Topping a field of more than 30 bus operators, including her husband, Leslie Hawkins showed nerves of steel and a deft touch behind the wheel to become the first woman to win the bus operator competition at the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration’s (MDOT MTA) annual Bus and Maintenance Roadeo.
Hawkins’ groundbreaking performance came during the finale of the roadeo, which showcases the skill of MDOT MTA bus operators and maintenance teams as they compete against each other and the clock.
The bus operators are judged on their adherence to uniform standards, ability to identify defects on their coaches and driving skills. For the driving portion of the competition, operators must navigate a complex obstacle course. The competition was held on Saturday, September 23, at the Reisterstown Road Plaza Metro SubwayLink Station parking lot.
Last year, Hawkins finished fourth in the competition, just behind her husband, MDOT MTA bus operator Michael Hawkins, who finished third this year. She joked that her first-place win allows her to give back some of the good-natured ribbing she took for an entire year.
“I am proud to be the first female winner of MDOT MTA’s roadeo and look forward to representing Maryland in the national competition,” said Hawkins. “Plus, I get to remind my husband every day for the next year, which is all in good fun.”
Both bus operators work out of MDOT MTA’s Northwest Bus Division.
“We at MDOT MTA are proud of Leslie for her first-place achievement at this year’s bus roadeo,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn. “She made history and hopefully, her drive and determination will encourage more female bus operators to come out and compete.”
Ms. Hawkins will represent Maryland at the American Public Transit Association (APTA) International Bus Roadeo in Tampa in May of 2018.
“I honestly would have thought a woman had won this already, but I am proud to be the first,” Hawkins added. MDOT MTA has held its annual Bus & Maintenance competition since 1980.
MDOT MTA is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MDOT MTA operates LocalLink and commuter buses, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Train service and a comprehensive Mobility (paratransit) system. MDOT MTA also manages the Call-a-Ride system and directs funding and statewide assistance to Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS) in each of Maryland’s 23 counties, Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City. MDOT is a customer-driven leader that delivers safe, sustainable, intelligent and exceptional transportation solutions in order to connect our customers to life’s opportunities. MDOT MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. To learn more, visit mdot.maryland.gov or mta.maryland.gov, check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland.
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