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.
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Very few of those apps can turn an everyday transit rider into a hero who summons help for a person in distress. A routine ride on your transit system can be suddenly disrupted if you witness an assault, a crime in progress or a medical emergency. That is why apps designed for public safety must take all imaginable scenarios into consideration.
As we all have experienced, chatter regarding topics other than performance-based basic skill development, such as current events, sports or one’s families, will develop onboard and can break the tension that candidates are experiencing in attempting to do their best. This tension breaker may do good for them, but this should occur during non-development drive time.
Thinking of the situation in terms of “who should yield” will lead operators to a less aggressive mindset. Once we get our operators to think in terms of “who should yield,” the logical follow up question to ask is “will they yield?” Once operators start looking at situations with a “yield” attitude, it becomes easier to recognize situations, which may result in preventable crashes.
Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick long ago defined four levels of evaluation to determine the effectiveness of any training program. It is common for the bulk of effort being put forth by any training department to focus on Level 1 and Level 2. This typically manifests as the time we spend planning for and executing the prescribed training activities that form our learning programs. Many organizations are now finding that they have the most potential for achieving performance improvements by focusing more energy and resources toward Level 3 activities, such as coaching.
When official-plated transit authority vehicles were scarce and basically reserved for those in upper management to go about their daily business to and from meetings, etc..., road control would be the responsibility of the “fixed-post foot dispatcher.” Not all of these positions have been eliminated, but I wonder if any readers remember the stability and sense of control that was present while the foot dispatcher was on post?