Dodging Cars, Bikes and People Behind the Wheel of a Bus | NBC4 Washington

Dodging Cars, Bikes and People Behind the Wheel of a Bus

News rides along with a Metrobus driver



    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011)

    Most people have had to dodge a bicyclist or a pedestrian darting into traffic, but imagine having to do it with a 40-foot-long loaded bus. That's a reality for Metrobus operators, and near-misses happen more than you might think.

    The Metrobus fleet has almost 1,500 buses, each equipped with surveillance cameras inside and outside. Video from those cameras shows how much operators are tested.

    “You see? It's saying don't walk but people still run across the street ‘cause all they see is a green light,” 21-year veteran operator Lawrence Cole said.

    Metro’s 2,400 bus drivers are trained to react quickly to cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

    “See the cab driver?” Cole asked. “He's making a left right in front of me.”

    Cole said his reality isn’t just getting riders from point A to point B. A significant task and burden is maneuvering the slalom that is his route.

    “People, like this guy, just walk right in front of you on a cell phone,” Cole said. “He's not paying attention. So we have to be mindful of those people.”

    The near misses caught on bus cams are the reasons Jack Requa, Metro’s operations chief, put drivers through eight weeks of training.

    “We're one of the most congested cities in the country,” he said,” and things are not getting any better, so we've got to do everything we can to get our operators prepared to deal with those on a regular basis.”