Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Unlatched hatches meet their match

Mar 4, 2016News

0000046376-Metro_Back-00836462_0More and more reports are coming in that back hatches are not being locked when they leave the depots.

Unlocked hatches are a serious safety hazard, with instances of members of the public opening them when the bus is stopped to pick up passengers.

If you see an unlocked hatch, lock it up.

On another note, it is common practise for radio room to tell a driver to check on things under the hatch that might be causing issues, like the air-conditioning not working. But, for your safety, there is an agreement between the union and STA that drivers are not supposed to open the hatches, even when asked to by the radio room.

You are a bus operator first, not a mechanic.

Opening the hatch, even to check on something like a belt coming loose, exposes you to dangers that you may not be covered for if something goes wrong.

This is even more important with the installation of fire suppressant systems in buses that work inside the closed engine bay of the bus. Opening the hatch could cause a backdraft, fuelling the fire with more oxygen.

The back hatches have gas struts which can weaken with age – anyone with a car has had trouble keeping their bonnet up when the gas struts give way. With a back hatch weighing at least 20kg, this can cause very serious injuries.

The mechanics at the depot have special brackets to hold the hatch open and to support the struts – but you don’t when you’re on a run, so don’t risk it.