Because of social distancing, classrooms and schoolbuses can only be filled to one-fourth of their capacities. This constraint alone requires that a broad range of dramatic changes be made in order for our children to return to physical school without placing out entire population at greater risk than we already are.
Hopes, dreams, truth, lies, prayers and politics aside, one of the burning industry questions is: How do we get on the road again? In Part 1 of this series, I outlined a number of important roles motorcoaches could and should have played immediately when the outbreak began. Performance of these roles would have helped the country cope with the virus. It would have helped the industry, its businesses and its drivers survive it. It would have negated the related interruption in production, marketing, sales and maintenance of vehicles in support of this continuity.
The consequences of robots provide a stark contrast to the glistening, beautifully designed, brilliantly engineered, clean fuel-burning, energy-efficient vehicles displayed on the pages of NATIONAL BUS TRADER and other trade magazines. They are often creatively-deployed in well-marketed services, often optimizing both safety and comfort instead of trading one for the other
I would normally begin a series by exploring the origin of the problems. These would have included four decades of failure in multiple sectors of public transportation. Among its fellow modes, the motorcoach industry created the fewest of these failures. But the motorcoach industry has been limited in its capabilities...
With these dynamics, defensive driving is not a mere skill. It is a necessity. In their depositions, few professional drivers can identify even a handful of defensive driving principles...Robots have advantages beyond the elimination of jobs. Robots have no reaction time. They experience no fatigue. Disciplines like driver assignment cease to exist.
Early in my 42 years working in the public transportation field, I learned that the industry's Achilles Heel is negligent monitoring. Almost no one knows how to do this effectively. Few agencies or companies do this at all. Most of their officials do not care. So the industry is rife with crossing accidents, negligent retention, wheelchair tipovers and passenger molestation, among other common accident and incident scenarios.
In Part One of this short series, we explored the rudiments of reaction time and braking distance. The arithmetic for understanding both concepts was learned in the third grade (multiplication), fourth grade (long division), seventh grade (fractions) and eleventh grade (drivers' education).
Thankfully, mowing down pedestrians in a crosswalk is not yet commonplace. But it is also not rare. This incident scenario is most common to transit buses making left turns (see "The Danger Deterrent," NATIONAL BUS TRADER, April 2016) But it happens occasionally with almost every transportation mode. Yet the defenses almost always cited by the drivers are no match for someone with a high school diploma.