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Double Decker Buses in Ontario - Safety?

Admiral Beez

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Double decker crashes with multiple fatalities...

2010 - https://www.ctvnews.ca/four-dead-after-megabus-crashes-en-route-to-toronto-1.551691 (in NY, enroute to Toronto)
2013 - https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/09/18/via_rail_train_ottawa_city_bus_collide.html (OC Transpo)
2015 - https://www.foxnews.com/world/4-ser...injured-in-double-decker-bus-crash-in-ontario

and now...

2019 - https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/three-dead-in-serious-bus-crash (OC Transpo)

Of course any single level bus that rear ends a transport or hits a train has a high risk of death, but I have to wonder if double decker buses pose a higher risk. Risks may include drivers that are inexperienced with the heavier weight, longer braking distances and height of their vehicles. Of course, just by adding more people you also increase the odds that someone is going to die in a crash.

My grandfather drove a London bus when I was a lad in the early 1970s and I loved getting on his bus (no charge) and rushing up the stairs to sit in the very front. Little did I know the risk I was taking, though in London I trusted my granddad had the training and experience to keep us safe. Nowadays, on double decker buses I sit in the lower level, just forward and above the rear axle - everyone else is my crumple zone I suppose.

As for OC Transpo, they knew the risks of operating these buses in the winter.

Winter ban for OC Transpo double-deckers on Woodroffe
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/otta...transpo-double-deckers-on-woodroffe-1.1409142

hi-ott-doubledecker2-852.jpg
 
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crs1026

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These are generic production-model buses that are in use in many places. If there are generic risks or vulnerabilities, one would expect these to manifest themselves across all operators. There ought to be data available on that. Are we seeing similar headlines from other operations? Same model? Same vendor? Similar weather and road conditions?

If there are other risks or vulnerabilities that are specific to OC Transpo, that's another kettle of fish.

I'm certainly in favour of doing thorough careful study, and like others my Spidey antennae are up - but let's wait for the investigation before we jump to any conclusions. In this kind of a situation, speculation is all too easy and all too unhelpful.

- Paul
 

drum118

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Victoria BC has had DD buses long before GO and other systems and what is their track record like?

DD buses are common in Europe as well articulate ones and what is their records like??

Megabus was driver error as well GPS

First OC accident was driver error

Like others, will wait for the report to come out, but like any type of vehicles, it boils down who behind the wheel and road condition.

My niece drives GO new ones DD bus only and it takes more skills to drive them from her point of view. She also train School bus drivers in the past.

I have no fear sitting at the front upper deck seat.
 

Admiral Beez

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Like others, will wait for the report to come out, but like any type of vehicles, it boils down who behind the wheel and road condition.
And vehicle condition, suitability and preparation.

I went to university in Ottawa from 1991-1995, and recall once waiting at the Museum of Civilization in the snow and cold for a bus that nearly never came. When the bus finally arrived the driver said the buses could not get up the hills due to road conditions - meanwhile private cars were driving around. I asked the driver, is winter a big surprise to OC Transpo, and why are they buying or equiping their fleet with three season vehicles/ tires?
 

drum118

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And vehicle condition, suitability and preparation.

I went to university in Ottawa from 1991-1995, and recall once waiting at the Museum of Civilization in the snow and cold for a bus that nearly never came. When the bus finally arrived the driver said the buses could not get up the hills due to road conditions - meanwhile private cars were driving around. I asked the driver, is winter a big surprise to OC Transpo, and why are they buying or equiping their fleet with three season vehicles/ tires?
Sound like the bus was an artic that are useless in the snow and ice. OC looked at winter tires for buses and none could be found and why the move to DD buses.

You remember that photo showing OC artic's buses jackknife at an intersection along with numerous buses stuck in the snow??

Other than London UK, very few systems that have snow use artic's in Europe. London has gone back to DD buses.
 

Bureaucromancer

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Between this and the VIA crash I really am starting to wonder whether OC Transpo has systemic problems with their operators.
 

ssiguy2

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They don`t even know what caused the crash so let`s not jump to any conclusions. I`ve ridden the DDs in Victoria and loved it and would not hesitate to take them again.
 

lenaitch

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And vehicle condition, suitability and preparation.

I went to university in Ottawa from 1991-1995, and recall once waiting at the Museum of Civilization in the snow and cold for a bus that nearly never came. When the bus finally arrived the driver said the buses could not get up the hills due to road conditions - meanwhile private cars were driving around. I asked the driver, is winter a big surprise to OC Transpo, and why are they buying or equiping their fleet with three season vehicles/ tires?

It would be interesting to know whether any fleet operator of commercial vehicle (buses, transports, etc.) does season tire changeouts and/or if all weather or winter tires are widely available. I know that the trucks that plow my neighbourhood have fairly aggressive tread but that might be a necessary expense given their winter role. I would think any articulated bus would want to have some kind of stability control.
 

Kyle Campbell

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It's easy to blame the bus here, but there are other factors in play here, and a big one is the confederation line. This particular driver already has two previous collisions under her belt, and she's only been working a year. Why is she still employed you ask? OC Transpo is hurting for drivers because the confed line is late, and they can't find good candidates because the 400 newest drivers get laid off as soon as it opens. Had the line opened in November, this accident wouldn't have happened. Some of the people injured and one fatality were not passengers in the bus, but people on the platform. If she had been driving an artic there probably would have been more fatalities on the platform and none in the bus as it would have travelled farther.

That being said, there is alwyas more risk of death with a double decker than a regular bus in a serious accident, simply due to the fact there's way more people on it and passengers are at the very front of the bus. In terms of absolute risk though, it's extremely low, so it hasn't changed my riding habits, I'll still happily sit at the front. I take an order of magnitude larger risk every time i bike to work in the summer.
 
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Kyle Campbell

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Meh
Kyle is my crumple zone. I hope you're husky.

Meh, life is full of risks, there's no such thing as a risk free day for anyone on the planet. Planes and cars crash too, yet people still fly and drive. I do however believe the critics are right in that the TSB should investigate commercial bus accidents. We should always do the investigation to figure out what things can be reasonably mitigated. Regardless of what the investigation turns up, the city of Ottawa has no power to regulate bus manufacturing, but there federal government can.
 

Steve X

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Between this and the VIA crash I really am starting to wonder whether OC Transpo has systemic problems with their operators.

The VIA incident was an issue with OC Transpo, not the bus. It would have happened with any vehicle. OC Transpo buses don't have to stop for railway crossing, something TTC and most bus operators in GTA do.

GO does have a similar operation with DD buses on the Mississauga transitway that bypasses many stations. A similar accident could occur but I think it's naive to blame DD buses and transitway. The driver involved in this accident was also involved with another accident in December. Maybe they need more training?

I have witness that operators do let their buses collide bumper to bumper (a light hit) on the transitway in heavy bus traffic. It avoids people from jaywalking in between near downtown. All the buses literally tailgate each other in a bus traffic jam to increase throughput. Maybe there is a problem with the whole transitway operation. It's so congested and overcapacity, all buses aim for throughput than safety. It's a disadvantage for BRT and while LRT is safer for the riders.
 

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