OmniRide bus operator Mohamed Elatrebi has won first place in the 2018 Virginia State Bus Roadeo in Lynchburg and will now test his skills at an international competition later this spring.
Mr. Elatrebi captured first place in the 40-foot bus category on March 18 by successfully maneuvering his vehicle through a timed obstacle course while also demonstrating driving skills such as backing up into 90-degree turns and pulling the bus up within 6 inches of the curb. He and 13 other Virginia bus operators who competed in the 40-foot category also were graded on a written test, uniform, and a pre-trip bus inspection during which they identified simulated problems with the vehicle.
This was the fourth time Mr. Elatrebi has competed at the statewide roadeo; previously his best finish there was 4th place in 2016. His driving skills are well-known at OmniRide, where he has placed first in the OmniRide bus roadeo for five consecutive years. With this year’s state roadeo win, he advances to the International Bus Roadeo which will be held in May in Tampa, Florida.
“I’ve been trying to do this since the first time I went to the state roadeo,” said Mr. Elatrebi, a Woodbridge resident who has operated OmniRide buses since December 2006. “Now I want to keep it going and win first place until I retire.”
Forty-one bus operators from throughout Virginia competed at this year’s roadeo, which was hosted by the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company. Along with Mr. Elatrebi, three other OmniRide operators competed: Eugene James, Frank Cardona and Dexter Smith. All the OmniRide competitors work for First Transit Inc., which is the contract operator of OmniRide’s bus services.
“We’re proud that Mohamed is part of the OmniRide team and wish him all the best at the international competition,” said OmniRide Executive Director Bob Schneider.
Seeing Mr. Elatrebi win was special for Monique Wyche, First Transit’s Operations Supervisor at OmniRide, who also serves this year as president of the Virginia State Roadeo Committee.
“I have seen Mohamed set the bar for himself over the past years to place at the state level, and he did it this year!” Wyche said. “As a member of the state committee it’s always a good feeling to have one of your own win. I look forward to Mohamed traveling to Tampa to compete at the International Roadeo, and hopefully we can have a repeat victory!”
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, operating as OmniRide, provides commuter and local bus services as well as ridesharing services in Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. It also co-sponsors the Virginia Railway Express in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.