I've been training three new drivers. As I mentioned, they passed their CDL tests a couple weeks ago. That's the easy driving test.
The next step for new drivers is to pass their in-service test. I've spent the last two weeks riding the bus while they practiced picking people up.
With the exception of a couple days spent on the 2 and 94 lines, and some time for miscellaneous other tasks, we were on the 17 the whole time. That's the route Nicollet Garage's safety supervisor tests them on. Back and forth, back and forth between downtown and Lake and France. I really like the 17 when we don't have to follow a schedule.
So I sat in the seat behind the fold-up seats and watched them. Are they checking their mirrors every 5-8 seconds? Getting close enough to the curb? Beeping their horn as they approach vehicles that might have someone near them? Are they looking in their mirrors before, and as, they change lanes? Traveling at an appropriate speed? Leaving themselves enough space between the bus and the vehicle in front of them? Pushing and pulling on the steering wheel when turning (not hand-over-hand)? Staying off the curb? Keeping an eye on stoplights? Pulling the emergency brake when people are loading or unloading bicycles? Checking the rear door, front door, right exterior mirror, middle interior mirror, left exterior mirror, turning on the left turn signal, checking the right exterior mirror again, then the left exterior mirror again- all in that order, before leaving a bus stop? Completely covering the brake and accelerator pedals with their foot? Being polite? Calling streets? Looking into their future? Staying on route? Getting the fare recorded correctly? Giving out the correct transfers? etc. etc. etc.
I find that it's much more tiring to ride the bus than it is to drive it, especially as an instructor. It definitely takes energy to keep up with and catch everything that my students are doing. Also, when I'm driving, I know when I'm going to brake, turn and swerve. My body is prepared for the motion. When someone else drives, it's all reaction. I've been a little sore.
Anyway. Today, they put it all together. They all passed their in-service tests.
I'm happy for them. I'm happy for me. Though it's up to them to get it right, and they deserve all the credit, I always feel like their performance reflects my instruction.