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.
It’s no secret that I am a firm believer in bus simulator training. I enjoyed the benefits of utilizing simulators as a supplemental training tool during my days at New York City Transit. The simulators helped us produce outstanding results by targeting specific outcomes. If your simulator training is not producing what you expected it to deliver, the answer is plain and simple: something is wrong!
One agency decided to conduct a “safety blitz” to determine whether mirrors were being set correctly and discovered, much to their surprise, that a growing number of operators were leaving the yard in a mad rush to avoid being late — deciding to adjust their mirrors at their first available opportunity. What they learned was that many of these operators left the yard with every intention of setting their mirrors correctly. However, once these operators began servicing their routes — the task appeared to "slip their minds."
In most organizations, 80% to 95% of all bus operators are found to be safe, reliable and courteous, but often, they don’t know it because nobody tells them. If safe bus operation represents a core value for your property, what are you leaders doing to encourage and reinforce the desired behaviors among your bus operators?
Those of you who take a few minutes each month to follow my blogs, or have attended one of my past presentations at transit events, first let me thank you. These blogs and presentations, in combination, have been promoting surface transit standards in a form of a standardized curriculum for over 10 years now. I ask you, are we not long overdue in getting transit specific standards a done deal? By the time of this posting, I would have again stood before a group of transit professionals at a recently attended transit function in Orlando, Fla., speaking on this exact topic.
A final day should mean exactly that, the end — no more — learning opportunities that had been available no longer exist. The clock has run out. Hopefully, there is a final day designated for trainees at your agency, a time where you draw the line and make a decision, because, as we all know, not everyone can operate a bus. For the trainee, the final day is the most pressure-packed day they will spend on the training bus. Any student entering their final day should be well-prepared and fully aware of what they are faced with, as all of the requirements should have been clearly covered as part of their first day orientation. Remember, no surprises!