Authorities with the Des Moines public bus system say they haven’t had any complaints about honking bus drivers.
After a string of accidents in which buses have hit pedestrians, Des Moines bus drivers are now honking when they make turns in the downtown area of Iowa’s capitol city. Brad Miller of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority says other bus systems around the country have fielded complaints about the noise from turning alarms on their buses.
"The San Francisco system did have the alarms going off on left and right turns to start and they go so many complaints that (the alarms) are now just going off on the right (turn)," Miller says.
Des Moines buses eventually will be outfitted with the same kind of alarms to alert pedestrians that the bus is turning. Miller, speaking from his office near downtown Des Moines, says the new alarms may spark more controversy than the honking has.
"These automated alarms will go off every time a bus turns whether it’s here or way out in the suburbs in maybe a more residential community and so I think that will become an issue," Miller says.
The bus system in the City of Cleveland now requires bus drivers to honk their horns while turning after two fatal pedestrian accidents there. In the past two years there have been seven bus/pedestrian collisions in Des Moines as buses were turning left.
Ridership on Des Moines buses will soon skyrocket as people headed to the Iowa State Fair park at the state capitol complex and take the bus to the fairgrounds.