Jayasinghe will represent RTA at international competition in spring 2018
■ Chronicle News Service
Tharanga Jayasinghe is the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) top cowboy after dominating the competition during the RTA 2017 Bus Roadeo. The coach operator’s driving skills earned him a first-place victory at the annual contest last Saturday at the RTA Hemet facility. The win gave Jayasinghe his first crown and a chance to represent RTA at regional and national contests.
Jayasinghe has worked with RTA for three years and will represent RTA at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Bus Roadeo next spring in Tampa, Florida.
He currently drives routes 10, 18, 27 as well as RapidLink Gold Line. Route 10 runs through downtown Riverside; Route 18 runs through Moreno Valley; and Route 27 runs through Riverside, Orangecrest, Perris, Sun City and Hemet. The RapidLink Gold Line runs from UCR through downtown Riverside, the Galleria at Tyler and ends at the Corona Transit Center. He will represent.
Last year’s winner from RTA, Kyle Jones, garnered a first-place victory at the international contest. During that contest, Jones competed against drivers from transit agencies across the United States and Canada, giving RTA its first international victory in 40 years.
“This victory means a lot to me,” said Jayasinghe. “RTA drivers take this competition seriously so winning the whole thing is a pretty big deal. I’m ready to go head to head against other transit agencies and bring home another victory for RTA.”
The roadeo calls upon coach operators, maintenance workers and administrative personnel to maneuver 30,000-pound, 40-foot machines through a timed serpentine obstacle course of cones, sharp turns and challenging back-ups. Judges observe the performance of each driver and note how well they completed each element on the course. So what’s behind Jayasinghe’s success?
“This competition gives me and other drivers a chance to show off the pride we take in our work,” he said. “It’s all about safety and being calm under pressure – and, of course, the determination to be the best.”
In the Coach Operator Division, Walter Aguirre and Yolanda Martinez took second and third place, respectively. In the Maintenance Division, Ignacio Sanchez and Raymond Mancera took first and second place, respectively. In the Administration Division, Jessica Adams took first place. The contest also featured several RTA Board members, the fastest of which was Barry Busch, who represents the County of Riverside District V.
“RTA prepares its drivers to handle a variety of challenges on the road while maintaining world-class customer service and safety,” said RTA Chair Linda Krupa. “These contests reflect that commitment. We are so proud of Tharanga and wish him the best of luck as he represents RTA against the best drivers in the world.”
The Riverside Transit Agency provides public transportation for Western Riverside County, operating 37 fixed routes, eight commuter routes and Dial-A-Ride service. RTA’s service area spans 2,500 square miles. For bus route and schedule information call RTA at 951-565-5002 or visit RiversideTransit.com.