Why Buses Don’t Have Seatbelts – Fastening your seatbelt while in a car is something you learn even without knowing the rest of the road traffic regulations. But have you ever wondered why buses don’t have seatbelts at all? And how can they be safer than cars then? Well, let’s find out the answers to these questions and more!
1. Why don’t buses have seatbelts?
It seems only natural that a vehicle that carries so much more people than a car should have seatbelts, but buses have none — not even school buses. In fact, it has to do with several things at once. First of all, in case of emergency, passengers need to get off a bus as fast as possible. With seatbelts on, they’ll waste precious time on unbuckling them.
Secondly, a bus is a big and heavy vehicle. On the road, there are not many other members of the traffic that weigh more than a public bus. So in case of a collision, a bus would stop much slower than a car, and even though its passengers will certainly feel the impact, they won’t get hurt too much. That’s also the reason why passengers are allowed to ride standing too.
2. Why are there dedicated bus lanes?
This is pretty obvious, really. Like any other public transport, buses have a schedule to meet, and in big cities, traffic jams aren’t rare. So to reduce delays caused by heavy traffic, dedicated bus lanes were introduced. They allow buses to move around the city without obstacles, and so you can get on your number at exactly the time indicated at the stop. Unfortunately, even in big cities, not many roads are equipped with separate bus lanes,still making it difficult for a bus to get to its next stop on time.
3. Why won’t buses stop and open the doors when someone’s late?
The simple answer is because it’s dangerous. When a bus has already closed its doors and moved a few feet away from the stop, halting it again creates difficulties for the rest of the vehicles on the road. Apart from that, if a bus opens the doors on the second lane to let a late passenger hop on, someone just might drive on the right lane and accidentally hit that person. No one wants to be late, I get it, but it’s better than ending up in the hospital.
4. Why is there a “do not speak to the driver” sign?
Because he wants to be left alone…no really. Well, picture this: it’s a rush hour, and you’re driving a bus packed with people. The traffic is heavy, so you have to be fully concentrated on the road. And then, just as you’re about to make a pretty difficult turn at an intersection,someone pats you on the shoulder and asks how much longer it is to such-and-such street. Surprised, you jerk the wheel, and you can imagine the rest. Of course, in general, it’s safe to ask your bus driver a question, but just to be on the safe side, better not.
5. How do bus doors open and close when the driver isn’t inside?
Bus drivers have door control buttons on their dashboard, that’s obvious. But how do they close the doors behind them when they get off, or open them before getting behind the wheel? In fact, there’s a mechanism that opens and closes the driver’s door from the outside. The button that activates it is usually hidden and located under the door. Sometimes it’s also locked, but rarely: buses are too difficult to steal, and the potential profit isn’t worth the risk, so transport companies don’t really care much about locking them.
6. Why are buses considered safer than cars?
There are no seatbelts, no airbags, and passengers often ride standing — how can such a vehicle possibly be safer than a car? Well, to put it simply, danger in a collision comes from an abrupt stop at a high speed. Like I already said, buses are heavy, and it takes a really serious impact to stop the min their tracks.
They’re also long, so even if a bus crashes into a brick wall, passengers will fall, but no one will probably get seriously hurt. In a car, safety features like airbags and seatbelts are designed to soften the impact because the space inside is much smaller. Also, buses drive along specific routes, and the driver’s job is to go slowly and safely,so the chances of a crash are minimal. Do you think buses still need some protection for passengers? Let me know down in the comments!
7. Why do buses stop and open their doors at railroad tracks?
It’s actually a must for any vehicle to stop at a designated point before railroad tracks and check if there’s a train coming. For a bus driver, it’s also important to open the doors and listen for the train’s whistle or wheels. They’re only allowed to cross the tracks when they’ve made sure there’s no train nearby. After all, they’re responsible for their passengers’ safety.
8. Why are bus depots often located in rough neighborhoods?
Ever noticed that bus depots are usually situated in areas with a bad rep? It’s no coincidence, and the reason for that, as is often the case, is money. Public transport depots need a lot of land, and land in big cities is costly. So when a transport company buys a turf to park its vehicles, it normally chooses a piece of land that’s relatively cheap. It’s not hard to guess that good neighborhoods are good for a reason, so it will obviously cost more to buy land there. That’s why bus depots are often located in areas known for more unlawful activities.
9. How do displays in buses know when to show the next stop?
I used to think that bus drivers switch the stops themselves with the help of some button on their dashboard, but it’s actually not the case. The LED displays in the passenger compartment know how to do it themselves. They’re operated with a GPS system. When a bus approaches its next stop, the GPS sends a signal to the display, and it changes the name of the stop.
By the way, that’s also why sometimes it switches too soon or too late: in a city,where there are many tall buildings, GPS may have difficulty working precisely. So the name of the stop might change when the bus has already moved on, or before it even made the stop.
10. How do you see through a bus window from inside when there’s an ad on the outside?
You’ve certainly seen city buses with those huge ads on them, right? But when you get on such a bus and look outside, all you see is a whole lot of little black dots, and most surprisingly, the street too. The secret is in the material of the ad and the method of its application. The ad is actually a thin layer of vinyl that has a picture on the outside and is single tone on the inside.
Also, about 50% of the sheet is holes. When you look at it from the street, you see a picture because it is bright, and as you’re standing at a distance you can’t really see the holes. When you’re inside, however, the street outside is brighter than the dark sheet of vinyl on the glass, so your eyes naturally focus more on what’s behind it. And the holes I mentioned help you see through even better.
11. Why are bus steering wheels almost parallel to the ground?
If you sit in a car, you’ll notice that the driver’s wheel is almost at a right angle to the ground, while on a bus it’s quite the opposite. This has to do with the construction peculiarities. The steering wheel is connected directly to the wheels of the vehicle with a rod. In a car, the front wheels are further ahead of the driver, so the rod goes smoothly back and up to the steering wheel.
At such an angle, it’s more convenient to make the wheel vertical. In a bus, on the other hand, the driver basically sits atop the front wheels, so the rod goes straight up. The horizontal position also allows for more leverage: like I already said, a bus is a big thing, and turning it may prove to be a difficult task.
12. Why don’t buses have a more aerodynamic shape?
Cars, bullet trains, and airplanes all have shapes that allow the air to flow more freely around them, reducing its resistance. Why are buses so square, then? Well, it’s because they basically don’t need to be aerodynamic. The thing is, aerodynamics allows vehicles to move faster with less opposing force of the air. It’s fine with transport that’s made to be fast, but buses aren’t about speed; they’re more about safety. They have a set speed limit, and they’re designed to carry as many people as possible.
Why would a bus packed full with passengers need to accelerate too much, right? And finally, you may be wondering about the wheels on the bus. Well here’s the answer to that. The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town.