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MAY | 2014

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O F F I C I A L

BUSRide Road Test:

The 2014 Van Hool p16

Financial Roundtable: Part One p20 Brand USA’s uncertain future

p28

SPECIAL SECTION Fare Collection: Part Two p24

inside


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You know all about time. And time is never on your side. Every extra second it takes to secure a wheelchair or scooter grows into the number of minutes you are late for the next stop. By the end of the day, those minutes have turned into hours... The Q’UBE allows drivers to cut securement times by up to 50% by combining a Timed Release Mechanism with a fully integrated design. The easy-to-reach single motion actuator gives operators a full 15 seconds to properly position and secure the rear of a chair or scooter. Built-in automatic retractors are faster, self-tightening and reduce the physical demand on your drivers. The Q’UBE was designed as a quick bolt-in solution with no cables or wiring needed, and features a wide variety of bracket options and modular components.

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MAY 2014 CONTENTS

16 busride.com

Cover Story BUSRide Road Test: The 2014 Van Hool CX

16

BUSRide takes the rebranded C2045 for a test ride By David Hubbard

Features Stay ahead of the curve

19

Q’Straint’s QRT-360 securement meets a WC18 requirement that goes into effect December 2015

BUSRide Financial Roundtable: Part One

20

Guest panel explores the factors that influence financing By David Hubbard

SP Fire Research expands in the U.S.

19

29

24

The largest fire research and testing facility in Europe is expanding into the United States

Belo Horizonte moves to the beat of BRT

33

Brazil’s third largest city opened the first of three planned corridors of MOVE, its first BRT system

Closing the transportation gap

34

Krapf Coaches connects with the Philadelphia Navy Yard

29

SPECIAL SECTION -

Fare Collection: Part Two EasyandOpen

24

6 David Hubbard 30 THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT

Vix eO provides additional payment options for UTA riders

Fare Update

COLUMNS

26

BUSRide rounds up international news from INIT, Masabi and Cubic

By Doug Jack

DEPARTMENTS 8 UPDATE 12 Deliveries 12 People in the News 14 Transit Authority 28 Tour Business 34 MARKETPLACE

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BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

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CARRYING THE INDUSTRY FORWARD FOR 90 YEARS AND COUNTING.

In 1924, Eugene Prevost, a carpenter by trade, built the first wooden motorcoach body. Today, the Prevost name is synonymous with dependability, performance, and craftsmanship. Though much has changed in regard to the materials, designs, and manufacturing processes used to create Prevost motorcoaches, our long-standing commitment to building and servicing quality vehicles remains the same. We are looking forward to many more decades of leading the industry with innovation and providing safe, comfortable, and memorable journeys for all of your passengers.

For more information: USA 336-393-3929 Canada 418-883-3391 www.prevostcar.com


FROM THE EDITOR

Delays may seem simple; but do the math In transit-speak, slack time is the extra time built into a bus schedule to accommodate unexpected delays. A number of years ago, Dr. Maged Dessouky, a professor at the University of Southern California, tackled the problem of how much time to allow to prevent bunching, arriving at an elegant solution with the potential to shorten the wait time for riders. “Insufficient slack time may prevent buses from catching up to the schedule when they fall behind, making them unreliable,” he and his co-authors write. “Too much slack time reduces service frequency and inconveniences passengers.” Their calculations that back this statement are more complex and involve human behavior that is easier to describe than quantify. Nonetheless, his algorithm gives an exact number based on the size of the loop and the distribution of the travel time delay. The analysis also provides a way to approximate the effect of adding more busses to the loop. If buses are typically spaced less than 10 minutes apart, passengers typically do not expect vehicles to arrive exactly on time; not the case for buses running an hour apart. “Delays tend to be cumulative,” Dessouky writes. “When a bus falls slightly behind schedule it tends to pick up more passengers, causing it to slow further.” Dessouky had analyzed bus operations at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit District, where he measured an average slack time ratio of .25 on three MTA lines. An hour-long bus trip generally takes 45 minutes with 15 extra minutes in the schedule to accommodate possible delays. Wondering if 15 minutes slack time was more than enough, Dessouky incorporated these delay measurements into more effective scheduling while building equations to determine the actual optimal level. His equations create curves to correlate average levels of delay and slack time with resulting waiting time for passengers, creating an approximation of the optimal slack time based on total round trip travel time. The bottom line: build in between 15 and 20 percent slack — more for longer trips. Care to see the math? Read Dr. Maged Dessouky’s in-depth study at www-bcf.usc.edu/~maged.

David Hubbard Executive Editor BUSRide Magazine

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BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane steve@busride.com Group Publisher Sali T. Williams swilliams@busride.com Executive Editor David Hubbard david@busride.com Editor Richard Tackett rtackett@busride.com Art Director Stephen Gamble sgamble@theproducersinc.com Production Director Kevin Dixon kdixon@busride.com Accountant Fred Valdez fvaldez@powertrademedia.com 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 busride.com Vol. 50 • No. 5 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.

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UPDATE

MCI Reliability Rally showcases new technology Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Des Plaines, IL, has embarked on its proprietary Reliability Rally events that take place at race tracks and stadiums around the country through spring and summer 2014. Coach operators will get a preview and up close look at the new axle, suspension and brake technologies soon to debut on the MCI J4500 and D-Series coaches. Additionally, the events will showcase the new second door and club corner executive galley options for Setra S 417. “The rallies reflect the MCI Reliability Driven culture that provides our customers with the highest-quality coaches with the lowest total operational costs,” said Brent Maitland, vice president, Marketing and Product Planning. “This is evidenced in the technology upgrades coming soon on the J4500 and D-Series coaches.” MCI will introduce a ZF axle and independent suspension that promises to reduce the turning radius from 47 feet to 40 feet, 11 inches. MCI says the new Bendix Knorr ADB 22 X system — U.S. made since 2005 — will provide “car-like” control, adaptive cruise control and easier serviceability.

approximately 4,600 items (which amounts to more than $800,000 worth of inventory) and ship parts directly from the expanded warehouse. The option for customer pickup at the Richmond facility is also available by ordering through the main Parts Customer Service Center at 800-463-8876. Items requested for customer pick-up will then be available at the Richmond warehouse. The Richmond parts store hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Richmond facility is located at 11911 No. 5 Road, Richmond, BC V7A 4E9. Prevost offers 24/7 emergency parts ordering and shipping as well as 24/7 online parts ordering with a special discount. Prevost warehouses use RF barcode technology for quick shipment of parts, and offer same-day shipping of stock parts anywhere in the United States and Canada for orders received before 2:00 p.m. Prevost’s exclusive computerized parts catalog provides immediate access to all coach assemblies, subassemblies and components.

UMA takes to the Hill in June MCI says that already nine pilot coaches featuring the ZF and Bendix systems are undergoing field tests with larger operators across the country. MCI says the rally events will feature test rides, supplier booths, training sessions and lunch. There will be a selection of pricedto-sell pre-owned coaches, special parts offers and MCI Service Center promotions. Operators can preview and test-ride the J4500 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the MCI Reliability Rally at the following locations: MAY 22 Chicago Motor Speedway, Joliet, IL JUNE 4 Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA JUNE 11 Sands Resort and Casino, Bethlehem, PA JUNE 26 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA JULY 8 AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

Prevost expands Richmond BCV parts warehouse Prevost, Sainte-Claire, QC, Canada, has expanded its parts facility in Richmond, BC, and improved shipping efficiency to operators in western Canada. Prevost says this expansion will increase parts availability and shorten the lead time to get parts to this region. The Richmond warehouse will now stock 8

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

United Motorcoach Association (UMA), Alexandria, VA, will gather its members in Washington, D.C., on June 24 and 25 for the annual Capitol Hill Days conference to with meet with members of Congress. UMA says this provides the opportunity for owners and senior management from bus and motorcoach companies to meet with their Congressional elected officials to discuss the industry’s most pressing legislative issues. Capitol Hill Days begins on Tuesday, June 24th at 2 p.m. with a legislative briefing for attendees and guidelines on conducting meetings with Congressional members and staff. A renowned political satire theater group, The Capitol Steps, is the feature entertainment for the group dinner that evening. On Wednesday, attendees hold prescheduled appointments with Members of the House of Representatives from their districts and Senators from their States. For the first time this year, participants will stay on Capitol Hill for easier access to meetings and events. The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel will serve as UMA’s host hotel. Also new this year, a debriefing session will be held for attendees to share their experiences and highlights of their individual meetings, followed by an evening reception with invited Congressional Members and their staffs to afford an expanded and more relaxed opportunity for UMA members to interact with them. UMA says its key message for Congress focuses on policies in reauthorization of the upcoming surface transportation bill. Issues of importance to UMA members include: • preservation of charter bus protections • return to zero federal fuel tax for over-the-road buses busride.com


UPDATE

• Increased opportunities for contracting with local transit agencies • Due process for Imminent Hazard and Out-of-Service orders • Prohibition on third-party inspection requirements • Local entity requirements for registrations of charter bus operators • En route inspections There is no registration fee to attend this event, however all attendees must complete a registration form. To encourage member participation, UMA will significantly subsidize part of the hotel cost for attendees of the event. The complete schedule, registration and hotel information is available at www.uma.org/capitolhill or by contacting UMA at 800-424-8262.

Peter Pan Bus Lines honors its million milers Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA, recently honored its 1 and 2 million-mile safe drivers during its annual Super Team Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Awards dinner at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. Peter Pan says its driver travel over 14 million miles a year putting safety above all else, and compares the distance to nearly 59 trips to the moon or 562 times around the earth. Peter Pan has consistently achieved high safety ratings and says it employs more million-mile safe drivers than any other bus company its size. The company considers it a significant milestone when a professional coach driver achieves 1 and 2 million miles without an accident. The Peter Pan honors its STARS as those employees who best exemplify the highest standards in safety, customer service and dedication to Peter Pan’s core values.

[Left to Right] Peter Pan Bus Chairman & CEO Peter Picknelly; Drivers Thomas Crepeau, Luis Fernandes, Jose Lisboa, William Chandler, Ricky Johnson; Vice President of Safety & Security Chris Crean; and driver Roland Rich.

2 Million Mile Safe Drivers

1 Million Mile Safe Drivers

Springfield, MA Don Fonner

Springfield, MA Ricky Johnson Jose Lisboa

Boston, MA Frank Lapomardo Providence, RI Samuel Cabrera William Chandler Luis Fernandes William Johnson

Providence, RI Thomas Crepeau Secaucus, NJ Roland Rich

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9


UPDATE

Spokane Transit evaluates BYD all-electric bus service Spokane Transit Authority (STA), Spokane, WA, was a participant in a state-wide evaluation of an all-electric zero-emissions bus by BYD Motors. STA Chief Executive Officer E. Susan Meyer says the agency tested the vehicle for approximately one month on various routes, noting that STA is always interested in exploring environmentallyfriendly and cost-effective fuel alternatives. STA integrated the first hybrid diesel-electric buses into its fleet in 2007 and operates 28 units in its fleet. STA says its hybrid buses achieve 17 percent better fuel economy than standard diesel buses and produce 17 percent less emissions. Additionally, STA will take delivery on eight new buses later this year fitted with an electric cooling system technology that STA tested and found to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions by an additional 6 percent over buses using a conventional hydraulic cooling system. STA has also upgraded the transmission systems on its buses for additional fuel economy and emissions reduction. The testing of the BYD electric bus technology comes at a time when the board will be making decisions on bus replacements planned for delivery in 2018 and 2019. “We are delighted to work with Spokane Transit,” said Stella Li, president, BYD Motors. “They have a visionary leadership team that desires not only the most reliable service, but also the most cost effective for their communities - we applaud their efforts to introduce a technology that will not harm the environment.” The BYD all-electric bus uses 324 kilowatt, non-toxic, ironphosphate battery, which the company says will power the bus for up to 24 hours on a single, night-time charge; and last 20 years beyond the average 12-year life of a bus.

William Laurent of Trailways New York

National Trailways Association honors driver with 1.5 million accident-free miles The National Trailways Association named William Laurent of Trailways of New York as its Driver of The Year, full-time scheduled route division. Laurent, a resident of Gansevoor, NY, has been a driver with Trailways of New York since 1979, logging approximately 1.5 million accident-free miles through the Adirondacks, Capital Region, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. Laurent received his award at a special ceremony in March in Destin, FL.

More!

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BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

busride.com


UPDATE

Veolia Transportation awarded first state-wide Medicaid contract Ryan Larsen, president of Veolia’s IntelliRide Division, announced this week that Veolia has been awarded its first statewide Medicaid brokerage contract for Nebraska Health and Human Services, which he says will focus on customer service, adherence to compliance of CMS requirements and a commitment to providing quality service to eligible recipients. Effective May 1, the contract is for a threeyear term and includes a possible two-year extension. Veolia will be the contract agent for state’s estimated 1,300 Medicaid providers and 125,000 Medicaid members, setting standards, and overseeing and verifying program compliance. In addition, Veolia will oversee customer service, the call center and all dispatch services. There are currently 500,000 projected trips annually. Additionally, Veolia has entered into an agreement with Metro Transit, Omaha, NE, to repurpose space in the transit facility with a focus toward continued transit coordination in the future reinforcing Veolia IntelliRide’s Smart Mobility Management approach. “This is a great opportunity for Veolia,” Larsen says. “We are introducing new technology and processes in partnership with Ecolane which will enable us to take service to a level that has not yet been achieved in a Medicaid brokerage contract.” Ecolane Demand Response Transportation (DRT) software provides seamless reservation scheduling and dispatching, incorporating Android-based Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) that enable dispatchers and drivers to work together. The technology also provides a self-service web interface allowing customers to book online. Customers may also elect to receive text messages informing them of their vehicle arrival time.

FMCSA shuts down two bus companies in Massachusetts The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has revoked the operating authority of two Massachusettsbased bus companies, resulting in the shut-down of both carriers for disregarding federal safety regulations and putting their drivers, passengers and the motoring public at risk. The two passenger carriers ordered shut-down by FMCSA are: •Crystal Transport, Inc., USDOT No. 334608 of Boston, Mass. In February 2014, FMCSA investigators conducted a compliance review of Crystal Transport and discovered continuing serious violations and non-compliance with previously identified federal safety regulations. The company was given a 30-day period to provide evidence demonstrating that it was operating in compliance with safety regulations and that its federal operating authority should not be revoked. Examples of continuing violations cited by FMCSA investigators included evidence that three drivers, all of whom had tested positive for controlled substances, had been allowed to transport passengers for most of 2013. In addition, falsified records-of-duty were discovered as was evidence of drivers being required or permitted to drive far in excess of hours-of-service restrictions. •Pandora Travel, Inc., USDOT No. 2046748, of Lawrence, Mass. In February 2014, FMCSA investigators conducted a compliance review of Pandora Travel and discovered continuing serious violations and non-compliance with previously identified federal safety regulations. The company was provided a 30-day period to provide evidence demonstrating that it was operating in compliance with safety regulations and that its federal operating authority should not be revoked. Examples of continuing violations cited by FMCSA investigators were numerous speeding and traffic violations incurred by Pandora’s drivers over a period of years and throughout 2013. Through roadside violations and comparison of drivers’ records-of-duty, FMCSA investigators found numerous instances of drivers’ exceeding the posted speed limit. The company took no disciplinary action in some instances and allowed the individuals to continue to transport passengers. busride.com | BUSRIDE

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DELIVERIES

added

95

Prevost added

1

2

Houston METRO Houston, TX

Louisiana Trailways Marrero, LA

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has been awarded a contract by Houston METRO for 95 MCI Commuter Coaches, with options for additional units. The new coaches will be equipped with the newest EPA-mandated clean-diesel engine technology. Serving a growing express service that picks up from Park & Ride locations and operates in HOV lanes, Houston METRO’s new coaches will replace older equipment and allow for the expansion of its commuter express services. Deliveries of the new MCI Commuter Coaches are expected to begin in the summer of 2014.

Louisiana Trailways has taken delivery of a new MCI J4500. One of New Orleans’ largest privately owned bus companies, Louisiana Trailways specializes in tours and charters and is a sponsor of the city’s worldrenowned Jazz Fest. As the first area company to provide seatbelt-equipped coaches, Louisiana Trailways is proactive about keeping its fleet modern. Its new 2014 J4500 features a more fuel-efficient EPA-compliant drivetrain and other updates.

New Flyer Industries added

Photo courtesy of elpasotexas.gov

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) added

22

Brown Coach and Update Transit of Saratoga Amsterdam, NY

Brown Coach has added a vehicle to its fleet with the arrival of a new 55-passenger Prevost. The new vehicle features a Volvo engine and added leg room to offer customers even more comfort. Upstate Transit of Saratoga, LLC, of Saratoga Springs, a sister company of Brown Coach, added an identical vehicle to its fleet of motorcoaches as well. Upstate Transit of Saratoga LLC. serves the Capital District/Albany/ Saratoga Region of Upstate New York.

Sun Metro El Paso, TX Sun Metro is proud to announce the arrival of 22 new 2014 New Flyer Xcelsior model buses. These 40-foot vehicles will join the Sun Metro regular route service over the next several weeks. The 2014 New Flyer has amenities to include low floors, electric air conditioning system, disc brakes which provide a smoother and more efficient braking system, better fuel economy, orange seat belts for the coach operators, 38 passenger seats, LED interior lighting, a more aerodynamic body and—like all Sun Metro buses—they are fueled by compressed natural gas, have room for two wheelchairs and two exterior bicycle racks.

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS First Transit announced the appointment of Sharad Agarwal to First Transit VP of National Call Centers. Agarwal brings to the position more than ten years of transportation experience, including the past year as First Transit director of business development focusing on the western region. In his new Sharad Agarwal role, Agarwal will focus his attention on maximizing First Transit customer satisfaction and retention through the continuous improvement of call center operations. La France is excited to announce the addition of Jeff Goldwasser as sales executive for La France’s Transportation Fabrics. Jeff has had a lifelong relationship in the transportation industry and is a driven executive that will definitely strengthen La France’s position moving forward. Jeff Goldwasser The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T), Fort Worth, TX, has selected transit veteran Paul J. Ballard as president and CEO, effective as of February. Ballard makes the move from his previous position of 12 years as CEO of the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee. Paul J. Ballard 12

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

Mike Restle

Trey Hertel

Metro has named Mike Restle as chief financial officer, effective Feb. 19, 2014. He will be responsible for Metro’s $92.9 million annual operating budget, capital program, grants administration, financial reporting and treasury management activities, and investments. The Accounting & Budget department will report to him. Prevost is proud to announce the addition of their new regional sales manager for their New Coach Sales division. Trey Hertel joins Prevost as the regional sales manager for the South Central United States. Trey joins Prevost with 19 years of sales experience in the manufacturing industry, and a background in corporate financial planning. Prevost also announced that Eloy Torres will assume responsibility as pre-owned coach regional Sales manager for the Central United States. His territory will include Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

Eloy Torres busride.com


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THE TRANSIT Authority

CTFastrak to change the rider experience in central Connecticut By Michael Sanders Connecticut Department of Transportation Transit Administrator

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems like the CTfastrak system, currently under construction between downtown New Britain and downtown Hartford, offer a high-quality rapid transit experience that is gaining in popularity for ease-of-use, speed and frequency of service, and incorporation of the latest technology and passenger amenities. CTfastrak is born The regional highway system around Hartford, CT, especially the corridor west of Hartford on I-84, has long experienced significant traffic congestion. Because it met congestion goals in the most costeffective way, BRT was the locally preferred alternative. The Council created CTfastrak to help manage congestion, facilitate economic redevelopment, promote the state’s smart growth initiatives and bring activity back to this old industrial corridor. Running Way/Operating Method CTfastrak will use an exclusive 9.4-mile dedicated, bus-only roadway to speed bus travel throughout the New Britain and Hartford region, separating the reliable bus service from mixed traffic. CTfastrak travel time will be competitive with current auto and transit travel in

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BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

The CTFastrak project to open in 2015 covers 9.4 miles between New Britain and Hartford.

the corridor, provide better service to existing transit customers and attract new riders to the system who might otherwise drive. CTfastrak stations CTfastrak will have limited stops at 10 stations along the guideway approximately one mile apart, which will include shelters with seating, bicycle racks, ticket vending machines, maps of routes and the surrounding neighborhood and landscaping. These elevated platforms will allow fast, level boarding onto the buses. Electronic displays at each station will let passengers know when their bus will be arriving and closed circuit cameras at the stations will enhance passenger security. CTfastrak rolling stock A mix of transit buses and commuter coaches will serve CTfastrak.

busride.com


THE TRANSIT Authority

of ways on the bus and at stations and include bus arrival/departure information, audio/visual displays, security equipment, and pedestrian crossing signals. Traffic signal preference will also be used at the five at-grade intersections along the CTfastrak guideway to improve travel time. Community benefits Michael Sanders introduces the CTFastrak flagship BRT bus.

All buses will be super-low-emission hybrid diesel-electric-powered and use less fuel. 60-foot articulated vehicles will be the flagship of the CTfastrak fleet and will operate the frequent shuttle service along the CTfastrak mainline. These buses will feature multiple boarding doors, low floors, expedited wheelchair boarding technology and on-board bike provisions to speed boarding. CTfastrak services will also use 45-foot commuter coaches to provide service on the long-distance routes that use the limitedaccess highway system to reach destinations off the guideway. 40-foot transit buses will run on services that extend along the guideway for part of their route then run on local streets to major off-guideway destinations. 30-foot buses will operate connecting services with an easy transfer to reach out into the local communities, providing connections to major destinations and to better serve neighborhoods beyond walking distance of stations. Like other BRT systems, CTfastrak vehicles will have their own unique identity; distinguishable from the other transit services in the CTtransit system through the use of vehicle wraps and color schemes – and will come equipped with Wi-Fi. Fare collection CTfastrak will use electronic fare collection with ticket vending machines at stations along the guideway. This allows passengers to prepurchase fares using cash, credit cards and future payment methods that may come along that do not require exact change and without paying on the bus itself. Intelligent Transportation Systems CTfastrak will use a variety of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology upgrades not currently available on the CTTransit bus system. This will include an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system that transmits the exact location of the vehicles via satellite GPS or radio signals, allowing riders to receive real-time information on the next bus arrival or next bus stop, and enabling transmission of text alerts and travel information to phones. A computer aided dispatch system will provide constant communication between CTfastrak vehicles and the operations center to monitor performance and keep vehicles running on schedule. ITS elements will be used in a variety

The CTfastrak project created or sustained approximately 4,000 construction jobs annually and will create more than 150 permanent jobs. The attraction of a one-seat ride from outlying communities to downtown New Britain and Hartford will be combined with new connections that will allow for significantly improved access to suburban employment centers, educational institutions, healthcare (including three public hospitals and a VA hospital), shopping and cultural attractions. This will result in better utilization of the region’s overall transit highway capacity and improved coordination between the modes including the local and commuter express bus service, inter-city bus service and commuter and inter-city rail. The flexibility of CTfastrak operations will allow the transit system to more effectively respond to changing ridership demands and future development within the corridor. Towns directly affected by the project will be encouraged to commence more smart–growth initiatives oriented to the new rapid transit infrastructure.

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Official BUSRide Road Test: The 2014 Van Hool CX By David Hubbard

With debut appearances at ABA Marketplace and the UMA Motorcoach EXPO, the newly minted 2014 Van Hool TX and CX motorcoaches from ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, are finding their way into fleets across the country.

The CX45 is upgraded significantly with new features that separate it from its stalwart predecessor.

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BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

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The CX now seats 56 passengers.

BUSRide previewed the TX model in December (Dec. 2013, Official BUSRide Road Test: Van Hool TX unveiled), highlighting the enhancements and new features that warranted rebranding and renaming the former Van Hool T2100 and C2045 coaches. BUSRide returned to ABC Companies, Winter Garden, FL, in March for a closer look and test drive of the Van Hool CX, built exclusively for ABC Companies for distribution in the North American market. Though not nearly the makeover the T2100 underwent to become the TX, the CX45 is upgraded significantly with new features that separate this coach from its stalwart predecessor. According to ABC Companies, the majority of the changes and upgrades were made to enhance safety features of the coach and make the coach more user friendly for the driver and passengers and create greater commonality between the TX and CX models. Many of the components that were optional on the C2045 now come standard on the CX, which came about in response to customer demand. “We listened closely to comments and suggestions from our customers to identify the upgrades and changes most relevant to their needs,” says Ashley Cornell, vice president of ABC Companies. “Our enduring partnership with Van Hool has always allowed us the flexibility to make improvements and upgrades as the motorcoach market has evolved.” Corporate Coaches adds CXs

radius (40 feet, 4.25 inches) that we have always appreciated with the C2045,” Castro says.”This allows us to maneuver much easier on the tight streets in Miami.” BUSRide also spoke with Jeff Polzien, president, Red Carpet Charters, Oklahoma City, OK. The company maintains an exclusive Van Hool coach fleet. Polzien says the C model comprises approximately two-thirds of the inventory. The company recently acquired its first CX and will soon take delivery on a second to operate and evaluate. “We have always depended heavily on the durability and reliability of our Van Hool C2045s,” Polzien says. “Naturally, we are very excited by the array of upgraded features on the CX that are now standard. We see the CX as allowing us to continue our charters that require the C model, but with a new layer of luxury and passenger comfort.” Polzien adds that the improved model contributes to great safety and efficiency in every area of his operation. “We see the CX as a safer vehicle for the driver, more enjoyable for passengers and easier to maintain,” he says. “It is especially gratifying that our charter customers are also noticing a difference and providing positive feedback.” Safety comes standard Standard safety components on the CX now include lane departure warning, SmarTire tire pressure monitoring, Kidde engine fire suppression, daytime running lights and cornering lights, as well as an integrated backup camera and three-point FMVSS 210 seat belts. The coach is also prewired for sideview cameras. A second roof escape hatch located toward the front of the coach is now standard.

BUSRide invited Corporate Coaches, Fort. Lauderdale, FL, to participate in the review, as the company is adding two CXs to its exclusively Van Hool coach fleet. The acquisition comes on the heels of Exterior upgrades and changes the Corporate Coaches’ recent purchase of the transportation division Most notably, all exterior and interior lighting has converted to at Florida Dolphin Tours, Orlando, FL. LED. The most pronounced design changes came with the headlights With Florida Dolphin Tours continuing to design and market its tours, Corporate Coaches has taken over the ground and taillights. The rear taillight assembly changed significantly to incorporate transportation component. more economical and readily available round Trucklite LED lights. “We have been very happy with our current fleet of C2045s, According to ABC Companies, the four LED lights including the backand we are excited to take delivery of our new CX coaches,” says Corporate Coaches President Andy Bardar. “We have equipped up light will reduce maintenance costs and increase serviceability. The new dual function amber LED side turn signal lights now double these new coaches with the optional contour parcel racks with as marker lights, providing the coach better visibility. upgraded 22-inch monitors. This configuration Three high power LED spot lights located on the C2045s has generated a great deal of along the roofline on the curbside are standard customer demand as it opens up the interior for nighttime boardings and baggage handling. and provides much better viewing.” The equivalent lighting installation on the For the test drive, Mike Castro, vice president, roadside is available. Business Development for Corporate Coaches, New black molding under the side windows took the CX over the route ABC Companies uses gives the CX a sleeker profile. for its pre-delivery shakedown inspections, Driver compartment winding through the streets and turnpikes in the Clermont hills northwest of Orlando. The REI Double DIN touchscreen radio/DVD “From the driver’s seat, what I notice first player now accommodates the back-up camera is the extremely clear and expansive view — as a standard feature. With the selection of especially on the right side,” he says. “I am fairly reverse gear, the back-up camera is automatically used to the handling of our Van Hool C models. displayed. Side-view cameras are available. If so So what really gets my attention with the CX are equipped, the turn signal activates the right and the many new standard features and amenities.” left side cameras for viewing on the touchscreen. One of the CX’s most Castro says he expects passengers riding The upgraded driver seat is a self-leveling pronounced design Corporate Coaches on their cruise ship transfers changes came with the adjustable air suspension ISRI 6800/348 with front cap headlights. will appreciate the added luxury. adjustable arm and headrest and a three-point “The CX45 maintains the same tight turning automatic seat belt. busride.com | BUSRIDE

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REI provides A/V entertainment on the Van Hool CX.

The REI Double DIN touchscreen radio/DVD player now accommodates the back-up camera as a standard feature.

“This REI touchscreen component with the radio, DVD and backup camera centrally located is a very cool addition,” Castro says. “Integrating the backup camera into this display gets rid of the added monitor, which helps our drivers operate with more efficiency.”

Interior cabin enhancements The overhead parcel racks feature new passenger multisets with variable direction LED reading lights. The blue interior lights, a bold change to the décor, lend a modern look. HVAC “The HVAC system on the CX is now common to both the TX and CX,” says Aaron Woods, ABC Companies engineering manager. “A change operators and maintenance personnel can appreciate.” He says the move from 12 single fan brush equipped evaporative motors to six dual fan brushless motor modules increases efficiency and maintenance intervals. These dual fan modules fit the same relative space in the roofline above the parcel racks, but install from outside through the roof. “The serviceability of these modules has been significantly increased with this change, due to the simplified modular design,” Woods says.

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Mechanical considerations As in the TX, the middle electrical box shifted from the bulkhead wall to the roof of the left-side baggage compartment for protection and better use of the space. A sliding tray located in a compartment ahead of the drive axle on the curbside now houses the batteries. The rear electric box moved from behind the restroom wall to beneath the floor at the rear of the bus. The EPA 2013 Detroit Diesel DD13 is the standard engine with the EPA 2013 Cummins ISX12 available. Either engine couples to a Generation 5 Allison WT B500 automatic transmission. “Though not unique to Van Hool, a change Detroit Diesel made to the DD13 is worth noting,” Woods says. “A more reliable electrically operated DEF system replaces the former pneumatic delivery system.” The CX runs on Goodyear Marathon LHS II 315/80 R22 tire upgraded to a higher load that yields higher axle ratings as a result. The last word “The improvements certainly make the CX safer to drive, operate and maintain,” says Don Tasker, director, Transportation and Deliveries, ABC Companies. “The C model is a fine vehicle and the CX brings added conveniences with less clutter that make driving and riding special for everyone.”

busride.com


Stay ahead of the curve

Q’Straint’s QRT-360 securement meets a WC18 requirement that goes into effect December 2015

N

ew product design and crash-test requirements for wheelchairs by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) have already been implemented, but additional ones go into effect December 2015. The main change at that time will apply to WC18, a standard that acts as a companion to the WC19 standard that went into effect in 2000. Meanwhile, last October at the NAPT Summit in Grand Rapids, MI, wheelchair securement provider Q’Straint, Fort Lauderdale, FL, introduced a new retractor that meets the higher load requirements of WC18. Both WC18 and WC19 are voluntary standards aimed at improving transportation safety for those who must ride in a wheelchair while in a moving vehicle, including a school bus. The WC19 standard mandates the use of wheelchairs that have been crash-tested and come with an integrated lap belt. The WC18 standard dictates that tie-down equipment must meet the added weight load requirements associated with WCI9compliant wheelchairs. To comply with the new industry standards published in RESNA’s Wheelchairs and Transportation, Volume 4, the WC18 wheelchair standards, wheelchair tie-downs or other securement devices have to pass two different dynamic strength tests. While WC19-compliant wheelchairs are built with four crashtested securement points to tie-downs and can withstand forces of a 30-mph impact, the standard also made WC18 and stronger tie-downs necessary. Both WC18 and WC19 are meant to escalate the current Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2249 regulations. A J2249mandated wheelchair has lap belts either anchored to the vehicle or to securements. In a collision, the occupant in this type of wheelchair moves forward and their load is transferred to the floor of the vehicle through an occupant restraint.

In a WCI9 wheelchair, both the wheelchair and the occupant move forward. In this case, the occupant’s load is transferred to the WC19 wheelchair supplied lap belt, through their wheelchair and then directly to the retractors secured to the floor. The occupant’s load is dispersed between the shoulder attachment to the vehicle and the chair’s two lap-belt attachments. Combining the load of both the occupant and wheelchair places a significant increase on the loading for the rear tie-downs. “Transit providers, including those who provide school transportation, paratransit and public bus services, and family members and caregivers who operate private vehicles, need to be aware of these new standards, and products to comply with them,” said Dr. Larry Schneider, chair of the RESNA Committee on Wheelchairs and Transportation and head of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in a statement. Ahead of the game Q’Straint Product Manager Patrick Girardin says the company had been developing its new QRT-360 for “several” years in anticipation of the WC18 requirement. “The [new retractor] can be utilized now, as the WC19 wheelchairs are already popular,” Girardin said in a statement. The QRT-360 is a four-point, heavy-duty, fully automatic retractable tie-down system designed to work in a 30-mph frontal crash when the occupant is in a WC19 wheelchair in a moving vehicle. It is compatible with a variety of wheelchairs as the shortened retractor footprint allows for more flexibility in vehicle anchor-point locations. Some of the product’s features include an energy-absorbing steel frame, new high-strength, 58-mm-wide webbing and a fine-adjustment, selftensioning mechanism using 25 high-strength teeth in the retractor locking mechanism.

busride.com | BUSRIDE

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BUSRide Financial Roundtable: Part I Guest panel explores the factors that influence financing By David Hubbard

In February, BUSRide convened with a select group of financial leaders in the bus and motorcoach industry during the UMA Motorcoach Expo in Los Angeles, CA, for a roundtable discussion on the issues, trends and practices that affect operators’ borrowing, acquisitions and all-round financial health. Part One of the conversation focuses on factors that influence equipment financing within a fluctuating economy, evolving technology and a more discerning customer base. The panelists at the table were: Gregg Goedde, Vice President, ABC Financial Services (a division of ABC Companies), Faribault, MN Eric Coolbaugh, Principal, Advantage Funding, Lake Success, NY Lee Steinberg, Sales, Commercial Transportation Division, Advantage Funding, Lake Success, NY Raymond Sullivan, National Sales Manager, Industrial Group, EverBank Commercial Finance, Hampton, NH Dave Reynolds, President and CEO, Fleet Financing Resources, Riverside, CA Garland Tillery, Senior Finance Officer, Fleet Financing Resources, Riverside, CA Michael Denny, Vice President and General Manager, Motor Coach Industries (MCI) Financial Services, Dallas, TX Matt Hotchkiss, Vice President, Commercial Vehicle Group, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc., Minneapolis, MN

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How do you see the current economic climate influencing bus operators’ financing decisions? Matt Hotchkiss: From our perspective, the market is doing well. But then the motorcoach industry does tend to do well compared to other industries even when the market is down — and is often counter-cyclical to recessionary pressures. Even though operators did comparatively well during the “Great Recession”, many of them put off buying new equipment until the economy improved. We’ve seen a stronger market the last couple of years and expect the same this year as operators update their fleets and grow their business. Raymond Sullivan: EverBank began its industrial group in 2011. We have been serving this market since 2012, coming in on the upswing following the ups and downs of the previous decade. Timing was everything, and in our short time in this industry we are pleased with the performance. It has been positive.

How do fluctuations in fleet size — growing or shrinking — figure in your work with bus and coach operators? Mike Denny: I have seen a lot of different trends, but generally the coaches are showing a lot of wear and tear. Quite a few operators are still just unsure what is going to happen next. Every time we seem to build some momentum, something of some sort occurs and slows everyone down. Operators want to think about it before they go out and purchase a lot of new equipment. Gregg Goedde: In terms of buying trends and the average size of fleets, the change I am seeing at ABC Companies has to do with the diversification of vehicles in the fleet. Customers in the past who have bought only motorcoaches are coming to the realization they need something to better serve smaller groups. One customer says his quotes are running 50/50; those for 35 passengers and below and those for 40 passengers and above. As a result, in addition to his eight motorcoaches, he is now purchasing smaller cutaways to better fit his needs and those of his customers.

Coolbaugh: In addition to the luxury amenities, safety is big with seat belts, lane departure, collision avoidance, new technologies automotive standards rolling over into the motorcoach industry. A lot of our customers say they have business with customers who require new equipment, less than five years old or less. Sullivan: Not just in the motorcoach market, but in the specialty vehicle market as well. Across the board fuel savings has to be factored into the decision to purchase new vehicles. Improved technology, better miles per gallon cost justification are all important parts from our perspective. Garland Tillery: There is a greater variety of high-end equipment available, which allows operators to operate coaches from 30 to 45 feet. Operators are also taking a greater interest in refurbishing their older coaches. We heard from an operator who is running an older 1998 40-foot coach and actually charges a premium because it somewhat unusual.

Is the availability of online technology and more outside sources changing how operators conduct their fleet financing? Are these options having an effect on the values of trade-ins? Coolbaugh: Information is power. Generally speaking, more readily available information from all sources, online being the most prevalent right now, can only makes operators more informed, and perhaps that translates into becoming a better buyer. That is the power of the internet.

Denny: We have some operators with large fleets on our books, but most of our operators run fleets of 10 to 20 units. Many of these companies were hit hard by the recession and forced to downsize, and have become somewhat gun shy as a result of the downturn. But at this time, we also are seeing them coming back and beginning to add and replace vehicles. So it is a good time.

Goedde: However, it is more difficult to determine the real value from what is showing on the internet, because there are so many variables that can increase or decrease the value of a trade-in — mileage, condition, where it operated in the country. There is really no single source to say what buses are really worth or what they are selling for.

Dave Reynolds: I think with regard to rates, the wind is still at our back. The current rates are helping us draw in the customers who perhaps hesitated last year.

Sullivan: It is very helpful to work with knowledgeable lenders that operators can trust; that have the deep domain experience in the vertical sector. In this industry especially, they need that face-to-face experience to get the correct and accurate information.

Eric Coolbaugh: That’s a great point. The whole interest rate environment has been extremely favorable; much like it is been to the return of the real estate market. The added buying power that a lower interest rate brings, allowing as much $50,000 more coach value for the same monthly outlay.

What factors do you see currently influencing operators’ buying decisions? Denny: I think it is customer based. For an operator with brand new equipment, customers learn to expect and request this level of quality and refuse older coaches. The challenge we hear from operators is typically that their customers want the newest best looking ride for the least amount of money. 22

Goedde: A few factors are pushing acquisitions. Some operators are bringing their coaches in for upgrades and refurbishments to get features that have become essentially standard to meet customer preferences. An operator doesn’t necessarily have to buy a new coach to get such amenities as Wi-Fi and 110-volt outlets. However, once he starts adding up all the additional features and styling changes, his buying perspective changes and he just goes all in for the next level of motorcoach luxury.

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

Where does the used coach market stand? Denny: I think it has stabilized, at least from what I can see since the earlier, dramatic depreciation of the industry. With so many fleets downsizing, volume affected the used coach market dramatically, which put a great deal of added pressure on used coach sales. At this time we have cleaned up a lot of liquidity, and today most of the OEMs don’t have much in the way of inventory. The used coach market for late-model coaches has been strong for the last decade in our experience. A lot of that has to do with the reduced new coach sales during that time which tended to prop up used values because of supply.

busride.com


What advice can you offer to operators in terms of financial best practices to better manage their budgets, P&L statements and cash flow to obtain the most attractive financing? Coolbaugh: I am often surprised by the disparity of financial understanding and management practices on the part of motorcoach operators and their tax and accounting people. Good financial reporting and knowing your company is imperative when applying for the best rates. Tillery: We notice that, in the end, many operators tend to base their decision on what they are most comfortable with. Rather than spending the extra time and effort to fully understand the advantages to all the other options.

Denny: The goal of everyone doing business in this industry is to make operators more profitable. They are generally good bus people. From the bus operations point of view, they know their craft. We can help them do a better job with the basic business and financial aspects.

What does that entail? Goedde: It is critical for motorcoach operators to understand their financial statements. A monthly balance sheet and income statement can be the most important tools an operator has. It is a report on their coaches, shop facility and operations and company are performing. This conversation will resume in June with BUSRide Financial Roundtable: Part Two; an in-depth discussion of financial best practices, leasing options and more on rates.

Photo courtesy of ABC Companies, Faribault, MN.

Financial leaders say customer demand for style, luxury and connectivity is the primary driver for new equipment sales.

Lee Steinberg: The quality of their internal accounting and financial support is critical. However, we do business in a very interesting industry, because we have people who operate out of a cigar box to people who live by their 20 groups — and everything in between.

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EasyandOpen Vix eO provides additional payment options for UTA riders Life just got easier for Utah Transit Authority (UTA) riders in Salt Lake City, UT, thanks to a partnership with Seattle-based Vix Technology, a leading provider of electronic fare collection solutions. UTA riders have had the option to pay for fares with third-party and bank-issued contactless cards since 2009 using Vix eO (easy and Open), and in October 2013 Vix Technology expanded its account-based fare collection solution to include FAREPAY, third party prepaid contactless cards. “In eO, UTA’s existing fare collection system, Vix has developed a product that is inherently flexible and convenient,” says Doug Thomas, General Manager, Vix Technology, Seattle, WA. Vix added UTA’s FAREPAY contactless card offering to Vix eO in conjunction with InComm, a provider of prepaid cards. UTA FAREPAY cards, valid for all UTA services, can be purchased at retailers throughout Salt Lake City, online, or at UTA agency offices. Riders can fund their cards either through the retail channel or online and pay for transit by tapping as they board and exit UTA buses and trains. Ticket vending machines are completely unnecessary for riders with a FAREPAY card. “In the Salt Lake City region, there are close to 300 retailers that are now sales agents for the Utah Transit Authority,” Thomas says. “People can go in, buy a FAREPAY card, activate it, and use it to take TRAX (UTA’s light rail) home. It’s extraordinarily simple.” Vix says that account-based systems help transit agencies move away from cash collection by providing a safe and secure back-office solution for fare processing and by furnishing them with vital ridership reporting to improve service planning and operational efficiencies. 24

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“We intentionally designed the system to maximize extensibility and ease of use,” Thomas says. “Whether the rider presents a pre-paid FAREPAY card, a bank-issued contactless credit card, an employee building access badge, a ski resort season pass, or an NFC-based mobile wallet from Google or ISIS, all that matters to us is that the fare media is a ssociated w it h a va l id accou nt i n t he system.” All of these forms of contactless media are accepted by Vix eO for UTA today. The Vix eO platform leverages an open, modular architecture and is highly configurable, making it easy for transit agencies to implement their unique fare policies and adapt to future changes in technology. Even better, it lowers the cost to entry for an advanced fare collection solution. According to Vix, the benefits of the Vix eO platform for UTA riders include: • Fast and hassle-free fare payment – riders need not carry cash, find exact change, or keep track of paper tickets or transfer slips. • Lost card protection – tickets and passes are saved in the rider’s account, even if the card is lost. • Easy account management – riders can reload their account via phone, web, retail outlet, or set up recurring payments via auto-load.

Riders are able to tap their UTA FAREPAY card as they board and exit UTA buses.

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TriMet chooses INIT for e-Fare/Smart Card System in Portland The project is valued at over $14 million The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) in Portland, OR has awarded INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. with the implementation of their new e-Fare system. The contract comprises the delivery of an Account-Based fare management system which supports both Closed Loop Cards and Open Payments. It includes a comprehensive Central Processing module, more than 1,100 onboard and platform validators combined; 90 mobile inspection devices, and approximately 100 retail POS units. INIT will also provide customer web portals and an initial 1,300,000 contactless smart cards. The e-Fare solution will greatly enhance the already progressive bus, light rail, and commuter rail network in Portland. TriMet’s ridership will benefit from more convenience and pricing equity and the ability to utilize contactless bank cards and mobile phones. The project may extend to the neighboring city of Vancouver, WA, incorporating transportation services provided by the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN). INIT’s Central Processing System, MOBILEvario, will deliver a sophisticated yet easy to use solution for processing and clearing revenues. MOBILEvario’s powerful online validation server will process account transactions in real time providing TriMet with accurate, split second revenue processing. The INIT Fare Management solution also accepts Open Payments based on EMV contactless bank cards and NFC phones. As part of INIT’s System Integrator role, the TriMet e-Fare project includes the integration with several third party systems. Following INIT’s Open Architecture approach, open Application Programming Interfaces (API) will be available to external partners such as fare payment and inspection, mobile ticketing, device management and CAD/AVL information. 26

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

INIT’s PROXmobil2 readers will validate smart cards, 2-D mobile tickets and EMV payments in Portland.

TriMet’s smart card endeavor marks the third project INIT has installed for the agency since 2002. Further on, it adds another milestone to INIT’s more than 50 Fare Management systems that have been installed worldwide. The smart card project is valued at more than $14 million and will further highlight TriMet’s reputation as one of the most progressive transit agencies in the country.

NICE signs with Masabi Nassau County bus system signs agreement for mobile ticketing system to be available by summer 2014 The Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) announced that it has signed a pilot agreement with Masabi, a leader in mobile ticketing and electronic payments for transit, to bring smartphone ticketing to NICE bus riders. NICE will become among the first U.S. bus transit system to offer smartphone ticketing to its customers featuring smartphone payment apps for both iPhone and Android. NICE’s paratransit system, known as Able-Ride, will allow customers to use the same smartphone app to pay their fares. NICE is a public-private operating partnership between Nassau County and Veolia Transportation. Veolia manages all aspects of the transit system under contract to the county, effectively serving as the transit agency. busride.com


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With the new mobile ticketing system, riders will be able to purchase bus tickets at their convenience, and activate them as they board the vehicle. Upon boarding, riders will display to the operator a secure, visually verifiable ticket on their smartphones. For added security, mobile tickets will also feature scannable barcodes for occasional spot checks by NICE officials. In future phases of the project, NICE may install hardware that allows riders to pay by scanning a barcode, or simply bringing their smart device in close proximity to a sensor. With this new initiative, NICE will dramatically expand the ease and convenience with which its customers can buy bus tickets. Another benefit is that it will speed up the boarding process. NICE has signed a pilot agreement with Masabi. Currently, NICE riders have limited payment options: they can either pay with correct change on the bus or use the MTA-issued MetroCard. However, there is only one MTA location in Nassau County with full-service vending machines that allow riders to buy and reload MetroCards. Over time, mobile ticketing should also help reduce fare collection costs. NICE fareboxes are antiquated, dating back to the late 1990s, and the costs of maintenance, replacement parts and cash handling are rapidly increasing. NICE is deploying Masabi’s JustRide product, a well tested, end-to-end mobile ticketing and fare collection system. The awardwinning product includes features such as ticket purchase, user display and easy validation together with sophisticated back-end infrastructure for secure payments, ticket management, customer service, reporting and real-time analytics. Masabi currently serves 17 transportation and retail companies worldwide including Boston’s MBTA and San Diego’s MTS in the U.S. and Virgin Trains and Cross Country in the U.K. NICE officials plan to start beta testing with a select group of riders this spring, with full rollout this summer. Riders are encouraged to apply at www.nicebus.com to participate in the beta testing. NICE also encourages customers to take a brief survey on the site that will help NICE better understand how they currently use technology.

Accolades for Cubic

Cubic’s Opal System wins Australian infrastructure award Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator of transportation technology and related services for intelligent travel solutions, announced that its Opal smart card system won an Australian national infrastructure award for excellence in design, delivery and use.

The 2014 Smart Infrastructure Award was presented to the New South Wales Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss. Speaking at an Infrastructure Partnerships Australia dinner in Sydney, Truss said the Opal Card project was a worthy winner, with its smarter technologies contributing to better service outcomes. “The Opal Card project involves the introduction of an electronic transport ticketing system throughout the Greater Sydney region, including the design, development, supply, implementation, commissioning, operation and support of the smart card-based ticketing system,” Truss said. This is the fourth major accolade for the Opal project. Last year the unique Opal standalone card reader developed specifically for Sydney took out the Transport category of the Sydney Design Awards, as well as an Australian International Design Award and a Powerhouse Museum Design Award.

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TOUR BUSINESS

Brand USA facing an uncertain future A topic for discussion during the 2014 NTA Congressional Travel Fly-in, June 23-25

Brand USA’s mission is to encourage more international travelers to visit the United States.

As the nation’s first cooperative destination marketing organization, the mission of Brand USA, Washington, D.C., is to encourage more international travelers to visit the United States and to grow America’s share of the global travel market. Brand USA works to position the United States as a compelling destination for international travelers, and promote their refreshed understanding of this country through its limitless destinations and attractions. It says the focus of its programs and platforms is to increase awareness and enhance the image of the United States, adding that its integrated marketing and communications strategy delivers the highest possible return for the United States — job creation, GDP and export growth — and increased federal tax revenues. Meanwhile, an April press release from the National Tour Association (NTA), Lexington, KY, says its members are counting on Brand USA to keep marketing the United States as a travel destination, but some members of the U.S. Congress are hoping to terminate the program. The release notes that following a year in which Brand USA generated 1.1 million visitors who would not have traveled to the United States without the agency’s marketing efforts, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the budget committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a proposed budget that does not include funding for Brand USA. Last year, NTA was a leading advocate for the travel and tourism industry during the U.S. government’s partial shutdown. The closure of national parks and other attractions was disastrous for Chinese travelers visiting the United States. Following two weeks of shutdown-related financial loss suffered by NTA members, the association’s then-president Lisa Simon testified at a Congressional hearing about the closures. In the same proposal, Ryan’s budget calls for the U.S. Department of Transportation to cut spending on road and transit projects. According to NTA, the recommended reduction in the department’s 28

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Highway Trust Fund comes at a time when the association and other leaders in the travel industry are calling for increased funding for the nation’s infrastructure. NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer says this budget would take travelers—and the U.S. economy—in the wrong direction. “To cut off a successful marketing program as well as much-needed funds for bridge repairs and safe, efficient highways makes no sense,” Richer said in a statement. “The NTA is advocating NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer for reauthorization of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the funding vehicle for Brand USA,” he said. “Brand USA has achieved a fantastic ROI — close to 50 to 1 — in only four years of existence. The U.S has reversed some negative travel trends in countries where Brand USA is promoting travel to this country.” He adds that it is counterintuitive to axe a program that brings so much revenue and provides so many jobs. These topics will certainly be on the table when NTA members gather in Washington, D.C., in June to meet with legislators on Capitol Hill and discuss key issues that affect the tourism industry. The 2014 Congressional Travel Fly-in will be held June 23 to 25. busride.com


SP Fire Research expands in the US

Bus fires know no borders, as SP brings its research to the United States.

By its 130 employees working from offices in Sweden and Norway, SP Fire Research stands as the largest fire research and testing facility in Europe. From such a strong position in the field of vehicle fire safety, SP is now expanding its mission to include the United States, working with vehicle fire safety expert, Joseph “Joey” Peoples from offices in Raleigh, NC. As a 27 year veteran in the special hazards fire protection field, Peoples Joey Peoples is a 27 previously served as manager of the year veteran in the special hazards fire Commercial Ground Vehicle group for protection field. Kidde Technologies, Inc. His background includes system design, research and development, live fire testing and vehicle fire investigation for both military and commercial hazards. Peoples will continue his work in fire safety concerns with SP Fire Research to engage within the coach, school bus and transit market. For the last 12 years he has focused on Automatic Fire Detection and Suppression systems for the transit, school bus and coach industries. Peoples has presented at numerous trade conferences and USSC-076 Transitof Hybrid Ad_BRM.pdf 1 Working 4/1/14 2:23 PM is a contributing member the APTA Bus Safety Group.

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29


THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT

Solaris had a record year By Doug Jack

W

Above: An Urbino 18 MetroStyle Bus Rapid Transit vehicle for Paris. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom. 30

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

ith headquarters and two factories near the city of Poznan in Western Poland, Solaris is one of the more innovative bus builders in the world. Last year the company sold 1,302 vehicles, the highest number to date in its 18-year history. “We owe last year’s success to our customers who rely on us and return year after year to maintain this fruitful co-operation,” says Solaris Chief Executive Solange Olszewska. “As we can observe, the majority of orders were placed by our long-time customers. It proves the quality of our products and aftersales service. We will concentrate not only on large contracts. We value every client, irrespective of the number of buses that they order.” Preferring volume production of relatively standardized products, Solaris distinguishes itself by the enormous variety of models that it can offer. Such flexibility and variety would be impossible for a larger manufacturer. From the basic specifications and lists of approved options, which generally are the limit, Solaris builds all its structures in stainless steel but can vary the length, width and height for all sorts of city, suburban and interurban applications. The Solaris range is available with diesel, CNG and

biogas engines, also hybrid and all-electric traction. It includes trolleybuses powered from overhead wires, and more recently low-floor trams. The range starts with the Alpino midibus with a full low-floor layout at just over 28 feet and a lowentry version slightly over 29 feet. Both have an overall width slightly under 8 feet and are suitable for hilly areas with narrow roads, and use Cummins 6.7 liter engines and either ZF or Voith fully automatic gearboxes. There is also an all-electric version of the longer low-entry model. Moving up the range, the Urbino 10 is just under 10 meters. The Urbino 12 is one of the most popular models. With a full low-floor layout, built to an overall length of 39 feet, 4 inches, either a DAF (Paccar) or Cummins engine mounts vertically in line and offset at the rear opposite the curb, which facilitates a third double-width door behind the rear axle for busy city routes. It is available with a CNG engine or as a lowentry vehicle with a standard rear axle and without a door behind that point. This layout is popular in Nordic markets and for suburban and short interurban routes. This Urbino model is also available as an allelectric version. Built to 47 feet, 10 inches on three axles, the Urbino 15 can have either a full low-floor or a low-entry layout with either a diesel, CNG or biogas engine. These longer vehicles sell very well in Sweden. The third axle steers, giving a turning circle that is little more than a standard two-axle bus without any need for articulation. Solaris also offers the articulated Urbino 18 and 18.75 models. The former has an overall length of just over 59 feet; the latter about 61 feet, 6 inches, giving an extra row of seats in the front section.

An all-electric Urbino sitting above the charging point at a terminus in Braunschweig, Germany.

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THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT

The 10,000th bus built by Solaris, an all-electric Urbino for Dusseldorf, Germany.

An Urbino 18 hybrid bus with Vossloh Kiepe system.

The 42 foot, 2 inch Interurbino interurban coach has its floor about 2 feet, 9 inches above the ground with deeper than normal luggage racks in the interior, because drivers and passengers do not like to get in and out of a vehicle in cold winter conditions to put relatively small luggage in underfloor lockers. The Solaris Trollino all-electric buses are available at 39 feet, 4 inches and 47 feet, 10 inches on three axles as well as the articulated version at just over 59 feet. All the Urbino and Trollino models have the same styling, with a distinctive windshield that is lower on the curb side, giving drivers very good forward vision in that area. The MetroStyle option that looks more like a tram has fitted on Bus Rapid Transit vehicles for customers in France, as well as trolleybus versions for the city of Salzburg in Austria. Solaris has always been very good at reading trends in the industry and being faster to react than major manufacturers who invariably have strict product planning, marketing and budget controls. It was one of the first European manufacturers to develop hybrid buses and presented its first hybrid bus in 2006, an articulated model with

an Allison EP parallel hybrid drive system and a Cummins 8.9 liter engine mounted vertically and offset in line in the front half of the vehicle and a 600V battery pack. The second axle was a driven ZF portal. The third axle in the trailer section is also portal but undriven. Finding that the engine was larger than necessary, the second generation used a smaller Cummins 6.7 liter engine and the same Allison hybrid drive system mounted in the trailer section of the bus, driving into the third axle, which gave considerable savings in fuel consumption. The batteries and inverter module are mounted on the roof, so the interior layout was the same as a conventional dieselpowered Urbino articulated bus. By 2009, Solaris could also offer the option of a hybrid 39 foot, 4 inch bus with a Cummins engine and Eaton parallel hybrid drive system with lithium-ion batteries matched to an automated 6-speed gearbox. One of the largest customers for this version became the French group Transdev, running services in the French island of La RĂŠunion in the Indian Ocean. By 2010, Solaris offered the option of a Voith Turbo hybrid drive

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31


THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT

A new Euro 6 Urbino passes the 600 year old Barbican fortress in Krakow, Poland.

system in the Urbino articulated bus. On these vehicles, electrical energy was stored in super capacitors, which could store electrical energy for a short time to give high power on starts. Customers in Germany procured 50 units. The next Solaris hybrid launched in Hanover in September 2010 — an articulated bus with a Vossloh Keipe series hybrid system using lithium-phosphate batteries and super capacitors mounted at roof level, plus a plug-in external charging connection. The batteries

could recharge by not only the generator and braking, but externally. This vehicle had a Cummins engine connected to a GPS system that could switch off the engine so that the vehicle operated only in electric mode. Solaris said it deliberately over-engineered the vehicle and put it through a six-month trial program to find out which parts it could eliminate to save weight. The batteries powered systems such as doors, power steering and HVAC, and this technology proved suitable for vehicles powered solely by batteries. Solaris launched an Alpino all-electric midibus in October 2011 featuring a Vossloh Kiepe traction system and energy management. That vehicle had a range of 60 to 70 miles on a full charge, which took four hours to recharge fully. Following rapid development, the range went up and the recharging time came down to one and a half hours. Within a year, Solaris built and launched a full size 39 foot, 4 inch all-electric bus with plans for an articulated version, all with lithiumion batteries and a Vossloh Kiepe electric motor with fast charging during a daily duty cycle. The city of Braunschweig in Germany ordered one two-axle and four articulated buses recharged by an inductive system at each terminal. The buses parked in a lay-by at each end of the route and took a fast charge from plates mounted in the road surface, without any physical connection. Solaris can also offer the option of all-electric buses that can take a fast charge from an overhead gantry, using a physical connection. While the price of an all-electric bus in Europe is probably around twice that of the equivalent diesel model, the cost of electricity is much lower than diesel. Therefore, the payback period is becoming shorter. Solaris has supplied buses to customers in 28 countries. Solaris recently delivered its 10,000th vehicle, an all-electric Urbino to Rheinbahn in Düsseldorf, Germany, the company’s largest and most consistent export market.

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Belo Horizonte moves to the beat of BRT Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, now ranks among the growing number of cities around the world that are bringing highquality sustainable transit to its citizens. Belo Horizonte opened the first of three planned corridors of MOVE, the city’s first BRT system, in March. The new corridor runs along Avenida Cristiano Mahcado, following best practices in BRT design, including center-aligned stations, off-board fare collection and integrated intermodal connections. When the system reaches full operation this month, MOVE will have the capacity to carry 700,000 people per day. MOVE brings important benefits to BRT riders and to all Belo Horizonte residents. For riders, it will shorter travel times between the two main terminals by half and provide a safe comfortable trip across town. In addition, all Belo Horizonte citizens will enjoy reduced congestion and emissions. The corridor is also expected to help revitalize the city’s downtown and encourage mixed use development. International Transportation Development Policy (ITDP) New York, NY, has brought its international expertise to support Belo Horizonte’s BRT through sharing best practice designs, advising on corridor design, and evaluating plans for the multimodal São Gabriel Station. The Avenida Cristiano Mahcado corridor is 6 kilometers, running between the São Gabriel Station in the northeast and city center. Along this corridor, the first route provides direct service from end University of South Alabama Mobile, AL Assistant Director, Transportation Services

The Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte opened the first of three planned corridors of MOVE, the city’s first BRT system, in March.

to end, cutting riders’ commute times significantly. The second route makes local stops at eight additional stations, and the third runs along the corridor and then branches out to connect with Savassi Station and link several hospitals and commercial districts to the corridor. These routes show how the corridor can serve diverse needs for the city. “The creation of the BRT has the potential to reinvigorate the most degraded areas, attracting investment and encouraging compact land use,” says Clarisse Linke, director, ITDP Brazil. “It’s a pleasure to see the MOVE system come true. For years, ITDP has worked to identify the characteristics that make BRT systems succeed worldwide. Our intention is to help the city improve the project and make adjustments as needed.” MOVE is expected to score highly on the BRT Standard, indicating that, through good design and system management, the new corridors will bring many benefits to the riders and city residents. These benefits include time savings, reduced congestion and emissions, and promotion of mixed use development downtown for a more livable city.

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An Equal opportunity/Equal Access Employer The University of South Alabama is one of the fastest growing universities in the South, providing quality academic programs, innovative classroom experiences, and a campus rich in diversity and student life. Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, business management, or directly related field from an accredited institution as approved and accepted by the University of South Alabama, three years of commercial transportation experience, to include oversight of fleet maintenance and one teart of which was in a managerial capacity, and possession of, or the ability to acquire, a valid commercial driver’s license with passenger endorsement within six months of employment, and maintenance of driving record sufficient to maintain insurance coverage under the University of South Alabama’s commercial auto basis for the required education. Experience with computerized transportation scheduling and fleet maintenance systems is highly preferred. Experience Essential Functions: The Assistant Director, Transportation Services oversees the University’s Transportation Department, to include USA vehicle fleet maintenance and administration of computerized transportation scheduling and fleet maintenance systems; manages transit operations and ensures the safety of fixed route transit services, para-transit services and charter bus services; manages transportation needs of the University to include arranging charters or scheduling trips using USA vehicles; provides or arranges transportation in support of interscholastic athletic teams; provides input in the selection of bus scheduling and fleet maintenance systems ; develops budget projections and prepares departmental budget; develops short and long range transportation plans; collects and interprets data and prepares usage reports; monitors Transportation Department contacts; enforces strict accountability of safety practices, training and equipment use; ensures the compliance with applicable U.S. Department of Transportation laws, guidelines and recommendations; provides oversight in the maintenance and repair of University vehicles; utilizes preventive maintenance software and transportation scheduling software; prepares bid specification for contract maintenance and contract parts following University bid procedures; monitors, verifies and reconciles expenditures, to include fuel costs; interviews and selects departmental staff for hiring; supervises departmental staff to include assigning duties, approving time off, preparing evaluations, handling disciplinary issues, and reviewing/approving timesheets; may be required to move commercial vehicles on University site, or other locations, as needed; regular and prompt attendance; ability to work schedule as defined and additional hours as needed; and related duties are required. Experience with a charter bus company is preferred.

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33


Closing the transportation gap Krapf Coaches connects with the Philadelphia Navy Yard

The Navy Yard contracted with nearby Krapf Coaches to operate scheduled service to connect with the public transportation system.

The Philadelphia Navy Yard enjoys a distinguished history as the nation’s oldest naval shipyard. However, in the mid-1990s the Federal Government Base Realignment and Closure program necessitated shifting most of the facility’s functions to other locations due to changing priorities. This threatened to substantially damage the regional economy, until a unique hybrid mix of government and private interests emerged to change what could have been a major setback to this booming regional economic engine.

34

BUSRIDE | MAY.2014

Beginning in 2000, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation began acquiring what would eventually amount to 1,200 acres of the facility, and then invested more than $130 million in infrastructure improvements. Its efforts quickly attracted the businesses that now occupy more than 6.5 million square feet of office, industrial, and research space. The organization also invested more than $700 million in private capital in the Navy Yard. This public-private partnership now boasts 143 companies that employ a total 11,000 people, and promises further growth in the near future. To serve the facility’s transportation needs, the Navy Yard began the search for an efficient way to help employees commute to work and to get around the facility located south of Philadelphia’s Center City. The site is convenient but somewhat removed from public transit in several areas. Closing that gap to make it easier for employees to use mass transit required another hybrid effort of public and private resources. The Navy Yard contracted with nearby Krapf Coaches to operate scheduled service to connect with the public transportation system. As one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier and most diversified bus companies with unique strengths that complement the existing mass transit infrastructure, the Navy Yard saw this company as its ideal choice. Krapf also signed on to run a shuttle loop within the business campus. “One bus circulates the campus all day long, connecting all of the businesses and the Broad Street subway AT&T Station,” says Gary Krapf, company president and grandson of founder George Krapf. “This is even more convenient because it is directly in front of the Philadelphia Sports Stadiums in South Philly.” Krapf currently operates more than 2000 school buses, 20 luxury motorcoaches, 35 transit buses and 88paratransit vehicles. Its transit division alone carries more than 550,000 passengers a year, largely in partnership with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA).

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INCREASED FUEL EFFICIENCY ISN’T MARKETING. IT’S AN UNDERSTANDING.

While other brands may tout increased fuel economy, only Prevost has the reputation to back it up. No gimmicks here, just the innovations that are known for making our motorcoaches run as efficiently as possible. These include features like the PRIME Energy Management System that keeps operation costs down by using engine negative torque to generate “free” electricity, thus increasing fuel economy. And the Volvo D13 engine with 2014 engine technology gives improved fuel efficiency, even over last year’s engine. Pair that with the I-Shift transmission, and you have the formula for optimal operational efficiency. Safety features, such as AWARE Adaptive Cruise Braking and the Electronic Stability Program, also help you avoid costly downtime by avoiding incidents and keeping your vehicles where they belong—on the road.

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BUSRide May 2014  

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