There is a combination of numbers that no driver likes to utter over the two-way radio, it’s 10-34. This is the designation given to Biohazard. The word biohazard covers a rather wide range of substances, everything from vomit and beyond.

My driving of early morning route 14 introduced me to 10-34. Route 14 starts with a round of route 9 east before going on to route 14. I arrived down at the Downtown Transit Center at about 4:35 am to find a man waiting in one of the shelters, I suppose he spent the night there. Paying his fare, the man disappeared into the back of bus 34 (a mini). After the round of route 9 then a round of route 14 the man woke up and left to seek work at the local job office. When I went to the spot where the man had been sitting, I found he had piddled his pants right there on the seat.

By the time I called in “10-34,” the morning back-up driver had arrived. The back-up driver met me along the route with rubber gloves, paper towels and doughnuts. Before he had arrived, I went ahead and sprayed down the seat with windshield washer fluid and covered the seat with some paper towels of my own. When it was discovered that my unit had no disinfectant, the back-up driver drove off to get me a replacement bus. What a way to start the day.

No more than a week later I had to 10-34 a full size bus at shift change. Seems a couple of kids got on and tried their hand at chewing tobacco but I don’t think I’ll go into that one.


I think these are the most important numbers to remember, they mean there is an emergency on the bus. This designation could mean anything from a fight to the driver being assaulted. Anything you perceive as a threat should be called in as a 10-33. Luckily, I have never had to call in a 10-33 and I’m not looking forward to the time when I have to.

On each of the busses there is a little button by the drivers seat, it’s in a little recessed hole so as not to be easy to press by mistake. This button changes the marquis from what ever route to “EMERGENCY CALL POLICE.” One day while in the stop line of busses at CSU, I happened to notice that Route 6’s marquis on the back of the bus was blank. George was driving route 6 that day, so I was just going to go over and tell him his rear marquis was out. When I checked the time, it was pull-out time so I opted instead to call him on the radio. I never do anything too fast as I wanted to see if the rest of his signs were working. As he looped around the bottom and headed out his side marquis was reading “EMERGENCY.” Trying to sound calm and cool, I put a call into 500 asking them to go to Admin 1. I tried to keep it short and simple, “Route 6 is displaying 10-33 on it’s marquis.”

I guess I don’t understand procedure very well, if my bus was displaying 10-33 on it’s marquis, I would expect to be stopped by the Police. On this day, 500 chose to call the driver and ask 10-32 (is everything ok?). Well George couldn’t remember what 10-32 meant, he thought she was asking 10-36 (what time do you have?). To make a long story short, they bantered back and forth a few times until they started talking pretty plain about what was wrong and how to re-set the sign. To this day (because I was the one who called it in) George firmly believes I was the one that pressed that secret little button while he was off his bus. I like a good joke from time to time, but to me, that would be crossing the line.


Everybody has dealt with this at one time or another, lost or found items. Heck even I have left things behind at one point or another. Usually our 10-28s will be things like gloves or glasses but every now and then it will be whole backpacks or bags of groceries. I try to walk through my bus whenever I pull into a transit center just in case someone has left something behind, the sooner I find it, the sooner it may be returned to the rightful owner. The 10-28s that make me sad are the embroidered gloves, lunches or toys that are left behind. These are the treasures of children and from experience I know just how distraught a child can become from loosing them.

Wallets, pocketbooks or purses have a different designation, these are called 10-29s. When you call in a 10-29, generally the only description you will supply is color. It’s important to protect these items as the wrong people can misuse them so easily. I always feel very nervous when carrying a 10-29 because it’s somebody’s financial life you may be holding.


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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge