Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Davey Jones, Whitney Houston, just a few names of some music industry personnel who passed on this year. I’m sure somewhere in their past, good old Rock & Roll influenced some part of their history. As a musician, my beginnings and brush with stardom began when four lads from across the pond arrived on our shores on Feb. 7, 1964 and unleashed an all-out assault on the music industry that will probably never be seen again. These lads opened up a door to a room that no one knew existed, and to this day, no one else has found it — they too often referred back to Rock & Roll as their influences growing up across the pond. I think you know who I’m speaking of.
Transit has its own version of Rock & Roll. I once read someone’s comment that, in the case of a bus operator, ‘Rocking & Rolling’ in the seat should not occur if their mirrors are set properly. I strongly disagree with that statement and regrettably say a statement like that will precede an increase in pedestrian knockdowns, especially when turning left and departing bus stops. Although the Rock & Roll, or, as others say, the ‘Crunch and Lean’ method, is not the only part of an operator’s turn technique, it is a crucial part of the package. Rocking and Rolling must continue to be taught during training, so operators are made aware there are temporarily obstructed objects that can only be revealed by moving forward and side-to-side in the seat. Remaining complacent with a ‘fixed stare’ while conducting turns will lead to an increase in pedestrian and fixed-object contact.
Many intersection collisions occur because the operator does not expect the unexpected to occur. Professionals are responsible for a safe and successful vehicle approach, entry and exit when dealing with intersections. Intersections contain many unfavorable conditions for bus operators, and being able to process more information by seeing more through a controlled sequence of observation skills can provide much needed information back to the operator to prevent an unfortunate occurrence from materializing. Remember the basics:
- Scan the intersection before you arrive there.
- Take a mental snapshot of possible hazards before arriving at the intersection.
- Understand what defensive measure may have to be put in motion.
- When turning, ‘walk’ the bus three to five miles-per-hour through the turn as you ‘Rock & Roll while scanning.’
- Follow through and remain off the accelerator until clearance has been confirmed.
For those of you who supplement your ‘live’ training with bus simulation training, this is a great lesson to learn in the relaxed environment of your simulator. It’s not time consuming; it’s simple and highly effective. Those of you not yet on board with bus simulator training and are planning to attend BusCon, stop in and grab a seat as I will be speaking on “Getting a Bus Operator Simulator Training Program off the Ground.”
There is always room for membership in the “Bus Operators’ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” although having a Hit record in your employee file will not get you in!
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Educating the next generation of transportation leaders" here.
Soon after reaching my 20th year in the transit industry, back in 1993, after a draining day of addressing routine bus issues, I would cross paths with another employee, who I always remember, seemed to be quietly “doing his own little daily gig.”
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?"