Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pedestrian, the Bus is Turning!

Photo courtesy of
Several sources are reporting that there's a new WMATA metrobus pilot program hoping to reduce the number of pedestrian-stuck-by-bus incidents.

WMATA's brilliant idea? Talking buses. Annoyingly loud, talking buses.

Buses participating in this pilot program have been spotted in Mount Pleasant, Logan Circle, Chinatown and Brookland, DCist reports. When making a turn, the bus sound system projects a message "Pedestrian! The bus is turning!" in both English and Spanish.

Unsuck DC metro posted this video taken by an onlooker to demonstrate the message's abrasiveness. Complains the Unsuck DC poster, "It’s so loud it wakes me at night and can be heard for blocks and blocks around."

As usual, Greater Greater Washington provides a well-argued, common sense response. GGW's Rob Pittangolo writes, simply, "Resources would be better spent elsewhere."

A talking bus doesn't address WMATA's underlying safety issue--that the unionized drivers aren't held responsible for their safety infractions. Instead, as usual, we get more posturing from WMATA.

And perhaps the worst part? By addressing the problem as a "need for better pedestrian awareness," WMATA implies that the blame for pedestrian-bus accidents lies with the victim, not the driver.

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