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Buses World News

In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry

30.3.15

BUSES PURCHASE * USA: City of Wichita

* Kansas - To purchase nine buses as many as 60 new buses in the next five years

-- The city of Wichita plans to purchase nine, 35-foot diesel buses for Wichita transit, according to city documents... The diesel buses are part of a transit replacement plan approved last year by the City Council with Hayward, Calif.-based Gillig Corp. for at least 10 and as many as 60 new buses in the next five years... Wichita Transit operates a fleet of 56 buses and trolleys. According to transit director Steve Spade, about 60 percent of those are more than 12 years old, the useful life expectancy established by the Federal Transit Administration...
(Photo: The College Hill city bus heads down Douglas) Wichita, KS, USa -- The WICHITA EAGLE, by KELSEY RYANTHE - 25 March 2015

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BUSES SALES * Africa / Sierra Leone: Zhongtong Buses'

* Shadong Province - China Poly Group Corporation to deliver 100 buses to SLRTC


-- The Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Sierra Leone Government, is finalizing arrangement for the shipment of 100 buses to Sierra Leone, following last year’s signing of a contract between the ministry and China Poly Group Corporation for the supply of the said buses. The buses, which have been manufactured by Zhongtong Buses, in the People’s Republic of China, are expected in Sierra Leone at anytime from now... A three man delegation from Sierra Leone,  is presently in Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China, conducting a Pre-Delivery Assessment of the manufactured buses, with specific attention to materials, components and construction procedures of the buses... Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, China - The Salone Monitor (Sierra Leone), by John Baimba Sesay - March 21, 2015

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SHORTAGE OF BUS DRIVERS * India: Hire more women drivers

* New Delhi - In bid to, Delhi Transport Corporation ease rules

-- To encourage more women drivers to join its fleet, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has decided to provide training for them. The corporation has also decided to give some relaxation to women applicants in the hiring procedure... In this regard, the DTC has decided to relax a few norms to train women to drive buses for six months and, thereafter, it will help them get a heavy motor vehicle (HMV) licence... The rules state that a driver must have a licence to drive a HMV and have three years of experience driving a bus. However, women will now need only a commercial licence for light motor vehicles (LMV) to apply for the job... To make driving easy for these women, the corporation has also written to two big bus manufacturers to design the driver’s seat keeping women drivers in mind... According to the rules, a woman applicant should have a height of 5.3 ft to drive a DTC bus... Sources, however, said the DTC is considering to reduce the height criterion for women applicants so that more women come forward... 
(Photo: DTC low floor buses plying in New Delhi) - New Delhi, India - The Express, News Service - March 30, 2015

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19.3.15

BUSMAKERS NEWS * India: Tata Motors'

Tata Motors rallies nearly 4% on supply order for 4000 buses

-- Tata Motors Ltd surged as much as 3.7 per cent in trade on Tuesday, after the nation's top commercial vehicle maker, has bagged orders for more than 4,000 buses from states transport authorities under the second phase of the union government's national urban renewal mission, ET reported quoting a top executive... The government's efforts to kick start activities in the infrastructure sector and an uptick in the economy have already started showing impact the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment... Tata Motors, which sells every second truck and bus in the Indian market, is projecting sales in this segment to grow 15% to 112,180 units in the current fiscal year and 10-15% in the year after that, added the report...
(Photo: Tata Motors' Pimpri facility in Pune)  --  New Delhi,India - The Economic Times - 17 Mar, 2015

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WEATHER TROUBLES * Canada - Big city shut down

* Nova Scotia - The last (?) Halifax winter storm, cancels buses, etc.

-- The city of Halifax is virtually shut down as another storm has brought heavy snowfall to the region... Bus and ferry service suspended by Halifax Transit (including Access-a-Bus) for the day. Provincial government offices in mainland Nova Scotia are closed. Halifax municipal offices are closed. All municipal recreation facilities will be closed until noon, afternoon programs are cancelled, staff will reassess conditions by 3 p.m. for evening programs. Curbside collection of garbage, organics, and recyclables is cancelled for tomorrow, and will be re-scheduled for this Saturday, March 21...  ...   ...
(Photo by Marieke Walsh / Global News - A plow makes its way up Gottingen Street on March 18) Halifax, NS, CAN -Global News, by Rebecca Joseph - March 18, 2015

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TRANSPORT PUBLIC SERVICES * USA - * NY: Tour Bus Companies Agree to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit - * California: Luxury bus services in S.F. - * PA: Talking buses

* New York - Two of City’s biggest tour bus operators have agreed to pay $7.5 million and give up nearly 50 of their stops in Manhattan to settle an antitrust lawsuit brought by state and federal officials


-- The proposed settlement, announced on Monday night by the Justice Department and the New York attorney general, could reshape an industry that officials said the two companies, City Sights and Gray Line New York, effectively monopolized after forming a joint venture called Twin America... The companies’ double-decker buses can seem ubiquitous in many parts of Manhattan, and for many visitors, a ride on one is a requisite part of the tourist experience... As part of the agreement with officials, Twin America must give up nearly 50 stops in Manhattan, creating slots for other tour bus companies to stop near popular tourist destinations, including Times Square and the Empire State Building. The companies also agreed to pay $7.5 million in profits they made from operating together. The money will be split between the state and federal governments...
(Photo Credit Kirsten Luce for The New York Times - A Gray Line tour bus in Times Square. A suit filed by state and federal officials said City Sights and Gray Line New York created a joint venture to eliminate competition and push up prices)  -- New York, NY, USA -The NY Times, by EMMA G. FITZSIMMONS - MARCH 16, 2015


* California - 'Leap' luxury bus service launches in San Francisco

-- Leap luxury bus service will now run from San Francisco's Marina District to the downtown... Leather seats inside the Leap bus, along with leather seats, Leap buses also have Wi-Fi, and passengers can buy snacks on board the Leap bus... It's being described as a blend of a coffee shop, work space and living room... Starting Wednesday, four buses will run during the morning and evening commute... It has eight stops on the route from the Marina District on Lombard Street to the downtown... And you pay for everything on your app... Single rides are $6, but it can drop to less than $4 if you buy in bulk or use pre-tax commuter benefits... Leap says you won't have to wait at the bus stop. You can see where the next bus is on your app and if a seat is available... Leap expects more people to jump on if the early adopters are impressed...
(Photo: Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies have grabbed a lot of attention, but now, a new bus service called Leap is jumping into San Francisco's transportation game) -- San Francisco, CAL, USA - KGO, by Matt Keller - March 18, 2015


* Pennsylvania - SEPTA unveils talking buses in an effort to keep pedestrians safe

-- In an age when smartphones are many people's lifeline - and walking without talking on the phone, listening to music or checking email is a rarity, SEPTA is doing its best to keep distracted commuters safe... One way the transportation company is doing so, is with the unveiling of the talking bus -- complete with an alert system that audibly and visually warns pedestrians that the bus is turning... The warning systems have been installed in 12 SEPTA buses in the city so far as part of the pilot program. SEPTA officials will ride on these buses to access the alert system's effectiveness... The Safe Turn Program is an extensions of SEPTA's Distracted Commuter Awareness Program launched last year...
(Photo: The new "Safe Turn Alert System" will audibly warn passengers when a SEPTA bus is making a turn)  --  Philadelphia, PA, USA - NBC Philadelphia, by Kelly Bayliss- Mar 17, 2015

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICE WORLDWIDE - * UK: Stagecoach's passenger satisfaction - * Malaysia: New BRT System busess

* UK / Scotland - Stagecoach scores highest for passenger satisfaction as survey shows Scots happier with bus service

-- Around nine in ten bus passengers in Scotland are satisfied with their service, according to the latest survey by the industry watchdog... Perth-based Stagecoach scored highest for overall satisfaction, journey time and punctuality in the latest bus passenger satisfaction survey... Stagecoach's operation in the Tayside and Central region scored highest for overall satisfaction and journey time with, respectively, 95 per cent and 93 per cent of passengers happy with the service...  However, the overall picture for Scotland showed that bus passengers north of the Border were generally happier with their service than those in England... The survey of more than 47,000 passengers found that 88 per cent of bus users in England were happy with their service compared to 92 per cent of Scots... Perth, Scotland, UK - The Herald Scotland, by Helen McArdle - 12 March 2015


* Malaysia - Electric bus service for Subang and Sunway folk

(Photo: The BRT will use 15 electric buses. These can run for 12 hours a day, about 250km or 23 trips)
 -- Coming in June, Sunway will see a new public transport service called the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which will help reduce congestion, improve time management and provide seamless connectivity for commuters... This project, the first of its kind in Malaysia, is expected to be completed by May, enabling commuters to use the 5.4km route within Subang and Bandar Sunway... An eco-friendly transportation system, the BRT will use 15 electric buses on dedicated lanes to minimise congestion... It is estimated that 2,400 passengers will be transported per hour in 2015 and the numbers are expected to reach 5,200 in 2035...

(Photo: Dedicated lanes for BRT’s electric buses)
 During the visit, Prasarana group managing director Azmi Abdul Aziz said the project was aiming for gold class certification, the highest recognition for BRT services around the world from the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. It is an independent organisation working with local councils and governments based in New York... He also briefed the media on the facilities available on the buses and in the depot... Boasting comfortable seats, the buses are scheduled to operate with a headway of five minutes at 30kmh to 40kmh although they are capable of a maximum speed of 80kmh... A total of 15 charging bays are set up in the depot, which also houses the bus maintenance centre as well as the operations and security control centre...
Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - The Star Online, by PRIYA MENON- March 19, 2015

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17.3.15

COMMERCIAL FREEDOM * UK - The end for bus companies ... ???

* England: Bus companies fear end of commercial freedom

-- For the transport industry, the current push for devolution in the UK has raised fears about how this will affect the franchising of services and whether it could spell the end of commercial freedom for bus companies... Bus operators were dismayed by the devolution package handed to Manchester last year by George Osborne, the chancellor. Among other things, the deal gives the Greater Manchester Combined Authority the power to take over the running of bus services, setting routes and fares, an option it is actively pursuing... The UK bus industry, which has a combined annual turnover of about £6bn, is alarmed at the prospect of public sector control choking its commercial freedom and slashing margins. The concern is that if it works for Manchester, other authorities may follow suit and usher in moves that could lead to sweeping changes to their businesses... Stagecoach, one of Britain’s biggest bus operators, struck a strident tone last year when its chief executive, Martin Griffiths, warned that handing transport powers to cities could lead to a “confiscation of assets”...  Jon Lamonte, chief executive of Transport for Greater Manchester, said the new powers were a chance for the authority to improve services for passengers by offering simpler ticketing and joined up services between trams, buses and trains... “It’s part of trying to ensure economic growth for the whole of Greater Manchester and transport is a key enabler of that,” Mr Lamonte said... (Photo: A tram and a bus make their way through the streets of Manchester on February 26, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom) --  Manchester,EN,UK -  The Financial Times, by Jane Wild - March 10, 2015

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* Pakistan: Traffic police clamp down on bus carriers

* Karachi - A precarious perch


-- The city’s impound yards wear splashes of colour these days. Intricately decorated carriers, used by passengers to perch precariously atop the city’s minibuses and coaches, lie piled up in the ‘jails of cars’ after the traffic police clamped down on them... The traffic police department kicked off the crackdown after its 10-day deadline for the removal of the carriers passed on March 1, irking the transporters as well as commuters who often travel on the rooftops of the city’s buses... Talking to The Express Tribune, traffic DIG, Amir Sheikh, termed the hundreds of commuters loaded upon the buses ‘an ugly sight’ as he expressed his displeasure towards the transporters for putting passengers on the rooftop... Transporters, meanwhile, claimed that although they had agreed to comply with Sheikh’s orders, they were facing problems by doing so... According to Zaheer Khan, the manager of the Khan Coach services, the company has 45 buses plying on the roads of Karachi – all of them now free of the rooftop carriers that used to hold passengers. “This has resulted in losses of over Rs400 per day,” he lamented. “And even putting that aside, our drivers and conductors are now met with a hail of abuse from the commuters anxious to board the coaches, sometimes leading to scuffles” ... Meanwhile, South traffic SP, Tanveer Odho, pledged to continue charging transporters who did not comply with the traffic rules...
(Photo: Commuters piled on top of buses is a common sight on the roads of Karachi)  --  The Express Tribune, by Oonib Azam - March 10, 2015

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BUSES PURCHASE * USA: 20 plus new school vehicles

* North Carolina - Horry County Schools eying 20 replacement school buses

-- Horry County School’s fleet of 109 district-owned buses might be getting an upgrade soon... The district plans to bring a recommendation to the Board of Education at their next meeting for 20 new buses, said John Gardner, chief financial officer for the district... All the buses will be funded through the general fund, and the district has already set aside $840,000 for the replacements. The board has also planned to replace 10 buses during the 2015-16 school year, Gardner said... Horry County Schools’ buses travel 33,888 miles per day and rack up 61.1 million miles every year, according to district data. About 22,500 students ride the bus, and the district has about 373 drivers... Officials hope to have 30 new buses operating for the 2015-2016 school year, if the board approves the budget as currently proposed, Gardner said... The district will make a recommendation for 20 new buses at the board’s next meeting on March 23... (Photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan / The Sun News - Horry County Schools buses) -- Horry_County, South Carolina, USA - The Myrtle Beach On Line, by Claire Byun - 11 March 2015

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BUSMAKERS SALES * UK: Stagecoach to invest £80m in 470 new buses - * Singapore: 450 new buses

* Scotland / UK - Investment is to be made in both regional routes and Megabus services across the UK and Europe

-- Scottish transport firm Stagecoach is to invest more than £80m in a fleet of new buses for its routes across the UK and Europe... The Perth-based coach company has commissioned almost 470 new vehicles, most of which will be built in Britain, for its regional and Megabus services... All of the new buses will come fitted with CCTV, and many will feature free wi-fi access... The first of the new Stagecoach vehicles will be delivered this spring... More than £75m is to be spent on 412 buses for the firm's local networks in England, Scotland and Wales... The company is also expanding its Megabus service in the UK and mainland Europe, with £6.9m spent on 22 new coaches, while a further 34 coaches are to be built for the Stagecoach Express operation... (Photo: A Stagecoach bus) -- Perth, Scotland, UK - BBC News - 10 March 2015


* Singapore - Another 450 buses to ply streets by 2017 

-- The additional 450 buses comes on the heels of the 550 Government-funded buses added under the original Bus Service Enhancement Programme - completed two years ahead of schedule, says the Transport Minister, who will further expand the BSEP by adding another 450 buses by 2017, Transport Minister, Lui Tuck Yew, announced in Parliament on Wednesday... Together with the buses provided by public transport operators and use of private bus operators to provide additional capacity via City Direct Services and Peak Period Short Services, the bus fleet would have increased by about 35 per cent since the start of BSEP in 2012, Mr Lui at the 2015 Committee of Supply debates... (Photo: Passengers boarding a bus at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, Singapore) -- Singapore - The Channel News Asia -11 Mar 2015

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TRANSPORT PUBLIC SERVICE * USA: "The GO ... GO ... GO era" in NC & FREE FARES in Montana & I-66 shoulders in DC

* North Carolina - Triangle’s buses are going to a Go, Go and Go


-- Raleigh’s Capital Area Transit buses will carry new “GoRaleigh” labels and Durham’s DATA buses will say “GoDurham” starting March 25 – and Triangle Transit’s regional buses will sail under a “GoTriangle” banner... The coordinated effort is part of a regional rebranding for transit agencies that began merging their fares, routes, marketing and planning efforts a few years ago... Cary’s C-Tran buses will be rechristened “GoCary” in 2016. That leaves Chapel Hill Transit as the lone holdout among the region’s municipal bus services... (Photo by John Dancy Jones: Raleigh takes a snow day. Capital Area Transit and Trangle Transit Authority buses were on a limited schedule Saturday)  --  Raleigh, NC, USA - The News Observer, by BRUCE SICELOFF - 11 March 2015


 * Montana - Mountain Line bus system sets ridership record with free fares

-- Mountain Line closes first month of free fares with 22 percent increase. This may not come as a shock to anybody, but more Missoulians are taking advantage of public buses now that they're free to ride... The Missoula Urban Transportation District announced Wednesday that the Mountain Line bus system set a new record for ridership in February, a month after transitioning to the zero-fare rides and adding new and faster service routes... According to Mountain Line general manager Corey Aldridge, the bus system provided 100,120 rides to customers last month, a 23 percent increase over the 2014 February total. It was also the highest ridership in the agency’s history... Mountain Line officially launched the three-year zero-fare demonstration project on Jan. 5. It was made possible by $460,000 in sponsorship money from 14 different community partners... The same day, the bus service launched phase 2 of its “Long Range Transportation Plan” that was financed by a $1.7 million voter-approved mill levy... Mountain Line officials have said in the past that they expect a 45 percent increase in ridership over the next three years... Aldridge said, ovrall the public has loved not having to dig into their pockets for bus fare... (Photo by Tom Bauer - People board one of Mountain Line's new buses during an event to show them to the public in November at Mountain Line Headquarters. The buses were put in service in January along with new routes and zero-fare services) -- Missoula, Montana, USA - The Missoulian, by David Erickson - March 11, 2015


* Virginia - Buses to begin using I-66 shoulders in pilot program

-- Some Northern Virginia commuters will now get to cut in line during heavy traffic on Interstate 66... Starting March 23, PRTC OmniRide commuter buses to and from Manassas and Gainesville will be able to use the shoulders along some stretches of I-66 whenever traffic in the regular lanes is moving slower than 35 miles per hour... The Virginia Department of Transportation’s project manager for the pilot program, Rahul Trivedi, says other bus services like Metrobus could join the program within the next few months... If the pilot program is successful, Trivedi says there are other stretches on I-66 inside the Beltway that could be added to the program relatively quickly without too much additional work... VDOT will consider things like how much time it saves, how frequently the shoulders are used, whether there are safety issues, and how the shoulders hold up to the wear and tear as part of a cost-benefit analysis at the end of the one-year pilot... (Image: I66 bus pilot map) -- Washington,DC,USA - Washington Top News, by Max Smith -March 11, 2015

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QUIET ZONES ON BUSES * Canada: GO Transit is asking bus riders

* Ontario - GO Transit it's trying if they would like the Q.Z., very popular on the upper tier of trains


-- GO Transit is quietly exploring the possibility of adding no-talking sections to its buses. The transit agency hasn't formally decided to go ahead with the idea, and there's no timeline yet. But GO has been surveying customers on whether they would like to see Quiet Zones, introduced on trains in 2013, added to the bus service... During rush hours, upper tiers of GO coaches are considered Quiet Zones, where riders are discouraged from talking together or on their phones and they're asked to turn down their electronics. Short, quiet conversations are allowed. The Quiet Zones aren't policed, but train riders will frequently explain the rules to fellow passengers who don't follow the rules... It's not clear if or how a bus Quiet Zone would work on standard coaches, but it could work on GO's growing double-decker fleet in much the same way as it does on the trains... GO Transit runs 2,061 bus trips daily, and 64,000 of GO's 251,000 riders take the bus... (Photo, by VINCE TALOTTA / TORONTO STAR - Some regular GO Bus passengers would like to the see the Quiet Zone program used on rush-hour trains extended to buses, for a more peaceful commute) --  Toronto, ONT, Canada - The Toronto Star, by Tess Kalinowski - Mar 10 2015

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16.3.15

THE BUS SERVICES CUTS * UK - What will the next government do?

* England - Unless there’s devolution of powers and funding in places other than just London and Manchester, those that rely on vital bus services will keep suffering

-- Millions of people rely on local bus services to get them to work, school, job interviews, hospital appointments and shops. According to annual bus statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) there were 4.7bn passenger journeys on buses in England in 2013-14. But as austerity measures make mincemeat of council budgets many vital subsidised services – which provide a bus where one is needed but no commercially operated route exists – are disappearing... In addition to the government’s 28% cut in funding for local authorities, the bus service operators grant, which provides a fuel duty rebate to bus service operators, has also been cut by 20%. Cash-strapped local authorities have responded by reducing their funding for bus services by £44m (15%), and more than 2,000 routes or services have been lost, according to the Campaign For Better Transport (CBT)... Although they only account for 19% of bus services in England outside of London, subsidised services are often the only form of public transport isolated people can access. In counties such as Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire and East Sussex these services have been particularly hard hit. North Yorkshire has cut 90 bus services, according to figures the CBT obtained through freedom of information requests... (Photograph: Peter Titmuss / Alamy - Single deck bus travelling along a country lane in Hampshire. In counties such as Hampshire subsidised bus services, often the only form of public transport isolated people can access, have been particularly hard hit)  --  London,EN,UK -  The Guardian, by Duncan Jefferies - 16 March 2015

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HYDROGEN BUSES * UK: Second vehicle break down

* Scotland - Embarrassment continues as second Aberdeen hydrogen bus breaks down

-- Transport bosses were left red faced yesterday after another of Europe’s newest hydrogen buses broke down – the second in the space of 24 hours... The first to encounter “technical issues” broke down on Thursday – just a day after the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station officially opened in Aberdeen. And yesterday another member of the 10-strong fleet broke down in at a bus stop in the Rosemount area of the city... Stagecoach later confirmed the fault was due to a fuel issue and said it had asked the manufacturer to make checks on the rest of the fleet... Six of the 10 vehicles are operated by Stagecoach on the X17 Aberdeen city centre to Westhill route, while First Group operates four on the X40 Kingswells to Bridge of Don park-and-ride route... (Image: The first of the hydrogen busses to break down) -- Aberdeen City, Scotland, UK - Aberdeen Journals, by Morag Lindsay -14 March 2015

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ELECTRIC BATTERY MAKER * USA - Tesla Motors, is planning to build its giant battery 'gigafactory' in

* Nevada - Tesla’s $5 billion factory is scheduled to be churning out 35 GWh

-- Tesla Motors Inc. is working on the world’s biggest battery production facility east of Reno, Nevada, as part of its plan to mass-produce a half million electric cars a year by 2020. If all goes as planned it would be the world’s largest lithium ion battery facility... By 2020 from its factories the same year Tesla’s $5 billion Nevada factory is scheduled to be churning out 35 GWh... The Fremont, California-based, is working with Japan’s Panasonic Corp. to rapidly expand its battery supply. A vital component of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plan to produce a sub-$35,000 Telsa electric car is to install an annual capacity to make billions of small high-energy 18650 lithium ion cells. It takes thousands of these batteries, each a little larger than a standard AA, to make one of the energy storage packs that power the Model S... The so-called "Gigafactory" will make advanced batteries expected to power Tesla's next generation of electric cars, as well as have capacity to supply batteries for other carmakers and other battery users, such as utilities... (Photo from Panasonic: Small high-energy 18650 lithium ion cells) --  Carson City, NEV, USA - USA TODAY, by Chris Woodyard & The International Business Times, by Angelo Young - March 13 2015

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BATTERY PRODUCTION * China: BYD it could have capacity equal to Tesla Motors in 2020

* A Chinese ‘Gigafactory’? 

-- Chinese electric bus and car manufacturer BYD says it’s planning to expand battery production, increasing output so fast that it will almost match the planned output of Tesla’s so-called “Gigafactory” by the time it’s fully operational in five years... The Shenzhen-based maker of e6 electric cars and K9 electric buses wants to more than double its battery production output this year, from 4 gigawatt hours (GWh) to 10, continuing at that pace for at least three years, according to Reuters. A GWh is a massive unit of electrical energy (equivalent to 1 billion watt hours) used to measure a battery maker’s annual production output... At that pace of expansion, BYD could have 34 GWh of capacity... BYD, which is 10-percent owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, could have 34 GWh a year by 2020 if its plans work out. BYD produces most of its batteries in China, but it’s opening a Brazilian plant this year...
(Photo from Creative Commons - A BYD K9 electric bus waits to pick up passengers in Palo Alto, California, in this 2014 file photo. The bus is used in municipal transport systems in the U.S., China and Europe. BYD is also one of the largest manufacturers of electric vehicle battery packs) -- Shenzen, China International Business Times, by Angelo Young -March 13 2015

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INFRASTRUCTURES' PROJECT * USA: Tolled express lanes only part of story on new U.S. 36

* Colorado - "U.S. 36 tolls need more local input" ..
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-- As the Colorado Department of Transportation's U.S. 36 Express Lanes project nears completion, The Denver Post editorial's singular focus on the proposed toll rates only during rush hours leaves out the rest of the story. Yes, paying a toll is one choice for drivers, but the express lane added in each direction of the highway will offer more choices than ever before in this highly congested corridor... U.S. 36 travelers can choose free or a fee... The express lanes are free for carpoolers, and riders on RTD's bus rapid transit service will save time in the less-congested express lane. Toll rates for solo drivers are lower during all off-peak hours and especially if they get a pass. Lastly, drivers always have the option of driving toll-free in the existing general purpose lanes, which will flow more smoothly as express lanes are expected to move 60,000 riders on a weekday. If you choose the toll-free lanes, you have the added benefit of new active traffic management, the large signs you see across the highway that will help improve traffic flow... In a revenue-constrained environment, using express lanes and pricing to manage for growth in the future while also providing multi-modal choice (as opposed to other parts of the country where entire roadways are tolled) was critical. Additionally, the public-private partnership model we are using helps us to deliver U.S. 36 years ahead of where traditional funding would allow... We are confident that once U.S. 36 opens later this year, Coloradans will feel they not only get a better choice in how they travel, but also the best choice we could make as stewards of scarce taxpayer dollars... 
(Photo by Karl Gehring/The Denver Post - Traffic moves on U.S. 36 in Broomfield) -- Denver, COL, USA -The Denver Post, by Shailen Bhatt (Executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation) & Michael Cheroutes (Director of the High Performance Transportation Enterprise) -14 Mar 2015

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES * USA: RTD misses the bus on Bridj transit technology

* Colorado: What is wrong with RTD?

-- The Regional Transportation District squandered an opportunity to partner with an innovative technology company being sought in cities around the world to help out with the gaps in service... The company, Bridj, would need no government subsidy. It is essentially a pop-up transit service that collects and analyzes data to figure out the most congested corridors to locate its rides... There are no fixed routes, times or bus stops. The company, now operating in Boston and soon to start in Washington, D.C., uses data points from social media, census figures and municipal information to figure out how people move through the city... It also has a mobile app that allows people to schedule bus trips, saying where and when they want to be picked up and where they want to go. They receive a pickup location and, within a few minutes, hop on a Wi-Fi-enabled bus that takes them near their destination... A typical fare in Boston is between $3 and $6... But RTD said, "Thanks, but no thanks" ... (Photo by Anya Semenoff, Denver Post file - A passenger prepares to board an RTD bus in Denver) --  Denver, COL, USA -The Denver Post, by Jeremy Meyer -14 March 2015

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BUS PASSENGERS' STORIES * USA: Riding express bus from Denver to Boulder provides true convenience

* Colorado - In a long overdue tribute:  I write in praise of bus drivers


--   In Boulder, the express bus to Denver stops four blocks from my house... Without a moment's complaint, the bus drivers relieve me of the burden of traffic and trouble on the Boulder-Denver Turnpike. While they cope with unpredictable and dangerous motorist behavior, I enjoy rare interludes of uninterrupted reading. In truth, when traffic is thick, it is impossible not to look down — in every sense — on the automobile drivers who create the congestion and then feel its vexation with the greatest immediacy... I started and ended every workday by relying on the work ethic of bus drivers. Possibly one or two of these individuals were grumpy and short-tempered, but those exceptions to the rule left no lasting impression, while the examples of kindness took a permanent place in my mind... In Colorado as much as in Massachusetts, bus drivers draw on a psychological tool kit stocked with thoughtfulness and a sense of responsibility, as well as humor and wit... On recent trip, an accident had turned the turnpike into a parking lot. As we went nowhere fast, the bus driver mobilized humor on our behalf. "Folks," he said at one point, "I have bad news. The flight attendant called in sick today, so we won't be able to serve peanuts and drinks during this delay" ... And ... this it's a long overdue tribute to all they !! ...
(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post - Passengers board an RTD bus in Boulder)  -- Denver, COL, USA -The Denver Post, by Patty Limerick: Faculty director and chair of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado - 14 March 2015: --

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11.3.15

BUSES PURCHASE * UK : Stagecoach's

* England - Stagecoach investing £80m on fleet of 470 new buses with free Wi-Fi

-- Britain's biggest bus and coach operator are investing more than £80m in a fleet of 470 new buses and coaches... Perth-based company Stagecoach will roll out the new vehicles, many of which will offer free Wi-Fi, across the UK and mainland Europe from early 2015... The transport firm says the order is a major boost for British manufacturing and will support hundreds of manufacturing and supply jobs throughout the country, as well as in Italy and Spain... More than 350 of the new buses are to built by bus manufacturers Alexander Dennis Ltd in Falkirk... The new contract will bring the company's total investment in the UK to £630m over the past eight years... The latest orders follow a competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles are expected to be on the road from spring 2015... It includes 412 low-floor double decker, single decker, midi and mini buses for Stagecoach regional bus networks in the UK as well as 22 new coaches for Megabus in the UK and Europe... A further 34 coaches will be used for Stagecoach Express operations in the UK and 93 buses from the local bus order will be manufactured to the Stagecoach's gold specification for luxury services... (Photo: Stagecoach picture company quality bus) - London, EN, UK -STV News, by Catriona MacPhee - 10 March 2015

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ELECTRIC BUS * USA: Proterra's

* South Caroline - Proterra unveils 180-mile electric bus

 -- There are just a few players in the electric bus market right now. The two big ones, from what I’ve seen, are BYD and Proterra. BYD just recently unveiled a 200-mile electric bus and the largest battery-electric bus in the world, and Proterra has just announced its new TerraVolt XR extended-range electric bus... Offering up to 180 miles of driving on a single charge, the new Proterra TerraVolt XR electric bus will offer municipalities yet another option when it comes to replacing aging diesel buses... This means Proterra can now compete mile-for-mile with its primary rival, BYD, allowing for bus inter-city travel rather than merely local deliveries... The TerraVolt XR joins the TerraVolt FC, which has less range but can be recharged in as little as 5 minutes, minimizing downtime... Even with a smaller battery, the TerraVolt FC was able to cover some 700 miles in 24 hours, though the BYD electric bus covered nearly 750 miles in the same time...  Things are tight between these two electric buses to be sure. The TerraVolt XR will take about an hour to charge in comparison, with up to 321 kWh of onboard energy storage, compared to the FC's maximum pack size of 131 kWh ... ... Greenville, SC, USA - Clean Technica, by Christopher DeMorro - March 7th, 2015

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BUSES PURCHASE * Thailand: Prajin eyes electric vehicle alternative

* Bangkok - NGV bus fleet plan faces new delays

-- Bangkok might be better off buying electric buses and scrapping its long-awaited NGV-fuelled bus purchase plan, says Transport Minister, Prajin Juntong... He called on Monday for a study on alternative fuels amid rising gas prices. The plan threatens to delay the city's plan to buy 2,694 city buses, which was set to kick into gear next month... However, the ministry will still go ahead with the bidding process for the first batch of 489 NGV-run buses... The plan to procure electric buses was still at the idea stage but might be worth a look as gas prices keep rising, ACM Prajin said... Transport officials, especially the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, which runs city buses, must review the plan to buy natural gas-fuelled (NGV) buses, as it faces several hurdles... 
(Photo: NGV buses on Bangkok's streets) -  Bangkok,Thailand - The Bangkok Post - 3 Mar 2015

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ELECTRIC BUSES * UK: First all electric bus route

* England - Number 312 from South Croydon to Norwood Junction to be London's first all electric bus route

-- The number 312 from Norwood Junction to South Croydon is to be London’s first all electric bus route... Transport for London announced this week Arriva had been re-awarded the contract for the route and will roll out single decker electric buses after a successful trial... Two Optare MetroCity electric buses have been operating on the route for the last few months as a test to see whether the technology was suited to operating in an intense urban environment... Arriva is now in talks with bus manufacturers about adding a further seven electric buses to the route, with a date for the 312’s route conversion to be confirmed later in the year... Mike Weston, TfL’s director of buses, said: ... "the electric buses will improve passengers’ experiences as they make less noise and vibration". It should also save bus companies money with lower maintenance and running costs... If the entirely electric 312 bus route is a success, it could lead to electric buses being rolled out across London... TfL hopes to introduce more than 500 buses to the streets of London over the next five years as part of £500 million worth of funding to improve the bus network... (Image: The number 312 is to become an electric-only bus route) - London, EN, UK - The Croydon Advertiser - March 03, 2015

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27.2.15

WEATHER TROUBLES * USA: WINTER WEATHER

* Maine - Lewiston buses break down due to cold weather 

  -- Many Lewiston students had to stand in the bitter cold Tuesday morning for quite a while, completely unaware that their bus wasn't going to show up... Lewiston School District's superintendent Bill Webster took to social media, and sent out calls to parents the moment he learned that a third of his school buses weren't working. Webster said condensation got into the fuel lines of 14 of their contracted 42 buses. While some just wouldn't start, others started fine, but broke down along their route, or at school... Despite the delays, the school district reported a more than 90 percent attendance rate on Tuesday. Webster said that's thanks to the patience parents showed, some who waited for another bus to come along and others who ended up driving their kids to school themselves... Lewiton,Maine,USA -WCSH 6 Portland -February 24, 2015

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DISCRIMINATION A BOARD * Australia: Research shows white privilegei is real

* Queensland - When whites get a free pass


 -- A field experiment about who gets free bus rides in Brisbane, a city on the eastern coast of Australia, shows that even today, whites get special privileges, particularly when other people aren’t around to notice... As they describe in two working papers, Redzo Mujcic and Paul Frijters, economists at the University of Queensland, trained and assigned 29 young adult testers (from both genders and different ethnic groups) to board public buses in Brisbane and insert an empty fare card into the bus scanner. After the scanner made a loud sound informing the driver that the card did not have enough value, the testers said, “I do not have any money, but I need to get to” a station about 1.2 miles away. (The station varied according to where the testers boarded)... With more than 1,500 observations, the study uncovered substantial, statistically significant race discrimination. Bus drivers were twice as willing to let white testers ride free as black testers (72 percent versus 36 percent of the time). Bus drivers showed some relative favoritism toward testers who shared their own race, but even black drivers still favored white testers over black testers (allowing free rides 83 percent versus 68 percent of the time)... The study also found that racial disparities persisted when the testers wore business attire or dressed in army uniforms. For example, testers wearing army uniforms were allowed to ride free 97 percent of the time if they were white, but only 77 percent of the time if they were black... The bus study underscores this point. Drivers were more likely to let testers ride free when there were fewer people on the bus to observe the transaction. And the drivers themselves were probably not aware that they were treating minorities differently. When drivers, in a questionnaire conducted after the field test, were shown photographs of the testers and asked how they would respond, hypothetically, to a free-ride request, they indicated no statistically significant bias against minorities in the photos (86 percent said they would let the black individual ride free)... (Photo: ... "The truth is, I am baffled each and every day by the new rules that seem to be made up on the spot, depending on the driver at the time") - Brisbane, QLND, Australia -The New York times (NY,USA), by IAN AYRES -Feb 24, 2015

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