One of the hardest things to memorize is the air brake sequence for the MTA Metro Bus Operator Trainee class. The sequence is as follows:

  1. Air Governor Cut Out Test
  2. Air Governor Cut In Test
  3. Air Pressure Build Test
  4. Air Pressure Leak Test
  5. Low Pressure Warning System Test
  6. Emergency Brake Test
  7. Rear Door Interlock Test
  8. Parking Brake Test
  9. Service Brake Test

Memorize the following words and then follow my analogy down below:

Out - In - Build - Leak - Warning - Emergency - Interlock - Park - Service

The following analogy might be strange or TMI, but follow along if you want an easy way to memorize the most important and difficult test you will face inside the walls of OCI. I can’t stress this enough. The air brake test is the most important test and failure of this test is a guaranteed way to be out of a job. You need to memorize this test and perform it without fail.

Here is how I want you to memorize the air brake section:

I woke up today and I (OUT) the liquid in my bladder and then went and grabbed a nice tall glass of water and (IN) water while waiting for class to start. My bladder started to (BUILD) urine, but we were already riding around on the MTA bus and I had to take a (LEAK) super bad. Initially, I had a (WARNING) that I had to go pee, but I was too embarrassed to tell the instructor so I continued driving. Eventually, I had to go so bad that it became an (EMERGENCY) and I had to start doing the pee-pee dance in the driver’s seat and would (INTERLOCK) my legs at red lights. Lunchtime finally came, so I put the bus in (PARK) and ran into a gasoline (SERVICE) station to relieve the excess liquid in my bladder. I came back out feeling like a champ and had the air brake sequence memorized on point.

Anyone reading this page facing the intimidating challenge of memorizing the air brake sequence can relate to the example up above. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female since we have all had the above happen to us on several occasions. The instruction book will have some extremely long acronym for you to memorize which I honestly didn’t even pay attention too since it was so extremely difficult to follow. I used the above story and memorized the air brake sequence on my 3rd official day of training because it was a sequence I’ve unfortunately experienced as a human being and as a parent of a young child. If you have children, how many times have you had to make an emergency stop because your lil boy or girl did the exact same sequence up above and decided not to go potty before hitting the road?

Memorize the following numbers in this sequence:

  1. 90 psi - 130 psi
  2. 85 psi
  3. 85 psi - 100 psi
  4. 130 psi - 3 psi
  5. 55 psi - 75 psi
  6. 20 psi - 65 psi
  7. 130 psi
  8. N/A
  9. N/A

Once you have the above story memorized and can properly identify what step each one belongs too then blend the psi figuresshown above with the key words. For example:

  1. out - 90 psi - 130 psi
  2. in - 85 psi
  3. build - 85 psi - 100 psi
  4. leak - 130 psi - 3 psi
  5. warning - 55 psi - 75 psi
  6. emergency - 20 psi - 65 psi
  7. interlock - 130 psi
  8. parking - N/A
  9. service - N/A

Once you can identify numbers 1 - 9 with the appropriate psi required for each specific test, then go ahead and start adding the additional complete name of each test.

  1. out - 90 psi - 130 psi - Air Governor Cut Out Test
  2. in - 85 psi - - Air Governor Cut In Test
  3. build - 85 psi - 100 psi - Air Pressure Build Test
  4. leak - 130 psi - 3 psi - Air Pressure Leak Test
  5. warning - 55 psi - 75 psi - Low Pressure Warning System Test
  6. emergency - 20 psi - 65 psi - Emergency Brake Test
  7. interlock - 130 psi - Rear Door Interlock Test
  8. parking - N/A - Parking Brake Test
  9. service - N/A - Service Brake Test

If you use my method of memorizing the required MTA air brake knowledge information I am extremely confident you will have the air brake sequence memorized within your first week inside OCI. I went in with zero experience or knowledge of driving a CDL BP commercial vehicle and was able to complete the entire pre-trip inspection and air brake knowledge test in less than 29:00 minutes earlier today and tomorrow is the test before Monday’s DMV test. The best thing you can do for yourself is memorize the key points above and just start practicing the controls without the book by your third day.

There is a lot of information on the Internet on how to complete a pre-trip inspection and air brake system inspection. I strongly suggest you use those guides with a grain of salt and use the method shown up above. The method above is in the exact same order you will learn the sequence once you’re inside OCI and the official bus operator trainee classroom. Using any other methods will not only confuse you but might confuse the person grading you since they’re also used to doing it the way MTA has laid the test out within their instructors booklets. Also, the information contained within Metro’s books are specific to the bus fleet they have on the lot and will ensure you memorize and hit all the targets Metro expects from you as a bus operator trainee. There are several people in my current classroom with Commercial CDL Class A and B licenses that are having a hard time grasping the sequence and order in which MTA expects you to lay the information out. Do yourself a favor and just forget whatever bad habits or old information you might know from before and come in with a fresh and open mind. You will receive different methods and ways of doing things depending on which instructor you have guiding you through the strees of Los ANgeles, but I promise they all want you to pass.

In full disclosure, I studied Module 2 and the Air-Brake knowledge information the first three days at home, and with the information above I have not looked @ the air brake or pretrip inspection book since then and that was exactly one week ago. I’ll post a guide on how to make the pre-trip bus inspection easier to memorize in a later post and hope this helps someone struggling to memorize the information required to pass Los Angeles Metro’s Bus Operator Trainee Air Brake Knowledge Test.