Jump to content

CMBC transit operator application and training: Questions and Answers


Recommended Posts

A couple times in the morning going to school I would see ride a 319 Newton Exch Express, but the bus was on time and everything. Maybe he was late earlier and forgot to removed it but that was his second trip so I doubt it, so maybe he felt like putting it on ? Also after school I would ride the 325 Newton Exch Express but I knew why it was an express, since that trip comes off the 337 Surrey Ctrl Stn Express.

I got a question, how come when a bus driver gets a call from that phone, he has to wait like 5 seconds to pick it up, even if he's idle ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 86
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Not sure of any timelines, but we seem to be hiring a significant number of drivers at the moment.  I think it would depend on how many trainees have successfully completed the pre-employment screenin

Not sure about the reference. But for driving routes there is no definite answer to that, they give route training to new operators and if you move depots. Also if your on spareboard you can get any

The battery electric buses should spell the end for diesel buses. Trolleys can detour using EPU, for such things as road blockages and the like. For planned detours (road races and such) other buses c

I present to you a situation.

Due to traffic and long boarding times, you are 30 minutes late. You cant afford to wait and pick up more passengers any longer. Are you allowed to put a PR saying "EXPRESS" or "DROP OFF ONLY" to the signboard? Or do you call someone to fill in the gap?

Reason im asking, I was taking 320 one day and I saw another 320 coming the other way saying "320: LANGLEY CENTRE "EXPRESS". Searching on Tcomm, it was 25 minutes down.

Just keep moving along, do all the pick-up and drop-offs as I normally would, and I won't even bother call TComm unless I'm the only person delayed for a unique reason (ie: mechanical defects, road blocks, protests,dewiring like there's no tomorrow when I was new and unfamiliar with those damn buses with funky poles :P ), otherwise just go with the flow if there aren't any special reasons beyond traffic congestions / passenger loads. All of us are taught in training to prioritize safety under all circumstances, and safety is the first thing that should be considered when deciding over any situations. Drive safe, take adequate recovery breaks (ie: use the bathroom, take a quick walk, have a quick bite to eat) to ensure we are capable to carry out the duties of the job safely. Schedule is only a general guidance, it's a basic framework giving general guidelines as to where your bus should be at certain given times; however, it is only to be adhered when it is safe to do so, without compromising customer service quality.

Most times when you are running late, everybody else is also late........except for the one or two keeners who try to speed and bypass stops to go back on schedule, which actually screws up the system because when you decide to bypass a stop, what you are essentially doing is irresponsibly passing on your workload to other fellow operators behind you who have to pick up the people that you left behind, while also having to deal with angrier crowds who are unhappy because you decide to go back on schedule by all means necessary. By the end of the day, it's a zero-sum game.........you gain comes at the expense of someone else's loss, there's no freebies as so to speak!

If you call TComm, they will give you ways to short-turn or NIS to another location and start picking up there, and you don't have to give them any good reasons either, it's all part of the expected and it doesn't factor into their consideration process. Instead, what they are most interested to know is whether short-turning one bus will set off a domino in the system: it doesn't make sense to get one back on schedule while the other 5 buses are all just as late as you are, because what that will do is tip the balance of the route system and bundle up buses in groups instead of getting every bus equally spread apart, and that's when you get the public commenting "I waited for 30 minutes nothing came then suddenly 5 Fraser buses arrived together!"

A couple times in the morning going to school I would see ride a 319 Newton Exch Express, but the bus was on time and everything. Maybe he was late earlier and forgot to removed it but that was his second trip so I doubt it, so maybe he felt like putting it on ? Also after school I would ride the 325 Newton Exch Express but I knew why it was an express, since that trip comes off the 337 Surrey Ctrl Stn Express.

I got a question, how come when a bus driver gets a call from that phone, he has to wait like 5 seconds to pick it up, even if he's idle ?

Anybody can put up the express sign, some drivers do it just for fun, while there are practical purposes to some routes. For instance, the 49 "express" do not go through Champlain Heights.........when I'm driving the 430, I always put the express sign up as to remind those waiting for the 49 that the 430 is a limited-stop service and doesn't go through Champlain Heights.

Good observation! The way the tcomm system is set up, if you pick up the phone right away as soon as the call comes in, the conversation between you and tcomm defaults to public mode, meaning everybody on the bus can hear the conversation. If you wait for 5 seconds until the tmac screen says "private call connected" before picking up the phone, the conversation switches to private mode and not be broadcasted on the bus PA system.

I'm not sure if you can relate to this but how come I would see drivers driving many different routes during the same week. For an example I would see this driver drive the 319, then the next day the 96, then the day after the 321 o.O . I thought that drivers are assigned to given routes per sheet or am I completely wrong. ( probably the second one ).

I'll answer your question in my response to the next question =)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody can put up the express sign, some drivers do it just for fun, while there are practical purposes to some routes. For instance, the 49 "express" do not go through Champlain Heights.........when I'm driving the 430, I always put the express sign up as to remind those waiting for the 49 that the 430 is a limited-stop service and doesn't go through Champlain Heights.

Good observation! The way the tcomm system is set up, if you pick up the phone right away as soon as the call comes in, the conversation between you and tcomm defaults to public mode, meaning everybody on the bus can hear the conversation. If you wait for 5 seconds until the tmac screen says "private call connected" before picking up the phone, the conversation switches to private mode and not be broadcasted on the bus PA system.

I'll answer your question in my response to the next question =)

Oh I see, I've noticed that some drivers put up the Express signage on the 49 Express and the 430, but not all the time.

That makes a lot more sense now, since sometimes I would hear what they're talking about over the PA system, thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Or can you explain how sheets work?

Sure, here's a quick and basic list of things that will give you a general concept on how sheets work, and how drivers are assigned to work.

There are 4 sheets per year, divided over the 4 seasons: The December "Winter" sheet, the April "Spring" sheet, the June "Summer sheet", and the September "Fall sheet"..........4-6 weeks before every sheet change, drivers take their turns to sign their own work in their own depots, based according to seniority. Senior men sign before junior men do.

The September "Fall Sheet" is also known as the "Consolidated sign-up", this is the one time of the year that sign-up takes approximately 4 weeks or 20 working days to complete system-wide. Any operators can sign work from any of the 6 depots in Lower Mainland given that there is work available for signing. In the recent years, Poco has always proven to be the most senior garage, followed by Surrey, then Richmond, then Burnaby, finally left with Vancouver and North Vancouver. However, Consolidated sign-up is NOT the only way for operators to move around depots in the system. Operators can also sign their names onto depot holding lists on ANY days of the year, and operators will be moved around the system from the holding list pending on immediate needs of different depots. Typically speaking, most operators will be moved around just before and shortly after signups, adjusted according to changing manpower requirements planned for and following after sheet changes.

As an operator, when it is your turn to sign, you have the following general options:

1.) Regular index: for those who enjoy stability! Same days off + Same work, many operators are creatures of habits and they like following steady routines, 49 Monday to Friday, 5/6 owl day after day, etc.

2.) Day-off Block indexes: for those who enjoy stability but also want a hint of variance! Same days off + same routine with different work every third day. These operators fill in the weekends of other operators, so you end up with the same piece of work for two days in a row, then you do another index for two days in a row, finishing with a different index on your fifth day. I tried day-off blocking in my first sign up, I worked an index that does a 14 AM tripper and a 5/6 PM tripper on Monday, another index that works an 8 AM tripper and a 4 Powell PM tripper for Tuesday Wednesday, a different index that works a 3 Main followed by a 25 for my second piece, finishing off with a straight 25 owl on Sunday night. Lots of variety of routes, but it's a routine that goes for every week.

3.) Holiday Block indexes: for those who like to know what they are getting themselves into ahead of time, but enjoys different work every week! Days off + Work indexes change from week to week, these operators fill in for other operators away on vacation. You may end up on the spareboard for one week, a day-off block index in the second week, a regular index in the third week, but at least you know exactly what you're doing for the most part right from signup time.

4.) Spareboard: for those who HATE stability or routines, and LOVES the element of surprise day after day: you know when your days off are, and that's the only thing you know after your sign-up. From that point on, you won't find out your index for the next day until 6pm the day before..........personally, I love it, it's like opening a Christmas present everyday lol! Another advantage of being a spareboard operator is you get first dips in signing overtime work if there's any, spareboard operators can sign OT work before signed operators, regardless of seniority. If there's one piece of OT work and I'm a spareboard operator, I can remove the signature of a signed operator and claim that piece of work with my own name, even if that signed operator has 50 years of seniority while I only have 6 months!

Answering ninjakafi81's question, what you're seeing are spareboard operators, these guys work different routes everyday, and until 6pm comes they would have NO clue what they are driving the next day even if you want to know lol!

Dave

Link to post
Share on other sites

ninjakafi81, on 09 Jul 2014 - 11:39 PM, said:snapback.png

I'm not sure if you can relate to this but how come I would see drivers driving many different routes during the same week. For an example I would see this driver drive the 319, then the next day the 96, then the day after the 321 o.O . I thought that drivers are assigned to given routes per sheet or am I completely wrong. ( probably the second one)

Some shifts are designed to work different routes. Day off blocking for example works the off days of other shifts. For example driver X drives the 17 with S/S off, and driver Y drives the rte 8 with T/F off, so this particular shift you will see that driver on the 17 on S/S and on the 8 on T/F, and something else on Monday. He will have T/W off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine that I knew who used to be a driver (I think she's retired now) showed me around VTC during the consolidated sign-up several years ago. She showed me the big sign-up board and all the indexes that are signed, etc. for each depot.

She mentioned an oddity that happened to her once, that was happening to an operator there signing up. There was a split-shift (early morning, early afternoon) that ran Monday to Friday (weekends off) that was the exact same block number. This particular one was for a 16, and the operator I knew had done this on a 41 once too. The run was a start-up in the depot around 6:00 AM, off at 41st and W. Blvd northbound around 9:30. Then it was the exact same run again about 4 hours later with a pickup at 41st and W. Blvd (can't remember if it was north or south) around 1:30 and off again there around 5:30.

Apparently there's usually at least one oddity at each depot during each signup, ranging from something like the above, or even a pickup on the road of a vehicle heading to the yard (another thing my friend had done -- a pickup of a "10 41st and Oak" from Davie & Granville coming off a 5/6, and running it behind another bus up to 41st).

Have you seen any oddities yourself that are easy to describe?

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some odd walk over split shifts, meaning the split is less than 15 minutes. When I was in NVT, there were two indexes that started around the same time and ended at about the same time at the depot. However, for the split, the drivers switched buses at phibbs exchange about half way through the shift. Completely pointless, not sure why they made it that way. There are allot of weird shifts. I personally had a split shift on the 3, got off at the depot then had 10 minutes to get to marine stationwhich is not possible. When I got to marine station, the bus had been sitting there for about 15 minutes already and still had about 20 more minutes to wait before departure.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

So my friends got clever and decided to cut out a 4 on an old monthly pass and used it to replace the 3 on a december 2013 pass. Will drivers ever notice the difference? Do drivers have to memorize what each monthly pass looks like for the month?

Transit operators are smarter than your friend thinks; the inconsistency in the pass' features will be very evident. They will get away with it only so long as they deal with drivers who do not concern themselves with fares; they will eventually come across someone who either does care or has the authority to issue them a ticket. I hope your friend has $173 to spare; they will need it pretty soon; they may even need a lawyer if charged with fraud (unlikely, but also possible).

Forward this link to your friend...

http://yourlaws.ca/criminal-code-canada/380-fraud-0

Link to post
Share on other sites

So my friends got clever and decided to cut out a 4 on an old monthly pass and used it to replace the 3 on a december 2013 pass. Will drivers ever notice the difference? Do drivers have to memorize what each monthly pass looks like for the month?

There are several security features on monthly passes. These do change monthly. I check and usually catch several fraudulent passes each day. The first of the month is great as many people either forget to buy a new pass or forget to change over to the next months pass.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There used to be a three day grace period on monthly passes so draconian transit employees would be kept in check. Is that gone?

ETS has a three day grace period. When I moved here and made an inquiry as to any grace periods I just got blank looks from operators.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There used to be a three day grace period on monthly passes so draconian transit employees would be kept in check. Is that gone?

So far as I am aware there is no 'Official' grace period. Personally though, I simply ask passengers with the previous months pass if they are aware of the date. Many times they do in fact have the new pass and just need to bring it out of hiding behind the expired one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally let it go for the first few days and I think security may let it go for a few days or up to a week depending on where in the week a month starts. Even though the passes are available for 2 weeks in advance, for some people they may not be able to get the pass until the next pay day which may be after the first of the month. This is just my opinion and what I've heard, nothing official.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

In case anybody has any questions, I have just completed my first week of Conventional Operator Training! Feel free to ask questions and I'll try to answer as best I can as I go along!

And yes, it is A LOT of work! :)

Try and pick the brains of those in the training department and find out what classes are looking like for the next few months ;)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Try and pick the brains of those in the training department and find out what classes are looking like for the next few months ;)

From what I've heard they have put a hold on the training (for now) as they currently have enough operators.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...