VIA Metropolitan Transit’s Jesse Rodriguez is the nation’s top paratransit operator, having secured the title at the Community Transportation Association of America’s National Community Transportation Roadeo, held this month in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Rodriguez, a paratransit operator with 22 years of service who has competed in seven CTAA national roadeos, was also named Driver of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of America.

“Jesse’s steeped in experience and has unwavering commitment to his passengers, the agency and our community,” said Tremell Brown, VIA’s deputy CEO. “Bringing home a national championship and the Driver of the Year award speaks volumes to Jesse’s dedication to his craft, and to our agency as a whole.”

Additionally, VIA Paratransit Operator Moises Garcia placed sixth in the Roadeo. He has been with VIA for 32 years and has competed in three CTAA National Roadeos and represents the height of professionalism and tenacity.

VIA’s paratransit service, “VIAtrans,” is a transportation service option for customers who cannot utilize regular bus service because of a disability. It is a shared-ride, curb-to-curb service that offers independence through mobility and expands access to opportunity via transit. VIAtrans uses vans that operate in the same areas and times as VIA bus service. VIAtrans trips are available for any purpose.

The National Community Transportation Roadeo is the only national venue to honor and celebrate the value of rural and community transit operators, the backbone of the Community Transportation industry. This exciting event draws operators from around the country to compete for top scores on a course that tests skills on every level of the drivers’ abilities, with a primary focus on safe operations and passenger sensitivity.

PHOTO ABOVE: VIA Paratransit operators Jesse Rodriguez (l.) and Moises Garcia excelled at the national competition in West Palm Beach.