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Mason City transit drivers supervised by city staff; complaints investigated


This news story was published on March 14, 2016.
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transitMASON CITY – City staff watch and supervise transit drivers and investigate complaints brought by the public.

NIT asked the city of Mason City how its transit drivers are trained or monitored in the wake of a January accident yesterday that left one person injured and hospitalized.

Neighborhood Services and Transit Manager Pat Otto tells NIT that the city seems to get good, experienced drivers to operate the transit buses.

“Many of our drivers, past and present, have been professional drivers before they retired and came to Mason City Transit. They’ve driven over the road, for other transit systems, community schools, delivery trucks, etc. To drive the type of bus Mason City uses for transit requires a Class A CDL with passenger endorsement. That requires a written, driving, and skills test from the Iowa Department of Transportation,” Ms. Otto explained.

She said drivers are trained well before getting behind the wheel.

“Once they obtain their appropriate credentials and pass a pre-employment drug test they go through OSHA training and a safe driving video. They train on the job with current drivers to learn the routes and daily routine. When they are comfortable they drive the routes with the regular driver observing and I get reports from the regular drivers about performance.”

Some say, however, they have had questions after observing transit drivers from time to time drive in a questionable manner. Ms. Otto says any complaints by citizens are investigated and action is sometimes taken.

“I, personally, have terminated a driver with poor driving skills and I would have terminated another for unsafe driving but he chose to retire instead.
When I get a complaint from a passenger I will investigate, sometimes just by talking to the driver but also by observing their driving by following them for a few rounds to see if I can catch them duplicating the complaint. Even if I don’t catch them, and I generally don’t, I will discuss the complaint with them and tell them my expectations and that if I get another complaint discipline may escalate. I pay particular attention if I receive multiple complaints from different sources about a driver. When discipline of a driver is required I follow the city personnel policy.”

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5 Responses to Mason City transit drivers supervised by city staff; complaints investigated

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 15, 2016 at 9:56 am

    i watched some geezer plow through a yeild sign and tbone a car up on to the curb. most of these old people shouldnt be driving cars much less a bus with other peoples lives at risk. whoever hires and tests/trains these people should be fired.

  2. Avatar

    jack Reply Report comment

    March 14, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I’m not sticking up for the transit drivers because I’ve seen a few of them driving way over the speed limit , jumping curbs BUT maybe if they didn’t have a half hour time limit these Incidents wouldn’t happen.

  3. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    March 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    “just bout got rear ended by the car in front of me”
    Hahahaha

  4. Avatar

    Bonny Reply Report comment

    March 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

    On the south side ive had drivers pull out in front of me comming close to my front end of vehicle,most dont use blinkers,instead of pulling over to curb to pick up passengers they stop in middle of road,at autumn apts just bout got rear ended by the car in front of me,i know they have a time limited buyt they need to slow down watch for incomming traffic,ive had to take them a couple times when i dont have a vehicle but when i do i want to know im safe on that bus with a safe driver

  5. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    March 14, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Seems like the training is adequate for a small town transit driver. What was the complaint that warranted an investigation.