'Five Alive' - Steps To Bus Stop Safety

Posted on April 9, 2010 by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

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.



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.)


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,

Louie Maiello


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