Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. I don't think I can say it all in five minutes. I'd love to be able to.
How do we achieve superior results in this industry? We employ superior people, we hire up, and we train, retrain, remedial train, we look for opportunities to be the best we can be for the passengers we carry.
In this country, I think we need more standardization of the way buses operate, and I think we need more standardization of the way our highways are marked. I'd like to know how many bus accidents were caused on ramps where the ramp speed was posted on the ramp and not before the ramp. I've seen this. I've seen buses where people were ejected from the bus and killed because the bus fell on them. Seat belts would definitely have prevented those deaths. We need better standardization of driver training. It just so happens that our company had the good fortune of joining forces with OMCA and Motor Coach Canada. We've been coming here for years. We've adopted every type of enhancement suggested to us by Brian Crow, Mr. Switzer, people in the OMCA, Dave Carroll—they've been our mentors. They've helped us to grow our business to be safe.
Training not only involves drivers, it involves mechanical staff. I'm lucky enough that I've been driving a bus and I've been a mechanic for 47 years. I've been to factory training at Prevost nine times, and Motor Coach Industries twice. I know the value of training, and I know that in our province today there are few places you can go where if you say MUX or DOC, DPF, DEF, that anyone in the garage would have a clue what you're talking about. This gives us a big problem when we're out on the road with a coach in Labrador or in the northern part of Newfoundland where I fix buses over the phone. It is a consideration. Manufacturers have stepped up. Prevost Car has Prevost Liaison. MCI has MCI ERSA, where now they can diagnose over a computer. It's fabulous. Technicians need to know how to do that. Companies have to invest in that.
Is there any minimal requirement for that? Would we be allowed to operate if the FAA was telling us how we should be conducting our business?
I've seen bad accidents caused by the way guardrails were posted on bridges. I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Transportation in Nova Scotia and had a bridge approach changed because of an accident involving one of our coaches. They tried to make it sound like it was the driver's inexperience on that bridge. A few years later, an Orléans Express bus went out into the water. Then I wrote the letter—two years too late. The bridge approach was changed and I received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation thanking me for my input.
We need more input like this. I consider this industry to be like a logic gate: more inputs, more outputs. We need more input from the industry.
I do think the seat belt rule is fabulous. I've retrofitted some MCI coaches with seat belts. It was costly but it was worth every penny. On safety announcements in coaches, I always do my safety announcement. I walk back through the bus and I make sure that people have their seat belts on. Whether they keep them on...how do we control that?
There's just too much to talk about, but I'm flattered that I'm here. I'm second generation. I filled up when I came here. I think you guys are onto something really good; I wish you the best of luck with it. If there's anything I can do, please let me know.