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Author Topic: BUS "STOP" School  (Read 2891 times)
christihargis
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« on: July 27, 2009, 07:47:26 AM »

Hello all, I need some help in the Bus stopping dept. We are in CO. and the Rural Routes have many stop lights as you come upon the towns but the speeds are still up around 45 mph AND the lights are very fast to change. Mrs. Jones can't stop on a dime. I/we could use some insite on this one. Do I creep through the towns and invoke lots of single digit waving? I need a bit of BUS "STOP" School! Thanks, Michael (on Christi's computer)
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 07:50:09 AM by christihargis » Logged
bobofthenorth
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 08:02:10 AM »

I look at least 1/2 a mile ahead in those situations and try to time my arrival so I don't have to stop.  It doesn't always work and it means you simply can't give a damn about the finger wavers behind you.  I consider stepping hard on the brakes as a sign that I have screwed up no matter what the circumstances.  The Jake & the engine are for normal slowing - the brakes are for emergencies.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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uncle ned
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 08:16:11 AM »



  I am with Bob. I always run the back roads or the blue roads through the small towns. I run at my speed and rally find any one who does cares, If they give me the one finger wave I just smile and ignore them. That is the right us "old" people have.

When I travel i want to see the country not the signs on the interstate. And i am not in a hurry.

uncle ned
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 08:17:37 AM »

Rule #1
    Might Makes Right

Rule #2
    Buses are BIGGER than Toyota's

Rule #3
    See Rule #1

Actually, I have developed philosophy.

I have 2 possible speeds in my bus. If you don't like this one, you'll probably REALLY hate the other one.

Take your time, slow down as needed, and do it all as if you know what your doing. I would rather see you in one piece with no dents in the sides or front, than on the evening news about how some crazed musician in an old converted bus blew through all the stop lights in town an ended up smashing through a station wagon full of cub scouts.

Besides, the one finger salute is just the lesser folk acknowledging that you are Number ONE!
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uncle ned
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 08:20:41 AM »

Dallas

We can run across sc with marginal brakes. just have to take it slow.

great trip with good people

uncle ned
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 08:22:31 AM »

Marginal brakes? LOL, that trip to NCBobs had me with one working brake.... the right front!

Dallas

We can run across sc with marginal brakes. just have to take it slow.

great trip with good people

uncle ned
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poppi
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2009, 09:23:29 AM »

 As stated before
    
 Also if there is a cross walk light I use that as an indicator that the light will be changing.
 the cross walk lights change before the street signal.

 I have talked to the engineer that used to manage the street signals and he said sorry but
 lights are set up for passenger vehicles not big rigs or pickups pulling horse trailers

  In his words we are supposed to know better and adjust our driving habits..........  Sad

   Skip
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 09:31:49 AM by poppi » Logged

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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 10:06:46 AM »

Skip reminded me with his cross walk comment, there's something I watch regularly.  That is the traffic lined up at the cross streets.  A lot of lights are controlled by pavement sensors so, if you have one of them with a long line-up of traffic then you can bet that it is going to change.  Even the ones that aren't controlled by sensors are timed for "average" traffic patterns so there's a good chance that if there's lots of people waiting for the light to change in their favour it may just do that.  Its not a perfect system but it helps you decide when you're 150 yards out facing a green light whether to speed up or slow down.  And I always have a mental go/no go line - once I cross that line I'm going through the intersection unless something pulls directly in front of me. 

And another thing.  I HATE towns that sit in the bottom of a valley and put red lights at the bottom of a 7% grade and then put up signs telling me not to use my Jakes.  In those cases I use the Jakes all the way through town.  If I ever get stopped I will contest the ticket and ask the judge if he would rather I arrived in town with hot brakes so that when his grand daughter steps off the curb I can't stop. 
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2009, 10:26:43 AM »

M & C, I can't add much to the already good advice, because I agree! I don't like to go fast through any town, cause that means I have to do a quick stop if some idiot pulls out in front of me, while I'm blasting away with our air horn. I go my speed not theirs! As far as the one finger salute, I just smile and wave with five fingers! Roll Eyes Besides we are a lot bigger and heavier, so who cares if we drive slower than the traffic! I sure don't! I don't have jakes, so I can't rat-a-tat-tat through town like Bob! I like his style! Roll Eyes

Paul
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 10:34:43 AM »

Just remember that the service brakes are the brakes, and the jakes are for minor assistance in keeping the bus at speed on down grades.  You'll probably get better gas mileage turning the jakes off and letting the bus coast up to stops, and use the brakes to stop it. 

Also, the speed limit is the UPPER limit, a concept that is almost forgotten these days.  Drive as fast/slow as you feel comfortable, and practice smooth braking to a full stop with the service brakes.  That's a mark of an expert driver, back when I was driving for a living.

Just my opinion, worth every penny paid!
Brian
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 10:45:22 AM »

I live in an area with a lot of elderly drivers plus a lot of ag equipment and trucks (some driven by the aforementioned elderly! Cheesy). It seems that one is slowing down traffic wherever you go so I just go with the flow. I've ridden my motorcycle in Colorado at above the posted speed limits and had vehicles right on my a$$. I'm sure they really wouldn't care for the speed that the bus should be taking. Don't let the driving habits of some of the oxygen depleted inhabitants of that area bother you. Most are ok and you'll be able to tell the idiots by the wave!! Later
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 11:06:49 AM »

Also, the speed limit is the UPPER limit, a concept that is almost forgotten these days.  Drive as fast/slow as you feel comfortable, and practice smooth braking to a full stop with the service brakes.  That's a mark of an expert driver, back when I was driving for a living.

We used to have a lot of drivers working for us - up to 30 in season - and you could pretty quickly separate the pros from the amateurs by how they came into the yard.  You'd never even hear the pros - they'd roll to a stop with a faint hiss of air for the final stop.  The amateurs you could hear bouncing over the railroad tracks half a mile away and they'd arrive in the yard with loud squawks from the brakes, air blasting and the whole truck shaking when it stopped.  The foreman for one of the local dehy plants used to follow his trucks down the backroads watching for overuse of the brakes and fire the worst offenders and I can't say I blamed him.

 
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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BG6
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2009, 08:52:12 PM »

Hello all, I need some help in the Bus stopping dept. We are in CO. and the Rural Routes have many stop lights as you come upon the towns but the speeds are still up around 45 mph AND the lights are very fast to change. Mrs. Jones can't stop on a dime. I/we could use some insite on this one. Do I creep through the towns and invoke lots of single digit waving? I need a bit of BUS "STOP" School! Thanks, Michael (on Christi's computer)

You HAVE to stop for the light.  That's not a question.  The only question is how slow you have to drive to be able to stop in time.

I used to drive a big truck, and when anyone got upset that I was in front of them, my thought was that if they had just hit the road a couple of minutes earlier, they would be in front of me somewhere, so it was THEIR choice to be behind me.
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RJ
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2009, 10:16:12 PM »

Michael -

You've given a classic description of what happens when you don't "read the road ahead".

Too many drivers are too focused on the car immediately in front of them, to really know what's going on.

GET YOUR EYES UP!

Driving your coach (you didn't mention what you've got), you've got the advantage over the four-wheelers:  You can SEE what's going on ahead of you.

Use that to your advantage, as mentioned by Bob, Dallas, Ned, and others.  15 to 20 seconds ahead of you is where a good percentage of your scanning should focus.  Let your peripheral vision pick up clues to what the guy in front of you is doing. (You ARE maintaining a "1 second per 10 mph" following distance, aren't you?  Especially in town. . .)

Read the road for clues: brake lights, turn signals, crosswalk "walk/don't walk" displays, overall traffic patterns, etc.  Adjust your speed accordingly.

One guide is to accelerate the first 1/3rd of a long block, hold steady w/ a light throttle the middle 1/3rd, and cover the brake for the final 1/3rd.  Very useful in unfamiliar surroundings especially.

Get out of high gear and run in a lower one.  Four speed?  (Manual or automatic, doesn't matter.)  Maybe keeping it in 2nd is a good idea (up to 30 - 35 mph) or perhaps 3rd (40 -45 mph).  When you come off the throttle, especially if you've got your jake on, you'll start slowing down before the service brakes take effect - a slight safety margin sometimes.  Annoying to the locals, tho.

As Brian & Bob mentioned, the mark of a smooth operator is minimal use of the brakes by watching your speed and gentle controlled stops.

Ignore those behind you, other than paying attention to what's there.  If you have to jump on the binders and a four-wheeler stuffs himself up your exhaust pipe, guess who gets the worst end of the deal?

Oh, and pay particular attention to rapidly diminishing speed limits coming into small towns - sure sign of a "revenue generation station" ahead!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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christihargis
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2009, 11:41:19 PM »

Opps, Sorry all about the intel on the Bus, it is a 1987 MCI 102a3 AKA  "MRS. Jones"
Thank you all for the GREAT tips. We will them wisely. I can hear the cheer now, "We're #1, We're #1" Grin
All the best, Michael Hargis
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2009, 07:51:23 AM »

Drive like you are lost or looking for something usually works.

Set your speed goal to about 25 mph and watch for Idiots.

Usually you should be able to get to 25 and get stopped quickly enough if the
need arises.
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2009, 09:30:56 AM »

Marginal brakes? LOL, that trip to NCBobs had me with one working brake.... the right front!
Dallas
We can run across sc with marginal brakes. just have to take it slow.
great trip with good people
uncle ned

Yeah, that was quite a trip.  Jack
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2009, 12:09:20 PM »

A 102A3 should have lots of stopping power under it.

It might be expectations/perspectives/experience or it might be a maintenance issue.

Maybe find another busnut to take your rig for a spin?

Have you measured the brake adjustment?

Have the brakes been torn down for inspection while in your care?

Rare that a used bus has had money spent on its brakes before it was sold.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2009, 12:49:19 PM »

Maybe find another busnut to take your rig for a spin?

   Well ok then I'll bite.... Michael on your way to Missoula stop by and we'll have some fun on the passes around here Smiley
    I'm sure we can find some 7% grade dirt roads if you are up for some dust  Grin   

     all joking aside if you doubt the brakes then when able have them checked out by a competent shop.
   later
 Skip
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christihargis
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2009, 02:18:20 PM »

Hello All, just a note ; Mrs. Jones is fine, Christi is FINE! and our brakes are fine. We were just looking some bus driving techniques from the masters. Thanks to all, M&C
PS> We love Bob of the North and Cody...........BUS!
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2009, 02:57:40 PM »

When I get the one finger wave, I usually just blow them a kiss and smile!   Roll Eyes

You are responsible for your vehicle, not the people behind you. Drive it at the speed that is comfortable for you, and that includes being able to stop for a short cycle light without going
to panic mode. 

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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2009, 11:18:47 AM »

Drive so that your passengers can drink out of an open cup.
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christihargis
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2009, 01:01:25 PM »

Hey Len, That puts it into perspetive Grin, M&C
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2009, 02:49:14 PM »

Michael,

Ever think of putting the old one finger salute as a graphic on your rear cap? At least you would beat them to the punch!

When driving I pretty much don't care what others may be thinking. I focus on controlling what I have in my hands and under my feet. When I started out driving a bus I needed to look further down the road in order to maintain better lane control. I stay way back from the vehicle in front of me and if someone wants the lane I'm in they can have it. That being said it still won't protect you from an air head that changed lanes in front of me from behind a tractor trailer that took my lane leaving a work zone on I-80 in New Jersey this June. The airhead must have thought I could see the little dark blue Honda Civic through my entrance door and since the tractor trailer had changed lanes something must be blocking the #3 lane - NOT! I was amazed that she did not know where the butt end of her car was compared to the bus. But hey, the whole car did not have a straight panel on it. Obviously she has control problems. A New Jersey Trooper gave her a salutation on paper. Damage cost about $1,300 - stainless is expensive!
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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2009, 03:46:09 PM »

 EB,>Sad Honey said "NO" on the rear cap salute. There must be another way Grin, M&C
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