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About roamer

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    retired KCM operator and drove buses for over 30-years

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  1. Thanks, Tom! Yes, that's definitely an improvement. The A-pillar still could stand to be a bit narrower but what is a drastic improvement to me is the LOCATION of the left mirror. It is mounted lower and thus makes it much easier to see over the top of the housing in order to have a much improved view when making a left turn. This proves that a larger mirror housing can still be used as long as it's mounted in a position so as not to become a visual obstruction for the driver. Imagine if it was mounted higher in that particular illustration ...the bicyclist would be hidden behind the mirror housing. Thanks, Transit geek! Yes, I believe that I did see that somewhere else where a camera was proposed to be used in a bus to help a driver overcome the blind spot created by the A-pillar when making a left turn. It could work. I would have welcomed trying it out to see just how effective it would be. However, for me personally, I still believe that it would be much more effective and much less expensive just to move the left mirror housing so it wouldn't block the driver's view when making a left turn. For me, I found I could adequately compensate for a thick A-pillar but found it difficult to do so when a large left mirror housing was mounted at my eye-height in combination with a thick A-pillar. On my last diesel pusher motorhome, there were side-view cameras mounted on both sides which are now quite common on motorhomes. They display on a monitor the area along the side of the coach. I guess they're supposed to be a substitute for using mirrors while changing lanes as they are activated whenever the turn signals are used. As a former bus driver, I found them distracting and ineffective and ended up just disabling the feature. I was used to using mirrors correctly ...especially the convex mirrors to eliminate blind spots. I wonder if such cameras which attempt to eliminate the blind area behind the A-pillar would also be as distracting to me? I don't know. I think I posted this before but it's always worth posting again. It's from Brian Sherlock who was once a driver for KCM in Seattle and union officer at ATU Local 587. It sums up the what this thread is all about: Many buses have built-in blind spots that make driving them dangerous
  2. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    please delete - inaccurate or bogus assumptions I've also heard that rumor that teal would be discontinued. I guess we won't know for sure until the 7300 and 8100 fleets get filled in. The 8000s are the last order that has completely arrived and they have teal, correct? Not sure about "being down to 3 colors" as BLUE is still in the mix. So that makes 4 colors, correct? ...red, purple, blue, and green.
  3. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Oh, okay, thanks. I'm not connected to this facebook group ya'll's keep referring to. Yeah, I suppose the longer front overhang would scrape in some places. Too bad as I too prefer the look of the Xcelsior or Gillig BRT to the 7300s.
  4. Gillig product discussion

    Yeah, I agree. When I made my initial comments, I was only thinking about the very large agencies in both the U.S. and Canada as they are under pressure to convert to zero-emission fleets. You'd have to think that the smaller agencies will continue to buy diesel buses or possibly diesel-hybrids for decades.
  5. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Thanks for this. I was waiting to see what front cap they will have. I'm a little disappointed that they won't be the BRT style as they look so much better aesthetically but the visibility for the driver using the classic Advantage style is better so I have mixed feelings. The classic Advantage style looks outdated but I would personally feel more comfortable driving it compared to the better-looking more modern Advantage with BRT front cap.
  6. Gillig product discussion

    Ah, okay. Thanks. I read somewhere that the increased space at their new production facility was to someday accommodate producing artics. Not in the near future then? Yes, electric is definitely the future. As was being discussed over at the King County Metro thread, KCM is shooting for transitioning to a zero-emission fleet by 2034 in Seattle. The step is to have an all diesel-hybrid and electric (battery and trolley) by the end of 2018 and ordering only battery-electric buses by 2020 (including artics) so that once the diesel hybrids are all retired, the fleet will be 100% zero-emission hopefully no later than 2034. Post on the KCM thread showing video from KCM Seattle Times article published on Monday I guess it's the trend across North America: "Working with other transit agencies, manufacturers and utilities, we are accelerating the transition to a clean-energy future, not only in King County, but across North America.
  7. Gillig product discussion

    So what IS the latest on the rumor that Gillig is considering making artics at its new expanded Livermore plant? Quashed?
  8. Thank you for this, rickycourtney. "It remains unclear if the city believes blind spots are an issue, or contribute to more collisions." I get frustrated when I still read statements such as this. At this point, it should be perfectly clear that blind spots are in fact an issue. As I stated previously, the vast majority of transit managers, and probably all the directors of major transit agencies, have never driven transit buses in service over a long period of time. We're making progress as more and more transit managers are realizing the problem but it's been a quite a process in convincing them to seriously understand the issue. Just as the manager at TriMet refused to acknowledge that the blind spot had any contribution to the horrendous accident in Portland OR in 2010, many transit managers still hold to that mentality ...and that bus drivers should easily be able to compensate for the blind spot merely by "bobbing-and-weaving or rocking-and-rolling" in the drivers' seat -- it's an elementary and uncomplicated solution to them. It is an easy way out to simply put the entire blame for such accidents on the bus driver. And it's worth reiterating that I still believe and adamantly insist it's the responsibility of the employer to provide SAFE equipment for the bus operators to drive.
  9. Thanks for the comments. Yes, I agree that we all have to do a certain amount of "bobbing and weaving" when driving our own cars. I especially have to be aware when driving my pickup because of its larger mirrors. However, to me personally, there was a significant difference when driving a bus. When in my car or even pickup, I can usually cover the blind area with a less exaggerated bob-and-weave in order to be confident that nobody is being hidden by the blind area. In a bus, I had to do a lot more twisting-and-turning of the body to see around the obstructions. When the KCM Gillig Phantoms were new and had the infamous 8" x 15" mirror housing mounted where the top of the housing was several inches above eye height, I'd actually have to stand up out of the seat** at times so I could see above the housing as there was very little visual distance between the mirror housing and the A-pillar making the blind area almost like one big block where I couldn't bob-and-weave quickly enough to satisfy myself that there were no pedestrians hidden behind the blockage. Once KCM in Seattle went to the smaller mirror and mounted it in a much lower position, the difference was phenomenal. The stress was immediately lifted as the exaggerated rock-and-roll and twisting of the body --and standing up out of the seat-- to see around or above the mirror housing was no longer necessary. Sure, still needed was a more reasonable but required bob-and-weave but nowhere near the hardship of performing the overstated physical movements of trying to see around the obstacles in order to be sure no pedestrians were hidden behind the mirror and A-pillar. As somebody else mentioned toward the beginning of the thread more-or-less putting all the blame on bus drivers for these accidents, that even car drivers must compensate for the same blind area so why is it any different for a professional bus driver? As I say, all drivers have to compensate for blind spots but it's just so much more to compensate for in a bus that has a large mirror mounted at eye-level and a thick A-pillar. ** see 3:00 in the video below which is the one about SEPTA linked previously in this thread where another bus driver points out that it is sometimes necessary to stand up out of the seat in order to adequately compensate for the mirror housing blocking the ability to see pedestrians. https://vimeo.com/110666609
  10. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I'd be interested in what kinds of quality issues they are having too ...especially when compared with those coming from Minnesota. I wonder if this has anything to do with what remember reading not too long ago somewhere that at the old NABI plant, workers were not represented and I believe they're still not. NFI's other plants evidently are. As a result, morale was/is suffering amongst the workers in Anniston. Consequently, quality issues were (are?) rampant. Many extremely significant OSHA violations are occurring at Anniston also. I also seem to remember that another agency is refusing to accept any more from Anniston. Also, I wonder if there still exists the memorandum that KCM has to use a manufacturer whose workers are represented (wasn't there such an agreement. at one time or is my memory once again faulty?) and if not, if 587 is possibly putting pressure on them not to order further units coming from Anniston because they are currently being assembled by non-union workers? ...this, in additions to all the quality issues. I also seem to remember another article that said that the CWA (Communications Workers of America) that evidently represent NFI's workforce in Crookston, is attempting to organize the Anniston plant. Can somebody correct this information as this is, as typical, from my usual faulty memory nowadays? I'll so some Googling to see if I can bring up those references to see how accurate my memory is. Edited to add: These may have been some of the articles that I had read on which I was basing some of my guessing: This had to do with the OSHA violations that I made reference to: Community and Labor Groups Urge LA Metro to Refrain from Awarding New Flyer New Contracts The attempt to organize the Anniston plant: The surprising story of a labor union in Anniston Union membership being discussed at New Flyer
  11. Thanks, Tom! I was going to do some research on it myself today. You've saved me the time to do that tedious exercise. Much appreciated! Edited to add: Since I've received a lot of criticism, some in this very thread, arguing that any well-trained and conscientious bus driver should be able to compensate for the "blind spot" (the wide A-pillar and large left mirror mounted at eye-height), the one quote from that page titled "Blind Spot Accidents 'scar drivers for the longest time" which many should try to understand is this: "No matter how well he or she is trained, it only takes a split second for a blind spot to fool a driver into thinking no one's in the way" Believe me, I personally can attest to that. Even though I was trained well, was fully cognizant of the hazard, and also had an exemplary safety record, as mentioned ad nauseam from me in this thread, I came within inches of hitting a pedestrian while making a left turn in a bus. Why I was able to come to a sudden stop before mowing down the pedestrian who was legally crossing the street in a crosswalk and other drivers highlighted in this thread didn't as they did come in contact with the person crossing the street either killing or severely injuring them, is WAY beyond my comprehension.
  12. Oh, forgive me. Not only am I in the U.S. and not as familiar as I should be pertaining to Canadian unions, I'm participating on a Canadian message board forum. I'm embarrassed. So does Unifor represent the majority of drivers working for Canadian public transit agencies across Canada? For some reason, I was thinking that Unifor was the new auto workers' union.
  13. True. Not sure how to go about that. TWU, the next largest bus drivers' union doesn't appear to be as committed to the problem even though a huge of its members have also been involved with left-turn-pedestrian accidents. I have written and emailed their officers several times and have been ignored. Their convention is next week and I don't see a single resolution and their agenda that comes close addressing it.
  14. Thank you captaintrolley. As you know but others here may not, the ATU International is now ramping up their focus on this problem and it is included in their "Workstation Initiative" set of proposals. I've attached several pages from the ATU magazine, InTransit, May/June 2017 Issue (can be seen in its entirety HERE in a pdf). One is the separate page titled "Blind Spot Accidents 'scar drivers for the longest time'" But the page that follows sums up the EXACT POINTS made in this ENTIRE thread !!!! TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUS BLIND SPOTS Again, for those interested, you can read the entire ATU Workstation Initiative that includes all aspects of bus driver safety, health, and accident prevention pertaining to their "workstation" in the May/June 2017 magazine HERE Since I know the ATU now has this issue firmly in their focus, I not only can rest a little easier but maybe we can now put this thread to rest. Thanks everyone for putting up with this thread. Blind Spot Accidents 'scar drivers for the longest time.pdf TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUS BLIND SPOTS.pdf
  15. Portland TriMet

    lol ...proves my point about my faulty memory when I continue to spew out inaccurate facts and erroneous information as if I know what I'm talking about Sorry about that. I'll shut up for awhile.