Throughout my 33 years with New York City Transit, beginning as a bus operator and ending as the director of the safety and training division, dept. of buses, bus stops have been my" bread and butter." Hence, safe and proper bus stop entry/departure and passenger boarding/alighting are top priorities for me.
Let me share with you the "Five Alive Steps" to bus stop safety.
ENTRY AND POSITIONING
Signal right, cover the brake and scan the approaching stop for hazards (unattended children, cell phone or headset wearers, fixed objects etc.). Position the bus straight. Angling leaves the bus rear vulnerable to vehicles attempting to overtake on the left side and it prevents a clear view to the left rear of your bus, while attempting to re-join traffic. (Refer to your agency's Standard Operating Procedure and the Americans with Disability Act for proper kneeling procedures.)
BOARDING AND ALIGHTING
1 - With the front doors open, rear door interlock engaged and service brake applied, keep the left hand on the door handle from the moment the doors are opened until closing. This ensures a prompt reopening of the doors should a passenger attempt to board or alight, thereby preventing them from being struck or wedged.
2 - Before closing the doors, check the interior center mirror (or over the right shoulder) for anyone approaching from the right rear side of bus. Angling the center mirror to a high left/low right position to widen the view along the right side and rear curb area of the bus is a plus. A tilted mirror also displays the rear door area to confirm that it is clear of obstructions.
3 - Check the right flat real-view mirror (non-convex) to expose anyone approaching from directly alongside the right of the bus.
4 - Check the right convex mirror to determine if anyone is approaching, which may not have appeared in steps two and three. This is usually where a shorter person, like a child, may not be visible in the real-view mirror or naked eye of the operator.
Sometimes a child may be sent to tell the operator to wait. The child will proceed down the right side of the bus, barely avoiding contact with the bus and their left shoulder and would only be visible in the right convex mirror, positioned to expose the area near the front tire.
5 - Focus on the front door area before closing the doors. After ensuring that it is "permissible" to close the doors (hazard free), move the door handle to the closed position while watching the doors close. Prepare to reopen them should someone appear and attempt to board. Signal left and under no circumstance move left before looking left.
Follow the 3 S's - Safety, Service and Schedule,
Years ago, I was with Louie Maiello when someone walked over and asked him for some advice: “We’re having problems with people remembering to secure the bus before they leave their seat. Do you have any advice? How can we get them to remember?” Without missing a beat, Louie said “PIN it.” The advice seeker happened to be a veteran mechanic, so he understood and walked away to resume his work. I stood there for a while scratching my head. Pin it?
Diagnose, Prescribe & Follow-Up, are the usual doctor’s actions that are utilized when visiting the doctor’s office for whatever is ailing us. This formula should also apply within your training department with regard to the ailment of Bus Collisions.
If we encourage our operators to treat operating a bus as a shift-long Zen moment, we may be able to reduce preventable crashes by a significant amount. The “Zen Operator,” who drives precisely at all times, is also less stressed. The Zen Operator flows through difficult, tight situations easily and their body language and vibe give passengers a sense of confidence. The operator whose passengers have a white-knuckle death grip on the back of the seat in front of them is not practicing “Zen Bus Operation.”
Ah, summer. Pool parties, barbecues, the smell of honeysuckle and the sight of lightning bugs. Or — a rise in crime, agitated riders seeking air conditioning, heat stroke, a new fiscal year, and the necessary, but unpopular, fare increases. However you view the summer months, with a direct correlation between high temperatures and increased crime, it's vital for transit leaders to be asking themselves, "Have we done everything possible to keep our people safe?"
The RMS occurred last month in Albany, N.Y. and it was a truly remarkable learning experience for those in attendance. The RMS serves as a one-of-a-kind event that brings together transit risk management professionals from all across the country to focus on key topics related to safety, risk management, planning and prevention.