Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Proper Bus Etiquette

I went to see a matinee of Meet The Browns this afternoon (pretty good movie). Coming home meant taking Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) Inbound Route 20 out of Pembroke East at 3:15 P.M. It was a classic case of the bus subculture and bus riders getting it right - even where the driver was quite wrong.

Preparing to leave Pembroke East, a wheelchair came up alongside the bus. The driver claimed the bus was full and that the 10-16 would have to wait for the next bus. Realizing what was going on, passengers on the right side vacated their seats so they could be put up for the wheelchair. Since the bus was full, that meant standing in the aisle. The driver relented and boarded the wheelchair.

When we made the turn onto Virginia Beach Boulevard, the wheelchair moved. Passengers realized the driver hadn't properly strapped the wheelchair in. She told the 10-16 to put the brakes on his chair on. The passengers insisted that the driver come back and strap it the right way. The driver was forced to at the next stop.

For the hattrick, I got to play my part. It turned out the address the gentleman was trying to find was in my apartment block. I escorted him back from the bus stop.

With Norfolk trying to flush bus riders out of downtown, we have stories like the above to dispel the stereotypes about bus riders.

Okay, Michael, tell us what the driver did that was so wrong....


Michael Ragsdale said...

As a former 10-16:

1) You NEVER tell a 10-16 to wait for the next bus (unless you already have two on board) NO MATTER HOW FULL YOU ARE.
2) PROPERLY secure your 10-16*

* If something happens and the driver doesn't respond, IMMEDIATELY give the Dispatch a 10-5. I don't care if it's a rustbucket 900 or a PoS trolley (which are the worst when securing a 10-16) and I don't care if you're an hour late. PROPERLY SECURE YOUR 10-16!

Avenging Archangel said...

I called my friend the Superintendent when I got home. I hit her voice mail, but left all the details.

I had hoped to get her so a Supervisor could meet the driver at Cedar Grove.

Michael Ragsdale said...

Believe me, if this was a 2000 series Lowfloor, a 4000 series Lowfloor Hybrid, or a 1400 series Opus, once the seat was vacated, I would've flipped it up (press down on the seat to allow the latch to release), then I would've come to the front of the bus to kneel it and operate the ramp. It's a simple matter of pressing and holding the Kneel button until the bus is fully lowered then pressing and holding the Deploy Ramp button until it's fully deployed. Both buttons are like "rocker light switches". Hopefully, that wouldn't have to happen because passengers aren't supposed to mess with certain things like that.

Avenging Archangel said...

It was a 1700 series, Bus 1704.

Now anyone reading this entry at HRT has all the info they need. Since I know they read my blog (and your's) on Monticello Avenue, they can still discipline the driver even if the phone message gets scrambled.

Michael Ragsdale said...

Darn it. Too complicated to use the lift. Of course, passengers aren't supposed to touch the lift controls anyways no matter what bus it is.

Michael Ragsdale said...

To properly secure a 10-16...this is good on 1700s and 2000s (and possibly 4000s though I didn't get a good look at the Q-Straint system when I was in Portsmouth the other day):

There are four tie-downs for each corner. Unlike a 900, these are ready to go similar to how a car seatbelt or tape measure hides away. In addition, there is a 3-WAY SEATBELT (that many drivers neglect) that hooks on similar, but not quite like a car seatbelt (the connectors are different). DRIVERS: IT HOOKS ON JUST LIKE YOUR DRIVER SEAT SEATBELT UP FRONT.

From what it sounds like, one or more of the corner hooks were not properly connected. If the CHAIR itself moved, it's the floor straps. If the PASSENGER moved, it's the seatbelt.

The buses with the best straps are the 1200 series Gillig Phantoms. They have the four floor straps that hook onto the frame (not the tire) of the chair. This will secure the chair. To secure the passenger, there is a 3-way seatbelt system that works exactly like a car seatbelt system does. It even hooks on the exact same way. Some chairs include their own seatbelt system. They may be used in place of the bus seatbelt system. NO Wheelchair has a restrain system that can replace the floor hooks, not even the brakes of a motorized chair, let alone a manual chair.

Unknown said...

10-16? Is that the nomenclature for someone in a wheelchair?

Avenging Archangel said...


Yes, 10-16 is someone in a wheelchair under HRT's 10 code system.

The other one you'll see Michael and I use often is 10-39, which is "personal relief".