Safety Corner

Covering diverse aspects of safety, including training, programs and products.

How to know when your driver trainees are ready to roll

There should come a time during each new student’s training bus instruction, when instructor-led skill development turns to student demonstration and “Show Time” begins. It is during this time the student must perform for the instructor. I call this a “Show Me” day.

Keeping your drivers on the bus from ‘hire to retire’

All too often what was taught during the initial training period can get diluted by what other operators may be saying or doing. Well-meaning veterans sometimes offer advice in an effort to “help” new operators that might be inconsistent with what was just taught to them on the training bus. Would you even recognize your past students by their driving performance? Do they resemble the student that you personally qualified into passenger service?

Training bus documentation...Focus on the facts

Going hand in hand with a standardized curriculum should be a standardized way of documenting student performance. When putting pen to paper, be sure an instructor’s documentation can be clearly understood by others who may need to refer back to it at a future date. Proper documentation is critical in the case of a student operator who may attempt to dispute a dismissal and may want to protest and pursue some type of legal options to challenge an instructor’s final evaluation.

Driver training: Avoid confusion between basic skills and route instruction

The "Training Bus Instructor" (TBI) spends hours diligently working with a new hire candidate to provide basic skills training. Through this process, the required skills and knowledge successfully transfers to the student operator and they are released to a "Route Familiarization Operator" (RFO) that will help them learn the routes.

New tech puts mobile surveillance in the fast lane

APTA pegs annual bus ridership in the U.S. and Canada at around 5.4 billion. It goes without saying that transit agencies strive to keep passengers safe and secure, but with large fleets to manage and millions of annual riders things can and do go wrong. That’s why onboard video surveillance is so essential.

Operator training: Mastering right turns

Among the most difficult tasks for a new student bus operator to perform on the training bus is a “right turn into a bus stop.” On a scale of one to five, with five being most difficult, I rank it a five. Right turns, in general, rank at the top of the list, but having to successfully enter a bus stop “immediately” after a right turn comes as a result of several instructional steps — demonstrated properly by the trainer.

Bus simulation, ensuring its proper place in a training curriculum

This topic builds on conversations I had with a variety of training professionals throughout 2013, so I hope this information helps those who were interested to know how to implement a simulator into an existing curriculum.

How safety programs can help transit meet budget challenges

Agencies striving to meet service demands and overcome budgetary pressures are continuing to make safety of operators and riders a priority, however, it’s not always something that can be given a huge investment. What we’ve seen, though, is that investing in safety can actually work to the benefit of agencies in terms of efficiency increases and cost reductions.

5 Easy Tips to Make Public Transit Safer and Greener

Transit agencies are tasked with providing safe travels for riders and operators, while keeping operational and fuel costs down. We’ve found through our public transit research that safe driving and efficient driving go hand-in-hand; when you do one, you’re doing the other. As a result of this research, we’ve come up with some easy-to-follow tips that agencies can teach their operators to keep everyone safe and improve MPG by up to 19% — saving up to $3,400 per vehicle per year.

'Rock & Roll' for bus operators

Transit has its own version of Rock & Roll. I once read someone’s comment that, in the case of a bus operator, ‘Rocking & Rolling’ in the seat should not occur if their mirrors are set properly. I strongly disagree with that statement and regrettably say a statement like that will precede an increase in pedestrian knockdowns, especially when turning left and departing bus stops.

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Author Bio

Louie Maiello

Louie Maeillo is a Sr. Consultant (Transit Training & Simulation), L-3 / DPA Independent Consultant, Bus Talk Surface Transit Solutions


Jason Palmer

President, SmartDrive Systems

Palmer is the president of SmartDrive Systems, a leader in providing comprehensive, video-based operator performance and safety programs to help transit agencies achieve operational safety and efficiency, protect operators and the public, and lower costs overall.


Barak Israel

product manager

Barak Israel is product marketing manager for the security domain for NICE Systems Inc.


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