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On the Long Haul

How do I act?

What will you learn in this lesson?

  1. How to respond to difficult situations.

It's Okay

As we continue along the highway the storm continues to be a challenge but the traction is improving because of the work of the sanding and clearing crews. Dave starts to make up some of the lost time and soon we are at the next stop. We pull in and start the loading. As one man shoves his ticket into Dave's hand he yells "You're late. I was supposed to be in the city in half an hour from now! And now I'll never make it." This man is aggressive.

Dave says, "I know, it's because there's a bad storm out there." The passenger brushes past and stomps onto the bus. He sits close to the front.

We pull out onto the highway. I can tell the passenger is still steaming. And then -

"First there's this stupid storm - then my car breaks down - then you're making me late. You used to have an earlier bus - but I guess you guys went and cut that one. They're always cutting something. What gives?"

Dave says, "You've had a terrible day. Why do you have to get to the city so fast?"

The man doesn't say anything. He looks down at the floor. After a few minutes he looks up at Dave and says, "My wife is having emergency surgery in the university hospital and I have to be there." I can see tears in his eyes.

Dave says - "You know I have to go close to the hospital and I can drop you real close - you won't have to go to the depot. It will save you some time. And we're starting to make better time. We're still going to be late, but it will help."

The man sinks back into his seat and looks out the window.

In a few minutes the man looks at Dave and says, "Thanks."

Handling Difficult Passengers and Situations

Bus operators may occasionally encounter a difficult passenger or situations that threaten the safety and comfort of themselves and/or passengers. Bus companies have well defined policies and procedures on how to handle these situations.

What kinds of things can happen?

  • Assaults on another customer
  • Drunkenness
  • People acting out
  • Lewd behaviours
  • Arguments

Remember: Bus companies provide training to their operators and keep up-dating with new training and strategies to help operators to effectively handle difficult situations.

School Bus Sector

Additional Resources

For more information on problem-free driving, please refer to the following resources:

Lesson Activities

  1. Consider how bus operators handle difficult situations with the 4-Steps to Risk Assessment and Management.
  2. Test Your Reaction Quotient to see your responses to difficult situations.


Next: 4-Steps to Risk Assessment and Management