Halifax Transit drivers have a policy they have to follow, city says
The issue of bus drivers not stopping to let passengers on board exploded online Sunday when a Good Samaritan picked up Kawthar Barho after she chased a bus that didn't stop.
Barho is well-known in the Maritimes after her seven children perished in a devastating house fire in the Spryfield area of Halifax in February.
While much of the online criticism has been directed at the driver and the transit system, the municipality says its rules are in place to protect everyone.
At one of the busiest bus terminals in the city, retired maintenance man David Brown patiently waits for his ride -- about ten-minutes late, according to his watch.
A frequent transit user, Brown says it's a much different story when he's a little behind schedule.
“I just get there, and he sees me coming, and just takes off,” Brown said.
The truth is, you don't have to look far to find passengers with the same story.
“Very frequently, we'll be running down the sidewalk in order to be able to catch a bus that we see is going by, but, it'll see us but just keep going,” said Izaya Kerr.
Doug Arenburg wishes some of the drivers had a little more compassion.
“Have a little consideration,” Arenburg said. “You're working for the public. You know what I mean? Be nice.”
No one had to tell Casey Lee Martin to be nice Sunday when she picked up a woman and two children who had missed a bus on Joseph Howe Drive.
“Everybody throughout Canada and Nova Scotia recognizes that name, it's a household name and I just couldn't believe it was her sitting in my car,” Martin said.
Martin learned Barho was en route to visit her husband in hospital, where he's still recovering from severe burns after the house fire that claimed the lives of their children.
“Fundamentally, what's important to look at is was the bus moving or was it stationary when this incident takes place,” said Halifax Regional Municipality spokesman Brendan Elliott.
While the city won't comment on specific incidents, officials say they will look into complaints as they get them -- including a review of video footage recorded on every bus.
Buses on the move generally keep going, but there is a protocol drivers are trained to follow.
“If the bus is stationary, the drivers are trained to look out the window before moving to see if anyone's coming,” Elliott said. “And if someone is coming, they are to let the person onto the bus.”
Brown says he's called to complain about being left behind, but never found out if the message got to the driver.
In the meantime, he tries to make sure he's on schedule -- even if the bus he's trying to catch isn't.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.