In my last blog we discussed bus stop placement pros and cons. Last week I received an email regarding mid-block bus stops and how to make these stops as safe as possible. Servicing bus stops in mid-block and after right and left turns will be covered here. I will also review boarding and alighting of customers.
In the case of mid-block stops that I have had experience with, the stop was usually placed directly behind metered or unmetered parked vehicles. With mid-block stops placed between parked vehicles, operators may have a tight area to maneuver into, so it is very important to make the decision early whether they feel they can place their bus in a completely curbed and parallel parked position. This is the safest and most customer-friendly option as far as the safety issue. It is not acceptable to nose the bus in at an angle leaving the left rear of bus vulnerable to oncoming vehicle contact.
Due to insufficient space or an obstructed stop, operators may be forced to stop parallel to curb in the #2 lane. If this is the case, although the curb lane is occupied with parked vehicles, they must not take for granted that they are completely secure on their right side. I have seen where the first vehicle that was parked to the right side rear was occupied and the motorist attempted to squeeze up that right lane and place the boarding and alighting customers at extreme danger even with the kneeler in its required deployed position.
One last thing about midblock stops, not having as much activity as the nearside or farside stops, operators can be in danger of not being as attentive to their surroundings around the bus, especially concerning pedestrians. In an urban setting, these stops might be the least favorite of bus operators. Stay straight, stay right-side protected, stay alert.
Bus Stops Directly After a Right Turn
Danger: Thinking about bus placement in bus stop before ensuring that the right rear pivot area has successfully cleared the curb.
I have seen many students focused solely on getting the bus to the curb, resulting in oversteering on the turn rather than first ensuring right rear clearance.
Remember, on a right turn as in any turn:
- The Set Up is first. The type of turn and bus placement before the turn, determines how to maneuver into the turn.
- Walk the bus around the corner and ensure right rear pivot clearance away from curb/pedestrians.
- Finally, Think Bus Stop only after confirming right rear pivot area clearance from curb, pedestrians and other fixed objects, then completing the turn and positioning bus into stop.
Bus Stops Immediately After a Left Turn
Squaring off this turn and positioning the bus deep into the intersection to set up the turn will provide maximum protection.
The right side of the bus will be covered and protected while turning left from the right side sweeper attempting to turn left with the bus.
It will ensure that operator will have maximum visibility to pedestrians crossing either right to left or left to right in front of bus.
Positioning deep into the intersection will prevent oncoming vehicles turning right, access to the right lane between the bus and bus stop.
Boarding and Alighting
1 – Avoiding pedestrian contact with doors: With front doors open, rear door interlock engaged and service brake applied, keep left hand on the door handle from the moment the doors are opened until closing.
2 - Before closing doors, check interior center mirror (or over the right shoulder) for anyone approaching from the right rear side of bus. Angle the center mirror to a high left/low right position to widen the view along the right side rear curb area of the bus and to ensure the rear door area is clear of obstructions.
3 - Check right flat real-view mirror (non-convex) to expose activity alongside the right of bus.
4 - Check right convex mirror where a shorter person, like a child, (who may not be visible in the real-view mirror or naked eye of the operator) will be visible.
5 – Keep eyes on front door area before closing doors. After ensuring that it’s permissible to close doors (hazard free), place the door handle to the closed position while watching doors close in preparation for a late arriving boarder. Signal left and under no circumstance move left before looking left.
Follow the 3 S's of Surface Transportation - Safety, Service, and Schedule.
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.