MCAT to compete with four other regional transit teams compete in Tampa Bay Area Roadeo on March 8

MCAT to compete with four other regional transit teams compete in Tampa Bay Area Roadeo on March 8
Posted on 02/28/2020

The region’s best Bus Operators will be putting their skills on display at the second annual Tampa Bay Area Regional Bus Roadeo and Technology Expo on Sunday, March 8 at the Manatee County Transit Fleet Facility, 2411 Tallevast Road.

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) bus operators will compete with regional partners including Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT), Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT), Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). The competition is free and open to the public. The event begins at 8 a.m., with rodeo driving action beginning closer to 9 a.m.

The bus rodeo tests service delivery operating skills in a series of competitions around a test road course set up with cones, barrels and bus stops. Transit bus maintenance skills are also part of the rodeo event, as each agency’s maintenance technician team is evaluated with respect to their knowledge and diagnostic skills.

“It’s fun to see professional Bus Operators test their skill and drive these large transit coaches on a very demanding obstacle course,” MCAT Transit Operations Chief Jim Egbert said. “They’re maneuvering a 35-foot long vehicle weighing over 39,000 pounds; and the skill sets on display are impressive.

The skill sets of transit agency maintenance teams are remarkable, and we look forward to their participation.”

One transit agency will be declared the overall winner for the “Best of the Bay” competition. In addition, the first-place transit and paratransit winners from each respective transit agency will advance to the Mega Bus Roadeo in Orlando on April 4.

The competition will determine the most skilled bus operators and maintenance technicians in the state.

An added feature for this year’s Regional Roadeo is the opportunity to share new and emerging transit technology with a Technology Expo. The MCAT team introduced mobile ticketing as a fare payment option in 2018 and launched real-time bus arrival and onboard infotainment technology systems in 2019. MCAT buses will be on display, so that the procurement, integration and functionality of these new technology systems can be explained by MCAT staff, along with technology vendors, onboard MCAT buses.

“The Technology Expo provides the opportunity for MCAT and their technology vendors, Avail Technologies, Inc. and Message Point Media, Inc. to share these impressive technology advancements with regional partners,” said MCAT Planning Manager Ryan Suarez.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.