In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry
Bus Safety * Germany - All-Round Safety
Travego with Active Brake Assist and Front Collision Guard...
Stuttgart,Germany -Mercedes Benz blogspot-Nov 25, 2008: -- Katrin Breitrück, Aerospace Engineering at the University of Stuttgart,now works as an engineer at Daimler Research and Advanced Engineering, where she headsthe Active Brake Assist project. Thanks to the emergency braking system, bus travel could become even safer...Active Brake Assist’spremiere at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover, Germany, in the fall of 2008 made Mercedes-Benz the world’s first manufacturer to introduce a proactive emergency braking system for buses...Driving presentations with the brand’s Travego model have shown howActive Brake Assist helps prevent rear-end collisions, thereby saving lives...(Photo: Travego Bus)
Rider on the Storm * USA - The Best and Worst of L.A. Buses, Subways and Light Rail
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -LA Weekly, by Steven Leigh Morris -November 25, 2008: --... Let me count the ways: clean, efficient light rail linkingManhattan Beachto Norwalk(other lines roll into downtown from Sierra MadreandLong Beach); dedicated bus lanes that swoop eastbound, from downtown intothe San Gabriel Valley, southbound to San Pedroand, fromNorth Hollywood, westbound into the sunset across theSan Fernando Valley...Express and Rapid busesfeature limited stops on our most traveled major roadways, allowing them to sweep past the “milk-train” local buses that serve the same routes. A single fare for any MTA busor train ride runs $1.25. InNew York, the equivalent fare is $2... The bad news is that the connections between theMTA’smajor routes will take you efficiently and swiftly in the range of where you need to be, but you can then spend just as much time completing the final leg of your journey.Local-run buses are overcrowded and infrequent, andDepartment of Transportationshuttle service is paltry.TheEastsideandSouth Los Angelesare woefully underserved, while theWestside, with no train service at all, is so gridlocked that even theRapidbuses crawl along with millions of car drivers, eradicating the very point of limited stops. Poor connections also undo the benefits of the Rapid bus service...(Photo: Scenic journeys to hell, on wheels)
Report * USA - Metro bus operating costs too high, strategy outdated
King County Metro Transitis hindered by high operating expenses and an outmoded service strategy, asserts aMunicipal League of King Countyreport issued today
Seattle,WASH,USA -The Seattle Times, by Mike Lindblom-25 Nov 2008: --The findings are meant to provoke public debate, asCounty Council members try to pullMetro from a deep budget hole to prevent cuts in future bus rapid-transit service they promised to voters...The review, bythe Municipal League of King County, calls for a "back-to-basics" approach to fit the weak economy. "As a community, we cannot afford to accept declining service, excessive costs and political definitions of equity," the report says...Metroprovides 400,000 rides per weekday, a 7 percent from last year, and the report says "customer satisfaction is generally high"... The agency also has a "well-earned reputation for being an innovative leader in the transit industry" by providing hybrid buses, bike racks, van pools, and employer-sponsored passes,the Muni Leaguesays...But operating costs last year averaged $4.10 per trip, or 38 percent above the national average, as of 2005, the report said. Factors include Seattle's high living costs, automatic pay boosts in union contracts, articulated buses, park-and-ride lots, and a downtown tunnel...
HYBRID BUSES * USA - University hybrid shuttle bus offers an alternative to diesel-fueled buses
Bowling Green,OH,USA -The Bowling Green News, by Steve Kunkler-25 Nov 2008: --The technology department andNASA teamed to create a bus that is more environmentally friendly than traditional vehicles.The Electric Vehicle Institute, part of the technology department, andNASAhave been working on alternative energies for over a decade. The result of their work can be seen driving around campus. The hybrid shuttle used by the Universitywas the result of several people working together to find an alternative to traditional gas and diesel-powered buses... Among the key components of the hybrid shuttle is the Hybrid Booster Drive.The Hybrid Booster Driveis a system that complements the existing propulsion in vehicles that have the system installed.The system has four separate component modules, which are trademarked bythe University covering how the system works...(Media Credit: BGSU Office of Marketing and Communication - Hybrid bus: The hybrid shuttle bus is a result of a collaboration between the University's Electric Vehicle Department and NASA. The mileage for the hybrid shuttle bus gets ten miles per gallon as opposed to the eight miles per gallon for the other BGSU shuttle buses)
Overloading Buses? * Tanzania - Not in the vocabulary of commuter bus services
Dar es Salaam,United Republic of Tanzania -IPPmedia, by JOSEPHINE CHINELE-24 Nov 2008: --Commuter buses inDar es Salaamand other urban areas inTanzaniaare almost always overloaded and this has come to pass as the rule. However inKenya, Uganda and Malawi, commuter buses do not only overload, but passengers have to fasten their seat belts... It is 5 O’clock in the evening and you are heading to Kariakoo to catch a bus home. You know exactly what awaits you at the bus stop. Getting a bus is always a struggle at this time of the day...As usual, there is a big crowd of commuters fighting to enter the few `Dala dalas` (commuter buses) that seem to be taking ages to arrive at the bus stop. `Dala dalas` become hot cakes during peak hours.That is when the law of the jungle applies.Survival is only for the fittest as only those who are strong and agile can boss a bus let alone secure a seat...
Women armed on the bus * Egypt - With pins to ward off molesters
Groping on packed minibuses, whistles, penetrating stares, winking, and busy hands are very common inEgypt
Cairo,Egypt -Al Ahram Hebdo/ANSAmed (Rome,Italy)-November 23, 2008: --A pin to ward off "the groping" of molesters who on public transportation inCairoare bothering young Egyptian women... Veils, separate cars on the underground, and reserved or occupied spaces for females on buses are not able to reduce the number of sexual molestations against them... For this reason, many girls by now are getting on the bus, 'armed' with large pins... Many studies, wrote Egyptian weekly, Al Ahram Hebdo, have highlighted that in Egypt, more than 50% of cases of sexual attacks take place on public transport... In comparison to other European studies - explainedRacha Mohamad, researcher in the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights - it has emerged that in Europe, these abuses usually occur at work or in closed places"...
Khaleej,Dubai --MENAFN/Khaleej Times (Amman,Jordan)-23 Nov 2008: --The Board of Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)has approved a Dh8.6-billion deal to purchase 1,616 highly sophisticated buses from five suppliers... Claiming it to be the biggest bus purchase deal ever made worldwide,CEO of the Public Transport Agency of the authorityEssa Abdul Rahman Al Dosari said the number of buses operating in Dubai would increase to 2,500 when these buses arrive in 2009, enabling the widest possible geographical coverage of the emirate...The new buses would be roomy, comfortable, sturdy and safe. They would include standard buses, double-deckers and articulated buses of various sizes and designs, but all fitted with the highest safety and security features. The onboard features would include announcement of next stop, statistics about passengers, a global positioning system (GPS) to track buses by the RTA control centre, and internal and external display monitors.They would be fitted with highly technological engines (Euro IV) compatible with the highest environmental standard, I-shift (automated mechanical) transmission system and electronic stability programme (ESP) vehicle braking system, providing a comfortable and safe travel for passengers and a fuel-efficient process...
DIRTY BUSES * USA - Brooklyn buses house rush hour roaches
Some Brooklyn buses are roach coaches with creepy crawlies joining riders - and one driver had a run-in with a rat
New York,NY,USA -The Daily News Brooklyn, by BRENDAN BROSH, MIKE JACCARINO & PETE DONOHUE -November 21, 2008: --... Drivers and riders said they're bugged out about conditions on the big rigs pulling out ofthe East New York depotand urgedNYC Transit, which is planning a fare hike next summer, to do something...She said she had completed a run and was about to turn around and start picking up passengers in the opposite direction when the cat-sized vermin charged...(Photo: Egan-Chin/News: Susanne Jeffery talks about seeing roaches on buses)
RAPID TRANSIT BUSES * USA - As gas prices plunge, DART ridership shows signs of a slowdown
Plano,TX,USA -The Dallas Morning News, by THEODORE KIM-November 22, 2008: --Gone are the columns of illegally parked cars nearDallas Area Rapid Transit stations, the teeming rail platforms and the sardine-can train cars at dawn... With gasoline prices dropping below $2 per gallon in places, some bus and train commuters who forsook their automobiles during the summer appear to have returned to the road...To be sure, many who switched are still riding. Passengers continue to flock to buses and rail in record numbers nationwide, adding to full trains and park-and-ride lots fromSeattletoSouth Florida, transit officials say... AndDART’s board of directorsnext month is expected to earmark more than $3 million to build additional parking at rail stations in Plano and Richardson...
* Rail-like bus service proposed atAC Transit
Walnut Creek,CA,USA -The Contra Costa Times, by Denis Cuff-21 Nov 2008: --Call it a bus service that acts like a railway: spacious vehicles arriving every four or five minutes to zip riders along on lanes reserved exclusively for them... The payoff: more riders, less smog and global warming gases, and an overhaul of the image of public transit buses, from slow and creaky to speedy and cool...The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District is rolling toward key decisions in the next two years on its plan to build a $234 million bus rapid transit system along a 17-mile route to connect downtown Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro...But bus rapid transit, known as BRT for short, still faces hurdles as the board gears up to make final decisions on the project and its precise route in 2010...(Photo Courtesy AC Transit - This artist's rendition provided by AC Transit shows how bus rapid transit would function. Buses would run on bus-only lanes in the center of the street. Passengers would buy tickets from self-service machines on raised platforms for quick loading of buses)
BUSMAKERS' NEWS * USA - San Francisco firm repairing Port Authority buses
Pittsburgh,PA,USA -The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -November 22, 2008: --A San Franciscocompany is repairingPort Authority of Allegheny Countybusesthat are "drooping" because of a structural problem... Gillig Corp.is fixing a corrosion problem discovered in some of the buses the PortAuthority bought from the company in 2003-04... The corrosion was found where two parts of the buses' frames connected. The problem caused the back of some buses to sit lower than the front... The repairs will not cost the Port Authority money because the problem is covered by a warranty, spokeswoman Judi McNeilsaid. The problem did not make the buses unsafe, and the repairs will not hinder service, she said... (Photo: A Gillig's Low Floor Bus)
* India -Chinese automaker to build cars, buses here
Kolkata,India -The Economic Times, by Sutanuka Ghosal -23 Nov 2008: --Chinese auto majorFirst Automobile Works (FAW) Group, which has evinced an interest to set up a manufacturing base inWest Bengal, is now scouting for land inMaharashtra and Tamil Nadu...FAW Group plans to manufacture passenger cars priced at Rs 1.6 lakh and 80-seater buses inIndia, saidJK Saraf, chairman of Ural India, which has entered into a pact with FAW Groupfor setting up an automobile plant in the country...
Magnetic-guided Buses * USA - No hands: Buses guided by magnets
2-year test will determine if public transportation can move faster with magnetic technology
Orange County,CAL,USA -The Orange County Register, by ERIC CARPENTER-November 14, 2008: --Public buses guided by magnets. No need for the driver to steer. Sound like a sci-fi movie?... It's already been demonstrated inNorthern California and will become a reality along two bus routes – in the San Francisco Bay Area– whenCaltransbegins a pilot program in January, agency officials said. Oregon is also participating in the testing program...No word yet on when magnetic-guided buses might come toOrange County. JoelZlotnik, an Orange County Transportation Authority spokesman, said his agency, which runs the county's public-bus system, currently has no plans to utilize the technology... OCTA Chairman Chris Norbysaid he's heard about the magnetic technology and will be interested to gauge the success of Caltrans' pilot program...
And the award for the slowest bus inNew Yorkgoes to …the M96
New York,NY,USA -The New York Times, by William Neuman -13 Nov 2008: --The crosstown route on 96th Street, which goes from First Avenue to West End Avenue, was clocked at 3.7 miles an hour, measured in the early afternoon on a weekday, according to two transit advocacy groups,the Straphangers CampaignandTransportation Alternatives. That qualified the route for the groups’ annual Pokey Award for the slowest bus route in the city... The groups pointed out in a news release thatthe M96 moved only slightly faster than the speed that an average person walks: 3 m.p.h.And it was slower, the groups said, than a running chicken, which they claimed can reach velocities in the range of 9 m.p.h...The Pokey Awardis represented by an imaginary statuette in the form of a golden snail...The groups also gave an award they call the Schleppie, for the least reliable bus route, measured by the percentage of buses that arrive in bunches or with large gaps in service. The winners were the M101, M102 and M103, a series of routes that overlap on Third and Lexington Avenues (the M101 extends along Amsterdam Avenue, the M102 along Lenox Avenue and the M103 on the Bowery)...(Photo: G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times - The M96 bus, which travels crosstown along 96th Street, was rated the city’s slowest bus route, clocking in at 3.7 miles per hour)
BUSES PURCHASE PROSPECTS * USA - DART to decide on buying natural gas or diesel bus fleet
Dallas,TX,USA -The Dallas Morning News, by MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER -November 11, 2008: --DARTis poised to spend at least $219 million on a new fleet of 537 buses, but board members remain sharply divided over whether to buy buses fueled by compressed natural gas or by diesel...At a committee meeting Tuesday, members refused to pass the issue on to the full board, as requested byDART ChairmanRandall Chrisman of Carrollton. Instead, several members of the DART board operations committee said they wanted a special meeting next week to hear answers from staff members who have championed the diesel technology...
BUS DRIVER'S STORY * UK - Stagecoach founder back working on buses to cover for striking workers
The multi-millionaire founder of theStagecoach Groupwas back on the buses when he worked as a driver to cover for striking workers
Scotland,UK -The Telegraph, by Auslan Cramb-11 Nov 2008: -- Brian Souter, one of Scotland's richest men and the co-founder of the company with his sisterAnn Gloag, took the wheel of a No 59 bus inAberdeenin a bid to combat the industrial action...He picked up customers - most of whom had no idea who he was - in the rundown Northfield area of the city while working a full shift from 7am to 4pm...A spokesman for Stagecoachsaid the chief executive, who is renowned for his dressed-down style, was in the habit of working a driver's shift every year, adding:"It can be anywhere on our UK bus operation"...Last year he put in a shift on a route in Dundee...According to the Sunday Times "rich list",Mr Souter, 54, and his sister are the sixth richest individuals in Scotland with a joint fortune estimated at £720 million.His shift yesterday would have earned a Stagecoach driver around £65...His father was a bus driver in Perth and, although he trained as a chartered accountant, funding his studies while working as a bus conductor, he has held a bus driver's licence since launching the company with two second buses in 1980...(Photo: Brian Sputer)
BTB Party Bus * USA - Gets a move on using vegetable oil
The BTB Party Buswas born
Ann Arbor,MI,USA -MLive.com/The Ann Arbor News, by Donn Fresard -November 11, 2008: --The shuttle is outfitted with comfortable seats, a powerful sound system and blue Christmas lights lining the ceiling.Initial plans called for a loop around downtown, but that was quickly nixed in favor of a more cab-like operation. Customers can call the driver to arrange a pickup, or flag down the distinctive red shuttle bus on the street. A ride within the near-campus area costs $2, or you can pay $3 to $4 to go further from downtown. Unlike a normal cab, though, the BTB bus will pick up other riders on the way to your destination, and likely will go out of your way to drop others off. (It can also be rented out, limo-style, for a couple of hours or a whole night.) ... "It minimizes the carbon footprint, and at the same time it gets us home super cheap," Sam Langberg, 22, a recent U-M alumnus, said. "What's not to like?" ...Early feedback has been so encouraging, BTB's transportation arm already is eyeing expansion...Lowenstein said if there's enough demand, they will convert a second bus (a $4,000 process) to work in tandem with the first. The owners also are looking into buying another vehicle - perhaps a cab running on natural gas - to handle excess demand during peak hours...(Photo by Eliyahu Gurfinkel The Ann Arbor News - From left, U-M freshmen Zach Kadden and Austyn Weiner and their friend Gal Geri, who was visiting from Florida, get off the BTB Party Bus on North Ingalls Street in Ann Arbor on Friday evening)
BRTs' WORLDWIDE * Singapore - Special lane has improved bus speeds
Given space constraints in land-scarce Singapore, we need to balance the need for road space by different stakeholders, such as bus commuters and motorists, so limited road space is used as efficiently as possible
Singapore -The Straits Times/AsiaOne, by Geoffrey Lim, Deputy Director, Media Relations,Land Transport Authority-Nov 12, 2008: --... To ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet the increasing needs of road users, LTA completed the upgrading ofUpper Bukit Timah Roadsince late 2005. A vehicular underpass and a flyover atJalan Anak Bukitwere constructed and the entire stretch ofUpper Bukit Timah Roadwidened from two to three lanes... A car on average carries 1.5 people. A single-deck bus can carry 80 passengers. As road space is limited, we need to make a decisive shift towards public transport to meet travel needs...To do this, we need to increase the attractiveness of public transport, and bus lanes help to increase the speed and reliability of bus services for commuters... Along the 5km stretch of Upper Bukit Timah Road, more than 60 buses ply hourly during morning peak hours.Based on our preliminary traffic monitoring, bus speeds along the stretch have improved by 6 per cent, while traffic in the remaining two lanes continues to be optimal - travelling at 23 kmh (which is within the optimal speed range of 20 to 30kmh) during morning bus lane hours from 7.30am to 9.30am. We will continue to monitor the situation closely...More road users thus benefit from the overall improvements in reliability and speeds through the implementation of bus lanes...
* Nigeria -Despite BRT, commuters suffer and smile in public buses
Lagos,Nigeria -The Punch, by John Ameh-13 Nov 2008: --Just when Nigerians started thinking that theAbami Eda, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, evergreen track,Shuffering and Shmiling is losing its steam, a vintage forty-four sitting, ninety-nine standing molue situation surfaces in the nation’s capital, Abuja...The forlorn look on the commuters’ faces and the thick sweat dripping down their bodies seem to summarise their story- it‘s not a jolly good ride!The number standing, stamping at each other‘s feet and clutching the aluminum rail attached to the vehicle‘s roof, far outweighs the number sitting...On their way to the city centre daily, they face this accustomed experience, which is regularly replayed during the scary evening ”rush hour"... That is what most commuters (civil servants, private sector workers, traders, artisans and others) using the Abuja Urban Mass Transport buses face in their daily struggles to place food on their tables...(Photo: Passengers inside a crowded Abuja Urban Mass Transport)
BUS' PRODUCTS * USA - First Sales Order Received From Ecuador for NavStar Technologies, Inc. GPS Fleet Management System
Fixed Equipment S.A. Ecuador, Provides Sales Order Toward the 15,000 Units Announced Last Month
Anaheim,CA,USA -MarketWatch -Nov 12, 2008: --NavStar Technologies Inc., announces the first sale for 4,033 from Fixed Equipment S.A. (distribution partner in Ecuador) to satisfy the 15,000 units for the Ecuador Government Transportation Agency...The agreement with Fixed Equipment S.A. and the government of Ecuador will generate $4.5 to $6.0M of hardware and services revenue for NavStar Technologies, Inc. in 2009...As previously reported, NavStar Technologies, Inc. has been selected to provide asset tracking equipment in support of the public transportation system in Ecuador and will partner with Fixed Equipment S.A. to provide equipment, software and related services.The NavStar Fleet Management System will allow the Public Transportation System in Ecuador to track assets, provide roadside assistance, increase security, and provide data to manage their fleet more efficiently... (Photo: NavStar's Fleet Management hardware)
* Sweden -Volvo Job Cuts Include 100 In N. America - Truck And Busmaker's Powertrain Units To Shed 1,000 Workers Worldwide
Stockholm,Sweden -AP/CBS News (USA) -Nov. 11, 2008: -- Swedish truck and bus maker Volvo AB says it will lay off 1,000 staff at its powertrain unit in Sweden and North America...Volvo spokesmanMorten Wikforssaid Tuesday a large number of consultants and others on temporary contracts will also receive notices...The Volvo grouphas previously announced layoffs of 1,400 workers at truck plants inBelgiumandSwedenand 1,350 workers at its construction unit... It has more than 100,000 employees worldwide, including its subsidiaries Renault Trucks, Mack TrucksandNissan Diesel...(AP Photo/Chris Gardner - A row of Volvo diesel truck engines, supported by chains, moves along an assembly line at the company's Hagerstown, Md. plant in this 2006 file photo)
Hybrid Double Decker Buses * UK - Rolling Out In London
London,UK -Green Car, by Noel Kuhlman-11 Nov, 2008: --A few of London’s iconic double-decker buses are going to get a green treatment soon. Fitted withBAE’sdiesel-electric hybrid powertrains, the new buses will be sporting a green leaf insignia across its familiar red paint exterior... Having already seen successful adoption in North American public transportation system, over 1500 of similarly-rigged buses are already plying their routes in New York, San Francisco, Houston, Toronto, and Ottawa... The HybriDrive propulsion systemuses a generator, lithium ion battery, electric motor and a regenerative braking system to power the buses.A computerized propulsion control system manages power delivery to the electric drive. The electric motor on the new London units will be about half the size of those currently used in North American buses...According toBAE, the 1500 bus units they currently have rolled out has already saved over five million gallons of diesel and over 50,000 tons of carbon emissions. The first 17 evaluation units will be used by transport operators Metrobus and Transport For London...
TAXS * USA - RTA endorses sales tax plan for trains, buses
Milwaukee,WI,USA -The Milwaukee Small Business Times -November 10, 2008: --The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Boardtoday approved a recommendation for a sales tax of up to 0.5 percent inMilwaukee County, Kenosha County and eastern Racine County to pay for theKenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM)commuter rail service and local bus services...The RTA board'svote comes less than a week afterMilwaukee County voters approved an advisory referendum to raise the county sales tax by 1 percent and shift the burden of funding for parks, recreation, culture programs, transit services and public safety from the property tax rolls... The RTA'srecommendation will now be sent toGov. Jim Doyle and the state Legislature, which would have to approve any sales tax increase...
STRIKE * UK - School buses set to be hit by strike
Edinburgh,Scotland,UK - The Scotsman-11 November 2008: --School bus services for more than 4,000 school pupils across Aberdeenshireare expected to be affected today by a strike involvingStagecoach Bluebird driversin the North-east and the Highlands...Drivers employed by theAberdeen-based company are due to walk out in the first in a series of one-day stoppages after rejecting a pay rise of almost 10 per cent over two years.Further one-day strikes are planned for 21 and 24 November...
BUSES BOOM & BOTTOM FUNDS * USA - Public transit Catch-22
More turn to trains and buses even as officials struggle with funding
PRINCETON, N.J.,USA -MarketWatch, by Stephanie I. Cohen -Nov. 10, 2008: --Higher fuel prices over the past two years combined with household fiscal concerns are leading record numbers of Americans to ditch their cars and hop on trains, subways and buses each day, a pattern that if sustained would help the U.S. to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions... But transit agencies are facing a classic Catch-22: Just as public transit is seeing record-breaking levels of users and more cars sitting in the suburbs, state and local governments are struggling to find dollars for transit improvements and expansions needed to bring more riders onboard...
DISCRIMINATION * UK - Calls for change to rural bus services
Middlesbrough,UK -GazetteLive/Evening Gazette, by John Sutton -Nov 11 2008: --Mums and disabled people have called for changes in rural bus services, claiming they are being left stranded in their community...New mother Vicki Upton, 30, was looking forward to spending her maternity leave relaxing with friends and family after having baby Jules...But Vicki, an assistant manager at a medical practice, is stuck in Skelton because the buses serving her local area are often incompatible with prams and pushchairs. And many people in wheelchairs say they cannot be guaranteed suitable access to buses...Martin Shier, area manager for Arriva North East, said “Unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to guarantee low floor vehicles on all of our services, including some of those in East Cleveland. I can only apologise for any inconvenience caused on this occasion”...
Buses Boom * Australia - Patrons leave their cars behind
Melbourne,Victoria,Australia -The Age, by Clay Lucas -November 12, 2008: --Buses, long the poor cousin in Melbourne's transport network, are booming, with new figures showing a 12% jump in patronage in the past year — the biggest increase in the city's history...Eight million trips a month are now made on buses in Melbourne, up from 7 million trips a month last year...The bus industry data, out today, shows that only 20% of Melbourne's population are within 400 metres of a train or tram... The rest must rely on buses — most of which have an average peak-hour frequency of 35 to 40 minutes — if they want to use public transport...The Bus Association of Victoria wants the Brumby Government, in a transport statement it will release next month, to pour money into new bus routes around Melbourne, particularly to growth suburbs and industrial areas... Bus Association spokesmanChris Loadersaidthere was ample evidence that drivers were leaving their cars at home because of rising petrol prices, and because of better frequencies on some bus routes...(Video from YouTube, by nic03, - June 19, 2006: "A Melbourne City Bus Adventure" - I got lost...so I took video. You will see a typical Melbourne town, roundabouts!, Aussie cars, and typical Melbourne homes. They all have fenced in front yards and some people park their cars on their front lawns. I know, it's interesting. )
“Work while you travel” * China - Microsoft intro “computer-equipped” buses in
China -diTii.com D' Technology Weblog-10 Nov 2008: --InChinaMicrosoft has introduced “computer-equipped” buses that ensure you start work on time, if you get ”stuck in the traffic jam”. The bus is equipped with 3Gand Wi-Fi, incase if you don’t want to use the computers provided you can use your own...
A new fleet of eco-friendly buses are taking to the streets in a bid to help clean up the air
Portsmouth,England,UK -The News, by Michael Powell-10 November 2008: --... Thenumber 23 routecircling betweenPortsmouthand Havant has a whole new fleet of low emission buses in a £2m investment byStagecoach andPortsmouth City Council...The 18 'Surf and Save' branded buses, costing £115,000 each, emit a third of the pollutants than their predecessors...
* A Fleet of "green" double-decker buses is to go into service inLondon this week
London,UK -This is London, by Mark Prigg-10 Nov 2008: --The hybrid bus is said to be quieter, smoother for passengers and is the first to be powered solely by an electric motor...Traditional hybrids switch to fuel when the electric motor is under too much pressure... But the "Hybridive"only uses diesel to drive an electrical generator to top up the batteries, which are charged every time the driver uses the brakes...The bus was developed by defence company BAE...Vehicle maker Alexander Dennis will supply 12 double-decker and five single-deck buses...
Fuel use reduced by half as much as makers claimed
Victoria,British Columbia,Canada -The Times Colonist, by Joanne Hatherly -November 10, 2008: --The capital region's diesel-electric hybrid buses are falling far short of the 20 to 30 per cent fuel savings promised by the manufacturer, according toB.C. Transit...The Toronto Transit Commission'srecent announcement that it was switching back from hybrids to diesel-only buses due to problems with batteries raised the question of how well Victoria's hybrid buses are performing...Aaron Lamb, fleet director for B.C. Transit, said the hybrid buses are showing a savings of 10 to 13 per cent, less than half of the manufacturer's claim of savings between 20 and 30 per cent.B.C. Transitarrived at that figure after running one of each type of bus on an identical route...However, Victoria's buses are not experiencing any battery problems.TheTTC busesrun on lead-acid batteries, whileB.C. Transit's batteries are nickel-metal hydride. TTC busesare saving on fuel costs at the same rate asB.C. Transit hybrids...The Victoria buses are built by New Flyerin Winnipeg, Man., while theTTC buseswere built by Daimler.Transit obtained six buses in 2005 as a pilot project: Three operate inKelowna and three inVictoria...(Photograph by : Debra Brash, Times Colonist - The region's electric-diesel hybrid buses are saving on fuel, but not as much as the manufacturer claimed)
DANGEROUS DRIVERS * Chile - Micro drivers put passenger lives at risk in Viña del Mar
Valparaiso,Chile -The Valparaiso Times, by Wes Kimbell-9 November 2008: --Despite laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving, a special Valparaiso Times investigation found an alarming high number of public ‘micro’ bus drivers utilizing cell phones while driving, placing the lives of passengers at great risk...(Photo Credits: Gardner Hamilton - Fig. 1 - Micro bus drivers at the intersection of Uno Norte and 4 Poniente in Viña talk on cell phones while driving. Fig. 2 - Micro bus crash on Ave. España in late August. Driver reported as using cell phone upon accident)...A Valparaiso Times reporter who positioned himself at the intersection of Uno Norte and 4 Poniente, a high traffic area in Viña del Mar, documented by camera over eight bus drivers utilizing cellular telephone devices while driving in a time frame of only 30 minutes(see figure 1).Oftentimes bus drivers photographed by the Valparaiso Times while using cell phones defiantly continued their use of the phone.Some even managed to completely let go of the steering wheels with their other hand to direct inappropriate hand gestures... The high use of cell phones comes at a time when Carabineros police report a 16% increase in transit related deaths in the course of 2008. Extrapolated, transit-related deaths this year in Chile may total about 1,266 deaths, according to police sources...
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEMS * India - Nightmare in the bus
We have a transport system with no parallel
Srinagar,Jammu and Kashmir,India -GreaterKashmir.com (press release), by BASIM AMIN BAZAZ-10 Nov 2008: --You have buses but the tickets are missing. You have autos but the meters are missing. You have crossroads but the beats are missing. You may have beats but the cops are missing.You may have cops but they are too busy bugging innocents, filling pockets.You have plastic cones (don’t know what else to call them) but the logic behind their use is missing; supposedly installed to regulate traffic they manage to do exactly the opposite.You have two lane roads but one lane is always missing; dedicated to an underground sewer being laid, throughout the year.You have every third person ploughing down your roads but the reason is missing.You have plans but the actions are missing.You have actions but the plans are missing.You have traffic lights but the functioning is missing.You now have a train; Allah knows what it is not missing! ...The transport system in the valley is crippled, to say the least.At a time when increase in the number of vehicles is far far greater than what the system can cope up with, the next few years will see traveling in Kashmir become a nightmare...
Industry’s First * UK - Offering for Bus and Coach Operators Using GreenRoad’s Driver Safety Technology
Helping Clients Manage Risk and Reduce Insurance Costs
London,UK -Response Source/Breakaway Communications-10 November 2008: --Belmont International, the UK’s leading Insurance Broker specialising in passenger transport, is launching the industry’s first insurance offering specifically aimed at bus and coach companies, based onGreenRoad’s Safety Center... By analysing individual driver performance and continuously providing them with real-time coaching, GreenRoad Safety Center is proven to improve driving skills...By partnering withGreenRoad, Belmont will have access to better detail to predict fleet risk and be able to offer specific risk management interventions. This will help negotiations for reduced premium levels and improved cover terms...
Bus service picks up * USA - Hopkins shuttles attract thousands of riders — not all of them students or staff
At 5 p.m. on Monument Street in East Baltimore, the line of doctors, nurses, researchers, students and others winds down the block and around the corner
Baltimore,MD,USA -The Baltimore Sun, by Stephen Kiehl -November 10, 2008: --Coffee cups in hand and headphones in ear, they file on to the buses that line up three deep.They are riding what has become a highly popular shadow transit agency - the Johns Hopkins shuttle.Every day it provides 5,000 rides to and fromCharles Village, Mount Vernonand the east side, to anyone associated with Hopkins, or sometimes just anyone at all... Riders do not pay a fare and need not show an ID.The big white buses with "Johns Hopkins" emblazoned on the side depart as often as every five minutes during rush hour.There are seven stops on the route between the university's medical campus, home to its world-renowned hospital, and its Homewood campus, where crowds gather in the morning to be ferried down St. Paul Street... (Baltimore Sun photo by Ann Tornkvist / October 14, 2008 - A passenger steps off the shuttle at the School of Public Health. The increasingly popular service provides about 5,000 rides daily)
Double-decker buses * USA - give new perspective for L.A. tourists
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -Associated Press/Los Angeles Times/Guelph Mercury (Guelph,Ontario,Canada), by Chris Erskine-November 08, 2008: --Topless yet tasteful, L.A.'snew double-decker buses might dramatically change the way tourists get around, how they spend their travel dollars and the very look ofSouthern California'sstreets...Introduced a year ago and recently expanded, the 16 double-deckers serve two separate circuits -- one looping throughHollywood, Beverly Hills and the Mid-Wilshire area, the other spanning downtown.By spring,Starline Tourshopes to add a third circuit, serving the beach communities of Venice and Santa Monica... A significant wager in shaky times, the buses are a gambit by L.A.'sbiggest tour operator to broaden the places tourists conveniently can roam...
CONTROLS * New Zealand - Police alarmed by bus standards
Kaikoura,North Canterbury,New Zeland -New Zealand Police -10 November 2008: --Police are warning that some bus operators are operating poorly maintained and dangerous vehicles....An operation to monitor the standard of buses travelling to the Kaikoura Trotting Cup on 3 November revealed mechanical faults in more than a third of the vehicles inspected...
Of the 37 buses inspected, six had major faults that stopped them from travelling further, seven had minor faults that will need repair, and another two busesexceeded the maximum weight they were allowed to carry...
Electronic Ticketing * Bangladesh - For buses under study
Dhaka,Bangladesh -The Daily Star-9 Nov 2008: --A private bus operator's desire to begin a new era in ticketing may not come true as early they may have wanted.But the days are not too far away...Officials atTrans Silva Transport Bangladesh Limitedare planning to abolish paper-ticket system and install electronic fare card readers in its buses. But they are yet to find the most befitting and acceptable way to introduce it in the capital city. According toGiasuddin Chowdhury, director (operations) and a spokesperson for Trans Silva Transport .. However, BRTAofficials believe the new scheme, despite its potential, should be put on hold until an elected government takes charge of the country...Officials at Trans Silva Transport said the company has signed a contract with Sony Corporationwho would supply and install the technology required for the new system...(Photo: STAR - Days are not too far away when these bus ticket counters on pavements will be a matter of the past)
and nnn..OOO...WWWW... THE PEDAL BUS !!! * USA - Eco Buses: Busycle puts an end to horsepower with pedal-power
Palo Alto,CAL,USA -Ecofriend, by Anupam-Nov 7 2008: --Commuting from one place to another in a bus could not have been more ecofriendly than traveling by this amazing“Busycle”, which is nothing buta Bus plus a Cycle. The vehicle can carry 15 persons and gets all its power from the legs of the passengers onboard...Although theBusyclestill has a driver, all passengers are required to pedal hard.This not only gives the passengers a flatter tummy but even a flatter carbon footprint.Since the Busycle just makes use of human power, it is a zero emission vehicle.We don’t expect the vehicle to take you from one place to another at an express pace, but you would surely be reaching your destination drenched in sweat and having a lower carbon footprint than many of your colleagues coming in their Ferraris. Adding to its eco creds, theBusycle has been made from all kinds of recycled materials ranging from office chairs to steel bed frames...The Dark Side:Apart from the time factor, this bus won’t be able to move much without the presence of 15 people onboard or at least one of you should be a participant of the “Tour de France”...(Photos - Eco Factor: Pedal-powered bus for 15 people )
PASSENGERS' TRANSPORT INDUSTRY * Philippines - The Buses And Bus-Makers of Bicol
Manila,Philippines -UP Ibalon Bicol, by myty555 -7 Nov 2008: --...Bicolanosstarted to shun the bus company...With that, newBicol bus companiesbegan emerging starting with JB Lines... Soon the so-called "colorums" of Bicol began sprouting. Its main weapon was its low fares...For a while Philtranco made a comeback with the entry of Pepito Alvarez, who re-capitalized the company. But soon the former "colorums" started easing out Philtranco in more and more routes.It was offering a flat rate to Bicol which was only half of what Philtranco is charging.Even today with high fuel prices, it is offering fares in the range of P300-350 (ordinary class).It is now the bus of the masses and in this role it supplanted the moribund Philippine National Railways (PNR) trains...Its buses are now much improved. From "fly-by-night" and TOP (Temporary Operator's Permit) operations, it slowly legalized itself. It even bought old franchises from defunct bus companies...Was is their secret?One, they are able to pack in their buses and it is good in looking for passengers in the highway.It even uses "hustlers" for this. It also assembles most of its units using mid-sized but thrifty engines.This gave rise to the Bicolbus-making industry which is centered in Tabaco City. Its RMBand JYQbrand of buses are among the most prominent and it is even "exported" now to other regions like the Eastern Visayas...Its operations are low-cost, no-frills...
BUSES' MARKET COMMENT * INDIA - City bus: In demand, out of supply
Bhopal,India -AP/The Central Chronicle, by Sunita Narain-26 Oct 2008: --In 2006, the Delhi government issued its first global tender for 525 new buses. It wanted modern, low-floor buses that were comfortable for the passengers and affordable for the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). It did not want buses common in India.Tata Motorsbagged the contract. In May 2006, it cut a deal with Marcopolo SA, a Brazilian company, which makes buses with the monochoque body (integrated into the bus)...Tata's Lucknow plant, which produces heavy commercial vehicles, was to be the temporary facility, as the company built another facility at Dharwad, which was cleared in September 2007. It was to invest Rs 350 crore in two phases. The unit is likely to start rolling out 100-odd buses per month by early 2009... In 2007, Delhi asked for another 125 buses, including 25 air-conditioned ones. It settled for a base price of Rs 31.56 lakh for its non-ac bus and Rs 51.56 lakh for the ac version. This order fetched Tata a sum of Rs 318.26 crore. Furthermore, the city agreed to pay for the maintenance of the bus, signing a long-term agreement with the company on a yearly charge, almost doubling its total value. Till the DTC order,Tata had not received any booking for these low-floor buses...Tata received the order in April 2007 and the first bus was to be delivered in October 2007. But no bus came;Tata was unprepared to produce them.The following month, it was to deliver 20 buses, but it did only 10. The company then caught up: by October 1, 2008, some two years after the order, 543 buses had reached DTC depots. The remaining 82 buses would be delivered by the end of October 2008,Sehgalsaid...The problems have only begun for the Delhi government. In February 2008, it floated another tender for 2,500 low-floor buses, having figured out it had a winner in the form of the attractive, comfortable buses. Of these, 1,000 are for air-conditioned variants-to get non-bus users aboard... Only two companies bidded, with Tata's bid the lowest. The rules allow the lowest bidder and the second lowest one to share the order in the proportion of 65:35. The second lowest in this case was-no guesses here-Ashok Leyland... The first 50 of this would be delivered by March 2009, with the remaining coming over another 11 months, said sources inTata. Though it can supply only 100 low- floor buses now, the company promises to double this. Leyland, which currently holds the cards in India's bus market, said it is considering the offer, and that it can make 100 such buses each month...ButDelhi governmentsaid it needs another 3,000 buses for DTCby 2010, and also wants to replace the blueline fleet. This means another 4,000 buses, also by 2010. The market is ready. But bus makers seem shy... Till now, the bus market has been a duopoly.Tata and Eicher Motorsshare the light commercial vehicle segment.In the medium and heavy segment,Ashok Leylandleads with 45 per cent market share, withTatafollowing closely at 44 per cent. The market is abuzz with talk of new entrants and joint ventures. Volvo has tied up with Eicher, Mahindra and Mahindra is gearing up for the market and some Chinese companies are waiting in the bays... The market is growing, defying the slowdown in the auto sector.In 2006-07, the industry sold some 30,000 buses. In 2007-08, the market had grown to 40,000. In cities crowded with private vehicles, buses can get a much bigger piece of the transport pie.But automakers, who stand behind their cars and push their wares, do little to promote the vehicle that could drive millions in the country. The bus is the poor person's vehicle and nobody seems to want any truck with it...The city bus wants to change, it wants to keep step with the times.Till now, buses in India have been trucks, literally. Taking the chassis designed for heavy-duty trucks, bus builders-largely in the small and unorganised sector-assemble a body on top. The city bus is inimical to comfort; it certainly has no glamour.The Swedish automaker Volvo broke the mould. It set up a plant near Bangalore and sold comfortable buses with air suspension...