Bus Road-e-o showcases CFISD drivers in family-friendly event

For many in the CFISD community, their view of the district’s transportation department are the school buses transporting students to and from campuses and extracurricular activities.

The department, which transports more students to schools than any other district in the state, is more than that. And the School Bus Safety Road-e-o, held this year on April 7 at the Eldridge Transportation Center, is one way for the community to get that first-hand view.

The Road-e-o is a competition among participating drivers and attendants in two separate divisions (regular and special needs). The competition includes 12 events encompassing different aspects of driving and a written exam.

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In total, 42 bus drivers participated in the competition in addition to five special needs teams. This year’s event also drew participants from Conroe and Alvin ISDs.

But the day is also an open house for the hosting transportation center. Music, games and food were available to visitors, family and guests who attended to watch the competition or get a peek at how the transportation center operates.

Staff from the community programs department served as DJs and game organizers. Students and student groups volunteered, while the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department showcased a fire engine as well.

“There are so many facets that are involved with our transportation department that the community really doesn’t get to see,” said Bill Powell, CFISD director of transportation. “So, this is that opportunity for them to get to see behind the scenes of what we’re all about.”

The events included parallel parking, offset alley and diminishing clearance and straight line – a challenging event where the bus must be aligned to allow front and rear dual wheels to travel between a row of tennis balls without disturbing them.

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The top four finishers advanced to the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation (TAPT) School Bus Safety Road-e-o on April 21, where CFISD participants also excelled. Helen Nixon of the Eldridge Center got first place in the regular competition after taking second at the district level. Jessica Otwell of the Westgreen Transportation Center claimed second at regionals after she won her second consecutive district title.

Pam Bokemyer and Linda Hair (Eldridge) placed third in the special needs competition.

They all advanced to the statewide competition, which will be held during the 45th annual Texas Association for Pupil Transportation Conference and Trade Show on June 22 in Corpus Christi. Top competitors will then have a chance to advance to the national level.

With the day being filled with friendly competition and fun activities, the CFISD School Bus Safety Road-e-o not only gives community a chance to see the inside of the transportation department but also showcases the talented and skilled drivers within the district.

“The Road-e-o’s an awesome event where our drivers and attendants are able to come in and showcase their skills,” Powell said. “They hone their skills practicing throughout the year and it’s just a great time for the community to come together.”