AWG Bus #23 driver Robert Fowler preparing for participants to arrive.
Photo By Star McGlasson
Saturday morning at approximately 8:10 a.m. with temperatures reported at 13 degrees, official Arctic Winter Game bus drivers in orange-transportation attire circled while waiting for the first Boeing 747 to arrive at the Kenai Airport.
Volunteered and on-the-clock, Laidlaw Transit bus drivers prepared for their first run of participants due to arrive at any moment.
“Ninety-nine percent of our training has been safety,” said Robert Fowler, Laidlaw bus driver, current Kenai resident and now official AWG bus #23 driver. His credentials include a Commercial Drivers License, a forty-hour training course, standard AWG volunteer FBI background check, and a successfully passed Department of Transportation physical, said Fowler, who said he is expecting to drive six to seven hours each day of the games. Additional bus attendants ride along with drivers so “we don’t drive concentrating on a piece of paper and keep our eyes on the road,” he said.
There are three different types of busing transport, said Shawn Maltby, AWG care and comfort manager. Large haul busing provided by Grey Line of Alaska, goes to and from Alyeska, Homer and Seward. Dedicated transport and route transport is provided by Laidlaw Transit, said Maltby.
Dedicated transport is strictly for athletes and coaches coming and going from their sleeping venues to sporting events while route transport makes clockwise and counter clockwise loops through Kenai and Soldotna so athletes can catch a bus every 30 minutes to get to their venue.
One of the challenges at the Games in Buffalo, Alberta was participant transportation, said Maltby. When you are coordinating travel to each sporting event for participants from nine different countries it can get complicated, he said.
“We want the transportation right,” added Maltby, “I know we’re prepared”.
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