place in the state of Georgia and he went on to compete in the National School Bus Road-e-o where he placed 6th in the nation.
Siersma is currently a Special Needs Bus Driver and a trainer for new and existing drivers. He says, “My goal as a trainer is to put the best trained drivers on the road transporting our students safely to and from school and other events.”
Bus drivers maneuvered through the 11-course trail as if they drove the same route every day. For them, the number one daily priority is safety and this competition gave them another platform to showcase their expertise and to also learn areas of improvement.
They competed on a complex obstacle course where they were judged on proficiency, accuracy, attention to details and other elements that emphasize their skill set.
Some of the tests included: Curb line, Parallel parking, Railroad crossing, Proper stopping procedures, and Diminishing Clearance Kim Harcrow, Assistant Director of Transportation for TCSS, said, “We had very good participation this year and everyone left with more knowledge and improved driving skills. A good time of learning and fellowship was had by all. We also would like to thank all our judges and sponsors who provide for the Road-e-o, without their support, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Steve Williams was named second place winner. He has competed in the state competition four times. He looks forward to improve each year he competes. Debra Brown has been a TCSS bus driver for six years. This is her first time placing. Both she and Williams are Special Needs drivers as well. In her spare time, she quilts. She donated a quilt made from bus pictures and street symbol stitching as a prize for a Bus Road-eo participant.
The TCSS Transportation Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining regular school bus routes and safely transporting 60% of the district’s student body. They recently received a 99 percent bus pass rate during their annual inspection, placing the Transportation Department in the top three within the state. Other interesting facts include: Buses travel appx. 8,000 miles daily, Buses travel appx. 1,440,000 miles per year in bus routes, and Transportation is responsible for maintain 262 vehicles.