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10/4/2006

“Driver of the Year” a five-time winner of this grueling 6-hour Atlantic City “Bus Roadeo” competition

Anthony Griffith (left), Driver of the Year and Scott Wolf (right), Mechanic of the Year
ATLANTIC CITY – A bus driver who has transported thousands of tourists from northern New Jersey and New York to Atlantic City every year won “Driver of the Year” honors at the 16th annual “Bus Roadeo” bus operator competition sponsored by the South Jersey Transportation Authority and held at the Atlantic City Transportation Center here on October 4.

Driver Anthony Griffith, of Glen Oaks, N.Y., who drives for Traveling in Style, won the competition for the fourth time in five years and for the fifth time overall. Griffith also won the competition in 1994.

Griffith and 31 other bus drivers representing 16 motor coach companies were tested on their appearance, a personal interview and a tricky obstacle course that tested their ability to negotiate tight spaces, stop within three inches of a parking cone and thread the back tires of a bus between a two-foot space marked by tennis balls.

This year’s second and third place finishers were Peter Frangomihalos, who lives in Astoria Queens, N.Y. and drives for Peter Pan Bus Line, and Hani Hanna, who lives in Staten Island, NY, and drives for Atlantic Express.

The annual competition also featured a competition for bus mechanics. This year, North Cape May mechanic Scott Wolf of Lion Tours took Mechanic of the Year honors, his second time in the top spot in three years. The second place finisher was Egg Harbor Township resident Greg Wilson of Greyhound and the third place finisher was Egg Harbor Township resident Michael Levin, also of Greyhound.

The competition is sponsored by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which owns and operates the Atlantic City Expressway, the Atlantic City International Airport and regulates Atlantic City-bound tour buses. Co-sponsors include: the Atlantic City Transportation Center, the Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association, the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, and the Atlantic City casino and hotel industry and many other businesses in the area.

The SJTA Bus Roadeo offers the nation’s largest prize pool. The first, second and third place winners in the driver and mechanic categories receive $1,000, $750, and $500 respectively. The participants receive overnight hotel stays and meals as prizes as well.

“This event is the largest of its kind in the entire country and recognizes the skills and professionalism of the men and women who bring millions of passengers to Atlantic City safely,” said Wade Lawson, director of SJTA’s Tourist Services Department.

Participants are judged on standards established by the American Bus Association. Representatives from SJTA, the Atlantic City Transportation Center, the Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association, the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, the Atlantic City casinos and hotels, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, NJ State Police, New Jersey Department of Transportation, and other safety officials serve as event judges.

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