In brief: Worldwide's weekly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry
NEW BUSES' SERVICE * Namibia - City of Windhoek to Expand Bus Service
Windhoek,Namibia -All Africa (Washington,DC,USA)/New Era, by Desie Heita-20 May 2008: --The City of Windhoekwill expand its passenger service to include white-collar commuters amid escalating fuel prices...Currently, the municipality buses cater for the blue-collar workers and students who cannot afford the more expensive modes of public transport...The bus fare is N$5 compared to the N$7 taxi fare because the City of Windhoek subsidises the fare by about 60 percent...The blue-collar workers, scholars and students constitute between 20 and 25 percent of the passenger transport market in Windhoek. This translates into 8000 passengers daily on weekdays...
NEW BUSES FLEET * India - City to get new AC Volvo buses
Mumbai,India -The Express India, by SWAPNIL RAWAL-May 21, 2008: --In a bid to change the face of the public transport in the city and to provide the commuters with a comfortable ride, the city’s transport body would introduce Swedish makeVolvo busesby next month...Last year in July,the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)undertaking was offered 75Volvo B7R modelsin lieu of advertising rights, including television and broadcasting rights, on these buses for a period of 15 years by M/s Friendship Vision Pvt Ltd...The air-conditioned bus with high degree of comfort would be introduced with an aim to get more people to shift to public transport, the chairman added...The BESThad recently introduced Chinese luxury buses-King Long-which are being plied on dedicated bus routes in the city... As more high-end luxury buses are added to the fleet, the BEST will gradually phase out its age-old 51 air-conditioned buses...
NOISE in BUSES * USA - There's something about a bus that's tragic
I ride Metro buses several times a week and the latest aggravation is jabbering TV monitors
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -Los Angeles Times, by reader: Ben Harrison-20 May 2008: --... MostMetro busesnow have two TV monitors, billed as entertainment and public service, but with a lot of advertising as well.Some of the time the monitors are merely on visual mode, which is not too bad, but then come the protracted periods of loud, intrusive jabbering (advertising, news, cooking shows, etc.) in English and Spanish.Most people I have talked to, including most bus drivers, find the noise irritating. For the most part the volume controls don't work or the drivers don't know how to adjust them... An absurdity: buses have signs indicating that it is not permitted to smoke, eat or play radios on the bus (except with ear-phones). This is a welcome recognition of how irritating it is to be at the mercy of somebody else's taste in music and noise. Why should Metro be exempt from its own rules?...At least some of the people who ride buses regularly (commuters to work, school, etc.) like to use the time for reading, preparing their work, listening to ipods, or even for quiet reflection or meditation. The audio noise is a direct attack on people's right to travel in peace... Public transportation already entails enough aggravations - traffic delays, frequent stop-starts, crowdedness, cell-phone shouters, loud-talking passengers, next-stop-announcements, etc., without adding another, which does not only assault the ears but victimizes passengers with aggressive advertising.This gives me one more reason to prefer driving to public transport...
CONTROLS * Philippines - Edsa off limits to buses without chips
The implementation of the “No Chips, No Trips” policy began Tuesday Manila,Philippines -The Philippine Daily Inquirer, by Angela Casauay-21 May 2008: --Passenger buses without microchip identification tags are no longer allowed on Edsa as part of the Metro Manila Development Authority’s Organized Bus Route (OBR) system...Under the new rule, all bus operators should equip their vehicles with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to distinguish legitimate from “colorum” (without franchises) buses and to keep track of the vehicles’ movements... A bus caught without the microchip will have to return the fares to passengers. Traffic enforcers would then bring the bus to theMMDA impounding yard, officials said... ButMMDAdata showed that only 2,500 out of 3500 buses plying Edsa had installed the microchips.The rest are presumed to be colorum vehicles... Through theOBR, MMDA officials hope to install an efficient system for dispatching buses by designating loading stations.Surveillance cameras and microchips will allow authorities to keep track of the vehicles... Apart from minimizing illegal transport operations, theOBR systemalso aims to increase fuel cost savings for bus operators since the buses will have to make fewer trips but will be carrying more passengers...
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Navistar's IC Bus unit announces US$1.2bn potential purchase agreement
Warrenville,ILL,USA -Automotive News (London,UK), by Glenn Brooks -15 May, 2008: --In what the Navistar subsidiary says is one of the largest fleet purchase deals the US school bus industry has ever seen, IC Bushas signed a new supply agreement withFirst Student, a subsidiary ofFirstGroup America...
FUEL COST RESULTS * UK - More and more are on the buses
Bournemouth,Dorset,UK -This is Dorset, by Julie Magee-15 May 2008: --As fuel prices continue to rise and driving costs soar, more Bournemouth residents are switching to bus travel, according to new figures...During the past year the number of bus passenger journeys in the borough has increased by 18 per cent, one of the highest rises in the country...Bournemouth council, which has just withdrawn its subsidy from some routes formerly run byYellow Buses, insists that rising passenger numbers reflect routes being linked to demand... But critics, including Cllr Ron Whittaker, are furious that less profitable routes in outlying areas like Throop and Muscliff are being curtailed...(Picture: High Rise in Passenger Numbers. Buses in Bournemouth Square)
PASSENGERS' SATISFACTION * USA - NJ Transit seeks ideas from riders
The best ideas can come from the minds of riders
Newark,NJ,USA -The Gannet New Jersey, by LARRY HIGGS-May 15, 2008: -- ... andNJ Transit'sboard of directors unveiled a host of customer service improvements Wednesday designed to capitalize on that flash of brilliance thought of while gazing out the window of a train or bus...The programs range from a one-month trial of an online suggestion box to expanding "My Transit" e-mail and cell phone alerts to cover local buses and use of software to more efficiently handle customer complaints...One such suggestion was used byNJ Transit officialsas the basis for a plan to re-route commuter buses when there is a significant backup on the express bus lanes or in theLincoln Tunneland put riders on trains atNewarkor Secaucus Transfer, saidRichard Sarles, NJ Transit executive director...That system was used to improve station announcement equipment on the Raritan Valley Line, "after a rider asked what could be done."...It was that approach, which led to how NJ Transit handled the massive project by Amtrak to replace defective concrete railroad ties on the busy Northeast Corridor line that began last Sunday.Last Wednesday, NJ Transit held its first online chat where riders could ask senior rail officials about the project and how it affects their commute...
BRT * India - New Delhi's one. Democracy Rides a Bus
New Delhi,India -Desicritics.org, by Shantanu Dutta-May 15, 2008: --For close to a month now, the newspapers in Delhi have been busy covering the fracas caused by the decision of the government to introduce the Bus Rapid System on a fast track...The intent of the government might have been good; but the experience from the phenomenon proves one thing that of course should have been obvious long ago - that technology is a great too but no panacea...Ultimately technological solutions have to operate in society and society is inhabited by human beings, not robots who will dance to a piper’s tune...The lesson for us in democracy is that sadly the common man who is the most important stakeholder is seldom consulted or his ideas sought for. A bunch of experts sprout up – and it does not matter who is in power for each regime has its favorites; these experts practically lay claim to messianic wisdom and come up with “solutions” which the Áam Aadmi” is not expected to understand and over night it is implemented at a huge cost to the tax payer.Ultimately the issues like the BRT reveal only one thing – that democracy is for us Indians only one thing- land up elector’s ID in hand once in five years at the polling booth and then go home and get doped. The benign leaders we elect will look down beatifically and take care of us with the wisdom they alone have...
"GREEN" BUSES * UK - Fuel cell buses in fast lane to maturity
UTC Power boss predicts hydrogen fuel cell buses will soon be more cost effective than incumbent diesel buses
London,UK -BusinessGreen, by James Murray-13 May 2008: -- Fuel cell-powered buses will soon prove more cost effective than their diesel counterparts as manufacturing costs continue to fall, reliability improves and the price of diesel continues to climb... That is the prediction ofJan van Dokkum, president of UTC Power, the fuel cell division of engineering conglomerate UTC, which this month celebrated the largest US order yet for the company's hydrogen bus fuel cells...Californian bus operatorAC Transithas agreed to buy a minimum of eight ofUTC Power's 120 kW PureMotion Model 120 fuel cell systems,andVan Dokkumexpressed confidence that the firm would exercise its option to procure a further 13 of the systems...
Brisbane'snew busway is at risk of becoming a $333 million white elephant becauseCity Hallis struggling to find enough buses to service it
Brisbane,Australia -The Courier Mail, by Alison Sandy- May 14, 2008: --... Lord Mayor Campbell Newmanyesterday admitted the city's bus network would be stretched to the limit when the Inner Northern Buswayopened on Monday...The withdrawal of more than 60 buses over the past few weeks has put the bus system in crisis, with the council being forced to bring in vandalised buses to try to make up the shortfall... TheINB was meant to take the pressure off.But, with commuters already experiencing delays, fears are held that the opening of the busway could make things worse... Cr Newman said there were more buses on the road than ever before and the difficulty was increased passenger numbers...Only 18 of the 63 buses that were taken off the road following a gas bottle explosion have been returned after it was revealed the council had not followed appropriate safety checks...Opposition Transport spokeswomanVictoria Newtonsaid the bus network couldn't cope, with the number of overcrowded buses trebling last month, compared to the same time last year...
A new £1.4 million fleet of buses will be taking people fromKeighleytoSkiptonandIlkley
Keighley,UK -Keighley News -13 May 2008: --... The buses will carry around 1.2 million passengers a year to destinations includingAiredale Hospital... The eight vehicles, made byVolvo, are being operated byTransdev Keighley & District... Transdev bossDave Alexandersaid they offered new standards of comfort while meeting strict European standards...
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM * USA - Chicago roads may undergo bumpy transition to bus-only lanes
CTA'seffort to reduce gridlock hinges on technology, timeliness
Chicago,ILL,USA -The Chicago Tribune, by Jon Hilkevitch-May 12, 2008: --WhileCTA buses bunching up bumper-to-bumper in heavy traffic are among the top complaints about public transportation, a big piece ofChicago'sproposed solution—bus-only lanes—faces a challenging test drive...The key to success starts by abandoning the preoccupation with how many vehicles can be crammed onto major roads and downtown streets each day, transportation experts said. It's simply a battle that cannot be won...Instead, shift the focus to transporting more people safely, reliably and comfortably on mass transit...Yet homegrown skeptics have had a field day denouncing as unworkable the recently announced plan for the CTA bus-only lanes during rush hours to fight gridlock on key arterial streets leading into downtown...The federal government is awarding more than $153 million to Chicago and the Chicago Transit Authority to test the bus lanes and a congestion-pricing strategy to tame traffic...The latter element involves increasing downtown parking-meter rates during peak periods, charging loading-zone fees for trucks making on-street deliveries, leasing the management of city parking meters to a private company and raising the city tax that drivers pay at parking garages and surface lots downtown...(Video from YouTube, by vvindysky -9, May 2007: -- "Michigan Avenue Bus Ride" - This is traveling Southbound on Michigan Avenue from the Tribune Tower to Wacker Drive to State Street on the #146 bus in Chicago in February. Check out the pink flamingos and the "Think Florida" signs)
STATISTICS * Australia - Brisbane's buses getting more crowded
New figures reveal a record demand forBrisbane'sbus network as well as a worsening in the overcrowding crisis
Brisbane,Australia -ABC News-May 12, 2008: --... Figures for April show 1,800 buses could not stop to pick up more passengers, that was three times as many as the same time last year...There was also a record number of bus trips in April, the first time the figure has passed 7 million in a single month... The Brisbane City Councilsays the rise in bus overcrowding is due to a new way of collecting the figures...
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICE * Uganda - The pain of boarding Kampala’s city buses
Kampala,Uganda -Sunday Monitor On Line, by John K. Abimanyi-11 May 2008: --At the end of a full-length day’s ordeal of toiling, sweating, and hustling at work, your body’s most earnest desire is to head home in the shortest time possible to commence the therapy of work-generated stress called rest. By the end of your day at work, a small hammer is naughtily pounding away somewhere on the blocks inside your head and achieving an irritating headache on the verge of dizziness...Every muscle in your body has heated and tensed up before starting to ache endlessly.Your limbs, after a day of constant multi-directional movement (that may include lifting of immeasurable weights) are now sore and numb; they dread the thought of any further movement. You are shattered.Your body has been drained of every single grain of energy therein...A hashed rush to the exit of the work premises follows the conclusion of a typical workday as many seek out the easiest form of transportation back home.Some head into the comfort of their cars while those that are not so lucky brace themselves for the scuffle that is public transport...(Photo: Eager and relieved passengers board a city bus at City Square)
NEW BUSES * UK - In Blackpool after cash injection
Blackpool,England,UK -The Blackpool Gazette, by Shelagh Parkinson-May 2008: --Six new buses will soon be carrying passengers roundBlackpool thanks to an investment of around £660m in vehicles... It means Metro Coastlinesnow operates 50Optare Solos, one of the biggest fleets of this type in the country.The Solo buses, with their distinctive, curvaceous front ends boast ultra-low step-less entrances and CCTV systems...It also increases the low-floor wheelchair accessible bus fleet to 97... Line three will becomeBlackpool'sfourth guaranteed low-floor bus route – the guarantee being that every journey will be operated by a low-floor bus with a ramp and a dedicated space for a wheelchair...(Video from YouTube, by NikkiKitty2 - March 09, 2008: "Blackpool Bus Ride " - Blackpool Bus Ride, Near Pontins. From The View Of The Top Of A Double Decker Bus)
Gas Prices Soar * USA - More commuters hop buses, trains
Local commuters are turning to mass transit in droves
Denver,COL,USA -The Seattle Times, by Clifford Krauss-10 May 2008: --With the price of gasoline approaching $4 a gallon, more commuters are leaving their cars at home and taking trains or buses...Mass-transit systems nationwide are seeing standing-room-only crowds on bus lines where seats once were easy to come by.Parking lots at many bus and light-rail stations suddenly are overflowing with commuters in some towns...
· Sound Transit:Ridership grew 12.3 percent in 2007, according the agency. The biggest increase was on the Sounder, at 27.4 percent. · Metro:Ridership has grown 18 percent in the past three years, a spokeswoman said. · Community Transit:Ridership was up 11 percent in the first three months of the year, a spokesman said.
Free Wi-Fi * Singapore - Adds to comforts on luxury bus between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Wi-Fi on public transport is hot these days
Singapore -Global.freifunk.net (Germany)-11 May 2008: -- ... On the other side of the world, Malaysian luxury busoperator,Odyssey Prestige Coaches, is adding free Wi-Fi service to the buses that run betweenKuala LumpurandSingapore(350 kilometers, 4 hours).The buses are equipped with wide leather reclining seats, tables, AC power for laptops, movies on demand and gourmet meals...(wen88888 - January 21, 2008: "Luxury buses from Singapore to Malaysia Genting Highland" There are many bus companies offer luxury buses running from Singapore to Malaysia Genting HighlandThe whole journey is about 6 hours, -including clearing Singapore custom and Malaysia custom, one time breakfast break and one short toilet break- All luxury buses are clean and comfortable, and were all highly recommended by travelers)
* Largest-Ever Deal Puts Fuel Cells in California Buses
Oakland,CAL,USA -Sustainable Business-9 May 2008: --The largest ever procurement in the United States of fuel cell power systems for public transport buses was announced today atthe American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) annual bus conference inAustin, Texas... AC Transit of Oakland, CAhas agreed to purchase a minimum of eight 120 kW fuel cell systems fromUTC Power ofSouth Windsor, CT, with options for an additional 13 units, to powerAC Transit'ssecond-generation hybrid-electric, fuel cell buses, scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010...AC Transit's first-generation fuel cell buses feature an earlier modelUTC Power fuel cellsystem, in which fuel economy in diesel gallon equivalency has consistently been between 70% and 100% better than a control fleet ofAC Transit diesel buses...
*VIAShows Off New Ones
San Antonio,TX,USA -KSAT -May 9, 2008: --VIA Metropolitan Transiton Thursday introduced a prototype of a new bus that will one day transport passengers in San Antonio.The Bus Rapid Transit vehicle will be used for routes between downtown and the Medical Center, VIA officials said...Currently, a trip from the Medical Center to the Main Library takes about an hour.The new buses are expected to shorten that commute by about 10 minutes...(Video from YouTube, by satransitman - March 31, 2008: "Old VIA Commercial" - A commercial for the bus transit agency, VIA, in San Antonio, Texas. The puppets in the ad were referred to as "Buppets")
Fuel price rises appear to be forcingAucklanddrivers to ease off the gas as the region's public transport system comes under increasing pressure
Auckland,New Zealand -The New Zealand Herald, by Mathew Dearnaley-May 10, 2008: --... Petrol consumption fell 2.4 per cent to 93.4 million litres in theAucklandregion in March from the same month last year, defying a national increase of 1.75 per cent...An even sharper drop of 4.7 per cent in the region's diesel use for March has surprised the Road Transport Forum, which reports continuing increases in consumption by freight firms nationally, despite the economic slowdown and a 37 per cent price rise over the past year...Auckland Regional Transport Authorityreports more than double the patronage last month onthe Northern Express bus servicefrom April last year, when buses had to vie for motorway space with general traffic, before the advent of the busway enabled them to reduce trip times and improve reliability... (Video from YouTube, by stevenjenkins1983 - September 19, 2007: "Home from work", on the bus goin over Auckland harbour bridge )
* Slowly but surely, commuter habits are changing
Auckland,New Zealand -The New Zealand Herald -May 10, 2008: --Northern Express busescarried almost 118,000 passengers last month for various distances betweenBritomartand Albanyvia the new busway - up 131 per cent from April last year...Suburban services feeding into the busway carried a further 26,840 passengers - a rise of 63 per cent...Figures are not yet available for bus services elsewhere inAuckland, but the transport authority expects to report a hefty increase for last month after an 8 per cent reduction in March to 4 million passengers from the same month last year... (Photo by Brett Phibbs - Motorbikes and scooters cram parking places at Auckland University)
Bus Passengers Services * UK - At end of routes waiting longest
Figures also show Scotland delays worse
London,UK -Which? -9 May 2008: --Bus passengers inScotlandand those waiting at stops towards the end of a long route are getting the poorest bus services, new government figures show...In 2007, a total of 75% of buses on non-frequent service routes inEnglandwere on time compared with a figure of 72% in 2005,the Department for Transport statisticsrevealed...But for Scotlandthe figure for last year was only 73%, although this was an improvement on the 2005 figure of just 66%...The statistics also showed that on long routes, 84% of buses were on time at the beginning of the route but only 62% were on time at stops more than one hour from the start of the route...(Video from YouTube, by DaveSpencer32 - April 24, 2007: "1483 EDINBURGH BUSES APRIL 2007")
School buses across the province sat idle Thursday as provincial safety inspectors and mechanics scrutinized older units for safety risks
Charlottetown,Prince Edward Island,Canada -The Guardian, by TERESA WRIGHT -12 May 2008: -- ... But questions are being raised about why these inspections weren’t done sooner, especially after the provincial auditor general highlighted the need for structural inspections of older buses two years ago...Forty-one older buses were inspected and 10 were flagged with serious structural problems. Of those, seven were pulled out of service as “beyond repair... In fact, the current problems with the Island’s older buses were only uncovered when a mechanic inthe Western School Boardwent beyond regular inspection routine and took apart a bus after discovering corrosion around a wheel well...(Photo by Heather Taweel by Guardian - Parents take their kids home from Glen Stewart elementary school in Stratford Thursday after all buses were off the road after some of the vehicles failed a safety inspection)
And ... a WEEKEND THOUGHT ... * Last-minute Mother’s Day shopping? Just pay her what she’s worth
Thanks to Land Line Magazine(Grain Valley,MO,USA) -9 May 2008: --For those who haven’t had time to shop around for the perfect Mother’s Daygift this year, here’s an idea. How about writing Mom a check for $117,000?...According to the research companySalary.com, that’s how much a stay-at-home mom would be paid each year if she was actually compensated for everything she does.Those responsibilities include taxi service for the kids, housekeeper, cook, psychologist and nurse for family members... The researchers figure a working mom is worth an extra $68,000 beyond what she brings home from her outside job...So for those of you who are buying your mothers some flowers for $20, just think how much you’re saving...
Victoria,BC,CAN -Channel News Victoria-8 May 2008: --The $4.3 million investment from theprovince of BCis part of the Campbell government’s$14 billion transit plan...The cash will pay for eight coach-style commuter buses that will run from the Cowichan ValleyandShawnigan Laketo Victoria, making three trips a day...Transportation Minister Kevin Falconsays the service will be “comfortable and affordable,” but don’t look for riders to be getting on the bus anytime soon...Jack Peake, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, says theCVRDdoesn’t have the cash required to pay for the region’s share of operating costs...
* Mississaugacompany may supplyMontreal'sbuses
Montreal,QBC,CAN -The Mississauga-May 4, 2008: --AMississaugacompany is one of three who has been asked for tenders to supply buses for the Montreal Transit Corp. (MTC)...Orionproduces chassis and body structure fabrications, as well as being home to the administrative offices forOrion transit brand...MTCis replacing 410Novabuslow-floor buses that started in service in 1996...Orion it has provided transportation solutions to more than 230 cities. Orion provides leading, edge state-of-the-art buses, including theOrion VII Next Generationdiesel-electric hybrid.Ottawaand New York City placed orders for these buses last December...(Picture: Mississauga busmaker Orion is one of three companies asked to submit tenders to the Montreal Transit Corp.)
NEW RULES * UK - Boris bans booze on buses, trams and Tube
In first attack on ASBO culture
London,England,UK -This is London-8 May 2008: --Alcohol will be banned onLondon's buses and Tubes from next month in the first move by newmayor Boris Johnsonto purge the capital's transport network of drunken louts... Anyone caught drinking - or even carrying open cans or bottles - will face having them confiscated or being ejected from the system...The ban will be enforced by transport staff and police. Mr Johnson plans to have 440 extra police community officers on board rowdier buses and another 50 transport officers patrolling stations...(Picture: Good 'Old Boris': The new London Mayor celebrates the Sikh New Year festival over the bank holiday weekend)
Older School Buses * Canada - Problems with P.E.I. leads gov’t to take fleet off roads
Charlottetown,ÊI,CAN -The Cape Breton Post-7 May 2008: --The discovery of corrosion on older school buses inPrince Edward Islandhas led to the 320-bus fleet being pulled from the road, leaving parents to get their children to and from schools across the province for the rest of the week...About a third of the fleet was pulled in for inspections Wednesday... By mid-morning, 16 of 20 buses examined had failed their inspections, while experts from the Island’s Transport Departmentchecked for problems with 84 other vehicles...Andrew Sprague, a spokesman for the department,described the problem as being “unexpected corrosion of the framework of the vehicle.”...
STATISTICS * USA - More people riding buses, trains
Gas prices are up and according to the city so are the numbers for people moving by mass transit
Albuquerque,NM,USA -KRQ, by Bill Diven-7 May 2008: --... The mayor's office said today that bus ridership hit record levels in April for the 32nd consecutive month.ABQ Ride, the city's transit department, reported its buses hauled 916,000 passengers last month. That's 19 percent more than April 2007..."Definitely gas prices have caused people to look at ABQ Ride as a different means of transportation; they've gotten on board,"ABQ Ride director Greg Paynesaid."A lot have stayed on as passengers, but I also think it's different services: Rapid Ride, the expansion to the west side, new park-and-ride facilities, new buses"...
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * China - to run zero-emission fuel-cell buses in July
Shanghai,China -Fuel Cell Works (USA), by George Gao-6 May 2008: --At the recentBeijing auto show, Beiqi Foton Motorlaunched China'sfirst city bus model using the third-generation zero-emission fuel cell technology.The carmaker has produced four city buses powered by the fuel cells and will put them into a trial run on the designated streets in Beijing after the industry and municipal authorities give the green light...Featuring the all-new third-generation fuel-celltechnology, this Foton fuel-cell bus (codenamed Ou-V Bus, orEu-V Bus) is equipped with the NiMH power battery and uses the hybrid fuel cell power to achieve the eco-friendly "zero-emission" standard. Foton's sophisticated fuel cells and supporting technologies ensure the "zero-emission" function of the new-energy bus...Beiqi Fotonsaid it will produce only a limited number of the fuel-cell-driven buses later this year because the manufacturing cost of the fuel-cell bus is still prohibitively high (at about 5 million yuan, or $716,000).The company will export some of the fuel-cell buses, and it has received the first order from the United States for the vehicle.
Upgrading School Buses * USA - First Student spending $90M to
Cincinnati,OH,USA -Business Courier of Cincinnati-May 6, 2008: --First Student Inc.has signed a contract with Thomas Built Buses Inc.to upgrade its fleet of school buses over the next three years...Under the terms of the $90 million contract, High Point, N.C.-based Thomas Builtwill be the exclusive supplier of flat-front buses to First Student. The buses will meet U.S. 2007 emission standards and be equipped with front safety crossing gates, electronic child check reminder systems and global positioning systems...First Studentoperates 62,000 yellow school buses in theUnited States andCanada...
New Bus Service * USA - Lakeville to pay tax, receive they
The City Councilagreed to a new regional tax in exchange for bus service in town, but it will cut expenses to spare residents
Minneapolis,MN,USA -The Minneapolis Star Tribune, by SARAH LEMAGIE-May 6, 2008: --Lakevillecommuters, take heart: Buses are on the way...The Lakeville City Councilhas approved aMetropolitan Counciloffer that will bring buses and two new stations to the city by September 2009, along with $15 million or so in roadwork onInterstate 35... In exchange,Lakevilleresidents will join other metro-area cities that already pay the transit tax.It's a better offer, local leaders say, than previous efforts to forceLakeville into paying the tax.And the deal comes with deadlines and guarantees that buses will actually pull up in town...But it still means adding a new tax in tight economic times, which theLakeville City Councilacknowledged when it unanimously approved the plan Monday night.So it decided to cut the city's budget to offset the new tax, which will run the averageLakevillehomeowner about $36...
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM * Bangladesh - Death traps on roads
Over 5,500 buses violate traffic rules at will in city
Dhaka,Bangladesh -The Daily Star, by Shariful Islam-5 May 2008: --Most of over 5,500 buses and minibuses running on city routes frequently violate traffic rules, contributing to traffic congestion and making it hazardous for passengers, pedestrians and other transport...These public vehicles stop almost anywhere to pick up or drop passengers, even while crossing a traffic signal or in the middle of a crossroads. A moment of chaos is immediately created as other vehicles behind impatiently honk to cross the signal before the red lights are on...This is an everyday scene in all the main bus stoppages including Mirpur-1 and 10, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Gulistan...Moreover, operators of these buses 'invent' new stoppages and thus add to traffic congestion.For instance, buses and minibuses frequently stop at a crossing between Karwan Bazar and Hotel Sonargaon...Police and BRTA officialssay reckless driving by truck drivers at night, lack of valid licence, overloading, and poor knowledge of traffic rules are contributing to both road accidents and traffic congestion... They also suggest that the government set up modern equipment to instantly check fitness to bring the violators to book...The BRTA statisticsuntil 2006 says 3,669 buses run on 96 routes in the city, while 1,097 other buses on 26 suburban routes. Besides, 1,591 human haulers are also operating on 47 routes in the metropolis...A latest World Bank studyunderAir Quality Monitoring ProjectsaysDhakahas a bus, minibus and human hauler fleet of 5,527, which runs in a network of 200km... With 103 bus-minibus and 38 human hauler routes, the service in this small network is very intensive, the report says.Bus being the only mode of mass transit available inDhakacarries about 1.9 million passengers every day...(Photo: STARBusses plying between Mirpur-1 and Mirpur-10 haphazardly park to drop passengers and take new ones obstructing traffic on the street yesterday)
Mexican Bus Lines * USA - Under scrutiny after wrecks, indictments
Houston,TX,USA -The Houston Chronicle/AP, by JUAN A. LOZANO-May 3, 2008: --Juan Martinez has seen drivers doze off from fatigue while he's taking a bus from Houston to his hometown in San Luis Potosi, Mexico..."This is very dangerous," Martinezsaid, waiting with suitcase in hand in front ofAutobuses Lucano, one of the many smaller bus companies that offer service from theUnited StatestoMexico... ButMartinezand the thousands of riders, mostly Mexican immigrants, looking for a cheap way to get home aren't deterred by recent crashes and the recent drug smuggling indictments involving several of these bus companies..."There is just no other way for many of us to go home," he said just before boarding a bus bound for his hometown in north central Mexico...One of the allures of these companies is their low fares.Martinez'sone-way ticket cost $70.In comparison, a ticket on a well-known carrier likeGreyhound fromHoustonto Montgomery,Ala., roughly the same distance asMartinez'strip toSan Luis Potosi,costs $128...Attorneys for passengers injured in bus crashes, safety experts and court records say the industry, while convenient, has a long history of accidents in theUnited StatesandMexicoand repeated safety violations, including overworked and undertrained drivers... But federal regulators and other officials say the companies' safety records are no worse than traditional carriers...Capt.Steven Sullivan, with the Texas Highway Patrol'scommercial vehicle enforcement section, said roadside inspections by troopers of commercial buses result in less than 10 percent of drivers being taken out of service for problems associated with proper licensing or hours spent behind the wheel...Around 22 percent of buses are taken out of service for problems with brakes, tires or other defects...Sullivansaid these out of service rates for Texasare similar to commercial vehicle inspections done nationwide... "Of course in a perfect world, you want voluntary compliance," he said. "You would like it to be zero. But you also have to be realistic."...
CLAIMS * Cyprus - Action not words on public transport
The Government this week announced major infrastructure work to improve public transport inNicosia
Nicosia,Cyprus -The Cyprus Mail-4 May 2008: --... The authorities say this is just one part of a major action plan that includes a total overhaul of urban transport policy, as well as inter-city routes and public transport links to the island’s two airports...Two years ago, it seemed the government was getting serious, with the announcement of a £275 million plan to increase public transport usage from two to ten per cent by 2015.The plan made all the right suggestions... But residents since then have so far seen very little to back up those promises...The decline in public transport over the years has been palpable: in 1980, buses carried 13 million passengers but by 2004 this had fallen to only 3.5 million, despite the influx of foreign workers, who, together with the elderly, are now the only people to use public transport.Only two per cent of the population now say they ever use the bus, a shocking indictment of the quality of service...The fact is that buses are infrequent, unreliable, uncomfortable and often driven at breakneck speeds...What is needed is the political will.For years, we have poured money into projects that have encouraged private motor traffic to the detriment of public transport, the environment and our urban quality of life. Now it’s time to overturn our priorities.Not only must we encourage public transport (and here we hope the government goes through with its ambitious pledges), we must actively discourage private car use... (Video from YouTube, by tsndmyk - July 10, 2007: "Road to Troodos" - Journey on a local bus from Cyprus capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia) to Promorodos village in Troodos mountain)
Boris Johnson has been elected mayor of London - but it is not until Monday morning that he will officially take control ofthismajor capital city
London,UK -BBC News-3 May 2008: --... When that happens he will face a huge challenge, asmayor, he will be in charge of everything from transport to the policing of London as well as the city's economic development... * BUSES:Buses became a big part ofMr Johnson'selection campaign...Once he is in charge he can carry out his promise to phase out the bendy bus, which he claims is dangerous and unsuitable for London'sstreets, and run a new competition to find a 21st Century version of the Routemaster bus...He also wants to put more police on buses, especially in outer parts of the city and introduce live bus mapping, where passengers can monitor the progress of their bus in real time on the phone or online...
* CONGESTION CHARGE:Once installed atCity Hall,Mr Johnsonwill be able to start his plans to reform the congestion charge, another high profile part of his election campaign...He has criticised his predecessorKen Livingstone'splan to introduce a £25 levy for the worst-polluting vehicles...Instead, he has said, he wants to re-consult on the western expansion of the congestion charge zone and make paying the charge easier by allowing people to do it on a monthly basis...
Fare cheats, watch out * Singapore - Bus fare dodgers can be fined too
Penalties already in place for MRT fare evaders
Singapore -Electric New Paper, by Mindy Tan-May 04, 2008: --From 1 Jul, if you are caught not paying, or underpaying on buses, you will be fined $20...Those who misuse concession cards, suchas those meant specifically for students or full-time national servicemen, will be fined $50...The Public Transport Council (PTC), which imposed the penalties, said before, fare cheats on buses only needed to pay the evaded fare...TransitLink had estimated that there are 42,000 cases of fare evasion on public buses every day.This translates to an annual loss of about $9 million in fares... (Video from Youtube, by butchieenorsk -April 28, 2007: "Singaporean Bus Driver" - On the 26th of April the bus driver suddenly stops just after Holland V. The reason?! A teenager didn't pay enough money so all passengers had to wait for 20 minutes until another a representative from the bus company came and took the teenager away)
GREEN NEWS * UK - Cooking oil bus project gets six-month extension
A BIO-BUS pilot that encourages passengers to swap old cooking oil for cheap travel is being extended
Glasgow,Scotland,UK -The Glasgow Evening Times, by Ross McKinnon-3 May 2008: --... Stagecoachwill run the scheme for another six months after collecting more than 21 tonnes of used cooking oil to help run eight buses inKilmarnock... The firm says the pilot has helped cut CO2 emissions from the single-decker Bio-buses, which operate on theStewartontoDarvelroute, by around 80%...Sam Greer, managing director of Stagecoach West Scotland, said:"The Bio-bus project has captured the imagination of local people and the community has really got behind the scheme... More than 600,000 passengers have used the Bio-bus service, helping to cut their own carbon footprint, and we are a long way toward reaching our goal of running a 100% carbon neutral service."...Stagecoach issued 5000 free containers to householders on theService 1 routeto allow them to recycle their used cooking oil...This oil was taken toEast Ayrshire Council'srecycling plant atWestern Road... For each visit to the recycling centre with cooking oil, passengers were given a 20p discount voucher off Stagecoach travel...(Picture: Stagecoach boss Brian Souter with one of the transport giant's Bio-buses, which run on biofuel made from recycled cooking oil)
BUSES' PURCHASE PROSPECTS * USA - Lawmakers may renege on school buses
Senatorsallocate insufficient funds to meet legislative goal set last year
Greenville,SC,USA -The Greenville News -2 May 2008: --Faced with a budget shortfall,Senate lawmakersplan to replace only 133 school buses-- well short of the roughly 380 buses lawmakers committed to replace annually... It turns out that nothing binds lawmakers to the legislation they approved last year, which set a goal of replacing one-fifteenth of the 5,700-bus fleet every year.Senate lawmakers approved $10.6 million for buses.House lawmakers approved a more generous allocation of $30.4 million for buses, but that was before the shortfall was predicted...The General Assembly'sgoal last year was to replace buses after 15 years of operation.A total of 1,597 buses already are more than 15 years old...
PASSENGERS' COMPLAINS * UK - Bus route cut causes fury in Wall Heath
Wall Heathresidents say the axing of a vital transport link will leave their community isolated from major services
Wall Heat,UK -Halesowennews, by Martyn Smith-2 May 2008: --... The261 bus routefromWall Heathto Dudley will reach the end of the line on Sunday April 27, leaving no direct connection for people in the area to Russells Hall hospital...Angry residents say they are disgusted the route has been abandoned by bosses at Travel West Midlands...National Express West Midlandssay the 261 has been withdrawn due to the very low number of people who use the service and the new system is easier for users to understand... (End of the line - Bus protestors gather at a 261 stop in Wall Heath)
BUSES MAINTENANCE * USA - Local school buses rolling on the miles
School buses have always been a privilege for parents. Reasons include gas consumption and more time in the morning and afternoon
Clanton,AL,USA -The Clanton Advertiser, by Ashley McCartney-2 May 2008: --...The Chilton County School Transportation Departmentis constantly working hard at getting local kids to and from school safely... As simple as this sounds, the department is facing pressure from high gas prices. After sitting down and looking at their mileage and bus stops,Supervisor Greg Dejarnettsaid he was amazed to see just how much money they have to spend in a month on fuel alone...Without paying for maintenance and things for the buses, the department is paying around $200,000 per school year to transport kids to and from school. They are currently working on a new budget for the next school year...
BUSES' PURCHASE PROSPECTS * Canada - MTC looks to secure new buses
Montreal,Quebec,Canada -CJAD, by Tim Parent -1 May 2008: --TheMTC wants to replace its aging fleet of low-risebuses built by Nova-Bus, vehicles that have probably spent more time in the garage than on the road.MTC's director of operations - Carl Desrosier -says the transit corporation is deciding on whether it will buy the replacement buses or just rent them instead... The deciding factor?Whatever is cheaper.In the meantime, transit uses should watch for the new hybrid buses which burn less fuel and the new articulated buses which carry more passengers...
Rising Gas Prices * USA - Has commuters taking trains, buses
Newark,N.J.,USA -The Star-Ledger of Newark /Newsday -May 1, 2008: --Rising gasoline prices appear to be driving commuters ontoNJ Transit's trains and buses... NJ Transitofficials say preliminary figures show a 5.3 percent increase in rail riders during the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2007...There's been a 1.8 percent increase in ridership onNJ Transit busesduring the first quarter...Spokesman Dan Stessel tells it's difficult to attribute the increase to one factor. ButStessel says the agency is hearing gas prices are a factor, especially among first-time riders...
Safety Issue * Australia - 33 buses removed from service over
Brisbane,Australia -ABC On Line-May 1, 2008: --There is disruption onBrisbane's peak-hour bus services tonight, with theCity Councilmoving to immediately remove another 33 buses from service... The decision comes almost two weeks after a gas explosion at an Upper Mount Gravatt bus depot, when 30 buses were taken off the road as a precaution...Councillor Jane Prenticesays a difference in testing between the German-made gas cylinders and those made in Australia is behind the latest move...
I am mostly just alarmed that the number one hot topic of the whole damn campaign has been the evils (or not) of the flipping bendy bus
London,UK -Plattie -3 May 2008: --And Boris win!!! ... and Boris declared:"The bendy bus is unsuitable for London’s streets, they are twice as dangerous as non-articulated buses and have almost three times the rate of fare evasion. I will phase out bendy buses and run a new competition to find a 21st century Routemaster that has full disabled access, runs on clean fuel and has conductors... What we can conclude from this debate, I think, is that bendy buses may be a great peril to our civilisation, or they may be the answer to all of society’s ills, but either way, banging on about them to this extent is both boring and slightly absurd."...I actually quite like bendy buses.They are clean; they are heated in winter; they are big enough that they’re rarely over-crowded; and you can give yourself an easy thrill by standing with one foot on the bendy plate and one foot off it while going round corners...And tomorrow we shall have new buses, or the same buses. It is all quite thrilling...
GREEN NEWS * Singapore - To get environmentally kinder German-engineered buses
Singapore -Monsters and Critics (USA) -May 1, 2008: --Singaporeis to become the first country in South-East Asia to obtain German-engineered buses designed to be kind to the environment and accessible to disabled passengers, a public transport firm said Thursday...The first of theMercedes-Benz buses is to hit the road in mid-May and another 66 are to be rolled out between August and December, theSMRT Corp said... The vehicles, which cost about 300,000 Singapore dollars (223,000 US dollars), release fewer greenhouse gases than regular bases and can be lowered, making it easier for the elderly and wheelchair-bound passengers to board,SMRT chief executiveSaw Phaik Hwasaid...
GPS * Bulgaria - Sofia’s public transport online in real time
Sofia,Bulgaria -The Sofia Echo, by Petar Kostadinov-1 May 2008: --As of May 1 2008,Sofia’s Public Transport Companyprovides information about the time-table, routes and real-time positioning of its vehicles, a company statement said...The service is in its experimental phase and is available in Bulgarian only...The service, called Online GPS System – GPS Net, is available at the website of the company at http://www.skgt-bg.com...The system provides several was to select a bus, tram or trolley line and a stop, after which it calculates when the next bus, tram or trolley is expected to arrive, based on current position and movement information from aGPS system...
BUS LANES * New Zealand - Motorway ones, off beaten track for tourists
Marilyn Squire,Takapuna,New Zealand -The New Zealand Herald, by Phoebe Falconer-May 01, 2008: --I was on the pedestrian bridge crossing from Akorangabus station to the AUT campus when I noticed three tour company buses in the southbound motorway lanes. This was 8am on a weekday, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. I was curious as to why these buses were not using bus lanes, as surely it would have been much quicker. Is it not permitted for tour buses to use bus lanes, even if they are full of passengers? ...(Photo by Paul Estcourt - Tourist coaches don't have a ticket to ride in the fast lane)
COMPLAINS * UK - "TfL would have to be stupid not to replace the 29 bus"
’‘Overcrowded, unsafe, inconvenient’ – councillors and passengers list borough’s worst buses
London,UK -The Camden New Journal, by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS-1 May 2008: --Transport for London (TfL)have been urged to improve safety and conditions on the borough’s buses after councillors highlighted three bus routes as cause for concern...Conservative councillorKirsty Robertsraised the issue in front of the full council, singling out number 29 busand the 46last month...She later said she was also worried aboutthe 24, with youth disorder apparently increasing on buses inHampstead...