Transportation Expert Opines on Trip and Fall Accident During Bus Tour

    Bus Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves an elderly man in Minnesota who was injured while disembarking from a bus. The man was more than 90 years old; he fell and broke his hip when exiting a tour bus type vehicle at the end of the tour. He had a walker with him, and had been receiving assistance getting on and off the bus the entire day. At the end of the tour, the driver was standing by the door of the vehicle when he exited but did not grab his arm or otherwise assist him out of the bus.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please briefly describe your experience with bus operations, specifically as it relates to training/supervision of drivers in relation to assisting elderly patrons.
    • 2. Do you have experience with tour buses or other small bus type vehicles in which a driver should assist an elderly patron from the vehicle?

    Expert Witness Response E-008398

    With my past three decades working with a city transit authority in capacities that exposed me to the above topic, bus operators were only instructed to manually assist a disabled passenger when it was related to a mobility device in boarding, alighting, and securing the device. This was especially true if the passenger was not in the company of their own personal attendant. Operators are permitted to assist anyone who requires assistance to secure either a shoulder or lap belt. If the passenger was simply elderly but not disabled and did not request assistance from the operator, many operators do not physically touch the person as some passengers reject this sometimes rather loudly. Finally, operators are required to follow their agency’s SOP (Standing Operating Procedure) on the possible different policies requiring the boarding and/or alighting from the bus of disabled and visibly non disabled customers.

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