The Safety of commuters, on the bus.
February 4, 2007 4:21pm CST
I used to hate riding them when I was younger, and when I started working as a bus Operator as I got older, I dispised them even more! Mainly, it was due to their safety. Now, any bus driver would argue with me, that thier bus is the safest on the road, rigorous checks, yadda yadda yadda! well, in essence, this is true, because we are required to check out everything before we leave that lot! It really is a safety issue, and a bus operator is not supposed to leave that lot unless he is highly confident it won't fail on him 10 hours later. However, what I am talking about here, is the passengers. As you may well be aware of, there are no safety belts on the bus. Mothers are required to hold their children, instead of putting them in safety seats. It is not uncommon that a bus driver has to make a quick decision to avoid a car spilling out into traffic hazardly, making the bus driver make a split decision within a nanosecond, which could either harm the passengers, or safely escort them part way to their destinations. It is not uncommon for passengers to get thrown forward, inches, even sometimes feet. If you have been a bus driver, you have experienced this. Every bus driver I have encountered, which ranges in the hundreds have had this problem, while talking honestly. It is a hazard of the profession I guess! As a passenger, I have recieved injuries to my back, which I still have problems with to this day. It has been 7 years. I would urge anyone who has ever experienced this to file a report with your local commute, because if we do not speak up, these things will not change. As a former bus driver, who left with an excellent record and references, for other reasons, I can speak out aboutthis. It is not due to "spite" but out of serious concern for commuters. Babies should be placed in car seats whether on busses, or in cars, or taxis, trains, airplanes or whatever. I'll share another story with you. I worked as a bus driver for the Phoenix Airport back in 2004-2006. The Christmas season, is probably the busiest experience, along with Thanksgiving, and of course, spring break. Because ofthe construction constantly going on at the airport, It has been increasingly difficult, with the mass commuters to drive efficiently, and safely through blocked off channels and merged lanes, but for the most part, the Busses have a clear line through which they drive. One night, during a busy pre-Christmas rush, a car decides to pull out in front of my bus and stop. My only options were to hit him, or stop. well, I jammed those breaks like there was no tomorrow, hoping that the air brakes wouldn't fail me now! Just to avoid slamming all 17,800 lbs of my bus into that car. 2 of my passengers went flying towards the front of the bus, and we were at a dead stop, when this "car" sits there for awhile, and then decides to getout of the way. With all due respect, I think the guy was suicidal, but He wasn't going to get any help from me, not by a long shot! When I turned around to check on my passengers, to my horror, an older gentleman was lying slumped on the floor, as if he were passed out. the other gentleman was flung forward, but still on the seats. I radioed to dispatch to have a supervisor sent immediately. The older gentleman who was flung forward, slowly got up, and put a tissue to his forhead, where he was obviously cut. I informed him that I radioed dispatch and that we had the license number, but he refused any type of medical treatment. now wait a minute, did I hear this right? I insisted that he file a report, for his own benefit. again he refused. Not ONE PERSON on that bus except myself (there were 8-10 passengers at the time) even CARED about this incident taking place, except my Immediate supervisor.I continued in route towards my destination, as instructed, and filed my own complaint. I am filled with what if's. what if there was a child, or a baby on this bus? although I do have an impeccable record for safety, I know what my instructor would have told me. "plow into that car ahead of you." I understand why, too. you see, it is all about insurance. Let's just say, that the man who hit his head ended up in the hospital. Now, he has to sue someone to pay for medical expenses. well, obviously, it wasn't the jerk committing suicide in front of my bus, because I stopped. no indeed, it would be between me, and my company. and of course, I'd be fired as a result. As impeccably clean as my record is, or not. But let us look at the other implications, shall we? If I do as I was told in driving class, and 'hit the car in front of me' causing a driver to get seriously injured, if he didn't die, because of 4 tons of steel coming at him with a vengeance with more damage being done, including to myself, and my passengers. you see, I do believe that you cannot be a bus driver, and actually have a conscience. 4 months later, I finally quit my job, as a bus driver for the airport. How can I work for a company that does not use safety precautions for the passengers that they serve? anyways, these are my thoughts. If you have ever been a passenger, or a bus driver, or just want to talk about safety, I'd be glad to hear it!