A Vancouver Trolly bus driver would like share something
Previously, I was driving a Community Shuttle transit bus, the ones with a 24 passenger limit. Well, a few months ago I switched over to the conventional buses! I work in Vancouver and I drive the trolley buses as well. I find them easy to drive now that I’ve gotten used to them. The only concern that I have is that there seems to be little public awareness of how the trolley buses operate and some of their limitations on the road.
A lot of drivers these days not only ignore the rules of the road but get very impatient out on the road. I have witnessed road rage directed at trolley bus drivers, and I have been targeted as well while on the job. Sometimes trolley buses slow down at places and even stop for a while. A regular car driver behind the bus may not realize what’s going on. Here are some facts:
Since the trolley bus is connected to overhead wire, one cannot pass another on the same wire. If another trolley bus is stopped at a bus stop ahead for example, the trolley bus driver may hold back on the nearside of the intersection until the other trolley moves in order to avoid blocking the intersection.
- According to company policy, the trolley bus driver should slow to 8 km/h at a switch (a place where the wire branches off into another wire), 8 km/h while turning at intersections where a turn wire joins the main wire, and 15 km/h through intersections (or wherever) wires cross each other. This is why a trolley bus will slow down before certain intersections. (Example, Granville at 41st Ave.)
- Sometimes a trolley bus dewires and the driver needs to get out and put the poles back up on the wires. This puts the driver in a hazardous situation.
- I would like the public to understand that there are certain limitations with the trolley bus which is beyond our control. If people were more understanding of the situation, I believe we would be able to work more safely on our job.
On another note…
Handy Dart, Hospital and Similar Buses
Please understand, first of all, that these buses do not always have very excellent suspensions and can be quite rough compared to your modern day minivan… which in contrast can feel like you’re driving down the old rough Vancouver roads while sitting in the comfort of your La-Z-Boy Chair.
Secondly, passengers on these buses may be elderly, disabled, ill, or have broken body parts, or other serious medical conditions. The bumps in the road can hurt them. They may be riding in a wheelchair or stretcher, anchored to the vehicle. In addition, the companies behind them may have GPS monitoring which includes real-time information about the speed, and other driving characteristics about the vehicle, and the driver may be subject to strict adherence to policies. These vehicles, like any bus, are not lightweight. Please do not cut in front as they can not stop on a dime.
It’s not your fault
The fact is, humans are impatient by nature. But please be kind to the buses. The drivers simply can not act as though they are driving sports cars. They did not wake up in the morning with intention to ruin your commute; they are simply just trying to get by like everyone else, often in service to the community.