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Bus Lanes in Canberra?

By peebus 5 April 2013 54

Hi Folks

I’m curious as to the legalities of the mini bus lanes at many Canberra intersections. I understand that they are there to allow busses a head start on the green so they can merge more safely in heavy traffic. But all too many times I’ve had busses come barrelling up from behind when traffic is flowing through on green only to have them use the bus lane and then push back in rather dangerously. Also worth mentioning is how many buses can use the lane together. I’ve seen as many as 4 buses stacked waiting for the bus light – where most intersections only cater timing for a single bus – thus the other few busses in the line make no further gain and again inconvenience normal traffic when they need to push back in.

Are buses allowed to use these bus lanes when the lights are already on green? Or the more pressing question – should busses be allowed to do this? Am I the only one who thinks these two issues are a dangerous practice? Discuss.

What’s Your opinion?


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Bus Lanes in Canberra?
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Pitchka 9:52 am 08 Apr 13

Took my son for his 1st bus ride yesterday (my first on over 20 years).. Bus left Tuggers depot 12 minutes late, driver drove along the wrong route..

Nice to see nothing has changed.

On the upside, Driver was very polite and friendly..

KB1971 7:45 am 08 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Oh quit your bitching, cry-baby. Off-road stops are an impossibility on the small streets you’re describing, for a whole bunch of reasons that have already been highlighted. If people want to overtake in the oncoming traffic lane then it’s on their heads that they’re risking people’s lives and “But I was stuck behind a bloody bus!” is not going to be a satisfactory answer for anybody in the event of a collision. The best solution to your problem is to get over yourself, then get over this.

And where are these whole bunch of reasons??? Apart from the disability thing [absolute nonsense if you ask me] and the “buses can’t keep schedule if they use bus stop bays”, not convincing or they wouldn’t have them. At least in my opinion.
Yes, if people take the risk of overtaking where it isn’t safe, it’s on their heads, but increasing the frequency of these circumstances only increases the chances of someone coming unstuck and becoming a regular user of the disabled bus services. I’m one of those who gets frustrated at how a bus in front of you can make your trip home after a hard day of work an absolute nightmare. Tired, anxious, impatient and not in the mood to hit the anchors when someone wants to get off the slow moving heavy vehicle in front I would rather see the two metres of government owned land being used for the bus to pull safely to the side and let the twenty vehicles behind continue their journey, rather than banking up three intersections behind [yes I’m exaggerating, but making a point nonetheless].
I am suggesting a means by which everything to do with bus stops becomes safer for everyone involved. If you think safety should be left to the whims of the risk-taking drivers out there [and we know there are plenty], then feel free to keep them in control of the future incidents that may have been prevented.

First world problem? I have a tip for you princess, its not all about you you know. Other people live in the world & they have just as much right to be there as you, even if they are on a bus.

It takes nothing more than seconds to let someone off a bus. how do you react when you get an actual problem in your life?

The other thing, you are always banging on at how cycle infrastructure and public art is a waste of money but you want the Govco to build a but layby at every bus stop so you cant get home a minute quicker in the afternoon?

As the good Dr says, get over yourself.

JC 9:00 pm 07 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Taxis and minibuses drop off people do they not? Occasionally cars and vans do too. Your opening reply does not nullify my point whatsoever. As for the boy you refer to, that is sad and unfortunate, but nothing to do with whether a bus stops in a siding or not. When a bus stops, it does not mean the cars in both directions stop, so being hit by an overtaking car or a car coming the other direction is much the same thing. That is why the doors on the bus are on the left, not on the right and why you wait for the bus to leave before crossing the road. Basic rules which if not adhered to produce a similar result, which I have also witnessed. Not at all the fault of the drivers, but of the passengers.
As pointed out in this post already, the rules are already there for cars to give way when a bus indicates to pull out into traffic and if every bus was to act like a mobile road block, never to be overtaken, what point would there be in having that rule? Not to mention the chaos the road network would become.

Sure taxis stop and drop people off, however it is not quite the same. As for mini buses don’t see too many of them around here.

But with the buses and the death of my friend it had EVERYTHING to do with a car overtaking a bus. Sure my friend (who was 14/15 at the time) contributed, but the accident occurred when a a car overtook a bus. A pull in bay would not help in that situation, in fact it would probably contribute to it happening more as the cars would be overtaking buses at a far greater speed. And for what to save you 30 precious seconds?

gooterz 7:42 pm 07 Apr 13

MrPC said :

In Melbourne a couple of years ago they started concreting in the old bus stop pull-in bays and reinstating normal bus stops that are parallel to the kerb. This was especially an issue when they started introducing large numbers of low floor buses, combined with service level upgrades on a few SmartBus routes.

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Moreinfoandservices/PublicTransport/BusProjects/BusStopImprovements.htm

See also page 6 of this PDF

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/FC0338A1-AE4A-4471-8D75-99AE36C6078F/0/vrpin013261.pdf

If a bay is provided, clearly the bus drivers are going to be using them. However, where they are not provided, you’re not going to see a great deal more of them built in the coming years. The ageing population (visual disabilities/sight line issues), the introduction of low floor buses (which if the bus is low on its air bags can lose the front step/primary exit if the driver misjudges the kerb location on a turn), and the need for bus stops to be properly designed for wheelchair visibility and access, will see to that.

I take it a train wouldn’t have the same problems?

Bring on light rail for the disabled.

One of the good things about trains is that they can open multiple doors at stops so have minimal waiting time, if buses opened their backdoors to let people on we’d have quicker buses.

Also if the lights were computer controlled on bus routes to automatically give busses priority we’d probably get halfway decent times, and would pretty much scrap the need for capital metro from Gungahlin to civic.

As the bus approaches the lights it trips it to give the bus green (you’d have to give enough time to go though proper amber etc for the other traffic).

They do this in the states for ambulances and EMT’s, which would also be handy in Canberra.

wildturkeycanoe 7:08 pm 07 Apr 13

JC said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

I
JC – Why should the traffic stop for the bus? Normally a car, van, minibus, taxi or otherwise that stops on the side of a road in any suburban street can let vehicles go around. Buses, just seem to be a little too big for this to occur and they always stop in a spot where it is illegal to pass.

The difference between a bus and the vehicles you describe is the fact that buses have people getting on and off them. Why should they stop? Well how about I give you the phone number of the parents of a friend of mine. When you call ask them how their son is. When they say he is dead ask them how he died. I’ll give you a hint, bus, bus stop car not stopping, you fill in the rest and having pull in bus bays on suburban roads won’t help, in fact it would make it worse because then the cars would not even have to slow down.

Like you I do occasionally get a little but shitty having to waiting for a bus to do it’s thing, ie pick-up and drop off passengers but in the grand scheme of things that minute or so of my time is nothing compared to the potential waste of life from someone getting killed.

Taxis and minibuses drop off people do they not? Occasionally cars and vans do too. Your opening reply does not nullify my point whatsoever. As for the boy you refer to, that is sad and unfortunate, but nothing to do with whether a bus stops in a siding or not. When a bus stops, it does not mean the cars in both directions stop, so being hit by an overtaking car or a car coming the other direction is much the same thing. That is why the doors on the bus are on the left, not on the right and why you wait for the bus to leave before crossing the road. Basic rules which if not adhered to produce a similar result, which I have also witnessed. Not at all the fault of the drivers, but of the passengers.
As pointed out in this post already, the rules are already there for cars to give way when a bus indicates to pull out into traffic and if every bus was to act like a mobile road block, never to be overtaken, what point would there be in having that rule? Not to mention the chaos the road network would become.

MrPC 5:25 pm 07 Apr 13

In Melbourne a couple of years ago they started concreting in the old bus stop pull-in bays and reinstating normal bus stops that are parallel to the kerb. This was especially an issue when they started introducing large numbers of low floor buses, combined with service level upgrades on a few SmartBus routes.

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Moreinfoandservices/PublicTransport/BusProjects/BusStopImprovements.htm

See also page 6 of this PDF

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/FC0338A1-AE4A-4471-8D75-99AE36C6078F/0/vrpin013261.pdf

If a bay is provided, clearly the bus drivers are going to be using them. However, where they are not provided, you’re not going to see a great deal more of them built in the coming years. The ageing population (visual disabilities/sight line issues), the introduction of low floor buses (which if the bus is low on its air bags can lose the front step/primary exit if the driver misjudges the kerb location on a turn), and the need for bus stops to be properly designed for wheelchair visibility and access, will see to that.

JC 4:34 pm 07 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

I
JC – Why should the traffic stop for the bus? Normally a car, van, minibus, taxi or otherwise that stops on the side of a road in any suburban street can let vehicles go around. Buses, just seem to be a little too big for this to occur and they always stop in a spot where it is illegal to pass.

The difference between a bus and the vehicles you describe is the fact that buses have people getting on and off them. Why should they stop? Well how about I give you the phone number of the parents of a friend of mine. When you call ask them how their son is. When they say he is dead ask them how he died. I’ll give you a hint, bus, bus stop car not stopping, you fill in the rest and having pull in bus bays on suburban roads won’t help, in fact it would make it worse because then the cars would not even have to slow down.

Like you I do occasionally get a little but shitty having to waiting for a bus to do it’s thing, ie pick-up and drop off passengers but in the grand scheme of things that minute or so of my time is nothing compared to the potential waste of life from someone getting killed.

wildturkeycanoe 4:02 pm 07 Apr 13

DrKoresh said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

I do not agree with any of you about the responses to bus stops on narrow suburban streets.
JC – Why should the traffic stop for the bus? Normally a car, van, minibus, taxi or otherwise that stops on the side of a road in any suburban street can let vehicles go around. Buses, just seem to be a little too big for this to occur and they always stop in a spot where it is illegal to pass. There are off-road bus stops around Canberra all over the place, generally on faster roads, so why not in the burbs?
MrPC – If the slip lane was designed correctly there wouldn’t be issues. A lot of the drop off points have grass between stop and footpath anyway, so a little adjustment to the ramp/kerb isn’t going to be an issue. Anyway, bus drivers are professionals, so they should be able to parallel park shouldn’t they? Buses have a reverse gear!
As for on time running, they have right of way regardless of what cars do behind them. They don’t have to wait so what is your point here? Do roadworks and traffic jams inhibit their timelines? If so, how about banning these from bus routes? How about everyone else’ on time running? Buses are more important!!!!
RB78 – You pretty much gave me the evidence supporting my proposal. If you can’t police every bus stop where risks are taken, reduce the risks by making the stop safer – making a stop that doesn’t force impatient drivers to get into dangerous situations. The first step in hazard management is removing the risk. The risk is people driving into oncoming traffic. You cannot control this hazard because it is based on human behavior. Remove this from the equation with an engineering solution and there is no problem.

Oh quit your bitching, cry-baby. Off-road stops are an impossibility on the small streets you’re describing, for a whole bunch of reasons that have already been highlighted. If people want to overtake in the oncoming traffic lane then it’s on their heads that they’re risking people’s lives and “But I was stuck behind a bloody bus!” is not going to be a satisfactory answer for anybody in the event of a collision. The best solution to your problem is to get over yourself, then get over this.

And where are these whole bunch of reasons??? Apart from the disability thing [absolute nonsense if you ask me] and the “buses can’t keep schedule if they use bus stop bays”, not convincing or they wouldn’t have them. At least in my opinion.
Yes, if people take the risk of overtaking where it isn’t safe, it’s on their heads, but increasing the frequency of these circumstances only increases the chances of someone coming unstuck and becoming a regular user of the disabled bus services. I’m one of those who gets frustrated at how a bus in front of you can make your trip home after a hard day of work an absolute nightmare. Tired, anxious, impatient and not in the mood to hit the anchors when someone wants to get off the slow moving heavy vehicle in front I would rather see the two metres of government owned land being used for the bus to pull safely to the side and let the twenty vehicles behind continue their journey, rather than banking up three intersections behind [yes I’m exaggerating, but making a point nonetheless].
I am suggesting a means by which everything to do with bus stops becomes safer for everyone involved. If you think safety should be left to the whims of the risk-taking drivers out there [and we know there are plenty], then feel free to keep them in control of the future incidents that may have been prevented.

DrKoresh 2:07 pm 07 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

I do not agree with any of you about the responses to bus stops on narrow suburban streets.
JC – Why should the traffic stop for the bus? Normally a car, van, minibus, taxi or otherwise that stops on the side of a road in any suburban street can let vehicles go around. Buses, just seem to be a little too big for this to occur and they always stop in a spot where it is illegal to pass. There are off-road bus stops around Canberra all over the place, generally on faster roads, so why not in the burbs?
MrPC – If the slip lane was designed correctly there wouldn’t be issues. A lot of the drop off points have grass between stop and footpath anyway, so a little adjustment to the ramp/kerb isn’t going to be an issue. Anyway, bus drivers are professionals, so they should be able to parallel park shouldn’t they? Buses have a reverse gear!
As for on time running, they have right of way regardless of what cars do behind them. They don’t have to wait so what is your point here? Do roadworks and traffic jams inhibit their timelines? If so, how about banning these from bus routes? How about everyone else’ on time running? Buses are more important!!!!
RB78 – You pretty much gave me the evidence supporting my proposal. If you can’t police every bus stop where risks are taken, reduce the risks by making the stop safer – making a stop that doesn’t force impatient drivers to get into dangerous situations. The first step in hazard management is removing the risk. The risk is people driving into oncoming traffic. You cannot control this hazard because it is based on human behavior. Remove this from the equation with an engineering solution and there is no problem.

Oh quit your bitching, cry-baby. Off-road stops are an impossibility on the small streets you’re describing, for a whole bunch of reasons that have already been highlighted. If people want to overtake in the oncoming traffic lane then it’s on their heads that they’re risking people’s lives and “But I was stuck behind a bloody bus!” is not going to be a satisfactory answer for anybody in the event of a collision. The best solution to your problem is to get over yourself, then get over this.

wildturkeycanoe 12:55 pm 07 Apr 13

I do not agree with any of you about the responses to bus stops on narrow suburban streets.
JC – Why should the traffic stop for the bus? Normally a car, van, minibus, taxi or otherwise that stops on the side of a road in any suburban street can let vehicles go around. Buses, just seem to be a little too big for this to occur and they always stop in a spot where it is illegal to pass. There are off-road bus stops around Canberra all over the place, generally on faster roads, so why not in the burbs?
MrPC – If the slip lane was designed correctly there wouldn’t be issues. A lot of the drop off points have grass between stop and footpath anyway, so a little adjustment to the ramp/kerb isn’t going to be an issue. Anyway, bus drivers are professionals, so they should be able to parallel park shouldn’t they? Buses have a reverse gear!
As for on time running, they have right of way regardless of what cars do behind them. They don’t have to wait so what is your point here? Do roadworks and traffic jams inhibit their timelines? If so, how about banning these from bus routes? How about everyone else’ on time running? Buses are more important!!!!
RB78 – You pretty much gave me the evidence supporting my proposal. If you can’t police every bus stop where risks are taken, reduce the risks by making the stop safer – making a stop that doesn’t force impatient drivers to get into dangerous situations. The first step in hazard management is removing the risk. The risk is people driving into oncoming traffic. You cannot control this hazard because it is based on human behavior. Remove this from the equation with an engineering solution and there is no problem.

RB78 11:22 am 07 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

While we are on the topic of buses and their lanes, why have the government designed bus stops in narrow suburban streets so that when they pull up to pick up passengers, all the cars behind have no way of getting around and have to stop as well? Usually there is a double white or traffic island and then there are double whites or oncoming vehicles the full length of the journey.

In my experience as a bus passenger, there are many motorists who won’t let a traffic island, double white lines, an intersection, a bend in the road or oncoming traffic stop them from flooring it past a bus that’s stopping, stopped, or has already left the bus stop.

If anyone’s ever caught a bus along Bugden Avenue in Fadden (particularly from Sternberg up to around Chataway Cr) they’ll know what I mean. The amount of people who overtake the bus along there, across double white lines, on beds in the road is actually frightening. I’ve witnessed countless near misses.

MrPC 10:18 am 07 Apr 13

Putting bus stops in Pull-In bays are a bad idea, for several reasons.

They are bad for the disabled. When the bus has to manouver into a bay, it’s more difficult to align the bus with the kerb. That makes it hard for people with mobility issues to step out of the bus, and it also raises issues with wheelchair users, especially if the footpath had to be narrowed in the process.

Also, they are bad for the on-time running of the buses. Motorists regularly ignore the road rule that gives buses right of way in built up areas when leaving bus stops. As such, it’s better to make the motorists wait behind the stopped bus. Or at the very least provide an overtaking opportunity that doesn’t result in the bus having to yield its ability to depart the bus stop immediately. That might mean a centre overtaking lane, or broken centre lines, or a rat run via a service road to the left of the bus stop.

JC 9:16 am 07 Apr 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

While we are on the topic of buses and their lanes, why have the government designed bus stops in narrow suburban streets so that when they pull up to pick up passengers, all the cars behind have no way of getting around and have to stop as well? Usually there is a double white or traffic island and then there are double whites or oncoming vehicles the full length of the journey. This means everyone has to slow down to 40 and has to stop at every drop-off, not being able to get passed the mobile roadblock. Instead of new breakable glass shelters, they could have placed off-road bus stops so traffic can continue uninterrupted. If I were to do 30km/h and stop every couple of hundred meters in my car, I’d have police pulling me over so why do buses get away with it?

You have answered your own question. The reason they have done it is so that you do stop behind the bus, not that it stops that many anyway.

As for the shelters the glass ones were for the most part are paid for and maintained free of charge to Action by the company in exchange for advertising. Besides the cost of putting in off road bus bays would be a hell of a lot more than the cost of a bus shelter anyway.

wildturkeycanoe 6:24 am 07 Apr 13

While we are on the topic of buses and their lanes, why have the government designed bus stops in narrow suburban streets so that when they pull up to pick up passengers, all the cars behind have no way of getting around and have to stop as well? Usually there is a double white or traffic island and then there are double whites or oncoming vehicles the full length of the journey. This means everyone has to slow down to 40 and has to stop at every drop-off, not being able to get passed the mobile roadblock. Instead of new breakable glass shelters, they could have placed off-road bus stops so traffic can continue uninterrupted. If I were to do 30km/h and stop every couple of hundred meters in my car, I’d have police pulling me over so why do buses get away with it?

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