Lassoing the Competition

Bus Operators Compete in Annual Bus Roadeo Contest

Is your Bus Operator an award winner? Possibly, if he or she competed in the NJ TRANSIT Bus Roadeo contest September 25th at Howell Bus Garage in Monmouth County.

More than two dozen Bus Operators from throughout the state – the best-of-the-best at NJ TRANSIT – demonstrated their skills on an obstacle course in a 40-foot bus that simulated bus stops, lane changes, tight turns, backing up and more, while trying to avoid carefully placed traffic cones and barriers along the way.

Three operators with the highest scores were declared the top winners:

  • 1st Place: Fermonides Fernandez of Fairview Garage, who primarily operates buses on the 156 route between Bergen County and Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York.
  • 2nd Place: Michael Self of Newton Avenue Garage, who primarily operates buses on the 450, 455 and 457 routes in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.
  • 3rd Place: Francisco Vides of Meadowlands Garage, who primarily operates buses on the 166 and 167 routes between Bergen County and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. 

Our Bus Operators go through extensive training and retraining to keep them at the top of their game, with safety being job #1. The initial training consists of 4-5 weeks of class work and operation of a bus simulator before driving a full-sized bus on a designated course and on the street. All NJ TRANSIT Bus Operators are required to have a Commercial Driver License with a passenger endorsement that allows them to operate a vehicle with air brakes.

If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a Bus Operator at NJ TRANSIT, find out more on our Bus Careers page, including the generous signing bonus we have to offer. Positions are available at many of our bus garages. 

Congratulations to the three winners, and all of the Bus Operators who participated in the Bus Rodeo! Also, a special thank you to the many volunteers who helped to organize and judge this special event!

Winning Bus Operators were (left to right) First Place winner Fermonides Fernandez, Second Place winner Michael Self and Third Place winner Francisco Videz.

A simulated bus stop, where judges measure the distance between the curb and tires.

One of the more difficult maneuvers is backing up a 40-foot bus between a narrow set of cones.

Contestants finish their runs through a series of tightly placed barrels.