Emergency Management Week
Q&A with Stuart Kendrick
Read more below on a past Q&A with Stuart Kendrick senior vice-president of Greyhound Canada, the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in Canada
EMC: What are the main safety risks Greyhound faces?
Stuart Kendrick: One critical safety risk is bus collisions. Safety is the number one thing, so you want to limit your number of collisions. When they’re hired, drivers go through a seven-week training program and, each year, have a refresher on all areas of driving. The keys are monitoring road conditions, adjusting speed and following distance to conditions, being aware, checking mirrors, knowing surroundings—no different than when you’re driving a car, but you’re driving a 45-foot bus, with many people behind you.
Weather is the biggest risk. In winter, with snow and ice, you must plan ahead and make sure that communications from the operations group to the drivers and front-line staff is at a high level. And at the end of the day, when you’ve got bad storms that will affect your schedule, you have to decide whether you’re better off not to operate. And we do that. We delay and sometimes cancel service because of extreme weather.
EMC: How are drivers taught to deal with difficult passengers?
SK: You do have unruly passengers from time to time. Drivers have a lot of training in identifying these things before they’re on the road, recognizing potential issues before people board the buses. If someone is acting a little unruly before they get on the bus, chances are they’ll do something when they’re on the bus. If somebody seems a little out of order, there’s a way you can speak to that person before, “What seems to be the issue? You seem to be acting a little out of line.” If that person responds in a negative manner, then quite clearly the driver has a right to not accept that passenger.
If there’s an issue on board, the first thing drivers do is pull over safely and address the issue. If they can deal with it themselves and calm the issue down, so be it. If not, they’re instructed right away to dial 911 and get assistance from local authorities.
EMC: After the murder of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in July 2008, did the company modify driver training?
SK: We had a lot of training in prior to that. I’d prefer not to discuss much about that because it’s ongoing in our system. But we do conduct [passenger] screening in the major facilities and have done that. And really, the onus is back on the driver to try and recognize the issue before or en route and address it the way I just described.
*Originally published in Emergency Management Canada Spring 2015