Construction is complete on the $1 million-plus Regional Training Facility at TAPS Public Transit’s Sherman, Texas headquarters. The facility will train up to 300 employees each year and provide contract services to other agencies and private companies in Texas and Oklahoma.
TAPS COO Tim Patton said the training center is an integral part of a renewed focus on employee development at the regional transit agency. “Over the past year, TAPS has put an emphasis on initial, and continuing training, to develop a higher skill level for drivers. The side benefit is a much better safety record and overall retention of our best people,” said Patton. A grant from Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) helped make the project, a reality.
Eric Gleason, Director of the Public Transportation Division at TxDOT, said TAPS was chosen to receive a grant for the project based on an application last year. “TAPS applied as a part of a statewide competitive call for projects. They were awarded the grant based on the quality of their application and the commitment to extend use of the simulator to the north Texas region, advancing a significant goal of the department – Safety.”
Patton said that from the beginning, the concept has always been to build a facility that could offer other agencies a chance to train their employees at TAPS Public Transit’s facility. “We have a history of hosting workshops and classes for other agencies,” said Patton, “the availability of the driver training simulator gives other agencies access to an otherwise unaffordable experience.”
TAPS Director of Safety, Security and IT, Josh Walker is the training center’s project manager. “The main feature of the training center will be a state-of-the-art driving simulator manufactured by FAAC, Incorporated,” said Walker.
“Drivers will be able to experience a faithful reproduction of road experiences that will allow them to be better prepared when they are operating in the real world environment,” said Walker, “the look and feel of the simulator is amazingly real.”
FAAC is a world leader in vehicle simulation systems and pioneered in the U.S. the first transit bus simulator with a 315-degree field-of-view with multiple driving scenarios. FAAC has built simulators for other transit agencies including the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York.
In addition to the simulator, the facility also provides three separate training rooms. Each is equipped with multimedia capability and room to accommodate large and small groups.