User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Buses World News: March 2011

Buses World News

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


BUSMAKERS NEWS * UK - Optare extends contract with GMPTE

Blackburn,Manchester.UK -Manchester Evening News -21 March 2011: -- Bus and coach manufacturer Optare has announced its third big deal of the month with an extension to its contract with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive...   Optare, which is based in Blackburn, won an initial £13m order last May for 66 hybrid buses, of which 20 are now in service... The company has now secured a contract for a further 22 vehicles worth £4.3m which will be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2011 and early 2012... Last week, Optare announced a contract worth more than £2.2m with Go Ahead North East and earlier in March said it had been commissioned to supply 20 buses to Rotala for £3.6m... (Picture from wikipedia: Lancashire United Optare Versa unfinished livery)


COMPLAINS * UK - Passengers’ fury at rural bus route cuts

Northamptonshire,EN,UK -The Evening Telegraph  -23 March 2011: -- News that scores of bus services across the north of the county are to be axed has been greeted with anger by people in rural communities... Service operator Stagecoach has announced a first round of cuts as it attempts to make up a shortfall in council funding... The £3.1m a year previously given to bus companies by Northamptonshire County Council is being cut to £1m and Stagecoach says it cannot afford operate non-profitable services... But in Loddington, a village currently served by six buses a day to Kettering which will soon be axed, residents fear it will lead to people becoming isolated... (Photo: The Route A bus will be less frequent)

* Rural areas face double hit of bus fare rises and service cuts

Yorkshire,EN,UK -The Yorkshire Post -23 March 2011: -- Rural areas are set to be hard hit as bus passengers face a double hit of “large scale” cuts in routes and fare increases on remaining services because of Government funding cuts and soaring costs... Arriva, which operates buses across West and North Yorkshire, says fares will rise beyond inflation and many services will be cut because it is losing £14m a year in Government funding while also being hit by increasing fuel and staff costs... Bosses also warn of further strain imposed by cuts in funding for free bus travel which they say will have an uneven impact, smaller cities and rural areas being particularly affected...


BUSES PURCHASE PROSPECT * Canada - St. John's spending $15 M on new buses

Metrobus will be replacing some of its old buses

St. John,Manitoba,Canada -CBC News -Mar 22, 2011: -- St. John's city council has approved a plan to borrow $15 million for new public buses... Half the city's fleet is at least 25 years old and councillors said the buses should be replaced for safety reasons... Metrobus will get 30 new vehicles under the seven-year plan... City officials looked into buying new hybrid-electric buses but decided not to purchase the more-expensive, environmentally friendly vehicles... The hybrids each cost $300,000 more than standard buses... 


The Freedom Buses, with student designs, ready to roll

Berkeley,CAL,USA -The Berkeleyside, by Tracey Taylor -March 21, 2011: -- An AC Transit bus wrapped in artwork commemorating the civil rights movement, created by Berkeley High School Arts and Humanities Academy students, will go on display on March 25 to the public... The bus is part of the Freedom Bus Project, a joint effort by the Alameda County Office of Education and AC Transit, in conjunction with West Contra Costa Unified School District and Art IS Education. The project honors the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama... Elementary, middle and high school students in the AC Transit service district, which spans Alameda County and West Contra Costa County, submitted social justice-themed artwork which was considered for the Freedom Bus Project’s mobile art exhibit. Starting in April, four of the winning entries will be displayed in over 200 buses in the AC Transit fleet through the end of the month...
 The Freedom Bus Project’s Art Exhibit and Community Celebration will be held at 6pm on March 25, 2011 at the Oakland School for the Arts... 


GPS * India - On Delhi city buses by March-end

New Delhi,India -Sify -21 March 2011: -- The Delhi government today said it will install global positioning systems (GPS) in all buses by end of this fiscal while over 1,700 new bus shelters will be set up in the city in another two months...  Transport Minister Arvinder Singh said the government had identified 2,800 sites for new bus shelters, of which 1,703 are being set up in the first phase and the rest will come up in phase-II...  Work on installing over 1,000 such shelters has already been completed, Singh said adding, the first phase was to be over by April 31 but now it has been delayed and will be completed in the month of May...  To supplementaries raised by members, he said action will be taken against any contractor who won tenders for the first phase of the project but is yet to start work. He assured of a probe into allegations that old bus shelters are being installed in some rural areas and that a bus stop near MCD Civic Centre building has been removed... 


BUS CARDS * Australia - 1 in 5 bus passengers using MyWay

Canberra,ACT,Australia -ABC News -Mar 21, 2011: -- The ACT Government says about a fifth of Canberra bus passengers are now using the new MyWay ticketing system... From April 11, paper-based tickets will no longer be valid on ACTION buses... MyWay cards or cash fares will be the only way that passengers can access buses after that date... The new cards were offered to seniors a month ago and made more widely available a fortnight ago... TAM's Director of Transport Planning Paul Peters says the old system will be phased out early next month... (Picture from ABC News: An estimated 1 in 5 Canberra bus passengers are using the new MyWay ticketing system for travel)


BUSES vs. TRAINS * USA - Metro plans to cut L.A. bus service as rail capacity expands

Changes to Metro's bus system come five years after a federal consent decree was lifted

The Dart: Ep 104 - Los Angeles Metro from Richard Lutz on Vimeo.
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Los Angeles Times, by Sam Allen -March 19, 2011: --  The consent decree arose from a settlement of a suit alleging the transit agency violated civil rights by favoring rail over buses... As transit officials push forward on an ambitious plan to expand rail service across L.A. County, they are also proposing significant reductions in bus service aimed at cutting costs and making the system more efficient... The latest plans, combined with changes last year, mark the most significant overhaul of L.A.'s bus system in more than a decade and would slash overall bus service by 12% and increase the number of passengers on individual buses. Nine routes are set to be eliminated in June and 11 more would be cut back... The series of reductions by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority comes after a federal judge ended a decade-long consent decree five years ago. The decree gave a court-appointed special master oversight over how the agency managed its bus service, which today accounts for about 80% of Metro's total 1.4 million average weekday boardings...



"PARASITES" * UK - Cost Londoners £75m

Boris Johnson slams the fare-dodging

London,EN,USA -The London Evening Standard, by Dick Murray -18 Mar 2011: -- Boris Johnson today accused Tube and bus fare dodgers of being a "parasitic scourge" on London as figures showed the problem has got worse... The cost of fare-dodging rose to almost £75 million last year, up £5  million from the previous year... At least 120,000 passengers are known to have "dodged" their fare and Transport for London believes many hundreds of thousands of journeys are made each year by people with no valid ticket... "Fare dodgers are a parasitic scourge on this city costing London millions of pounds," said the Mayor as TfL announced a clampdown on cheats, with more plain-clothes ticket inspectors and police operations. Inspectors and uniformed staff will target specific areas and routes with British Transport Police and City of London Police... Mr Johnson also said that one of the main reasons he was phasing out "the dreaded bendy buses" was because "they made it far too easy for people to avoid paying"... Bendy buses have Oyster card readers by the rear doors and passengers do not have to pass the driver when boarding...


Transit Bus Testing * USA - Heavier Passengers Bring Change to

FTA: Current assumption, 150 pounds per passenger, is no longer accurate

Washington,DC,USA -OHS -Mar 15, 2011: -- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is changing how transit buses are tested to verify they can withstand the rigors of regular transit service. The change boosts the average assumed weight per passenger from 150 to 175 pounds and the assumed dimensions for a standing passenger from 1.5 square feet of free floor space to 1.75 square feet of free floor space "to acknowledge the expanding girth of the average passenger" ... The tests are done with a full load of seated and standing passengers represented during the gross vehicle weight portion and with all seats filled during the seated load weight portion, the notice states...


Out of Service * USA - New York sting puts 14 of 14 tour buses ...

“Major Issues”: lack of an updated log book required to show how long a driver has been behind the wheel

Albany,NY,USA -The Associated Press, by MICHAEL GORMLEY -21 March 2011: -- A sting operation by New York state transportation investigators and law enforcement a week after a horrific fatal tour bus crash included a single stop in Manhattan in which all 14 tour buses pulled over were ordered off the road, state officials said Saturday...  State investigators reported nine “major issues” Friday night with the drivers, including lack of an updated log book required to show how long a driver has been behind the wheel, an official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The state Department of Transportation investigators found 10 major vehicle issues and 40 minor infractions, the official said...  The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the continuing sting operation involving police statewide...  Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the operation at DOT checkpoints as part of his order to investigate the Bronx crash of the tour bus, which was serving casino customers, while stepping up enforcement of all tour buses statewide... (AP photo: The state Department of Transportation investigators found 10 major vehicle issues)

* New York - Deadly Crashes highlight proliferation of low-fare bus options in Northeast

New York,NY,USA -The Washington Post -March 18, 2010: -- The past year has been one of exhilarating expansion, and deadly setbacks, for the fleets of inexpensive buses plying the highways of the Northeast... 
Lured by cheap fares, convenient routes and in some cases free wireless Internet, customers queue up daily from curbside pickups in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington...  The industry is in the fifth year of a solid boom, thanks to a new breed of bus service that eschews terminals and thrives on low prices Amtrak couldn’t hope to match. But a string of fatal crashes over six months also has prompted calls for tougher regulation...  In September, four people died after a Megabus driver missed his exit for a depot in Syracuse, N.Y., and smashed into a low bridge on an unfamiliar parkway. Last Saturday, a bus swerved off Interstate 95 in New York City and was sliced in two by a pole, killing 15. On Monday, a bus drove off the New Jersey Turnpike and struck a bridge support, killing the driver and a passenger...  The buses were all operated under different circumstances. One was owned by a big corporation with deep pockets. Another was a casino shuttle. The third was a tiny company serving mostly Chinese immigrants. Still, all three crashes happened in the dark, and on any bus route drivers are susceptible to fatigue...  Brian Lancaster, a driver who cruises a route between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J., said that many times he has felt like pulling over to the side of the road to rest...  (Photo by Bill Kostroun/The Associated Press:  NTSB workers inspect the tour bus at a New York State Police impound lot in Salt Point, N.Y. Tuesday, March 15, 2011)

* New York - Stepped-up inspections take 41 buses off road

New York,NY,USA -Lohud, by Ken Valenti -22 March 2011: -- Dozens of buses and drivers were pulled off the road in stepped-up inspections over the weekend, the state Department of Transportation said Monday...  The DOT, New York City and state police — with federal border patrol agents working near Canada — inspected 164 buses from Friday through Sunday, and in 41 cases, they found violations involving either the bus or the driver that were serious enough to take the bus out of service...  Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered additional safety inspections after the March 12 bus crash on the Westchester County-Bronx border that killed 15 and injured more than a dozen others...  Elsewhere in the state, 138 buses were inspected with 25 taken off the road. DOT officials declined to say specifically where the stops occurred, citing the continuing investigation...  Stephen Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said more attention should to be paid to the condition of buses and the safety of the passengers on them...  (Photo by Matthew Brown/The Journal News: Passengers exit the number 20 Bee Line bus at the stop in front of Empire City at Yonkers Raceway this month in Yonkers)



STRIKES * Italy - Buses out of service in Rome

Rome,Italy -Video from YouTube - 10 March 2011: Transport strike in Rome.



BUSMAKERS NEWS * USA - Investing in tomorrow and create jobs today

(Video from YouTube, by usdotgov -11 Feb 2011: Proterra was founded in 2004 to build the "bus of tomorrow." And with the help of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, the company has succeeded creating an electric bus that can be recharged in under ten minutes)

Greenville,S.C.,USA -USA DOT -1 March 2011:  ... Proterra Inc., an electric bus manufacturer, thanks to federal investment has been able to develop incredible zero-emissions transit buses and add hundreds of new jobs in South Carolina...  Proterra has hired to the Greenville community more than 120 workers, with plans to reach up to 350 workers by the end of this year and more than 1,300 by 2015...  Although Federal Tranist Administration grants had helped the company develop its fuel-cell technology, Proterra did not make the leap from a research and development company into a full-fledged manufacturer until FTA grants made it possible for cash-strapped transit agencies across the country to order new buses...  The Obama Administration is investing in tomorrow and creating jobs today.


Tech Innovations * USA & Canada - Transit's Tops

* Canada - Nova Bus: All-Electric Engine Cooling System

The Saint-Eustache,QC,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- A proprietary, integrated engineering electric engine cooling system improves the buses’ performance through reductions in maintenance costs, fuel consumption and polluting emissions... The system’s 13 variable-speed brushless fans are designed to last the life of the bus. Improved fuel efficiency affords up to 15 percent fuel economy from the lower overall power draw from the engine. Reduced maintenance costs are seen due to the elimination of the oil cooler and manifold. The system is positioned for the cleanest and coolest air intake... The all-electric engine cooling system is designed for serviceability and integrated in the Volvo multiplex system for easy diagnostics... (Image from novabus)

* USA - Thermo King Corp., a business of Ingersoll Rand – Alternator-Powered All-Electric HVAC

Minneapolis,Minnesota,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011:  --  While all-electric heating, ventilation and air conditioning for hybrid buses and trolley buses is a well-established technology, Thermo King offers a unique innovative solution that supplies high voltage power to the electric HVAC unit using an alternator driven by the bus engine. The alternator output is conditioned and stabilized before being used to power the electric compressors and fan motors regardless of engine speed...  The alternator-powered all-electric HVAC system provides full capacity at engine idle, constant capacity throughout the speed range of the engine, lower maintenance costs, improved reliability, fuel savings and a control system that optimizes energy management and conservation...

* Ohio / USA - Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority – TransitStat

Cleveland,OH,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- TransitStat requires GCRTA’s management team to use data and information systems to define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) operations...  Stat programs are structured, continuous management processes, which entail the frequent gathering, reviewing and analyzing of day-to-day government performance. GCRTA holds weekly meetings led by OMB and an executive team to review performance, understand trends and make necessary adjustments to ensure that immediate and long-term goals are met...  TransitStat affects the entire organization’s culture by signaling that performance and data-driven management is important...  Over the past several years, GCRTA’s business strategy has focused on three goals: A) Maintain financial health, B) Improve customer service, and C) Enhance the image of GCRTA. In order to affect these goals, GCRTA must embrace a performance culture that manages by data. TransitStat enhances GCRTA’s ability to deliver performance needed to reach and exceed its goals...

* DC / USA - Capital Metro – Mirror Awareness Guide

Washington,DC,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- One of Capital Metro’s most common types of collisions was mirror-to-mirror. Surprisingly, more collisions occurred from vehicles overtaking buses rather than from oncoming traffic. To counter this problem, the agency developed its Mirror Awareness Guide (MAG) devices and affixed them to the street-side rear section of its buses. The MAG device is the width of a bus mirror and set to the center height of the street-side exterior mirror...  The premise is simple: when an overtaking vehicle approaches the bus and begins to pass, the driver should notice the protruding MAG device, which focuses their attention on the bus, causing them to pass with a wider safety cushion...  If they fail to notice the device and travel too close to the bus, their mirror will hit the device producing a loud noise without harming their mirror or the flexible MAG. This should encourage them to move away from the bus before striking its mirror...

* Connecticut / USA - CTTransit – Hydrogen Garage Modifications

CT,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- Initially, bus companies testing hydrogen-fueled buses spent millions of dollars building small separate garages or bays for these specially fueled vehicles. These facilities were very expensive as they were designed to contain an explosion should one occur. CTTransit felt this was the wrong strategy and hired a consultant with extensive experience working with hydrogen with sophisticated computer modeling tools...  Hydrogen is the lightest element in the universe, and if released, it disperses quickly. It is only flammable or explosive if concentrated. CTTransit was able to prove to the state facility engineer and fire marshals a better way to handle a hydrogen leak was not to contain it, concentrating it, but dispersing it immediately...  The approved final solution was groundbreaking and inexpensive. CTTransit placed hydrogen leak detectors in its bus and bus bay and connected both to the facility backup electrical power supply should grid power fail. It locked out/tagged out the bus’ hydrogen fuel system before bringing it into the garage and ran it solely on electric power...  Plastic covers were placed over bus bay light fixtures to prevent hydrogen from entering them and eliminating the lights as a possible spark source. Ventilation ducts were lowered from the ceiling so a constant low flow of air would be directed on the bus at all times...

* Colorado / USA - Proterra:  EcoRide

Golden, CO ,USA -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- Traditionally, the barriers to employing battery-powered buses in large-scale applications were the range and charging needs of batteries. Additionally, the weight of traditional buses has made it difficult to feasibly incorporate a battery with sufficient power and energy storage capacity into coach designs...  Proterra Inc. is unique in that it designs and manufactures an electric bus’ complete system, including its own TerraVolt energy storage system which includes batteries, battery management system and integration system, FastFill rooftop rapid charging system, ProDrive drive system using a UQM PowerPhase 150 motor with three-speed gearbox, and a Continental VDO master control system with custom programming...  The Proterra EcoRide BE 35 is different than most battery drive vehicles where range is dictated by the number of batteries. The Ecoliner can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week on routes outfitted with fast-charge stations...  The key to this project is the utilization of the fast-charge battery. According to laboratory data, this battery retains its energy reserve and charging profile from 8,000 to 25,000 charge-discharge cycles and can be quick-charged from a 10 percent to a 95 percent charge in 10 minutes or less while the bus is at a layover...  The EcoRide BE 35 offers zero emissions, potential for 90 percent reduction in fuel costs, significant noise reduction, lower maintenance costs and 90 percent regenerative braking energy recapture.

* BC / Canada - NextBus' real-time passenger information systems

Burnaby,British Columbia,CAN  -Mass Transit Mag -Feb 2011: -- Used by more than 80 transit properties, including 30 colleges and universities, NextBus’ real-time passenger information systems provide services for city and county transit systems, resort shuttles, hospital and corporate campus shuttles, airport shuttles, and college and university transit systems. The largest transit properties in North America use NextBus, including Toronto (TTC), Boston (MBTA), San Francisco (SFMTA), Los Angeles (LACMTA) and Washington, D.C., (WMATA)...  NextBus helps transit properties provide exceptional service to their customers. Riders will always know when their bus will arrive. Transit managers will always know where their buses are and if they are operating properly. Truly a win-win situation for everyone involved...



BUSMAKERS' NEWS * Germany - Volkswagen's Bulli concept revives memories of the Kombi

An urban electric all-purpose vehicle

(Picture: The Volkswagen Bulli Concept from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show)
Wolfsburg,Germany -Gizmag, by Mike Hanlon -March 2, 2011: -- Volkswagen is reprising the iconic Microbus/Kombi wagon surfaced in Geneva. The new 'Bulli' concept offers a flexible layout, seating for six, a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, an 85 kW electric motor with 260 Nm torque,140 km/h (87 mph) top speed and a range of 300 km (186 miles). There's still not enough range just yet for a serious escape vehicle – if there's no electricity available where you're going, you're on a 90 mile leash – but suitable as an urban electric all-purpose vehicle...  The all-new 'Bulli' concept is not in effect all-new...  The electric Bulli will probably not be the first of this shape available, as VW pointed out that both petrol and diesel direct injection engines can be accommodated by the front-wheel-drive design...
Like many vehicles in Geneva, the tablet or iPad has been used in the center console as a multifunctional touchscreen interface and controller. In the Bulli, it acts as an interface for Internet-based applications, the media and entertainment functionality of the vehicles' telephone and navigation...



PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION * USA - Turkey first off rank for new NY taxis

Karsan, a small Turkish contract manufacturer, has caused a stir with its eye-catching V1 hybrid van

Toronto,ONT,CAN -FT (UK), by Bernard Simon -February 28 2011: -- Anyone hailing a yellow cab in New York in years to come will have a better than even chance of stepping into a vehicle built not in one of the global carmaking centres of Detroit, Japan or Germany, but in Turkey...  Turkey has strong connections to two of three finalists in a contest known as Taxi of Tomorrow, under which the city will mandate a single model for all its 13,200 cabs, starting in 2014...  Karsan, a small Turkish contract manufacturer, has caused a stir with its eye-catching V1 hybrid van, whose features include a panoramic glass roof and wheelchair ramps on both sides of the vehicle. Ford Motor’s entry, an adaptation of its popular Transit Connect van, is also currently assembled in Turkey...  The third finalist is a North American version of Nissan’s NV200 van, already available in Europe and Asia...  New York taxis are owned by private operators, who are required to buy their vehicles from a list of models approved by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission... Accessibility has played a big role in the Taxi of Tomorrow contest, hence the absence of a conventional sedan among the finalists. Fuel economy, safety and value-for-money are also high on the list. Other features offered by the finalists include WiFi accessibility, power sockets, television screens and credit card machines...   Karsan was favoured by two-thirds of 22,000 New Yorkers who voted in a recent commission poll on the three finalists’ visual designs. Nissan came second and Ford third.   (Image from hotelsinbursa: Karsan taxi New York)

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* USA - Use Buses Not High Speed Rail...

Lake Wales,Lakeland,FL,USA -The Ledger, by CHARLES TANNER -February 23, 2011:    ...   Create jobs, build express lanes where the tracks were to be laid. Express buses, built in the U.S.A., would travel this route with natural gas engines. The stations could be much smaller, cheaper to build, with many convenient locations. The express lanes would be privately operated toll roads, accommodating privately operated buses and cars. This would leave the taxpayer off the hook for ever having to support this system...  Think of the flexibility this idea would have. An express bus could travel directly from Tampa International Airport to Disney or directly to any of the other theme parks. A visitor would leave his flight at Tampa and not have to hire a taxi to take him to the train station. He would go directly to his destination without having to find a ride after arriving at the station. A bus able to travel 70 mph could travel between Tampa and Orlando in a little over an hour...   The financing would be accomplished by companies bidding for the right to franchise this project. I am sure many of the theme parks would combine and take part in the project...   The benefits of this idea is Florida jobs, less carbon dioxide emissions and flexibility. Florida workers would build the express lanes and stations. The buses could be built in the U.S. rather than in a foreign country...  The power plants that would have had to supply electricity for the trains would use less coal or oil not having to support 150-mph trains... (Photo from en.wikipedia: Double articulated bus in Hamburg)

* UK - Green group attacks high-speed rail plans

London,EN,UK -FT (UK), by Robert Wright -February 28 2011: -- Environmental campaigners have urged the government to improve the UK’s existing rail network before it builds a new high-speed line...  The call, by Friends of the Earth, was the latest in a series of criticisms levelled in the run-up to Monday’s unveiling of a public consultation on the plans for the high-speed scheme...  Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, said at the launch in Birmingham that the high-speed rail blueprint offered a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to transform travel in the UK...   But there have also been detailed criticisms of the wider principle of building a new line, where trains would run at 350kmph (219mph)...  Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s policy and campaigns director, said the UK urgently needed a fast and efficient rail system but the high-speed rail plans would do little to encourage people out of aircraft or cars...  At the heart of many of the criticisms is the high cost of building a line compared with the benefits achieved...  Stephen Glaister, executive director of the pro-motoring RAC Foundation and a respected transport economist, last week highlighted the UK’s existing, relatively fast intercity train service as one reason why high-speed rail might not work as well in the UK as elsewhere...  “High-speed rail has become an article of faith with insufficient evidence to support it,” Professor Glaister told the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation...