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Monday, August 20, 2012

Bus Drivers Have a Tough Job

Here's some more interesting info on the life of a professional bus driver, thanks to my brother, the book publisher and Metro Transit bus driver of Minneapolis! As most of us are tractor-trailer drivers, at least we don't have to worry about our cargo walking out of a moving trailer. Thanks, Russ! Check out some his published books at the link to his blog below!  Russ Bridger's Book Publishing Blog Page.
Link below to his original piece on the dangers of driving articulated buses in winter driving conditions!

Here is a story that is not well known information about driving city buses.
I call it:  "Bus Driver's Have a Tough Job!"

       Bus driving has been the most fun job I've ever had. It is easy, yet challenging at times. It is fun, especially if you love to drive, yet can be terrifying. It can also be confusing, especially if you have a bad memory.
       As one would imagine, a city bus driver has to stop at bus stops and traffic lights constantly, especially when downtown, which is most of our driving. As a driver, it can really be a pain (literally) to hold down the brake when stopped. Which is why we try to release the pressure on our leg muscles when possible, depending on the particular bus we are driving on that shift.

       So here's the problem:

       Some buses will automatically turn on an internal brake when you come to a complete stop, and you can lift off your foot from the brake. To accelerate again, you just have to press on the gas pedal. Simple.
       But some buses that do this, will not let you accelerate without depressing the brake first before you can accelerate. If you forget to do this, you look like an idiot in the delay caused by going from the accelerator to the brake pedal to the accelerator again to get going again.
       Some buses will not automatically turn on an internal brake when you come to a stop. If you flip the door handle to "back door open", it will put on an internal brake, and you can take your foot off the brake. When you are ready to go, you flip the door handle to close, and you can then accelerate by pressing on the gas pedal.
       Some buses, if you flip the door handle to "back door open", it will brake the bus, and you can flip the door handle back to close, and it will still be braked until you step on the brake pedal to release the internal brake, then you can accelerate.
       Some buses have no rear door, thus no capability to flip the door handle to "back door open". You would then have to pull the emergency brake knob, which sometimes can be very hard to do due to pressure required, depending on the bus. You then have to depress the knob to be able to accelerate again.
       Some buses, if you flip the door handle to "back door open" in order to brake your bus as passengers get on or off, can lurch forward if you take your foot off the brake!! Very frightening and dangerous.
       Further complications can arise if you are using the "back door open" lever. There is a switch on some buses that allow the back door to open automatically. If you are in traffic outside of a bus stop, you don't want passengers to be able to depart from an open back door. So the switch has to be in its proper position to prevent this possibility.

One time (many years ago) the rear door stuck open downtown at a busy bus stop. The bus will not move forward if the rear door is open. I ran back to try and un-stick the door, and as soon as the door closed I realized I forgot to pull the emergency brake knob before leaving the driver seat. Oops! The bus was in gear, and started moving forward at a busy crosswalk with no driver! I ran 30 feet in a "New York second" to jump on the brake pedal! Nobody hit. Whew!        
       These are some of the reasons why it can be a tough job being a bus driver. There are more variations, but at the moment I'm getting confused!! LOL

Related Post:
Articulated Buses - Watch Out for Them in Winter!

Russ's Books Blog

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1 comment:

  1. Bus driving is one of the most hazardous occupations for your health. Research has shown that bus drivers have higher rates of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal disorders than other occupations. One major reason why bus drivers incur poor health outcomes is that bus drivers rarely work hours that other working people do based on the fact that they need to already be at work to take others to work. Cheap Driving School