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3 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This Guidebook is designed to give users a great deal of contacts and exchange information on a variety of techni- flexibility in applying the material contained in it to develop cal subjects. This lack of communication opportunity maintenance practices. Because of this flexibility, it is highly comes at a time when bus technology is becoming increas- recommended that you become familiar with the table of ingly complex, workers are required to do more with less, contents and pay particular attention to the sections below and employee turnover is more prevalent. Budget cuts have on "Guidebook Structure and Contents" and "Using this also forced some agencies to abandon apprenticeship Guidebook." The sections summarize the various approaches programs that pass down valuable knowledge from senior that can be taken to apply the Guidebook. mechanics to new hires. Fortunately, there exists a great deal of collective knowl- OVERVIEW edge within the transit community. This Guidebook project taps into that knowledge to: Simply stated, maintenance practices are written instruc- tions for carrying out specific job tasks such as preventive 1. Get agencies to understand the benefits and importance maintenance inspections (PMIs) and other bus- and facility- of using maintenance practices; related repairs. Agencies use a variety of terms to describe 2. Provide agencies with the guidance needed to write these instructions, such as process sheets, recommended practices based on their own needs, abilities, climate, practices (RPs), standard operating procedures (SOPs), work and shop conditions; standards, and others. This Guidebook, however, will refer to 3. Make the guidance easy to understand and apply; and these instructions as "practices." 4. Build a library of practices that agencies can share with Practices provide maintenance personnel with a clear indi- their peers. cation of what the agency is looking for in terms of a finished work product. Without these instructions, workers can approach jobs in a manner that may not be efficient, com- GUIDEBOOK STRUCTURE prehensive, safe, or in keeping with the agency's expecta- AND CONTENTS tions for overall work quality. Understanding that agencies have dissimilar resources and needs, this Guidebook is The first three Guidebook chapters contain essential designed to offer flexibility in selecting an approach that information needed before setting out to develop an actual works best for each maintenance operation. practice. They include instructions on collecting, evaluating, The Guidebook is intended to assist agencies of all sizes, and synthesizing reference material from a variety of including those operating smaller buses in rural areas. In con- sources; tailoring practices to your own local conditions; ducting research for this project, input was solicited from a integrating practices with training; addressing regulatory variety of groups, including the Bus Equipment and Mainte- compliance issues; improving writing skills; and inserting nance Committee (BEMC) of APTA, the TRB Committee on photographs. Preparing yourself with this material in Transit Fleet Maintenance, as well as maintenance represen- advance will make the finished practice more useful and tatives from the Community Transportation Association of effective. America (CTAA), which represents the interests of small and Chapter 4 is the heart of the Guidebook because it offers a rural agencies. Several of the sample maintenance practices format and step-by-step instructions for writing practices and included in Chapter 6 pertain to the smaller buses typically ends with suggestions for validating and updating practices. operated by CTAA member agencies. Chapter 5 describes how to give your practices a uniform title when sharing them with others over the Internet. Although BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE manual distribution methods were explored for sharing prac- tices, the resources required were far too great. The solution Agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to send chosen was an Internet-based Web Board established as a maintenance personnel to meetings where they can make companion to this Guidebook. In addition to housing a