Saturday, July 09, 2011

Be kind to Bus drivers

Whenever an accident happens involving Bus and pedestrian/two wheeler, bus driver is always booked for rash driving and pedestrian/two wheeler driver (if they survive!) are often let free. In this post I urge you to understand the difficulties of a bus driver and give the big vehicle some respect and consideration on the road.

No bus driver goes to depo in the morning thinking “Let me crush a bike today”. Accidents do happen and we need to assess what went wrong. Most of the time, knowing how pedestrians and bikers behave, I don’t think drivers are always to blame.

Driver seat
bus being a big vehicle, needs to space while negotiating turns. But two wheeler riders often squeeze their bikes in whatever space available, making the turn near impossible for the driver. If the driver waits for one bike to pass, another bike will take its place, so he is forced to negotiate the turn/move whenever he gets the chance.

Pedestrians are supposed to follow certain rules- cross the road only at Zeebra crossing, use foot over bridge, not to jump over medians etc. But many of us do not follow these rules and we cross the road in between the traffic, risking ourselves, in the interest of saving some time and efforts. In other countries people cross only at designated places- drivers can slowdown at these intersections and drive freely on rest of the distance.

We may have some urgency, but so do bus drivers. He is ferrying 60+ people, whose combined urgency should be greater than the bikers. Bus driversneed to complete the trip within the stipulated time and can’t afford to wait as every small vehicle tries to take priority. Drivers are also under constant stress of hectic schedules, low pay, increasing traffics, poorly maintained buses…

We’ve developed this bad habit of thrashing the driver and damaging the bus soon after an accident. This public attitude and tendency forces drivers to flee for his life after an accident, even if he is confident it was not his fault. No one will be willing to listen to his story at the accident spot and once he flees, it is easy for police to book him under various sections. We never thank a driver for dropping us safely every day. What right do we have to beat him up if hisbus hits a bike by mistake?

There has to be some space between two vehicles for safe riding, but in bumper to bumper traffic, this space is getting to near zero and even a minor move can result in hitting someone left, right, front or back. Other road users are equally responsible for maintaining this safe distance.

Below picture tells you the difference in size of a Venture Minivan and Volvo Multiaxle bus (B9R)
There are some rogue bus drivers around, who do rash driving, but I suggest we don’t generalize this into whole community of bus drivers.

Private bus drivers in Coastal Karnataka are under even greater stress, as the time gap between two buses on a route is very less and if they delay, they might get overtaken by next bus and subsequently will lose passengers and revenue at subsequent bus stops.

Next time you see a big bus  on your way and get a temptation to squeeze around, do give it a consideration in your own safety.


Deguide said...

I personally feel the speed lock for metro buses has to be installed for 40 kmph speed, ask them to maintain left lane under all circumstances except when turning right. This would discipline the pedestrains too from crossing and bikers too will be cautious.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Umesh Sir, keeping always to left on a 2 lane road is challenging, as the left lane is usually used up by autos waiting for passengers, cars parked temporarily, roadside vendors etc. so the drivers will have to use right lane most of the times

Nisha said...

Nice perspective. I think you wrote this by keeping yourself in their position.
I agree with your POV but there are few bus drivers who try to have an upper hand just to show their 'superiority'. They do all sorts of things and then laugh at poor passengers, especially girls.

These things include fast approaching to you as if running down is the motive, sudden braking, not stopping at stop or the moment someone tries to board, just accelerate and so on.

Yeah, but not all are alike.

Mridula said...

I am 200% with you on this. Why only bus, if ever a car and bike collides even when the bike is on the wrong side it is the car driver that faces the flak. The bigger vehicle is always at fault!

zephyr said...

that is sound advice to the 2-wheeler drivers. they certainly are menace, not only to others but also to themselves but as Deguide suggests, buses should have speed locks to prevent the drivers from going too fast.

Anu said...

I do partly agree with you... bike drivers are a nuisance... winding their vehicles between bigger ones, driving on the pavement and inconveniencing pedestrians... but all bus drivers arent careful either... they speed up simply because they can or they are infuriated by the smaller vehicle overtaking them.... speed controls would certainly be useful, but till people learn to drive properly and realise that they arent going to reach any faster by breaking rules, it wont really solve the problem.

Indrani said...

A nice thought provoking post.

Loggy : லோகி said...

i agree ur point with city bus drivers..
but not with omni bus drivers..
u shud see them cruising the bus like a Jet plane on highways..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Nisha: Yes, I wrote this from Driver's perspective.Agree there're a few rogue ones

Mridula: Thanks

Zephyr: Many of them do have speed governers set at 60kmph or so, but speed is not the factor in city most of the times.. careless driving and unpredictable moves are

Anu: Thanks

Indrani: Thanks

Logesh: :) Need to see those Omni drivers...

We Cognize said...

I feel very nice someone pointed out this. :) "keeping our self in the other person's place" is often and ignored activity.

CooperJal said...

Good blog. Well said.

sandeep said...

gr8 article - i used to blame bus drivers too for a long time, but nowadays realizing that its not an easy job for them too.

i guess a common complaint against bus drivers is that they take a left turn from the right lane and vice versa catching people unaware! this is mostly because buses need more turning radius and most people dont realize it.

Appaji said...

sir, your information is all are very good. but you did't post after July 9th. Why? - appaji, cuddalore.

Appji said...

sir, nameste, i like you all information and nice article. but you write after july 9 th. Why? pl continue. - appaji, cuddalore.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Appji: I'm back now.. 2 posts published now

Sandeep: Agree with you

bus to cameron highlands said...

It is good to be kind to bus drivers as they are driving all through the day