BUSRide September 2013
The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry. In our September 2013 cover story: Krystal moves forward under new management.
Tire specâ€™ing saves money p22 SEPTEMBER.2013 New tools increase efficiency p30 Small Bus Showcase p32 Overcome battery imbalance p42 busride.com | $5.00 vThe most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry Krystal Moves inside Forward SPECIAL SECTION: Tires and Wheels p 22 SP EC IA L p 20 IS SU E ® A tip-over of a wheelchair or scooter is avoidable Passengers tripping on floor securements is preventable Less is More The Q’POD is a three-point fully integrated securement system. It eliminates the fourth securement point and the risk of tripping up passengers. Yet Q’POD is a foolproof and more secure solution that accommodates oversize chairs and reduces dwell times. The Integrated Shoulder Belt assures that the belt is the right height for passengers and simplifies the installation by eliminating the need for wall or window bar retractor attachments. More is Better The combination of the Stabilizing Bumper and Front Tensioner on Q’POD makes it almost impossible to tip a chair or scooter. The convenient Scooter Ring makes these challenging securements faster and easier. With the Front Tensioner, drivers can use a single hand in a simple bending motion when attaching or releasing mobility devices. These features deliver a more stable securement, fewer driver injuries and with less intrusion on the rider’s space. For more information, visit: Qstraint.com/Qpod Designed and built in the USA. Certified Buy America supplier. SEPTEMBER 2013 CONTENTS 20 busride.com 28 32 Cover Story Krystal moves forward 20 ElDorado National Kansas continues with quality improvements to the brand By David Hubbard Features Small Bus Showcase Presenting the unsung workhorses of the industry 32 22 Special Section Spec’ing saves money 22 Making the right tire choice will reduce costs over time By Aaron C. Murphy Veolia Transportation welcomes 188 drivers to the Million Mile Club Overcoming battery charging imbalance By Brad Bisaillon 37 42 XL Hybrids adds small bus installations The company addresses a market that stands to gain the most from hybrid-electric propulsion A wheel’s shine is not skin-deep Choosing the right chrome wheels means easier cleaning By Bill Campbell 24 DEPARTMENTS 8 UPDATE 25 14 Deliveries 16 PEOPLE IN THE NEWS 26 18 TOUR BUSINESS 38 TRANSIT AUTHORITY 28 49 MARKETPLACE COLUMNS 6 30 FROM THE EDITOR 46 Tires: Lease or buy? Know the pros and cons IHS recognizes Apollo Video Technology as global market leader Research report ranks Apollo Video as the top supplier to the transit bus market 48 The NHTSA on tire safety and maintenance Try the penny test Six ways tires save fuel Tires play a critical role in improving mileage By Don Darden New tools mean more efficiency IPA’s tire solutions can increase fuel economy and improve tire life 4 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 44 THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT By Doug Jack busride.com FROM THE EDITOR California SB556 aims to brand private contractors s this issue of BUSRide went to press, the California Assembly was preparing to vote on SB556, a highly contested piece of legislation proposed by Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro). It can be loosely described as unnecessary and meddlesome. Her bill would require highly visible signage on all public vehicles and equipment operated by private contractors, as well as specially labeled uniforms. This would make it clear to all that contract employees from the private sector doing work for government entities are not government employees. According to the Assembly Judiciary Committee analysis, Corbett finds it necessary that the public be able to visually distinguish between government employees and non-government workers subcontracted to perform services in the domain of true public employees. Nothing about this bill makes even a remote distinction between public employees and private contractors with regard to qualifications and their ability to perform the requirements of the job. With labor unions being the apparent beneficiaries of this bill — aside from the sign makers — the consensus is that Senator Corbett has clearly overreached in her support of labor. It begs the question of the necessity of branding private contractors with a scarlet letter. Your point is? I have not read of or talked to anyone who sees any redeeming qualities in SB556. “Interestingly, there has been no solid public defense of this bill,” says Jim Seal, a private consultant to the California Bus Association. “There is no upside to pinning such a negative connotation on private workers. Regardless of politics or philosophical leanings, the bi-partisan opposition to this bill is broad; as broad as anyone will ever see in California.” The California Chamber of Commerce weighed in, stating that this attempt by Senator Corbett to extend liability for wage-and-hour violations or intentional conduct to a third party solely on the basis of appearance is unprecedented. Nonetheless, Seal says this type of one-sided legislation can surface anywhere when money is tight, and will serve as a wakeup call where government entities turn to the private sector for assistance and solutions. Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane email@example.com Associate Publisher Sali Williams firstname.lastname@example.org Editor David Hubbard email@example.com Managing Editor Richard Tackett firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Stephen Gamble email@example.com Production Director Valerie Valtierra firstname.lastname@example.org Accountant Fred Valdez email@example.com Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher, Christopher Ferrone A BUS industry SAFETY council A publication of: POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 busride.com Vol. 49 • No. 9 Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Sali T. Williams at (602) 265-7600, ext. 209. David Hubbard Editor BUSRide Magazine 6 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com UPDATE Thor anounces sale of bus business for $100 million Thor Industries, Inc., Elkhart, IN, announced July 31 that it had entered a definitive agreement to sell its bus business to Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV), for $100 million in cash, subject to closing adjustments. The sale is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by November 1, 2013. “Although the bus business has been a valuable part of Thor, this transaction allows us to focus on maintaining and growing our leadership position in our core recreation vehicle (RV) business,” says Peter B. Orthwein, Thor chairman. “From an investor perspective, divesting the bus business will simplify our overall operations and solidify Thor’s position as the leading company in the RV industry which is recovering strongly. Pursuing the strategic development of our RV business enables us to drive growth in sales and earnings, ultimately delivering improved value for our shareholders.” Thor’s bus business includes Champion Bus, Inc.; General Coach America, Inc.; Goshen Coach, Inc.; El Dorado National California, Inc.; and El Dorado National Kansas, Inc., which combined represent one of the largest producers of transit and shuttle buses in North America. The company reported bus segment sales of approximately $450 million for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2013. “We are excited to add the Thor bus business to our diverse line up of specialty vehicles,” says Peter Guile, president and CEO of ASV. “We view the opportunity to expand our business into the transit and shuttle bus markets as a key initiative in broadening our markets and providing products that meet the needs of our dealers and end consumers. We are eager to welcome these new bus brands to the ASV family.” Thor will continue to own and operate the bus business until the closing date of the sale. As a result of the decision to pursue a divestment of the bus business, Thor will report the financial results of the bus business as discontinued operations in its upcoming annual report filed on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which the company expects to file in late September. The company does not anticipate any impairment to goodwill or intangible assets of the bus business as a result of the sale. LA Metro buses to get the Protran Technology “Safe Turn Alert” System LA Metro has awarded New Flyer to provide the newest state of the art “Safe Turn Alert” System for over 550 new Metro Buses. The system is now installed on over 3,200 buses at several major agencies including MTA Maryland, Greater Cleveland RTA (GCRTA) and PACE Chicago. Current and future features include: GeoFencing, Speed De-activation, GPS, Pedestrian Turn Warning, Corner Beam, Flashing LED, Passive System and Bike Warning. This safety initiative developed and implemented by GCRTA over five years ago has allowed GCRTA to be accidentfree since the program inception. General Manager Joseph A. Calabrese and Deputy Administrator Michael York have won numerous safety awards from the American Public Transportation Association and recognition from the administrator of Federal Transit Administration. Gray Line New York and CitySightseeing New York® Cruises create The NY Connection Gray Line New York and CitySightseeing New York® cruises announced The New York Connection, its new package for groups, which combines a private double-decker bus tour around Manhattan with a cruise on the Hudson River at a special low price. The New York Connection provides narration on the city’s history, architecture, arts and theater. The tour starts with a free pickup at any NYC hotel and takes the group from the tip of Manhattan to Battery Park including walking tours and shopping tours as part of the package. Guided boat tours take visitors around the waterways and to waterfronts in Brooklyn and Queens. All boats make a stop in front of the Statue of Liberty for photo opportunities. Groups have the opportunity to design their own tour, or the experts at Gray Line New York and CitySightseeing New York® will create a customized tour that fits the schedule. Tickets are priced at $43.50 per person for groups of 40 to 80 people. 8 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 — The Maryland Aviation Administration has extended its contract with First Transit, Cincinnati, OH, for seven years as its shuttle provider at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The company is currently serving under a five-year contract and operates 60 vehicles at BWI. The Maryland Public Service Commission identified First Transit as the top employer of diverse contracts, based on total minority business enterprise expenditures in the state of Maryland. — Double Coin Tires and CMA, Monrovia, CA, a tire manufacturer and marketer, has changed its website domain name to www.DoubleCoinTires.com. The company also launched a Spanish language version, www.Espanol.DoubleCoinTires.com. Online visitors will now be automatically redirected from www. DoubleCoin-us.com to www.DoubleCoinTires.com, and additionally have an option to display the website in Spanish. — MV Transportation, Inc., Dallas, TX, will continue to operate the fixed route and Dial-A-Ride transit services for the City of Manteca, CA, as it has since 2006 in a partnership with Manteca Transit that has grown as the transit services have evolved. The new contract term will extend four base years with two one-year renewal options. The transit services utilize a client-furnished fleet of vehicles and operate from a new transit facility opened in July. MV will manage the maintenance function through its sister location in Stockton, CA, which will provide additional cost savings to the city. busride.com UPDATE Southern motorcoach associations convene in Birmingham With the Alabama Motorcoach Association serving as host, the six associations from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas convened August 4 through 7 in Birmingham, AL, for the first time as a single entity to stage their collective annual meetings and combined exhibition. According to Alan Thrasher, president of Thrasher Brothers Trailways, Birmingham, AL, the purpose is to offer a more efficient venue for the vendors and operators. Held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, and with attendance great enough to occupy the downtown Sheraton and Wynfrey hotels, the groups packed in sightseeing tours, meetings, conference sessions, a product show and awards breakfast. “We view this combining of our annual meetings as a new trend that will bring a larger professional feel to a regional activity,” Thrasher says. “The manufacturers are happy to participate, as they are getting more bang for the buck with all the state associations at this combined show.” Guest speakers included representatives from FMCSA speaking on tires and safety, and a legal team that addressed the legal liabilities in the hiring and dismissal of employees. U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) spoke at the awards breakfast sponsored by the American Bus Association (ABA). Vectour Group co-founder departs Alan Thrasher, COO and co-founder of Vectour Group, has announced his departure from the Vectour Group, Birmingham, AL. He says he made the decision in order to spend more time with his family and the family business, Thrasher Brothers Trailways in Birmingham, AL. “Although my last seven years with Vectour has been a great adventure, my training for the last 35 years has been to preside at Thrasher Brothers,” he says. “My sister and I have owned the company for several years together, and it is time for me to step full-time into my destiny career.” Thrasher still endorses the company he helped co-found in 2007. “I wish Vectour every success,” he says. “I know the team we built is highly capable of continuing under the sole leadership of Reggie Haslam, Sr.” Haslam has since relocated Vectour Group to Atlanta, GA, citing the Atlanta office as more dominant. The company specializes in ground transportation management for events of all sizes and scale. busride.com | BUSRIDE 9 UPDATE New study shows ABA Marketplace growth A just-released economic survey, by the New York economic consulting firm John Dunham and Associates, of delegates attending the American Bus Association’s 2013 Marketplace in Charlotte, NC, shows that Marketplace generated $108.3 million in booked and future business for show participants. That figure represents a $30 million increase from 2012 to 2013, or a 28 percent growth over the total amount of business generated at Marketplace 2012 in Grapevine, TX, where the figure was $78.7 million. The firm survey five categories of Marketplace attendees — receptive operators, lodging representatives, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), attractions and associates. Respondents were asked to list the amount of business generated in three categories: business booked at Marketplace 2013, business booked following Marketplace 2013, and the total amount of business that respondents expected to generate from Marketplace 2013 contacts. The results of the survey showed that attendees across all member types had an enormous amount of success at ABA Marketplace 2013. Cline Tours acquires Callahan Bus Lines Cline Tours, Inc., Ridgeland, MS, announced its recent acquisition of the 22-year old family-owned charter bus service Callahan Bus Lines, Oxford, MS. The company enjoys a reputation for longstanding service to the United States Armed Forces and to the University of Mississippi’s Athletics Department. According to John McCommon, owner of Cline Tours, adding Callahan Bus Lines to the current fleet of more than 100 vehicles creates one of the largest bus fleets in the southeast. Johnny Cline started the company in 1983 in Jackson, MS. McCommon acquired Cline Tours in in 1996, growing it from a one-vehicle contract shuttle-bus company to the current fleet that operates from four locations with a staff of over 100 employees. To complete the transaction, owners James and Nancy Callahan retained The Tenney Group, Arlington, TX, a firm specializing exclusively in transportation business sales across the United States. As the Callahan family transitions to the next chapter in their lives, it will not be forgotten at Cline Tours. McCommon has placed a special Callahan tribute logo on each of the new coaches to honor and commemorate the Callahan name and the incredible service it’s brought to the charter bus industry. Revised tour planner makes Newport News more inviting With the release of its newly revised Newport News Group Planner, the Newport, VA, Tourism Development Office says it has made planning group or student tours much easier for motorcoach tour operators and group leaders. This comprehensive 48-page guide to Newport News features complete information on all attractions, including operating hours, holiday closings, rates, touring times, special tours and the availability of gift shops and on-site dining. The publication showcases 65 restaurants listed by cuisine, and 16 hotels with information about AAA ratings, number of rooms, Wi-Fi availability and motorcoach parking. The Group Services section includes extensive information on motorcoach operators, receptive operators and step-on guides, entertainers, photographers, videographers, equipment and rental services, event planners, caterers and florists. Other sections of the planner provide information on transportation options, escort notes, entertainment venues and shopping areas. Tour operators and group leaders will find the annual events calendar and sample itineraries to be a great help in planning their next trip. The 10 sample itineraries include Catch a Liberty Wave (military theme); Springtime in Newport News (gardening theme); 1862 Peninsula Campaign (Civil War theme); Touring Through the Centuries (heritage theme); Getting Back to Basics (student theme); A Time Warp of Newport News (arts theme); A Taste of Newport News (culinary theme); Mom Needs A Break (girls’ getaway theme); 100 Miles of Lights (holiday theme); and History + Mystery = Newport News, VA (mystery theme). Group Marketing Manager Barb Kleiss says the free publication is a must-have for any tour operator or group leader thinking of bringing a group to this area of Virginia. To request a copy of the Newport News Group Planner, or for more information about bringing your group to Newport News, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 10 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 UMA partners with Scheig Associates in testing program The United Motorcoach Association (UMA), Alexandria, VA, recently announced its partnership with Scheig Associates, Gig Harbor, WA, to provide discounted preemployment performance testing to UMA members. Participants will save 10 percent on Scheig Associates’ Motor Coach Works Hiring and Performance System™ designed specifically for the motorcoach industry to identify, select and hire better, safer drivers. With more than 20 years of experience, Scheig Associates is able consistently identify an applicant’s future performance at an 88 percent accuracy rate, using methodology that is unique, predictive, legally defensible and proven over time. “The Scheig performance testing program has been a tremendous tool in helping Escot find the right employees,” says Brian Scott of Escot Bus Lines, Largo, FL. “I know it will help other operators be more successful in their hiring processes and I think it’s a great addition to UMA’s member programs.” UMA members interested in learning more about the program can contact Leslie Williams with Scheig Associates directly at email@example.com. busride.com UPDATE Stertil-Koni, Stevensville, MD, a manufacturer of heavy-duty vehicle lifts, announced its completion of the next stage of a multi-phase capital investment program to enhance both productivity and efficiency at Stertil ALM, its U.S. manufacturing facility located in Streator, IL. The company says in its most recent phase, Stertil ALM purchased and installed a new Okuma MILLAC Vertical Machining Center, which dramatically speeds the fabrication process and simultaneously increases precision to further streamline production. A broad range of heavy-duty lifts include mobile column lifts, platform lifts, the Ecolift, and the recently introduced full-rise telescopic Diamond piston lift. Stertil-Koni unveiled its new world-class cutting machine in April which utilizes a combination of plasma and oxy-fuel torches coupled with a high-end PC-based touch-screen controller for extremely quick, high-precision manufacturing. Stertil-Koni continues capital investments at Stertil ALM Manufacturing Flint MTA wraps bus to fight breast cancer The Mass Transportation Authority, Flint, MI, along with sponsors HealthPlus and CBS Outdoor, is supporting the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign with a fully wrapped pink transit bus. Their effort honors breast cancer survivors celebrating life as well as those fighting breast cancer today. “We are very proud to be a part of the ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ walk,” says Ed Benning, MTA general manager. “By creating a pink bus in memory of those lost to breast cancer and to honor the survivors, the MTA is showing its support and creating awareness within the community of this very worthy cause.” Although October is “breast cancer awareness” month, the pink bus began service in August and will remain in the pink for a full year. “The American Cancer Society couldn’t be more excited about continuing this partnership,” says Jennifer Beamer, associate director of the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division. “To see the Pink Bus is to know and understand the passion and dedication that MTA has for the fight against breast cancer. More than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday this year, and because of community partners like these we will continue to celebrate more birthdays than ever before.” For those interested in joining the 5K walk on October 26, 2013 in downtown Flint, or to make a donation, visit www.makingstrideswalk.org/flintmi. 12 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com UPDATE ABA representatives meet with U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure leadership American Bus Association (ABA) President and CEO Peter Pantuso, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy Clyde Hart and Policy Manager Daniel Hoff met recently with Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to discuss issues concerning the motorcoach, travel and tourism industry. Included in the topics was the need to create a more equitable playing field for transportation planning and finance, as well as the findings of a new report, Supporting Passenger Mobility and Choice by Breaking Modal Stovepipes. The study shows that motorcoaches outperform Amtrak rail service. It urges continued discussion in the media and among policymakers on expanding safe, efficient and sustainable transportation options. It is one in a series of papers that examine how incorporating alternatives into the transportation planning process, including motorcoach travel, can reduce consumer and taxpayer costs while creating more options. Key findings: • On a fully allocated cost basis, motorcoaches average less than 25 percent of the cost to provide comparable Amtrak service. • Only two Amtrak lines ABA and industry representatives discuss a new report that compares motorcoach service to Amtrak. Pictured, clockwise from left, are Rep. generate enough revenue Bill Shuster, Clyde Hart, Daniel Hoff, Greg Cohen, Bob Schwarz and to cover operating and Peter Pantuso. capital costs. • On average, per-passenger carbon the future of how our industry will move emissions from motorcoaches are 45 to 65 forward,” Pantuso said. “With rail and percent less than comparable Amtrak trips. surface transportation reauthorizations • Motorcoaches generally offer more coming into focus, it is important that our schedules per trip than comparable industry be at the forefront of shaping Amtrak trips. our transportation system. Mr. Shuster • Motorcoaches serve 2,766 cities and has always been a friend and ally of towns in the lower 48 states, while Amtrak motorcoach travel and tourism, and we serves more than 500 cities and towns in know that our members will be part of the 46 of the 48 states. committee’s solution to ensuring • Generally, total trip time by motorcoach is safe, cost-effective, environmentally comparable to Amtrak. efficient transportation.” “Mr. Shuster’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is integral to busride.com | BUSRIDE 13 DELIVERIES MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES (MCI) added added added 1 1 1 Corporate Coach Charter & Tours Los Angeles, CA Corporate Coach Charter & Tours is bringing a higher level of luxury travel to Los Angeles with its new Setra Top Class S 417. The German-made model features premium seating with three-point passenger seatbelts, wood grain accents, mini-fridge and Top Sky glass roof. Corporate Coach had its eye on the Setra for some time, and the company acted after MCI became distributor of the brand last summer. Corporate Coach Charter has grown to more than 30 employees and a fleet of 25 vehicles including 10 coaches and several executive mini-coaches. Cherrey Bus Lines Listowel, ON, Canada Cherrey Bus Lines’ new MCI J4500 is the first new coach it has bought in five years. Allan Cherrey, second-generation owner and president of the company, waited in part because he wanted a J4500 with a Detroit Diesel engine. Cherrey opted for an ECAS kneeling system as well as seatbelts and 110-volt outlets for passengers; the company additionally has installed its own Wi-Fi and satellite tracking system. The Cherrey fleet presently numbers 22 coaches, all MCIs, as well as other vehicles. Bilbrey Tours Abilene, TX Bilbrey Tours’ 2013 MCI J4500, delivered July 22, increases its all-MCI fleet to two coaches. Joining an MCI E4500, the new J4500 has a clean-diesel Cummins engine, three-point seatbelts and a media hub for tour escorts, along with all the standard safety and performance features for which the model is known. The model underwent a redesign for 2013, gaining a taller look, angled headlights and technology advances including Actia multiplexing. Bilbrey Tours runs about 40 tours a year, mostly across the United States and Canada, but also to international and cruise destinations. SAFET Y THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Protective Insurance Company's loss prevention team members are specialists in the transportation industry and use a collaborative approach to partner with our insureds to address their specific safety and risk management needs. Our loss prevention team understands that no two companies are the same and solutions must be tailored to fit each one's unique needs. Visit www.protectiveinsurance.com/publictransportation to learn about our specialized online training offerings for public transportation. pr ot ectiveinsur ance.com FOR COVERAGE THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU, CONTACT STACY RENZ: (800) 644-5501 ext. 2570 EXCELLENCE IN: MEDIUM FLEET TRUCKING 14 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 | LARGE FLEET TRUCKING | PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION | WORKERS’ COMPENSATION | INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS busride.com DELIVERIES TriMet places order for 70 Gillig buses TriMet, Portland, OR, took delivery in June of the first of 70 new Gillig buses. TriMet expects to receive three to five buses per week for around 18 weeks throughout summer and fall. They’ll replace some of TriMet’s older buses, and they began entering service gradually in mid-July. The buses, which TriMet is calling the 3100 series, have a 2013 EPA-compliant engine featuring more fuel and emissions efficiency than previous models. TriMet says the cooling system improves fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent. In addition to 55 buses that TriMet purchased last year and this year’s 70 new buses, they’ll be replacing another 184 buses over the next three years. TriMet Portland, OR A “3100 series” Gillig stands on display at TriMet’s prep facility. busride.com | BUSRIDE 15 PEOPLE IN THE NEWS Ryan I. Daniel Ryan I. Daniel joins Metro Bus, St. Cloud, MN, as the new executive director starting August 19. He signed a five-year contract. Daniel was the manager of Bus Service for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, D.C., the nationâ€™s sixth largest transit system. He has over 10 years of experience in transit, and has worked for the MTA New York City Transit and Central Ohio Transit Authority. The USSC Group announced the appointment of Rick Klotz to managing director of international operations. In his new role, Klotz will focus on the continued development of a sales distribution and service model in support of emerging business opportunities. Prior to this appointment, he served as president of North American operations for USSC Group. Effective with this move, Ray Melleady is appointed to managing director of North American operations. First Transit has named Christine Rhoads senior manager of employee engagement and retention. In this role, Rhoads will work to create a more positive and supportive employee life cycle environment and will be responsible for developing and coordinating a plan for on-boarding at First Transit locations across the US. She will also manage the implementation of HR technology solutions and develop a Management Christine Rhoads in Training Program through relationships with select colleges and universities that offer transportation related degrees. Rhoads joined First Transit in 2008 and was most recently the recruiting manager for First Transit and First Vehicle Services. The Comet, Columbia, SC announced that Bob Schneider will leave his position as general manager for Veolia Transportation to work directly for the transit authority as its executive director. Schneider has led the transit agency in dual roles as executive director and general manager for Veolia since 2011. The board is currently considering a new contract with a private company to operate the Bob Scheider system, a role Veolia Transportation has played since 2011. Because of his association with the company, Schneider has played no role in the RFP process for choosing an operating company. Schneider will continue to exempt himself from that process going forward. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) announced the addition of industry veteran David Matusz as an OEM account manager. In his new role, Matusz will develop and pursue custom diesel chassis business opportunities for FCCCâ€™s growing commercial bus division, as well as work closely with OEM partners on product development and implementation. Matusz joined the FCCC team in late May of this year, bringing with him more than 15 years OEM account management experience in the motorhome and bus chassis industry. Paula Hammond, former secretary of transportation for the State of Washington, has been named senior vice president and National Transportation Market leader at Parsons Brinckerhoff. In her new position, Hammond will be responsible for working with transportation agencies across the nation. Her focus includes advancing transportation policy and programs at a national level. Paula Hammond 16 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com never added up to so much. The numbers tell a pretty impressive story. • Zero emissions • More than $30,000 in annual fuel savings • More than $360,000 over the lifetime of the bus • 400% better fuel economy than hybrids • 600% better fuel economy than diesel • 750% better fuel economy than CNG • Lower maintenance costs than other vehicles To learn more, contact Ian Shackleton at 864-438-0015, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. TM Proterra.com Altoona Tested Electric Bus ©2013 Proterra. TOUR BUSINESS Gray Line Tennessee acquires Grand Avenue Bruce Neuharth to lead the newly combined company This just in from Nashville, TN: Gray Line of Tennessee, the largest tour bus operator in the state recently acquired the motorcoach and small bus division of Grand Avenue Worldwide, a ground transportation company providing corporate, special occasion and customized travel options worldwide. Gray Line reported the acquisition is in response to growing demand in Middle Tennessee for superior Bruce Neuharth and comprehensive transportation services. Gray Line says this new venture will employ more than 200 Tennesseans. The newly-combined company named motorcoach industry veteran Bruce Neuharth as chief executive officer of Gray Line to oversee operations and grow the business. Neuharth makes the move from his previous position as president and chief operating officer of Arrow Stage Lines, Omaha, NB. Grand Avenue founder and Chief Executive Officer Carl Haley will maintain his position, and serve as chief revenue officer on the Gray Line Board of Directors. The Grand Avenue livery business will continue to operate independently. “Combining Gray Line’s operational excellence, bus expertise and depth of fleet with Grand Avenue’s facilities, customer service and brand strength is a winning move for both of our companies, as well as our customers,” Neuharth says. “Realizing our companies’ motorcoach operations complemented each other perfectly, we jumped at the opportunity to join forces. After many years in the transportation industry, and leading multiple strategic transactions, never have I seen two entities better poised to partner.” Neuharth sees a need for a high quality, fully-integrated transportation company to serve the growing convention and tourism business. Prior to the acquisition, Gray Line of Tennessee was the 22nd largest motorcoach company in the United States. This transaction will likely place the business in the top 20 when the next rankings come out. 18 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 The company says the greater resources will be necessary as it meets the growing regional demand for comprehensive and high quality transportation. XMI Holdings, Inc., in partnership with TNInvestco, made a growth equity investment in Gray Line in 2012. Haley founded Grand Avenue in 2009, serving 450 cities worldwide with a fleet of 45 vehicles, including sedans, vans, SUVs and vintage cars. “We are thrilled to be working with Carl and his team,” says Gray Line Chairman Michael D. Shmerling. “We remain as committed as ever to managing a safe, reliable and modern fleet.” For more than 30 years, Gray Line of Tennessee has operated motorcoaches, mini-buses and shuttles, serving the diversified transportation needs of its customers that include custom charters, relax-and-ride tours, sightseeing, airport shuttles and Carl Haley casino trips. The company also provides transportation for a number of charter schools in the regional area. busride.com TOUR BUSINESS Urban Bourbon Trail™ expands to 27 stops The popularity of the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville, KY, has led the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to expand this tourism experience to 27 establishments. To access the bars and restaurants of the trail, 35,000 copies of the new 94-page Passport are available at each stop and the Louisville Visitors Center. It features instructions on how to use the Passport and pointers on how to taste bourbon, along with maps, hours of operation, descriptions and a suggested cocktail. The original six establishments Six bars and restaurants hosted the first the Urban Bourbon Trail: The Bar at BLU, 280 W. Jefferson St. Sample 60-plus bourbons from the “Wall of Bourbon.” Bourbons Bistro, 2255 Frankfort Ave. Stop in at one of the key destinations on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Brown Hotel Lobby Bar, 335 W. Broadway Slip back to another era sipping an Old Fashioned in the lavish lobby. Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge, 446 S. 4th St. This eclectic restaurant and lounge features bourbon brands alphabetically arranged. The Old Seelbach Bar, 500 S. 4th St. Opened in 1905, the Seelbach Hotel has hosted gangsters, politicians, and celebrities for generations. Proof on Main, 702 W. Main St. GQ named this establishment one of three American “New Whiskey Temples.” Over the years, additional local bars and restaurants have stepped up their bourbon knowledge and offerings and joined the ranks of the Urban Bourbon Trail. Founding the Urban Bourbon Trail Without a public distillery tour in Louisville, but with so much bourbon heritage, the Louisville CVB began a marketing initiative in 2006 to promote the city as the Gateway to Bourbon Country. Launched two years later, the Urban Bourbon Trail Passport Program linked the world-class bourbon bars that already existed in the city. More than 135,000 Passports are in circulation by more than 5,500 Urban Bourbon Trailblazers from 17 countries. Trailblazers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have redeemed them. Louisville CVB, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its member distilleries encourage visitors to take their time enjoying Bourbon responsibly. The pace is entirely up to the participant, as there is no timeframe for completing the Passport. PRICED TO SELL — Attractive Lease Rates (35) 1995—2000 35’ and 40’ Low Floor New Flyer Series 50 Allison B-400R (3) 1999 Neoplan 60’ Low Floor 50 Series Allison B500 Trans. Thermo King Lift-U lift (1) 1992 MCI 96 A3 6V92 DDECII Automatic Trans. (43) 1994-2001 Gillig 30, 35’ and 40’ High & Low Floor Series 50/ Cummins M-11 Allison B400R Plus more on our website: www.midwestbus.com Call: 800-627-6627 Midwest Bus Corporation, 1940 W. Stewart Street, Owosso, MI 48867 busride.com | BUSRIDE 19 under new ElDorado National K Kansas continues with quality improvements to the brand By David Hubbard ownership rystal has been on an exciting ride over the last year. It began when ElDorado National Kansas, Inc., Salinas, KS, acquired the brand in October of 2012 and then transitioned to new ownership in July as Thor Industries divested its entire bus division. Continuing with the dedicated production line the company instituted in December, ElDorado National says it remains committed to rebuilding the Krystal brand, the high-end retail unit that complements the company’s other commercial and transit bus products: the Aerolite, Aerotech, Aero Elite, Advantage and Amerivan lines. “As before, in this new transition we will continue to ensure ElDorado is by all means building and improving the same bus we started with,” says ElDorado National Kansas President Jeff Montgomery. “Only then can we make any determinations as to what further changes we might want to consider.” According to Krystal Sales Manager John MacKinney, the first step the company took in rebuilding the brand was to support the need for parts for Krystal buses already on the road. “We inherited a few thousand retail customers that need us to help them keep their buses running,” MacKinney says. “Because of parts availability from the factory and strong support from local Krystal dealers, operators who have had difficulty maintaining their Krystal buses should see significant improvement in the overall serviceability of Krystal buses, new and old.” He says operators originally purchased Krystal buses directly from the factory. “Factory-direct sales offered a few short-sided advantages, but ElDorado has always maintained that a strong local dealer can usually act more quickly than a salesman across the country,” Montgomery says. “We now distribute nationally through our dealer network. In addition to sales, our strategically positioned Krystal dealers can busride.com The luxury leather seating in the Krystal executive shuttle bus reflects the improvements from ElDorado National. 20 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 provide finance, local aftermarket service and warranty, as well as a robust supply of parts.” Some of the most respected retail shuttle bus outlets comprise the nationwide Krystal dealer sales, service and parts network. It includes Capitol Coachworks, Capitol Heights, MD; Creative Bus Sales, Chino, CA; Alliance Bus Group, Atlanta, GA; Nations Bus Sales, Inglewood, CA; Davey Coach, Sedalia, CO; Texas Bus Sales, Houston, TX; Tesco, Oregon, OH; Master’s Transportation, Belton, MO; Absolute Bus Sales, Fayetteville, NC; and Atlantic Bus Sales, Pompano Beach, FL. “Aftermarket support for the Krystal brand is stronger now because our vendors and dealer network not only work with us in supplying parts, they also assist us on the service of those vehicles after the sale,” says Montgomery. “Krystal operators now enjoy all the benefits of a locally operated dealership.” Improvements to the Krystal bus Without altering the styling of the Krystal bus, ElDorado has shifted much of its focus to safety and compliance. According to MacKinney, ElDorado has reengineered the product to meet and exceed the guidelines provided by the FTA, NHTSA, MSBMA and Ford QVM. This includes strengthening the structural integrity of the floor and cage while decreasing overall weight, and completing product testing that may not have taken place before. By adopting a zinc-chromate steel treatment process utilized on ElDorado products, Krystal cages now feature improved protection against the elements in every region of the country. Further changes to the Krystal product include the ElDorado EP3 heavy-duty electrical system, which lends advantages of an integrated harness in lieu of spliced wires; LED status lights in lieu of fuse checking; and the elimination of solenoids, relays and butt connectors throughout the system. The harnesses are plug-and-play and designed to accommodate all options. “There is even a smartphone app available to assist in serviceability,” says MacKinney. An added feature of clean install in the electrical system is a new front overhead storage area that now comes standard.” Additionally, ElDorado adopted an extremely lightweight noncorrosive composite material in the subfloor to lighten the bus. “Vehicle weight is a major concern for manufacturers and operators,” says Colby Bertrand, project manager for the Krystal product line. “This new floor provides a longer lasting and more stable base with considerable weight savings. We can continue to offer a diverse range of floor plans and still remain compliant with chassis-specified weight ratings.” ElDorado National conducts road testing on a test track comparable to Altoona. Following this arduous shakedown, the company then puts its buses through a 30-minute water test to address any potential rattles or leaks prior to delivery. ElDorado has maintained the sizes and models for Krystal buses. They include Ford-based shuttles on the E450 K 22, K24 and K28 models that can accommodate 14 to 26 passengers; the K30 and K33 F550 Shuttles that seat 23 to 32 passengers; and F650 Shuttles, in 36- and 40-foot lengths for 32 to 42 passengers. Krystal continues to offer the K31, K35, and K38 bus models, with capacities ranging from 28 to 40 passengers, on the International TC Bus Chassis. Above right: The Krystal K33 sits ready for delivery in Pompano, FL. Middle: ElDorado says it remains committed to rebuilding the Krystal brand. Bottom Right: The K33 with a zinc-chromate processed steel frame rolls off the dedicated Krystal production line in Salinas, KS. busride.com | BUSRIDE 21 s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s Spec’ing saves money Making the right tire choice will reduce costs over time By Aaron C. Murphy Challenges in spec’ing We’ve heard from our customers about the challenges or complications they face when spec’ing the right tire for the right application. There are many factors involved in the decision and many things to consider. Tires are considered assets in fleets; the longer the asset can be used before discarding, the more value it brings to the fleet. Steer, drive and trailer position tires all have unique tread designs, siping and decoupler grooves and other irregular wear fighting features that help the specific tires perform at their optimum during their initial life, prior to retreading. One of the many challenges faced by maintenance managers is equipment that’s used in varied functions. We’ve seen situations where a vehicle is used for a long-haul route and then switches over to a short-haul route, or vice versa. This can lead to premature removal or lower performance of tires, as some are very application-specific. While some tires do well in varied functions and fit in certain wheel positions with different applications, progressive fleet managers want to optimize a tire’s performance and usage during its original tread life. This also applies to the retread cycle when retreads are utilized. Matching the proper type of tire with the proper vehicle application goes a long way in overcoming performance limitations. busride.com Gary Stevens, a Prevost bus owner, rolls with Double Coin tires. 22 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s Another challenge is the legal requirements that states place on motorcoach tires. With safety a primary concern, many states utilize field inspections by DOT or highway patrol to ensure that the tires meet the requirements of the vehicle. This includes air pressure, tread depths and other data. Understanding the performance of each type and pattern of tire, as well as the legal requirements, allows a manager to make the best decision when spec’ing tires on new equipment. Save money with smart spec’ing Paying a premium at the OE level (not settling on the standard tire available) might mean a bit more initial investment when purchasing equipment, but the overall cost-per-mile will be driven down by having the correct tire in the correct application. Depending on the needs of an operator, retreading may be prevalent. If so, make sure the spec’d tires have a solid and durable casing. Additionally, take the time to understand the equipment’s primary role and get the optimum original mileage. Some tires, when placed in applications where they are not primarily intended, can see a reduction of up to 50 percent of the original tread mileage. Making the Right Tire Choice We encourage everyone to consult with a servicing tire dealer. Their experience with products in similar types of operations is a valuable tool for spec’ing the right products. Tire manufacturers also are a primary resource of brand-specific information for bus managers to tap into. They employ engineers and representatives that have a high level of technical expertise on their brand as well as many others. They will know what tread patterns match which road conditions, and the best tire for the type of vehicle. Manufacturers also understand the effects of free-rolling axles and high torque on tires. Using tire manufacturers and servicing dealers as a resource can assist in making the right choice. Overall, the bottom line benefits should all point to operational cost reduction and safety. s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s That shine is not skin deep Choosing the right chrome wheels means easier cleaning By Bill Campbell K Above: Wash wheels regularly with soap and water. Never use an acidbased solution. At right: Wheel OEMs are held to strict requirements that most likely carry over into their aftermarket business. eeping wheel rims clean and polished is easier, faster and less expensive with chrome plating. All chrome wheels are shiny, but not all chrome wheels are created equally. While all chrome wheels may look alike, the challenge is to determine the quality of the plating and the entire wheel beneath. It starts by knowing what the substrate underneath is made of. Forged aluminum is the strongest, lightest option available. As for the finish, the look of chrome is only caused by the last stage of the plating process. Itâ€™s so thin that it contributes less than 0.3 percent of plating thickness to the original wheel. Although the chrome layer is important to the look of the wheel, the prior steps in the process are responsible for the final color and the longevity of the plated product. The chrome plating process begins with a thorough cleaning and etching of the steel wheel, and the addition of an initial plate layer to ensure proper adhesion of the three nickel (Ni) layers to come â€” SemiBright, High-Sulfur and Bright Ni. Here are some considerations to determine the quality of one product over another, beginning with the wheel itself. First of all, what type of wheel did the supplier start with? Are they new and certified wheels, or previously used? Does the supplier carry only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or only aftermarket wheels? Typically, OEMs are held to strict requirements that most likely carry over into their aftermarket business. Is the entire wheel protected from corrosion? While the exposed side is the most visible, the inside-facing surface is subjected to the same environmental conditions. It must be painted, as there will be exposed aluminum due to contact points for the plating tooling. This coating also delays bead seat degradation and reduces tire slippage. Another issue is whether or not the wheel is certified to a third-party quality standard and ISO 14001 environmental certification. This alone may not ensure a great product, but such compliance does ensure the company offering the product is employing qualitytested products and procedures. Consider asking for a test report to learn the specifications, as well as what type of product testing is conducted on the plating. How often was it tested for quality control, such as adhesion, ductility and corrosion tests? The best chrome wheel has been subjected to periodic impact testing, as well as rotary fatigue and torque retention to ensure the final product meets all requirements. Chrome plating and polishing the wheel can affect the original wheel performance. The chrome layer should be a minimum 0.25 micrometers (um) thick and contain a minimum of 10,000 microscopic pores per sq. cm. These pores help control the corrosion process. The three combined nickel layers should be a minimum 40 um thick. The semi-bright nickel should have sulfur content less than 0.005 percent, and the bright nickel sulfur content should be more than 0.03 percent. This is critical in delaying the onset of corrosion to the base substrate. Tips for clean chrome wheels Wash wheels regularly with soap and water. Never use a solution containing acid, as this can remove the chrome and attack all surfaces. Always wash chrome with a clean rag, as foreign hard particles on the rag can scratch the finish. An off the shelf non-acidic chrome cleaner works fine on stubborn areas and restores the showroom shine. Cleanout abrasions and pits from stone damage and seal with wax if necessary to add further protection. These steps should result in years of enjoyment of the brightest finish in the industry. busride.com Bill Campbell is an account manager at Kuntz Electroplating Inc., Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. 24 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n Tires: Know the pros and cons Motorcoach and transit fleet managers in a quandary over whether to lease or buy bus tires should know that there isn’t a definitive right answer. Either option presents advantages and disadvantages based on financial considerations, specific needs and operational capabilities. Regardless of the choice to lease or to buy, it is crucial to choose tires and a tire manufacturer that will supply the right high-quality tire for the right application and help show a return on investment. T i r e s W h e e l s Lease or buy? To buy Buying tires provides the freedom for a fleet to develop and direct its own tire management and maintenance program. The company owns the tires outright as soon as the invoice is paid without further obligation; no restrictions on how the tires should be used and no declaration of mileage. Though the upfront cost of purchasing tires can be considerable, buying new tires lowers the cost of operation over time. Tire maintenance requires time, resources and expertise. If an operator is unable or unwilling to undertake tire maintenance in-house, a third-party provider might be the better choice. There are a few financial advantages to a tire leasing program. The first is cash flow. There is no initial outlay or expenditure, and fleets only pay for the mileage on the tires. Payment by mileage leads to more predictable costs and reduces the fleet’s financial risk from potential fluctuations in tire costs. There are disadvantages as well. With the manufacturer carrying the capital cost, each tire may end up costing more than if it were purchased outright. Nonetheless, paying as you go is often more attractive and helpful, despite the potential for a slightly higher overall cost per tire. As the operator does not own the tires, switching from a lease program back to purchasing typically involves a significant upfront expense. To Lease WOULD YOUR TIRES COST LESS IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO BUY THEM? Get great tires without a great expense by paying only for the tires you use. Bridgestone Mileage Sales can offer a price per mile for your charter, intercity or city-suburban operations. You’ll get top-quality Bridgestone radial tires, backed by an extensive coast-to-coast support network. Call today, and let us handle your tire program, so you can focus on the rest of your business. Mileage Sales Division • 1-800-342-MILE (6453) Precisely The Right Tire. Bridgestone Corporation For more information visit our website www.bridgestoneﬁrestonemileagesales.com ©2013 Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC. All Rights Reserved. BAN130060_Tires Cost Less_fractional 1 busride.com | BUSRIDE 3/20/13 3:18 PM 2 5 s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s NHTSA on tire safety and maintenance: Try the penny test Over the summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once again cautioned motorists on the dangers of under-inflated tires. Vehicles are being driven at highway speeds over hot roadways contribute to the breakdown of tires and a greater likelihood for tire failure. NHTSA estimates that tire failure causes approximately 11,000 crashes a year, with under-inflation the leading cause of failure before tread separations, blowouts and bald tires. Under-inflation also leads to poor fuel economy, sluggish handling, longer stopping distances and increased stress on tire components. Proper pressure is the most important part of tire maintenance to improve steering, stopping, traction and load-carrying capability of vehicles. NHSTSA says this alone improve fuel mileage by 3.3 percent. NHTSA offers these safety recommendations: • Follow the recommended tire pressure in pounds-per-squareinch (PSI) for your vehicle. This information is on the vehicle placard typically found inside the car door and in the vehicle owner’s manual. • Tires lose one PSI every month, so it is important to check your tires monthly to ensure proper inflation. • On vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems TPMS), know where the TPMS warning is on the dashboard and take immediate action when a warning appears. • Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations for tire replacement. Some OEMs recommend replacement every six years, while some tire manufacturers recommend 10 years as the maximum service life for tires. • Monitor the tread on all tires. Tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not safe and should be replaced. • Look for treadwear indicators; raised sections spaced throughout the bottom of the tread grooves. It’s time to replace your tiers when treadwear indicators appear. • Try the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of your tires with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inch of tread and you are ready for new tires. 26 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com Happy drivers Panoramic view Made in U.S.A. Incredible comfort Versatile chassis to accommodate any body Outstanding stability Easy to service Exceptional fuel economy Excellent maneuverability Heavy-duty reliability Unmatched 24/7 factory support | Extensive parts availability | Nationwide service network | Exceptional warranties LET’S START BY GIVING YOU ALL OF THEM. Compromising on your needs is never a good place to start. So we don’t make you. Product quality, numerous options, and uncompromising factory and service support. You get everything you need from your chassis and your manufacturer. That’s the peace of mind that comes with owning a Freightliner. | Find out more at freightlinerchassis.com. THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS YOU WANT OUT OF A CHASSIS. ON THE ROAD? Get the free mobile app at Find out more with your smartphone by scanning this code. Get the free app at http://gettag.mobi http:/ / gettag.mobi Speciﬁcations are subject to change without notice. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is registered to ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004. Copyright © 2013 Daimler Trucks North America LLC. All rights reserved.Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company. s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s ways tires save fuel Tires play a critical role in improving mileage Fuel consumption and improved efficiency is on the mind of every bus and coach operator. What perceptive owners quickly learn is that poor fuel economy leaves room to parlay small and seemingly unrelated steps into significant fuel mileage improvements. By Don Darden Where does the fuel go? Due to energy losses in the engine and drivetrain, only about half of the burned fuel actually moves the vehicle down the road. Here are six factors that drain fuel usage of its full benefit: 1. Driving habits — Excessive speed is the biggest factor in reduced mileage. Careless driving habits lead to poor fuel economy. Running at high speeds on intercity bus routes guzzles fuel. So do jackrabbit starts and hammer-down runs between stops in city driving, which also burn out brakes. Driver education and incentives can be very effective in reducing fuel consumption. 2. Tire alignment — The tires must point straight ahead in order to roll with the least possible resistance. Misaligned tires scrub as they turn. This scrubbing can cut tire life by as much as 20 percent. What’s more, an axle misalignment of just 2.5 degrees can cause enough drag to increase fuel consumption by 16 percent. This is all easily corrected with an effective vehicle maintenance program. 3. Vehicle aerodynamics — Buses and motorcoaches are not the most aerodynamic vehicles on the highway. Fuel consumption lost to wind resistance only worsens at higher speeds. At 55 mph about half of the fuel turning the wheels is consumed by the bus just pushing against the oncoming air. At 65 mph the bus is eating up nearly two-thirds of the available fuel energy. Any measure taken to improve performance against aerodynamics and wind resistance will pay off in fuel savings. 28 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com s p e c i a l s e c t i o n T Lancer_Cauley_BR_2_3P_7_1_13_Layout i r e s a n d W h e e l s 1 7/15/13 3:59 PM Page 1 4. Vehicle maintenance — Alignment isn’t the only vehicle maintenance item that affects fuel economy. Check and maintain fluid levels and replace filters regularly. Repair any fuel or fluid leaks promptly. Keep careful maintenance and mileage records. 5. Tire maintenance — Proper inflation is vital to maintain proper stress distribution and to reduce the flexing and heat build-up that wastes fuel. Heat build-up causes tires to wear faster and accelerates the aging process. Improper inflation reduces the traction, making tires a safety hazard. Under-inflation wastes fuel, wearing out tires prematurely and reducing their capability for retreading. Regardless of the tires in use, maintaining correct inflation pressure will optimize tire performance, tire life and fuel economy. Inflation pressure effect on fuel economy — Bridgestone Mileage Sales recommends a program to reduce all of these losses by ensuring proper tire inflation. Check and adjust inflation pressure regularly; when the vehicle has been parked at least three hours and before it has been driven more than one mile. Adjust inflation pressures to meet vehicle and tire requirements. 6. Select fuel-efficient tires and retreads — Tires manufactured especially for buses can improve fuel consumption. Choose from a wide variety of low-rolling resistance new tires and retreads designed to save fuel. Don Darden serves as executive director of communications at Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “If there’s anything we need, Lancer’s door is always wide open.” Archie and Patricia Cauley Owners Cauley Coach Inc. St. Albans, NY Lancer customer since 1988 “We’ve been Lancer customers for 25 years. One of the things that impressed us way back and still impresses us today is Lancer’s emphasis on accident prevention. We would copy Lancer safety bulletins on subjects like summer driving, winter driving, night driving and backing up a bus and share them with our drivers. Now, of course, we show our drivers videos we get from Lancer. We denitely feel the training is eﬀective. On the few occasions when we’ve had a claim, we’ve found Lancer’s claim-reporting process to be very simple and straightforward. We have lots of contacts at Lancer, and can always call the main oﬃce in Long Beach and talk on a rst-name basis with someone. People are always accessible.” If you want proactive safety training and responsive service from a passenger transportation specialist, ask your agent for a Lancer quote or call Lancer directly and get assigned to an agent. To learn more, call 800-782-8902, x3304 or email email@example.com. 370 W. Park Avenue, P.O. Box 9004, Long Beach, NY 11561 www.lancerinsurance.com busride.com | BUSRIDE 29 s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n New tools mean more efficiency IPA’s tire solutions can increase fuel economy and improve tire life T i r e s W h e e l s I nnovative Products of America (IPA), Woodstock, NY, say their Tire Comparator™ (Type II) is the industry’s fastest and most consistent caliper for comparing tire diameter on dual-mated tires. IPA is an Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) company specializing in the development of tools and equipment since 1991. IPA employs a team of electro-mechanical engineers, supported by an experienced global sourcing department and onsite manufacturing with full marketing services. IPA says it launched the comparator to help ensure the greatest fuel economy and tire life possible to reduce costs. Even the smallest discrepancies in mated tires can result in a loss of fuel economy and tread life. A quarter-inch variance in size, for example, will cause the larger tire to support a far greater load. This can result in accelerated tread wear and increased heating on the larger tire. Additionally repeated scuffing will occur on the smaller tire with each rotation. These factors increase rolling resistance, which decreases fuel economy and decrease tire lifespan. 30 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com s p e c i a l a n d s e c t i o n T i r e s W h e e l s According to IPA, the Tire Comparator (Type II) provides a far easier method of ensuring mated tires are within tolerance. The sliding tolerance gauge requires no measuring or visual inspection. The company says that users can hold the tool against a tire, and slide across the treads for a quick pass/fail result every time. Made in the USA from a lightweight aluminum construction, the portable Tire Comparator (Type II) is one of IPAâ€™s latest preventative maintenance and service tools for both tire dealers and fleet professionals. Special tread wear adapter gauges are also available for any rim size, making Tire Comparator (Type II) compatible with all dual-mated tires. Redesigning the Equalizer The IPA Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer has been redesigned to include air toggle valves, an internal storage compartment, side mounted hose hangers and holsters for aftermarket air chucks. The company says it provides a new and fast method to accurately read and inflate tire pressure up to five tires at the same time. Minute discrepancies in tire inflation can have profound effects on both tread wear and fuel economy, as even a 1.5 PSI variance can rob 1 percent MPG. When added to PM and Safety lane procedures, IPA says the Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer allows fleets to ensure optimal fuel economy and tire life. IPA says that, unlike other tire pressure systems, the Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer is designed to quickly inflate or deflate up to five tires at a time. It is equipped with two integrated high-capacity air regulators, and two highly accurate, high-resolution, glycerin- filled pressure gauges for consistent and precise tire pressure readings. IPA says the Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer is engineered to save time and money with all the internal components optimized for the fastest possible inflation and deflation times. The Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer is also optimized for adverse weather conditions with the recently upgraded design. It is mounted on a powder-coated steel body with pneumatic tires and features wheel-specific, color-coded hoses with corresponding panel indicators and hose hangers. IPA says the tool is simple to hook up, easy-to-use and provides accurate and consistent results. At right: The IPA Mobile Tire Pressure Equalizer has been redesigned to include new features. At left: The sliding tolerance gauge on IPAâ€™s Tire Comparator (Type II) requires no measuring or visual inspection. fare lo istics Powered by ingenuity. Driven by results. busride.com | BUSRIDE 31 Small Bus S h o w c a s e S mall and midsize buses, the unsung workhorses of passenger transportation, comprise the largest vehicle segment in the bus industry. For small groups on the move, a small bus is the best choice. More than a bus, they are lifesavers for immobile and elderly riders who are dependent on paratransit services. The hospitality industry derives added value from the small bus shuttles to and from airports and popular destinations. Between school sports, church outings, assisted living activities, chauffeured transportation, what canâ€™t these buses handle? Alliance Bus Group Caio G3400 Atlanta, GA Alliance Bus Group, Atlanta, GA, formed when its four principles operating five companies and dealerships covering six regional territories recognized an opportunity to come together and establish a more meaningful presence in the marketplace. Alliance deals in MFSABs as well as midsize and heavy-duty commercial bus and coaches, making a point not to not focus on one OEM over another. The 35-foot G3400, manufactured by Caio, McDonough, GA, is constructed in Caioâ€™s factory in Botucatu, Brazil. The manufacturer utilizes modular driveline systems by Freightliner Custom Chassis, air conditioning systems by Carrier Transicold and audio/video from REI, as well as other U.S.-based suppliers that give its coaches over 65 percent North American content. ARBOC Specialty Vehicles Spirit of Liberty Middlebury, IN The ARBOC Specialty Vehicles Spirit of Liberty, a low-floor, medium-duty 29 to 33-foot rear-engine bus, features an open floor-plan with no steps throughout the passenger area. The Spirit of Liberty incorporates lightweight technologies and proven ARBOC Specialty Vehicles construction resulting in Best of Class curb weights of 15,600 pounds or less. With a gross vehicle weight of 25,500 pounds, the Spirit of Liberty carries up to 37 passengers plus 15 standees. Standard wheelchair zones are a spacious 54x30 inches minimum. Passengers enter on a 34-inch-wide, 1:6 ramp by Ricon up to a 40-inch-wide area between the front wheel wells. A 6.7 liter Cummins ISB diesel engine coupled to an Allison B220 six-speed transmission provides the power to a proprietary chassis supplied by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation. busride.com 32 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 Low Expectations The Titan II LF raises expectations by lowering them Whether it’s a wheelchair passenger, business traveler or an elderly rider, the Titan II LF completely eliminates the need for steps and the traditional wheelchair lift. Now offered with a Braun or Ricon bi-fold power ramp, the Titan II LF utilizes the rugged Chevy G4500 chassis platform along with a purpose-built heavy duty Spartan Chassis® floor structure. With the touch of a switch, the complete unit will kneel to exceed ADA’s current minimum with up to a 6:1 ramp ratio, while providing a level floor surface for all wheelchair positions. The Titan II LF offers true random access for up to 5 wheelchair positions or can seat up to 21 ambulatory passengers. With Glaval’s solid reputation for building a quality product, the Titan II LF is sure to help make life easier! To see how Glaval’s Titan II LF will raise your expectations, see us at BusCon 2013 Booth #600 or call 1-800-445-2825 A Berkshire Hathaway Company · Elkhart, IN · 800-445-2825 · www.GlavalBus.com Small Bus S h o w c a s e Champion Bus / Federal Coach Premier Shuttle Bus Imlay City, MI The Premier Shuttle from Federal Coach, a division of Champion Bus, Inc., features either a Freightliner or International chassis. It can accommodate up to 44 passengers and comes equipped with LCD flat screens, painted skirts, back-up camera and alarm and under-belly storage. Standard features include interior LED lighting and large touring windows with options for rear and overhead luggage for longer excursions. Additional features include multiplex electrical systems and optional seating by Freedman. With an all-fiberglass body and one-piece fiberglass roof, the Premier can accommodate up to 44 passengers. Available in 36- or 40foot models, Federal Coachâ€™s Premier is powered by Allison Transmission and Cummins ISB 6.7 300 HP engine. ElDorado National Krystal F550 Shuttle Salinas, KS Built on the Ford F-550 Super Duty cab and chassis, Krystalâ€™s F-550 Shuttle is offered in two models, K30 & K33. Passenger capacities range from 23 to 32. Optional Powertrains include the standard 6.8L V-10 Triton gasoline engine, 6.8L V-10 Triton CNG/LPG conversion, and 6.7L V-8 PowerStroke diesel. Each bus can be equipped with a wide array of executive upgrades, extreme climate control packages, ADA accessible equipment, and custom floor plans for any transportation requirement. The exterior design showcases a custom paint finish, steel cage and aluminumskinned construction. Since acquiring the Krystal Koach bus business, ElDorado added its own heavy-duty electrical system that provides more consistency than before. ElDorado National says it also provides unique opportunities to service the product including continuous parts availability and manufacturing efficiencies. Best in Class Curb Weight 34 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com Small Bus S h o w c a s e Glaval Bus Titan II LF Elkhart, IN Turtle Top Odyssey XLT New Paris, IN Glaval Bus, Elkhart, IN, a manufacturer of commercial buses since 1998, first unveiled the prototype of its Titan II LF low floor model in 2011. Based on its predecessor, the Titan II, one of the company’s top-selling models, the Titan II LF totally eliminates the need for steps by incorporating a Ricon or Braun wheelchair ramp with a 1:6 slope, which exceeds the current ADA minimum standard of 1:4. The Titan II LF is available in 24-, 26- and 28-foot lengths with various random access configurations to accommodate up to five wheelchairs. Glaval Bus worked with Spartan Chassis, Charlotte, MI, to develop an integrated chassis/floor structure to achieve a level floor surface for all wheelchair positions with only a minor slope between the rear wheel wells. Turtle Top’s Odyssey XLT shuttle bus, built on the Ford Freightliner FM2 chassis, can accommodate up to 47 passengers. This added capacity has made it a popular choice among churches, colleges, city and county transportation authorities, assisted living organizations, cross-country touring companies, excursion companies and many more transportation customers. The XLT comes equipped with aerodynamic automotive styling, clear view windows, a wide interior with doublerow luxury seating, and flexible floor plans including wheel chair capability. The shuttle bus meets and exceeds FMVSS regulations, qualifies for Buy America, and comes with a body and air conditioning warranty second to none. I N T E L L I G E N T T R A N S P O R TAT I O N 2005/2007 Setra 417S Motorcoach, 52-Passenger, Low Mileage Interior • Black leatherette seating • Corian tables • Power outlets • Flat screen TVs • DVD/CD player • Lavatory Certified Luxury Pre-Owned Vehicles Exterior • Low miles • Black on black • Tinted windows • Underneath storage area We Are Making Room For New Inventory Great Prices... Great Values… Call Today! 2005 .............. $199K 2007 .............. $259K Pier 50, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA | (415) 595-8164 www.coachsales.com | firstname.lastname@example.org busride.com | BUSRIDE 35 Small Bus S h o w c a s e Supreme Friendly Bus Supreme Corporation Goshen, IN The Supreme Friendly Bus is the newest iteration of the Senator SII model. Built on the Ford 450 Chassis, the conversion by the Dallas Smith Corporation, Greencastle, IN, from front-wheel to rear-wheel drive accommodates the lowfloor passenger cabin. The fully independent Axleless速 suspension system with kneeling capability provides an extremely low floor by eliminating the rear axles in cab chassis vehicles. The IntelliSYNC速 four-point front and rear air-ride suspension package by Parker Hannifin produces a smooth and comfortable ride for paratransit and shuttle passengers. The paratransit version comes with either a manually deployed or fully mechanical wheelchair ramp with nine passenger seats plus two wheelchair positions. The shuttle version carries up to 15 passengers in forward facing seats in customized configurations. Sprinter MiniBus Mercedes-Benz USA Montvale, NJ Through numerous options and 12 interior configurations, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter MiniBus accommodates airport, hotel and commuter shuttles, as well as paratransit service. Entering and exiting the Sprinter MiniBus is quick and simple with a dual-door opening 38-inches wide and 80-inches tall. Faster load and unload times could mean more passengers and more trips. Up to 18 passengers can ride comfortably with more space between seats, a convenient center walkway and an interior height to 74 inches. The BlueTEC Diesel Engine9 with SCR technology delivers the clean power. The Adaptive ESP速4 system helps keep passengers safe through load-adaptive control and rollover mitigation, which maintains stability and vehicle control by adjusting to weight and road conditions. The MiniBus features three-point safety belts, head restraints and driver / front-passenger airbags. Spacious seating. Luxurious amenities. Safe quiet ride. Limousine buses designed and built to meet the specific needs of each customer. Only from Turtle Top. 800.296.2105 turtletop.com 36 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com Veolia Transportation welcomes 118 drivers to the Million Mile Club Veolia Transportation, Lombard, IL, recently hosted a reception and dinner in Phoenix, AZ, to honor nearly 200 employees who have reached significant safety and service milestones. Of these honorees, a staggering 118 bus operators earned recognition for driving at least one million miles — a milestone that generally takes 12 years to achieve. At the top of the list, two veteran drivers, Robert Huerta and Susan Sutain, reached the rarified air of three million miles without a preventable accident. To put this in perspective, consider that one million miles is comparable to 40 aroundthe-world trips at the equator. Veolia honored 94 operators who achieved one-million mile status and 22 logging two million miles. Robert Huerta Veolia Phoenix General Manager Katrina Heineking noted that collectively, the 118 Million Mile recipients have made 4,000 safe trips around the world. “To honor this many Million Milers in one city is truly remarkable,” said Mark Joseph, CEO of Veolia Transportation. “We congratulate these accomplished bus operators and we thank them for their safe and conscientious driving. It takes skilled and very focused driving to achieve this elite Million Miler status.” Several Veolia executives also attended the award reception. Ken Westbrook, president and COO for Veolia’s Transit Division, thanked the group for their service and dedication to the company and the community. “Each day Veolia Phoenix employees drive buses 49,000 miles maneuvering through traffic and road obstacles and delivering people safely to their destinations,” he said. “This is quite a challenge, yet you do it each day, contributing to the quality of life for the residents of Phoenix.” Susan Sutain The Veolia location in Phoenix holds the record for the most Million Milers, and for the most employees with long-term service to the company. Nearly 45 percent of the Veolia’s Phoenix-based employees have been with the company for 10 years or more. Underway, Not Under Repair. Small BuS HVaC from tHe Big BuS expertS 3 Unmatched Reliability 3 Superior Capacity 3 Expert Service & Support www.thermoking.com busride.com | BUSRIDE 37 THE TRANSIT Authority IntelliRide™ is smart mobility management Veolia Transportation instills flexibility into paratransit management hatever form it takes, all demand-responsive transportation shares one overriding characteristic – it can be notoriously costly and resource-intensive. Aging populations, increased driving costs, urban sprawl and worsening traffic congestion are increasing the need for all forms of ondemand transit services. IntelliRide is Veolia’s answer to the challenge of providing paratransit services that are both high quality and By Ryan Larsen efficiently managed. President, Veolia Transportation is a leading IntelliRide provider of paratransit services in North America. The company operates multiple modes of transportation under contract to transit authorities and other clients in some 200 locations in the U.S. IntelliRide integrates scheduled paratransit fleets with local flexible fleets, using Smart Mobility Management technology and processes to ensure quality, reduce costs and improve efficiency. IntelliRide manages the entire process for a client, including reservations intake, dispatch, seamless pickup and drop-off, and overall service quality. Further details include: • Scheduled Fleet: The scheduled fleet is the dedicated ADA or human service transportation fleet that IntelliRide manages. Drivers are well trained and provided with a regular schedule and efficiently assigned trips. Their performance is monitored in real- time on a continual basis. • Flexible Fleet: The flexible fleet concept addresses chronic problems of off-peak scheduling and outlier rides. A flexible fleet is typically a mix of pre-existing, pre-qualified classic ADA/ paratransit vehicles and operators, combined with communitybased for-hire vehicles operated by independent contractors and taxi drivers. We take responsibility for the training and performance of the drivers in the flexible fleet (and the scheduled fleet). By increasing the number of available vehicles, optimizing their scheduling and improving the quality of sub-contractor management, IntelliRide’s flexible fleet ensures passenger satisfaction and cost effectiveness. • Smart Mobility Management: The success of flexible fleet operation depends on the smooth integration of different vehicles, operators and technology platforms from multiple 38 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 W providers. To ensure system-wide consistency, IntelliRide brokerage call-centers use all of the major reservations, scheduling and dispatching solutions such as Ecolane, Route Match, Stratagen and Trapeze. IntelliRide additionally focuses on real-time scheduling, implementing Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs), AVL and additional add-on technology solutions that will add value for passengers. IntelliRide can also deploy middleware to provide a link between the scheduled fleet’s scheduling system and the flexible fleet’s system, which are often not the same. This then provides real-time updates for all trips, regardless of who provides the trip. Current IntelliRide Locations IntelliRide is currently in use at several Veolia projects: • Access Transportation, Pittsburgh, PA – Veolia operates a decentralized brokerage for the Port Authority in Pittsburgh. Veolia and industry leader Karen Hoesch have been in Pittsburgh for over 30 years. Veolia manages the program while providers manage the day-to-day operations of the trips for customers. Karen and her team have deployed a very creative E-purse solution to track and debit customer fares in use in Pittsburgh. In addition, they have deployed a creative web-based solution with Android-based MDTs. busride.com THE TRANSIT Authority Veolia operates multiple modes of transportation in some 200 locations in the U.S. • East Bay Paratransit Consortium, Oakland, CA – Veolia has operated the East Bay project for AC Transit and BART for over 18 years and recently was selected for an additional 5 year contract. Veolia manages all reservations, scheduling and dispatching, and provider management and payment. Mark Weinstein manages this program for Veolia. The East Bay project utilizes Stratagen and all vehicles are equipped with Mentor Ranger MDTs. Veolia Vision has recently been implemented to provide real-time feedback related to On-Time performance and system Key Performance Indicators. • SF Muni Access Brokerage, San Francisco, CA – Veolia operates Access - a decentralized brokerage for San Francisco Muni. Veolia and industry professional Marc Soto have managed this operation since 2000. Veolia manages the program while third-party providers manage the day-to-day operations of the trips for customers. The taxi program and credit card payment system in San Francisco have been hailed as some the best in the industry to help control costs for the paratransit program. 40 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com THE TRANSIT Authority IntelliRide brokerage call-centers use scheduling and dispatching solutions by Ecolane, Route Match, Stratagen and Trapeze. Veolia and IntelliRide were recently selected to manage the taxi operation program for WMATA in Washington, DC. The flexibility and customization of IntelliRide offers clients the opportunity to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective transportation by integrating scheduled and flexible fleets and managing them with powerful software. The IntelliRide team continues to develop technically advanced applications to ensure our transit clients and riding customers are well equipped to meet the challenges of ever increasing demand. We care deeply about providing shared ride services that expand mobility options for seniors, people with disabilities, schoolchildren, and the underemployed. Veolia and IntelliRide will continue to evolve our Smart Mobility Management solutions to meet the unique needs of these passengers. Nationwide Motorcoach Installation of: Electrical Outlets Commercial Wi-Fi Low Profile Satellite TV Rear Observation Systems Audio and Video Systems 800.695.1670 email@example.com busride.com | BUSRIDE 41 Overcoming battery charging imbalance 12-volt devices must be connected through an equalizer (or a DC-toDC converter) in order to equally discharge the battery pack. By Brad Bisaillon W Overcoming battery charging imbalance will lengthen battery life. ith the emergence of advanced electrical systems in today’s bus designs, reliance on batteries to power them has become increasingly important. These continually evolving electrical subsystems are putting a tremendous strain on the batteries that power them, so effective management of the battery bank’s charge and discharge characteristics are imperative to extending the overall life of deep-cycle AGM batteries. Proper balancing of a bus’ electrical load can mean the difference between achieving a battery’s rated lifecycle or its premature failure. While bus original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in both North America and Europe build 24-volt platforms (2 X 8D batteries or 4 X Group 31 AGM batteries), those in North America follow a commonly accepted practice of installing accessory devices that are only 12-volt. These 12-volt devices include fare boxes, fire suppression systems, and security and surveillance equipment. They must be connected through an equalizer (or more favorably via a DC-to-DC converter) in order to equally discharge the battery pack. Unfortunately, it is also a common practice to directly connect some of these accessory devices to only the 12-volt power supply, or half of the battery bank, because some of these devices are required to remain powered even when the master disconnect is off. This causes busride.com 42 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 a discharge imbalance whereby one half of the battery bank is being discharged to a greater depth of discharge than the other half. This results in an equally harmful recharge imbalance with the other half of the battery bank being overcharged. This charge imbalance causes a recharge challenge. As the recharge current flows to the batteries, the current will work to charge all of the batteries in the 24-volt system, instead of just those which require charging. The challenge is that while greater current is needed to charge the 12-volt side of the battery system, the batteries that have only been partially discharged will become overcharged causing them to swell and gas. This will eventually reduce the life of these batteries and require more frequent, costly battery replacements. The use of an equalizer assists in a more balanced recharge. As these devices are generally connected behind the master disconnect, however, the system is being defeated. In Europe, the same 2 X 8D and 4 X Group 31 AGM battery systems are used by bus OEMs. The big differentiator is that the added technology devices are 24-volt, which matches the platformâ€™s total voltage. Because the voltages are the same, no imbalance in discharging exists so no overcharging occurs. As a result, battery life in European buses is far greater than that in North America. While 24-volt devices are preferred, there are ways to add 12-volt devices to current bus designs here in North America. Equalizers are one option, but these devices need a power source bypassing the equalizer if loads need to be powered when the master disconnect is off. The ideal method of achieving this is to use of a DC-DC converter. These converters have a 24-volt input, connected across the entire battery bank, and a 12-volt output for 12-volt devices. The use of a DC-DC converter reduces the need of the equalizer, which are not commonly used in Europe. A major North American bus OEM uses a DC-DC converter instead of an equalizer, a design from its parent company based in Europe. By using this DC-DC converter charging system, the batteries used in their buses do not suffer the problem of system imbalance as in North America. As bus designs become more advanced along with the electrical systems that power them, the need for more effective charging methods of the battery system will continue to be extremely important. Not only will these strategies impact the operation of the bus, they will extend battery life and enhance a bus OEMâ€™s overall battery investment. Brad Bisaillon serves as Trojan Batteryâ€™s director of Strategic Accounts for North America & Europe. busride.com | BUSRIDE 43 THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT Sweden: A land of contrasts By Doug Jack I A tri-axle Scania bus linking Arlanda airport with a nearby town. The third axle steers at low speed for extra maneuverability. t is always a pleasure to go to Stockholm, Sweden in the summer. It is a beautiful city built on several islands with a direct outlet to the Baltic Sea. One of my first stops was a conference in which Scania presented its interim report for the first six months of 2013. Scania is quite a cautious and conservative company, taking its time to reach decisions but very rarely getting them wrong. The company has been consistently profitable for many years. Martin Lundstedt succeeded the legendary Leif Ă–stling as president and CEO last year in a seamless transition. Scania concentrates on a range of bus and coach chassis for city, suburban, interurban and luxury applications. It produces a wide variety of two and three-axle models with minimal parts count. Many of the coaches share components with the truck range. Although Scania conducts some aluminumframed city-bus bodywork at a factory in Slupsk in northern Poland, their policy is normally to work with selected bodybuilders around the world. One of the strongest links is with Irizar, not only in Europe but also in Mexico, South America, North Africa and even as far afield as Australia. In South America, Scania has supplied articulated vehicles to a number of Bus Rapid Transit systems in cities such as Bogota. It was interesting to hear Martin Lundstedt say that Scania will be ramping up production in two stages in the third and fourth quarters. There had been a drop in the very important Brazilian market, when it changed from Euro 3 to Euro 5, but thatâ€™s now recovering strongly. Scania thought that some customers in Europe might try to buy ahead while Euro 5 is still available, but they would have to be quick. Although Euro 6 engines are more complicated, they are showing significant savings in fuel economy. While I would describe Scania as a safe pair of hands on bus and coach strategy, two parts of their policy surprise me. Firstly, the company continues to adhere strongly in Stockholm to ethanol as an alternative fuel. While it offers very clean emissions, I have never been able to find out the equivalent of a well-to-wheel cost. Ethanol is produced locally in Sweden from the sap of the extensive timber industry and must be taxed at or around 0 percent. Ethanol requires onboard fuel tanks over one and a half times larger than those for diesel buses, and engines tend to run hotter than diesel. Ethanol must also contain a small percentage of diesel to help with initial ignition. Scania says that ethanol can also be produced from renewable crops, particularly in countries like Brazil. It is clear that in Europe, however, the use of ethanol is restricted by the lack of distribution facilities. The normal average life of a bus or coach in Sweden is around seven years. Vehicles are generally maintained to high standards and find a ready market across the Baltic and in other parts of central Europe. Some of the earliest low floor Scania ethanol buses were still running in Stockholm. They must be at least 15 years old, suggesting that there is no second-hand market for them. The other area where Scania lags behind its European competitors is in the development of hybrid buses. Scania feels that hybrid solutions will be financially viable as soon as an economic and dependable solution is available for storing energy on-board a vehicle. Scania believes that neither batteries nor super capacitors have evolved sufficiently to provide Scania built a small trial fleet of ethanol hybrid buses for service in Stockholm. 44 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT A Volvo plug-in hybrid bus passing Gothenburg’s main railway station in typical Swedish summer weather. a commercially satisfactory solution on service life and life cycle costs. In an unusually outspoken view, Scania said that current hybrid systems are mainly selling on image. They are dependent on incentives, in Scania’s opinion, not on financial merit or robustness. Scania is already working with Siemens on the concept of all-electric vehicles to be used on local distribution work. The system could equally apply to city buses. Volvo Scania’s stance on hybrid vehicles is in direct contrast to its neighbor on the west coast of Sweden. Volvo has now delivered or taken orders for more than 1,000 parallel hybrid buses from customers in several European countries. Although it is true that most have been bought with some sort of subsidy, operators have gained confidence in the systems. They are seeing savings in fuel consumption that are making them a commercial proposition, without subsidy. The other and more recently introduced fuel for city buses in Sweden is biogas. This is a renewable source of energy, produced from sewage works and waste from restaurants and slaughterhouses. There is strong political pressure to use biogas because it makes the disposal of sewage residue simpler and less expensive. For vehicle manufacturers, biogas is a potential problem. Biogas can be used in engines which have been developed to run on compressed natural gas, but they have quite different supply systems. There is already a well-established network of pipelines for natural gas in Swedish towns and cities, but biogas needs its own dedicated refueling facilities. Large numbers of biogas buses were running in Stockholm, many of them supplied by MAN, which, like Scania, is majority owned by Volkswagen. The bus fleets have to sign contracts for the supply of biogas. Some Stockholm residents have reacted angrily to the possibility of biogas production facilities near their homes. Because of this, at least some of the biogas is trucked into Stockholm from Orebro. Norway has taken up biogas on a small scale in Oslo, but there are no other markets currently calling for biogas buses. Stockholm has a congestion charging system where cars are charged for entering the city center. The cost is quite low, but it could easily be raised to reduce levels of city center traffic. One of the prerequisites of any charging system is to have sufficient high-quality public transport vehicles, especially buses, which can easily service residential areas. Running old buses defeats the objective of getting the motorists out of their cars. Volvo believes that the best way forward is to develop its hybrid products and to maximize the time that buses spend in all-electric emission-free mode. They have introduced the option of a plug-in hybrid bus. A small five-liter engine can be used to keep batteries charged while running in suburbs. They can also be “filled up” at each end of a route from an overhead electric gantry, so that up to 70 percent of a route can be serviced in all-electric mode. Recently, Volvo and partners in Gothenburg announced a route that will go through streets in the city center that were previously off-limits to buses. The route will include at least one indoor stop. In the Gothenburg winter climate, that could be very welcome and set a significant precedent. Volvo, sensibly, is taking time to test the plug-in technology in regular service and in all sorts of climates. The plug-in version can work like a standard hybrid bus on routes without additional electrical charging facilities. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom. busride.com | BUSRIDE 45 XL Hybrids X L Hybrids, Boston, MA, develops aftermarket hybridelectric powertrain technology specifically for commercial van and small bus fleets. Through a shipthrough installation, an XL Hybrid conversion transforms Class 1-3 shuttle vehicles into fuel-efficient hybrid-electric vehicles. President and founder Tod Hynes, along with co-founders Clay Siegert and Justin Ashton, launched the company with the view that such technology has been lacking for the commercial fleet operators who use the most fuel. The company leaders say their vision is to develop and deliver a cost-effective aftermarket hybrid-electric system that saves money, reduces fuel consumption, lowers emissions and exceeds sustainablility goals. They began by speaking to fleet managers, mechanics and bus dealerships, as well as corporate executives, finance and leasing experts to map out the requirements for developing a hybrid technology that fleets will actually buy at scale. It turns out these groups had also been searching for a cost-effective solution. “We recognized that the commercial and transit market stood to gain the most from hybrid-electric propulsion,” Hynes says. “The market is ready for a hybrid system that generates a three-year payback without relying on government subsidies, and this technology does just that.” An electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery pack and sophisticated control software comprise the parallel hybrid BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 advances to small bus installations The company addresses a market that stands to gain the most from hybridelectric propulsion XL Hybrids’ parallel hybrid system fits into the vehicle without significant modifications to the engine or transmission. system, which fits into the vehicle without modifications to the engine or transmission. The company says an installation takes about six hours. While XL Hybrids sells the product directly to fleet operators, the OEM warranties remain intact. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) marked XL Hybrids as one of five companies to receive funding under busride.com 46 the InnovateMass program to test and showcase their earlystage clean energy technologies. This opportunity required a successful demonstration and validation that would prove it viable for investment and ready for mass production. “These new ideas and technologies are getting their first real-world testing right here in Massachusetts,” says MassCEC Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton. “They are making the Commonwealth a staging ground for innovation once again.” Barton noted that the center invested in the XL Hybrids project because of its potential for growth and job creation. National Van Builders, Attleboro, MA, and Kiessling Transit, Norfolk, MA, are partnering with XL Hybrids in this project to retrofit existing shuttle buses and convert them into energyefficient hybrid vehicles. National Van Builders will do the install on the vehicles Kiessling Transit will use in its fleet. Senior Vice President Glen Perlman says his company has created a subsidiary called National Fleet Hybrids to do the work. Funding for the project is through a $150,000 grant from the MassCEC with $230,336 in matching private funds. XL Hybrids Vice President Justin Ashton sees the capability to make existing vehicles more efficient in less time than the typical automotive product development cycle as a game-changer. XL Hybrids says its powertrain is now available as a shipthrough option on MY14 Express and E-Series vans. The company recently announced installation partnerships with Leggett and Platt CVP and the Knapheide Manufacturing Company, both of which are Ford QVM and General Motors SVM-certified installation partners. The hybrid powertrain can also be installed as a retrofit on MY10-13 Express vans and MY09-13 E-Series vans. While XL Hybrids first released its product for North American light-duty GM Express and Ford E-Series vans, the company recently announced a hybrid powertrain option for cutaway shuttle buses. The company says its current engineering efforts are expanding compatibility to more vehicle models. Siegert says the major cost-driver of electrified vehicle technology is the battery packs, and EVs require very large battery packs. “Battery prices have not fallen as fast as many analysts originally thought,” he says. “However, our assumption four years ago was that batteries would remain expensive for a decade and that hybrid-electric vehicles were already costeffective. This was because they typically require about one-thirtieth to one-fiftieth the battery energy as commercial electric vehicles.” Siegert thinks electric vehicles will eventually have a place in the commercial vehicle market as battery prices fall, with manufacturing scale coming from demand in the consumer segment. XL Hybrids powertrain specifications • System Voltage • Lithium-Ion Battery • Traction Motor Type • Traction Motor Power • Hybrid System Torque • Hybrid System Weight • Electronic Speed Governor • Hybrid MPG Increase (EPA City) 259 V 1.8 kWh Permanent Magnet (peak) 40 kW (peak) 220 lb-ft 350 lbs 70 MPH 25 percent busride.com | BUSRIDE 47 IHS recognizes Apollo Video Technology as global market leader Report ranks Apollo Video as the top supplier to the transit bus market The 2013 edition of the World Market for Mobile Video Surveillance Equipment names Apollo Video Technology (Apollo Video) as the transit bus market leader in the world and the Americas. IHS Electronics & Media released the latest edition of the report, which is published every-other year and ranks companies based on annual sales revenue. Apollo Video was ranked as the market leader in the Americas in the 2011 edition of the report. The 2013 edition reports an increase in Apollo Video’s world market share of nearly 2 percent, outranking other companies within the industry. “We continue to invest in the integration of software and hardware technologies, providing transit agencies with capabilities far beyond standard video surveillance,” says Rodell Notbohm, founder, CEO and managing partner of Apollo Video. “We are constantly improving our solutions to exceed the expectations of our customers. We’ve designed our solutions to help agencies increase safety and security, while improving operational efficiency, allowing them to save time and money. We are honored to receive this acknowledgement validating our achievement.” Apollo Video’s solutions allow transit officials to remotely view cameras onboard to quickly investigate passenger and employee concerns. In addition, the company’s ViM Software provides fleet-wide management of the RoadRunner mobile digital video recorder (DVR) systems with tools designed to increase accessibility, reduce maintenance and operating costs, improve efficiency, and mitigate risk and liability. IHS Electronics & Media provides market, technology and supply chain data, analysis and forecasts at every operational step of the electronics and media value chain. IH Sregularly publishes detailed research on video surveillance and security services markets, among others. They can be found online at www.ihs.com/electronics-media. 48 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 busride.com MARKETPLACE PARTS SHELTERS to place a Banner or Product Spotlight Call: Sali Williams 800.541.2670 EXT. 209 firstname.lastname@example.org busride.com | BUSRIDE 800.603.6635 49 TO OUR E-NEWSLETTER BUS STOP SHELTERS Many site compatible designs & colors Pre-fabricated for easy installations Thousands in use throughout the U.S.A. â€˘ handi-hut.com SUBSCRIBE MARKETPLACE INSURANCE BUSES FOR SALE SAFETY TPMS For buses, trucks/trailers, RVs, cars, towed vehicles. Check actual tire pressures even while driving down the road! Small sensors replace the valve stem caps; a dash-mounted monitor alerts to a deflation and indicates which tire. Save $$$. Save fuel. Save tires. Save time. Wireless! Easy to self install! L&S Safety Solutions LLC ACT NOW! Canadian opera two-door coach tors debut es p12 June.201 3 North American Distributor • 800-521-6820 (AZ) tirepressuremonitor.com Denver RTD in employeesinvests p18 FREE SUBSCRIPTION TODAY! SUBSCRIPTION FORM PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO RENEW YOUR Why and how coaches clean to keep p32 busride.co m | $5.00 The mosT TrusT ed resou rce in The bus and moTo rcoa ch indus Try FUTURE p14 TO THE LOOK T WO FRIENDS FREE ISSUE S ($39.00 Valu e) 12 VISIT BUSRIDE.COM OR FAX FORM TO: 602-265-4300 ❏ YES! I wish to start / renew my FREE subscription to * Signature (REQUIRED BY US POSTAL SERVICE): Name: Company: H0913BR busride.com . ❏ No Date: Title: Address: Phone: Fax: City/State/Zip: E-mail: ❏ YES! It is okay to contact me via E-mail regarding my subscription. ❏ No 50 BUSRIDE | SE P T EMBER . 2013 WE STARTED OUR COACH COMPANY IN 1924 AND THE REST IS HISTORY. LITERALLY. As a company that began during the Great Depression, we’ve been an important part of motorcoach history. We’ve helped technology evolve over the years, and we’ve seen competitors come and go. Through it all, Prevost has maintained a reputation for integrity and product excellence. The stability we created in 1924 remains the foundation of our company and our coaches today. Our customer relationships set an example for the entire motorcoach community. And we support those relationships with the largest service network in the industry, including over 130 Prevost Service Providers across North America. In a demanding industry, you need all the assurance you can get. Prevost will be there for you. So you can be there for your passengers. Please contact your Prevost Regional Sales Manager for more information. USA 1-877-773-8678 CANADA 418-883-3391 www.prevostcar.com T h e u l t i m a t e c l a s s. REVITALIZE. MODERNIZE. CUSTOMI E. are among the fastest growing solutions for fleet operators today. Featuring a wide variety of modernization, retrofit and customization options, ABC can help you find the right fit for your fleet requirements. From 3-point seatbelt upgrades, wheelchair lift installs, repower options and more, ABC offers affordable solutions to extend the life and the investment of your current fleet. OUR POPULAR FLEET REFURBISHMENT SERVICES z For expert installations, customized retrofit services and a wide range of equipment upgrade options, contact your ABC Account Executive today. BODY MECHANICAL SAFETY AMENITIES Northeast 800-222-2873 Southeast 800-222-2871 Southwest 800-222-2877 West 800-322-2877 Canada 800-345-1287 Midwest 800-222-2875 www.abc-companies.com/refurb