APTA honors GTrans with gold safety awards

Photo courtesy of Dan Pynn IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT—Gardena officials gather to receive safety awards for bus safety and security from the American Public Transportation Association for 2021. Among those representing the city of Gardena are Ernie Crespo, director of Transportation, City Manager Clint Osorio and Gardena Mayor Tasha Cerda and other staff and elected officials.

The City of Gardena’s GTrans was awarded two 2021 Bus Safety and Security Gold Awards: one for Bus Safety and one for Bus COVID-19 by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for transit agencies with fewer than 4 million passenger trips annually. The Bus Safety and Security Excellence Awards recognize APTA transit systems that have implemented programs or projects that have achieved documented success in addressing specific safety or security program areas. Successful programs then serve as replicable models and benchmarks for the industry “I am so proud of our team and thrilled that they have been recognized in this way for their outstanding efforts to enhance our safety program,” said Ernie Crespo, Director of Transportation for the City of Gardena’s GTrans. “It is heartening to see the team recognized for their hard work and perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially during what was not only an incredibly challenging time for our nation, but for our employees and our customers as well.” For the Bus Safety Gold Award, GTrans highlighted both its long-standing and newer efforts focusing on safety: A. Required timely refresher training for bus operators involved in preventable accidents. B. Implemented extensive series of monthly safety programs including Defensive Driving, The Five Keys of Safety, Parallel Parking, and Customer Service. C. Held powerful de-escalation technique training in partnership with the Red Kite Project D. Recognized and rewarded improved performance The results showed a 55 percent decrease in total accidents, a 51 percent decrease in preventable accidents, and an 83 percent decrease in preventable slip and fall accidents – along with a steady drop in workers’ compensation claims. The new Bus COVID-19 Response and Recovery Gold Award recognized GTrans’ innovative programs and projects implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: Focused on employees as well as customers by implementing schedules that allowed bus operators to stay at home in rotating groups, providing guaranteed paychecks and a continuation of health insurance. Allowed those that could, to work from home and increased safety measures onboard the bus for employees who could not work from home: Suspended enforcement of fare collection and rear-door boarding within 24 hours, and installed temporary distancing barriers. Made sanitizers in-house when it was unavailable for purchase, and used a disinfecting fogger every night on buses and high traffic areas in the facility. Worked with the Mayor of Gardena to require face masks onboard the bus before mandated by the federal government. Awards were presented at APTA’s TRANSform Conference & EXPO on Nov.7-10, 2021 in Orlando, Fla. GTrans serves nearly 3 million annual boarding customers in the City of Gardena and in portions of GTrans’ surrounding cities of Compton, El Segundo, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach and Torrance. GTrans provides fixed route bus service with a fleet of 54 buses across six routes, and Gardena Special Transit service for residents with disabilities and senior citizens in Gardena, Hawthorne, and the unincorporated Alondra Park and Del Air areas of Los Angeles County in the South Bay. For more information visit, www.ridegtrans.com.