Tight Areas - Buses Don't Squeeze
A new bus operator on the job will be faced with many things when they first get out on their own. The first thing they need to realize when facing tight areas is that buses don't squeeze.
First of all they are filled with overwhelming thoughts. So much to remember. Where do I go? What lane should I be in? Where do I change the destination sign? Do I change transfer pads here? How do I stay on time? Do I reprogram the radio/computer here? The list goes on and I haven't mentioned passengers asking questions or dealing with traffic situations. All of this takes place while driving.
Ah yes, traffic situations. There are a lot of them. One of the more difficult is when they face a narrow obstructed area. A decision has to be made in seconds - got to get through there - need to be on time according to the schedule. Sure the bus will fit through there, buses come this way all the time and they don't want to appear the scared newbie.
So they proceed through this eight foot four space with a bus that is eight foot five wide. Now what? First of all they need to be watching their mirrors and see that things are not going well. STOP! And stay stopped! Wait until traffic clears or radio for assistance. The space will not get larger as you try to squeeze through. That is the biggest mistake drivers make. Buses do not squeeze.
This is important advice the instructor must make sure the new operator understands and deals with accordingly.
Think of the consequences if you try to fit through a space that is not large enough and get into a collision. You have to call supervisors and police. You have to file a report and now have a preventable collision on your file. Passengers are even more inconvenienced as they have to wait for another bus or find alternate transportation. The schedule certainly is off its mark now.
Others are inconvienced by the traffic tie up, and supervisors have to come to the location and also do up reports..
The operator has put an extra load on themselves. Will I be blamed? What are they going to do? My passengers will think I am an idiot. What will my family think? Will my personal vehicle insurance go up?
So anyt time an operator is faced with a traffic condition that questions whether it is safe to fit through or not, they should stop and think it through and wait if necessary. Don't run the risk of tryhing to squeeze through - remember the schedule is only a guide - for ideal conditions.