So here I am, my second day as a bus operator. When I meet Natasha at the bus barns of the local school board office for the morning run she quickly makes me feel comfortable. It is obvious that she likes her job. I ask her about the best parts.
"I've driven school bus for a long time now. I think the best part is the kids.
They know the safety rules for school bus, the wait area, boarding, riding, and exiting and, for the most part, they are really attentive. It makes my job easier and I like that. Let's
go over now and meet our dispatcher."
I can already see that this is different from the urban transit scene. I ask, "So do you ever trade routes with other operators?" "Not if we can help it," says the dispatcher. "You see we want to have the same drivers on the same routes so that the students feel secure and comfortable on the bus. Their parents like it too."
"Off we go to do the pre-trip Kim," says Natasha. "Here, you read the form and follow me while I conduct it."
"What is one of the most important things you need to know about driving the bus?" I ask. "That's easy. We have to be so careful about how we let students off the bus and how we collect them so that they are not in danger of getting hit."
Safe Pick-up and Drop-off
All professional operators pick-up and drop-off passengers. What is the safe way to do this?
- Pull into the loading and drop off zone slowly, close to the curb where there are no obstructions.
- Watch that passengers can get on and off safely.
- Check that passengers are comfortable and safe when seated. Help people who have disabilities, wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
- Merge back into traffic safely.