In brief: Worldwide's weekly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * Sweden - Volvo 7700 Hybrid City Bus launched
Market’s first commercially viable hybrid bus
Stockholm,Sweden -VOLVO PRESS RELEASE-25 Sept 2008: --For the first time there is now a commercially viable hybrid bus on the market, the Volvo 7700 Hybrid.With up to 30% lower fuel consumption and hybrid components from Volvo, bus operators can earn a payback on the extra cost in five to seven years...The Volvo 7700 Hybrid makes an important contribution to an improved environment.The lower fuel consumption reduces the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 by up to 30%. The diesel engine in the bus is a Euro V generation engine that meets the EEV standard with regard to emissions.The discharge of particles and nitrous oxides declines by up to 40-50% compared with the diesel version.For customers who choose the optional particle filter, particle emissions will decline substantially...(Photo: Volvo 7700 hybrid citybus)
PASSENGERS * New Zealand - More Drivers Ditch Their Cars And Catch The Bus
The rising price of petrol is changing people's travel habits in Rotorua andTauranga with an increase in the number of car-owning residents choosing to travel by bus instead, according to a recent survey
Wellington,New Zealand -Voxy - 25 September 2008: -- ... This trend was revealed through an independent telephone survey of 850 residents byEnvironment Bay of Plenty, which funds public bus services inthe Bay of Plenty. Taurangaand Rotoruabus services are excellent or very good value for money, according to about 90 per cent of bus passengers surveyed...More than 80 per cent of bus passengers inRotoruaandTaurangaare satisfied with bus services... Around 65 per cent of passengers are using buses up to three times a week.There is an increase of up to 12 per cent in the number of passengers commuting to work by bus in Rotorua, while Tauranga has seen a 4 per cent increase. About half of the passengers surveyed owned a car, but chose to travel by bus instead...The survey also found that a fifth of passengers travelled by bus because it was cheaper than driving and was good value...
* Canada -Vivadrivers on strike, stranding 35,000 passengers
Toronto,Ontario,Canada -The National Post, by Chris Wattie & Barry Hertz- September 25, 2008: -- An estimated 35,000 passengers across York Region were left looking for another way to get to work this morning after the region’s commuters bus drivers announced last night they would be going on strike...The drivers in York region walked off the job at 4 a.m. Thursday, following a surprise rejection of a last-minute deal was reached over the weekend between the 165 Viva drivers, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, and Veolia Transportation, the company that operates the commuter buses...The union members voted 61% to reject the tentative agreement...
* New Zealand - Wellington buses back in action tomorrow
Wellington,New Zealand -Stuff.co.nz/The Dominion Post, by KERRY WILLIAMSON-25 September 2008: --Wellington's buseswill resume service tomorrow morning after a last-minute deal saw Go Wellingtonlift its lock-out notice...Go Wellington's 222 buses were off the roads today, after the company locked out its 311 drivers in response to the hour-long strike during yesterday's morning rush hour...But the bus company and the Wellington Tramways Union will return to the negotiating table tomorrow, and buses will start again from 5.30am...Earlier today, Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce waded into the pay dispute, urging the two parties to resolve the issue for the good of the city...(Picture by CRAIG SIMCOX/Dominion Post - MARKING TIME: Commuters waiting in vain)
* New Zealand - Wellingtonbuses back on the road
Wellington,NZ -NZ Herald -25 Sept 2008: --A breakthrough was today announced in the dispute betweenGO Wellingtonand its bus drivers, but more disruption has not been ruled out...Drivers began striking at the start of the week after being unable to negotiate what they considered a fair wage, but the company struck back by initiating a lockout of unionised staff from early today...The city suffered traffic congestion and late arrivals to work as a result, and commuters were bracing for more disruption tomorrow... (Picture: GO Wellington and its bus drivers are resuming wage negotiations and bus services will resume, easing commuter chaos in the capital)
* Googlemakes online planner for New York buses and subway
San Francisco,CAL,USA -The Business Times, by Steven E.F. Brown -September 24, 2008: --Google Inc.foundersSergey Brin andLarry Pageshowed up atNew York’s Grand Central Terminalwith the state’s governor to tout a new trip planner for the city’s buses, trains and subways...(Photo by AP - Google and MTA officials announced the launching of Google MTA which will help straphangers find their way through transit system. Computer generated example of what Google Transit will look like to the user)
Police Raid * USA - Roundup minibuses in North Jersey
Hudson Countyminibus drivers say a large-scale inspection raid inWest New Yorkresulted in several dozen buses being taken off the streets for inspection violations
West New York,NJ,USA -Newsday -September 23, 2008: --... Drivers say local municipalities conduct random inspections of the buses every few months...Ever Escobar, who owns Vanessa Transportation, says drivers are not opposed to the inspections, but question why police conduct rush hour raids instead of showing up unannounced at bus yards...Several drivers questioned whyNJ Transit busesare not treated in the same fashion, and why minibus drivers are often forced to use towing companies that charge $700 to $1,000 to remove a bus from its route...Calls to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, which reportedly coordinated the sweep on Tuesday, were not immediately returned...
TROUBLES * USA - Staten Island parents fume as special ed students spend hours on buses
Staten Island,NY,USA -The Staten Island Advance/SILive.com-September 22, 2008: --Some school bus drivers appear to be in a bit of a rush this month: Between serving more children and covering longer routes, drivers of special ed buses are struggling to meet near-impossible demands...Not only are more children being crowded onto each bus, but routes are starting earlier and ending later, leaving some children trapped on a bus for two or three hours at a time...The Department of Education cut back on more than 200 special ed bus routes this year. But while the city is saving more than $28 million, Staten Island parents say it's costing their children a sound education...(Advance photo/Irving Silverstein - Maria Maley stands with her 11-year-old daughter Nicole, who often has to wait an hour for the bus and then endure a two-hour ride home from school)
Provo,UT,USA -AP/Local News 8 -September 21, 2008: --Passengers who take a slightly slower commute on public transit are tapping into the Internet...Utah Transit Authority'sexpress buses that run up and downInterstate 15provide a wireless connection.Like the commute itself, the connection isn't quite as fast as commuters have on UTA FrontRunner trains, but passengers say it's still a valuable resource... A UTA technology official say some people wouldn't ride the bus at all if they didn't have the Wi-Fi connection... The wireless connection on the buses relies on cell phone broadband cards.FrontRunner has fiber-optic cables running under the tracks and the connection is a little faster...
* Marin County:Cell phones on Golden Gate buses
San Francisco,CAL,USA -The San Francisco Chronicle, by Jonathan Curiel-September 22, 2008: --On Tuesday,a woman boarded aGolden Gate Transit businMarin County, took out a cell phone, then called her girlfriend.What happened next disturbed her: The bus driver told her to turn it off, even using the loudspeaker to issue the demand.Contacting ChronicleWatch, the woman said there were no bus signs explaining the transit system's cell-phone policy, so why was she told to shut up? Turns out that Golden GateTransit does put limits on cell phones.On the transit agency's Web site, it says passengers "may use a cell phone on the bus as long as you do not disturb your fellow passengers or the bus driver. You may be asked to stop using your cell phone. Keep calls short and your voice low. Use the silent/vibrate ringer option. Minimize incoming calls when possible"...
Port of Spain,Trinidad and Tobago -The Trinidad and Tobago News, by KARL E CUPID -September 22 2008: --Chairman of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), Ethelbert Paulacknowledged that bus service in Tobago at present was “more than unsatisfactory” — with only ten out of a complement of 35 buses operational... He, however, assured this would now be a thing of the past with the addition of a new 20-bus fleet which is to be thrown into service from today.Paul made the point during the formal commissioning of the Chinese-built high-techHIGER (29-seater) buses at Works Building, Shaw Park, on Saturday afternoon...
* Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek receives 30 city buses from China
Bishkek,Kyrgyzstan –News Agency “24.kg”, by Aizada KUTUEVA -22 Sept 2008: --First 30 municipal buses were delivered toBishkek today,press secretary of the mayor Oksana Filyukinformed...Kyrgyzstan expected to receive 90 China-made buses at once, however the delivery of transport appeared to be problematic as local drivers signed up for driving buses trough theKyrgyz-Chinese borderare required to have a special driving permit.At the time being only 30 drivers received the relevant documents allowing driving thoughChina.30 more buses stay at the border waiting for customs clearing...
* India -Mercedes buses to hit roads of City Beautiful soon
Chandigarh,India -indianexpress, by RituSharma-Sep 22, 2008: --With Mercedeslaunching its luxuryAC busesin India, city residents will soon have more options of transport apart from the existing buses likeVolvo.The Haryana Roadwaysplans to introduce this global leader into their fleet for long routes.
Suva,Fiji -The Fijivillage -22 Sept 2008: --The Policeandthe Land Transport Authoritywill continue monitoring the overloading of buses during peak hours following the incident inVolivoli Sigatokawhere a bus carrying school students caught fire...Director Traffic SSP Ramendra Raj said it is always a risk when buses are overloaded with passengers adding that bus drivers and owners should ensure the safety of passengers at all times or else they would be taken to task...
Auckland,NZ -Stuff.co.nz-22 September 2008: --Aucklanders and Wellingtonians are continuing to switch to public transport, saysInfratil, the parent company ofNZ Bus... In it latest figures the company says that in August Auckland saw an increase of 6 percent across the board from a year ago with over 3.4 million passengers making their journey by bus in the month...The figures come in the wake ofInfratil chief executiveLloyd Morrisontaking a swipe at some Auckland commentators and politicians wanting a return to complete public control of public transport... In 2005 Infratil bought the New Zealand public transport operations of the British company Stagecoach for $250 million...(BUSES POPULAR: Aucklanders and Wellingtonians are continuing to switch to public transport, says Infratil, the parent company of NZ Bus)
* USA - NFTAkeeps packing them in
Buffalo,NY,USA -The Business First of Buffalo/Bizjournals.com (Charlotte,NC,USA), by James Fink-September 22, 2008: --On its most visible fronts, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authoritycontinues to see major increases in traffic...Passenger counts atBuffalo Niagara International Airportcontinue to rise — despite a national decline in air traffic statistics, and theNFTA’s bus and Metro Rail systemare also showing sharp increases...NFTA officials said, ridership on boththe NFTA’s busroutes and Metro Rail light rapid transit lines continues to surge forward...Bus ridership in August was up 164,597 or 11.1 percent compared with August 2007 while Metro Rail ridership increased 4.8 percent, going from 489,304 riders to 512,547 passengers. Bus passenger count, in hard numbers, rose from 1,480,002 last August to 1,644,599 this year...For the year-to-date, bus ridership is up 8.6 percent, going to 13.96 million this year from 12.86 million last year...
DANGEROUS BUSES * Malaysia - Be really scared of 'bas hantu'
Shah Alam,Malaysia -The New Straits Times (Persekutuan,Malaysia), by Nurris Ishak-21 Sept 2008: --You may have heard of the hantu raya but in the coming festive weeks, you would do well to be wary of the more dangerous bas hantu... This incarnation of the unscrupulous express bus will make its appearance soon to cash in on the balik kampung rush that is expected to start during the last week of this month...Often operating without a proper licence or any insurance, these buses are little more than rickety death traps as they have not passed government inspections... These illegal vehicles are not a new phenomenon on Malaysian roads as they are operating as feeder buses in rural and semi-rural areas...
Alamo,TX,US -The Monitor (McAllen,TX,USA), by Ryan Holeywell-21 Sept 2008: --... The state environmental agency is encouraging school districts acrossTexasto invest in technology to cut down on school bus emissions... Districts can apply for a total of $8 million in grants to fund devices that attach to the buses and help reduce their pollution...More than 36,000 buses carry an estimated 1.3 millionTexasstudents every day, according tothe Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. About a third of those buses are at least 10 years old and emit elevated levels of pollutants... State and local leaders say it's critical that districts work to cut back on those emissions to protect the health of bus drivers and students alike...
New School buses * USA - School board looks at building program
Shelbyville,TN,USA -The Shelbyville Times-Gazette, by Sadie Fowler -September 21, 2008: --Bedford County Board of Education met Thursday evening atthe Shelbyville Central High School library, following a reception for new teachers, to discuss a hefty agenda that was highlighted by building program updates and school test scores...The board reported it will purchase four 90-passenger school buses fromMid-South Bus Center, Inc.inMurfreesboroto accommodate increased student enrollment and an increase in number of students riding buses this year as a result of the rising price of gasoline...The cost of the four buses is approximately $310,000...The new buses also replace old buses that are being rotated out of the system.The state sets a 15-year limit on how long buses can operate...
Councillor concerned about unprovoked attack on bus
Edmonton,Alberta,Canada -The Edmonton Sun, by RENATO GANDIA -21 Sept 2008: -- At least one civic politician is calling for security cameras to be installed on all city buses following an unprovoked attack on a passenger Friday...Coun. Amarjeet Sohi, a former Edmonton Transit Service driver, said he would like to see buses outfitted with the equipment to prevent unruly behaviour and attacks on passengers and drivers..."I'm always concerned when I hear about attacks and the harassment of passengers, bus drivers and bystanders at transit facilities," Sohisaidyesterday...
Ontario,CAN -The Globe and Mail, by CAROLINE ALPHONSO-September 23, 2008: --Greyhound is examining the safety risks posed to its passengers as the company reels from a second assault on one of its buses in less than two months... Spokeswoman Abby Wambaughsaid the company is completing a safety and security risk-assessment report for Transport Canada after a receiving a grant of $285,000 from the federal department last year.But she declined to divulge whatGreyhoundhas found, nor would she say if it is considering searching passengers for weapons before they board buses... Her comments come after another attack on aGreyhound bus on Sunday.A man allegedly assaulted a 20-year-old fellow passenger on a bus heading west between Toronto and Winnipeg. Witnesses said the passenger was stabbed in the chest, but police would not confirm a weapon was used...
METRO BUS * Australia - Rees unveils metro-style bus trial
Sydney,Australia -ABC Online- Sep 18, 2008: --There may be a question mark hanging overSydney's North-West Metrorail line, but a trial of a metro-style bus service for inner city suburbs is about to get underway...The Premier Nathan Reeshas announced a new service that will see buses drive alongParramatta Road from Leichhardt to the cityand out to the eastern suburbs viaAnzac Paradeevery 10 minutes during weekdays and every 15 minutes on the weekend...The new route takes in three universities and because of its frequency no timetables will be issued...(Picture by Caro Meldrum/ABC News Online: 'No timetables': The new metro-style bus service will run every 10 minutes on weekdays)
New York,NY,USA -The Gotham Gazette, by Graham T. Beck-September 2008: --On a recent Wednesday evening, Erin Brown waited for theFung Wah busto Bostonwith a dozen or so other people on a crowdedCanal Street sidewalk. "It's such a crush - the people, the vendors, the cars, narrow sidewalks, narrow streets. I don't know why they leave from here, but the price is right," she said...Brownis not alone in her sentiment. It often feels as though every inch of Chinatown is jam-packed. Cars clogs street from the Manhattan Bridge to the Holland Tunnel. Sidewalks overflow with tourists, workers and neighborhood residents. Stalls spill out from shops, and lately it seems that every few blocks there is a line of 20 or so people queuing up for an interstate bus...The buses are nothing new. Since 1998, companies like FungWah, using spaces reserved for tour buses or agreed upon spots in the neighborhood, have run curbside operations, picking up and dropping off passengers.The recent surge in travel costs, though, has made more outfits see the benefits of such a low-overhead way of doing business...The trip from New York to Boston on Amtrak is $89. By car, at $4 for a gallon of gas, the 220-mile drive costs somewhere about $30, without tolls. The Fung Wah or Lucky Star bus leaving fromCanal StreetorChrystie Streetrespectively is $15, and their upscale neighbor, the Bolt Bus, which departs from the sidewalk outside of Penn Station, is about $20 with a reserved seat and wireless internet.Given the economics, it's no surprise that the bus business is booming...With gas prices high, air fare exorbitant and the expense of Amtrak tickets, the curbside bus boom in Chinatown and elsewhere around the city seems likely to continue, pressing officials and bus operators to come up with ways to keep fares low and streets and sidewalks clear...(Photo by Naomi A.)
DANGEROUS BUSES * Australia - Swanston Street death: council knew of
Melbourne,Australia -The Age, by Reko Rennie -September 18, 2008: --The Melbourne City Council knew of the dangers of buses inSwanston Streetand planned to ban them from the largely pedestrian thoroughfare - but not until mid-2009...The revelation comes after a 33-year-old Parkville woman was killed when a bus collided with her bicycle near the corner ofSwanston and Bourke streetsthis morning...The woman died at the scene about 8am after she was struck by a Gray Line tourist bus...About 200 cyclists rallied near the corner tonight to pay their respects and to help other cyclists...Councillor Catherine Ng, the former chair of the council's planning and development committee, today told The Agethe counciladopted a plan in July last year to relocate buses fromSwanston Street to Bourke Street...(Photo by: Craig Abraham - The scene of this morning's accident on Swanston Street)
EXTORTION GANG * Philippines - Another Mindanao bus firm threatened by extortion gang
Another local bus company has been threatened by theal-Khobar gang, an extortion group blamed for the series of bomb attacks on bus firms operating in southern and central Mindanao regions
Digos City,Mindanao,Philippines -The Inquirer (Mindanao,PHIL), by Orlando Dinoy-18 Sept 2008: --... The police Senior Superintendent Cesario Darantinao, Davao del Sur police chief, declined to name the bus company "to avoid undue alarm among the riding public"... The gang, led by Salahuddin Hassan and Abdul Malik Salih, has been blamed for attacks against units ofthe Weena Bus Co., Yellow Bus Co.and Metro Shuttle, in which nearly two dozen people have died since 2006.Authorities said the al-Khobar, which is based in Central Mindanao, had demanded protection money from the transportation firms...Metro Shuttle, owned by the family of Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy, has repeatedly rejected the al-Khobar’s demand for about P50,000 per month... Darantinaosaid bus companies should order their drivers to stop picking up passengers from the roadside between points of destination...Darantinao urged the people to give information that could lead to the arrest of the al-Khobarmembers, for whom a total bounty of P1.7 million has been raised...
SCHOOL BUSES FARES * UK - End of free school buses?
Travel shake-up set to hit thousands of pupils
Doncaster,England,UK -The Doncaster Free Press, by Deborah Wain-18 September 2008: -- Thousands of schoolchildren and students could be stripped of their entitlement to free bus travel under new council proposals...The local education authority is suggesting four major changes to transport arrangements for helping youngsters get to their lessons which could be phased in from as early as next autumn. Council chiefs say current policies do not treat all young people equally - but they also stand to save a total of £621,702 a year by making the cutbacks...If approved, changes would: * End free transport to pupils and college students aged over 16. * Scrap free transport to faith schools. * Cut free travel for Stain-forth youngsters attending Hatfield Visual Arts College but living less than three miles from the school - help originally agreed to improve attendance.
STRIKE * Canada - Viva Bus Driver Strike Looms Monday In Toronto
Toronto,Ontario,Canada -AHN, by Vittorio Hernandez -September 17, 2008: --The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113warnedTorontocommuters of a pending bus strike Monday byViva driversover unpaid sick leaves...Talks between the powerful union, which leadthe Toronto Transit Commissionstrike in spring, and the bus management had dragged since April, promptingBob Kinnear, president of local 113, to push for a Monday strike to pressureViva to come out with a better deal for the transit firm's 200 drivers.Vivabus drivers are paid $20.75 an hour, which is $5 less compared to TTC drivers...Viva is operated byVeolia Transportation, a Paris-based firm that runs transit systems in different parts of the world.It won the contract to run the Toronto bus routes in 2005...
EFFICIENCY * New Zealand - Some delays but city buses arrive 98 per cent on time
Maitland,New Zealand -The Maitland Mercury, by MICHAEL MORRISSEY-17 Sept 2008: --Traffic problems, mechanical issues and the occasional driver oversleeping have all resulted in bus delays aroundMaitland but Hunter Valley Buses say they are on schedule 98 per cent of the time...The general manager of Hunter Valley Buses, Rodney Landersdisputed the allegations and told the Mercury their records said the bus did go through on time...Mr Landerssaid thatHunter Valley Busesrecorded any service that was more than five minutes late and reported tothe State Governmentevery month...He said that there were more issues on Thursdays and Fridays caused by the traffic congestion at the Maitland Park and hospital roundabouts... (Video from YouTube, by Beno201 - September 09, 2007: "Hunter Valley Buses (83) Leyland Leopard Part 3". Hunter Valley Buses, Thornton, Australia (83)m/o 3550 Leyland Leopard with 1976 Custom Coaches bodywork new to Clarkson's, Windsor)
Stacked Buses * USA - To Catch on, branch out in valley
A cost-effective solution, double-deckers treat riders to different view
Las Vegas,NV,USA -The Las Vegas Sun, by Joe Schoenmann-Sep 17, 2008: --An increasing number ofLas Vegas Valleyresidents are getting the chance to ride in the same style as tourists...The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevadais spreading its popular double-decker buses from the strict province of eye-catching tourist movers to legitimate suburban bus lines, making Las Vegasone of the first cities in the country to look at the high-rise vehicles as a way to move more people for less money...They also cost more than other buses inthe RTC’s fleet.But the “per-seat” cost is less or equal to the alternatives,Allison Huntly, RTC spokeswoman, said...Here are the numbers: A 60-foot articulated bus, which is akin to two buses joined accordionlike in the middle, has 55 seats and costs $650,000 — about $11,800 per seat. A standard bus has 36 seats and costs $334,000 — about $9,300 per seat...The double-decker costs $745,000 but has 81 seats, so that’s about $9,200 per seat... And riders seem to like them more than the other types of buses, for a variety of reasons...Cities across the country are also callingthe RTCto ask about the buses,Mark Wells, the RTC’s assistant general manager for transit said.“But we’re still the only one that has them in regular service in the United States”...(Photo: People board a “Deuce” double-decker bus Tuesday on Las Vegas Boulevard at Fremont Street. The buses also appear suburban routes)
NEW ROUTES * USA - Metro to add more buses, routes
Seattle,Wash,USA -KING 5 News, by LINDA BRILL-September 15, 2008: --Facing record ridership,King County Metro Transithas announced plans to add more buses and more routes...The improvements will reach from Seattle to North Bend and Kent...(KING - Two new routes in the county will provide service between Seattle and North Bend and Seattle and Kent)
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * USA - Schaumburg-based Motor Coach, files for Chapter 11
Busmaker cites costs, fall of dollar
Chicago,ILL,USA -The Chicago Tribune-September 16, 2008: -- Schaumburg-basedMotor Coach Industries International Inc., the biggest U.S. supplier of long-distance buses, filed for bankruptcy Monday, blaming falling demand, the rising cost of steel and the weak U.S. dollar... The company and six affiliates filed Chapter 11 paperwork in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., listing assets valued at as much as $1 billion and debts of as much as $765 million..."The company's financial performance continued to deteriorate during 2008 due to continued commodity price and exchange rate pressure," Chief Financial Officer J. Michael McIlwainsaid in court papers...
* USA - Extra revenue to fund free hybrid shuttle buses
City OKs parking tax raise
Baltimore,MD,USA -The Baltimore Sun, Annie Linskey -September 16, 2008: --The Baltimore City Councilvoted yesterday to increase the parking tax and use the expected $4.5 million in revenue to operate a fleet of shuttle buses to ferry people around downtown neighborhoods... Trips in the hybrid shuttles would be free to passengers, with pickups every 10 minutes along three routes.The service is expected to begin in July 2009.MayorSheila Dixon's administration proposed the legislation... The tax increase, which takes effect in December, will likely mean a 50-cent increase in the cost of daily parking, and a $5 to $6 rise in monthly parking costs, city officials estimate...
Pre-Trip Safety Information * USA - For Bus and Motorcoach Passengers
Washington,DC,USA -FMCSA (Press Release), by Lisha Dunlap /The Sun Herald -Sept 15. 2008: --The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, has developed outreach materials to assist bus and motorcoach companies in providing pre-trip safety information to their passengers...Bus and motorcoach companies are strongly encouraged to provide these or similar materials about emergency and safety features of their vehicles to passengers before every trip...For more information visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
GPS Tracking Solution * USA - For Fixed-Route Bus Systems
StreetEagle Bus from InSight USALaunches GPS
California,USA -PRWEB -September 15, 2008 --InSight USA, a leader in GPS fleet tracking announces the release ofStreetEagle Bus, an advanced solution engineered for real-time management of fixed-route bus systems using GPS technology...StreetEagle Bus provides innovative capabilities to significantly improve fleet efficiency, reduce operation costs, ensure passenger safety, provide riders with real-time bus locations, and facilitate seamless communications between dispatch and drivers...InSight USAis partnered withSolstice Transportation Group, an industry accredited company dedicated to optimization of passenger transportation bus services. Solstice Transportation'sflagship product, Fleet Tech Manager, provides "hands-free" reporting and analysis that allows fleet managers to directly reduce fleet operating costs and maximize fleet utilization...
Bus of Future * USA - Rolled out for first test drive
Berkeley,CAL,USA -The Mercury News/Contra Costa Times, by Denis Cuff-5 Sept 2008: --California's dream of using self-steering buses to fight traffic congestion made headway inSan Leandroon Friday whenUC Berkeleyresearchers conducted their first test on a public street of a bus guided by magnets...A driver removed his hands from the wheel of the moving bus on East 14th Street to signal that a computer had taken over, steering in response to cues from the tiny magnets, which were embedded in the pavement... With the driver controlling speed but not direction, the 60-foot-long bus cruised in a straight line until pulling over to a bus stop with uncanny accuracy — leaving a gap of only a half-inch between the bus and the curb... (Photo by Laura A. Oda/The Oakland Tribune - Researchers at California Partners for Advanced Transit(PATH) at UC Berkeley demonstrated a 60-foot AC Transit bus steered, not by a driver, but by a magnetic guidance system on E. 14th St. in San Leandro between 138th Ave. and 150th Ave. on Friday morning Sept. 5th, 2008. Reaearch Engineer, Han-Shue Tan, Ph.D. shows where the magnets are embedded in the road by rolling another magnet above the road in front of the bus)
Vehicle commission * USA - About 70 percent of state's fleet fail initial inspection
About 70 percent of the 23,000 school buses in the state fail their initial inspection.Parents can check school bus safety records online
Gannett,New Jersey,USA -The Daily Record, by LARRY HIGGS--September 14, 2008: --The good news for parents is: out of that 70 percent, 40 percent of those buses, which flunk for serious safety items, are immediately taken out of service bythe state Motor Vehicle Commission, saidspokeswoman Cathleen Lewis.Buses are inspected twice a year for 180 items, ranging from brakes to having band-aids in the first aid kit...The remaining 30 percent of buses that fail inspection are rejected for minor items, receive 30-day failure stickers and can be used to transport students at the discretion of the school or bus company.They must be reinspected in that 30-day period...Parents can review bus inspection records for their local school district or bus company on MVC's Web site, she said...
PUBLIC TRANSPORT * Turkey - The heyday of public transportation in İstanbul
İstanbul,Turkey -Sunday's Zaman, by İSMAİL KOCABIYIK-15 Sept 2008: --Istanbul residents have had to deal with heavy traffic day in and day out until recently, when new projects undertaken bythe İstanbul Municipality andthe İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT)were completed...Traffic jams are the biggest problem İstanbulites have had to deal with for years; however, the latest steps taken by theİstanbul Municipalityand the İETThave raised hopes that this problem is being solved... İstanbul's public transportation infrastructure has lagged behind.The city received its first light rail metro system in 1994, 123 years after the construction of the funicular between Tünel and Karaköy.The first subway opened in 2000, 129 years after Tünel.İstanbul focused on rail and sea transport to reduce highway congestion, efforts that are finally beginning to pay off.Public buses are being modernized and metrobuses have been introduced. The metrobus is a new transportation mode that integrates with the underground metro and regular city buses. It has on a dedicated lane on the E-5 highway and is therefore immune from traffic congestion...(Photo: Commuters on public transport are not affected by heavy traffic during rush hour; however, drivers of personal cars are stuck in the middle of a traffic jam)=
RACISM * South Africa - Indian bus owners claim racist bid to shut them down
Durban Indian bus owners say they are being forced out of business by rivals.Vehicles have been torched and operators threatened
Durban,South Africa -The Times (Johannesburg,Gauteng,South Africa), by Narissa Subramoney-Sep 13, 2008: -- ... Last week, a transport operator had two buses torched inNewlands West, while another owner reported that his bus was set alight inCato Manortwo weeks ago...Speaking to the Sunday Times Extra this week, a group of 11 operators fromTongaat, Phoenix and Newlands Westsaid they had been victimised and intimidated to close their business...Chan Rumnundan, owner of Mona Lisa Bus Services in Tongaat, said he lost five buses in June.He said he had received anonymous phone threats to stop operating his remaining four buses. “The threats were very specific. They told me they don’t want Indian buses in black areas, and if I didn’t stop, they would burn the rest of the buses”...Another bus owner,Satish Dipchund of Siyabonga Coachlines, lost his entire fleet of seven buses last year.Before the buses were set alight,Dipchundsaid taxis blocked the road and started removing passengers and forcing them into the taxis...He said his decision to stop operating sparked a public outcry from the community, who called for the return of the buses. Soon afterwards, he lost his entire fleet...Bus owners claim the threats are racially motivated...Bala Reddy of Flaming Rock Expresssaid his buses were damaged and stoned. As a result, he withdrew three buses from the route...
OPINION * India - MTC’s cosmetic changes ignore real passenger demands
Chennai,India -Straphangers United -13 Sept 2008: --Chennai’s Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC)has announced cosmetic changes to its operations, when so much more was expected from it to improve the efficiency and reliability of its monopoly bus service...But even more fundamental is the need forthe MTC to introduce more services, together with a campaign to popularise the daily, weekly and monthly travel passes (travel cards).At present,the MTCdoes not issue these passes widely, and restricts them to a few depots, that too during the first half of the month, and again, during specified hours of the day.All this constitutes a major disincentive for passengers to use the bus system. It also does not help reduce congestion on the roads, which is growing worse by the day...(Picture: There are very few Volvo buses being operated in Chennai. Until such comfortable buses become mainstream, congestion cannot be reduced)
Bath,England,UK -The Chichester Today -13 Sept 2008: --Bus passengers in the Horsham have been affected by a strike today (Friday September 12) as drivers announced action in a row over pay...Metrobus drivers based atCrawleydepot are striking for 24 hours from 3am today – leaving commuters, pupils, shoppers and hospital visitors without vital transport... The industrial action is affecting services linking Horsham with Southwater, Ashington, Worthing, Haywards Heath, Crawley and Gatwick... Several drivers have turned, though, and there is a limited service running... The walkout is part of wider action among operators providing Transport for London services.Bus drivers argue they should be paid the same as other services working in the capital...
High Fuel Prices * USA - Equal more bus passengers
Rexburg,ID,USA -The Rexburg Standard Journal-September 12, 2008: --Public transportation options have been in higher demand with rises in fuel costs over the past year...Although local transportation is very much linked to the private automobile, traveling by bus is an alternative that managers in the business say is on the rise... Terri Romriell, the Rexburg manager for Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority, said local ridership has gone up about 25 percent over the past year...
BUSES PURCHASE * USA - DOTS looks to buy hybrid buses
College Park,MD,USA -Diamond Back On Line, by Jeanette Der Bedrosian -12 Sept 2008: --The Campus Transportation Advisory Committee unanimously voted Wednesday to raise student fees about $15 over the course of two years to fund the purchase of eight hybrid buses,DOTS officials said... The hybrid buses would be the first of their kind at the university, a purchaseDepartment of Transportation Services Director David Allensaidmay cost more but will help the university use 30 percent less gas and leave a 30-percent smaller carbon footprint than the campus' current buses. A regular diesel bus costs about $360,000,Allensaid, but a hybrid runs much more expensive - costing about $585,000 and taking more than a year to be delivered.The roughly $200,000 price difference would not be completely made up for by a decrease in gas use,thoughAllenestimated each hybrid bus would save the university $10,000 a year in fuel costs...
SCHOOL BUSES * UK - Yellow ones backed for Britain
Britain's children should use yellow school buses to get to and from school...
London,UK -in the news -12 Sep 2008: --... an independent report tells the government today...An independent review of school transport chaired byformer home secretary David Blunkettmakes the conclusion after a year of investigating the potential for yellow school buses... It says the number of children travelling to school by car has doubled in the last 20 years, creating local traffic congestion and unnecessarily heightening car use during the school run...Rolling out yellow buses would "offer children and parents a safe and attractive option for commuting to and from school",the Yellow School Bus Commission'sreportsays...Mr Blunkettsaid both local and central government could move forward on his recommendations immediately...
Small Changes To Transport Systems * USA - Could Mean Big Benefits For Older People
USA -ScienceDaily -Sep. 11, 2008: --A new study has pinpointed how simple, low-cost measures could revolutionise older people's ability to use transport systems effectively, safely and with confidence...Researchers atthe University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan Universitybelieve the measures they have identified could eliminate many of the day-to-day problems that currently deter older people from using public transport and the pavements and roads in their locality... Examples of potential measures include: - Provision of road crossings at a greater number of wide or busy junctions. - Provision of road crossings that allow pedestrians a longer time to cross. - Designing bus interiors to ensure secure handholds are provided in the wheelchair and buggy storage area, through which passengers boarding the bus have to pass. - Designing bus stops to ensure people sitting down inside them can easily see when their bus is coming, without repeatedly having to get up and down to check. - Introducing a system of accredited standards for taxi companies, to reassure older people that they will only be taken to their destination via the most direct route (Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - Seeing transport through different eyes: a researcher accompanies an older person on a walk-round in the Leeds area)
New service technology start-upTranspothas developed an interactive screen that tells passengers on buses when they need to get off - and on
Tel Aviv,Israel -Globes, by Gali Weinreb -11 Sep 2008: --Using public transport in Israel is enough to make anyone think wistfully of the services they have overseas.At best, you may find yourself sitting on the bench at a bus stop, under the relentless glare of the blazing sun through what was once a roof.At worst, you can find yourself waiting anxiously next to the bus stop itself for fear that the bus will go straight past you without stopping.There may be map on the side of the shelter that is out of date, or perhaps just a crumbling sign, and after standing for half an hour with no bus in sight, your patience wears thin...Readers of "Globes", some of whom may have long since forgotten what it's like to find oneself in such a predicament, will undoubtedly be familiar with public transport overseas, especially the underground train services where there are announcements giving the exact time of arrival of the next train.How reassuring it is to know exactly when the train or bus you're waiting for is due to arrive; what a pleasure it is to know that it will definitely stop at the station you’re waiting at, that both the station and the bus or train have air conditioning, and that the public announcement system will let you what the next stop is and how far you are from your destination...
Transport Policy * New Zealand - Bus companies attack takeover by regulators
Aucklandtransport regulators insist passengers will enjoy better services under legislation which the region's main bus operator warns may see investment drying up
Auckland,N.Z. -The New Zealand Herald, by Mathew Dearnaley-Sep 12, 2008: -- The Auckland Regional Transport Authoritysays it will move fast to take control of both commercial and subsidised bus and ferry operations, afterParliamentpassed the Public Transport Management Actunder urgency yesterday...Authority customer services chiefMark Lambertsaidfrom Melbournelast night that this would provide better use of the $93 million of public subsidies whichAuckland Regional Council and the Governmenthave budgeted for bus services in the region this financial year...But NZ Bus, which has taken over the former Stagecoach fleets in bothAuckland andWellington, says businesses will become less willing to invest in public transport because the legislation will allow the authority - or regional councils in other centres - to do away with commercial services and take "unfettered" control...Transport Minister Annette King told the Herald the law would prevent private operators from "cherry-picking" the best routes and leaving gaps in services elsewhere.
A pleasant voice will soon greet passengers boardingMetropolitan Transport Corporationbuses across the city
Chennai,India -The Hindu-12 Sept 2008: --...The MTChas introduced the announcement service on a trial basis in deluxe services on21G routeand it would be extended to other buses in phases... The recorded announcements, to be made on speakers fitted in the buses, would inform the passengers of the coming stops and their names when the bus halts.The service would be backed by Global Positioning System (GPS) technology... The vehicles would also have the respective route maps displayed...(Photo by V.GANESAN - MILESTONE: A spanking new MTC bus on 21G route with speakers and a route map)
Old Trolley Bus Fleet * Canada - Last stop Argentina, for Vancouver's ones
Vancouver,BC,Canada -The Vancouver Sun, by Kelly Sinoski-September 11, 2008: --They're too old and not accessible enough to serve the people ofMetro Vancouver, but 80 retired trolley buses are being welcomed by a city in Argentina... TransLinkhas struck a deal withMendoza to sell the 25-year-oldNew Flyer Industries buses for $2,300 each plus shipping costs...TransLinkrepresentativeDrew SnidersaidifTransLink had turned the buses to the wreckers for scrap, it would have received just $1,600 per bus, minus $600 each for decommissioning...The buses are the only ones left of a fleet of 244 that joined the bus system in the early 1980s. The others were retired from service some time ago, with most of them turned into scrap...(Photo from the last ride of the last Flyer trolley bus in April, 2008. Angus McIntyre wore his vintage BC Hydro uniform when this bus was retired in April. It will stay in Vancouver as part of the Transit Museum Society collection, but 80 of its 'stable-mates' are off to new lives in Argentina.Photograph by : Handout - Translink)
BUSES' PURCHASE PROSPECTS * India - GSRTC to run 1,000 more buses
Gandhinagar,Gujarat,India -The Times of India -11 Sep 2008: --Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC)has decided to start air-conditioned buses and sleeper coaches for major pilgrim centres of the state, particularlyAmbaji, Dwarka, Somnath andPavagadh...A well-placed official in the state transport department told TOI thatGSRTC'sair conditioned and sleeper coaches will run on longer routes, particularly for religious tourists coming from outside the state... "We have decided to buy 1,000 buses this year by December this year for Rs 155-crore and replace old buses. Of these, 50 will be sleeper coaches and 20 air-conditioned buses.Also, 150 will be semi-luxury buses and another 150 mini-buses to be run only in tribal areas, where passenger traffic is low"...Of the 1,000 buses, 460 will run on compressed natural gas (CNG).The official said...
The wheels on the bus * USA - City goes round and round on idea of public transit system
Manhattan,KS,USA -The Manhattan Mercury, by Bill Felber-11 Sept 2008: --City officials agreed on some preliminary steps Tuesday that could lead to the eventual transformation ofthe ATA busservice into a scheduled mass transportation agency...At a work session Tuesday afternoon, commissioners agreed to begin the process of seeking state and federal funds for such an expansion.Anne Smith, director of the bus service,invited that pursuit, saying ATA buswas ready and willing to fill a broader transportation role...The system began years ago as a service for the aging and infirm, providing scheduled pickups and deliveries for those who could not drive. In recent years, however, it has expanded to the point whereSmithsaidthat last year about one-quarter of its riders were from the general public...(Photo by David Mayes - K-State students get off the ATA bus near the K-State Union Wednesday morning. The bus runs a regular route between the union and Campus Crossing Apartment complex)