Ministry of Transportation
I am a driver with Kingston Transit, (Kingston, Ontario) and I, like many of my fellow drivers, have several issues with the yield to the bus law. Mainly that it is not enforced. The police consider it a very low priority, and therefore pretty much ignore people who fail to yield to the bus. This is not just an issue in Kingston, but everywhere, as I have learned from talking to other bus drivers in other municipalities.
It is easy for your office to say that enforcement is up to the local police forces, but isn't it your job (the MTO) to make sure they are actually enforcing it?
Subsequently, people have no fear of legal retrobution for their actions, so they continue to stream around buses attempting to re-enter traffic, like we are nothing more than a bag of garbage left on the road.
Section 142, subsection 3, states that: No driver of a bus shall re-enter the lane of traffic adjacent to a bus bay and move into the path of a vehicle or street car if the vehicle or street car is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield the right of way.
Obviously no-one at MTO has ever driven a transit bus. It doesn't matter if you are in a bus bay or stopping on the travelled portion of the road to load or unload passengers. The second you stop, the flow of traffic starts moving around you, and it doesn't stop until you signal and then force your way back into the stream of vehicles. If you don't, you'll sit there all day. It is always impractical for the driver to yield the right of way, because they see the bus signal come on and just speed up to get in front of you. Many people take stupid chances, even swerving out into oncoming traffic just to get in front of a bus, rather than be stuck behind it.
The law is vague at best. A $90.00 fine is a joke, and pocket change to most drivers. No points are lost from their licences. The law doesn't do anything to address buses stopping on the travelled portion of the roadway where 95% of bus stops are anyway. And the police don't bother to enforce the law.
Instead of doing it right from the start, it looks as if this law was put into place just to keep the transit authorities off your backs. If you people were serious about it, the fine would be a minimum of $250.00, with a loss of two points, the signs on the backs of the buses would be twice the size with the fine displayed as well, and the police would be strongly encouraged to enforce it.
While this opinion is just my own, and not that of Kingston Transit, it strongly reflects the feeling we all have as front line drivers out there. It's a tough job to begin with, but it's that much harder when the people who make the laws to protect you aren't doing all they can to help.
This law needs to be reviewed and taken seriously. If the Province is so dedicated to getting people to take public transit, then maybe the Province should start being dedicated to public transit.
First, I would like to thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. While we, at the government try our best to develop legislation that is effective and appropriate, I am sure there is always room for improvement. Therefore, your comments on the Yield to Bus law are appreciated.
I would like to respond to the issues you raised in your email and explain the reasons for some aspects of the law:
Mr. Shepherd, I hope I have addressed your concerns and that you have a better understanding of the YTB legislation now.
Transit Policy Office / MTO