Friday, May 15, 2009

Route 196 in Bus 179

Yesterday was a bad day. I was covering the 2nd school on a route and my bus came in contact with another vehicle's mirror. This is considered a preventable accident and carries a lot of consequences.

So I was suspended from driving today and I am no longer part of the Training Department. I am to report to work on Monday for re-training. Usually an accident is a mandatory 5 day suspension at minimum. That would cost me and my family far more than the damage done to that SUV's mirror. The conversation with my manager left me with the impression that he seemed to feel like I did this on purpose. I found that interesting.

I'm trying to fill my time with anything to take my mind off of this.

Some of the frustration I'm having is the reason I was covering the route. Apparently the regular driver wasn't able to do his 2nd school because... wait for it... wait for it... he had to go to the bathroom! I heard this today and I'm still not sure what it means. We had random mandatory drug tests for some drivers yesterday and I guess this driver was one of them and drinking a whole bunch of water caused him not to be able to drive his route. So they had him come back to base and go home to pee or something like that. So that was weird. The way that this is handled is dispatch calls me to head over to the school and do a route. Now usually when you do someone else's route you take their route copy that includes a map. Here I only had a list of stops and it's assumed I know my way around like google maps. I can manage through a route like that with no map. But having NEVER done this route before, my first time I'm constantly calculating where I am and where I need to go sorting through my memory of St. Paul WHILE keeping the kids controlled AND safely driving a bus through the streets of St. Paul. This no map detail just added to the load my attention was dealing with.

So for one moment I forgot this bus rides too far to the right or something.

I have no excuse in the end for hitting a mirror, but I feel that it does need to be mentioned that this whole thing happened in a transit style bus- the flat nose kind of bus. These buses ride differently than the regular conventional types. The driver seat is right up against the left wall of the bus and this causes drivers to drive more to the right I guess based on where you're used to riding in the road. I believe this was a major factor in the incident.

While on his route I had to contact dispatch over a kid who has been getting off at a stop all year that wasn't on the route copy. That was also weird and probably added to the strangeness stress of the day. Good that it was exposed finally, I guess.
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