If you've ever seen a bus driver make an impossible turn or maneuver, it was probably someone like Federico Justiniano. He is a driver for Centro who will be representing New York in this weekend's International Bus Roadeo in California. Our Kat De Maria took a ride with Justiniano and shares his story.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- People who ride the Centro bus in Liverpool and also East Syracuse are lucky to do so with one of the best drivers in New York State.
Federico Justiniano drove trucks in his native Puerto Rico and switched to buses when he moved with his family to Syracuse. He's been driving for Centro for nearly ten years, now on the early morning shift.
"It's better. It's kind of quiet. A lot of people go to work. I like to take people to work," Justiniano said.
His pride and passion for driving obvious, Justiniano decided to test his skills a few years ago by participating in a Bus Roadeo competition.
"I heard about it in the driver's room and that stuff. And I said, let me try, one time," Justiniano said.
Justiniano didn't do well that time. But he has competed every year since and earned enough points in this spring's Centro Roadeo to go on to and take second place in the state competition.
At the bus championships, Justiniano and the other competitors will have to maneuver big vehicles through a variety of obstacles, including one where they drive over a row of tennis balls without them touching either of the two back tires.
"It's a time to go compete and if he does well enough, put us on the map," said Centro Communications Coordinator Casey Brown.
For Justiniano, the maps he's concerned about are the ones to his routes in Liverpool and East Syracuse. But he's proud to be representing Centro and New York to the rest of the country.
"I'm going to do my best to bring the number one to Syracuse," Justiniano said.
The International Bus Roadeo Competition takes place on Sunday.