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Buses World News

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

1.5.16

CITY BUSES * New Zealand - More sustainable ones

* Wellington - Wrightspeed is outfitting city buses, with a cutting-edge electric bus system

-- The trolly system in Wellington, New Zealandwill soon be replaced by Wrightspeed's high-powered electric engines... Enter Wrightspeed, a San Jose, California, USA-based company that sells heavy-duty electric motors that can move oversized buses, delivery vans, and even garbage truck more efficiently, with less fuel and much less noise... A former Tesla Motors founder, Ian Wright started his own company on a seemingly simple premise, applying the massive sustainability gains of electric engines to the least sustainable vehicles on the road. The company’s electric motors, battery packs, and a gas turbine can provide lumbering, multi-ton motor vehicles with 60 percent better fuel efficiency and 90 percent cleaner emissions. It was a simple choice for Wellington to go with Wrightspeed technology, which will be installed in the city’s trolleys over the next year as part of a US$30 million deal announced last week... Says Zane Fulljames, CEO of NZ Bus. "The technology enables us to reimagine our trolley buses, rather than decommissioning them" ...

(Photo: The Wrightspeed engine system)
 ... The Wrightspeed hybrid system—an electric motor with extensive power and torque, a computer-controlled high-tech gear box and four-speed transmission, and a battery that’s charged by a gas-fueled turbine range extender called the Fulcrum—provides the push needed to move a heavy vehicle up hills with an electric engine, while giving it the extra juice needed to last through a long, arduous route with multiple stops... Wrightspeed doesn’t work for every heavy vehicle, but for the backbone of urban transport and heavy-duty hauling, the system saves fuel costs and reduces emissions, with the more expensive upgrade paying for itself in three to four years... The New Zealand deal marks Wrightspeed’s first move beyond providing delivery vehicles, and as Wright sees it, a large new market for its sustainable technology... 
(All images via Wrighspeed)   --  Wellington, NZ - Curbed, by Patrick Sisson - April 29, 2016

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26.4.16

RECALL by ALL * GERMAN's CAR MAKERS: 630,000 vehicles

* Germany - Manufacturers are recalling vehicles to fix diesel software as the clampdown 

(By TomWoodsTV - Oct 20, 2015: Eric Peters is the libertarian authority on cars, and writes at EPAutos.com. We discussed the VW issue, the $5000 SUV Americans aren't allowed to buy, a court case in New Jersey that allows the police to search your car no matter what you're stopped for, and more) 

 -- German car makers are to recall 630,000 cars to fix diesel emissions management software, a German govermnment official said... The recall, including Porsche, Volkswagen, Opel, Audi and Mercedes vehicles, widens a clampdown in the wake of the VW scandal - in which the car maker last year admitted using software to cheat on emissions tests... German officials had ordered a probe into on a broad range of vehicles as part of a broader investigation into high levels of health-threatening nitric oxide diesel emissions... The recall is aimed to tighten a legal loophole over emissions treatment systems, in order to ensure lower levels of pollution going forward, an official told Reuters... Meanwhile, a German official told the AFP news agency that it had uncovered anomalies in Renault engines, though the French car maker did not come under its jurisdiction... In the UK and Europe, where Volkswagen's market is much bigger than in the US, the car maker came under pressure to explain why motorists were not also being offered compensation... Regulators and prosecutors around the world are investigating the car maker after its admission last year, which affected 11 million vehicles globally... Meanwhile two other car makers are facing investigations from US officials... Meanwhile in the UK, the Government has revealed that all diesel cars it tested in the wake of the VW scandal exceeded laboratory pollution limits when looked at in real-world conditions... 
 London, EN, UK -- Sky News - 22 April 2016

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DAIMLER's INVESTIGATION * Germany: Into emissions certifications

* Baden-Württemberg - Truck and bus maker Daimler rebuffed questions about an internal investigation into its emissions certifications

  (New drive technology - Daimler Trucks - Video by Bauforum24 TV - July 3, 2015: Baden-Württemberg, the gravel pit Jakob Bauer sons. Here Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating its latest drive technology: Hydraulic Auxiliary Drive) 

 -- German car, truck and bus maker Daimler AG rebuffed questions about an internal investigation into its emissions certifications as news of the probe sent shares lower Friday... Officials on a conference call with journalists were asked several questions about the matter but said they could provide no information beyond Thursday's announcement, as the issue overshadowed the company's announcement of first-quarter earnings... Stuttgart-based Daimler AG is investigating at the request of the U.S. government what it says are "possible indications of irregularities" in its emissions certification process... Daimler spokesman Han Tjan said Thursday that the Department of Justice contacted Daimler last week. The company is conducting an internal investigation of its exhaust emissions certification process... U.S. owners of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC diesels recently filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the cars are programmed in a way that lets them emit illegal levels of emissions. Daimler says the lawsuit's claims are without merit and that the Justice Department investigation is unrelated... 
Frankfurt, Germany - AP/Daily Reporter, by DAVID McHUGH - April 22, 2016

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ELECTRIC CARS FRAUD * China

* Beijing - Fraud leaves China's electric car demand in doubt

--- The numbers may have looked too good to be true. Suzhou Gemsea Coach Manufacturing Co., operating out of a blue metal shed west of Shanghai, told the Chinese government it produced 3,700 electric vehicles last year -- almost all of them in one month... That month was December. When inspectors, accompanied by state TV reporters, swarmed the site in Suzhou to verify the numbers, they found a few Gemsea brand vans parked outside and hardly any modern assembly equipment inside... The investigation casts doubt on the accuracy of reported Chinese electric-vehicle sales that are double those in the U.S. ... As the Beijing Auto Show approaches next week, the government is examining whether it doled out money for fake transactions by domestic companies, with the answer potentially curbing bullish expansion plans by Tesla Motors Inc., BYD Co. and other makers... China’s regulators have proposed cutting subsidies for electric buses and imposing a price ceiling on passenger vehicles that qualify for incentives. It’s also considering a California-like system in which carmakers can earn credits by selling cleaner vehicles or buying them from one another to stay in compliance with government objectives... 
(Photo: China probes subsidies fraud)   --  Beijing, China - Bloomberg, by Jie Ma / Craig Trudell (SEE VIDEO too) - April 21, 2016

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WRIGHTBUS * UK: Mr. Wright call Leave EU vote

* N.I. - The maker of London's red buses has called for a Leave vote on EU membership

--- William Wright claimed the costs of being in the union had grown while the benefits had fallen... He founded the Wrightbus manufacturer in Ballymena in Co Antrim, which is making almost 1,000 of the distinctive double-decker Routemasters and has exported to international markets including Singapore and Hong Kong... Dr Wright said: "It is my opinion that the best future for the UK and Northern Ireland is by releasing ourselves from the EU... We must look to all the world and not tie ourselves into the EU, where I believe costs have grown and benefits have fallen. I urge everyone in Northern Ireland to be diligent, to give this debate serious consideration and ultimately to vote Leave" ... The veteran entrepreneur was unveiled as the co-chairman of the Leave campaign in Northern Ireland. According to business organisation the CBI, a clear majority of its membership believe that it would be in the best interests of their business and the wider UK economy to remain inside the EU... 
(Photo: The firm makes the London Routemaster) -- Ballymena, North Ireland, UK - The Belfast Telegraph - 22 April 2016

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TYRE MAKERS * Italy: Pirelli's too, it's entering USA

* Milano - Why Pirelli has its sights on U.S. truck and bus fleets

--- Pirelli is the latest tire manufacturer to join the charge into the North American truck and bus tire market. The company announced late last month it planned to supply the U.S. and Canada through a dedicated new entity called TP Commercial Solutions LLC... The medium and heavy commercial tire segment is forecast to be the fastest-growing tire segment in the market to 2020, according to a February report from analysts TechSci. Several major tire manufacturers, including Michelin, Armstrong and China’s largest privately held tire manufacturer, Triangle, have announced their plans to supply bus and truck tires into the North American market in recent months... Combined, the U.S. and Canada bus and truck tire market is the world’s largest in terms of value... Pirelli already supplies bus and truck tires and fleet management solutions to the global market, and the latest move represents an aggressive push of the company’s industrial business unit into North America... Pirelli owns and operates truck tire manufacturing facilities in Brazil, China, Egypt, and Turkey... 
 Milano, Italy - Traction, by Daniel Hatch - April 18, 2016

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TYRE MAKERS * India: Are under stress

* Tamil Nadu - Chinese dumping takes toll on Indian tyre makers

--- With the import of truck and bus radials shooting up 64% in FY16, the bulk of the Rs 35,000-cr new investments by Indian tyre makers are under stress.. Further, the Chinese TBR import has come to account for 30-40 per cent of the replacement demand for TBR in India. A Chinese truck or bus radial costs $140-150 (Rs 9,400-10,000) in India, around 30 per cent lower than an Indian tyre costing Rs 15,000. According to ATMA, the per-unit import price from China in many cases is less than the cost of raw materials in India.. According to data for the April-December 2015 period, the average domestic production of TBR per month in India is 500,000 units. Apollo is the leader in this segment, followed by Chennai-based MRF and Delhi-based JK Tyres... 
Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, India - Business Standard, by Swaraj Baggonkar - April 21, 2016

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NEW BUSMAKER * Africa / NIGERIA's "Autobully"

* Nigeria: Unizik students make mini bus from local materials

--- The time for Nigeria to look inwards is now. We have all the resources, both human and material, to be great... To ensure that Nigeria is counted among automobile manufacturers in the world, an industrialist, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Group of Companies, took a bold step by investing in the Automobile sector. The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Company has made Nigeria proud... Today, they design and manufacture Hummer buses, Waste vans, Luxury buses, Hilux vans, Saloon cars, Jeeps and so on in Nigeria and by Nigerians... Ezeigwe said the aim was to construct a mini bus using locally sourced materials, which is more durable and can better stand the test of time, compared to other brands out there... "We named it Autobully," said Obinani Victor, explaining that the brand name, coined from the normal bullion van, fits the shape of the mini bus... 
Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa - All Africa, by Ebele Orakpo - 21 April 2016

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BYD ELECTRIC BUSMAKER * China: Entering american market

* Shenzhen - A Chinese automaker is taking a back road into the American market on a battery-powered bus

-- The Chinese automaker is taking a back road into the American market on a battery-powered bus... Detouring around the cost and risk of consumer sales, BYD Co. has quietly built a U.S. business supplying rechargeable buses to environmentally-minded transit agencies. Its factory north of Los Angeles, opened in 2013, is on track to deliver 300 this year... The company has dipped its toe into the U.S. auto market by launching test fleets of plug-in electric taxis in Chicago and New York City... BYD's batteries are heavier than its competitors' but the company says their iron phosphate chemical mix is safer than those made of lithium and cobalt that sometimes can catch fire if punctured... Abroad, BYD faces more hurdles in countries that don't promote electric vehicles as aggressively as China does... In its home city of Shenzhen, the local government has bought more than 4,000 buses and the government of surrounding Guangdong province ordered 6,432 this week. The state-owned utility installs charging stations — something BYD cannot take for granted in other markets... 
(Photo - An electric bus produced by China's BYD Co., is parked at the announcement of the opening of an electric bus manufacturing plant)  --   Shenzhen, China - AP/The San Francisco Chronicle — April 22, 2016

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BUSES BREAKDOWN * India: Driver accused of demand 10,000 Rs.

* Delhi - ‘We have proof of conspiracy to sabotage scheme’

--- Transport Minister says a DTC driver has been accused of staging bus breakdown for money... A departmental inquiry has been ordered against the driver of a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus after allegations that he staged a breakdown in lieu of money, Transport Minister Gopal Rai said here... This, Mr. Rai said, was “proof” that a “conspiracy” is being hatched to “sabotage” the second phase of the scheme... The complainant will now, according to Mr. Rai, be made to confront some DTC drivers deployed on the said route on the day of the breakdown to identify the accused following which penal action will be taken against the accused... Meanwhile, owing to numerous and frequent breakdowns, the government has decided to review terms and conditions of agreement with bus manufacturers such as Tata and Ashok Leyland, which lease their buses to the public transporter, Mr. Rai added... 
(Photo: According to DTC officials, the low-floor buses run by the corporation report about 300 breakdowns per day on an average while the standard floor buses report between 75 and 100 breakdowns in a day) -- Delhi, India - The Hindu - April 24, 2016

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TESLA MOTORS' * USA: ELECTRIC BUSES "Proterra" brand

* California - Burlingame-based electric bus company looks to transform transit

--- A recent addition to Burlingame’s business landscape is attempting to do for commuter buses what Tesla Motors has done for passenger cars... Backed by some of the same investors who funded Tesla, and employing former Tesla personnel as well, Proterra, Inc. builds futuristic-looking, battery-powered electric buses that offer enough driving range to rival the fossil fuel-powered vehicles they’re designed to replace... The bus bodies are made from advanced composite materials, with their lower and upper halves each coming out of molds and being fused together like a clamshell... And going full-electric eliminates about 2,000 pounds of conventional bus drivetrain, adding that the engine and gearbox in a Proterra bus typically weigh less than 300 pounds... The combination of large batteries and low curb weights allow the buses to run longer. The extended range models are charged overnight, and store enough energy to run all day without recharging... Meanwhile, the fast-charging models make use of overhead chargers installed at bus stops along their routes. During the few minutes it takes customers to board or exit a coach, the charger aligns itself with the vehicle’s charging port, providing enough energy to keep the bus running for two or three hours... In February, the San Francisco Examiner reported that Muni’s new electric buses appear to struggle up San Francisco’s hills, though transit officials said they are satisfied with the new buses’ performance... 
(Photo courtesy Proterra Inc. - Proterra, a new electric bus company, could change the landscape of public transportation in the Peninsula)  --  San Francisco, CAL, USA - San Francisco Examiner, by Brendan P. Bartholomew - April 17, 2016

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ELECTRIC BUSES * Canada - Government grant $ 10 million

* Ontario - Brampton Transit joins other communities in proposed electric bus trial

--- Brampton Transit is one of eight municipal transportation agencies jumping aboard a large-scale zero-emission bus trial getting financial backing from the provincial government... Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, was at a Brampton Transit depot Monday morning to announce her government is providing $10 million over four years to the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) to help develop next generation transportation technologies focused on reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions... Transit services in Durham, Oakville, York Region, Woodstock, St. Catharines, Ottawa and Kingston are also part of the proposed demonstration project at this early stage... Electric buses can cost about $1 million each. While the electric vehicles are expensive to purchase, she noted, Brampton’s current stable of diesel and bio-diesel buses are also expensive to run... The city has to purchase about $14 million litres of fuel a year, according to Connor... 
(Photo by Bryon Johnson - One of the green electric powered buses being tested at the Brampton Transit Terminal on Sandalwood Parkway on Monday April 25)   --  Brampton, ONT, CAN - The Brampton Guardian, by Roger Belgrave - 26 April 2016

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15.4.16

SATISFACTION ON BUSES * UK: 90% (survey) passengers agreed

* Lincolnshire - Bus service in Grimsby and Cleethorpes rated among country's best

-- Bus passengers in Grimsby and Cleethorpes have rated local public transport provisions as some of the best in the country according to a new survey... Results of a bus passenger survey by the national body representing bus and rail passengers, Transport Focus, shows that overall satisfaction for passengers in North East Lincolnshire stands at a staggering 90 per cent... The findings mean the bus users in the region are among some of the happiest in the country... The independent survey found that local passengers ranked the punctuality of the region's buses as the best in the country and the second best for value for money... 
(Picture: Rick Byrne - LIKE CLOCKWORK: Stagecoach buses in Grimsby town centre, which have been given a 90 per cent satisfaction rating by users. -PN: Look at the floor, it looks like the living room of a mansion house !!!) -- Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK - The Grimsby Telegraph - April 05, 2016

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Yutong BUSMAKERS * China: 35% profit

* Henan - Bus maker Zhengzhou Yutong posts 35-pct profit growth

-- Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., China's leading bus maker, posted a net profit growth of 35.31 percent in 2015, thanks to booming sales of new energy coaches... The company made a net profit of 3.54 billion yuan (543 million U.S. dollars), according to its annual report filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Tuesday... Revenue hit 31.21 billion yuan, up 21.31 percent year on year. Earnings per share stood at 1.6 yuan, compared with 1.18 yuan one year earlier... Zhengzhou Yutong's sales of new energy coaches jumped 176.1 percent year on year to 20,446, as environmentally-conscious local authorities increasingly choose green vehicles... The bus maker held a 20-percent share of the domestic bus market last year, and it will continue to improve its competitiveness in 2016, according to the report... 
 (Photo: Ended buses at Yutong Bus factory in Zhengzhou, China) -- Beijing,China - Xinhua/Shanghai Daily - Apr 05,2016

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DELIVERED 16% more BUSES * Australia: Month basis

* NSW - Eighty-six buses were delivered in March, compared to 74 in February

-- Scania led the pack with 25 buses delivered, followed closely by Volvo with 24 deliveries. Volgren built the bodies of 25 buses delivered last month, while Custom Bus was involved in 20 deliveries. The majority of other bus body builders were involved in the delivery of less than five units each... Only 74 buses were delivered in February, compared to 92 the month before... Volvo led the way with 30 buses delivered, followed at a distance by Scania with 20 deliveries. Notable deliveries include 10 route service buses to the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia... Volgren built the bodies of 29 buses delivered last month, while Irizar was involved in seven deliveries. Bustech also had a strong showing in February and was involved in five deliveries... 
 Sydney, NSW, Australia - ABC - 13 April 2016

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ELECTRIC BUSES * Australia: Arrives new busmaker

* Victoria - Australian-made electric bus to roll out in July this year


-- Allen Saylav has taken the helm at the new Australian electric bus manufacturing organisation AVASS. He's confident that the manufacture of electric buses in Australia will be a success... Melbourne-based electric vehicle manufacturer AVASS has a newly-leased 12,500 square-metre factory at Avalon in Melbourne’s western suburbs and will manufacture electric vehicles under the AVA brand including electric buses, cars, motorcycles and trucks... Manufacturing mainly commercial vehicles, AVASS will focus on 12-metre city passenger, 12-metre coach and 9-metre passenger buses along with Small Trucks under 7000 kilograms... AVASS is confident the organisation will generate jobs and fill the hole left by the closure of manufacturing giants Holden, Toyota and Ford... Fully-supported by the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, the organisation has entered into a five-year lease at Avalon, with the capacity to hire up to 500 people... 
(Photo: AVASS' buses factory) -- Melbourne, VIC, Australia - Busnews - 12 April 2016

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CITY's POLLUTION * Mexico: Buses baned

* DF - Smog-alert car ban jams metro, buses in Mexico City

... Under new regulations imposed after the capital recently experienced its worst air-quality crisis in over a decade, 40 percent of cars were ordered off the road after smog levels hit 1½ times acceptable limits Tuesday... Pollution levels went down somewhat Wednesday, and the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis said only about half that amount of vehicles would be kept off the streets Thursday... With 2 million of the capital’s cars ordered out of circulation Wednesday, fares were temporarily waved for some public transportation. Buses crawling along the central Reforma boulevard were crowded during the morning rush hour... Martin Colin, a 53-year-old taxi driver, pointing to a bus jammed front-to-back with standing commuters. “They look like little sardines. The buses are full, full”... The vehicle ban does not apply to public or private buses — something that has drawn criticism since many privately operated minibuses are notorious for belching thick black smoke... 
(Photo by Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press - A man rides his bicycle along Reforma Avenue in Mexico City, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. City authorities have barred millions of vehicles from the streets due to a pollution alert) -- Mexico City, DF, MEX - AP/The Washington Post, by Peter Orsi - April 6, 2016

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BUS LANES * USA: TESTED in DC

* D.C. - Will test bus-only lanes on a short stretch of Georgia Avenue


-- New dedicated bus lanes debut next week in a four-block stretch of Georgia Avenue NW, in what would be the District’s first enforceable bus lanes in decades... Although it’s a short third-of-a-mile stretch of transit lane, officials say it should help speed up bus travel in what currently is a clogged portion of the route served by Metrobus routes... The 70s line is one of the city’s busiest, carrying about 20,000 passengers from downtown Washington to downtown Silver Spring. Buses in the corridor have high ridership throughout the day. Now the buses will have their own lane from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday trough Saturday, DDOT said... The bus lanes pilot on Georgia Avenue answers growing calls for prioritizing bus travel in some of the region’s busiest corridors where buses carry a substantial number of commuters yet are often stuck behind the general traffic. Metro, an active advocate for bus lanes, hasn’t had many dedicated lanes since most of the region’s more than 60 miles of bus lanes faded into history after the arrival of Metrorail in the 1970s. The agency currently runs buses on transit-only lanes in Alexandria... D.C. transportation officials say they hope to use the Georgia Avenue pilot as testing ground for larger future projects. DDOT also is planning to install rush-hour bus lanes along 16th Street NW...
 (Photo courtesy of Metro: Bus Lane on 14th Street next to the Mall in the early 1970s) -- Washington, DC, USA - The Washington Post, by Luz Lazo - April 5, 2016


* Virginia - To help ease Va. 7 congestion, a plan for bus-only lanes

-- New buses that can zip past traffic in their own lanes are the recommended way to help Northern Virginians navigate a congested Va. 7 between Tysons and Alexandria... The recommendation being presented Thursday is that buses would follow the Spring Hill Metro to Falls Church where the buses would then follow the red line to connect to East Falls Church, then continue to the Mark Center only, without continuing to either Van Dorn St. or King St. Metro stations... As presented, the proposed bus route is expected to draw 9,500 new transit riders each day, at a construction and related cost 70 percent less than light rail and operating costs about 40 percent lower than light rail... With bus-only lanes, like those that have opened along Route 1 between Arlington and Alexandria, buses would be able to bypass much of that traffic to speed up trips. That Metroway service is set to open additional bus-only lanes in Arlington on April 17...
 (Image Courtesy of NVTC) -- Washington, DC, USA - WTOP, by Max Smith - April 6, 2016

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ELD: Electronic Logging Devices * Malaysia: NOT MANDATORY BY NOW

* Putrajaya - Road safety experts: Installation of telematics to buses must be compulsory

-- In March, it was decided that the implementation of telematics devices on buses will not be compulsory under the MMIP’s terms. Instead, the system will remain optional to bus operators for the moment... The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has been urged by road safety experts to reconsider its decision not to make it compulsory for the installation of telematics device in buses as part of the requirements under the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) coverage... Dr Law Teik Hua said by making the telematics device compulsory in device, it will provide useful information on policy and regulation. He added that bus drivers were exposed to higher risk for crashes due to their long hours of driving and exposure to different road environments. This move will assist in understanding and quantifying their risks, which in turn could help improve safety... 
Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Malaysia - Paultan.org, by Gerard Lye - 4 April 2016

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14.4.16

LESS PASSENGERS ON BUSES * Viet Nam

* Ho Chi Minh City, buses keep losing passengers


-- Bus service operators in Ho Chi Minh City are struggling to retain passengers as more people continue to abandon public transport for motorbikes... Figures from the city’s transport department showed that public bus passengers in the first three months dropped 5.6 percent from the same period last year, to 134.7 million... Pham Dinh Duc from the department told Zing News that the passenger number has been going down as most buses are in poor quality after more than ten years in service... 
 (Photo by Doc Lap - A new bus service launched in Ho Chi Minh City in March that runs between Tan Son Nhat Airport and the city downtown) -- Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam - Thanh Nien News - April 01, 2016

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BUS DRIVERS PROTEST & PICKET USA: * New York - ** New Mexico

* California - Bauer’s buses brouhaha bears mark of SF City Hall politics

-- Bauer’s Transportation, the shuttle service, has been told it can’t use Municipal Transportation Agency bus stops, that a permit to do so has been denied. Since Bauer’s runs 10 percent of the tech buses in the city, it would seem that could put a severe crimp in the shuttle program... Company owner Gary Bauer is furious... He says he was notified of the bad news Thursday, the day before permits were issued. He sees the shadowy hand of Supervisor Aaron Peskin, in cahoots with the Teamsters, who have had it in for Bauer because his drivers aren’t unionized... Bauer has been against unionizing — he says in a vote, only 25 of 80 drivers favored unionizing — and insists his company is not among those that pay such a low wage that drivers are reduced to sleeping in their cars... The MTA permit is only to use Muni bus stops and white zones. So Bauer’s buses could go rogue, still roam the streets and could legally stop in loading zones and open parking spaces... Now, imagine that. Those big, black Bauer’s buses cruising around looking for an open space. It would almost certainly make traffic problems worse... 
(Photo: Ray Torres, left, leads chants as other Teamsters surround a Bauer's Intelligent Transportation bus during a protest against the company at a Muni stop used also for tech buses on 8th and Market streets)   --   San Francisco, CAL, USA - The San Francisco Chronicle, by C.W. Nevius - April 1, 2016 


** New Mexico - Bus drivers picket, but service continues


-- Between 50 and 100 school bus drivers and attendants protested for about an hour Tuesday morning outside the headquarters of STS of New Mexico, the private company contracted to provide bus services for Las Cruces Public Schools. The protests began about 9:15 a.m. and included members of the Las Cruces Transportation Federation Local 6341, as well as non-union drivers, according to LCTF President Marcos Torres... The picketing took place when bus drivers returned to the bus yard after completing their morning routes, and did not disrupt bus service... Torres said there is a shortage of buses, which leads to difficult working conditions for drivers and overcrowding on many buses... 
(Photo: Members of the Las Cruces Transportation Federation Local 6341 protest Tuesday morning outside the offices of STS of New Mexico)   --  Las Cruces, NM, USA - The Las Cruces Sun-News, by Damien Willis - April 5, 2016

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BUSES SALES USA * Pennsylvania: 525 units - ** Phoenix: 120 new ones - *** 15 special buses for Tampa

* Pennsylvania - SEPTA's $548.6M capital budget includes 525 new buses

-- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's capital budget for the coming fiscal year includes money for more accurate travel information, improved stations, and more than 500 new buses, all part of a long-term plan to update a system that for years went without needed upgrades... SEPTA's overall budget for the coming year is about $1.4 billion... New vehicles are the single biggest capital expense this year, with $168 million set aside. The budget includes $60 million for 525 new 40-foot buses expected to be delivered between 2017 and 2021 at a total cost of $415 million...
(Photo: Philly's oldest bus) -- Philadelphia, PENN, USA - phillynews, by Jason Laughlin - April 03, 2016 


** Arizona - City of Phoenix buys 120 new buses


... The Phoenix Public Transit Department has ordered 120 new buses to serve the city's local routes, the first order for new 40-foot buses since late 2013... The new buses replace existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) buses that average 12 years and 500,000 miles of service, some as old as 18 years with nearly 1 million miles. The buses, built in California by the Gillig Corporation, use compressed natural gas (CNG) and have a fuel range of at least 400 miles, which means most of the new buses would not require daily refueling. The new city wheels also have an enhanced air conditioning system... Each new bus costs $520,000 and is paid for with both federal and county funds... 
(Source: KPHO/KTVK - Some of the older buses have almost a million miles on them)   --  Phoenix, AZ, USA - KPHO/KTVK - Apr 01, 2016


*** Florida - HART bringing riders new buses soon, wireless service now

-- Hillsborough County bus riders will have access to 15 new 40-foot buses next year and 13 new special needs vehicles to keep up with growing ridership demands... And as of Monday, all riders have free wireless internet access on Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority buses... The HART board voted Monday to purchase the buses, all replacement vehicles, for a total cost of $8.2 million... The 15 buses are HART’s third order, replacing older vehicles in its 189-bus fleet. Buses like these need to be replaced about every 12 years, HART CEO Katharine Eagan said... 
(Photo: HART's new bus) -- Hillsborough County, FL, USA - The Tampa Tribune, by Yvette C. Hammett - April 4, 2016

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BUS SALES * India: 658 new buses for Bangalore

* Karnataka - BMTC to purchase 658 buses this year

-- The city will see the addition of 658 buses in 2016, in what will be the biggest purchase for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation since 2013-14, when the corporation added 838 buses to its fleet... With the State government promising assistance by means of interest subvention for 1000 more buses, it seems likely that 1658 buses will be added by March 2017... Tenders have already been floated for procuring 658 buses and the process is in its final stage, officials say. All of these vehicles will be normal buses which will be used to replace vehicles that have crossed their maximum mileage... 
(Photo: BMTC to get 600 new buses by July)   --  Bangalore, Karnataka, India - The Hindu - 1 April 2016

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BUSMAKERS' MARKET * India

* New Delhi - Norms and buyer preferences set the wheels rolling

-- The bus-building industry in India is set to see its fortunes rise, after a period of lacklustre, and even negative, growth in the past decade. In the first 11 months of 2015-16, the domestic bus segment (medium and light) has registered an about 15 per cent rise compared to almost flat growth in FY15... The improvement has been driven by fresh orders by state transport undertakings, improvement in viability of private players (following a correction in diesel prices) and pre-buying ahead of BS-IV norms mandate...  The bus market in India has been a fragmented industry... The introduction of the new Bus Body Code last year is a trigger for growth and is now expected to fuel strong demand for fully-built or factory-built buses, resulting in a shift of buyer preference to Original Equipment Manufacturers. Ashok Leyland is the leader in the bus market (medium and heavy segment), with 45 per cent share, followed by Tata Motors (34 per cent). Others include VE Commercial Vehicle, SML Isuzu and Mahindra & Mahindra, while Volvo has been operating in the premium segment. The latest entrants in India are Daimler and Scania... 
 Mumbai, India - The Hindu, by G. BALACHANDAR - April 11, 2016

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11.4.16

BUS SYSTEM's * USA: Overnight transformation

* Texas - How Houston's bus network got its groove back



 -- Not long ago, Houston’s bus service befit a version of the city out of the 1950s. Despite decades of decentralized urban growth, most bus lines still zig-zagged into one small section of the downtown core, where only 25 percent of the region’s jobs are located. Route redundancies were rampant. And despite the all-day transit needs of university students and low-income riders, frequent service (meaning buses arriving every 15 minutes or faster) was mostly limited to weekday rush hours... But one Sunday morning in August 2015, Houstonians awoke to a completely re-envisioned system—the first that the Metropolitan Transit Agency had undertaken in four decades. A less redundant, more grid-like network of routes “vastly expanded the reach of frequent service” and offered all-day, all-week service on several key lines, according to Human Transit’s Jarrett Walker, who worked with the city as a consultant on the redesign. Houston Metro was able to transform the system largely by trimming and tightening unnecessary routes, with no significant additional costs... Inevitably, not all Houstonians were or are supporters. Because transit officials focused on cutting redundant bus service with low ridership to open up capacity for heavier-use lines, some riders saw their walks to the bus stop get a little longer... But so far the data suggest that the changes, even with their pain points, were worth it... By the third month of service, local ridership was up 8 percent. And transit experts believe that more people are poised to discover the new system as the months and years roll on, bumping up ridership more over time... L.A., with the second-largest bus fleet in North America, is considering following Houston’s lead... 
Houston, TXS, USA - City Lab, by Laura Bliss - Apr 5, 2016

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31.3.16

VIDEO-RECORDING PASSENGERS on BUSES * USA

* Nebraska - On city buses, big brother is watching

-- The conversations and actions of thousands of Lincoln residents who board city buses each day are being recorded... StarTran, the city’s bus system, has audiovisual recording devices on each of its 67 fixed-route buses and 13 Handi-Van vehicles, said Transit Manager Mike Davis. StarTran began installing the equipment on its vehicles in 1997, back when it recorded only in black and white... Nebraska, like most states, only requires that one party to a conversation be notified that he or she is being recorded. However, in cities and states across the country, efforts to remove recording devices from buses are underway by politicians and civil liberties groups seeking to protect people’s privacy...  Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the use of surveillance equipment on city buses may not violate state laws, but it could violate a constitutional ban on unreasonable searches. He said laws that require law enforcement agencies to get warrants to record private phone conversations demonstrate the legal principle that equates the secret recording of a conversation to an unreasonable search... He said recording a private conversation between two people who aren’t aware they are being recorded seems to violate the one-party requirement within state law as well...
Lincoln, NEB, USA - The Lincoln Journal Star, by KEVIN ABOUREZK - 30 March 2016

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TRIBUTE TO CHINATOWN BUSES * USA

* New York - Artists pay tribute to no-frills Chinatown Bus, discomforts and all


-- When I was a college student in Boston, in the mid-2000s, I didn't have a whole lot of money. But for the price of a movie ticket, I could catch the Chinatown bus down to New York City. It was a fast, cheap adventure... These days, thousands of people travel up and down the northeast corridor on services like MegaBus and BoltBus. But the Chinatown bus was the original budget bus service. It started in the late 1990s as a service for the Chinese-American community, and became popular with students and others looking for a thrifty ride... Now, a Queens-based activist arts organization called Flux Factory is celebrating the Chinatown bus with a series of on-board performances that pay tribute to the often-arduous journey... 
(Photo by Bryan Chang/Fung Wah Biennial - The Fung Wah Biennial celebrates the now-defunct Chinatown bus service. For her performance piece, Sunita Prasad crowdsurfed around the bus) -- NY, USA - NPR org, by PIEN HUANG - 29 March 2016

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BUSES CARRYING BULKY ITEMS * Australia

* Canberra - Bus passengers allowed to carry bulky goods on ACTION under new rules

-- From Monday, new rules spell out the rights of bus passengers to carry bulky items on to buses, but also set in stone the right of the driver to make the final decision... ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the new policies would allow passengers to take fold-up bikes and other bulky items on board. They would also mean more certainty for passengers and make buses a more convenient and attractive option... Asked for examples of bulky items, her spokeswoman cited furniture, luggage and musical instruments. But the policies don't list allowed items, and make it clear that it is up to the driver to decide... The new rules spell out that drivers must not help passengers loading or unloading goods... Dangerous goods are banned, including knives, vehicle batteries, gas bottles, fuel and goods that are likely to spill...
(Photo: ACT Bus - A bike rack on an ACTION bus, but what are you allowed to carry on the inside?) -- Canberra, ACT, Australia - The Canberra Times, by Kirsten Lawson - March 28 2016

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SAFETY: AIRPLANES vs. BUSES * USA

* New York - One reason airplanes are far safer than buses and trucks

... The next time you struggle to nap on a long-haul flight, take some comfort in the fact that your pilot is probably sleeping more soundly than you are... Thanks to federal regulations, pilots never fly more than nine hours at a time, always have backup “relief pilots” and designated beds on long flights, and have limits on the number of weekly hours they can work. This means pilots are among the best-rested people working in commercial transportation — certainly more so than truck drivers, for instance — and rarely deal with the issue of drowsy or sleep-deprived performance... The Federal Aviation Administration announced a sweeping overhaul of pilot scheduling rules in 2011 in order to ensure that pilots have more time for rest before they enter the cockpit. Among other changes, the minimum mandatory downtime between flights was increased from eight hours to ten hours... The FAA regulations are based on the sleep science of circadian rhythms — the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, or “body clock” — and account for time zone differences. They mandate 30 consecutive off-duty hours each week, so a pilot will never work a seven-day week. The regulations also take sleep norms into account, Dennis Tajer, a spokesman of the Allied Pilots Association, told the Huffington Post, so pilots working the “back end of the clock,” such as an all-night shift, will get even more rest time...
NY, USA - The Huffington Post, by Krithika Varagur - 30 March 2016

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SUBSIDIES FOR ELECTRIC BUSES * China: Is considering to cutting off

* China - Incentives for electric buses said to be cut as much as 49.5%

-- China is proposing to cut the amount of subsidies for electric buses because the policy was considered overly generous, while imposing a price ceiling on passenger vehicles that qualify for incentives... Incentives for electric buses will be cut by an average of 32 percent, with funding for the largest models reduced by as much as 49.5 percent, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private... Electric passenger vehicles costing more than 350,000 yuan ($53,800) won’t be eligible for government subsidies under the proposal. The plan is still being reviewed by various ministries and has to be approved by the State Council... The plan, if approved in its current form, may damp demand electric vehicle sales, which surged more than threefold last year to 331,000 units... The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on the plan...
(Photo: Bus 100% electric model K9 from BYD/China)   --  Beijing, China - Bloomberg News - March 29, 2016

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IMPROVING BUS SERVICE USA: * DOT announces $ 266M funding - ** Phoenix ordered 120 CNG buses

* DC - Department of Transportation announces funding opportunity to improve bus service nationwide


-- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $266 million in competitive grant funding for bus programs nationwide. The funding consists of $211 million in grants for buses and bus facilities projects, as well as $55 million specifically for FTA’s Low and No Emission (Low-No) bus program, which promotes technologically-advanced and environmentally-friendly buses. These investments will help advance the President’s vision for a cleaner, 21st century transportation system that reduces carbon emissions while expanding transportation options for families... Eligible projects include those that replace, rehabilitate, lease, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, construct or lease bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance... FTA will award the grants to eligible transit agencies, state transportation departments, and Indian tribes on a competitive basis... 
Washington, DC, USA - FTA.GOV.DOT (PR) - 29 March 2016


** Arizona - The Phoenix Public Transit Department has ordered 120 new buses

-- It is first order for new 40-foot buses since 2013... The buses use compressed natural gas and have a fuel range of at least 400 miles, meaning most of the new buses won't require daily refueling... The new buses replace existing liquefied natural gas buses that average 12 years and 500,000 miles of service... The new buses are equipped with an enhanced air conditioning system that includes two units that work in tandem to cool both the front and back of the bus simultaneously... The new buses replace about 25 percent of the city's fleet... 
(Photo: New Flyer to Deliver CNG Buses to Phoenix) -- Phoenix, AZ, USA - The AP/ABC 15 - 30 March 2016

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