Wednesday, March 17, 2021

CAMBUS is recognizing driver Charlie Franks and student mechanic Nick Madden for their impressive commitment to ensuring buses are disinfected and cleaned. For many years, cleaning the buses and performing light maintenance each night has been an important part of CAMBUS operations. CAMBUS employees have established an informal recognition program for those who complete their 100th clean-up shift and to acknowledge the importance of those shifts. Franks and Madden recently achieved impressive milestones in the number of their clean-up shifts – a combined 500 clean-up shifts during their careers at CAMBUS.

Appreciating clean-up shifts

Franks has worked over 200 clean-up shifts since starting at CAMBUS in September 2017 and is majoring in Spanish and Human Relations. “I immediately knew I loved cleanup as soon as my first clean-up shift, which was actually with Madden,” says Franks. “My favorite part about cleanup is the crew and the mechanics. It’s also a major bonus that clean-up is a change from driving.”


Let image: person wiping drivers area with towel and disinfectant. right image:

Left image: Franks working the driver’s area duty at clean-up.  Right: Franks being celebrated for completing 200 clean-up shift. 

Madden has worked over 300 clean-up shifts since starting at CAMBUS in April 2017 and is majoring in Informatics and Economics. “What I enjoy most about working clean-up shifts is interacting with my fellow coworkers,” says Madden. “Although the jobs are the same and the objective is the same for clean-up, there’s new conversations to be had, problem solving with sudden issues to be resolved, and a hacky sack to be kicked.”


Left image: person poses with large cookie to celebrating 300 clean-up shifts. right image: persons discussing work while standing near buses back end.

Left image*: Madden, left front, pictured with the CAMBUS full-time technicians in Fall 2019.  Right: Madden being celebrated for completing 300 clean-up shifts

*Please note: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. CAMBUS staff follow our most current guidance to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. 

Cleaning the fleet

If you’ve wondered why you’ve had to move to another bus in the evening, it is likely because it needs to be cleaned. Thoroughly cleaning the entire fleet each night – including those operating on route in the evening – requires coordination.

To make sure clean-up shifts are staffed, each driver is required to complete 20 clean-up shifts in their first year of service. After the first year, employees can elect to continue scheduling clean-up shifts.

During the pandemic, the cleaning process has been more important than ever and has transformed to include a disinfecting spray and a UV light treatment. Many employees have gone above and beyond when it comes to maintaining the fleet during this time. Operating clean buses during the pandemic would not be possible without the behind-the-scenes efforts at clean-up shifts.

A night in the life of a clean-up shift

Clean-up shifts take place Monday-Friday every week.  The shift is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and is accomplished by a team of two student mechanics and seven drivers. Although, the first student mechanic and clean-up 1 shift (CU 1) start a little before 5:30 p.m. During clean-up, the team of student employees perform light maintenance, cleaning, disinfecting, and fueling of each bus.

Franks shared their typical clean-up shift experience:

“I only work CU 1 shift these days, so my typical cleanup starts by arriving a bit before 5:15. I start taking out the trash and placing oil dry. Once I’m done with my CU 1 duties, I try to get everything prepared for clean-up to start… After that we usually complete some miscellaneous task like sweeping the barn or cleaning the drains.

“Clean-up jobs are usually picked by random. On lucky days, I get driver’s area where my job is to disinfect the driver’s area and take out the trash. I like this job best because it feels like I’m doing my part to keep my coworker’s safe. I especially work harder now with COVID-19 and take my time to thoroughly disinfect the barriers as well as the steering wheel, radio, and all touch points like the door and kneel controls.

“At the end of the night, we squeegee the water from bus wash on the floor into the drains before parking the buses. The absolute best part of clean-up is the time we have left at the end [if clean-up is finished early] where I get to spend time with the crew [socially distanced]. It always makes the often-hard work of clean-up worth it.”

CAMBUS as a workplace

CAMBUS is more than a job to the students that work with CAMBUS. “I know it’s what everyone says, but CAMBUS truly has an amazing team of people that I’m grateful to work with… I enjoy the wide variety of perspectives and experiences that my coworkers bring with them,” says Franks.

“The personalities of CAMBUS come in a wide range The culture is easygoing, passionate, comical, and driven,” says Madden. “CAMBUS consists of individuals of all backgrounds coming together to get a bus moving.”

The campus community owes a gratitude to Madden, Franks, and the entire CAMBUS team for their extraordinary service during the pandemic. “You get to know so many awesome and hard-working people,” says Franks. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in my time here and I couldn’t be happier with CAMBUS as a college job.”

To learn more about CAMBUS clean-up shifts, click here.