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AC Transit wins national honors for safety

National group cites service as '"industry-leading, innovative'

AC Transit, which serves passengers at the two Pleasanton BART stations, has been honored as exemplary by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

AC Transit was cited for "industry-leading, innovative...(and) exceptional achievement" in dramatically improving passenger safety and reducing operator mishaps.

APTA's Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards program recognizes bus and paratransit systems that have implemented programs and achieved documented success in addressing specific safety or security issues.

"From a safety standpoint, we have accomplished a great deal and we are thrilled that APTA is recognizing our efforts," said AC Transit's Chief Operations Officer Jim Pachan. "Safety is our number one priority and we are working very hard work to ensure it."

Over the past three years, AC Transit's vehicle collision rate dropped by 25% -- from 5.25 to 3. 94 per 100,000 miles of bus travel.

For starters, AC Transit formed an Accident Reduction Committee (ARC) to create a multifaceted approach with better training, awareness programs for employee and passengers, and emphasizing strict adherence to rules and regulations. The committee fostered:

- Monthly displays of a series of safety posters for transportation and maintenance employees.

- LED safety signs and huge, glowing reminders installed at the exit gates at each bus yard.

- Daily rule reinforcement as operators begin their shifts.

- Safety themed text messages via the bus radio system, offering safety information and reminders based upon hot topics identified by the ARC.

- On-board Passenger Awareness and Safety Communications, including rider safety information on overhead cards, audio announcements and posting of passenger safety tips.

- Safety posters at each bus yard.

- Operator training videos in break rooms.

- Safe driver awards and one-on-one driver re-training.

Clarence Johnson, AC Transit's media affairs manager, said that AC Transit also reviews and incorporates the best practices of other transit agencies to improve overall safety.

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