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Buses World News

In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry

31.3.16

VIDEO-RECORDING PASSENGERS on BUSES * USA

* Nebraska - On city buses, big brother is watching

-- The conversations and actions of thousands of Lincoln residents who board city buses each day are being recorded... StarTran, the city’s bus system, has audiovisual recording devices on each of its 67 fixed-route buses and 13 Handi-Van vehicles, said Transit Manager Mike Davis. StarTran began installing the equipment on its vehicles in 1997, back when it recorded only in black and white... Nebraska, like most states, only requires that one party to a conversation be notified that he or she is being recorded. However, in cities and states across the country, efforts to remove recording devices from buses are underway by politicians and civil liberties groups seeking to protect people’s privacy...  Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the use of surveillance equipment on city buses may not violate state laws, but it could violate a constitutional ban on unreasonable searches. He said laws that require law enforcement agencies to get warrants to record private phone conversations demonstrate the legal principle that equates the secret recording of a conversation to an unreasonable search... He said recording a private conversation between two people who aren’t aware they are being recorded seems to violate the one-party requirement within state law as well...
Lincoln, NEB, USA - The Lincoln Journal Star, by KEVIN ABOUREZK - 30 March 2016

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TRIBUTE TO CHINATOWN BUSES * USA

* New York - Artists pay tribute to no-frills Chinatown Bus, discomforts and all


-- When I was a college student in Boston, in the mid-2000s, I didn't have a whole lot of money. But for the price of a movie ticket, I could catch the Chinatown bus down to New York City. It was a fast, cheap adventure... These days, thousands of people travel up and down the northeast corridor on services like MegaBus and BoltBus. But the Chinatown bus was the original budget bus service. It started in the late 1990s as a service for the Chinese-American community, and became popular with students and others looking for a thrifty ride... Now, a Queens-based activist arts organization called Flux Factory is celebrating the Chinatown bus with a series of on-board performances that pay tribute to the often-arduous journey... 
(Photo by Bryan Chang/Fung Wah Biennial - The Fung Wah Biennial celebrates the now-defunct Chinatown bus service. For her performance piece, Sunita Prasad crowdsurfed around the bus) -- NY, USA - NPR org, by PIEN HUANG - 29 March 2016

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BUSES CARRYING BULKY ITEMS * Australia

* Canberra - Bus passengers allowed to carry bulky goods on ACTION under new rules

-- From Monday, new rules spell out the rights of bus passengers to carry bulky items on to buses, but also set in stone the right of the driver to make the final decision... ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the new policies would allow passengers to take fold-up bikes and other bulky items on board. They would also mean more certainty for passengers and make buses a more convenient and attractive option... Asked for examples of bulky items, her spokeswoman cited furniture, luggage and musical instruments. But the policies don't list allowed items, and make it clear that it is up to the driver to decide... The new rules spell out that drivers must not help passengers loading or unloading goods... Dangerous goods are banned, including knives, vehicle batteries, gas bottles, fuel and goods that are likely to spill...
(Photo: ACT Bus - A bike rack on an ACTION bus, but what are you allowed to carry on the inside?) -- Canberra, ACT, Australia - The Canberra Times, by Kirsten Lawson - March 28 2016

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SAFETY: AIRPLANES vs. BUSES * USA

* New York - One reason airplanes are far safer than buses and trucks

... The next time you struggle to nap on a long-haul flight, take some comfort in the fact that your pilot is probably sleeping more soundly than you are... Thanks to federal regulations, pilots never fly more than nine hours at a time, always have backup “relief pilots” and designated beds on long flights, and have limits on the number of weekly hours they can work. This means pilots are among the best-rested people working in commercial transportation — certainly more so than truck drivers, for instance — and rarely deal with the issue of drowsy or sleep-deprived performance... The Federal Aviation Administration announced a sweeping overhaul of pilot scheduling rules in 2011 in order to ensure that pilots have more time for rest before they enter the cockpit. Among other changes, the minimum mandatory downtime between flights was increased from eight hours to ten hours... The FAA regulations are based on the sleep science of circadian rhythms — the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, or “body clock” — and account for time zone differences. They mandate 30 consecutive off-duty hours each week, so a pilot will never work a seven-day week. The regulations also take sleep norms into account, Dennis Tajer, a spokesman of the Allied Pilots Association, told the Huffington Post, so pilots working the “back end of the clock,” such as an all-night shift, will get even more rest time...
NY, USA - The Huffington Post, by Krithika Varagur - 30 March 2016

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SUBSIDIES FOR ELECTRIC BUSES * China: Is considering to cutting off

* China - Incentives for electric buses said to be cut as much as 49.5%

-- China is proposing to cut the amount of subsidies for electric buses because the policy was considered overly generous, while imposing a price ceiling on passenger vehicles that qualify for incentives... Incentives for electric buses will be cut by an average of 32 percent, with funding for the largest models reduced by as much as 49.5 percent, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private... Electric passenger vehicles costing more than 350,000 yuan ($53,800) won’t be eligible for government subsidies under the proposal. The plan is still being reviewed by various ministries and has to be approved by the State Council... The plan, if approved in its current form, may damp demand electric vehicle sales, which surged more than threefold last year to 331,000 units... The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on the plan...
(Photo: Bus 100% electric model K9 from BYD/China)   --  Beijing, China - Bloomberg News - March 29, 2016

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IMPROVING BUS SERVICE USA: * DOT announces $ 266M funding - ** Phoenix ordered 120 CNG buses

* DC - Department of Transportation announces funding opportunity to improve bus service nationwide


-- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $266 million in competitive grant funding for bus programs nationwide. The funding consists of $211 million in grants for buses and bus facilities projects, as well as $55 million specifically for FTA’s Low and No Emission (Low-No) bus program, which promotes technologically-advanced and environmentally-friendly buses. These investments will help advance the President’s vision for a cleaner, 21st century transportation system that reduces carbon emissions while expanding transportation options for families... Eligible projects include those that replace, rehabilitate, lease, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, construct or lease bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance... FTA will award the grants to eligible transit agencies, state transportation departments, and Indian tribes on a competitive basis... 
Washington, DC, USA - FTA.GOV.DOT (PR) - 29 March 2016


** Arizona - The Phoenix Public Transit Department has ordered 120 new buses

-- It is first order for new 40-foot buses since 2013... The buses use compressed natural gas and have a fuel range of at least 400 miles, meaning most of the new buses won't require daily refueling... The new buses replace existing liquefied natural gas buses that average 12 years and 500,000 miles of service... The new buses are equipped with an enhanced air conditioning system that includes two units that work in tandem to cool both the front and back of the bus simultaneously... The new buses replace about 25 percent of the city's fleet... 
(Photo: New Flyer to Deliver CNG Buses to Phoenix) -- Phoenix, AZ, USA - The AP/ABC 15 - 30 March 2016

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5,700 more buses India: * 3,000 to Delhi ** 2,700 to APSRTC's fleet

* Delhi - Govt promises 3,000 new buses, 1,000 in premium segment

... In the last budget, the government had promised to procure 1,380 semi-low floor buses, 500 mini buses for DTC and another 1,000 buses under the cluster scheme... Though that plan was shelved, the government has now proposed to procure 3,000 buses — 1,000 under cluster scheme, 1,000 non-ac under DTC and 1,000 premium buses under public private partnership... DTC has 4,461 buses which include 3,781 low-floor buses and 680 standard floor buses. About 1,490 cluster buses are operational... The government also plans to renovate bus terminals at Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar with world-class passenger amenities and a new ISBT at Dwarka is also proposed. About 1,397 new Bus Queue Shelters are proposed to be constructed under PPP mode but the government had made the same promise in the last budget... The government has also increased the one-time fixed subsidy for e-rickshaw from existing `15,000 to `30,000. Electric vehicles have been exempted from road tax... 
(HT Photo - DTC has 4,461 buses which include 3,781 low-floor buses and 680 standard floor buses. About 1,490 cluster buses are operational)   --  New Delhi, India - The Hindustan Times, by Faizan Haider - Mar 29, 2016


* Andhra Pradesh RTC in the fast lane


-- Striking a fine balance between reforms and welfare, the A.P. State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is treading cautiously to wriggle out of financial crisis... In addition to the series of passenger-friendly initiatives that have changed the face of its main bus stand Pandit Nehru Bus Station, the officials now plan to add 2,700 new buses to its fleet. This will cost the RTC around Rs.625 crore... Of the total 2,700 buses, 1,500 will be Express and Deluxe buses, 750 Super Luxury, 450 buses will be operated exclusively in Tirumala Ghat roads and 80 Indra buses... The Transport Corporation had switched over to use of 100 per cent eco-friendly bio-diesel fuel... Keeping in view welfare of its work force, the RTC is planning to introduce an accident insurance policy. Under the scheme, in the event of any RTC employee or worker meeting with a casualty, the insurance company will pay a sum of Rs.5 lakh... The Corporation is also toying with the idea of introducing a major group insurance scheme for general public... 
(Image: Parked Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation's buses)   --   Vijayawada, A.P., India - The Hindu, by P. SUJATHA VARMA - March 27, 2016

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BUSES PERMIT RACKET SCHEME * Sri Lanka: * District Secretariats allow swindle

* Colombo - National Transport Commission accused of allowing whim

... It is the NTC and the Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority in each provincial council in the country that issue passenger transport permits for all private buses. According to the National Transport Commission Act No: 37 of 1991, tenders have to be called to issue new passenger service permits and the permits are given to the highest bidders. However, in the Northern Province, tenders are not called but the permits are given by the respective district secretaries to known parties... According to a private bus owner in Mannar who wished to remain anonymous, bus owners in the Northern Province get the annual permit for Rs. 3,500 but added that they have to pay a bribe to officials involved which comes close to the monthly permit charge in other provinces... “Officially we pay Rs. 3,500 but unofficially we have to bribe them,” the Mannar bus owner said... The five Northern Province District Secretaries in Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Killinochchi, Mannar and Vavuniya issue the route permits with out calling for tenders violating the National Transport Commission Act according to their own whims and fancies. It has also been revealed that certain district secretaries and the respective police divisions have allowed certain private buses to operate within the province without having any route permit... "We have not given them any authority to use our logo when issuing permits. If they have done so we can take action against them,” Chairman of the National Transport Commission’s (NTC), M.A.B. Hemachandra, said... 
Ratmalana, Sri Lanka - The Sunday Leader, by Nirmala Kannangara - 31 March 2016

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BRT Services USA * Seattle more services - ** Tennessee: A new one

* Seattle - Mayor Ed Murray celebrates expanded Metro bus service


-- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray celebrated the first day of expanded weekday Metro bus service in neighborhoods across Seattle... Seattle voters approved Transit Proposition 1 in November 2014 and provided the City of Seattle with approximately $45 million annually for the next six years to improve and expand in-city bus service... Bus lines seeing more frequent and reliable service in this expansion will see improved connections and frequencies on many routes that serve the new light rail stations at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill... 
 (Picture from City of Seattle - Mayor Ed Murray and transit supporters celebrated the first day of expanded weekday Metro bus service in neighborhoods across state) -- Seattle, WASH, USA - My North West, by CANDY HARPER/KIRO Radio - 28 March 2016



** Tennessee - Nolensville Pike buses now offer new service, BRT Lite
-- A new service, Bus Rapid Transit lite or BRT lite, is available to Nolensville Pike bus customers... The new service begun Sunday, March 27 as part of Nashville MTA’s improvements... All buses serve Nolensville Pike between Downtown and Harding Place with branches to Hickory Plaza and Wallace and Ezell... On weekdays, buses will run every 10 minutes during rush hours, every 15 minutes midday, and every 20 minutes nights and weekends... 

Nashville. TENN, USA - WKRN - March 27, 2016

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27.3.16

BUS CODE IMPLEMENTATION * India - Challenged by body builders

* Punjab - Bus body builders to move against code

-- Bus body builders from across the country have decided to challenge the implementation of the bus code in the Supreme Court. The code will prevent them from engineering bus bodies... The bus code will be implemented across the country from April 1... There are around 3,000 bus body builders in the country. Therefore, implementation of the bus code will render lakhs of skilled workers jobless, including 7,000 from Jalandhar... Speaking to the Jalandhar TribuneGurjeet Singhchairman, Collaborative Advance Research for Transport (CART) said, the minister concerned had taken the decision under pressure of the big manufacturers in the country as after the implementation of the bus code, they would be able make bus bodies... Gurjeet said a similar code was also envisaged during the UPA government in 2010, which was not implemented keeping in mind the employment issue... 
(Photo: Srie Vedass Industries Indian factory: Buses body buiders)  --  Jalandhar, Punjab, India - The Tribune News, by Gagandeep Singh - March 27, 2016

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BUSES FARES * UK: In North Ireland fares will not go up

* Belfast - Fares freeze for NI buses

-- Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen said, she took the decision in light of falling fuel costs and to encourage greater use of public transport... Last year, saw the average train ticket price rise by 4.5 percent, which Translink described as “a last resort”... But with slower than expected growth in the use of rail and bus services in 2015, along with a difficult economic climate and comparatively low fuel costs, the minister decided a further increase would only deter people from using these services... 
Belfast, NI, UK - UTV - 25 MAR 2016

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IDEAS TO SOLVE UNUSUAL CONGESTIONS * Australia: BRT

* Tasmania - Buses key to solving Hobart gridlock issue


-- It seems obvious — the road network cannot manage the traffic volume, it fills up with cars and it comes to a standstill, enraging drivers and creating productivity losses... But cars are not the sole cause. Drivers make the decision to drive to work. We all love our cars and the freedom they provide... Congestion has become a problem in Australia because other travel options are not as convenient as driving your car. But public transport can be made more attractive... Here are some ideas to give short to medium-term relief: 
 * BUS priority lanes on major city roads in peak times, 7.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6.30pm, that can also be used by cars with three or more passengers.
 * REINFORCE peak period bus priority by running buses on key routes in peak times every 10 minutes.
 * INTRODUCE an Any Bus, Any Time approach so all buses on a route can stop and pick up at every stop.
 * DURING non-peak times services should run every 30 minutes from 6.30am to 9.30pm for early starters and late finishers
 * INTRODUCE bus priority lay off areas and “B lights” at all traffic lights so buses can get ahead of the traffic.
 * IMPROVE bus interchange facilities to enable bus service providers to deliver seamless transfers between services.
 * DO a bus-stop infrastructure upgrade to provide enclosed bus stops to protect passengers from the weather, lighting for security at night, and be 400m from every home.
 * PROVIDE real-time information at bus stops and, through trip-plan web applications, give passengers information about when the bus is expected.
 * INTRODUCE Wi-Fi on buses and continue to implement statewide integrated ticketing.
 * BUILD park and ride facilities so drivers can park near major bus stops in outer Hobart and surrounding towns.
 * CONTINUE to implement a long-term bus replacement program that reduces the average age of the fleet to 12 years and invest in new vehicle and intelligent transport system technology.
... This would be an investment in the future livability and functionality not only for Hobart as a city... 
(Picture by NIKKI DAVIS-JONES - Passengers board a Metro bus in the Hobart bus mall) -- Hobart, Tasmania, Australia - The Mercury, by MICHAEL APPS: Executive director of the Bus Industry Confederation - March 25, 2016

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26.3.16

BUSES TRANSPORT DANGEROUS MATERIALS * India - ILLEGALY

* Mumbai - Do you know what is in the luggage hold?


-- Private buses transport dangerous material illegally without informing the passenger and, sometimes, even the crew... If you thought travelling by a luxury bus run by a private operator was the safest mode of transport between two cities, think again... These buses are often caught illegally transporting goods in their luggage compartment, and sometimes even atop the vehicle... On Tuesday, five passengers suffered minor burns when the bus staff tried to offload a container of sulphuric acid in order to avoid getting caught during a surprise check by the RTO, bringing into focus the illegal transportation of hazardous material in passenger buses... In spite of checks, the practice continues unhindered, say officials...
Most commonly found dangerous items in the luggage hold: * Two-wheelers with full fuel tank * Batteries * Foam * Mattresses * Agricultural chemicals * Cotton * Crackers * Gas cylinders
(Photo: G P Sampath Kumar - RTO Officials checking the luggage hold of private buses)  --  Mumbai, India - The Hindu, by AVINASH BHAT - March 25, 2016

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DANGEROUS TRIP * Pakistan

* Besham - Huge boulders smash into buses as passengers escape to safety during deadly landslide

-- A terrifying video shows rocks tumbling down the hillside and hitting the stricken buses... Huge boulders smash into buses as passengers escape to safety during deadly landslide... These bus passengers were among the lucky ones who managed to escape a devastating landslide... Huge rocks and boulders come tumbling down the hillside as two buses full of travellers sit on the edge of a tiny road... The footage was shot on the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan... Everyone on board, including the drivers, managed to get off the vehicles... But the road has remained shut for eight days after becoming blocked six point along the cliff road... 
(Photo: The rocks hit the stricken buses)  --  Karakorum Highway, Pakistan - The Mirror (UK), by KELLY-ANN MILLS - 25 MAR 2016

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WEATHER TROUBLES * Canada - School buses cancelled in city and county

* Ontario - School bus cancelled for Thursday

-- All school buses in the city and county of Peterborough have been pulled off the road as of Thursday morning. Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario, or STSCO, points to the day's heavy weather as the reason... "Thursday, March 24, 2016 - All busing and school transportation cancelled for the day to all schools in the STSCO jurisdiction due to the freezing rain winter storm warning. This includes service to all KPR, PVNC and Mon Jamot schools in Peterborough City and County, Northumberland, Campbellford and Clarington" ... Schools remain open. Schools are closed Friday and Monday for the Easter long weekend... 
 Peterborough, ONT, CAN - The Examiner - March 24, 2016

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SCHOOL BUSES RED FLAGGED * USA: "Critical" violations of mechanical and safety standards

* Minnesota - 16 Proctor buses flagged and three drivers cited for inspection violations

(Video Saysitall's Channel - Jul 17, 2012 - This video will show you how to do a school bus pretrip. Actually, this video is helpful for any class B vehicle) 

-- After a surprise inspection by the Minnesota State Patrol yesterday, 16 of the 25 school buses in the Proctor School District were red flagged, deemed not suitable for the road until repairs were made... The State Patrol released a list of ten, quote, "critical violations" ... Five of those included brake fluid leaks, exhaust leaks, emergency exits not operating correctly, defective brake components, and sharp, hazardous objects... Superintendent John Engelking said there were communication issues between the drivers and administration. They have now guaranteed no buses will be red flagged in the next inspection... Bus drivers are required to do a "pre–trip," or thorough inspection of the bus, before hitting the road each school day... But some drivers apparently didn't do that... 
Proctor, MINN - NNCNOW, by Josh Schuder - March 24, 2016

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PURCHASE OF ELECTRIC BUSES * Israel

* Jerusalem - 50 electric buses expected to hit Israel’s roads by 2017

-- The dream of hitching a ride on an electric bus may soon come true as the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund and Environmental Protection Ministry have launched a NIS 20 million project to put 50 electric buses on the country’s roads... Through this initiative, public bus companies will receive subsidies to buy electric buses. The subsidy amount that each company gets will depend on how many companies apply, a KKL-JNF spokesman said. He noted that the individual companies will be responsible for choosing a bus manufacturer, as well as for providing the charging infrastructure... The e-bus initiative is the first part of a larger, NIS 400m. project to reduce air pollution, advance alternative energy use and improve quality of life... Israel Danzinger, director-general of the Environmental Protection Ministry, said clean transportation has the potential to affect more than just air quality... KKL-JNF said that around 1,250 people die annually as a result of vehicle pollution, though it noted that air pollution is also caused by electricity generation and factories... In 2013, the Dan bus company unveiled its first fully electric bus, with plans to upgrade 25 percent of its fleet to electric buses by 2018... Requests to the company regarding the initiative’s status, however, went unanswered... 
(Photo by MARC ISRAEL SELLEM - An Egged bus)  --  Jerusalem, Israel - The Jerusalem Post, by MICHELLE MALKA GROSSMAN - 24 March 2016

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CITY EXPRESS BUSES for * Tanzania / Africa

* Tanzania - 50 City Express Buses ready to ply routes

-- Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said yesterday city express buses will be tested within one week to allow drivers and other road users to familiarise with routes and operations of the project... Up to 50 buses will be plying the Rapid Transit (Dart) routes, Mr Majaliwa said... The project was initially scheduled to start in October last year but faced a number of setbacks that forced the PM to step in... Mr Majaliwa has been leading talks between the government and stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the project...
(Photo: Buses Tanzania: Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi, Kampala, Mombasa, Nairobi Kigali)   --  Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - All Africa - 23 March 2016

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PROTERRA ELECTRIC BUSES news * USA

* California -  Proterra Electric Buses reached two million miles of revenue service

 (Video by pnwelevator - Feb 24, 2016 - From King County Metro in Seattle, which presents ride from passenger perspective) 

-- Proterra boasted an achivement of 2 million miles (3.2 million km) of revenue service logged – all covered by its pure electric buses. Equivalent to a bus traveling coast to coast 855 times, from San Diego, California to Jacksonville, Florida... According to Proterra there is 63 buses on the roads today, while the total sales reported is at “more than 122 vehicles to 15 different transit agencies“... “This year, Proterra will nearly double its production capacity as an increasing number of transit agencies see zero-emission buses as a credible and proven alternative to diesel, CNG and hybrid buses. With 30 percent fewer parts than alternative technologies, the Proterra Catalyst dramatically reduces maintenance and operating costs and is more cost-effective over the 12-year life of each bus, saving customers around $450,000 over the vehicle’s lifetime. The Proterra Catalyst is also the most efficient 40’ transit vehicle, with the longest range per kWh of energy storage and the lowest fuel cost per mile, at 22 MPGe and 1.7 kWh/mile...” Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra said... Small transit operator Clemson Area Transit (CATBUS) in Seneca, South Carolina in 2014 became the first transit system in North America to completely electrify its entire fleet using Proterra buses... Other important customer for Proterra is Foothill Transit in Pomona, Calif... It's amazing how much buses have changed over the years here in the Seattle Area from the Bredas... However this technology isn't perfect yet, we almost ran out of battery after the video ended and had to skip Bellevue College, OOPS!!!...
Burlingame, CAL, USA -  Inside EV, by Mark Kane - 23 March 2016

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NEW FLYER's NEWS * Canada

* Manitoba - Big year for bus maker New Flyer Industries

-- New Flyer Industries had a big year in 2015 that culminated in the December purchase of crosstown highway bus company Motor Coach Industries... The Winnipeg-based company — now the undisputed No. 1 bus company in North America — reported year-end revenue of US$1.54 billion, up 6.1 per cent from the year before... While the top line grew modestly, the bottom line looked even better... Total adjusted EBITDA for the year was up 41.1 per cent to US$151.4 million, and net earnings more than doubled to US$53.9 million... 
(Photo by TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) -- Winnipeg, Manitoba , CAN - Winnipeg Free Press, by Martin Cash - 24 March 2016

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NEW BUSES' RELIABILITY * USA

* California - Muni’s newest buses break down less often, data shows


-- Muni’s newest motor buses break down a whole lot less than their older counterparts... That’s according to data released this month by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which noted the 40-foot New Flyer hybrid buses from 2013 are roughly twice as reliable as the older buses, the 40-foot coaches constructed by Neoplan circa 2001... The reliability is measured by mean distance based on how many miles Muni buses travel before they break down... The New Flyers hovered between 10,000 and 12,000 miles for most of 2015, and early 2016, before they required major maintenance. By contrast, the Neoplan buses required similar maintenance between about 5,000 and 6,000 miles, but were known to reach lows of near 4,000 miles between failures in 2013... It’s unclear how that affects on-time performance of the buses, however... (Photo from The S.F. EXAMINER, by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez) -- San Francisco, CAL, USA - The S.F. EXAMINER, by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez - March 25, 2016

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RAPID TRANSIT FOR BUSES * USA:

* Tennessee - Senate approves rapid transit bill for buses on highway

-- Drivers in Middle Tennessee may soon see buses passing them on the highway... The state Senate on Wednesday voted 24-4 in favor of a bill that would create a rapid transit system along Tennessee's interstates... The measure would allow drivers operating buses, owned by a publicly owned transit company, to pass vehicles on the right while operating on the shoulder or right-of-way on any state or interstate highway... The initiative is one being done in nearly a dozen other states, including North Carolina and Georgia. The basis of the bill is an attempt to alleviate congestion and create a fast-flowing, reasonably priced public transit system... The bill is waiting to be placed on the House floor calendar... 
(Photo: The Tennessean)  --   Nashville, TENN, USA - The Tennessean, by Joel Ebert - March 23, 2016

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24.3.16

MERCEDES BENZ BUSES * Germany: Electric & Hydrogen ones for 2018

* Stuttgart - Electric and Hydrogen Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses on the road by 2018

-- Daimler Buses, one of the largest players on the bus market today, announced the approaching of pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell Mercedes-Benz Citaros... Both the E-CELL and F-CELL to be introduced by 2018, which continues to demonstrate the lead already achieved by BYD and their lineup of plug-in buses... Both models will be build on a joint E-Mobility platform and “both powertrain concepts to production standard and on the roads by 2018“... The battery sizes and charging infrastructure will be offered specifically for each tender to meet requirements of particular line. Some electric buses will be charged overnight, while others on the route, using roof-fast charging system... Hopefully Daimler should in the next few years join Volvo and BYD in global bus electrification in the heavy weight class... 
(Photo: Daimler Buses Preview Busworld Kortrijk 2015 Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT)   --   Stuttgart, Germany - Inside EVs, by Mark Kane - 20 March 2016

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SELF-DRIVING BUSES * The Netherlands: These mini buses give us a glimpse of the future

* Gelderland - Self-driving buses take Dutch streets in May

(Video by YOUNGWISE - Jul 1, 2015)

 -- While the focus of self-driving cars tends to be on personal vehicles from the likes of Google and Tesla, as well as ride sharing programs from Uber and Lyft, public transit isn’t completely forgotten, as one Dutch university is implementing driverless buses on its campus in May... Dubbed WEpods, an abbreviation of Wageningen and Ede, two towns in the south-central province of Gelderland, Netherlands, the buses can transport six people at the blistering (but safe) speed of 15 mph... They look a little like Mini’s attempt at a bus, in that it very much has a familiar bus look — just smaller... But the important thing is that they seem to work, and without the backing of a big tech company. The local government reportedly approached Google about using its driverless car technology, and not surprisingly was turned down... So they went ahead and developed the technology themselves. Working in conjunction with Technical University of Delft, they were able to obtain funding and moved forward modifying vehicles intended for robotics manufacturer EasyMile. The vehicles were tested along a 200-meter stretch of road for two months before receiving approval for a rollout this spring... In just two years the vehicles came together and cost the local government 3.4 million Euros ($3.8 million) for a pair of vehicles set to traverse Wageningen University’s streets alongside other cars and pedestrians. Students, guests, and teachers can simply summon the vehicle with an iPhone app, step right in, and be shuttled off to their destination, so long as it’s along a select stretch of road... WEpods are also an open-source project, so other companies and governments can utilize the technology. Apparently Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Brussels are already interested... Even if it’s only limited usage, this is an exciting development in the advance of autonomous vehicles... 
Wageningen and Ede, Gelderland, Netherlands - Inverse, by William Hoffman - March 19, 2016

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VIOLENCE AGAINST BUS DRIVERS * Australia

* NSW - 'Last straw': Union fed up with workplace violence after bus driver spat on during racist attack

(Video by baray raty - Mar 21, 2016)

 -- The latest senseless attack on a Sydney bus has pushed the union to call for cages to be installed in New South Wales buses to protect the drivers... A passenger who caught the wrong bus by mistake was caught on camera racially abusing the driver before spitting on him... Witness Dylan Lloyd said the other passengers on the bus were disgusted by the man’s behavior... 

A union survey of delegates uncovered Sydney’s most dangerous routes, which included: 
 • The 545 and 513 in the west 
• The 470 and 431 in the city 
• The L90 in the north 
 • Buses down Anzac Parade in the east. 

... While many of those routes travel through areas that don’t appear dangerous, it is often the late night journeys that make the drivers feel the most vulnerable... The government maintains the amount of violence on trains and buses is falling... 
 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - Yahoo7 News, by Sean Berry - March 21, 2016

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NEW FLEET BUSES * Egypt

* Cairo - Streets to see 700 new buses in 2016

-- Nearly 700 buses will enter the public transportation service in Cairo in 2016 at a monthly average of 25 buses ... The Cairo's Governor, Galal El-Saeedannounced that 150 buses would enter the service starting April, and a tender for 300 buses using natural gas as fuel... The head of Cairo's public transportation authority has said in previous press statements that the Greater Cairo metropolitan area, which is home to some 20 million people, needs at least 10,000 buses to ease traffic congestion... 
(Photo by Mai Shaheen - A Cairo public bus)  --  Cairo, Egypt - Ahram Online - 20 Mar 2016

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NEW HIGH-TECH BUSES * USA

* New York - What to expect from NYC's new high-tech buses

-- New York’s fleet of buses are about to get some big upgrades. The MTA announced last week a $1.3 billion plan to add over 2,000 new buses to their fleet that include things like free wifi, charging ports and digital information screens... The new buses are scheduled to be added over the next five years, and will eventually replace about 40 percent of the city’s existing, decaying fleet. The first buses hit the streets of Queens in April, and eventually will be rolled out to the other boroughs... Each new bus will feature between 35 and 55 USB ports, allowing riders to charge their devices as they ride. The busses will also feature 'high-speed' wifi hotspots — though details about actual wifi speeds were not disclosed. Eventually, all of the city’s express buses will also be retrofitted to offer this same technology... About 200 of the new buses will also include digital information screens, allowing passengers to access information about things like upcoming stops, transfer options and weather. Those screens will also, of course, include advertising... With something like 8.7 million people relying on New York's mass transit everyday, any upgrade is welcome. Regardless, it's nice to live in a city busy upgrading their system...
 NY, USA - Built in NYC, by Anthony Sodd - Mar 21st, 2016

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ELECTRIC BUSES * WORLDWIDE

* Karnakata / India - Electric buses daily earn 82 per cent more profit than diesel vehicles


-- Electric buses generate 27 percent more revenue and 82 percent more profits than diesel buses per day, according to an Indian Institute of Science (IISc) study evaluating electric vehicles for urban transport... The findings have special significance because primary mass transit in Indian cities is provided by 150,000 diesel buses, held responsible for contributing to urban smog and carbon emissions that are warming the planet... As much as 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission can be cut every year for every diesel bus replaced by an electric bus, said the IISC study, conducted by Sheela Ramasesha and her group at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change in Bengaluru... Diesel-powered buses and trucks contribute higher CO2 than lighter motor vehicles powered by petrol, a study in the journal Atmospheric Environment said in 2009... Despite the high initial investment, the absence of tailpipe exhaust fumes, silent running, and lower idling motor energy losses at bus stops or traffic signals could make the electric bus one of those technological options for urban India... 
(Photo: First electric bus launched in Bangalore)   --  Bangalore, Karnakata, India - The New Indian Express - 21st March 2016


* British Columbia / Canada - Report: Electric & Hybrid Electric buses eemand to grow at 17% till 2021


-- Growing demand for zero emission vehicles and implementation of favourable government policies to drive growth in global electric & hybrid electric bus market through 2021... According to TechSci Research report, "Global Electric & Hybrid Electric Buses Market, By Vehicle Type, By Technology, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011-2021", global market for electric & hybrid electric buses offers huge growth potential. Major global economies such as the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, China, etc., have already deployed a huge number of new buses with electric and hybrid fuel systems. Major factors driving global electric & hybrid electric buses market include rising pollution concerns, rapid developments in transportation sector, coupled with governments across various countries launching initiatives to switch from clean energy buses comprising CNG/LPG buses to zero emission buses. Over the next five years, developed economies offer tremendous potential for incorporation of these high priced electric & hybrid electric buses in their transportation networks... Leading electric & hybrid electric bus manufacturers across the globe have been constantly working on lowering cost of batteries in order to boost adoption of electric & hybrid buses in various developed as well as major developing countries, globally. Few of the leading electric & hybrid electric bus manufacturers such as Zhengzhou Yutong Group, BYD, Volvo, Zhongtong Bus, etc., have been expanding their product portfolios and focusing on introduction of various models of electric & hybrid electric buses with advanced features that are specific to a country's requirements and road conditions... 
(Photo: Beijing's electric bus fleet in service during the 2008 Olympics) -- Burnaby,BC,CAN - PRNewswire - March 23, 2016


* DC / USA - Accelerating zero-emission mass transit one EV bus order at a time

 -- During the last ten years the United States has borne witness to a patchwork of federal transportation funding measures. But on December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, crystallizing a long-term investment future for manufacturers, infrastructure providers and public transit agencies alike. Backed by strong bipartisan support, the $305 billion surface transportation bill marks the first multi-year, fully-funded bill of its kind in over a decade, which sets the historical legislation in stark relief against years of inadequate funding... The law is of particular importance to the emerging zero-emission bus industry. Transit agencies will see an 89 percent increase of current funding levels for the Bus and Bus Facilities Program and bolstered investment in the Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment (LoNo) Program... Lastly, the FAST Act enhances state transportation programs. For example, California transit agencies can take advantage of the state’s existing Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) and still lease batteries through the FAST Act, dramatically reducing upfront capital costs...
Washington, DC, USA - The Hill, by Eric J. McCarthy - March 23, 2016


* California / USA - Link Transit orders first 4 BYD electric buses

-- Link Transit, in the City of Wenatchee, Washington, USA,  will take delivery of their first four battery electric transit buses from the global electric vehicle leader BYD Coach & Bus... The BYD K9S is a 35 foot derivative of the BYD K9 40 foot bus which is the most popular electric bus platform on earth, with more than 6,000 now running in revenue service in cities from Los Angeles, to London and Hong Kong... BYD’s Battery Electric bus employs many advanced technologies developed in-house by a staff of more than 15,000 R&D engineers and includes the BYD Iron-Phosphate battery which boasts the only 12-year-battery warranty in the industry. Combined with BYD’s proprietary in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking system, the BYD battery electric bus offers the lowest life cycle cost of ownership... 
 (Photo: Business Wire - The 35' BYD K9S that will be joining LINK's fleet in 2016)   --  Los Angeles, CAL, USA -- BUSINESS WIRE - March 22, 2016

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NEIGHBOROUGH COMPLAINTS * USA: Staten Island's ones

* New York - A lot of work to do to fix a bus service

(Video from Staten Island Advance - 22 mar. 2016: Videos gathered by the Van Duzer Civic Association show MTA buses routinely passing by Staten Islanders waiting at various bus stops) 

... The bus, of course, is one of the borough's main forms of public transit. We don't have a subway, you see, like the other four boroughs. We do have the Staten Island Railway, a hardly little line. But it only goes up the East Coast of the borough... Given the distances that need to be covered, cabs aren't really a fit for our daily commutes... And some folks simply refuse to face the hell of driving to work off-Island, which also comes with the need to pay for parking on the other side. That's a bridge too far for a lot of us, no pun intended... So we rely on the bus, both local routes and express buses into Manhattan. They're not getting the job done. We need help... Or is this another thing we're just supposed to get used to? Like we're supposed to get used to traffic on the Staten Island Expressway or on our local roads? Like we're supposed to get used to the Island becoming a frozen zone whenever there's a fender-bender on the Gowanus Expressway during the morning rush hour?... How many compromises are commuters expected to make for the privilege of living in their home borough?... 
Staten Island, NY, USA - SIadvance, by Tom Wrobleski - March 22, 2016

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23.3.16

RAPID BUS slower that ACTUAL BUSES * USA

* Oregon - Portland's proposed rapid bus actually slower than existing bus

-- Portland’s first-ever rapid bus project has hit a speed bump, after a transit study found the new line would actually be slower than current buses on the same streets... Leaders in Gresham, Portland and the regional Metro government identified the Powell-Division corridor for rapid transit a few years ago. Passengers complained that current buses were so packed, the buses would routinely roll past would-be riders, waiting at bus stops... Portland-area planners prioritized hearing from the diverse communities of Gresham and Southeast Portland before mapping out a specific rapid bus line from Mount Hood Community College to downtown Portland. The route with the most support involved following Powell Boulevard near the river, and then jog over to Division, likely on 82nd Avenue... But Metro spokesman Craig Beebe said the new study found that route would be slower from end-to-end than current TriMet buses. “The reasons include design constraints on inner Powell and 82nd Ave, or 50th or 52nd Ave — the cross-over street from Powell to Division,” Beebe said... The transit study says the third option, of simply improving current bus lines, could begin in three to five years... But giving up on bus rapid transit would likely mean giving up eligibility for federal funding of $75 million — money that would have to be matched dollar-for-dollar from local sources. However, officials said the federal government is not likely to fund a bus rapid transit project that isn’t actually faster than the buses already running on the same streets...
(Photo by Thomas Le Ngo/TriMet: Passengers exit a TriMet bus)   --  Portland, ORE, USA - OPB, by Rob Manning - March 23, 2016

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OVERCROWDED BUSES * India

* Tamil Nadu - Chennai buses most crowded in the country

-- The stance is slanting and the demeanour decrepit. The very appearance of the buses of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai can be telling in many respects. The slant has become the natural pose after years of carrying passengers on the footboards... Overcrowded buses are not new to Chennaiites but the numbers make it official. With 1,300 passengers travelling per bus per day, MTC has the most crowded buses in the country, a Union ministry report said... Across the state, the government rolled out 7,153 buses from 2011-12 to 2014-15. However, the fleet sized increased only by 1,574 - from 19,110 to 20,684. Experts say the core issue of both over-crowding and high number of accidents is due to poor planning of routes. Several of the routes in the corporation are very long and are not utilised effectively... Overcrowded buses are not only dangerous but also uncomfortable for passengers, especially with the summer approaching... With the summer approaching, commuters are not looking forward to using MTC buses... 
Chennai, TN, India - Times of India, by Karthikeyan Hemalatha - Mar 22, 2016

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DANGEROUS TRIP in BUSES * Lebanon/Dáesh

* Beirut - Buses provide rare bridge to IS turf

(Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP: Bus driver Abu Ali walks past prepares to travel into Syria from the Charles Helou bus station in Beirut)

 -- "Raqa! Manbij! Al-Bab!" drivers call out at a bus station in the heart of bustling Beirut looking for passengers to make the perilous journey to Islamic State group strongholds in Syria... "Just before we reach the first Daesh checkpoint, everyone throws out their cigarettes," said Abu Ali, a bus driver in his 40s, using a derogatory Arabic name for IS. "And we spray perfume in the bus so that they can't smell the tobacco, otherwise we'll be whipped!" he said with concern etched into his expression, as he prepared to travel up to Manbij in northern Syria... The jihadists, who apply their own extreme interpretation of Islam in areas of Syria and Iraq that they have seized since 2013, do more than just inspect the bus for cigarettes. "They even smell our hands to make sure we haven't smoked," said Jawad, another bus driver, also using a pseudonym for fear of retribution... Standing near his bus at the Charles Helou station near the Lebanese capital's harbour, another driver begged AFP journalists not to film either his face or his number plate. "These people, they're dangerous, and they can recognise the bus even from the most minor detail," said the terrified man... The buses, which leave from a bus station located in one of Beirut's busiest districts, are a rare link between IS-held turf in Syria and the outside world. Since IS began conquering swathes of Syria in 2013, the buses have made two journeys a week to areas under the jihadists' grip, often with no more than three passengers on board... In cities like Raqa, the IS de facto capital in northern Syria, and Al-Bab to the west, residents are banned from smoking or wearing clothes deemed inappropriate under the jihadists' interpretation of sharia law...

(Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP - Buses from Beirut make two journeys a week to areas of Syria under jihadists' control, often with only a couple of passengers on board)

--  "Before the war, it took us four hours to make this journey; now, the route is 24 hours long," Abu Ali said... The buses leave from Beirut and pass through Damascus and Dmeir before reaching Palmyra in eastern Syria, in IS hands since spring last year... The vehicles then head northwest towards Raqa, Manbij, Maskana and Al-Bab near Turkey... "When the fighting is fierce, the regime doesn't let us through and we are forced to spend one or two nights on the road before we can continue on our journey," Abu Ali explained... Yet on one of the world's most dangerous routes, neither drivers nor passengers can ever be sure they'll make it to their destinations alive... "My colleague was heading back several days ago on the Palmyra road, when fighting broke out," Mohammed said... "I recognised his bus, its front was completely smashed in. He didn't make it" ... 
 Beirut, Lebanon - AFP/Daily Mail - 21 March 2016

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