Empty bus rolls into parked taxi

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No one was hurt when an empty transit bus rolled through an intersection and hit a parked taxi hard enough to lift it off two wheels in downtown Charlottetown Friday morning.

Chris Garnhum was the taxi driver and said he had just parked in front of the Anne of Green Gables Store on Queen Street to drop off a passenger when he got a call from dispatch.

As he reached for the microphone he heard someone yell "holy Jesus" so he looked in the rearview mirror but didn't see anything.

That's when he turned around.

"When I did, all I seen was a bus, boom, plow into me," he said.

Garnhum said he saw there wasn't a driver on the bus and when it hit he thought it was going to push him into the Sir John A. Macdonald statue as the van rose up on two wheels.

He thought the taxi was going to flip over, Garnhum said.

"Gave me quite a shock."

Garnhum said he hit his head on the ceiling, his neck was sore and he had a headache after the accident.

It also left him without a vehicle to use for work for at least a couple of weeks because the damage, which several body shops estimated would cost about $4,500 to fix, was too expensive, he said.

"She's wrote off."

Garnhum said he expects the transit company's insurance to pay him for the time he isn't working but it won't be as much as the $600-$800 he earns driving a cab on weekends.

"It puts you behind, that's what it does," he said.

Mike Cassidy of Charlottetown Transit, said the bus driver, who has been with Charlottetown Transit since the service started, made a mental error.

"There are two so called buttons for the brakes on a bus and he activated the wrong button thinking it was the permanent park brake button," Cassidy said.

The bus was parked on Richmond Street next to the former Dominion Building facing Queen Street when the driver got off and walked away for his break.

There were no passengers on the bus at the time and the engine was turned off.

Cassidy said the driver was near the library on Queen Street when he saw the bus start to roll towards the Anne of Green Gables store and the Macdonald statue.

Cassidy said the driver was taken off his route for the rest of Friday, but did finish his shift in the bus with another driver to help him because the replacement driver didn't know the route.

"The driver will be facing a suspension and there will be a full interview process with the driver," he said.

It was the second accident involving an empty bus in the span of a week after another transit bus rolled into a light pole in front of the CIBC on the corner of Grafton Street and Queen Street on Jan. 13.

In that case the bus was left idling and rolled uphill, which led to a change in policy to keep buses shut off when they are empty.

Cassidy said last week's accident was the first since Charlottetown Transit started six years ago and he brought in a driver evaluator, who was on the Island Friday when the latest accident happened.

"We take this so seriously," he said.

Charlottetown police laid two charges under the Highway Traffic Act in the Jan. 13 incident.

Deputy police Chief Gary McGuigan confirmed no one was injured in Friday's accident and said it was too early to say if there would be any charges laid until the investigation is finished.

"The circumstances are a little different," he said.

Cassidy said the bus driver from the first incident has quit his job.

Organizations: Green Gables Store, Dominion Building, CIBC

Geographic location: Queen Street, Charlottetown, Richmond Street Grafton Street

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Recent comments

  • Taxing job driving eh
    January 21, 2012 - 16:55

    Wow--6 to 8 hundred bucks for two days work driving a taxi? Sure must pay a lot of income tax eh? Gotta get me one of them there taxis!

  • Alien
    January 21, 2012 - 08:30

    The space aliens strike again. The end is nigh.Next thing pigs will fly. Very scary