The Florida Transit Safety and Operations Network (FTSON) meeting was held on virtually October 7, 2020 as part of the Virtual FPTA Annual Conference. The meeting was called to order by Paul Goyette (CUTR), who welcomed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) representative Ashley Porter. Individual introductions of FTSON members and guests continued. Paul Goyette provided facility information and an emergency/safety briefing to the visitors.
Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was opened encouraging everyone to participate and be interactive. At the beginning of the year, FTSON adopted a charter that formally defined the mission of the network. This charter is being used to improve transit safety and operations throughout the state. Part of this charter included an election of a Chair and Vice Chair. The network elected: Jafari Bowden, LYXN as Chair and Jim Egbert, MCAT as Vice Chair. All agencies will be represented through network leadership. Both Jafari and Jim thanked everyone for their support in electing them Chair and Vice Chair.
Special thanks to Liz, Bobby, Erin, Ashely, and Tony for their continued support and dedication.
FDOT Staff Updates:
Ashley discussed how the project planning process will work and priorities will be will based on agency identified needs. Efforts will include review and inclusion of TSI programs, the “Recommended Minimum Fixed Route Bus Operator Training Guidelines” for both fixed route, paratransit and other resources.
DRAFT Rule Chapter 14-90, FAC (deferred until next legislative cycle)
FTSON Action Items
COVID-19 Update/Resource Guide
FDOT and CUTR developed and continuously updates a resource guide of mitigations and tools to inhibit the spread of the virus on public transit. https://ftson.org/covid-19-fl-bus-transit-systems/. Robust document developed in conjunction with FDOT. Some agencies have been showcased as best practices.
Human Trafficking Awareness/Training
Mental Health Awareness/Training
Stephanie Lewis, CUTR mentioned the FTSON and RTAP co-sponsored mental health awareness training that was conducted by USF’s Florida Mental Health Institute in College of Public Health. This program was developed utilizing areas of concern identified at the FPTA/FDOT/CUTR Professional Development Workshop. The session included a standardized toolbox for agency use, groups to aide in guiding practices, and roll playing. Agencies need to identify key staff members who will participate and that will be working with operators, such as dispatchers/supervisors. Jim Egbert mentioned MCAT has teamed up with local specialists to provide similar training, working specifically with the homeless on an individual basis, providing them assistance in finding long term solutions.
Emergency Management Training (partnering with RTAP)
Working with each of the seven FDOT Districts a 30-minute training session will be provided to all of Florida transit agencies but geared towards smaller agencies that may not have encountered large events. Topics covered during this training include: the importance of working with local EOCs, NIMS system, communication, training, documentation, and processes. It was requested agencies provide their Emergency Management Plans to Paul for review and where necessary, for the development and/or revision assistance.
Agency Report Out/Updates
FTSON Action Items
In March 2020, a FTSON Topics for Discussion and Prioritization survey was released and responses were evaluated with statewide standardized bus operator training being the number one issue. In May 2014, FDOT approved Minimum Fixed Route Bus Operator Training Guidelines developed by the Florida Operations Network and the Florida Transit Safety Network. These guidelines identify training categories, outlining topics, hours, and percentages per topic. The process to develop these guidelines included multiple working group sessions. Review of the current program is recommended to determine if adjustments are needed. Training curriculum for Florida Small and Rural Transit Agency Bus Operator Training Program agencies was released in 2018 and is based on the same categories, topics, hours, and percentages as larger agencies. Regardless of the hours of training or number of participants, the percentages should remain as noted. This program was developed based on resources available from National RTAP, FDOT approved training, and includes drug and alcohol resources provided by Diana Byrnes.
Future goals are to have a standardized, statewide training and testing program, including an online database for agency’s use when operators are applying from other in-state agencies, inclusive of a pre- and post- test exam, a recertification process, coupled with regional training opportunities. PSTA is proud of their training program, which includes a detailed new operator training, noting that it has evolved over the past ten years, working towards the use of DMV programs.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30am