The prime consideration of the professional driver is the safe operation of the vehicle. This must take precedence over schedules or any other factors that might contribute to a less than safe operation.
In addition to your own safety, as a professional driver operating a Class 2 or Class 4 vehicle, you must be considerate of the safety and comfort of your passengers by completing a circle check as illustrated on Vehicle condition - Circle check.
The safe and efficient transportation of people is a task which requires a high degree of driving skill. You should at all times be aware of the traffic around the bus to prevent panic stops or sudden swerves.
When approaching a loading zone, the speed should be such that a slow smooth stop can be made. The doors should remain closed until the bus has come to a full stop. The bus should be brought as close to the curb or loading zone as possible.
Before starting, you must be certain the doors are closed properly. The bus is then accelerated smoothly, picking up speed gradually.
The operation of buses requires you to develop handling skills in accordance with the characteristics of the vehicle. A knowledge of the turning radius, amount of off-track of the rear wheels, overhang past the rear wheels and width of the vehicle are important factors you must know to perfect your handling skill.
Many passenger accidents have been attributed to:
- being improperly parked at a loading zone
- picking up or discharging passengers when unsafe to do so
- sudden stops or starts with standing passengers
- sharp turns at excessive speed
- improper operation of bus doors
Accidents of these types are the result of improper operations by the driver and are preventable.
Every vehicle used for conveying passengers shall have at least two exits.
When making a right turn, the driver must avoid running over or scuffing the curbing with the rear wheels. The sharpness of the turn depends on the wheelbase.
When executing a sharp turn to the right (particularly with a forward control vehicle) position the bus 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 ft.) out from the curb as you approach the intersection. Ensure, by checking your mirror, that you block off any vehicle which may attempt to pass on the right. Proceed straight until you can see the curb line of the side street through the front entrance door (as shown in the diagram).
Entering the turn at a low speed requires less turning speed of the steering wheel, making a smoother turn with less exertion by the driver.
Right turns into very narrow streets may require that you proceed into the intersection before commencing the turn. It may be necessary to travel over the centre line as the turn is made. When such movement is necessary, you must use extreme caution, and ensure that the movement can be made safely.
Turning a large vehicle requires more attention and care than turning a passenger car. All left turns with buses, as with other vehicles, must be started in the left lane as close to the centre line or dividing curb as possible. With the bus positioned approxi mately 1 m (3 ft.) from the centre line or curb, proceed straight until the intersecting curb line can be seen through the front left window. Complete the turn as near as possible into the left lane of the street you are entering. Narrow intersecting streets may require that you proceed straight ahead over the centre of the intersection before the turn can be started. When this movement is necessary, you must use caution, using your mirrors to ensure the movement can be made safely.
Left turns - one-way streets
Left turns from a one-way street into a one-way street will require that you adjust the turning arc in a similar manner as in the right hand turn, to avoid running over or scuffing the curbing with the left rear wheels.
Leaving the curb
You should not rely solely on the side mirror to check if the traffic is clear before pulling out. You should also glance over your left shoulder to verify the way is safe.
Leaving the curb with a bus will require a signal be given by means of the signal lights, but you should not use the turn signal until you are prepared to proceed from the curb.
Leaving the curb with a bus which has an overhang over the rear wheels requires you to use caution to avoid striking pedestrians, poles or sign posts which are located close to the curbing. Cars parked close to the front of the bus and vehicles approaching in the opposite direction are factors which you must assess before moving your vehicle.
Passing parked cars requires you to be constantly alert for hazards: cars pulling out without warning, sudden opening of doors on the traffic side or pedestrians stepping out from between cars.
Watch for warning clues:
- front wheels turned out
- driver sitting behind the wheel
- exhaust from tail pipes
- brake lights
The laws governing the operation of a motor vehicle must be carefully observed so that every good driving practice and safety rule is followed.
- Backing a bus should be undertaken with the utmost care and caution. The driver should use the rear-view mirror and, if possible, turn and look back and have someone direct them. A professional driver backs slowly and cautiously and watches traffic conditions around the vehicle at all times. Backing should, however, be avoided wherever possible.
- Adverse weather conditions require adjustments to driving procedures. Every driver should exercise an exceptional degree of care and prudence during adverse weather conditions.
- A driver must adjust their speed to meet conditions. Additional hazards, such as narrow roads, sharp turns, narrow bridges, rough roads and severe dust conditions must be anticipated, recognized and safely met.
- No passenger should be allowed to occupy any position that would interfere with the vision of the bus driver to the front, sides or rear.
- The driver should not leave the bus without first stopping the engine and removing the ignition key, setting the brakes and putting the manual transmission in its lowest gear and out of gear in an automatic transmission.
- All doors should be tightly closed whenever the bus is in motion.
- The bus should be heated and ventilated properly.
- At no time should the bus be loaded beyond its licensed capacity.
- Buses carrying passengers must stop as far to the right as possible and at a recommended distance of not less than 5 m (15 ft.) from the nearest rail, at all uncontrolled railway crossings. These are railway crossings where no automatic signals or flagperson is stationed. The driver should make note of the number of railway tracks and, before proceeding, make sure that no trains are approaching from either direction.
- When stopped at railway crossings the driver may open the door of the bus and listen for approaching trains.
- The driver should avoid situations that require quick stops. Stopping and starting a bus should be a gradual and smooth operation.
- The driver must not permit any unauthorized person to occupy the driver’s seat or to operate the bus or any of its controls.
- A driver of a passenger vehicle shall not collect fares, or take on or discharge passengers while the vehicle is in motion, nor may they engage in unnecessary conversation with passengers while driving the vehicle.
When driving, your view ahead and to the sides must not be obscured in any way. You must also have full movement of your arms and legs, and have ready access to emergency equipment at all times.
No passenger may sit to your left when you are driving. In the case of a sedan-type vehicle, a maximum of two passengers (in addition to the driver) may be seated on the front seat only if there is adequate room for the driver to operate the vehicle safely.
Standing is prohibited on public service vehicles other than a local transit vehicle.
Passengers are not allowed to ride on the running boards, fenders or any part of the vehicle other than the seats.
Drivers of local transit vehicles should not permit passengers to stand to their right, so as to obstruct their view.
Refusal to transport passengers
No person may be refused passage on a public passenger vehicle when they presents themselves at any regularly scheduled stopping-place and tenders the legal fare, unless at the time the vehicle is carrying the maximum authorized number of passengers.
Passage may be refused to someone who is intoxicated, disorderly or who is using profane language.