Tuesday, December 17, 2013

People suck. GO Bus drivers rock.

GO now runs a Double Decker bus on my evening bus route.

I can only imagine that the driver training for these things is something akin to qualifying to be a stunt driver for the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. It has to be. My bus driver probably heads up the department.

Things were running smoothly until Wilson Road and King Street in Oshawa's east end. It's a one-way thoroughfare with three lanes: left, middle and curb. Buses drive in the curb lane. Curb lanes are also used for right hand turns. So if you want to turn right, what lane should you be in ... ?

The left lane! Correct! At least this was the logic according to one driver, who just as the light moved from yellow to red, drove from the left lane all the way to the right lane, crossed the center lane and cut off our bus driver as he or she zoomed in front of the bus and completed her turn.

My heart stopped, but Mr. Bus Driver? He was like, "Girl, please. I got this." Okay, he didn't really say that, but I'm sure that's what he would have said.

Keep in mind, we are in a Double Decker bus - a top-heavy tall vessel of glass and plastic and no seatbelts.

Mr. Bus Driver responded to this donkey's dangerous move by deploying a serious of braking and steering maneuvers, sliding us into the center lane, avoiding other motorists and stopping that bus on a dime right before the solid white line of the intersection.

Thankfully, those waiting on the green light saw what was happening and did not proceed until our bus was stopped. The roads were slick. The bus slipped as the wheels struggled to grip. Mr. Bus Driver didn't even break a sweat.

When we arrived in Courtice, I had to tell him how impressed I was at his collision avoidance skills.

He was modest. He shouldn't be. My life. His life. All of the passengers - this is the kind of drivers we want - attentive, defensive, reactive, professional and skilled.

He deserves an award. It was a close call. He handled it like a boss.


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

That is amazing! But just to calm your worries, double decker buses may be tall, but they are exceptionally BOTTOM heavy, by design. Yes, they can tip under extreme circumstances, but we're talking extreme.

C.J. Smith said...

I try to be calm but images of the one that tipped in Ottawa one winter due to high winds and slippery road conditions haunts me.

DH said...

Designed not to tip under controlled turns. There's a limit, gravity and centripetal forces will win especially under emergency maneuvers when your mind is on avoiding the accident. Kudos Mr. Bus driver.

Re: left lane driving, everyone knows that is THE safest lane to drive in. I haven't found it in the drivers manual, but I know it has to be in there. Everyone is doing it: highways, roads, and sidewalks even! Being closest to opposing traffic (yes, I know it was a one-way street, habits carry over) is SAFE.

George said...

CJ send an email to GO mentioning the route and time and a quick description of the event you're commending him for.

All commendations are placed in the driver file and they truly appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

^ Agreed

C.J. Smith said...

^ Done!

Peter said...

@CJ: Actually, there were two DD's that tipped in Ottawa last winter; ref.

GO Transit pulled their DD's from Route 12 (Niagara - Burlington) for the winter.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if the double decker bus were to ram this careless driver then let Darwin's natural selection deal with them

C.J. Smith said...

Really? And risk injury to the passengers on the bus? And himself?

Are you feeling okay?

Mark chow said...

But CJ, doesn't the laws of physics state that the heaviest object that rams the smallest object, the former always wins. I would expect that the driver and passengers would be shaken up but not so much to be injured.

C.J. Smith said...

I'd rather not be picking glass out of my eyes. Also, who would actually want to be in a collision? You can't say for certain no one would sustain injury. There was an elderly woman with a walker on board. Some people were standing. No one wants to be part of a crash. I also don't wish death on anyone, even those who drive at the speed of stupid.