If it existed, what would the ideal bus driver look like? Welcoming and courteous, he gives you information on your itinerary with a smile. It has a smooth, smooth ride. With its articulated vehicle 12 meters long, it can also pass without problem in narrow streets or make complicated maneuvers.
At the Tice (Transports Intercommunaux Center Essonne), one of the 370 drivers corresponds more particularly to this composite portrait. Driss Kadi, 35, has just won second place in the Bus d’Or, just behind a RATP counterpart.
“The best news of my career”
Created in 1998 by the Union of Public and Rail Transport (UTP), this national competition puts in competition, every two years, drivers of urban public transport networks throughout the territory. Usually, European professionals also compete. Covid obliges, they could not make the trip this year.
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At the beginning of last week, around thirty drivers took part in the various tests – multiple choice questionnaire, slaloms, etc. – organized in Saint-Denis (93) on the RATP training site. La Tice presented a candidate for the third time.
“But this is the first time that we are on the podium”, rejoices Emile Kocas, the training manager. A real pride for this professional. “I’ve been in the business for 26 years,” recalls the one who started out as a driver. And that’s the best news of my career. As a trainer, when your foal wins, that’s something! “Because Emile Kocas has endeavored to prepare his” foal “as well as possible, by organizing courses and other exercises for him at the Bondoufle bus depot.
“Here too, we have good drivers”
Last February, it was first necessary to select the future candidate of the Tice. The fifty or so volunteer candidates competed in particular on a brand new driving simulator. On their route, the pilots had to face various obstacles and react as quickly as possible. “This makes it possible to create a small challenge internally”, abounds Emile Kocas.
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Arrived first, Driss Kadi wins his ticket for the national competition. “Once there, I really felt the responsibility of representing my company, assures this inhabitant of Saint-Michel-sur-Orge, who joined the Tice in 2009. I wanted to show that here too we had good drivers. “
At the end of the first two days of theoretical and practical tests, the thirty-something, from Grigny, is placed among the first ten and advances to the final. “At that time, my phone kept ringing, remembers this father, shaved head, tie and impeccable uniform. I had encouragement from colleagues, family… ”
Driving flexibility and mystery shoppers
On the last day, three events must decide between the ten drivers still in the running. Among them, a U-turn in a very narrow place or a “precision stop”. “You have to launch the vehicle at over 30 km / h and stop right at a target placed at the end of a straight line,” explains Driss Kadi.
It all ended with an assessment in real conditions at the wheel of line 94, which connects Montparnasse station to Madeleine in Paris. “The route was magnificent, marvels the driver from Essonne. We go through Concorde, in front of the National Assembly, etc. We drive but we look at the landscape at the same time. “
But beware, there is no question of being distracted by the Parisian monuments. Challengers are judged on the flexibility of their driving thanks to a sensor that records the number of brakes or accelerators, etc. They are also tested on their behavior with users thanks to a few mystery shoppers.
“It was my dream! “
These challenges only strengthened Driss Kadi’s determination. “In two years, I’m aiming for first place,” he anticipates already, stars in his eyes. First or second, at home and at work, the driver came back as a hero after these three days of competition.
“The day after my final, I had to work but I was relieved of my service so that I could tell all this to my colleagues,” he recalls. And at home, his three children were able to admire his beautiful trophy. “They love buses too,” he smiles.
Kid, too, loved them. “It has always been my dream to do this job,” says the man who did a few years of acting, before joining the Tice at 24 years old. The size of these vehicles has always fascinated me and I also like the interpersonal skills. ”Enough to become a driver… in gold!