Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Runaway bus smashes into Salvation Army store in New Westminster

with 6 comments


A Coast Mountain bus crashed through the front windows of the New Westminster Salvation Army Thrift Store early Wednesday.  (The Salvation Army)

A Coast Mountain bus crashed through the front windows of the New Westminster Salvation Army Thrift Store early Wednesday. (The Salvation Army)

Police say the transit driver had set the brakes and parked the bus near the New Westminster SkyTrain station, but it began to roll, smashing into several poles and signs as it rolled down the hill.

I just could not resist the picture.

I used to watch bus drivers at the 22nd St Station loop carefully put a large wooden chock in front of a wheel, before they went off to do the sorts of things bus drivers do when they finally get a break. I often wondered why.  It was not something I had seen on other systems. The story does not say if this Novabus was also chocked – or even if this is still required practice at CMBC.

And, by the way, before it was the Salvation Army, this was the former BCER station.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 10, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Posted in transit

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. I thought it was mandatory to chock the wheels of Trans Link’s buses for several years now, after another run away incident?

    Malcolm J.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:41 pm

  2. It is not mandatory that operators block the bus. It was, but that changed years ago. They do supply the wooden blocks but its left to drivers discretion. There are alarms on buses to alert the driver if the maxi (parking brake) has not been set if they are leaving the seat.

    This is the third bus to run down the hill. The other two were some years ago on 8th St.

    Buses were taken off the hills, and terminated on Blackie, in part as a result of the danger of more run-aways. Because of the closure of the Blackie St. bus terminus, behind the Skytrain Station to allow for construction, bus terminus were again placed on hills. It was inevitable that this would happen and that was pointed out to Coast Mtn before the closure of Blackie.


    December 10, 2008 at 8:29 pm

  3. The incident you are referring to was the Kootney Loop one about a decade or so ago. The bus rolled into a convenience store next to the loop. After that the blocks became mandatory. Didn’t realize they weren’t anymore. I still see them used even at flat stations like 29th and Joyce St.

    Joe Just Joe

    December 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

  4. Sorry joe, but you are right/wrong…yes, Kootenay Loop was a roll-away, but there were two on 8th St at Skytrain. The first went down with little fanfare, the second was a major. There were two small children trapped underneath the had run into and then climbed the bus shelter that was placed under one of the Skytrain ‘legs’ at the bottom of the escalator on the sidewalk (the bus went up on the wooden seat that was supported by two steel posts). The children were trapped by the Plexiglas walls. They were actually right under the bus. Tho not severely injured, they were transported to RCH. Yep..I was there.


    December 11, 2008 at 6:21 am

  5. […] here in New West, let me remind you that just before Christmas 2008, a bus rolled down 8th and ended up in the window of the Salvation Army store on Columbia Street. (Comments are as interesting as the article itself, if not more […]

  6. Couldn’t resist commenting on the photo…good one, by the way. I’m an Instructor at CMBC and ‘roll-a-ways’ like this one (where nobody was hurt) are a good wake-up call for Operators and their use of the wheel-block. Below is the Policy regarding the MANDATORY USE OF THE WHEEL BLOCK from the 2011 CMBC Operator’s Policy & Procedures Manual. The portion that mentions using the wheel-block when the coach is left unattended on an incline, has always existed. Check it out:

    The use of wheel blocks, while not always mandatory, is recommended at all times the vehicle is
    left unattended away from the garage. Consider the following policy:
    • The bus parking brake MUST be set before leaving the Operator’s compartment.
    • All employees taking a bus from a garage MUST ensure the bus parking brake alarm is
    functioning as part of the pre-trip inspection. Operators taking over a bus on the road
    MUST test the parking brake alarm at the time of taking over the bus.
    • Wheel blocks MUST be carried on all buses.
    • Wheel blocks MUST be used in the event of a mechanical failure or an emergency
    situation where a bus will be parked on an incline.
    • If the parking brake alarm malfunctions during the course of an operator’s shift, the use of
    the wheel block is mandatory whenever the operator leaves the bus, until the problem is
    corrected or a bus change has been completed.

    Larry W

    March 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

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