How Does the Bus Handbrake Work and Operate?

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Rem Tangan Bus

Safety in bus travel depends not only on key devices, but also on the often-forgotten handbrake system. This article discusses the critical role of the handbrake system, explores the challenges in its maintenance, and introduces innovative solutions from TransTRACK.

The handbrake system is more than just an emergency stop device; it plays a central role in ensuring the safety and reliability of every journey. From real-time condition monitoring to automated maintenance schedules, TransTRACK comes as an advanced solution to improve the efficiency and safety of bus fleets.

In this article TransTRACK, we will dive into the essentials of handbrake system maintenance, discuss the challenges faced by fleet operators, and reveal how innovative solutions can pave the way to a safer transportation future.

How do bus hand brakes work?

Hand brakes on buses generally use an air brake system because they have a larger weight and require a stronger braking system. Here is an overview of how the hand brake works on a bus with an air brake system:

Hand Brake Lever

The handbrake on a bus is usually activated using the hand brake lever located near the driver. This lever is often similar to the hand brake lever on a car, but on buses, it is usually used to control the air brake system.

Air Brake System

  • Air Compressor: The air brake system on buses uses an air compressor to generate high air pressure. This compressor is powered by the bus engine.
  • Air Tube: Air pressure is generated and stored in the air cylinder to provide sufficient pressure for braking.

The Small Role of the Hand Brake Lever

  • The hand brake lever on a bus has a small role in activating the hand brake. When the lever is pulled, it signals the air valve to lower the air pressure in the brake system.

Air Valve

  • When the Lever is Pulled: When the handbrake lever is pulled, the air valve opens and allows air to escape from the brake system.
  • Air Pressure Drop: This drop in air pressure causes the air brakes on the rear wheels or certain wheels to be applied.

Brake Cylinder and Disc

  • Brake Activation: Reduced air pressure moves the brake cylinder, which then presses the brake disc against the brake drum or disk.
  • Vehicle Braking: This process causes the vehicle to stop or reduce speed as required.

Brake Release

  • Returning the Lever: When the handbrake lever is released, the air valve is closed and the air pressure returns to normal. This allows the braking device to be released and the vehicle can move again.

Air brake systems are designed to provide strong and reliable braking on large vehicles such as buses. It is important to perform regular maintenance and checks on the brake system so that it always functions properly and safely.

How to operate a bus handbrake

Operating the handbrake on a bus usually involves a few simple steps. However, as each bus model may have minor differences in its brake system, be sure to follow the bus manufacturer’s specific instructions for use. Here are some general guidelines:

Ensure Vehicle is Closed and Parked in a Safe Place

  • Make sure the bus is parked and not moving.
  • Make sure no passengers are entering or exiting when you operate the handbrake.

Understand the Location of the Handbrake Lever

  • Look for the handbrake lever, usually located around the driver’s area, close to the driver’s seat.

Make Sure the Main Brake is in Normal Condition

  • Before using the handbrake, make sure the main brake system (air brake) is in normal condition. There should be no problems or leaks in the main brake system.

Pull the Handbrake Lever

  • Pull the handbrake lever with your hand in the direction indicated. This usually involves pulling the lever up or to the side, depending on the bus design.

Watch for Indicators or Sounds

  • Some buses have indicators or lights that show when the hand brake is activated.
  • You may also hear a sound or feel a change in pressure when the hand brake is activated.

Make sure the bus is not moving

  • Ensure that the bus does not move when the hand brake is engaged. You can do this by shivering the bus slightly after pulling the hand brake to ensure stability.

Turn Off Engine if Necessary

  • Some buses have policies that require the engine to be turned off when the handbrake is engaged, especially during long stops or parking.

Release the Handbrake to Resume Travel

  • When you are about to resume your journey, release the handbrake lever. Be sure to do so before attempting to drive.

Importance of Maintenance and Checks

  • Always check the brake system regularly to ensure that everything is working properly.
  • Look out for signs of wear or problems with the brake system.

Remember to always refer to the user manual or guide provided by the specific bus manufacturer, as operational procedures can vary slightly between models and brands. A good understanding of how to operate the handbrake on a bus is key to safety and reliability during travel.

Position of the bus handbrake on the dashboard

The position of the handbrake on a bus may vary depending on the bus design and specific model. However, generally, the handbrake lever on a bus is located near or around the dashboard in an area that is easily accessible to the driver. Some possible locations of the handbrake lever on the dashboard include:

Next to the Driver

The most common position is to the left or right of the driver’s seat, close to the dashboard. The handbrake lever can be pulled up or to the side depending on the specific bus design.

Between the Driver’s Seat and Passenger Seat

On some buses, the handbrake lever may be placed between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat.

In the Center Console

On some bus models, the handbrake lever can be placed on the center console, between the two driver seats.

Under the Dashboard

Some buses have the handbrake lever located slightly below the dashboard level. This lever can still be easily reached by the driver.

Digital or Electronic

Some modern buses may use an electronic handbrake system that is activated via a control panel on the dashboard or even via a touchscreen.

Awareness of the handbrake position is essential for safety, and bus drivers should be familiar with the location and usage of the handbrake lever according to the bus model they are controlling.

Managing a bus fleet efficiently is a big challenge in the transportation industry. One important aspect that should not be overlooked is vehicle maintenance, especially the braking system. In an effort to improve safety and efficiency, TransTRACK presents a cutting-edge solution through its Vehicle Maintenance System.

TransTRACK also has a special feature that specializes in monitoring and maintaining the handbrake system on your bus fleet. Using the Vehicle Maintenance System, you can access up-to-date information on the condition of each bus’ handbrake, including maintenance history, repair records, and maintenance deadlines.

TransTRACK is not just a system, but also a partner in keeping your bus fleet in top condition. TransTRACK’s responsive customer support and expert team are ready to help you resolve any issues quickly.

Keep your bus fleet safe and efficient with TransTRACK’s  Vehicle Maintenance System. Step into the future of safe and efficient transportation with TransTRACK!


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