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JANUARY | 2014

Spirit of Liberty rolls into production p16 $5.00

Fire suppression saves lives p19 Chicago MPC builds top-tier BRT p22 Comvex showcases Turkish industry p26



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Cover Story Spirit of Liberty rolls into production


ARBOC Specialty Vehicles achieves its goal of a rear-drive, low-floor pusher By David Hubbard

Features Good stewardship guides the industry in ameaningful direction


BUSRide to honor Charles A. Zelle as an industry steward during ABA Marketplace

Suppress fires, save lives 19 Fire suppression systems become more advanced as the industry becomes more aware By Richard Tackett

Chicago MPC builds its case for top-tier BRT




Its community contributions stretch well beyond faster bus service By Chrissy Mancini Nichols

And now a word about punitive damages


By Matthew Daecher

DEPARTMENTS 7 UPDATE 10 Deliveries 11 People in the News


12 Tour Business 24 Transit Authority 30 Marketplace


David Hubbard


By Doug Jack


Com at thee visit us BoothUMA EXPO # 822


Prepare for anything and sweat the small stuff Over the holidays I read Col. Chris Hadfield’s memoir, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination and Being Prepared for Anything.” The Canadian astronaut-turned-author retired last May after three missions into space and becoming the first Canadian astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. Hadfield closed his 35-year career upon completing his third stay in orbit as commander of the International Space Station. Recounting his journey from fighter pilot to the rarified air of NASA astronaut, Hadfield lays bare the mental processes and performance strategies that separate the right stuff from the wrong stuff; success and failure; life and death. While the work environment within rockets, modules and the control center varies considerably from that of buses, coaches, maintenance facilities and dispatch, the takeaway in Hadfield’s book easily applies to professionals in this industry charged with the safety and well-being of fellow workers and paying customers. Hadfield is a worthwhile read for operators, safety directors and maintenance techs who are concerned about learning more from accidents and failures. The Boldface procedures aimed at reducing errors and passing along lessons learned during training simulations actually save lives. It’s what Hadfield and his associates call the Flight Rules. “Given our obsession with preparation, it is interesting how frequently we run into trouble in space; only to learn how we miscalculated or overlooked something obvious, and need a new flight rule to cover it,” he writes. The Flight Rules protect against risk taking. “Being unwilling to bend the rules on launch day eliminates the temptations. They keep us from proceeding when we know the conditions are not quite right but say, ‘Let’s just try anyway.’” Hadfield stresses preparation for anything by learning the dire importance of sweating the small stuff, pointing to one cracked O-ring on Challenger and one dislodged piece of foam on Columbus as tragedies that further taught NASA in the saddest ways possible to understand just how much the smallest details matter.

David Hubbard Executive Editor BUSRide Magazine



Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane Group Publisher Sali T. Williams Executive Editor David Hubbard Editor Richard Tackett Art Director Stephen Gamble Production Coordinator Kevin Dixon Accountant Fred Valdez Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher, Christopher Ferrone

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 Vol. 50 • No. 1 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.


and distribution arm of Van Hool Manufacturing, begins its sponsorship this month at the winter meeting during the American Bus Association Marketplace in Nashville, TN. “ABC Companies has always been a leader and partner with the industry in safety innovation,” said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. “The company’s groundbreaking support of the Bus Industry Safety Council is further proof of that commitment.” “Our family has been involved in the motorcoach industry since 1950,” said ABC Companies Chairman & CEO Dane Cornell. “Safety is embedded in our DNA. It’s an honor to work closely with the Bus Industry Safety Council to build on the industry’s already-high level of safety.”

ABA Marketplace takes place at Music City Center, Nashville, TN.

Music City hosts ABA Marketplace 2014, January 11-15 Each January, ABA welcomes the motorcoach travel and tourism industries to its first conference of the year – Marketplace, where more than 3,500 tour operators, suppliers and exhibitors come together to kick off a new year of business opportunity and growth. This year, Marketplace takes place in Nashville, TN, January 11-15, at Music City Center. Marketplace is an active forum of buyers and sellers who come to do business. ABA says with more than 140,000 prescheduled appointments and 800 pre-qualified operators, Marketplace provides an opportunity to conduct a year’s worth of sales meetings in one week. Marketplace 2014 kicks off the week with an exclusive sneak peak of For the Love of Music - the story of how Nashville became Music City through the iconic voices of the past to today’s hottest superstars. Special events sponsored by Nashville CVC include 12 free sightseeing tours and a special fundraiser and music event, Marketplace Gives Back, which puts songwriters in the spotlight in The Music City Connection: Heroes Behind the Hits performing their hits, revealing their influences and sharing their personal stories of writing, recording and living in Music City. A Night at the Grand Ole Opry, sponsored by Gaylord Opryland Hotel & The Grand Ole Opry is an exclusive event for ABA attendees. The Grand Ole Opry House will roll out the red carpet for the evening, starting with an extraordinary dinner created by Gaylord Opryland Resort. The event features culinary artisans, backstage tours to see what happens behind the scenes of the Opry, and then a performance of that one-of-a-kind brand of entertainment. ABA says it’s anyone’s guess who may step out from behind the big red curtain, and this may just go down as a show that made ABA history.

ABC Companies signs on as BISC title sponsor In a new agreement, ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, will serve as title sponsor of the semiannual Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) meetings. BISC is the motorcoach industry’s premier safety organization that brings together motorcoach operators, safety directors, government representatives and policymakers to discuss and enhance motorcoach safety and security. ABC Companies, the exclusive North American sales

HSM acquires Summit Seating, Inc. HSM, Hickory, NC, a global manufacturer of quality seating products for transit buses and other specialty vehicles, has acquired Summit Seating, Inc. “We are excited to bring Summit Seating’s technology and capabilities to HSM,” said Dave Colburn, HSM president and CEO. “This strategic move supports our ongoing migration from a components supplier to a provider of integrated solutions with a market-focused strategy.” HSM says its aim is to continue the growth it has experienced in transportation seating since acquiring the C.E. White Co. in January 2013, through faster innovation, integrated production, increased synergies and unified marketing. As a result of this move, Summit and HSM’s customer base will see an expanded product offering according to Tony Everett, vice president, transportation solutions.

Capital Metro to launch its MetroRapid BRT fleet Capital Metro, Austin, TX, is about to launch its new MetroRapid fleet following field testing in December along the entire 21-mile length of Route 801, which is the first route to open, replacing Routes 1L and 101 when service begins. The route travels along North Lamar and South Congress from Tech Ridge to Southpark Meadows via UT and downtown. The agency says this move will provide more frequent and efficient service to the same area. The December field testing was to validate the performance of the new technology being used onboard the vehicles, as well as dwell times — the time it takes a vehicle to load and unload passengers at each station. Operators had the opportunity to become more familiar with the route and the 44 high-tech stations, and test the new enhanced features aboard the vehicles that include a new communications system that lets operators know if they are on schedule, as well as transit signal technology. The distinctive red and silver MetroRapid vehicles began making regular appearances on Austin streets in September when operator training began. Route 801 is scheduled to begin service on January 26 with Route 803 launching in late summer. | BUSRIDE



ABC Companies partner with Alexander Dennis on Enviro double-decks

Dane Cornell of ABC Companies and Alexander Dennis North American Director Steve Walsh discuss their new partnership from atop the Enviro400.

In their recently announced partnership, ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, and its subsidiary, Ameritrans Bus, Inc., Elkhart, IN, entered into an agreement with Alexander Dennis Limited, Inc. to assemble the Enviro500 and Enviro400, high-capacity, low floor double-deck buses. Production will begin Q4

2014 in Nappanee, IN. Under a separate agreement, Alexander Dennis has named ABC Companies as its exclusive distributor for the Enviro400 open-top tourist bus in the United States (with the exception of Hawaii). “Our agreement with Alexander Dennis effectively expands our footprint to offer American-built products for transit and tour operators throughout North America,” says Dane Cornell, chairman and CEO, ABC Companies. “The Enviro500 has been operating in North America for over ten years. Its efficient design provides low maintenance and operating costs, proven passenger acceptance, excellent revenue yields, and improved performance in snow and ice. The Enviro500 is an ideal addition to the ABC portfolio of award-winning transit solutions.”

Prevost offers NASCAR merchandise program As the Official Luxury Motorcoach of NASCAR, Prevost, Sainte-Claire, QC, Canada, has introduced a program which offers NASCAR licensed merchandise, including shirts, jackets, hats and backpacks. The merchandise allows Prevost and NASCAR fans to show off their allegiance to the premium motorcoach brand and a leading spectator sport in the United States. Prevost motorcoaches are fixtures at NASCAR events, populating driver and team owner parking lots. Prevost hospitality, executive, and technical support coaches serve as mobile work stations for manufacturers, teams and sponsors. Each race weekend, Prevost says its motorcoaches play an integral role in the transportation and staging of high-quality NASCAR events across the country.

Lisa Simon steps down as NTA president The National Tour Association (NTA), Lexington, KY, announced in late 2013 that Lisa Simon would be stepping away from as president of the association after serving in the position for seven years. “I have been with NTA for most of my professional career, and during that time, we have seen an incredible amount of growth and change,” she said. “I believe this is the right time 8


for me to find new challenges and the right time for new leadership to take the association into its next phase of growth.” During Simon’s tenure, she led the association in its first co-located annual convention with the United Motorcoach Association at Travel Exchange; guided the association in developing a strategic business focus on growth travel markets, including China inbound travel Lisa Simon and faith-based travel; and led the initiative to expand NTA’s international presence. She helped with the organization’s move from a management firm to a self-managed association. “The NTA Board and I want to thank Lisa for her tireless dedication to NTA and especially for her leadership as president over the past seven years,” said Mark Hoffmann, certified tour professional (CTP), NTA chairman and CEO. “She has formed a very strong bond with the members over the past 28 years, and we will sorely miss her experience, her steady leadership and her strong advocacy for our membership.” The NTA Board of Directors will take steps immediately to conduct a national executive search. Beginning 2014, Catherine Prather, NTA senior vice president, will serve the association as interim president.

Group of 50 establish the Hispanic Motorcoach Council Under the umbrella of the American Bus Association (ABA), a new group of predominately Spanish-speaking motorcoach operators have come together to form the Hispanic Motorcoach Council/El Consejo Hispano de Autobúses (HMC). The group currently consists of 50 motorcoach operators looking to add to their growing ranks. The group offers support through networking, knowledge and information related to security issues, safety compliance, legislative/regulatory oversight and operational best practices to help companies build their business as well as operate safely and to their maximum potential. The HMC bus operators met in Hollywood, FL, in November for their second regional meeting. The group heard from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, local law enforcement, commercial vehicle inspection officers, Transportation Security Administration representatives from Miami and Fort Lauderdale international airports, motorcoach manufacturers and other bus operators. The HMC will co-locate its first annual meeting at ABA Marketplace in Nashville, TN, this month. HMC says all HMC resources and information are available in both English and Spanish. The Hispanic Motorcoach Council (HMC) has as its mission the growth, fellowship and development of the Hispanic business community in the motorcoach industry. It serves as a resource and forum to promote safe motorcoach operations; encourage interaction among operators and transportation planners; and advocate for Hispanic and minority-owned businesses. HMC members with questions or requests contact should email or visit


Kids’ art promotes FMCSA message: Be Ready. Be Buckled. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Washington, D.C., launched the 2014 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest, organized by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. Open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries, the contest educates kids about highway safety and urges commercial drivers to buckle up on every trip. “Safety belts save lives, and this contest is a great way to engage our kids in a conversation about the importance of buckling up before every trip,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The calendars also serve as a yearround reminder about traveling safely on our roadways.” FMCSA will accept contest submissions through February 28, 2014. Students can submit their artwork by mail to the following address: CMV Safety Belt Partnership c/o CVSA Attention: Lisa Claydon 6303 Ivy Lane, Suite 310, Greenbelt, MD 20770 Artwork will be evaluated in two categories: one for kindergarten through second grade, and another for third through sixth grade. Twelve winners will be selected in March and their artwork will appear in the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” contest calendar.

Tire manufacturer Double Coin and marketer CMA, based in Monrovia, CA, recently launched its Smart Money Fleet Program for national fleet accounts, which allows medium and largesized fleets to purchase Double Coin TBR and ROTR products at sale locations across North America. The Redding Area Bus Authority (RABA), Redding, CA, awarded Veolia Transportation the first two-year contract extension for fixed route and paratransit services in the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, 160 miles north of Sacramento. Veolia Transportation has operated the RABA service since 1997. Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. has rolled out an improved casing warranty for its commercial line of medium truck and bus radial (TBR) tires. The company says both fleet and independent operators will benefit from this improved warranty as it applies to the retreading of casings. U.S. Oil, Appleton, WI, has partnered with Dart Transit Company to build a second GAIN Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station in Fort Wayne, IN. The station will not only provide CNG to the Dart truck fleet, but will be available for use by the general public. Stertil-Koni received its second U.S. patent for its innovative shallow pit, heavy-duty scissor ECOLIFT. The method patent covers the advanced process by which the product utilizes a shallow pit scissor lift to raise vehicles.

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DELIVERIES Motor Coach Industries (MCI) added






San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority

Tuscaloosa Charter Service Tuscaloosa, AL

Peter Pan Bus Lines Springfield, MA

Founded in 2000 to serve casino transportation, Tuscaloosa Charter Service is now providing full service charters catering to groups, colleges and schools. The modern fleet consists of five MCI J4500s, including a new 2014 J4500, as well as two MCI D4505s. The J4500 features a wheelchair lift, electronic stability control, tire-pressure monitoring and a firesuppression system. Cabin features include Wi-Fi and DVD players. Founder Cliff Dorsey says his customers respond to the curb appeal of the redesigned J-model.

Peter Pan Bus Lines announced its largest new equipment procurement in its 80-year history. The company is adding 42 MCI coaches, expanding its modern fleet to accommodate the steady growth in business the company has experienced throughout the Northeast. Peter Pan Chairman and CEO Peter A. Picknelly says this equates to a new bus entering the fleet every week and a half. The new bus models also feature wheelchair lifts, three-point seat belts, Wi-Fi, power outlets and modern onboard restrooms.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) recently approved the purchase of an additional 50 heavy-duty 40foot Xcelsior diesel-electric hybrid buses from New Flyer Industries Inc., Winnipeg, MB, Canada. New Flyer says SFMTA will purchase these buses under an umbrella contract with the procurement department of another U.S. state. These 50 buses will be in addition to the 62 40-foot Xcelsior dieselelectric hybrid buses awarded to New Flyer in 2012.


Temsa / CH Bus Sales

Van Hool / ABC Companies






New Flyer Industries

San Francisco, CA



Greyhound Lines Dallas, TX

Navigator Motorcoaches, Inc. Omaha, NB

Corporate Coaches, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Prevost, Sainte-Claire, QB, Canada, will deliver 55 more X3-45 coaches to Greyhound Lines, bringing the total order in 2013 to 145 vehicles. Prevost will deliver the remaining 95 coaches 2Q 2014. Prevost President and CEO Gaétan Bolduc says the company has worked closely with Greyhound to build in an array of innovations and safety features that meets the company’s strict requirements and addresses the concerns Greyhound has for its passengers and drivers. Prevost supplied Greyhound and First Canada, both part of FirstGroup, with a total of 350 vehicles between 2008 and 2012.

Navigator Motorcoaches, Inc. recently took a delivery of its first Temsa TS35 motorcoach, equipped with REI A/V, Alcoa rims, side & driver shades, three-point seat belts and 110V plug outlets, as well as a Cummins ISL 345 engine and Allison B500 transmission. Donald Oberle, company owner, says the 35-foot stainless steel integral motorcoach is perfect for collegiate teams, schools and churches, and weddings or other special events for smaller groups. Navigator Motorcoaches also operates out of Norfolk and Kearney, providing charter and tours nationwide.

Corporate Coaches, Inc. recently took delivery of two wheelchair accessible 2014 Van Hool C2045L motorcoaches. With the addition of these motorcoaches, Corporate Coaches now has nine wheelchair accessible motorcoaches in their vehicle fleet. Both of these 57 passenger motorcoaches are equipped with threepoint seatbelts, and feature upgrades such as contoured enclosed parcel racks with integrated 22” LCD flat screen TV’s, rear panoramic windows, 110V outlets and Wi-Fi. These additional vehicles bring Corporate Coaches’ overall fleet size to more than 45 commercial vehicles.



Stertil-Koni, Stevensville, MD, announced its appointment of Brian Marshia as technical support manager, succeeding Keith Bunn, who moved to his new position as western regional sales manager. As a field service engineer, Marshia is a licensed Master Electrician with substantial background in customer support, training, trouble shooting and knowledge transfer with other field technicians.

transportation and logistics marketing experience to SmartDrive.

Dave Johnson has joined MCI Financial Services as a sales representative. He will be responsible for assisting new- and pre-owned coach customers in both the West and East Coast regions with financial sourcing options. He reports to Mike Denny, vice president and general manager of MCI Financial Services. Johnson was formerly with Key Bank, the 22nd largest bank in the U.S., where he was focused on loans and leasing to operators of large equipment. SmartDrive Systems, a leader in driving performance solutions that reduce collisions and improve fuel efficiency, announced that Adam Kahn has joined its management team as senior director of product marketing. Kahn brings more than 20 years of

Rick Stopfer, an Irving councilman from 1998 to 2012, has been appointed to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors by the Irving City Council. Stopfer served as the city’s deputy mayor pro-tem from 2007 to 2008 and mayor protem from 2008 to 2009. He served on a number of council committees during that time including planning and development, public works and legislative and communications. Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) announced the addition of two toplevel executives: Naoki “Nick” Takeda, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Taketoshi Morita, vice president, OE business. Takeda, who started working for YTC’s parent company, The Yokohama Rubber Naoki “Nick” Takeda Co., Ltd. (YRC) in 1988, returns to YTC after 2 1/2 years as GM of YRC’s tire business planning department.

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spells success for coach tour operators

Tour packagers explain the payoffs of thorough research and scouting trips before the coaches roll

Contributed by FYI From MCI editorial staff Motor Coach Industries Des Plaines, IL


he idea of getting paid to visit the Grand Canyon, Florida’s sugar-white beaches and many more transcontinental destinations drives people into the motorcoach tour business. Once established, the great number of operators who provide both the tour package and coach transportation find themselves well positioned to control the quality of their product at every step and realize profits at multiple points. However, the legwork required to create and market successful motorcoach tours scares away many coach operators. After all, there is far less risk in letting others transport the passengers, as the cost for the charter will likely be the same whether or not every seat is filled. According to those in the business, the successful tour is a combination of passion, creativity and homework on one hand and a safe, modern motorcoach with all the amenities on the other; all operated and managed by knowledgeable and courteous professionals. Above: From all they do ahead of time, experienced motorcoach tour packagers such as Tour West America, Phoenix, AZ, find themselves well positioned to control the quality of their product at every step of the excursion. 12



Spark an idea Tour operators take inspiration from myriad sources and resources: destination magazines, lists of favorites such as the American Bus Association Top-100 lists, resources from the National Tour Association and various travel organizations, along with state and municipal convention and visitors bureaus. Lena Bilbrey of Bilbrey Tours, Abilene, TX, not only scours all the usual sources, adding to her files of fascinating places, but she also taps her customers for ideas. “On every tour, we ask for suggestions,” she says. “Our customers tell us about the places they’ve visited and loved, or the places they would like to see.” Bilbrey says she finds their information useful, and the passengers are flattered when their ideas make it onto the itinerary. Wade Tours, Schenectady, NY, says it has added attractions to please individual customers. In one instance a customer wanted to go to a New York City photo exhibition, and the company was able to create a tour flexible enough, through the use of vouchers that afforded access to a wide variety of attractions. Operators also get ideas for new tours by talking to other operators. Denise Rucinski of Wade Tours says that she recently added a Jack o’ Lantern Spectacular tour based on conversations she had with fellow operators during an American Bus Association event. As for sheer accumulation of knowledge, Chuck Rustad and his wife Jean own Rustad Tours, Kerkhoven, MN, and have been driving and leading tours for nearly 40 years. While Rustad adds a new tour every year, chances are good that he already has a bead on many of the attractions and hotels he’d like to visit. Successful tour companies also know when to tweak their itineraries to keep them fresh. Wade Tours offers a three-week America’s National Parks tour that typically attracts repeat business, so the company takes care to change the tour so passengers can always cover new ground. Rustad says it’s not uncommon for him to start making small changes to next year’s itinerary even as he’s leading this year’s version of the same tour. Market the idea Of course, the most fascinating tour in the world won’t succeed if no one knows about it. Marketing is key. Most successful tour operators provide a combination of catalogs, brochures, email blasts, Facebook pages and local advertising. Bilbrey Tours additionally does presentations for civic groups and at retirement communities, and attends travel shows. Rustad hosts an annual barbecue that draws about 425 people — an especially impressive turnout for a town of 700. There’s no hard sell, beyond a few posters of upcoming trips. Instead, the company uses the opportunity to bond with past, present and potential travelers. Do your homework Remote research is important but, more often than not, site visits make the difference in crafting a trouble-free trip. Rustad says it’s not uncommon to put 200 hours into planning even a short trip. Bilbrey, who often starts planning tours a year out, makes a point of visiting hotels, restaurants and attractions ahead of time. She points out that for a recent 14-day trip to Florida that included some new destinations, she flew to the area 10 times in six days, meeting with officials from visitors’ bureaus, negotiating with vendors and taking a close look at hotels under consideration.

Such site visits can be crucial. Seemingly small things — the restaurant that requires walking uphill, the steep steps, the tight parking-lot turn that prevents a coach from dropping passengers at the door — can often make or break a tour. Bilbrey makes sure that she personally escorts new tours for which she has done the advance work. “I do not hand the tour over to anyone else until I am confident that person has mastered the itinerary and its demands,” she says. “I want to see if that tour needs tweaking before we offer it again.” Rustad recalls a time that a site visit saved him from putting travelers in a hotel that was nice enough in every way — except that it was in a red-light district. He typically drives the entire tour ahead of time. “People are going to know that I’m not on the tour just for a bus ride,” he says. “Our customers are looking to me for my knowledge of the area.” Even single-day tours merit such detailed attention. Rucinski made a site visit for her Jack o’ Lantern tour to an area zoo. Top among her priorities was making sure there weren’t too many steps and that the tour wouldn’t move too fast (indeed, it was self-guided), so senior customers wouldn’t feel unduly challenged or left behind. Deal with hiccups Even the best of tour operators occasionally experience a glitch, whether it’s the hotel staff that doesn’t arrive to help with the bags, or the restaurant that’s short-staffed because a server called in sick. Bilbrey and her tour guides practice the art of seeming easygoing to keep tour groups on a happy and even keel. “As long as the tour director doesn’t act like it’s a catastrophe, it’s usually okay,” she says. “Attitudes are contagious and people wait to see how they’re supposed to react.” Bilbrey is quick to react to real problems and she’s constantly evaluating her options. Just because she chooses a hotel today doesn’t mean she’ll continue with that hotel tomorrow. “It’s not just about getting a great rate,” Bilbrey says. “There is always a cheaper place, but I’m looking for quality and not a place I’d be embarrassed about.” Rustad, too, is a stickler for quality lodgings. On the rare occasion that something goes wrong, like the time a hotel changed its management team days before a trip, it’s his longstanding reputation that saves the day. “Thank goodness that most of my clientele is easygoing,” Rustad says. “We laugh it off and make the most of it. They know I wouldn’t do that to them intentionally.” Show your passion Tour operators who approach their work with dedication and enthusiasm are often rewarded with loyalty. Rustad Tours enjoys a word-of-mouth reputation that goes well beyond state borders, and many clients travel with the company every year. Bilbrey’s passion for her work — and for her passengers — is just as obvious, and it shows up in her numbers. She estimates that on any given tour, 75 percent of her passengers have traveled with Bilbrey before. “We try very hard to give the best service available and the most for the money” she says. “We care greatly for our travelers and they become our friends.” Above: Wade Tours, Schenectady, NY, takes care in creating new yet trustworthy experiences for repeat customers. | BUSRIDE


Good stewardship guides the industry in a meaningful direction BUSRide to honor Charles A. Zelle as an industry steward during ABA Marketplace

Above: Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles A. Zelle is adding new chapters to his transportation career.




t the invitation of the American Bus Association (ABA), BUSRide has established a new industry award that recognizes superlative leadership in bus transportation. The BUSRide Good Stewardship Award will honor the annual recipient not only for individual accomplishments and success, but for the intrinsic qualities imbued in mind and spirit that help guide transportation industries to continually deliver services at the highest level. “ABA is thrilled that BUSRide has created this new award that will bring further recognition to deserving individuals in our industry,” says ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. “We are honored to be hosting the Good Stewardship Award ceremony as part of the annual ABA Marketplace convention.” BUSRide will present this award at ABA Marketplace 2014 in Nashville, TN, during the Operators Breakfast onTuesday, January 14, to the inaugural recipient, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle. “The fact that this recognition is going to Charlie Zelle, the former CEO of Jefferson Lines and now commissioner of transportation for the State of Minnesota, could not be more appropriate,” Pantuso says. “His dedication, not only to the customers he has served for so many years, but also to the industry that he has been part of for so many decades, puts him in a unique position among his peers.”

Pantuso notes that Zelle worked at the American Bus Association (ABA) early in his career and eventually served as Chairman of the ABA. “As commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Charlie is now serving the citizens of his home state,” Pantuso says. “The board and entire staff at ABA congratulate him on being named an industry steward.” Motorcoach operators indeed know the commissioner as Charlie, best known for his work with Jefferson Lines which his family founded in 1919. The name Jefferson respects the original highway that once ran from Winnipeg, MB, Canada to New Orleans, LA. Formerly a New York investment banker, Zelle returned to the bus business in 1987. He took over for his late father Louie Zelle and continued the mission to connect people in the Midwest with their favorite destinations. Now in its third generation, the company stepped up 20-plus years ago to resuscitate many of the routes that Greyhound Lines began dropping. From this significant step, Jefferson Lines has steadily increased ridership, growing the company to serve 13 states and become one of the largest intercity bus systems outside of the East Coast market. Today, Jefferson Lines provides cutting-edge scheduled service on new model coaches outfitted with recliner seats with extra legroom, Wi-Fi, satellite radio and onboard movies. Regular customers in the Midwest turn to Jefferson Lines for the Rocket Rider, its exclusive regional express coach service developed specifically for transporting passengers over long distances as quickly as possible. The longest Rocket Rider route runs from Minneapolis to Kansas City. Students have Jefferson Lines on their radar because of the College Connection, catching coaches for quick weekend trips home and back from 13 college and university campuses throughout the Midwest. According to Jefferson Lines, only 5 to 7 percent of the company’s business now involves coach charters. From its base in Minneapolis, MN, Jefferson Lines connects with Burlington Trailways in Des Moines, IA; Greyhound Bus Lines in Kansas City, MO; Badger Bus in Madison, WI; and Indian Trails in Duluth, MN. Coordinating such scheduled coach service connections with local transit operations has provided Zelle with a working knowledge of fully integrated multimodal programs. In his present position, this experience has allowed him to establish and direct publicprivate partnerships that further enhance the multimodal public and private transportation experience. | BUSRIDE


ARBOC Specialty Vehicles achieves its goal of a rear-drive, low-floor pusher By David Hubbard

rolls into By David Hubbard

Commuters welcomed the prototype Spirit of Liberty on their routes in Central Arizona.


ccording to Don W. Roberts, president and CEO of ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, Middlebury, IN, with the launch of the Spirit of Liberty, the company will successfully meet the challenge it undertook several years ago to develop a rear-drive, low-floor pusher bus with a continuous flat floor from front to rear designed by Jim Bartel, co-founder of ARBOC. ARBOC sent the Liberty prototype on a demo tour late last year, visiting major bus dealerships and transit agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. With its bent for innovative engineering and design, the intent of these stops was to demonstrate the advantageous features and functions of the Liberty in the appropriate transit, shuttle and circulator applications. “Before we sent the Liberty on its rounds, we made it very clear to the operators that they would be sampling only the prototype in terms of its innovative rear-engine drive, accessibility and ease of operation for drivers and technicians,” Roberts says. “We wanted everyone to understand that these demonstrations were not intended as the typical drive and ride tests of the final product.” Through their exclusive collaborative agreement, ARBOC and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), Gaffney, SC, have engineered a number of enhancements to the Liberty that the company says will provide customers with a smooth handling and easily maintained vehicle.



Roberts says the company had in fact already anticipated what the comments might be, and was working closely with FCCC to fit the Reyco Granning suspension system with the Detroit rear-axle and the Meritor front-axle to achieve superior vehicle handling. The FCCC chassis also will come equipped with Sachs shocks as standard equipment. With the demo tour in full force, Roberts and his team were at work finalizing the list of enhancements, mentioned here in part, that will appear on the full production Spirit of Liberty. Liberty in action With that said, BUSRide caught up with ARBOC in Coolidge, AZ, where Central Arizona Regional Transit (CART) was assessing the Liberty in actual transit service. Creative Bus Sales, Phoenix, AZ, arranged the road test. Transit Sales Representative Marcus Hoffman, who recently moved to Creative Bus Sales from his position as Section 5311 transit manager for the City of Coolidge, was instrumental in establishing the Pinal Central Express regional service route. In this region of Arizona between Phoenix and Tucson, the three major communities are Casa Grande, Coolidge and Florence, as well as Central Arizona Community College. CART serves as the fixed-route connector on two routes, east and west from Coolidge, for employment, medical and personal travel. Together, the City of

rolls into production

Coolidge Cotton Express and CART run a mixed fleet of nine cutaway buses that include three ARBOC Spirit of Mobility models. City of Coolidge Transit Manager Michael Meyer says CART was very interested in testing this new model for consideration in a future procurement. On this day following the morning runs, Meyer took his turn at the wheel of the Liberty for the first time since the bus arrived at the transit center. Meyer says he is especially interested in the ARBOC low-floor concept for its time saving benefits, noting that the people living in this part of Arizona routinely travel and commute significant distances to their places of employment and personal business. Mornings and evenings are the peak runs, requiring higher capacity buses to accommodate more passengers and leave ample room for wheelchair riders and the occasional standees. Available in three models, 29, 31 and 34 feet in length, the Liberty will accommodate up to 37 passengers and 14 standees. “Transit service to and from these communities is all about saving time for the passengers and the agency,” Meyer says. “If their bus ride takes 15 minutes longer than the normal one-hour commute, they are less likely to use our service. We need to do everything we can to narrow the window and tighten the headway.” All passengers enter on a 41-inch wide, 1:6 ramp by either Ricon or Braun. The low floor slopes two degrees front to back with theater seating with no step over the rear axle and a clear 39-inch pass between the wheel wells. With Freedman folding seats, the Liberty provides standard 54to 60-inch wheelchair spaces and up to six positions with the latest Q’Straint securement devices. “The ramp ratio, low floor and wide entrance make boarding and de-boarding so much easier for everyone,” Meyer says. “Our wheelchair passengers enjoy the freedom. They appreciate not having to rely on a conventional lift at the rear of a bus.” Aessa, a special needs customer who has depended on CART service for years and counts the drivers and regular passengers as close friends, was very receptive to the new bus on her route as Meyer wheeled her over the ramp and into position. “This is so much nicer,” she said. “It feels wonderful to have this much space”. Following the 30-minute route from Coolidge to Florence, Meyer offered his comments. “With the rear engine, the Liberty has great power,” he says. “I

Techs pulling maintenance will appreciate the butterfly doors that allow open access to the engine compartment.

City of Coolidge Transit Manager Michael Meyer assists Aessa, a regular customer on CART, with ease on the 1:6 ramp.

realize this is a prototype, but it seems easy to operate and maintain. It is convenient for customers, as well as for the technicians pulling maintenance. They will appreciate the easy access to the engine and all the other components. Also, the one-piece floor is very easy to clean.” Meyer says he and his team are very anxious to see the final production model. In addition to the Freightliner chassis and suspension, he and the rest of the industry can expect to see other noteworthy enhancements. ARBOC says it is currently redesigning the front and rear-floor to soft mount these assemblies, which will reduce the sound and vibration transmitted into the vehicle compartment and soften the ride of the vehicle. To save weight, the engine coolant package, a mechanical drive system, now fits into to the lower rear roadside corner to facilitate the use of a smaller cooling package. Positioned for easy access, the coolant reservoir is located immediately over the rear of the engine. With the new placement of the cooling package, a redesign of the rear fiberglass cap was necessary. The rear doors to the engine compartment are butterfly-style for safe access to the engine compartment. The right-hand door opens curbside to expose all the routine service and maintenance points. The left-hand door opens in the same manner to allow easy access for routine maintenance. The engine shuts off automatically any time the left-hand engine compartment door opens. The 70-gallon fuel tank is situated in front of the rear drive-axle, which helps move the weight toward the front of the bus. The chassis rails also now protect the fuel tank from side impacts. | BUSRIDE


S The front butterfly doors expose all the routine service and maintenance points.

FCCC relocated the batteries and associated components to the passenger rear compartment, which also houses the fuel/ water separator, a Schrader valve to fill the air suspension system in emergency cases, the airlift control module, product data management (PDM) and master electrical shut-off switch. FCCC also redesigned the forward firewall assembly to incorporate a permanent mount for the master cylinder and steering wheel assembly. The DEF tank has been moved rearward of the road-side drive-axle tire, which is in keeping with the



preferred location for most municipalities and service technicians. ARBOC has modified the vehicle compartment window to shorten the former 45-inch length. All compartment windows are now 36 by 36 inches, allowing the option of thermo pane windows. ARBOC says the Liberty will come with a roof-mount air conditioning system only. “We we have not conducted an actual life cycle cost,” Roberts says. “However, we estimate it will show a 25 percent residual cost savings when compared to a 10-year 35-foot bus.”


fires, By Richard Tackett

Despite the bus and motorcoach industry’s increased awareness of passenger safety, a significant number of bus fires still occur worldwide. As such, a quality fire suppression system has become a necessity for all thoughtful operators. BUSRide recently spoke with executives and engineers from a few of the most successful fire suppression system manufacturers in the U.S. Firetrace International Firetrace International, Scottsdale, AZ, a division of Firetrace USA, has more than 150,000 fire suppression systems worldwide protecting property and life. Firetrace systems are compatible with most commercially available fire-suppressing clean agents, foams and dry chemicals. Marcus Foster, regional manager, Engineered Systems, says that Firetrace boasts “the world’s smallest fire suppression system.” Firetrace’s Indirect Fire Protection System uses a plastic tube, known as the Firetrace Tube, as a “Fire Detection” and “System Activation” device. “That tubing is taken and installed throughout the engine enclosure or other enclosures that we’re protecting,” says Scott M. Starr, director of marketing. Once the tubing senses the fire, it then ruptures resulting in a drop of pressure causing the Indirect Valve to activate. This diverts flow from the detection tube to the larger outlet ports. “That’s how the system actually activates,” Starr says. “The nice thing about it is that it’s very | BUSRIDE


reliable, especially in an environment with a lot of temperature extremes, as well as dirt and grime from the road. It also has to survive periodic steam cleaning, which can be a challenge for some fire suppression systems.” When the fire suppression system activates, the extinguishing agent is discharged from the cylinder through the diffuser nozzles, flooding the area in a proprietary mix of fire extinguishing chemicals. “We use ABC dry chemical powder,” Starr explains. “We have access to every kind of chemical agent, but there’s nothing that handles a three-dimensional fire quite like ABC dry chemical powder.” Starr says that Firetrace’s system will only activate in the presence of an open flame, or if someone were to cut the pneumatic tubing. Because it’s a pneumatic system, it’s operable 24/7. Some bus fires have occurred after-hours in garages with non-automatic systems, and operators have lost multiple buses. “If there’s a fire event, the system will go off,” Foster says. “It’s a failsafe system, because it doesn’t need somebody to flip the switch or have the key.” FMNA FMNA, a division of USSC Group, Exton, PA, manufactures and installs water mist fire suppression systems for transit buses, motorcoaches, and small and midsize buses. FMNA’s system is geared toward protecting the engine compartment, the battery box and the HVAC area. The company identifies the “fire triangle” as a crucial part of understanding fire suppression. The fire triangle consists of oxygen, heat and fuel. FMNA says that while other systems suppress a fire by attacking up to two of the three elements of the fire triangle, only the FMNA water mist system attacks all three elements. FMNA is UL approved as a complete automatic fires suppression system (AFSS). The approval covers the overall suppression and detection elements ensuring overall system performance and component execution. UL testing covers multiple thermal event

scenarios as well as over one hundred component level tests. “Our system is comprised of three key elements,” says Jeff Krueger, FMNA’s director of engineering. “There is the suppression element, which is the most important since it is what knocks out the fire. The main component of suppression is water mist, as opposed to other powder based systems. Unlike powder, water mist may deploy for over 60 seconds and is more efficient in reducing heat and removing oxygen from the environment.” The mist is driven with FMNA’s piston accumulator, a key piece of the whole system. It holds the water-based mixture and then releases it through the distribution system and nozzles to create the mist which knocks out the fire. Detection is another key element of any fire suppression system. FMNA’s primary method of detection is loss of pressure (LOP) tubing. The LOP system is completely self-activating, meaning that it is a failsafe system even when the vehicle is not turned on. If there is a thermal event or any issue, the system will activate. The system’s third element is electrical. FMNA’s system uses electrical output, which includes an output panel for the operator. The panel provides indicators to the operator that the system is active and functioning, or that service is required. In the case of a thermal event, a visual and audible alarm will be activated. “While all detection systems need to meet the same ATPA standards, our electrical system is unique since it is completely output only,” Krueger says. “That’s a key difference from other systems out there today.” FMNA says this unique difference in FMNA’s system minimizes the risk of human error. “Our system will not accidentally activate due to vehicle shorts or issues during maintenance,” Krueger says. “This is because our system doesn’t have electrical input and is completely standalone, which is consistent with FMNA’s FAILSAFE mission.” In the event of an accidental discharge, FMNA says that clean-up is easy and fast.

The cost effective automatic fire suppression solution.

Simple. Reliable. Firetrace! Over 10 years of proven experience—Firetrace protects more than 20,000 buses worldwide with successful saves each month! Utilizing the Firetrace linear pneumatic detection tubing system: • Requires no power for activation—functional 24/7 • Tolerant of dirt, debris, temperature extremes, engine cleaning and eliminates false discharges • Offers simple installation on current or future vehicle purchases • Eliminates expensive replacement parts - requires minimal maintenance • Unparalleled world wide support network To learn why Firetrace is the right choice for your fleet, please contact Firetrace today or visit our website

E-mail: Firetrace International – World Headquarters Scottsdale, Arizona USA +1 866 607 1218



Firetrace International Limited – EMEA Office Salfords, Surry UK +44 (0) 1293 780 390

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Chicago MPC builds its case for top-tier BRT

Community contributions stretch well beyond faster bus service By Chrissy Mancini Nichols

Chrissy Mancini Nichols, director, Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council

Rendering of BRT along Ashland Avenue on Chicago’s west side.



Traffic congestion chokes greater Chicago at a cost of approximately $7.3 billion per year in wasted time and gas — not to mention environmental damage and the toll it takes on quality of life. Gridlock subjects drivers to significant stress and frustration. Still, people keep driving because their transit choices do not match their needs; and where they may be willing to take a train, building new rail lines becomes prohibitively expensive. To that end, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) completed a groundbreaking analysis in 2011, Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago’s New Route to Opportunity, which established a vision for the future of transportation and community development in and around Chicago. MPC views Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as a cost-effective transit solution that takes advantage of our existing assets — our city streets — to deliver fast, reliable transit on par with train service at a fraction of the cost of fixed rail. This study provided the first comprehensive look at corridors in Chicago with strong BRT potential based on quantifiable livability criteria that considered job locations, education, medical facilities, public parks and libraries. After all, people do not ride buses and trains for the sake of the experience. They take public transit to get to where they need to go. MPC identified and prioritized its top 10 potential BRT routes for opportunities to improve links between existing commuter rail and rapid transit lines, simplify crosstown trips and make the entire transit system a more attractive travel option. At the same time, new transit investments could spur construction and economic development at station nodes throughout the city. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation and a unique collaboration among city agencies and the nonprofit community, MPC has since conducted BRT advocacy of our goals for implementation, relying on the insight and unique expertise from our particularly effective steering committee comprised of the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago DOT, Active Transportation Alliance and local partners.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has prioritized the development of a BRT network, beginning with the first lines in the Central Loop and along Ashland Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare on the west side, and one of the CTA’s busiest bus routes with 10 million boardings per year. Central Loop BRT, where half of the people in vehicles are already on buses, will connect the 120,000 daily train riders at Chicago Union Station in the West Loop to East Loop businesses and Navy Pier, improving bus speeds by 7.5 minutes with only a 1.5 mile-per-hour reduction in traffic speed for vehicles on major streets. Residents are on board with BRT A survey conducted in July 2013 found that of those respondents familiar with BRT, 74 percent supported such a system in Chicago. 73 percent of respondents said they would take BRT instead of driving if their commute was faster. BRT benefits local employers Because one in four residents do not own a car, public transit is essential to growing Chicagoland’s economy. MPC expects the BRT route along Ashland, expected to meet international gold-standard transit criteria, will significantly improve travel times for people making crosstown journeys to and from destinations not located within the downtown loop. The six industrial zones accessible by Ashland BRT already provide about 64,000 well-paying jobs and have capacity to expand. For those employers looking to hire but having trouble finding enough qualified employees, a greater number of people within easy commute of industrial areas will mean better business outcomes. BRT will also strengthen connections to areas specializing in healthcare and shorter commute times to and from the Illinois Medical District. This area suffers from poor access to north-south transit and overcrowded parking lots. BRT will make it easier for both workers and patients, which will attract a greater number of betterqualified employees. Executive Director Warren Ribley has expressed the need for better options for people coming to the Medical District, citing BRT as a critical component in the economic growth of this area. The net effect of this investment means more people will be within a reasonable commute distance of more jobs — a need of high importance in areas with high unemployment and economic inactivity. Coordinated community revitalization Roughly one quarter of land in Chicago is in the public right-of-way, meaning transportation must play a broader role than just moving people from A to B. MPC sees BRT investments as transforming a place people speed through into a vibrant

destination; a neighborhood and city asset where people work, shop, dine and hang out. BRT investment spurs development Over the past several years, MPC has held focus group discussions with real estate experts to discuss the benefits of BRT implementation. Their feedback indicates that BRT stations will be particularly attractive for residential investors. MPC’s new development mapping tool (www. offers in-depth information about available parcels, retail purchasing power, current zoning and potential financing to developers interested in building near BRT. We are making this tool available to local community groups, chambers and other stakeholders to spark investor interest. MPC’s interactive map provides developers, community organizers and others with a tool for exploring the area around the proposed Ashland Avenue BRT corridor.

Ashland BRT will offer better access from job sites to housing centers.

TOD loans give a boost To explore expanded financing tools, MPC is leading a working group of the city, community development financial institutions and nonprofit leaders. Our goal is to establish an Equitable Growth Transit Oriented Development (TOD) loan fund to provide low-interest, competitive loans for the construction of mixed-income housing and jobs-focused economic development near transit stations, particularly those to be served by new BRT corridors. Such cooperation by the public sector, foundations and nonprofits has allowed similar models in other metropolitan regions, such as Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area. A TOD loan fund for the City of Chicago would focus on land acquisition and new construction around areas well served by transit to encourage strong clusters, spur economic development and create new jobs. These goals are consistent with the Federal Transit Administration’s transit capital funding program guidelines, making Chicago more competitive for these limited resources to fund new BRT lines. The Chicago Department of Planning and Development has begun a study of the Ashland BRT corridor to examine land use changes that would increase opportunities for community and economic development as implementation of BRT proceeds. MPC will analyze how the value created on this adjacent land and the value of tax proceeds can help finance initial costs. At the same time, the Chicago Deptartment of Transportation is studying new BRT routes to create a network plan, designed to complement the existing rail transit system. BRT encompasses much more than just faster buses; the concept is a sound investment for Chicago.

Ashland BRT will ease connections to the job-rich Illinois Medical District.

Ashland BRT will expand accessibility to Chicago’s industrial corridors. | BUSRIDE



Select Bus Service delivers BRT to New York City


en years ago, our transit buses began traveling slower through the streets of New York City. Increasing congestion, doubleparking on bus corridors and flagrant parking in bus stops were contributing factors. Although the introduction of low-floor buses improved boarding times, with less interior circulation space, dwell time increased. Bus ridership had grown rapidly during the 1990s after the introduction of the MetroCard fare collection system, but by 2004 bus ridership had leveled off and was beginning to decline, while subway ridership continued to grow. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates all rail transit in the New York and Connecticut portion of the New York Region, and all the bus service in New York City. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) operates all the streets and traffic signals in New York City. NYC DOT has evolved from a traffic management entity into a robust transportation agency that concentrates not only on commuter vehicles but also pedestrians, cyclists and public transportation. In 2004, MTA and NYC DOT formed a partnership with the goal to implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in New York City. Branded as Select Bus Service (SBS), the recognizable BRT buses are specially painted in a flowing blue pattern. Through a city-wide screening process involving both a technical analysis and an extensive public engagement process, the agencies were able to identify 15 potential BRT corridors and ultimately select five for implementation. Today, six BRT corridors are in service, including four routes identified in the initial selection. Early this year, New York City DOT will introduce its seventh corridor. Select Bus Service Routes Bx12 Fordham Road SBS launched in June 2008 in the Bronx. This principal crosstown street in the borough connects many rail and subway lines as well as the Bronx Zoo, a teaching hospital and Fordham University. Together SBS and local services carry over 40,000 daily customers on this route. M15 First/Second Avenues SBS launched in October 2010 to several very dense residential neighborhoods and several colleges and hospitals, and has since become the single busiest bus route in New York City, transporting over 50,000 customers. After its stop at Wall Street, the route ends in an-off-street facility at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.



SBS funding sources Funding for the SBS corridors has come through a mix of MTA and New York City local capital money, as well as FTA and FHWA grants to New York City to pay for more extensive street work such as bus bulbs. MTA purchases buses and fare equipment with local funds. Generally, the cost of BRT implementation in New York City is approximately $1 million per mile — excluding the federally funded bus bulbs and the cost of the buses. A FTA New Start with New York City as the grant recipient funded the B44 SBS corridor. These federal funds allowed MTA and DOT to implement a new route with much more robust BRT service that began immediately when it launched in November. This is in contrast to the other SBS corridors where the agency added bus bulbs and other BRT elements only after service began. BRT criteria met The Select Bus Service qualified for FTA funding specific to BRT by meeting these specific requirements. In addition to the specially branded SBS buses, the system includes: • Off-board fare collection (OBFC) at every SBS station. • Thirty-eight miles of camera-enforced BRT lanes clearly designated in red paint; curbside or in some instances one lane to allow loading, drop-offs, parking and right turns at the curb. • Forty 40 SBS stations with bus bulbs by the end of 2014 with sidewalks extended out to meet the bus lane. • SBS stations with 10-inch curbs to allow near level boarding. • New stainless steel bus shelters. Benches, bike racks, new sidewalks and refuges in the center of busy arterials. • Coming: New York City Transit Bus Time system with real-time arrival information.

Above left: Theodore Orosz, director, Long Range Bus Planning, MTA New York City Above right: Eric Beaton, director, Transit Development, New York City Department of Transportation

Photography courtesy of MTA New York City Transit and New York City Department of Transportation

By Theodore Orosz and Eric Beaton

M34 SBS began service in November 2011 to provide crosstown circulation on 34th Street, and connecting with Penn Station, numerous subways, the Convention Center and a teaching hospital. The route carries approximately 20,000 weekday customers. S79 Hylan Boulevard SBS launched in September 2012 is a 15-mile long route that crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting a regional mall on Staten Island with a subway terminal in Brooklyn. This route carries approximately 9,000 weekday customers and does not have Off-Board Fare Collection. Bx41 Webster Avenue SBS began running in the Bronx in June 2013. Upon completion this route will feature a new transit center at each terminal, as well as a new transit center where it intersects Bx12 SBS. Some distance from subway lines, the Bx41 carries 20,000 weekday customers on SBS and local services. This corridor is roughly parallel to the former 3rd Avenue El, torn down in the 1970s. B44 Nostrand/Rogers/Bedford Avenues SBS in Brooklyn began service in November 2013, carrying approximately 40,000 daily customers riding SBS and local services. This route provides both line-haul and subway feeder service and serves two busy commuter colleges.


SBS rolling stock The MTA runs approximately 5,700 buses operated through several affiliates. Standard transit buses comprise the majority of the fleet in a mix of Nova RTS, Orion high-floor, Orion and New Flyer low-floor models, and Prevost coaches. While most standard buses are diesel, the agency runs approximately 700 CNG buses and 1,650 hybrid buses. In addition to the Nova LF articulated vehicles, New Flyer highfloor and low-floor articulated buses bring the articulated total to approximately 500. The agency also runs approximately 900 MCI coaches for expressway services to the CBD. Nova 60LF three-door, low-floor diesel articulated buses run on all corridors except one. Although the Nova articulated buses have been deployed on other high-volume routes, MTA and DOT initially purchased this model bus specifically for use on Select Bus Service.

A M15 SBS bus arriving at the United Nations’ Station.

Is SBS really BRT? While there are those who want to argue about whether New York’s SBS program is bona fide Bus Rapid Transit, MTA and DOT think it is important to measure a program by its results and not by semantics. On each SBS route, we have observed approximately a 20 percent improvement in driving speed and a 10 percent growth in ridership that totals approximately 140,000 weekday customers. The increase is extraordinary for a mature transit market; even more so in an environment where citywide bus ridership was on serious decline.

A Bx41 SBS bus at Fordham Road. | BUSRIDE



By Doug Jack

Comvex showcases Turkey’s expanding bus industry In my last International Report on Busworld, Kortrijk, Belgium, I wrote very little about the Turkish exhibitors. The largest numbers of exhibitors came from Germany, China and Turkey. Three weeks after Busworld, I went to Turkey to visit a factory and catch up with developments in the market. My trip included attending the Comvex exhibition of all kinds of commercial vehicles, from light vans upward. The top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz Travego is built in Turkey.





Otokar, one of the first bus manufacturers in Turkey, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. The company has a large and very well-equipped factory at Sakarya, about two hours east of Istanbul, where it manufactures a wide range of military vehicles and a growing family of buses and coaches. Otokar is the largest Turkish manufacturer of mid-sized vehicles widely used in smaller towns on suburban routes and rural services. Otokar has progressively extended its range and expanded into export markets. Products now include low-entry midibuses, full-size low-floor city buses and higher-floor interurban models. Last year, the company won a contract to supply 750 Kent (the Turkish word for city) buses to IETT, Istanbul. It is amazing how Otokar can take on and complete sudden high-volume orders. It can only be done because the factory has flexible management and a highly-skilled workforce that has been trained on the full product range. They can switch between very different products while still maintaining the required quality standards.

The largest bus and coach factory in the country is that of Mercedes-Benz, based near Istanbul. In 2013 it came close to its annual capacity of 4,000 units, a mix of city buses, interurban and luxury coaches. The company is now proceeding with plans to increase capacity to 5,000 units annually. Mercedes-Benz has around 65 percent of the important market for full-size coaches in Turkey, used for both express services and tourism. Although low-cost airlines have started to provide competition, many passengers still prefer coaches. MAN Germany’s MAN has a large bus factory outside Ankara, the capital of Turkey. It formerly built higherfloor city buses for the domestic market and for export to neighboring countries, but now offers the more modern Lion’s City bus with either a full lowfloor or a low-entry layout. MAN also builds a range of interurban and luxury coaches in Turkey, including some that use the Neoplan brand. MAN builds many of these coaches for customers in Western Europe.

THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT Karsan Karsan specializes in assembling a range of commercial vehicles on behalf of international manufacturers. It has a modern and highly-equipped factory in Bursa, across the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul. Bursa is the automotive center for Turkey where several international manufacturers have their plants. The company has recently begun to develop its own indigenous buses. A few years ago, Karsan entered into an agreement with BredaMenarinibus of Italy to build a wide range of city buses from 26-feet to 60-feet under license in Turkey. Karsan has even built some Breda models in Turkey and shipped them to Italy. Karsan signed an agreement to deliver a mixture of 540 solo and articulated city buses to IETT, Istanbul, and included five-year full service maintenance and the construction of the second largest gas refueling facility in Europe. Karsan has traditionally been one of the largest suppliers of minibuses widely used in Turkey. At Busworld, A BredaMenarinibus separated from traffic on an Istanbul busway. Karsan introduced the Jest, a low-entry minibus with an overall length of just over 19 feet. It had a Fiat Power Train diesel engine mounted at the front. Although more expensive than the older high-floor buses, Karsan expects the Jest to become popular because passengers will be able to get on and off more quickly. Also at Busworld, Karsan showed the CXL low entry midibus and the MXPL midicoach. They had much in common, since both

were built to an overall length of just under 27 feet. They had Fiat Power Train engines mounted transversely at the rear. The floor in the midicoach was at a higher level, giving reasonable underfloor luggage The new Temsa LD13 low deck coach. capacity. Both models are scheduled to go into volume production in the second quarter of 2014. Anadolu Isuzu Tthe Anadolu Group owns 51 percent of Anadolu Isuzu; Isuzu, 20 percent; and Itochu Corporation, 13 percent, with the other 16 percent of shares traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The company began production of midicoaches in 1987 and shortly afterwards added a small municipal bus. In recent years, the range has expanded considerably to include a low-entry Citibus midibus with a choice of diesel or CNG engines. Like all the Turkish manufacturers, Anadolu Isuzu is an active exporter that often benefits from the international Isuzu dealer network. Temsa The Turkish manufacturer probably best known in North America is Temsa. Its factory is in Adana in the south of Turkey. In Kortrijk, Temsa introduced the LD (Low Deck) coach range, available on two axles at either 40 or 43 feet. Various interior specifications are available, ranging from school bus to interurban coach.

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For coverage that revolves around you, contact stacy renz: (800) 644-5501 ext. 2570 | | BUSRIDE



over by a Turkish government office during the summer because of unpaid debts by the holding company. The gvernment has resumed production of military vehicles but is looking for a new owner to invest in BMC. Large numbers of its Procity low-floor buses were seen in service in Istanbul. TCV is a young company established by two former executives of Temsa. In a most unusual arrangement, they assemble their Karat low-floor city buses with their own workforce in part of MAN’s factory in Ankara. They use MAN engines and axles, but they are nevertheless direct competitors! Guleryuz is an established company that makes an extensive range of city and suburban buses, as well as coaches. They are the only company in Turkey currently building double-deck buses, either with open tops for city sightseeing or with Above top: The new Visigo is the largest coach closed tops. by Isuzu built so far. Tezeller is yet another company that Other companies has branched out from mid-sized coaches Above: Karsan will put the CXL midibus into production in the second quarter. to full size low-floor city buses. The There are other bus builders in Turkey, brand has an unusual but distinctive but they did not exhibit at Busworld in styling, which certainly stands out from Kortrijk nor the Comvex exhibition in competitors on the streets of Istanbul. Istanbul. The largest is BMC, which also builds vans, trucks Temsa has enjoyed success with its Safari HD (High Deck) coach. Temsa has sold large quantities to intercity operators in Turkey. There are plans to develop a model with an even higher deck to provide greater luggage capacity. Temsa already supplies 30- and 35foot midicoaches to North America and is soon to introduce its 45-foot model. The company believes it is the only manufacturer able to offer products in all three of these popular segments in the North American market. Temsa also developed a full low-floor city bus, the Avenue, with diesel or CNG engines that are mounted vertically and offset in line at the rear. This arrangement is popular in Turkey because it enables the bus to have three double-width doors, facilitating faster entry and exit for passengers. Temsa has supplied the Avenue to Istanbul and several other Turkish cities. It’s also delivering a large contract to Rome.

and military vehicles. BMC stopped manufacturing a few months ago. BMC and a few other subsidiaries of the parent company were taken

Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.

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And now a word about punitive damages

By Matthew Daecher


irst, a disclaimer, which I might add is entirely appropriate for an article on legal matters: I am not an attorney, nor do I want to be an attorney. However, while I can get as frustrated as anyone over attorneys, I do have a significant amount of experience dealing with lawsuits that arise out of the transportation of goods and people. My involvement in these litigation matters is what brings me to this topic and how it relates to coach operators and their businesses. It is a likely assumption that because transportation providers pay a significant amount for insurance to protect their fleets in the event of an accident, the vehicles involved are indeed covered. After all, that is why operators insure their vehicles. While this assumption seems like common sense, the reality is that having insurance does not mean that the outcomes and costs of every accident are covered. Punitive damages is a term you have likely read or heard of in describing lawsuits. They are usually lawsuits involving eye-popping monetary demands or jury awards. Typical vehicle insurance policies protect against accidents resulting from operation of an insured vehicle in most cases, but umbrella and excess policies often have exclusions against punitive damages. Given that some portion of a motor carrier’s required face value insurance coverage may in fact be an “excess” policy, punitive damages is an important concept to understand for this simple reason: If an amount awarded is not covered by a policy, then a plaintiff has the right to attempt to collect their awarded money directly from the company. This typically involves an asset investigation, where attorneys will determine what company-owned assets are available to satisfy the debt. What is the worth of that bus or office building you just paid off? Punitive damages are monetary damages not necessarily for the benefit or compensation of the plaintiff. Rather, by applying an extra level of damages, they may deter a defendant’s future conduct or the future conduct of others. Punitive damages are not easy to come by. A plaintiff must generally establish that conduct of a defendant was malicious, wanton, intentional, outrageous or reckless. Any claim nowadays involving any serious injury is almost certain to contain a punitive damage element.

Punitive damages are monetary damages not necessarily for the benefit or compensation of the plaintiff. Rather, by applying an extra level of damages, they may deter a defendant’s future conduct or the future conduct of others. Most operators trying to do the right thing have little to fear. The ultimate cause of a collision and any resulting injuries are generally not rooted in corporate behaviors that rise to the level of negligence that triggers a punitive damage award. However, every operator and their empowered employees have likely faced decisions that could place them on the wrong side of this equation if a serious accident was to occur. Operators should think about the big picture, especially when making those tough decisions, and even when making the simplest everyday decisions. Tough decisions are usually tough because of mixed feelings about the subject. If those mixed feelings have anything to do with safety, or compliance with regulations or policies, remember that skilled plaintiff attorneys are only a misstep away. Matthew Daecher is president of the Daecher Consulting Group, Inc. He is a transportation safety specialist with 15 years of experience in the transportation field. | BUSRIDE



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