FON/FTSN Discussion: Development of Minimum Guidelines for Bus Operator Annual Refresher Training – October 16, 2014

Lisa kicked off the meeting by asking participants to discuss topics that should, at a minimum, be included in annual refresher training for Florida’s public transit bus operators.  Lisa specified that the goal of today’s meeting was to lock in some preliminary topics that should be included in guidelines for annual refresher training, and that at the next meeting the group could start thinking about appropriate durations for the different topics.  She emphasized the fact that the intent was to develop guidelines, not requirements or standards, and that the process for the development of these guidelines will resemble that utilized for the development of the Minimum Guidelines for New Bus Operator Training.

To facilitate the discussion, Lisa asked participants to respond to the following questions:

1. Do you provide annual refresher training?
2. Are there topics that you consistently cover in your annual refresher training?
3. What is the duration of the annual refresher training you provide?
4. What is the delivery method(s) used:  classroom/computer-based/other?
5. What would you consider to be the most important topics covered each year? (Open Discussion)

Below is a summary of participant responses:

1. Do you provide annual refresher training?

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes, every year
  • Yes, just started this year
  • Yes, mandatory each year
  • Yes, twice a year, all operators
  • Not annual, but we do monthly hour-long safety meeting, covering ADA, customer service, video and discussion, things like wheelchair securement, and we do hands-on training
  • Yes, but not in the sense we’re discussing here- we’re [MCAT] planning on starting block training, an entire day each month for annual refresher training

2. Are there topics that you consistently cover in your annual refresher training?

  • No, they’ve changed over the years, but that is going to change- it used to be the “flavor of the year,” the most important topic at the moment
  • Sometimes there is consistency, depending on what it is- yes when it comes to system security, ADA
  • ADA, disability etiquette, TSI, customer service, emergency procedures for operators, railroad crossings and stop signs, also we’ll begin covering specific accident types/causes (such as being blinded by sunlight)
  • Divided into 4 parts: defensive driving, customer service, ADA, and catch-all (anything else that’s out there).  If something big comes up we’ll do a 2-hour special at some point during the year
    ADA, customer service
  • ADA, safety issues, customer service, specific situational training, and individualized training for operators who have been involved in incidents; we identify topics each quarter and go into them in-depth as needed
  • Customer service, wheelchair securement, policy, alcohol, defensive driving, OSHA, incident documentation, vehicle inspection, blood borne pathogens
  • Routes, bus operating procedures (1490, pre-trip, driving hours), working procedures (proper bus securement, electronic devices, administrative orders), defensive driving, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, customer relations which always has an ADA component to it, bus maintenance (1490 or anything maintenance dept. indicates operators are lacking), emergency procedure, every year prior to hurricane season we go through evacuation procedures and what responsibility employees have

3. What is the duration of the annual refresher training you provide?

  • 1-2 hours each quarter
  • 2 hours
  • 4 hours right now, but it’s going to grow to 6
  • 4 hours
  • 5 hours
  • 8 hours
  • An entire day each month
  • Hour-long safety meetings every month

 4. What is the delivery method(s) used:  classroom/computer-based/other?

  • Classroom, PowerPoint, simulator, hand-outs
  • Classroom, PowerPoint, video and still-frame incidents (we block out faces of operator to avoid embarrassment)
  • Classroom, presentation, open discussion, hands-on (farebox and actual bus and wheelchair)
  • Classroom, presentation, manuals
  • Video, discussion, hands-on training
  • On-the-road, simulator
  • Classroom, and we also added simulator, and added a lab for CBT
  • Classroom, PowerPoint, video, and video of buses (depending on what we have)
  • Classroom and computer, with a heavy emphasis on not taking things personally
  • Classroom, PowerPoint, video from buses to show actual things that happened on board (for customer service as well); also, on-road training once a year

5. General discussion of most important topics that should be covered each year

Lisa brought up the question of whether employee work rules such as hours of service, should be addressed in annual refresher training.  One person responded that it is in the procedural manual, that new employees sign for it and are responsible to abide by those rules, that it could be handled in disciplinary action, but that it would be up to the manager’s discretion.

Lisa also asked about sensitivity training perhaps being offered as a component of customer service refresher training.  At this point in the discussion, it was suggested that different options be sent out to the group in the form of a survey so that the choice of training topics could be justified by support from a majority of agencies.  Paul supported the idea of a survey, suggesting topic categories and subcategories that could be ranked.  Additionally, Victor requested that the survey ask agencies to name their top ten concerns for training, since this will likely differ across agencies.  He also pointed out that since this effort addresses the total training package, the top ten concerns do not have to be limited to safety; for instance, operations could be included.

Lisa agreed and advised that the survey would be sent out on Monday 8/20, probably to all participants on the call.  Victor raised the question of whether the survey should include anything regarding maintenance.  The group came to consensus that for now, the focus should be strictly on the operator side.  To address maintenance issues, Lisa offered to work with Bobby and Ed Bart to develop a separate survey.

Meeting Participants:

  • Paul Goyette (LeeTran)
  • Stephen Berry (LYNX)
  • Bill Knieriem (LAMTD)
  • Jeanne Rougeau (PalmTran)
  • Mike Gloss (PSTA)
  • Quintas Douglas (StarMetro)
  • Rosemary Bosby (StarMetro)
  • Tom Stringer (JTA)
  • Kristie Sandy (St. Johns County)
  • Lydia Chung (PalmTran)
  • Don Worrell (StarMetro)
  • Collin Roller (MCAT)
  • Joel Perez  (MDT)
  • Will Campbell (MDT)
  • Carlos Garcia (MDT)
  • Julio (Palm Tran)
  • Carlos Rivera (LeeTran)
  • Oscar Figueroa (BCT)
  • Will Campbell (MDT)
  • Yousi Cardeso (Collier)
  • Edward Gaspartich (Collier)
  • Bob Fields (SCAT)
  • Victor Wiley
  • Rob Gregg
  • Roberta Yegidis
  • Jay Goodwill
  • Jennifer Flynn
  • Lisa Staes