In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry
BUSMAKERS NEWS * UK - County Antrim bus builders secure £55m order
Wrightbus have announced a major new order from the UK for 334 new buses
(Image: A Wrightbus)
County Antrim,NI,UK -BBC News Northen Ireland-23 February 2011:-- Its the biggest order the company has had in 'several years'... The contract with bus operator Arriva is valued at around £55m and consists of 204 double-deck and 130 single-deck buses... Arriva runs several routes in cities across the UK including, London and Glasgow... The order also includes the first Wrightbus StreetLite midi-buses to be delivered to an international public transport operator... The order from Arriva represented six months' work which would take the company up to the end of December 2011...
* UK - Bus makers and operators must work together says minister at bus industry event
London,EN,UK -MHW -23 February 2011: -- Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker MP, told delegates at the Bus and Coach Engineering Conference that he wanted to "encourage even closer co-operation between manufacturers and operators" in order to help the passenger carrying vehicle sector meet its onerous targets and deadlines for compliance... Speaking at the conference - organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE), a professional sector of the SOE (Society of Operations Engineers), and Passengerfta, on 16 February in London -Mr Baker alluded to the challenge faced by operators to meet legislative deadlines and the need for manufacturers to help meet them... The conference looked at the maintenance of vehicles, the design of lighter vehicles and included a presentation about the design of the new bus for London from Wright Bus...
BUSES PURCHASE * USA - Texas Putting Bucks Behind Buses
* Texas - Rapid Doesn’t Always Mean Rail
Dallas,TX,USA -The Bond Buyer, by Richard Williamson -February 22, 2011:-- As Texas urban transit authorities continue to expand light-rail lines to ease congestion, they are also investing heavily in their workhorse buses, combining local and federal funds to develop cleaner, more efficient systems... Dallas Area Rapid Transit is planning to spend $250 million to buy or lease an entire fleet of 452 buses powered by compressed natural gas. The plan could require bond issuance, but DART board has not decided on the financing details... In San Antonio, the VIA Metropolitan Transit system is converting an historic train station into the Westside Multimodal Transit Center, which would serve a bus rapid transit, or BRT, corridor and possibly support light rail in the future... In El Paso, the Mesa Corridor BRT project is in line to receive $13.54 million of federal funding under the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program. Under a plan the El Paso City Council approved last year, the $136 million bus rapid-transit system would receive $55 million from the city and the rest in federal and state money... In Austin, one of the state’s most congested cities, the Capital Metro Transit Authority is building a $47.6 million BRT system and plans to get $38.1 million of federal funding under President Obama’s recommended budget... The Texas projects are among 10 start-ups across the country recommended for a combined $569.3 million of federal grants. Others include rail and BRT projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Utah and Washington state... An additional 11 projects that were recommended for funding in previous years, but have not received federal commitments, are being recommended for $1.4 billion in this year’s budget...(Photo by David Kroomba/Ride for Climate: A shot of Bogota's (Colombia) BRT nuses system)
* Pensilvania - Lancaster's Red Rose Transit Authority wants to add hybrid buses to its fleet.
Lancaster,PA,USA -Lancaster On Line, by BERNARD HARRIS-21 Feb 2011: -- The public transit agency hopes to purchase two buses, at a cost of $544,816 each... The buses are expected to save the RRTA between 20 and 30 percent of the fuel used by a comparable diesel bus. That translates into $7,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on the cost of fuel, said David Kilmer, RRTA executive director... The RRTA board on Wednesday approved a purchase contract with Gillig Corp. of Hayward, Calif., on behalf of RRTA and 21 other, mostly small, transit agencies statewide... The cooperative purchase agreement will run for five years and entail as many as 200 buses, for a total value of nearly $109 million...
* New York - County Legislature To Consider Federal Grant For CARTS Buses
Mayville,Jamestown,NY,USA -The Post Journal, by Nicholas L. Dean -February 23, 2011:-- Are nine new CARTS busesnecessary and essential? ... John Runkledoesn't think so.At least, not this year...The Stockton Republican and former majority leadervoted against the proposal in last week'sAudit and Control Committee meeting. Having passed both that committee and another though, the proposal will go before the full legislature for vote tonight... As explained byGeorge Spanos, Department of Public Facilities director, the county is eligible every year to apply for federal grant funding for CARTS purchases.In addition to nine new buses,Spanos saidthe department is also asking for software which would improve the operations ofCARTS...The county did get 13 new buses last year, Spanos answered, but the fleet is 30 in total - with all buses racking up miles from their travels around the county.The department replaces buses every year, but does not replace any buses that have less than 150,000 miles, Spanos explained. On average, the buses get about 30,000 miles each year...
GREEN NEWS * USA - CARB announces second year of grants for hybrid trucks and buses
Sacramento,CAL,USA -The Trucker News Services -22 Feb 2011: -- The California Air Resources Board (CARB)has initiated its second year of grants totaling $19 million for hybrid vehicle technology that significantly reduces smog-forming and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions...The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program will provide vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis to help Californiafleets purchase fuel-efficient hybrid medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. At least $2 million of these funds will be set aside for Californiapublic fleets to increase the number of hybrid vehicles... Interested public and private fleets can reserve a voucher for up to $40,000 through a participating dealership at the time the vehicle is ordered. The voucher is then redeemed at the time of purchase...
COMPLAINS * Canada - Olympic buses and local transit
Thanks to a fleet of buses we don't need, part of the Games cost is being dumped on transit users and property owners in Greater Victoria. That's just not right...
Victoria,BC,USA -The Victoria Times Colonist -February 22, 2011:-- Greater Victoria's transit system has plenty of problems, with most involving a lack of money.With more money, B.C. Transit could add routes, increase service and convince more people that it's worthwhile to use the bus... Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, who sits onthe Victoria Regional Transit Commission, says the local system has been required to take 100 buses that were bought for the (Winter) Games, along with the debt from their purchase. At $500,000 a bus, local transit users are looking at $50 million in additional assets... The local transit system, facing a deficit this year approaching $6 million, is considering service cuts and a $28.50 property tax levy to help cover its costs... It's destructive. We ended up with buses we don't need, and to pay the bills we might have to cut service, which means more buses will be parked in a storage lot...If the costs of staging the Olympics can be hidden in bizarre spots -like bus service here -we will never get a true accounting of what we paid. And that's a shame...(Picture from 2.bp.blogspot: BRT Victoria's bus)
COACH OPERATOR NEWS * UK - National Express upbeat on coach travel
Birmingham,UK -Yahoo Finance, by Gill Plimmer -24 February 2011: -- National Express, the multinational transport operator, says its coaches business is likely to win market share from rail as cash-strapped consumers seek cheaper means of travel... With train fares rising sharply, the company said it planned to expand its coach business, which accounts for 44 per cent of total operating profits... National Express, the biggest private coach operator in the UKand Spain, said it hoped to take advantage of the deregulation of the long-distance bus market in continentalEurope, potentially using its Eurolines service, in which it is a majority shareholder...Fares may rise on its UK coaches and buses, however, as the company looks to offset a 20 per cent cut in government fuel grants in 2012, which will cost it £10m ($16m) a year.It said it was keen to improve yield rather than cut services but pointed out that the economic environment could make it difficult to pass on increases fully... It said it was well hedged to deal with rising fuel price...(Picture from wikimedia.org/wikipedia: Buses of National Express and Oxford Tube in Oxford Gloucester Green coach station, South East England)
Drivers Appreciation * USA - Valley shows "Love the Bus" month
February is "Love the Bus" month. Ayres Elementary celebrated by presenting bus drivers with valentines
Sterling,CO,USA -The Journal-Advocate/My Space TV, by Callie Jones -18 Feb 2011:-- The service of school bus drivers around the country is being celebrated this month, with the safety group American School Bus Council`s designation of February as "Love the Bus" month...InColorado, during the 2008-09 school year, approximately 348,713 students or 42.6 percent of all students were transported daily on school buses. RE-1 Valley School District transported approximately 922 students daily in the 2009-10 school year based on the Oct. 1 count for that year. That`s 39.4 percent of the students in the district... The district has 30 school buses and 19 bus drivers, most whom have been the district for a number of years... They try not to have the routes take much longer than an hour to travel, so students don`t have to be on the bus for too long... Each year RE-1 school buses travel a total of 250,177 route miles. In addition, the number of activity/field trip miles traveled is 57,687...
NEW GREEN BUSES FLEET * Abu Dhabi - A $30 million deal to have environmentally-friendly buses
MENA region shows more interest in clean energy, buses to roam Abu Dhabi’s streets
Abu Dhabi -Alarabiya (Dubai) -19 Feb 2011:-- Abu Dhabi gets ready to launch a fleet of environmentally-friendly busess after signing a $30 million joint venture with New Zealand’sDesignLIne and Liberty Automotive company... The clean-energy guzzling busses will have its own factory, which is set to open later in 2011. The new factory is set to be capable of producing over 300 buses a year, and to generate more than $80 million in revenue in the first year of operations... DesignLine said that a number of Middle Eastern countries were interested in its technology with negotiations underway to convert the Gulf region’s diesel energy powered fleet to either electric or hybrid powered vehicles... Al Masah Capital this month reported that the MENA region had seen a 5.3 percent increase in green energy usage in 2010 where Abu Dhabi alone built the $19.8 billion Masdar City, a planned city that is built around the concept of clean energy...
PASSENGERS' SATISFACTION * UK - Fuel increase drives car owners onto the buses
Newcastle,Tyne,UK -Report Linker -Feb 19, 2011:-- Transport groupGo-Ahead has lifted its profits forecast as the rising cost of petrol encouraged record numbers of people onto its buses and trains...The Newcastle-basedcompany, which employs about 22,000 people and runs buses across the UK and operates the Southern, Southeastern and London Midland rail franchises, has carried more than a billion passengers in the last year... The growth in passenger numbers helped to boost operating profits by 9% to pounds 59m in the final half of 2010. And profits from its bus networks across the UK, including Metrobus in Sussex, Plymouth Citybus and Oxford Bus Company, hit a record pounds 36.9m as more people left their cars at home in the icy weather...Chief executive Keith Ludeman said:"Our bus operating profit is at record levels and is a strong indication of people leaving their cars at home and taking the bus"... He saidthat the company was in a strong position to grow both organically and by acquisition inthe UK and US, where it is partners in a school bus initiative... (Images from icnetwork.co.uk: A Go Ahead bus)
NEW BUSES FLEET WORLDWIDE * Bangladesh - Dhaka to get 175 new buses
Dhaka,Bangladesh -The Daily Star -21 Feb 2011:-- One seventy-five buses from China will arrive at Chittagong Port tomorrow, and will hit the capital streets in the first week of next month... In addition, the communications ministry is importing 255 buses from South Korea in July, officials said yesterday... The government plans to import about 950 buses in phases to meet the growing demand for transport in the capital... Currently, some 9,000 buses and minibuses ply the city roads. The number seems inadequate for the city dwellers although there is no official statistics of the demand...(Photo from flick: Kolkata-Dhaka bus ready for departure from Salt Lake Karunamoyee bus station)
* India - MSRTC plans 60 more AC buses to Pune
Mumbai,Maharashtra,India -The Times of India, by Somit Sen -Feb 23, 2011: -- An unprecedented 38% growth in the number of passengers travelling by air-conditioned (AC) buses from Mumbai to Pune in the past one year has prompted the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to introduce 60 Volvos on the route from next month... The state road transport body saw an increase in passenger traffic from 24 lakhs to 33 lakhs in the past one year. Managing director Deepak Kapoor said most of the buses were booked well in advance.In comparison, there was a 27% growth in passenger traffic in semi-luxury buses or Asiads...
NEW BUSES FLEET * USA - Unlimited Services receives two new buses through grant
Monroe,GA,USA -The Walton Tribune, by Stephen Milligan -February 20, 2011:-- The old buses at Unlimited Services just weren’t cutting it anymore... The non-profit, part of regional group Advantage Behavioral Health Services, used the buses to transport the disabled adults with which the group works every day to jobs, services and more...Yet at least one bus ceased to work at all — the wheelchair lift broke entirely — and the others were quickly beginning to show their age... Yet now the non-profit has a new bus and a second one forthcoming — thanks to a grant from the Walton County Health Care Foundation...The group donated $94,700 to allow staff at Unlimited Services a chance to replace old buses and update the fleet... (Photo by Stephen Milligan - Richard Anderson is put on a wheelchair lift on a new bus provided by a grant from the Walton County Health County Care Foundation)
Cheats * UK - Fined in police blitz on bus fare dodgers
There were no arrests yesterday, and just 10 fines issued
Bolton,Manchester,UK -The Bolton News -18 February 2011: -- Fare-dodgers and fraudsters who con millions of pounds from the public transport system were targeted in a crackdown on some of Bolton’s busiest bus routes yesterday... Inspectors and the police hauled people off the buses and issued them with £50 penalty fares after they were caught without valid tickets... People who travel fraudulently cost bus companies millions of pounds a year— leading to higher fares for honest passengers...Police joined forces with inspectors from the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and First yesterday as they checked more than 2,100 tickets on more than 120 buses all over Bolton... Inspectors look for a range of different tricks... These include older teenagers buying juvenile tickets, out of date tickets and people staying on the bus past the stop they have paid for...Most seriously, police look for fraudsters who print professional-looking counterfeit tickets and sell them to passengers at knock-down prices... Anyone caught fare-dodging can be charged the “standard fare” of £50, while those suspected of more serious offences are arrested... (Image: Greater Manchester Passenger Transport)
Public Transportation * USA - To curb congestion, buses to ride on shoulders
(Video from YouTube, by Nachtwolf1 -4 Feb 2010: Starting off with two Green Line "L" trains passing each other as they round the Loop's northeast corner at the Lake/Wabash curve, this video was taken over a period of about an hour and a half of rush-period bus and "L" service (but mostly buses in this video) in the Loop. Seen here are New Flyer 40-ft low floor and 60-ft articulated hybrid buses, as well as NovaBus 40-footers, on various routes, some frequent, local routes, some express routes, and some limited-stop, rush hour only routes. Locations are, in order, Lake/Wabash, State/Van Buren and the State St corridor in front of the Harold Washington Library, the La Salle St "Canyon" and the Financial District, Madison/Wells, the east entrance to Union Station, and lastly, Canal St outside of Union Station)
* Minneapolis - Test on I-55 modeled after program in
Chicago,ILL,USA -The Chicago Tribune, by Richard Wronski -February 17, 2011:-- To battle congestion and reduce travel times, transportation officials will begin a long-awaited test of an innovative "bus-on-shoulder" express service on the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate Highway 55) in November, officials said...The new service will be an expansion of existing Pace express bus service between Plainfield and downtown Chicago, with the goal of getting commuters out of their cars and into mass transit, said Leanne Redden, senior deputy executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority...When traffic is flowing, the buses will use the regular lanes of the expressway, but when there is congestion, inbound buses will be allowed to use the inside shoulder, while outbound buses will take the outside shoulder... If disabled cars or other obstructions are in the shoulder, buses would slow down, merge back into traffic, and then back over into the shoulder after passing the obstruction, officials said...While there will be minor lane-marking modifications, the most significant difference will be new signs along the shoulders, Tridgell said...
* Indiana - IndyGo Reports Ridership Up
IND,USA -The Indiana Business-17 Feb 2011:-- IndyGohas released its 2010 year in review, which highlights increased ridership. The transportation company says more than 8.5 million passengers rode its buses in 2010, a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year... Below are some of the bus company’s accomplishments and enhancements for the year.
▪ IndyGo ridership showed an upward trend when compared to 2009. The company delivered 8,507,644 passenger trips in 2010, a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year. IndyGo attributes its increased ridership to investments in passenger tools, technology, customer service, transit awareness communications and operational efficiencies.
Service and Ridership Breakdown
- Local Service (30 fixed routes): 8,358,227 trips
- IndyGo Commuter Express (Fishers): 64,492 trips
- IndyGo Commuter Express (Carmel): 52,219 trips
- Green Line Downtown/Airport Express: 32,706 trips
▪ IndyGo’s ADA-compliant Open Door paratransit service is a program that serves the needs of customers who, because of a disability, may require an alternative to IndyGo’s fixed route service. IndyGo delivered 250,107 paratransit trips throughout Marion County in 2010...(Photo: In 2010, The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce welcomed IndyGo to its Green Business Initiative)
* New Hampshire - C&J bus company to take passengers to NYC
(Photo, by Deborah Mcdermott/Rich Beuachesne : C&J exectuives announce transportation to New York City begining next week on a first class coach for $75.00 daily. From left are: Dave Mailhot, transportation fleet manager, Jim Jalbert, C&J president, Doug Bates, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce president, and Jamie Lesniak C&J vice president)
Amportsmouth,N.H.,USA -SeaCoast On Line -February 23, 2011:-- Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, it will be easier than ever to go from the University of New Hampshire—or Portsmouth— to New York City.Just hop on the bus... C&J Lines will launch direct service fromDurham and Portsmouth bus stations directly to the New York Port Authority, an effort that has been discussed for years... There are only 30 seats in the touring coaches that will be used, as opposed to 50 in a standard bus.That means more leg room for passengers. The busses have WiFi, an electric plug next to each seat, several overhead screens that will show first-run movies, and a self-serve galley offering coffee and snacks...The travel time from Portsmouth is five hours...
LIGHT VIOLATIONS * USA - Cameras See Buses Violate Traffic Laws
Port Authority Doesn't Review Video Without Complaint
Pittsburgh,OH,USA -WTAE/TV/Team 4 -February 15, 2011:... An investigation showed Port Authority buses violating traffic laws in Pittsburgh, WTAE's cameras caught it on tape again... City Police Chief, Nate Harper, watched the video and told that the Pittsburgh Police Bureau is doing everything it can with limited manpower to enforce traffic laws downtown...Harper suggested asking the Port Authority if it is monitoring the video cameras on its buses to see if drivers are obeying traffic laws, but Parsons reported that unless a complaint is received, the Port Authority is not looking at video...Most of the Port Authority's 900 buses have cameras on them. The agency said it doesn't look at video unless it's alerted to an issue that needs to be investigated...Putting cameras in Pittsburgh traffic lights would require a change in state law, and the Legislature has opposed it so far... The Port Authority said it doesn't have the manpower to randomly audit the video that's recorded by on-bus cameras...
REGULATIONS * Philippines - Only clean fuel buses may get past DOTC ban
Manila,Philippines- The Philippine Daily Inquirer -15 Feb 2011: -- The Department of Transportation and Communications announced that it would only exempt buses that run on cleaner alternative fuels from the moratorium on the registration of new public utility vehicles... The government imposed the moratorium to curb the rise in the number of buses plying Metro Manila roads, exacerbating traffic jams and pollution in the process... But in an effort to address pollution, DOTC Secretary, Jose de Jesus, exempted buses powered by CNG (compressed natural gas) from the franchise moratorium... Studies have shown thatMetro Manila’s roads have not been able to cope with the capital’s rising population. The Japan International Cooperation Agency earlier said in a study that Edsa [Epifanio de los Santos Avenue] could only handle a maximum of 1,600 buses a day. Some 3,500 buses ply the route daily...(Photo from farm4.static.flickr: Buses in EDSA, Mandaluyong, Manila, Philippines)
Bus Rapid Transit project * USA - Feds recommend $25 million for AC Transit bus
AC Transit's plans for a $216 million speedy bus service in Oakland and San Leandro
Oakland,CAL,USA -San Jose Mercury News, by Denis Cuff -19 Feb 2011: --AC Transit'splans for a $216 million speedy bus service inOakland and San Leandrocleared another hurdle Tuesday when federal transit officials recommended awarding $25 million to the project...Buses would run frequently along a 14.4-mile busy corridor with bus-only lanes developed along a portion of the route. Stoplights would be timed to favor buses. Some of the passenger loading and unloading areas would occur in bus stations built in street medians...The two-county bus system last week submitted its project environmental impact statement tothe Federal Transit Administration, which must certify the document adequately considers project environmental impacts -- like loss of on-street parking spaces -- and possible mitigation such as acquiring new parking spaces nearby... The bus system also must reach agreement with Oakland and San Leandro city officials on final details of the project, ranging from new stoplights to protect pedestrians to the length of bus-only lanes...
BUSMAKERS NEWS * USA - Daimler adding 628 jobs in N.C.
High Point,NC,USA -The Business Journal -February 16, 2011:-- Daimler Trucks North America, parent company ofHigh Point-based Thomas Built Buses, will bring back 628 workers at its two Gaston County plants to meet demand for Freightliner trucks...The biggest group — 474 employees — will be added to the assembly plant inMount Holly. The additional jobs will more than double the work force to about 900 at the facility...AFreightlinerparts and logistics plant in Gastoniais getting another 154 jobs... Daimler Trucks assembles its over-the-road tractor trucks in Rowan County... The latest hiring comes as demand for the business-class trucks is increasing... (Photo from msbp.tangoc9999: Thomas Built's buses)
Technological Innovation * USA - Driving the Industry
(Photo: FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff experiences the Driver Assist System in a demonstration developed for the 2010 ITS America annual meeting)
Washington,DC,USA -Passenger Transport, by SARAH HOLLANDER -11 Feb 2011:-- Technological innovation in public transportation has focused of late on such varied areas as communication, energy efficiency, and safety. New technology is pushing public transit investment in everything from apps that radically improve customer service to buses that recharge wirelessly to a system that helps bus drivers navigate snowy highway shoulders...
* Customer Information = Customer Service: As real-time vehicle location systems become more common, many public transit agencies are now focusing on innovations in customer information... Capital Metro plans to roll out quick response codes at a small number of bus stops this March. Passengers will be able to take photos of bar codes on bus stop signs to receive arrival information on the next three buses. If the pilot is well received, the agency plans to eventually add the codes at all stops...
* Energy Efficiency: This spring, Link Transit of Washington Stateplans to launch electric buses that recharge wirelessly and quickly during their routes. Five 22-foot buses designed to look like trolleys have been equipped for the service, dubbed The Current. Drivers will pull into a station at the end of each loop, about every 15 minutes, to recharge. A 5-7 minute charge should bring the battery to 80 to 90 percent capacity, with an overnight charge completing the job. Passengers will be able to get on and off the buses during the charging, and there will be no exposed wires or plugs...
* Bus Driving on Dark Shoulders: Bus drivers with the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) have driven on shoulders to avoid congested freeway lanes for about 20 years. Some drivers, however, are hesitant to move onto shoulders that are dark and covered in snow. While staying on schedule is important, MVTA Transit General Manager, Michael Abegg, said, “their No. 1 job is safety” ... To make the shoulder more appealing, MVTA installed a Driver Assist System for rush-hour commuter trips between the suburbs and downtown Minneapolis. The system, developed by the University of Minnesota’s Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory, was first used in snow plows in Alaska. Ten MVTA express buses have been equipped with high-accuracy GPS equipment and laser sensors...
* Communications: Systems around the country are installing real-time information at their stations. For example, Orlando’sLYNX installed real-time information screens at its central station in late 2009. This technology makes it easy for travelers to see and hear everything—from the current state of service to future changes in services as well as estimates on arrival, time, temperature, and even ads...
* Pursuing Internal Technological Innovation:
• Last October the agency launched its My Bus system. Bus passengers can text five-digit codes assigned to bus stops from their cell phones to receive schedule information. The service is now available in a few counties and should be running in all 21 counties by the end of the year.
• The agency is also researching WiFi opportunities for rail stations and trains and hopes to choose one or more providers this year.
• DepartureVision, an online tool for viewing real-time train departure screens, expanded to include all 165 rail stations last year. On a typical weekday, the system receives more than 35,000 queries, Stessel said...
Passengers' Rights * Europe - Parliament backs new rights for bus, coach passengers
(Video from Youtube, by eppgrouptv -3 June 2010: -- MEPs on the European Parliament's transport committee voted this week to strengthen the rights of passengers travelling on inter-city and inter-regional buses and coaches. This legislation mirrors consumer protection initiatives already in place for air and train passengers)
Brussels,Belgium -EurActiv -18 February 2011:-- Bus and coach passengers in Europe will enjoy more rights, including compensation for delays or damaged luggage, after the European Parliament gave new EU-wide rules the green light today (15 February)... Representatives of the European Parliament andEU member stateshammered out an agreement at the end of November to give bus and coach passengers in Europe more rights, including compensation for delays or damaged luggage, paving the way for today's vote in plenary... The two regulations will ensure that passengers are protected when travelling by air, on water and on land, both by rail and by road... From spring 2013 all bus and coach passengers will enjoy the right to non-discrimination based on nationality, disabilities or reduced mobility, as well as financial compensation for loss or damage to mobility equipment in case of accident, regardless of the means of transport or length of journey...Passengers will have the right to receive compensation up to a total of €220,000 per passenger and €1,200 per item of luggage... Additionally, long-distance passengers on journeys longer than 250km will be protected in case of death, injury, loss or damage caused by road accidents... Road accident victims will be provided with up to two nights' hotel accommodation to the value of €80 per night. Carriers must also offer two nights' hotel accommodation to stranded long-distance passengers... Long-distance passengers will also be reimbursed or rerouted if services are cancelled, overbooked or delayed for more than 120 minutes after the estimated time of departure... In the event of such lengthy delays, passengers can demand a full refund of their tickets or alternative transport to their destination, and are entitled to additional compensation worth 50% of the cost of the ticket... When long-distance services are cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes on journeys of more than three hours, passengers will receive "meals, snacks and refreshments"...
(Video from ouTube, by richardwitter23 -15 Aug 2009: Films Manchester Metrolink in Salford Quays... You can see construction of MediaCity:UK in the background at the Harbour City station)
Manchester,UK -pteg -11 February 2011: -- Passengers in Salford will soon be able to jump onboard a new high frequency ‘green’ bus, running between Salford Crescent Railway Station and MediaCityUK... Councillors from Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA)today approved the awarding of an initial 12-month contract for a new bus link in the area, with an option to extend up to a maximum of eight years...The low carbon service will run on a new eco-fleet of four hybrid-electric buses and will operate a 10-minute service on weekdays and a 15-minute service in the evenings and at weekends...The total number of ‘green’ buses coming to Greater Manchester as a result of successful bids made to the Green Bus Fund by GMPTE and operators is 161...
STRIKES * Belgium - Public transport strike paralyses Brussels
Brussels,Belgium -Expatica -15 Feb 2011:-- Public transport ground to a standstill in Brussels on Tuesday as tram and bus drivers joined a strike on the underground rail system called after a driver was beaten up by a passenger... Not a single vehicle run by the STIB public transport authority was running in the morning and talks were set with trade unions later in the day following demands by drivers to step up security, the STIB said... The shutdown followed an incident on Monday evening when a passenger attacked a train driver, breaking his arm. A security guard was also hurt...After several such attacks in recent months, unions are demanding extra guards...
* India - Autorickshaw strike to wind up today
(Video from YouTube, by ian42 -22 Apr 2006: Auto rickshaw ride on the hot roads of New Delhi) Vadodara,India -TheTimes of India -Feb 15, 2011:-- The two-day strike by auto-rickshaw drivers will end at midnight on Monday without any of their demands being met. Their main demand was that the traffic police was unduly harsh with them... The strike only inconvenienced thousands of citizens, especially elderly and women, who had no other option but to rely on the overcrowded city bus service. Hundreds of parents, too, were perturbed as even rickshaws that ferry school children joined the strike on Monday. The city bus service managed by private bus operator Vitcos had to face the ire of auto drivers... While eight buses were targeted by auto drivers on Sunday, by Monday noon, five buses were targeted by the rickshaw drivers at Gotri, Ablilasha crossroads, Tarsali ITI and near Ravi Park... The rickshaw drivers admitted that they were stopping Vitcos buses, but denied any violence on their part...
* Greece - Public transport strikes
Athens,Greece -ANA/MPA -24 Feb 2011: -- Commuters and hard-hit retailers face another difficult week ahead, with another wave of strikes planned by Athens public transport workers that are continuing to struggle against the government's reforms to the sector even though these were passed by Parliament and have now become law... Athensbuses will kick off the week with work stoppages starting at 11:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. on Monday... Wednesday will see all public transport except the ISAP electric railway grind to a halt for the 24-hour nationwide strike declared by the country's two main union federations, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY... Buses will hold yet another work stoppage next Friday, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. while all means of public transport will hold a work stoppage at those hours on the following Monday, February 28 so that public transport employees can attend a joint general assembly at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro...
BUSMAKERS' NEWS WORLDWIDE * Europe - Registrations up 8% in 2010
Brussels,Belgium -ACEA-25 Jan 2011: -- In December, demand for new commercial vehicles continued to increase (+12.5%) across segments, except for buses and coaches (-1.4%). Cumulative results from January to December also showed the expansion of the EU markets for vans and trucks while registrations of buses and coaches declined, leading to an overall 8.0% growth in the region.
* New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t
The segment of buses and coaches was the only one to decline in December (-1.4%), in spite of positive results observed in Spain (+32.0%) and Italy (+74.7%). The downturn ranged from -18.1% in Germany to -22.4% in the UK and -33.9% in France. From January to December, registrations of new buses and coaches fell by 10.4%. Italy was the only significant market to post growth (+24.5%) while Germany (-7.0%), Spain (-8.2%), the UK (-13.2%) and France (-20.5%) all saw their markets contract.
* Sweden - Scania celebrates 100 years as bus manufacturer
(Video from YouTube, by ScaniaGroup -3 Feb 2011: -- Scania began delivering strong and sustainable passenger transport solutions in 1911)
Södertälje,Sweden -Scania Social Media News Room -3 Feb 2011:-- Scania began delivering passenger transport solutions in 1911, revolutionizing transportation infrastructure by strengthening mass transit... At that time, Scania was part of a revolution...What role will public transport play in people’s everyday lives? In what ways can a company drive evolution and fulfil visions? ... For Scania, these questions are relevant today.Together with its partners and customers, the company designs strong and sustainable transport solutions for a global market, always with the passenger in focus... With this in mind, it's exciting to think about the next 100 years.Together with our partners, customers and society, we're designing strong and sustainable solutions for a global market with the passenger in focus...
* India - M&M forays into low-floor buses
Nashik,India -The Hindustan Times, by Manu P Toms -February 17, 2011: -- Mahindra Navistar, the commercial vehicle joint venture betweenMahindra Mahindra and US-based International Truck and Engine Corporation, is planning to enter intercity luxury coach and low-floor city bus segments.These buses are under development and the likely launch is in 2012.Mahindra Navistar is likely to place their intercity coach a little below the high end players Volvo and Mercedes Benz...The long distant intercity bus will be diesel-run, while the low-floor city bus will run on CNG. MahindraNavistar already has four bus variants below 7.5 tonnes and sells 5,000 units a year... Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland andVolvo Eicher are the other major players in this segment...(Photo from products.carazoo: A Mahindra/Navistar bus)
RIDERS' COMPLAINS * Canada - What's with Bus 470 in rush hour?
"... I standing packed like sardines is absolutely miserable !!..."
(Photograph by: Max Harrold, The Gazette: A Gazette reader says the 470 express bus to and from the West Island rarely has seats available during rush hour and buses are so full they sometimes cannot take on passengers. The STM responds that it knows the route has grown in popularity and it plans to add 20 extra bus trips per day on the route starting in June)
Montreal,QBC,CAN -The Montreal Gazette, by MAX HARROLD -14 Feb 2011:-- Why is there such a shortage of express Bus 470s to and from the West Island during rush hour? I never get a seat on the bus coming into town, and standing packed like sardines is absolutely miserable.Coming home from the Cote Vertu metro station, there are not one, but two long lines snaking around the corner, sometimes anywhere from 100 to 150 people. We watch all kinds of empty buses going by, but no Bus 470. When it finally arrives, due to the sheer mob mentality of so many disgruntled public transport users, arguments often erupt as people butt in or when the second line tries to merge with the first... When we have tried to argue with the bus drivers or superintendents, we are given excuses or reprimanded for disparaging the "performance" of their duties.No straight and honest answer. So what's the deal? ...
* USA - Waiting for the Express Bus in City Heights
(Photo by Sam Hodgson: Caltrans widened this El Cajon Boulevard freeway overpass nearly a decade ago and primed it for elevators that would take residents down to a bus stop on Interstate 15. It's now deciding whether that vision will be realized)
San Diego,CAL,USA -The Voice of San Diego, by Adrian Florido -February 13, 2011: -- John Bailous was standing at a bus stop on a wide El Cajon Boulevard overpass in City Heights on Friday morning, surrounded by amenities you wouldn't expect to see on a freeway bridge: A plaza scattered with benches, tree planters, kiosks and a bathroom, which was closed. Not only is the bathroom closed, residents like Bailous are still waiting for transit stops that have long been planned on that bridge... Caltrans widened it nearly a decade ago after City Heights residents demanded concessions from the agency for building Interstate 15 through the area in the 1990s, razing homes and businesses and splitting the community in half...The plan was to build bus rapid transit stations with elevators on two special overpasses — at El Cajon Boulevard and nearby University Avenue. Bus rapid transit lines often have dedicated lanes and fewer stops, allowing riders to get where they're going faster... Since the special overpasses were built, though, they've sat unused, the paint fading on the little kiosks and the bathroom's outside walls collecting graffiti without ever being opened to the public... One of the two proposals to build a station on the bridge and a platform down below would include stairways to let passengers emerge onto either side of the bridge, depending on the bus they needed to catch...
The Romantic Marshalls * Philippines - 200 bus marshals surprise female passengers with red roses
Female passengers get some loving from Manila cops
Manila,Phippines -GMA News -14 Feb 2011:-- While keeping watch against terrorists and criminals, some 200 bus marshals from the Manila Police District (MPD) surprised female passengers by giving them red roses on Valentine's Day... After the Monday flag ceremony most of the passengers who received the roses were on buses passing through Taft Avenue in Manila...The others who received the roses included female commuters taking the Light Rail Transit, the report said... The police remained on alert Monday to thwart muggings and robberies, as well as possible terrorist attacks... In other areas in Metro Manila, the police also kept watch over commercial establishments such as malls, parks, and even motels... An earlier dzBB report said police in Metro Manila remained on alert against a possible repeat of the 2005 Valentine's Day bombing where at least four people were killed after a bomb that exploded in a bus in Makati City...
RIDERS' SAFETY * USA - RTA changes reduce crime at Third and Main bus stop
(Photo by Jim Noelker: RTA riders board a bus Wednesday at the Wright Plaza RTA Hub at Third and Main streets in downtown Dayton. The new hub gives riders a larger shelter to keep warm while waiting for buses)
Dayton,OH,USA -The Dayton Daily News, by Doug Page -February 13, 2011: -- Robberies, assaults, drug dealing, disorderly conduct and weapons crimes decreased last year at the corner of Third and Main streets for the first time in four years...Although the decrease was slight, Dayton police, the Greater Dayton RTA and the Downtown Dayton Partnership all point to the new off-street RTA hub and cooperation among various groups in cleaning up the corner for the drop in crime...The Third and Main corner went into lock down, patrolled by uniformed Dayton officers and Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies. RTA picked up the overtime tab... RTA opened its Wright Stop Plaza hub in September 2009 to handle 1,100 buses in a 21-hour-service day. Buses now stop at off-street platforms where passengers can wait in a heated and air-conditioned concourse, buy a cup of coffee or purchase a slice of pizza... Riders also feel safer...
TROUBLED SERVICES * USA - MARTA Customers Stranded Without Buses
Riders said they had to catch a cab or walk nearly a mile to the next route
Atlanta,GA,USA -WSBTV/Channel 2, reports by Rebecca Lindstrom-February 12, 2011: -- MARTA transit customers are furious after 12 bus routes were either canceled or delayed Friday without any notification...One woman said she and others had been waiting for the #24 bus for nearly an hour in below-freezing weather. The stop was crowded with riders headed to the East Lake MARTA train station to get to work and school, but the bus never came... Another woman at the stop said she got sick of waiting and calledMARTAto find out what the problem was.She said she was told that they were not sure if the bus would run because of a manpower problem... MARTA spokesman Lyle Harristold, that some buses were not dispatched due to a “staffing challenge” ... Kendricks said she and others spread the news to others they saw along the way.She said she has dealt with MARTAbus no-shows before, and she’s not sure it won’t happen again...
WEATHER TROUBLES * Sweden - Heavy snow shuts down Stockholm buses
(Video from YouTube, by Jefftrigwell2 -28 Jan 2011: Cox Creek Parkway. Local transport buses in central Stockholm)
Stockholm,Sweden -UPI World-News -Feb. 12, 2011:-- One million people were unable to get to work or school because of a snowstorm that halted buses in the Stockholm area, officials said Saturday... Christer Wennerholm, chairman of SL, the public transit agencyin the metropolitan area, saidoperators of bus companies may have been too ready to cancel service Friday. He said some operators could be fined if an investigation determines they shut down unnecessarily... SL estimated about 1 million people were affected... By Saturday, most buses were running on normal schedules. The storm also led to delays in rail service... Opposition members of the county council were harshly critical of SL... Some critics suggested Sweden has not been spending enough on transportation infrastructure. But Infrastructure Minister Catharina Elmsater-Svardsaidnot all weather can be overcome...
Infra .... Structures...? School buses log hundreds of extra miles to avoid low-weight bridges
Franklin County bridges are becoming outdated about four times faster than they can be replaced
(Photo by Jim Hannon/TimesDaily: School bus driver Sandra May turns around at Happy Hollow bridge on Lauderdale 47 in the Kilburn Beach community. May travels between 70 to 75 miles a day because the bus can't cross the low-weight bridge on her route to and from Rogers High School)
Cox Creek Parkway,Florence,AL,USA -The Times Daily, by Tom Smith -February 13, 2011:-- Sandra May said it's not unusual for some of the students who ride her school bus to go to sleep on the way to school... May's bus, which goes to Rogers High Schoolin Greenhill, is one of several forced to make longer trips and travel more miles because of bridges that have weight limits less than 14 tons... School and highway officials throughout northwest Alabama have been battling the problem of older bridges with low weight limits for years... A lot of improvements have been made, but county officials say it comes down to money... In the past five years, the county has been able to replace three of the county's 122 bridges...Franklin County EngineerDavid Palmer saidthe average lifespan of a bridge is 60 years, and the county should replace an average of 2.5 bridges a year instead of replacing three bridges in the past five years...