Bus delays – and a smart way to prevent the problem

Written by Eric Jones,

The bus driver has a delicate job, which rightly puts a great deal of pressure on him as passengers expect to reach their destination right on time. It is basically the same whether driving a school bus, a public city bus, or a coach. Any delays may have consequences ranging from just irritation to compensation claims. Thus, preventing delays is a good way to make the bus driver’s day a bit easier.

Bus driver – the most responsible job

Being a professional driver can be stressful. For the commercial truck driver, keeping up with a schedule for punctual deliveries could be vital for the profitability of the operation, but still, it's 'only' material things. The bus driver has yet another challenge as he carries the most precious cargo of all – human passengers. Not only is the driver responsible for the passengers’ safety but also, passengers themselves expect the driver to deliver them to their destination on time. Be it a crowd of children on their way to school, or commuters aiming to catch a connecting train – if there is a risk of delay, the stress for the bus driver is likely higher than that for a commercial driver facing the risk of delay. In this way, the bus driver job can be considered as the most responsible and stressful of all.

Some things can be foreseen

A delay as such, cannot be foreseen since it in nature is a result of something unexpected occurring. When creating bus schedules, you can consider general conditions that may affect punctuality. For example, for a city bus, a certain distance will likely take longer to drive in rush hours than in the middle of the night. And, for a coach, speed limits and road conditions may well affect driving time. Such things can be foreseen and considered when scheduling.

In the end, many of the measures taken to make a bus transport operation run smoothly are about preventing delays. For example, keeping the engine in good working condition may seem like a no-brainer for the business operation, as the consequences of an engine failure will be a delay – and much hassle both for the driver and the passengers.

The unforeseen may cause delays

In regions where winter conditions can make roads icy and slippery, all bus drivers and fleet managers know that winter tires and attentive driving are vital for safety – and for reducing the risk of delays accordingly. And, where icy roads are commonplace, even more measures are often taken in the form of traction aids like tire chains and sacks of sand stowed in a compartment, just in case…

Prepare for the unexpected

Preparing for the unexpected is not only about equipment, it is also a state of mind. If properly prepared, you believe that you can cope with a problem should it occur. This is why the tire chains in the stowing compartment make you feel secure. Should roads become too icy for safe driving, the tire chains will effectively increase traction and keep the bus safely on the road. However, the mounting time and effort will cause a delay – and possibly stress the bus driver.

The optimal way to avoid delays

Although not feasible in practice, permanently mounted tire chains would minimize the risk of delays on icy roads. Yet, there is an option with instant engagement of tire chains when needed. Automatic tire chains are engaged and disengaged at the flip of a switch, without even having to stop the bus. With such automatic chains, the bus driver avoids delays and can keep up with the schedule – at the same passenger safety level as conventional chains provide.

As automatic tire chains are quite common on commercial trucks and rescue vehicles, they are still rather uncommon on buses. It is remarkable since the bus driver may be the driver who would benefit the most from avoiding delays yet keeping passengers safe. I believe that automatic tire chains are a smart investment in passenger safety, avoiding delays, and bus driver's peace of mind.

To learn how automatic tire chains, make school bus drivers' everyday life a little easier, download the case study from Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Colorado.

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Eric Jones

About Eric Jones

Eric is the Global Sales Director for the Onspot brand. He has over 15 years of industry experience and received an MBA from Ball State University. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and being active outdoors. On the weekend, you can normally find Eric enjoying a craft beer with food sizzling on the grill.


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