It's hard to believe that another year is upon us. I have already begun to plot out this year's transit events for sharing information associated with both bus operator and bus simulator training.
I have taken much pleasure during my 33 years in transit to see the unselfish sharing among transit training professionals. There are many opportunities each year to be part of this information sharing/gathering. You can start by researching the various industry conferences, workshops, etc. — a couple of great ones are listed below — and attending them. Many times, some suggestion or training strategy offered by one person in attendance is just the answer for someone who is trying to solve the same problem.
During the course of my presentations to large groups, I have come to believe that they are some of the most exciting and inspiring events for transferring critical information regarding bus operator training and safety. Large group presentations are an excellent time to unveil new training concepts and strategies. There is a distinct feel and energy to the room that cannot be duplicated in any other setting.
This year, I have the distinct honor of making presentations at two of the most prestigious transit events in the country — the National Transit Institute's Transit Trainers' Workshop in April, and the American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference in May.
My NTI presentation will outline how to infuse new operators with a solid core curriculum in under 13 hours, at a time when some agencies might be devoting 40-plus hours to this training.
This presentation defines a training process that starts — and stays — on the bus until students are able to demonstrate operational proficiency. The session concludes by examining the sudden rise in left side bus/pedestrian incidents and describes how proper training remains our best defense against this alarming trend. A highlight of these large group presentations is the encouragement of audience members to present their safety concerns.
The APTA presentation focuses on standardizing curriculum with specific criteria to increase your agency's efficiency. The lack of a standardized curriculum and a set time limit makes it impossible to determine whether the identical protocols and techniques being taught to all students and whether those students are learning the material.
If you are considering attending a conference or a workshop this year and interested in getting involved in the discussion on the above topics, please consider attending:
"Add Meaning to the Classroom - Begin on the Training Bus"
National Transit Institute - TTT Workshop
April 10-12, 2011 - Tampa, Fla.
"Increase Effectiveness with a Criterion-Based, Standardized Curriculum"
APTA - Bus & Paratransit Conference,
May 22 - 25, 2011 - Memphis
In case you missed it...
Read our latest METRO editor blog on the quiet car revolution here.
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.
I recently attended, and had the opportunity to be part of a panel of speakers, at the NYC MTA Bus Safety Symposium. A variety of topics were discussed regarding bus and pedestrian safety issues. What was obvious is we all have a common goal to provide the safest transit systems possible, in spite of the possibility of increasing bus/pedestrian and bus/cyclist collisions.
I have had it with the never-ending meeting of the minds on the predominant causes of left-turn bus-pedestrian collisions. This whole issue is getting obscured with presentations that slice and dice every possible cause of these incidents into a collection of symbols, numbers and formulas. Please stop.