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On the Long Haul

Watching the Clock and Road

What will you learn in this lesson?

  1. The interconnections between keeping schedules while practicing defensive driving skills and adjusting for road and weather conditions.

Scheduling Blues

Here I am again, on the road. But this time I'm with Dave who drives Inter City coach throughout the province. I was lucky to pick up this short haul that he does every so often. Dave has told me to arrive at the depot at 2:00 pm because the run goes out at 3:00 pm. "Hi," I call to Dave as I walk in.

"Good to see you, are you ready for this? What do you think? Is this snow getting worse?" he asks.

I look up to the sky and sure enough it seems to be getting heavier. "Here" I say, "Let me help you with that freight."

"No, I can't let you do that - you know - union and company policies and regulations. But thanks anyway." You can check my thinking as I rearrange it to match the schedule - now this one is for Red Deer…and this one goes to Wainwright - oh we'll put that one over there…"

Once Dave has done the pre-trip check he informs the dispatcher to call for the passengers. They load up as Dave checks their tickets and answers their questions about the route. He also loads the baggage in a specific order. "Do you ever get a bad back? I ask. "Oh, I have my times, and I try to take care of myself - not getting any younger you know!"

Before we are too far down the highway it is obvious that this is going to be a hard trip. The snow is heavier and the road is turning into an ice path. Right away I see that Dave is working hard, scanning the road, keeping a big following distance and seems to be keeping the speed low. I wonder to myself if we'll make the schedule.

Finally we reach our first stop. We're an hour off the timing point. "I'm going to talk to the supervisor here and discuss what we should do - go on or wait a bit." says Dave. "Maybe they have the plows and sanding trucks out down the road."

Maintaining the Schedule

Bus operators have to maintain schedules because they are driving for the public who expect them to be on time; but if safety is compromised because of weather or road conditions then schedules may change. In other words, schedules are the rule until safety becomes the concern.

Experienced drivers get to know where there is slack in the schedule, where they can make up time when needed and how the weather might affect the route. They also know how their bus responds to different road conditions and when to report in a disrupted schedule so that alternative arrangements can be made.

What happens in bad weather conditions? The driver must:

School Bus Sector

Accessible Services Sector



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