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Cherriots Intern Rides Every Bus Route

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He checked every stop for safety hazards

UPDATE: Cherriots has won the 2018 Outstanding Special District Program Award for the project described below.

Thanks to college student Logan Dickey, the transit district knows the location of tree branches -- and even zucchini plants --encroaching on Salem bus stops and creating safety hazards.

Cherriots hired Dickey as an intern. Dickey spent the summer riding buses, inspecting bus stops and job-shadowing transit employees to observe and document potential safety issues. Cherriots will follow up on Dickey’s safety recommendations.

The Oregon State University student wants to make a career out of helping organizations create safer and healthier workplaces.

“The biggest thing that came out (of the internship) was the attention to detail required for this field,” Dickey said. The 21-year-old is majoring in kinesiology: the scientific study of human movement.

Dickey’s internship at Cherriots was funded by a grant to the transit district from the Special District Association of Oregon. After providing matching funds, Cherriots invested about $6,000 on the hazard analysis project.

The summer intern collected detailed data, which previously wasn’t available to Cherriots. Dickey rode every bus route in the Cherriots 76 square mile service area. He visited all 720 of the district’s active bus stops.

“We can now go after the most important hazards and address them appropriately from the information he gathered,” said Michiel Majors, safety and loss control specialist for Cherriots.

Tree limbs were the most common hazards Dickey found at bus stops. A branch extending into the road can block the transit operator's view or damage the bus. Broken curbs, another common problem, might cause a person waiting for a bus to lose their footing.

Among the more unusual tripping hazards that the summer intern found at bus stops: an abandoned vacuum cleaner and a 2-foot long zucchini.

During his travels on Cherriots, Dickey kept notes on safety problems he observed and discussed his findings with transit operators.

The OSU student also spent time at the Cherriots maintenance facility. He job shadowed workers and watched for safety problems, such as ergonomic issues, danger from falling objects and dust hazards.

Dickey, who is the son of Steve Dickey, Director of Transportation Development for Cherriots, was selected for the internship after a competitive interview process. The internship paid about $13 an hour and the student received nine hours of college credits.

--Michael Rose

Logan Dickey also gave an interview about his summer at Cherriots on the Willamette Wake Up show on KMUZ radio.

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