There should come a time during each new student’s training bus instruction, when instructor-led skill development turns to student demonstration and “Show Time” begins. It is during this time that the student must perform for the instructor. I call this a “Show Me” day.
A training bus that was mainly dominated by the instructor, administering and demonstrating the required skills to each student, now belongs to the student. The student will be required to perform the required tasks covered during training at a satisfactory level in order to advance into passenger service.
RELATED: Keeping your drivers on the bus from 'hire to retire'
Approaching qualification day with all tasks having been covered, instructors should now be prepared to determine whether their students have reached the level of being able to operate the bus without the comfort of having the instructor present should the instructor’s decision be a “go.” This is one of two critical questions instructors must ask themselves.
If you are a steadfast reader of my blogs you know what the other question is. If the student still requires corrective action instruction this late in training, this is a clear indicator that the student has not reached the acceptable level of proficiency required by the instructor to qualify as a bus operator.
Approaching (and during) “Show Me” day, the voice that I want to hear speaking most frequently is that of the student. Here are some examples of what I would expect to hear coming from the student with regard to:
• Forward Planning Skills - I want the student to verbally identify any potential hazards observed while scanning ahead and what actions may be required to implement.
• Scanning and Identifying - When approaching a turn, I want to verbally hear from the student any pedestrians that may be a potential hazard to the student either before or during the turn. (This is especially critical due to left-side pedestrian knockdown issues.)
• Observation Skills - How soon after you (the experienced instructor with the trained eye) does the student identify a potential hazard? (This a key indicator in determining if their observation skills are where they need to be)
• Clearances - Awareness of all required clearances. Ex: front overhead and sides.
Assuming the level of competency associated with the “behind the wheel” portion of training has reached the acceptable level, and combining that with the hopefully accurate and timely verbal information described above, this presents a good indication that the student is rounding into form and is on the verge of entering passenger service. Towards the end of training, the student must perform the skills that require them to attain a “Qualified” evaluation unassisted — without instructor intervention.
If your training bus curriculum is solid and skills to be taught are laid out in a manner that gradually increase in the level of difficulty as the training progresses, any State testing that occurs after training bus instruction has been conducted, should be easily handled by the student. Your training program should exceed the level of difficulty of any outside testing conducted after your training has been completed.
In closing, if the instructor is still doing most of the talking on “Show Me” day, additional training may be necessary only if there are training days still available. Hopefully, your training program has a final day to either: qualify, resign, or be terminated. The training should not continue on forever until the student finally “gets it.”
Silence on decision day is a good thing to hear when determining whether to advance a student!
In case you missed it...
Read our previous blog, Why is no one offering same-day paratransit service?
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!
Physical security surveillance is one of the most vital facets of a transit system’s security plan. In the past, recording was primarily done by analog video cameras, but those systems are now updated with IP cameras that have features like greater data storage and ultra HD imaging. Moreover, today’s surveillance has moved beyond video to audio monitoring. By integrating audio and video, security directors have access to more evidence for reported incidents and accident investigations. Audio also provides accountability for employees, capturing if a train engineer was talking on his cell phone on duty or if a train ticket examiner was providing poor customer service.
I recently had the opportunity to view a video that captured what could have been a fatal pedestrian knockdown if contact had occurred. A bus overtaking another bus positioned in the bus stop zone occurs routinely and usually without incident, but if not performed correctly, this type of situation can end with catastrophic results.
Recent national incidents have put increased attention on safe commuting and what passengers can do to protect themselves during a transit emergency. “The most important tip anyone can follow is to wait for the instructions of the crew,” said Scott Sauer, chief system safety officer for SEPTA. “Crews know the equipment best and have been trained to safely remove passengers from vehicles should the situation warrant evacuation...