By 10 p.m., most of C-TRAN's buses have returned to the yard for the night. Most of our administrative staff and drivers have gone home.
The Maintenance graveyard shift? They're just getting started.
"During the day, most of our buses are on route, and it kind of limits our access," says John Orsetti, C-TRAN's maintenance training supervisor. "At night, we can do a little bit of anything and everything from major repairs, minor repairs, preventative maintenance, campaigns. We have the full fleet at our disposal."
The C-TRAN Maintenance department is a 24/7 operation, humming around the clock. But it's the overnight graveyard shift that has its hands on the most vehicles. The night crew includes a supervisor, lead mechanic, five mechanics, an apprentice technician, an inspection mechanic trainee, an inventory technician, seven vehicle service workers and three janitor/hostlers.
The group does about six to 12 repairs on an average night in the shop, Orsetti says. That may include anything from a burned-out headlight to a complete engine overhaul. Out on the "fuel island," on the east end of the bus yard, vehicle service workers can take care of 100 vehicles in a single night, Orsetti says. Each bus gets fueled, cleaned, checked, sent through the bus wash and parked, ready for the next day.
It's a busy shift - to say nothing of the schedule. Working graveyard hours anywhere can be a difficult adjustment for some people, particularly if they're not used to it or haven't done it before. Orsetti says many of the workers on C-TRAN's graveyard crew get only a nap on the day before they start their work week, coming off a weekend. On their Friday, they may get off work in the morning and then stay up the rest of the day to spend time with family.
"Their weekends are very valuable to them and their family, because they don't get to see their family a lot," Orsetti says.
It's a bit easier to make yourself sleep during the day when it's gray and gloomy in the winter months, Orsetti says. Summer can be more difficult, he says, with longer daylight hours and sunshine beckoning.
The Maintenance team is one of several groups at this agency crucial to keeping Clark County moving every day. And Maintenance, particularly graveyard, works very much behind the scenes to do its part.
"After you drop your bus off in the evening after your commute, there's a lot that happens—that has to happen—on these buses," Orsetti says. "All of our shifts are very active, and all of our shifts are very, very productive. It's just graveyard has the most buses available to them."