In brief: Worldwide's weekly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry
Propane Buses * USA - San Antonio district debuts. Run cheaper than diesel
A San Antonio-area school district has debuted new classic-yellow school buses that officials say are the first in the nation manufactured to run on propane
Helotes,TX,USA -The Associated Press/The Trucker, by ELIZABETH WHITE -22 July 2008: --... While many districts across the U.S. have converted school buses from diesel-run to propane, the new buses are the first tocome off the production line propane-ready,saidErin Lake, a spokeswoman for Fort Valley, Ga.-based Blue Bird Corp... The 16 buses are cheaper and cleaner than traditional diesel models, said Northside Independent School District superintendent John Folks...(Photo: A gallon of diesel costs about $3.85, while a gallon of propane is $1.73)
TRAFFIC CHAOS * New Zealand - Heavy snow, gales cause
The icy blast which swept up the country on Saturday caused traffic chaos, closing roads, skifields and airports inOtago
Dunedin,Otago,New Zealand -Otago Daily Times-7 Jul 2008: --... Snow which fell to low levels and settled on roads around Otago had mainly melted by late yesterday as the wintry blast which brought snow, gales and rain to the region on Saturday cleared...Up to 40cm of snow fell in Queenstown, producing near white-out conditions that closed the airport and skifields on Saturday... Iced-over roads resulted in several non-injury crashes, including one involving a bus which was steered into a bank by its driver when it started sliding down a steep hill...Residents of Dunedin's hill suburbs woke to about 10cm of snow on Saturday, and the day brought rain, snow and sleet...State Highway 1from Dunedin over the Northern Motorway toWaitatiwas closed for 24 hours from 8am on Saturday as two snowploughs struggled to keep the road clear of snow...Many central North Island roads were closed on Saturday, with police reporting extremely hazardous driving conditions in the Wanganui and Manawatu areas...Heavy snow remained on boththe Desert Rd and National Park sides of Mt Ruapehu yesterday afternoon, blocking the main access route through the central North Island...(Photo by Linda Robertson - A Passenger Transport bus which skidded in the snow on Brockville Rd, Dunedin, on Saturday morning)
Salt Lake,UT,USA -The Salt Lake Tribune, by Brandon Loomis-6 July 2008: --Lopeti Penima'ani spends much of his time wheeling aroundthe Salt Lake Valleyadvocating for fellow disabled citizens. Now he fears gasoline prices and mass-transit officials' reaction to them will take away that part of his life and leave him needing more help...He fears that the fuel surchargethe Utah Transit Authorityput into effect last week will tap hisSocial Security disability incomeand keep him from getting out of his West Jordan home as much...UTAsays there's no way of immediately crunching the numbers to see whether riders stayed away when bus andTRAX rail ticketsrose by 25 cents, to $2 a ride. But drivers apparently didn't notice a big difference in passenger loads...(Photo by Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune: Lopeti Penima'ani, right, and his dog Lady wait as friend and fellow activist Steve Edwards boards a UTA bus in front of West Jordan City Hall on Thursday. Penima'ani fears UTA's fuel surcharge will keep him from getting around the community as much)
London,UK -London Connections-5 July 2008: -- The Guardian is reporting thatBoris (Mayor of London)will replace bendy buses with good old-fashioned double deckers as soon when the contracts come up for renewal between next year and 2015... This will start with three routes next year, includingthe 38 (Victoria-Angel-Dalston-Hackney-Clapton), which coincidentally or not was one of the only routes converted directly from Routemaster to bendy...Boris Watch has an excellent list of bendy bus routes and contracts, and surmises the other two routes to go next year will be two out of the 12, 25, 73, 507 and 521. Routes are presumed to be staying bendy until at least their contract renewal date, which for the436 and 453is after the next Mayoralelection...
Soaring fuel prices * India - Manmohan, Chidambaram sit on their hands
Chennai,India -The Straphangers United, By Ananthakrishnan G. -5 July 2008: -- The Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government, which is running a fever over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, has done precious little on one of the growing areas of energy demand — transport... The national discussion has tilted completely towards this deal and its political fallout, ignoring the plight of the common man as his life is torn apart by inflation... The inaction and ineptitude of our trained economists in the seat ofGovernmentis pushing up global oil prices, and at last count, it had touched 146 dollars a barrel.We saw the somewhat unusual spectacle of a market-orientedFinance Minister, Mr. P.Chidambaram, pleading with oil producers for voluntary price controls on a commodity that, going by raw market economics, will continue to command higher prices as supply diminishes and demand shoots up...Not much imagination is required to see that the myopic policy on transport of both the UPA government and the state governments including the DMK in Tamil Nadu is hurting prospects of continued high growth and reduced inflation... (Photo: Volvo services in Bangalore and Chennai are few, and carry a handful of passengers because tickets are outrageously priced)
Electric Vehicles * USA - Slow economy becomes a selling point for
Fort Wayne,IND,USA -The Fort Wayne Business Weekly, by DOUG LEDUC-July 3, 2008: --Electric Vehicles Inc. went through some retrenching last year after ramping up to fill large orders from major international companies in the vehicle production industry... The industrial electric vehicle maker is back to growing at an easier pace, but prepared to move in a big way on any opportunities it should come across as a green technology company...Founder Jerry Medlinsays Fort Wayne-basedEVIhas become a stronger company through some of the adjustments it made last year after nationwide demand for industrial electric vehicles diminished in the wake of an economic slowdown... EVIhad more than doubled its work force in 2006, going from 16 employees to 35 or more.The company grew after winning a five-year exclusive contract to supply all General Motors Corp. plants in North America and forming a joint venture with another industrial manufacturer, Topper Industrial, to supply Federal Express...(Photo by Greg Bastin - A tech for Electric Vehicles Inc. installs wiring on a tow vehicle. The vehicle can tow 10,000 pounds)
With fuel prices rising, getting around America can be expensive... Here are some inexpensive bus options that will help you get around the states: Mega Bus An offshoot of the hugely successful version in the UK, this bus service services the northeast, Midwest, and west coast.If you book early enough, fares can be as low as one dollar!!Normal fares range between 6-10 dollars one way and are still a great option.This bus service is one of the cheapest around.The seats are a little small but they are comfortable... Bolt Bus Bolt Busmainly operates on east coast of America but is slowly expanding southward.It offers free wifi and electoral outlets for your laptops. You really can’t go wrong with that!! It’s a great way to pass the time.The seats are of average size and the bathroom is kept quite clean.Tickets are usually more expensive thanMegabus but you’re paying for that wifi.Book early as this bus lines sells out all of its seats... Greyhound The largest carrier in America, Greyhoundwill take you anywhere.Though not generally cheap,Greyhoundhas lowered prices in the face of stiff competition.It’s still a great deal and will take you to more places than the other bus lines... Fung Wah Operating exclusively in the northeast, Fung Wah (the Chinatown bus)is a dirt cheap option.However, often referred to as the steal cage of death, it has a spotty safety record.The seats are pretty good and the facilities are passable.This bus line is a good option if you need to be dropped off right downtown in NYC and not Penn Station... Apex Bus Operating up and down the east coast, this is another cheap option.It doesn’t offer dollar fares but, besides greyhound, is the only carrier that will take you through the south. The seats and the facilities are on par with the other bus operators... (From HotelClub Travel Blog (London,UK) -5 July 2008)
Nearly 700 buses of 16Gems schools, which transport about 40,000 students everyday, will be enabled with theGlobal Positioning System (GPS)to determine the location, speed, direction and time of each bus
Abu Dhabi,Dubai -The Kaleej Times, by Preeti Kannan-5 July 2008: --... The initiative byGemswill be implemented by the newly-formed Bright Bus Transport Company, that will operate the group's 690 buses in the emirate from August 31 this year... Parents can log on to the transport company's web site with the password assigned to them and key in their child's bus number to track the exact location of the school bus...The buses would also be fitted with cameras in the long run to monitor any complaints, he said...
MORE RIDERS * USA - Addressing the demand for buses
In yet another sign that the high price of gas is changing behavior, bus lines acrossConnecticutare reporting spikes in ridership
Greenwich,CT,USA -The Greenwich Time-5 July 2008: --... Many people are finding that despite the convenience factor of driving alone, there are serious monetary gains to be had from using mass transit...Recent numbers show 8.5 percent more riders on CTTransit express buses over last year. Anecdotal evidence elsewhere also indicates gains. But with the increase comes an unforeseen problem - the need for capacity...So the time to consider capacity is now...Increasing it would require money, in an economy when public subsidies are increasingly hard to come by. It would also mean tough choices on spending and perhaps sacrifices on little-used transit lines... Commuters are being forced to make difficult decisions of their own. Public transit lines ought to follow suit...
New bus service * USA - To begin trips between Lompoc and Solvang
Within the next few weeks, a 20-passenger bus will begin running three daily round trips betweenLompocandSolvang, with a stop inBuellton
Lompoc,CA,USA -The Lompoc Record, by Bo Poertner-5 July 2008: --... Operated bythe City of Lompoc Transit (COLT) system, and paid for by the three cities andSanta Barbara County, the pilot program is designed to answer citizen requests for transportation to work, school and medical and social service appointments - mostly toLompoc, saidRichard Fernbaugh, Lompoc's aviation/transportation administrator... The new service, as yet unnamed, could begin perhaps by mid-July, as soon as county, SolvangandBuelltonofficials sign off on the project.The Lompoc City Council approved it Tuesday night...(Photo: A Lompoc COLT bus stops for passengers on the north end of town. In a few weeks, a 20-passenger bus will begin running three daily round trips between Lompoc and Solvang, with a stop in Buellton)
Trouble on the Buses * UK - As many pensioners go free
Bus operators and local authorities are at loggerheads over a government scheme that gives pensioners free bus travel amid fears that ministers have seriously underestimated the costs of the £1 billion scheme
London,UK -The Times, by Angela Jameson-July 5, 2008: --... Stagecoachand Go-Aheadare among the operators that have 26 judicial reviews pending against the Department for Transportover disputed payments for concessionary fares for the past financial year... Transport groups have also made 100 appeals against reimbursements proposed by local authorities for the national concessionary fare scheme, which was introduced in April and allows pensioners to travel across the country on buses free if they have a national bus pass...The dispute is brewing as bus companies report that record numbers of pensioners are travelling free on their services, using the new national bus pass... However, the success of the scheme is already in doubt as bus operators are threatening to cut back on services and push fares up sharply for other passengers, saying that they are not being sufficiently reimbursed...(Pîcture: Bus operators are seeking judicial reviews on a funding shortfall from authorities in the scheme that gives pensioners free travel)
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * Finland - Volvo Buses to sell Turku plant
Volvo Buseshas signed a letter of intent covering the sale of the body plant in
Turku,Finland -Automotive Business Review -4 July 2008: --The plant inTurkuproduces bodies for theVolvo 9700 model. TheTurku plant is claimed to be the smallest plant withinVolvo Buses, primarily producing for the Nordic markets... The buyer consists of a group of private Finnish investors and managers from Volvo Buses in Finland...Volvohas determined that it is more efficient to sell the plant and purchase bodies from the new owner. In accordance with the letter of intent, the new owner will also continue to, under license, produce theVolvo 9700for Nordic customers...
Lauder,Berwickshire,Scotland,UK -The Scotsman (Edinburgh), by JOHN MILLIGAN-4 July 2008: --With bus lanes proving so successful, buses might now be given some longitudinal priority where their timetables are wrecked by roadworks... I suggest, 50m ahead of a crucial roadworks, a sign that reads: "When the light is at red, all vehicles except buses wait here."...As soon as your queue is stopped by a red light, leaving the opposite lane empty until the other queue is started by a green light, buses can overtake and go to the front...
Volunteers * UK - Take to streets to monitor two routes pinpointed as unreliable
Late-running bus drivers – you’re booked!
London,UK -The Camden New Journal, by SARA NEWMAN-3 July 2008: --Irate passengers, angry at buses that fail to stop or arrive in pairs after long waits, are getting their own back in WestHampstead...A new neighbourhood project set up byWest Hampstead Amenities and Transport (WHAT) committeehas seen passengers using bus report cards to note down poor service...Members are particularly concerned about the service on routes C11and328. One passenger has already recorded five 328 buses passing through Mill Lane in just over two minutes...TfLhas invested £116million in global positioning system tracking to help co-ordinators keep tabs on London’s fleet of 8,000 buses...A TfL spokeswomansaid it was not always possible to mitigate the impact of roadworks and diversions on bus services...(Picture: Miles Seaman with the bus report cardBus drivers face time checks as passengers wield report cards)
PASSENGERS' COMPLAINS * Viet Nam - Why readers aren’t overjoyed at travelling by bus in
Last week:We asked our readers about travelling by bus
Hanoi,Vietnam -The Viet Nam News -4 July 2008: --This means of transportation has become more popular in Golden opportunities, but the service it supplies still has several shortcomings.With a little work, it could be a cheap and efficient means of transport in a modern society.The following are opinions on how to improve bus service in Viet Nam, so that buses can become a safe, cheap and efficient means of transport...Your say... - Sherman Chau, Canadian:I have experienced the rudeness of bus staff myself and seen their lackadaisical attitude... - Knut Sch, German:As a participant of Vietnamese traffic, with 14 years of experience, I’ve recognised an upward tendency of ruthless bus drivers... - Nguyen Tuyet May,Viet Nam:In my opinion, buses in Viet Nam, as well as other public transportation, are convenient for travelling, especially on a hot, sunny or rainy day...(Video from YouTube, by s0nicdeathmunky - February 16, 2008: "Bus - Vietnam to Cambodia" - The sights and sounds of the bus trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh)
FUEL COSTS TROUBLES * USA - Another quarter to ride the bus this fall?
2nd proposed fare increase this year to cover fuel costs
Seattle,WASH,USA -Seattlepi, by GREGORY ROBERTS-July 3, 2008: --Metro bus fareswould rise an additional 25 cents this October in order to help cover rising fuel costs without cutting services,King County Executive Ron Simssaid Thursday in announcing the proposed increase... If approved bythe County Council, the fare increase would be the second this year: Metro increased adult fares 25 cents March 1 and raised fares for seniors, youths and disabled bus riders the same amount Tuesday. Those increases, the first for the bus system in seven years, were designed to address inflation in operating expenses over that time, including rising fuel prices,Metro general manager Kevin Desmondsaid...
Rider Report * USA - Select Bus Service Shaves Trip Time
New York,NY,USA -Streetsblog, by Brad Aaron-July 3, 2008: --Three days after the debut of Bx12 Select Bus Service,Bronxresident and Tri-State Transportation Campaign Associate Director Veronica Vanterpool rode the route fromCo-op Cityto Inwood... On Mobilizing the Region, she reports that riders are becoming accustomed to the pre-payment system and rear-door boarding, with the help of bus drivers and New York City Transitpersonnel... Vanterpool's trip was unobstructed -- for the most part...Her ride was 48 minutes, compared to the pre-SBS average of 65.Vanterpoolpredicts that time savings will increase as passengers get used to the system's features, as long as "vigilant enforcement" of bus lanes continues...(Photo: Mobilizing the Region)
RULES * USA - Mayor Extendeds Operating Authority For Bus Service
New York City - Mayor Bloomberghas signed legislation requiring theDepartment of Transportationto extend the operating authority of two unsubsidized bus services
New York,NY,USA -Vos Iz Neias (Yiddish: What's News?) -2 July 2008: --The Mayor said, the final bill allows the Department of Transportation, with the approval of the Franchise Concession Review Committee, to extend the operating authority of two unsubsidized bus services who are scheduled to expire... The services arePrivate Transportation Corp.which transports approximately 600,000 passengers annually betweenWilliamsburgand Borough Parkin Brooklyn, andPrivate One of New York, LLC, operating asNew York Airport Service, which transports approximately 900,000 passengers annually fromGrand Central StationtoLaGuardiaand Kennedy Airports, and between the two airports...
Stockholm,Sweden -Muni Wireless/Esme Vos-July 3, 2008: --Swebus, a long-distance bus operator inSweden, is now offering Wi-Fi access to its passengers...Swebushas over 80 buses and transports two million passengers every year.According to the press release, this Wi-Fi deployment is the largest in Scandinavia since it will be available in buses that go toNorway andDenmark...Ethernet connectivity for in-bus systems such as CCTV and telematics data, and built-in GPS for real-time fleet tracking...
AR,USA - SubChat.com: BusChat, by Sid (NJ,USA)-Jul 1, 2008: --I just returned fromArizonaand thought you might enjoy photos of two fairly new buses I observed... The first is a newC40LFRfor Valley Metro inPhoenix; I believe this order is currently being delivered. 6612 was the highest number I observed, with 6597 the lowest.This bus was on the 72 and is pictured along College Avenue inTempe...The second is one of two Gillig 35-foot BRT hybrid buses received a number of months back by Mountain Transit in Flagstaff....
NEW BUSES FLEET * Bulgaria - New Mercedes buses for Sofia residents
Sofia,Bulgaria -The Sofia Echo, by Petar Kostadinov-1 Jul 2008: --A total of 35 brand-newMercedes buseswill be at the disposal of Sofia's Public Transport Companyas of July 1 2008.... The city hall said that the buses will service the 111 line that links Lyulin and Mladost neighbourhoods and are expected to be part of Sofia's rolling stock for the next eight years... As for the new price of the ticket Sofia residents can exchange their old tickets for new during the month of July either at Vuzrazhdane 1 square or at 84 Maria Luisa boulevard, two of the offices of Sofia Public Transport Company in the city. New tickets would be issued after payment of the difference of 0.30 leva, Sofia municipality said on June 27...
DRIVERS' SHORTAGE * USA - Have school buses – need drivers
’WE PAY WELL; WE OFFER BENEFITS’
Tacoma,WA,USA -The News Tribune, by JOHN GILLIE -July 1st, 2008: --... The bus, festooned with signs, is a portable recruiting outpost forFirst Student, theCincinnati-based school bus company that holds the contract to provide transportation for the Seattle School District...Four days a week, twoFirst Studentschool bus driver recruiters,Tolora MossandStacey Steele, answer questions, pass out fliers and job applications and sign up prospective drivers to fill the seemingly never-ending demand for school bus drivers...The two have found that marrying the company’s need for workers with the needs ofDepartment of Social and Health Services patrons for new income works well for both parties: The school bus transportation company gets new workers, and single parents and the needy find jobs...(Photo by RUSS CARMACK/The News Tribune - Tolona Moss sets up recruiting signs at the side of the special needs bus that she drives for First Student, the Cincinnati-based school bus company. She parked Monday outside the Department of Social and Health Services office in Tacoma to take job applications)
PASSENGERS' PROTEST * South Africa - Buses disrupted in fare increase protest
Johannesburg,S.Africa -iol -July 1, 2008: --Metrobusservices in Gandhi Square in centralJohannesburgwere disrupted on Tuesday morning by people protesting against fare increases, said the bus company...A small group of protesters apparently tried to force passengers off the buses to get support for their fare protest...The company said operations had now returned to normal... It had changed its fare structure and also exacted an increase based on rising diesel and spares costs...Metrobussaid that while it had advertised the proposed fare increases earlier this year for public comment, none had been received...
Packed Buses * China - Young inventor solves problem
By installing a set of sensors on both sides of a bus door, the system records the number of passengers who get on
Beijing,China -www.chinaview.cn/Xinhua -June 30, 2008: -- A high school student has a bright idea to easeShanghai'scrowded buses - an automatic system to calculate how many passengers each bus carries... The system, invented by a first-year student at a high school affiliated to Fudan University, is composed of infrared sensors that connect to a control terminal through cell-phone transmission...By installing a set of sensors on both sides of a bus door, the system records the number of passengers who get on...The design enables the equipment to tell the difference between passengers getting on and getting off to give an accurate calculation of passengers on board. Data will be transmitted to bus coordination terminals to tell managers how crowded the buses are...
Sydney,NSW,Australia -The Sydney Morning Herald, by Sherrill Nixon & Jano Gibson-July 1, 2008: --Sydney's transport authorities are failing to keep up with the changing commuting habits and longer hours of many of the city's workers, with its bus and train systems still finishing their official evening peaks at 6.30pm...But the private sector is noticing the shift.One operator,Hillsbus, is adding buses to meet demand for new "professional peaks" developing later in the morning and evening that have forced it to increase its services running on the M2...Sydney Buses'sofficial afternoon peak is still between 3pm and 6pm, although it recognises patronage is growing in the "shoulder periods", particularly between 6pm and 7pm...Patronage on the M2 services to the city has grown 15 to 30 per cent a year for the past two years, thanks in part to rising food and fuel costs, and a return to full employment in the CBD...
BUSES' PRODUCTS & ACCESORIES * Sweden - Volvo Order for Telematics System for 1,400 Buses in Brazil
Stockholm,Sweden -Fox Business-June 30, 2008: -- ITS4mobility isVolvo Busesadvanced technological platform that supports the bus operators' control of bus operations and provides passengers with information at bus stops and on the buses...The system gives traffic controllers the possibility to monitor all of the buses in real time, see where they are and their progress in relation to the timetables.Traffic controllers can also maintain constant contact with the drivers using text messages.Using this system, it is easier to maintain timetables and react rapidly to disruptions to bus traffic... For passengers,ITS4mobility entails electronic boards at bus stops that show when the next bus will depart, while on board, there are electronic boards and automatic loudspeaker announcements of the next stop.A major advantage ofITS4mobilityis that the system can be used for all types of buses regardless of manufacturer.InGoiania, Volvo Busessecured the order although none of the 1,400 buses is a Volvo bus... "This is clear evidence that today's Volvo is no longer primarily a vehicle manufacturer, but a supplier of transport solutions," saysPer Gabell, Head of Volvo Buses in Latin America.
Insurance * India - West Bengal to introduce insurance for bus passengers
Kolkata,India -IANS/Thaindian News -June 30, 2008: --In an innovative move, the West Bengal government is all set to introduce insurance benefits for the passengers of long-distance state transport buses... West Bengal Transport Minister Subhas Chakrabortysaid the money will be used to provide them with insurance benefits worth Rs.50,000 in case they meet with fatal accidents during travel. The amount would be handed over to their nearest relatives..
FARES REBATES * Australia - Private Sydney bus commuters to save 20 pc
Sydney,NSW,Australia -ABC News-Jun 30, 2008: --The New South Wales Governmenthas announced a new weekly ticket that will save private bus commuters 20 per cent on their fares...The new tickets will be rolled out from October 1 and available to passengers using all 15 ofSydney's private bus companies...NSW Transport Minister John Watkinssays the tickets will cost the State Government up to $15 million each year...
Washington,DC,USA -SubChat.com: BusChat, by RonInBayside-Jun 29, 2008: --Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Av will see better service...This corridor really needs Metrorail service...Metrolaunches major overhaul of 30s Metrobus lineMetro is launching a major overhaul of its busiest and oldest bus line beginning Sunday, June 29. The revamped30s Metrobus linewill include two new limited-stop routes during morning and evening rush hours, two new neighborhood shuttle services and dedicated supervisors stationed along routes to respond quickly to service issues.Restructuring and expanding service on the 30s line will better meet the needs of customers on our busiest bus line, said General ManagerJohn Catoe.Customers can expect faster travel times, less crowding and better supervision to keep the buses on schedule.
CHEAP BUS FARES * USA - The Chinatown Bus Experience
This blog post will cover my recent adventure throughManhattanand the nightmare of an experience with two particular Chinatown buslines:Apex/Todays Bus...
NY,USA -Sippy's World, by sippy -29 Jun 2008: --The picture below gives you a glimpse of the chaos you can expect to experience when attempting to board your bus in Chinatown NYC...However, the return trip from chinatown/NYC at 9:30 6/28/08 was a horror... We asked the two women who were selling tickets which bus was for DC and which was for Philadelphia. They could not communicate to us very well, and just kept repeating “yes, DC” and “yes, Philadelphia” over and over...The result was an oversold bus, full of people that were able to butt in front of us even though we had reservations. We were there 20 minutes early as specified on the ticket, but we had no seat on the bus. There were many other angry reservation holders as well...This new bus arrived 10 minutes later.At this point, everyone was angry and shoving to get a seat on the bus. Luckily we were able to board at the very end, but their were others behind us that were left behind. The bus was overcrowded and we were forced to sit at the back, which smelled so strongly of urine that people were beginning to get sick.The two women continued to sell tickets and even stuffed two people on the bus that had no seat.The driver road about a mile down the road before understanding what had happened, even though the two passengers implored him the entire way to stop...The bus finally departed again, but after going a block or two, it died at a stoplight. Over the next 10 minutes, the bus would die at traffic lights (idling low and then sputtering to a stop) and the driver would get out of the bus (in the middle of traffic), fiddle with the engine, and then recrank it.After an uprising from passengers, the bus driver finally agreed the bus was not suitable for interstate travel and took us back. Back at the street corner again, a new bus showed up and unloaded all of its passengers - we boarded this bus and left...We transfered buses again in Philadelphia for some reason. I think it was at this point that the driver realized he had passengers from DC on his bus, so another bus was called in to take us the rest of the way...The bus driver was the most dangerous driver I had ever experienced. I consider myself an aggressive driver and this person was absolutely uncompromising and reckless. He would swerve in/out of traffic, rev the engine as high as it would go, tailgate other vehicles, speed upwards of 80mph constantly, and take turns at extremely unsafe speeds (at one point the right side wheels briefly left the pavement and skidding back to the surface after an abrupt jerk on the steering wheel).The bus was taking potholes and uneven ripples in the road at such high speeds, that the entire structure was shimmying and rattling violently with each hit.The bus would literally skip across the pavement after each bump was hit going 70+ mph. Even in downtown DC on new york avenue (which has camera-ticketing systems for speeding vehicles), the driver was going 55mph+ and racing past traffic. The shaking was so violent, that it woke me up several times (I was in a near comatose state from lack of sleep), one of which involved a piece of luggage clocking me in the forehead (it was thrown out of the overhead cabin by sheer centripetal force going into an onramp at what must have been an unsafe speed).I was surprised we were not all killed that night. I was certain we were going to flip over...I have been researching the Chinatown bus lines and have learned a lot in the process. For one thing, the bus lines (such as Apex and Today-Bus) actually outsource each trip to various coach lines (as noted in the footnote on their website, in light gray font: Each service is provided by different licensed coach operators).So, you have no reason to expect you will receive a safe driver or a bus that is in good shape. This does not excuse, however, the overselling of tickets that happened and the apparent complete disregard for those that have standing reservations to board first.I would also question the adherence of these coach lines to US DOT required safety standards...My advice is to first consider alternatives to the Chinatown bus lines. Greyhound started a low-fare bus riding service called Boltbus that actually has comparable prices, and you can be reasonably certain the bus and driver will be acceptable. A Jewish-owned low-fare bus service called Vamoose also has extremely cheap rates. If you really want to try a Chinatown bus line, be sure to visit a site like GoToBus.com or Chinatown-bus.org to compare various lines and their policies.
INTERVIEW with Dinesh Bhandari:'More vehicles mean more money for politicians'
Glass House,Nepal -Look & Gaze -7 July 2008: --Dinesh Bhandari, president of the Federation of Nepal National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE) has been in the transport business for the past 30 years.He has brought three different transport organizations under a single umbrella to provide better services to the public.He claims that federalization of transport entrepreneurs' organizations has improved bus services and prevented operators from being affiliated to any political party...Bhandarihas been pressuring the government to fulfill the demand of theFNNTEto raise fares by up to 35 percent.Bhandarispoke withPuran P Bista and Kamal Raj Sigdel of the Poston the ongoing bus strike that has crippled public transport for the past several days...
Megabus, minibucks * USA - Road to savings begins with bus company that wings it
This is not the summer of love... High gas prices and road construction have made this the summer of when push comes to shove
Milwaukee,WIS,USA -The Chicago Sun Times, by DAVE HOEKSTRA-June 29, 2008: --This is why I am sitting in the back of aMegabus headed forMilwaukee...The 56-seat bus is half full, mostly with young people.The bus is clean and the bathrooms are basic (although the sink doesn't work).Better yet, the price is right: $16 round trip, making this express bus service one of the best ways to tool around the Midwest this summer...Megabus.com-- as it is technically called -- is a subsidiary ofCoach USA, a UK-basedStagecoach Group company...Megabus is popular because you can get a one-way ticket for as little as $1.50, depending on when you buy it.The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket.My $16 round-trip fare was booked three weeks in advance...No-frillsMegabusis cheap because it keeps its expenses low...There are noMegabusstations.Riders wait on city sidewalks, rain or shine...Hey, we got used to that !!...(Photo by Brian Jackson/Sun-Times - Megabus destinations include: Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Bloomington/Normal, Indianapolis, Ann Arbor, Columbus, Cincinnati, Champaign, Cleveland, Memphis, Detroit, Madison, St. Louis and Columbia, Mo.)
AWARD * USA - Nonprofit Group's City bus system one of the best
The North Carolina Public Transportation Association Inc.presented its 2007 Safety Award to Greenville Area Transitduring its annual meeting this month
Greenville,NC,USA -The Greenville Daily Reflector-June 29, 2008: --The Greenville bus systemreceived a safety award from a state association that promotes public transportation... GREAT received the award because it had no at-fault accidents or incidents during 2007,saidNancy Harrington, transit manager...The GREAT systemmade about 280,000 passenger trips this fiscal year, traveling about 215,000 miles, Harrington said... It's estimated the system grew 9.2 percent from July 1, 2007, to date,Harringtonsaid.While high gas prices are partially driving the increase, it's mainly due to new riders who are moving from areas that have a bus system, she said...The North Carolina Public Transportation Association Inc.is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes public transportation throughout the state...Its 200 members represent groups ranging from large urban systems to the smallest of rural systems; bus and van manufacturers; educational entities; private companies; local and state elected officials, and individuals interested in public transportation...(Photo: a GREAT Bus)
CELLPHONE ON DRIVING * USA - T has disciplined dozens for use on job
Suspension, firing, among penalties
Boston,CT,USA -Associated Press/Boston.com, by Steve LeBlanc-June 29, 2008: --Dozens ofMBTA bus driversand subway operators have been disciplined for using cellphones while on the job during the past 2 1/2 years...Records obtained by the Associated Press show that penalties forthe Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority driversranged from a day's suspension to, in at least one case, the firing of a subway operator...Use of a cellphone by drivers is considered a safety violation and is strictly prohibited byMBTA employee rules.It can lead to suspension and dismissal in the case of repeated violations...At least 44 individual drivers have been cited by T officials since January 2006. About three-quarters of the disciplinary actions involved bus drivers. One of the suspensions was later rescinded...(Picture: AZjamon.com)
The humble burger and chips may have a role to play in a healthy environment after all.Waste cooking fat, used as an alternative fuel, is encouraging people to switch to public transport
Scotland,UK -The Scotsman, by Terry Murden-29 June 2008: --... When asked why they had left their cars at home and opted for the bus, 4% of travellers in a pilot scheme run byStagecoachsaid it was because the company was running its vehicles on chip fat collected from McDonald's, the fast food chain, and the public turning up with containers of the stuff collected from their own homes... The company converted a number of its older vehicles, as it needed to ensure there was no lasting engine damage, and the results were encouraging, not only in the waste fat's ability to replace traditional fuel, but because of the public's reaction...Brian Souter, the firm's unorthodox founder and chief executive, acknowledges that motorists may be switching to public transport more for reasons of rising fuel costs than for environmental reasons, but the research suggests otherwise, with strong support for green and healthy issues...A survey of 4,000 people conducted by the company inCambridgeand the south ofEnglandshowed that 64% see the environment as a high priority, that 47% had reduced their car use, 36% used buses more often and 19% have increased their use of trains...Overall, 10% said they had changed their mode of transport in the past three years, of whom 20% said it was for health reasons, 12% to help the environment and 10% because of the availability of bus passes...Significantly, the survey was conducted in April, ahead of the more recent rises in fuel prices and heightened public concern over the spike in transport costs.Also of note, 32% said they would pay more for environmentally friendly public transport...With rising fuel costs likely to discourage car use,SouterbelievesStagecoachis bound to benefit...(Video from YouTube, by Ally31334 - October 01, 2007: "Stagecoach in Warwickshire Volvo B10M/Alexander PS 20215" - N215 TDU on route 57 -Nuneaton / Coventry via Bedworth- between George Eliot Hospital and opposite Bermuda Park McDonalds)
Competition means lower fares.But what's the best bus line to take?
Boston,CT,USA -The Boston Globe, by Nicole C. Wong-June 29, 2008: --Surging gas prices and airline fees are making day trips and weekend excursions toNew Yorkthat much more expensive. Yet one mode of transportation between theHuband theBig Applehas actually gotten cheaper: the bus...You can thank intensifying competition.BoltBus and MegaBuslaunched service on the popular Northeast Corridor this spring and undercut the three incumbents by offering some tickets for $1, $5, or $10 each way.Lucky Starquickly slashed its $15 price to hang onto customers...The Globe tested the five low-cost bus lines -BoltBus, MegaBus, Lucky Star,Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc., and the pooled operations of Greyhound Lines Inc.and Peter Pan Bus Lines. We bought our tickets online and anonymously boarded the New York-bound buses from Boston's South Station on various days and times over the past month...Don't expect to make friends on the bus.Most riders sleep, read, listen to music, or talk to their traveling companions. Some gab on cellphones, but many drivers ask that calls be kept short... BoltBus and MegaBusshuttled us around in coaches that were noticeably cleaner than the competitions', but that's because they're new. The interiors are also designed differently...The rest of the experience depends on your driver.BoltBusaimed to hire drivers whose fun, friendly attitude would remind riders of Southwest Airlines flight attendants.Our MegaBus drivertuned the radio to old Top 40s music - and amicably turned it off after someone asked him to lower the volume. Our Greyhound driverstood outside the bus door warmly reminding passengers to watch their step as they got off.And ourLucky Star driveralso treated passengers quite well, but we got a little nervous when he made a vulgar gesture when he was cut off by another driver...More important than demeanor is the driver's skill at, well, driving...Nevertheless, we liked BoltBus the best.Stretching out in a seat while sipping on free Wi-Fi and electricity can make even an hour-late, traffic-tangled ride bearable . . . and dare we say enjoyable?... That we were able to read online content at all was a minor miracle.We usually grow nauseated when reading on the road. But BoltBus's cushy seats and suspension - plus the driver's skill - provided an unusually smooth ride...(Video from YouTube, by dollyboston - June 13, 2008: "NYC BoltBus")
..."Since first year it has been getting slower and slower" ...
Sydney,Australia -The Sydney Mornig Herald, by Linton Besser-30 June 2008: --In February 2005, Vijay Bhatia climbed aboard theHillsbus 610Xfrom Castle Hillto the city for his first day at university. Since then, the 21-year-old nanotechnology student has taken the bright yellow busto Centralmore than 1000 times... "It was pretty good back then," he said. "But since first year it has been getting slower and slower."..The veteran commuter has watched demand for the service explode - and the peak-hour travel time double in length...Since 2001 the population in the north-west has ballooned, thanks to a series of land releases that offer Sydney perhaps its final glimpse of the big backyard that was once the suburban staple.More than 19,000 new residents flocked to the Baulkham Hills local government area in the five years to 2006...With more than 157,000 residents, it has swollen by 14 per cent - more than triple the rate of growth across the rest of the city... It is one of the few major housing catchments in Sydney without a rail link. With the region booming, buses have had to carry out the long-haul transport task normally required of an express train.But, while aCityRail line can carry up to 20,000 people an hour, to carry the same number by bus would require 250 buses anhour...In September 2005, patronage in the morning peak was about 170,000 a month. That figure has now topped 300,000, with growth between 15 and 30 per cent occurring over the past two years... In the past two years the State Government has bought 60 additional buses for the company under a standard bus operating contract that was implemented in Sydney several years ago - and most have been put on the M2 service into the city...(Photo by Brendan Esposito/ - Hard trip . . . waiting for a bus in Castle Hill. North-western Sydney's population has grown rapidly, but there is no rail line)
Revamped Bus Route * USA - Riders Will Pay Before Boarding, and Save Time, on
Beginning on Sunday, passengers on a revamped bus route in theBronxand Upper Manhattan will pay their fares before they get on the bus, as part of a series of innovations intended to allow faster travel
New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by WILLIAM NEUMAN -June 29, 2008: --... The time it takes to cross the Bronx on the upgraded Bx12 route should eventually drop by 20 percent under the new system, saidTed V. Orosz, the director of Manhattan and Bronx bus service planning for New York City Transit... The new service will replace the Bx12 Limited, which took 58 minutes at midday on a weekday (when traffic is usually heavy) to travel the full seven-mile length of the route, from Co-op Cityin theBronx to 207th Street and Broadway inUpper Manhattan...Officials hope to ultimately shave 10 or 12 minutes off that trip...The new service, called Select Bus Service, will save time mostly by requiring riders to pay fares before they get on the bus, using coins or swiping their MetroCards at curbside machines at each stop...The idea is to cut boarding times by eliminating the lines that often form at the front door of a bus while passengers wait to swipe or pay. That wait is a primary factor in slow travel times for buses...The route will have other innovations as well...The Fordham Road part of the route will have computerized traffic signals that communicate with the buses, helping them by holding a green light or shortening a red light by up to 15 seconds as a bus approaches...The buses, all articulated models, with two carriages connected with accordianlike devices, will look a little different too, decorated on the outside with a wavy blue pattern covered with blue plus signs. Inside, the seats are covered in a blue polka dot fabric... The upgraded route was designed with cooperation between the transit agency and the city’s Transportation Department. They plan to establish similar service on several more routes.The next will be a route along First and Second Avenue, which will get Select Bus Service late next year,Mr. Oroszsaid...The new service is a modified version of what elsewhere has become known as bus rapid transit — a system that has been used in cities like Bogotá, Colombia, and Mexico City to make bus travel speedier and more like train service. In many other cities, however, barriers separate the bus lanes from other traffic, ensuring a clear path for the buses...(Photo by Uli Seit for The New York Times - A new service on the seven-mile Bx12 route begins on Sunday)
*Bus Rapid Transit Debuts in the Bronx
New York,NY,USA -Wired News, by Alexander Lew -June 30, 2008: --Sunday, passengers taking the Bx12 Limited bus route in New York's Bronx experienced a different ride than the usual. The buses had changed colors and the stops became "stations." With the use of dedicated lanes, pre-paid boarding, and limited stops, the city hopes to reduce the time to travel the whole route by at least 10 minutes in the future. The buses, however, aren't much faster when looking at the printed schedules...The Select Bus Service, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority calls it, only cuts three minutes during the midday service off the pre-Select Bus Bx12 Limited service. The MTA, however, says that they will monitor the route closely and then reflect on the time savings...The Select Bus Serviceonly cost $10 million, which is much cheaper than implementing an entire rail line. An estimated 25,000 daily passengers will use the service, and this number is expected to grow...(Photo: Wikipedia/user Pacific Coast Highway )