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IP Costa in Toronto, ON, for BEB Training, Firsthand Look at Bus of the Future

Battery Electric Buses are here, and our members are on the frontlines learning the technology. International President John Costa was on the ground in Toronto, ON, to tour and learn about the ATU and Centennial College’s innovative battery electric bus (BEB) training to see this work in action as well as get a firsthand look at the “Bus of the Future” that will transform how people travel and serve as a catalyst for social change. Costa was joined by ATU Canada President John Di Nino, ATU International Vice Presidents Jim Lindsay, Curtis Howard, Ray Greaves, and Art Aguilar, all of them coming out of maintenance, ATU Local 113-Toronto, ON, leadership, as well as ATU staff.


Challenges and Opportunities

Throughout the day, the group learned about the training and the challenges and opportunities of battery electric buses, most importantly safety, and the democratization of innovation by involving workers and their expertise at the ground floor of these programs.

Presenters included Janna Erichsen, Chairperson of Part-time Learning at the School of Transportation, Glenville Singh, Professor of Truck/Coach at the school, Wenzi Ckurshumova, PhD, Associate Director of Research at the school, and Andrew Falotico, ATU’s Director of Health and Safety.


Bus of the Future

Next, the group took a tour of Centennial College’s School of Transportation, including the engine diesel lab, the welding lab, and the hydraulic lab, as well as visiting our Local 113 automotive technician apprentice members in class. “It’s my honor to welcome you to the ATU,” Costa to our new members. “You’re now a member of the greatest transportation Union in North America. We’re a family.”

The group also saw the Bus of the Future work being done at the college. For our members, the innovative design of the bus intends to improve operator security, vision from blind spots, ergonomics, and biohazard protection.

On day two at Centennial College, Costa and the International Vice Presidents from maintenance continued discussing critical issues affecting our members, like blind spots that can be solved by the bus of the future design. They also held a lengthy discussion about the logistics of the collaborative program, including the curriculum and what our members need to maintain battery electric buses safely by comparing programs in the United States and Canada.

Costa and the IVPs’ experience as maintenance workers was invaluable to the discussion around empowering our members through training. This partnership of collaboration gives us the opportunity to now protect the interest of our membership based on innovation, design, and study.