Safety in Public Transit

by Matthew Pellicer on September 18, 2013 - 11:19am

Safety when it comes to trains has become a very popular subject after what happened at Lac-Megantic. In the morning of Wednesday September 18th, a Via Rail train had a collision with a double-decker bus in Ottawa. This area had already been classified as a dangerous intersection but the cost of creating an underpass and transit way was too high for the construction to occur. The mayor of Ottawa in 2002, Bob Chiarelli, stated that the intersection was, “a very, very severe public safety issue.” This article made me think of taking any type of public transit and especially trains with one incident after another in Canada occurring recently. Although trains and buses have longer braking distances than cars, buses can still brake pretty quickly. The bus driver should have been able to notice that a train was on its way and should have stopped. Also, if it is known that the intersection is dangerous because of the meeting of the road traffic and trains, shouldn’t there be barricades installed with lights like there already is in most intersections like this? Even if they are installed, wouldn’t the train passing have caused a warning for the bus driver so that he knows a train is on his way? All this looks more and more like the bus driver didn’t necessarily know what he was doing as he crossed the intersection because he seemed to have ignored all the signs that a train was on its way. I think that with all the accidents occurring more and more frequently in relation to public transit, it is time that laws be established to prevent these types of accidents. I think that laws like having to stop at a certain distance from the railroad before crossing it could have avoided this morning’s accident.


I agree with you. A lot of train accident happened in the last three months all around the world. I think we should react to all of these accidents. We are trusting the drivers and the mechanics because they learn those trades, but maybe we should be a little bit more engaged in our society and ask for changes when we talked about our circulation signs. It may look drastic but a lot of people are dying from car, bus and train accidents. Sometime it’s because they were driving too fast, this is the case with the train accident that happened in Spain a month ago, as you can read in the article below. I think it’s not normal that a train hits a bus or that it derailed and I also think that as a population, we should react to those tragic events.

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