BUSRide Magazine May 2016

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MAY | 2016



BUSRide Field Test:

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles solidifies DART partnership p10

Transit data collection and analysis p14 “Lightweighting” bus suspensions Motorcoach customer care


p 25


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10 busride.com

COVER STORY Official BUSRide Field Test: ARBOC SV solidifies its partnership with DART


Low-floor vehicles from ARBOC allow for a collaborative evolution between OEM and agency. By David Hubbard

FEATURES Enterprise Asset Management 14 TSO Mobile and Trapeze Group share best practices for data collection and analysis.

Focus On: Fare Collection


Trapeze Group and Genfare spotlight fare evasion and security.

BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame




Presented by Prevost, the Hall of Fame honors the “Fab Five” of Peter Pan Bus Lines.

Official BUSRide Field Test: The Enviro500 brings a new dimension to transit in Seattle 33 Alexander Dennis Inc. and Community Transit have partnered to bring “Double Talls” to the Puget Sound area. By Richard Tackett






18 EQUAL ACCESS By Matt Scheuler


22 THE BISC REPORT By Stephen Evans


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016



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Megabus.com celebrates 10 years with a safety message First launched in the United Kingdom, Stagecoach introduced Megabus.com through its Coach USA subsidiary in April 2006 as a network of coach service based in Chicago with daily routes to most of the major cities in the Midwest, and today connects with cities in the Northeast, West Coast which states in the South, as well as Toronto and Montreal. In its 10 years of existence, Megabus.com has transitioned from a traditional spoke-and-hub system to a point-to-point network operation from only a few hubs. Coach USA Director of Corporate Affairs Sean Hughes called to put festivities in motion by bringing me and the rest of the industry up to speed on the newest initiatives for Megabus. com; initiatives which focus on proactive driver safety, fun and engaging customer service. He wants us to know first that Coach USA and Megabus. com are now fully implementing solutions by GreenRoad. This driver-behavior dashboard technology essentially provides instant alerts to both the driver and management of questionable maneuvers as they occur. The system rates each incident on a scale of green (all is smooth and under control) to amber (this situation is getting a little iffy) to red (that was close, it’s time to talk). According to Hughes, Coach USA has invested over $1 million to ensure its drivers give the GreenRoad program their undivided attention. In addition to the technology, the driver has been assigned to a peer driver, called a Champion, who combs over the GreenRoad stats in a weekly meeting to determine the circumstances surrounding an incident and offer corrective counsel to help improve performance. Coach USA has taken its program by GreenRoad a step further by offering drivers financial incentives to maintain green status throughout their shifts, and accrue competitive points for the times they keep it in the green. Each depot keeps score and names its GreenRoad Champion, who then competes regionally, leading up the national championship, in which the greenest of GreenRoad drivers can pocket as much as $15,000 from the bonus pools. But, it’s not about the money – safety is paramount.

David Hubbard Associate Publisher BUSRide Magazine


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

busride.com VOL. 52 • NO. 4

Richard Tackett Editor in Chief rtackett@busride.com David Hubbard Associate Publisher dhubbard@busride.com Steve Gamble Art Director sgamble@busride.com Judi Victor CEO & Publisher Director of Sales jvfly@busride.com Kevin Boorse Business Manager kboorse@busride.com Blair McCarty Sr. Sales and Marketing Coordinator bmccarty@busride.com

BUS industry SAFETY council

A publication of:

BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, STE 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 www.busride.com BUSRide™ Magazine is published 8 times each year by Power Trade Media, a division of The Producers, Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST included), all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). All articles in BUSRide™ Magazine 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 Judi Victor at (602) 265-7600 ext. 125. Copyright 2016 by Power Trade Media. No advertisement or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed as an endorsement, and no warranty is made or implied by Power Trade Media Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but no warranty is made or implied, and Power Trade Media is not responsible for errors or omissions.



National Academies of Sciences to study CSA’s effectiveness In response to Section 5221 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) of 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, through its Committee on National Statistics and Transportation Research Board, to carry out a study regarding high risk truck and bus companies. The study will examine the accuracy with which the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) safety measures used in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and the Safety Management System (SMS) identify high risk carriers and predict or are correlated with future crash risk or other safety indicators for motor carriers. For further information, see the National Academies of Sciences webpage at http://www.trb.org/PolicyStudies/ ReviewFederalMotorCarrierSafety.aspx.

CCW delivers final bus in Yolo CNG rehab project Complete Coach Works (CCW) announced that it has delivered the final bus for a project to replace CNG engines on seven buses for Yolo County Transportation District, which serves Yolo County, downtown Sacramento and Sacramento International Airport. “The project will extend the service life of the buses and further reduce engine emissions,” said Kevin O’Brien, general sales manager for CCW.

CCW has delivered the final bus for a project to replace CNG engines on seven buses for Yolo County Transportation District.

“Work began in September and the final bus was completed in March,” O’Brien said. Remanufactured transmissions and electronic fan engine cooling systems were also installed. “We took buses that were approaching the end of their useful lives and reconditioned them,” O’Brien said. “The newer engines are cleaner, so they cut down on pollution, and it’s a costeffective solution for the agency.” “The new engines will keep the buses operating for at least six to eight more years,” says Terry Bassett, executive director at Yolo. “We hope this will help bridge some of our funding gaps for meeting some of our bus replacement needs as well as reduce greenhouse gases. The project also included replacing the CNG tanks on the buses. That’s equally important because we have to have tanks that at least match the lifespan of the improvements that are being made to the engines.” The project will allow Yolo to continue on its path of providing a cleaner transportation system to its community.


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REV Group joins Penske racing team Many motorsports enthusiasts are familiar with the REV brand — even if they don’t realize it. With 300,000 REV specialty vehicles on the road today, many of these unique products have long served the racing industry in some fashion, which makes REV Group, Inc.’s new partnership with Team Penske the perfect match. Florida based REV Group announced a multi-year partnership with Team Penske, putting the REV name in the racing spotlight. Among other products, REV will showcase its luxury motorcoach brands, American Coach and Fleetwood RV, during selected 2016 races of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In addition to showcasing REV’s stunning motorcoaches at these events, the REV logo will be featured on Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang during each race, which includes the Ford EcoBoost 300 season

finale on November 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. REV will also be the primary sponsor of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves during the Phoenix Grand Prix of the Verizon IndyCar Series. REV was featured on the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet during the April 2 race in Avondale, AZ. But that’s not all — on March 7, Castroneves picked up his very own custom American Coach in Decatur, IN, where the REV Recreation Group is headquartered. Tim Sullivan, REV president and chief executive officer, says the partnership with Team Penske is a strategic move that will increase REV’s brand awareness throughout the United States. “By teaming up with a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and a three-time defending XFINITY Series Owners’ championship team, we feel we’re well positioned to see our cars in Victory Lane this year,” Sullivan said.

IC Bus recognizes six North American dealers with award

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves with a REV RV.


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

IC Bus announced the six winners of its annual Pursuit of Excellence dealership award. IC Bus partners with dealers throughout the United States and Canada and the award recipients have proven to be the best in their class for their efforts to improve sales and customer satisfaction. This year’s winners are RWC Group of Alaska and Arizona; International Trucks of Hawaii, LLC in Kapolei, HI; Maxim Truck & Trailer Inc. in Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Summit Truck Group of Mississippi; Longhorn Bus Sales, L.L.C. in Houston, TX; and Midwest Transit Equipment in Kankakee, IL. Midwest Transit Equipment is receiving the honor for the fourth consecutive year.



“These awards are given to those dealers that have demonstrated an ability to grow our customer relationships this past year,” said Trish Reed, vice president & general manager, IC Bus. “In addition to providing unmatched customer support, these dealers have displayed a commitment to ensuring the success of their customers and their local communities.” The awards are based on dealer performance in several key areas in 2015, including growing market share and exceeding annual sales plans. In addition, dealers were required to meet community service requirements in order to be eligible to receive recognition. “IC Bus continues to lead the school bus industry by having not only great products but also the industry’s strongest dealer network,” Reed said. “On behalf of everyone at IC Bus, I offer congratulations to our top performers of 2015.”

Maryland MTA has lowest number of serious crimes among Top 12 The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is working hard to keep public transportation safe for its transit riders – and it’s paying off. With interagency collaboration at the federal, state and local levels, MTA Police reported an 11 percent reduction in serious crimes this past year on transit – including Local Bus, Light Rail, Metro Subway, MARC Train, Mobility and Commuter Bus. “We are proud to have the fewest serious crimes of any of the top 12 transit agencies in America,” said MTA Administrator and CEO Paul Comfort. “The numbers show that the MTA is now a very safe transit system to ride.”

DSE 2016 takes over Las Vegas Digital Signage Expo (DSE), the world’s largest international trade show and educational conference dedicated to digital displays, interactive technology and digital communications networks, presented the newest, most cutting-edge technology in the industry March 16-17, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. DSE’s New Product Showcase featured dozens of new and innovative products that attendees had the opportunity to see firsthand, with a variety of new cloud-based, distribution and audio solutions featuring beacon technology that provides audience measurement, streaming audio, long-reach receivers, cloud-based content creation, and ultra compact routers. DSE is the world’s largest and longest-running conference and trade show exclusively dedicated to showcasing innovative digital communications and interactive technology solutions for customerand employee-facing organizations. Launched in 2004, DSE was the first event for the digital signage market and has been a significant contributor to the growth of this fast-paced industry. Professional end-user attendance represents decision-makers from key industry categories such as retail, restaurant, healthcare, education, hospitality and transportation, as well as other key stakeholders, including advertising executives, brand marketers and systems integrators. More than 200 exhibitors featured technology and services including hardware, software, network, delivery and content from around the globe. DSE also offers the largest and most diversified digital signage and digital out-of-home educational program anywhere in the world, with more than 125 educators and the largest variety of educational opportunities. Visit www.digitalsignageexpo.net for more information on the 2017 show!

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ARBOC’s small low-floor bus provides all passengers faster, safer easy-on, easy-off access.


ARBOC BUSRide Field Test:


solidifies its partnership with DART By David Hubbard

Seven years ago, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, TX, moved on two major initiatives to expand its fleet, transition to compressed natural gas (CNG) and introduce more convenient, passenger-friendly services to smaller outlying neighborhoods. A unique working relationship was forged when DART turned to ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, Middlebury, IN, to fill its promise of consistent level boarding at every stop, which at that time was to include its new Flex routes and On-Call service. Five years ago, the original contract called for 123 buses, for which DART issued a formal Request for Interest (RFI) and received three respondents. The RFI required the vehicles be low floor. 10

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

The small low-floor bus would provide all passengers faster, safer easy-on, easy-off access and would be more compatible with DART’s larger 40-foot NABI low-floor transit fleet and Kinkysharyo light rail vehicles. DART needed a bus better suited for the smaller neighborhoods in the vast Dallas Metroplex, so the procurement called for vehicles no longer than 26 feet – narrow enough to safely negotiate intimate, culde-sac-laced streets One bid best fit the agency needs – logistically and financially – and DART awarded the contract to ARBOC. National Bus Sales & Leasing of Marietta, GA, facilitated the purchase. busride.com

“National Bus Sales is a long-time partner of DART,” says Blake Beach, president at National Bus Sales & Leasing. “We regard DART as a first-class operation and we appreciate having the opportunity to support them.” “From the beginning, everyone at DART liked the idea of our easy on, easy off low-floor products,” says ARBOC President and CEO Don Roberts. “All passengers can board, ride and depart without any sort of limitation. They like the fact that ambulatory passengers and those using wheelchairs, scooters can now load faster than the wait for a standard lifts. More importantly, they no longer have nearly as many slips and falls.” “This smaller-sized fleet provides us the capability to reach customers closer to their points of origin,” says DART’s Mike Hubbell, vice president, maintenance. “People in these communities no longer have to walk away from their homes to get into our transit network.” Hubbell says the ARBOC buses additionally satisfy the agency’s transition from diesel fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to compressed natural gas (CNG). As DART sees it, the fleet of smaller ARBOC low-floor buses complements its level-customer boarding initiative found throughout both the DART light-rail and fixed route bus network. “Our smaller, sleeker CNG equipped low-floor buses are less offensive than standard transit buses lumbering down neighborhood streets and provide a much higher level of service,” says Bill Fay, vice president of sales and marketing at ARBOC. “DART is using our buses to further expand its footprint and allow passengers make their intermodal connections with the DART bus, light rail and express train systems.” THE WORK BEGINS ARBOC was introducing a new concept for small and midsize buses at the time it began work with DART, a situation Roberts found both unique and noteworthy. “This was a totally new product that the people at DART put enough faith in to buy and begin using in service,” he says. “However, at this point, we had not yet fully field tested this model – and certainly never in a large fleet.” THAT DIDN’T STOP DART “DART employs a highly competent engineering staff,” Hubbell says. “This team is capable of drilling down deep into the root causes and knowing the corrective actions to remedy problems that arise or make improvements they see for the product.” As the ARBOC buses began operating, Roberts says the DART engineers offered immediate feedback. “We took all their suggestions under advisement,” Roberts says. “If they were reasonable, we would make immediate changes once we were satisfied with our own due diligence.” At the time, DART was implementing a new transit service with new and unfamiliar vehicles with October 1, 2012, as the “cast-in-stone” hard-stop date for the first order. “We had new CNG stations coming on line, a new service to deploy and we had to have these buses built and delivered by this date,” Hubbell says. “Three years in the making, it all happened — on time and under budget. I can say this could never have happened without the collaboration and cooperation from ARBOC.” STANDING THE TEST OF TIME Now that the original buses are running beyond their 200,000mile life cycle, DART repeated the procurement process in February

2015; issuing its RFI, conducting due diligence to fairly analyze and compare OEM candidates. The agency ultimately chose to continue its partnership with ARBOC Specialty Vehicles. “Surprisingly, the results this time around were no different than our original RFI from five years ago,” Hubbell says. “Again, of the three responses, ARBOC was the only one to meet all of our salient requirements.” That said, rather than continue with the standard solicitation, DART simply engaged ARBOC in a sole-source negotiation and in February

DART’s fleet of smaller ARBOC low-floor buses complements its levelcustomer boarding initiative found throughout both the DART light-rail and fixed route bus network.

awarded the contract for 123 buses, with the option for 123 additional units. ARBOC Specialty Vehicles says it will begin delivering buses 3Q 2016 and continue over a five-year period, with the majority being delivered in 2016 and 2017. “As before, our specific requirements for these buses are strictly operational, determined by our multi-modal model for transit delivery,” Hubbell says. “It was not as though we had settled on the ARBOC vehicles. We issued our requirements to learn what was out in the market that might fit.” LESSONS LEARNED Since the first contract, ARBOC and DART collaborated on the optimum seating configuration for the two required wheelchair positions with tie-downs that would allow either passenger to maneuver on the flat floor independently of the other. Other changes have included a higher-density steel frame structure, as well as enhanced ergonomics for the driver. DART initially suggested that the majority of the HVAC systems on ARBOC buses be roof mounted. THE NEW ORDER DART says this new order for ARBOC buses share the same amenities, electronic equipment and components as the standard transit fleet. Such robust options nearly transform the vehicles in to full info-transit buses with the ITS suite, complete with electronic fareboxes, passenger counters, Wi-Fi and GPS. ARBOC is working closely with DART to equip the new units with the necessary pre-wiring for the new components. busride.com | BUSRIDE


ARBOC and DART collaborated on the optimum seating configuration for the new buses.

“This is all about extending the same passenger experience from one service to the next regardless of the vehicle,” Gary Thomas, DART president / executive director says. “We don’t want our riders to feel in any way that our Flex routes and On-Call service are substandard to regular transit. Absolutely, we could do this less expensively, but doing so would send the wrong message to our valued DART passengers. Moreover, we believe in an equal passenger experience for everyone.” A COLLABORATIVE EVOLUTION Both organizations agree that their partnership is one of mutual admiration. DART sees ARBOC Specialty Vehicles as a company that actively engages with the customer and stands behind its products. In turn, ARBOC says DART has helped it build a better bus through the agency’s willingness to test, evaluate and provide feedback. This has led to improvements in product engineering and design. “This give-and-take exchange has helped us recognize we don’t always don’t know everything about our buses before we deliver them to the customer,” Roberts says. “Working with DART, we have a better understanding of how our buses are being used and how they perform in actual service.” “Our customers are commenting on the convenience and comfort, and the fact that the neighborhood-friendly ARBOC buses fit better in their travel environment,” Hubbell says. “That’s what we set out to accomplish. And working with dependable partners, that’s what we’ve been able to do.”


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

DART customers are commenting on the vehicles’ convenience and comfort, and the fact that the neighborhood-friendly ARBOC buses fit better in their travel environment.

ARBOC is working closely with DART to optimize the location of all key electrical components for both the operator and passengers.




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DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS In this issue, BUSRide continues “Enterprise Asset Management” (EAM), an in-depth forum series addressing fleet management, vehicle tracking, fleet monitoring, fleet optimization and in-vehicle diagnostics. Data managers at transit agencies are responsible for more information now than at any other time in the history of transportation. Passenger counts, vehicle locations, fare revenues, peak times and other forms of real-time data can all flow together and become a daunting challenge – but EAM systems are constantly evolving to better organize and utilize this information. This month, we cover data collection and analysis – how agencies can take a “Big Data” approach to fleet management. Marsha Moore, chief technology officer at Trapeze Group, details the latest in data analysis, paying particular attention to the process of turning data into Business Intelligence. Descriptive analysis can help agencies eventually turn to prescriptive analytics – using math to predict future outcomes. Diego Capelluto, director of public transportation for TSO Mobile, explores how GPS tracking coupled with live video monitoring can help agencies better collect and monitor their fleet data. Tracking driver behavior, vehicle performance and vehicle location are all aided by these high-tech solutions.


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016


Data collection and analysis - The journey has just begun By Marsha Moore To enable this solution, agencies must first identify the most significant historical data points from across the enterprise and study them for their business value (Big Data is the whole mine; Tiny Data is where the gold is). This is very much the realm of descriptive analytics: using data aggregation and mining techniques to answer: What has happened before?

Agencies are solving age-old challenges by utilizing complete, integrated data.

The explosion of data available across all enterprise touchpoints means big things for the future of public transit. It used to be that historical reporting was enough. But as the amount of data being captured grows, so does the desire to improve analysis capabilities to better leverage changes in technology. Advanced solutions that can move the agency from a reliance on purely descriptive analysis, through predictive and eventually prescriptive analysis, mean it’s now possible to use the full wealth of enterprise data to ask and answer forward-looking “what if?” type questions in real-time and, eventually, automate intelligent transit systems to implement solutions before problems exist. Unfortunately, in the bottomless sea of rising data, it can be difficult to know what’s actually valuable, or how to turn it into business intelligence (BI) that supports the agency’s business objectives. These challenges are compounded by the complex interplay of data from different systems, including a growing variety of on-board sensors. Getting to the point where we have metrics that reflect BI’s value to the agency’s strategic goals and demonstrating how such solutions can grow with industry and organizational shifts is an essential first step. But moving from descriptive through predictive and prescriptive analytics is complex. To envision the whole of the journey, let’s start by considering where we began. Leaving the station In the transit world, data analysis is traditionally thought of as something available through a set of reports. While these reports are generally suitable for back office trend analysis, front office users that require real-time data are left with a gap as the data was typically 24 to 48 hours old (i.e. you’re “looking in the rearview mirror”). Front line staff need a pervasive solution to visualize the information needed to support time-critical decisions that must be made throughout the course of each day, many of which impact bottom line costs.

On your way Once descriptive analysis is enabled, agencies can start thinking about asking questions of their historical data to help determine how to optimize business today (a.k.a. predictive analytics, or using statistical models and forecasting techniques to understand the future and answer: What could happen?). But, in order to answer these questions, data must first be migrated from multiple source systems and combined in a central warehouse designed to store the information for 10 or more years and still be flexible and fast enough to provide real-time answers to queries. The first logical step is to use this data to trace where problems exist by analyzing both historical and real-time data across the enterprise, thus enabling the agency to be proactive in identifying and correcting problems in real-time. The journey continues As the ability to leverage real-time and events-driven data (think: alerts) continues to improve, agencies cross into the realm of prescriptive analytics, which use optimization and simulation algorithms to advise on possible outcomes and answer: What should we do? By integrating with statistical modeling platforms such as SAS and R and creating simple tools to access and visualize data, the agency will empower users across the enterprise to become proactive in solving problems and remain continuously focused on finding better ways to operate the business. Moving ahead Soon, connected, integrated data from across the transit enterprise will help solve old challenges, while creating new opportunities to use business intelligence to inform decision-making and measure the impacts of those decisions. That’s where our journey of discovery through descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics will lead the public transit industry. Trapeze Group’s goal in all of this is to deliver the industry’s most advanced and scalable data collection and analysis systems and ensure that we have the right solution for your agency, wherever you are in your journey. Marsha Moore is chief technology officer at Trapeze Group. Moore has more than 30 years of IT experience and has remained a forerunner in software development, specifically in passenger transportation. She has held executive leadership roles where she drove innovation as well as developed and designed tools that increased productivity. Visit www.trapezegroup.com.

busride.com | BUSRIDE


Assess transit inefficiencies with GPS tracking and live video monitoring By Diego Capelluto

With many different forms of public transportation, buses play a significant role in carrying a large percentage of our public population on a daily basis. In an effort to ensure efficiency and productivity, data collection is an essential tool for entities to learn and utilize information gained from data collection metrics. Live GPS Vehicle Tracking with Video Verification has a multitude of benefits, one of which enables us to thoroughly observe buses, drivers and their routes. Monitoring drivers establishes accountability of good behavior while the enforcement of procedures leads to happy passengers and increased ridership. Every entity is different, which is why it is important to assess all aspects of the system to find the right fitting platform and management solutions for each. Working together, video surveillance systems and logistics solutions installed in buses can assist management in improving the performance of a bus ride. Individual modules to surveil can include, but are not limited to, vehicle speed, tracking of current and past locations, accelerations and brake use. Cameras and sensors have the ability to confirm that rules are being followed, creating safety for both passengers and drivers, helping to understand behaviors, measure practices and verify the data being recorded, all in real time. Video camera systems capture information from various intelligence resources and they can be referenced in real time with real people. The systems are constantly being updated to reflect the latest technology and conditions. By surveying bus interactions as they happen, managers are able to verify that all rules are being enforced, whether this is in the case of driver activity on the road or passenger actions on board. With the ability to install cameras both inside and outside of the bus, an all-encompassing visual of the ride is put together and transmitted to surveyors. Measuring driving practices is easy with the use of these systems and implementing solutions based on the results is even simpler. By using video surveillance to watch drivers, behaviors are recorded in real time, offering the chance to find and correct mistakes that may be disrupting the overall service. By tracking behavior behind the wheel at any given time, overseers are able to assess any distractions, reactions and reasons for actions throughout any given ride, allowing them to thoroughly understand the situation. While the use of video camera surveillance and logistics systems allow companies to see and react immediately to events and make 16

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

decisions to utilize the most efficient use of time and money, they can also be used at later times for video analytics. It has been extremely helpful to save recorded materials and develop records to be accessed at later dates, if needed. With the task of transporting millions of people to and from their destinations each year, it is unquestionable that reliability will remain an essential element to be addressed when making smart transportation decisions. GPS tracking with Live Video Verification is a great tool for buses and those who ride them.

Live GPS vehicle tracking with video monitoring yields a multitude of benefits for transit agencies.

Diego Capelluto serves as director of public transportation for TSO Mobile, an innovative leader in mobile resource management and logistics products and services, providing “all-under-one-roof GPS Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management solutions� to all transportation entities. For more information, please visit www.TSOMobile.com.




Hendrickson Suspension: Transit’s weight loss challenge By Gerry Remus Of the many obstacles bus operators face today, maintaining or lowering the bus curb weight while complying with regulatory mandates, emission standards and evolving passenger needs is a key challenge facing our market today. The modern transit bus has come a long way over the years with many positive changes to passenger comfort and accessibility, alternative fuel usage, and adoption of technology that improves bus safety and security. While these changes are positive overall, they often times mean incremental weight to the bus. One example relates to alternative fuels, which can add up to over 2,000 pounds of weight to a typical transit bus. The mission to counter these additions and lower overall vehicle weight is of paramount importance. The industry has a few options to address the problem. • Change the rules to allow buses to run heavier and accept the consequences that this will ultimately impact the infrastructure. • Encourage OEMs to add additional axles to spread out the heavier loads, at additional cost and manufacturing complexity. • Engage in “lightweighting.” The most sure-fire way to cut out the weight is through improved specifications, seeking out lighter weight materials or developing efficient designs in a process known as lightweighting. As new materials and manufacturing methods progress, it’s becoming easier and more cost effective for manufacturers to achieve a lighter weight chassis and body components. Buses are getting heavier and, as a key industry supplier partner for the bus market, Hendrickson places heavy emphasis on lowering gross vehicle weights while optimizing for performance and long life. For transit buses, this aids in offsetting the mounting increase in weight of additional systems and componentry. Hendrickson’s approach to lightweighting is three-fold. The first approach is design efficiency. Hendrickson starts with a true understanding of the application and what the suspension or axle must withstand to meet the customers performance & durability requirements when in real world operation. With this knowledge, non-essential weight can be eliminated and the components can be designed to meet the application needs. Hendrickson utilizes advanced methods of design, analysis and testing to drive out weight while delivering best-in-class reliability and achieving the benchmark for performance. Second, integration of components to create systems is used to reduce weight as well as cost; essentially combining two or more components into one to arrive at efficiencies. One example of how Hendrickson is approaching component integration for buses involves the next generation of steer axle and braking systems. Air-disc brakes have become very common in many bus applications. The axle installation of an air-disc brake requires a torque plate to attach the brake to the axle; this is a wasteful component that adds cost and complexity to the system. Hendrickson has pioneered a way to integrate the torque plate into the axle structure, reducing weight and simplifying assembly by

An example of a transit bus suspension component under analysis. Hendrickson utilizes advanced software & proprietary analysis techniques to design lightweight part while ensuring maximum reliability and performance.

reducing the part count. Having one supplier deliver a system also benefits the OEM and end user in the area of parts and service support; one point of contact for a particular system. Third, Hendrickson has broad expertise in the use of lightweight materials. Hendrickson has a number of options to balance cost and weight through the use of different materials for each product need. Robotically welded, steel fabrications are a core competency at Hendrickson that result in a very positive cost to weight ratio. In addition, aluminum castings are a great option for applications where weight is paramount. Composite materials have emerged over the past several years for the heavy duty segment and the future looks promising as this lightweight technology is proven on the road. Having the ability to draw from a multitude of material options allows Hendrickson to meet customer objectives. Looking ahead, the pressure to add weight to transit buses will not subside and changes will be made that affect the future transit bus. While a number of strategies need to be employed to tackle this issue, Hendrickson stands ready to deliver lightweight, reliable suspension & axle solutions that improve driver handling, passenger comfort and overall equipment protection. Gerry Remus serves as business unit director – Global Bus for Hendrickson Commercial Vehicle Systems, Woodridge, IL. Visit Hendrickson online at www.hendrickson-bus.com.

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Collins customizes the Ford Transit By Matt Scheuler

The Collins Ford Transit is available in multiple floor lengths, yet a body length different unlike other Ford Transit upfits.

Paramount to a paradigm shift, Collins Bus Corporation, a subsidiary of REV Group, Orlando, FL, known for small and midsize school and student activity buses, is introducing its first commercial vehicle this month — inspired by the new Collins school bus and built on the Ford Transit chassis. While the Collins Ford Transit models differs significantly from its peers which are also built predominately for accessibility, its standard door openings, as well as wheelchair accessibility and securements, meet all ADA requirements for all OEMs. In terms of standard accessibility, the Collins Ford Transit comes with an electric door with optional manual door control at the entry, an ADA-compliant rear entrance sized for a standard lift — customer’s choice of Ricon or Braun ADA high-opening; extra wide for standard lift; as well as standard wheelchair restraints. The Collins Ford Transit is available in multiple floor lengths, yet a body length different unlike other Ford Transit upfits. This model seats 18 passengers with an optional feature for rear storage. The narrower, longer body length features five window sections plus and additional inches to accommodate a few more passengers or a proprietary collapsible storage space. As Collins bus has traditionally been a school bus builder, this new product brings Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding for paratransit opportunities to the company, and gets Collins into shuttle bus markets, as well as other conventional avenues for small and midsize commercial buses, which Collin has never participated in until now. Collins custom tailored the overall height of the Ford Transit to accommodate the larger, taller door opening integrated into the 18

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

Collins body, and presents a smooth sidewall. However, in spite of its differences from other Collins products, the Collins commercial bus is assembled on the same production line as every other product, with many standard features consistent with any other Collins vehicle. The body also features an optional extra external storage bay for tools and safety equipment, and is one of the only small buses in a commercial market to offer this feature. Beginning in 2014, Collins invested two years to develop and produce the Ford Transit concept and design for both school bus and commercial applications. In the meantime, REV acquired THOR Industries, which includes sundry small and midsize buses in its portfolio. At that time, REV saw little need to develop another, leaving Collins to continue its focus on school buses — until the appearance of the Ford Transit chassis. As Collins was already in on the ground floor, REV charged Collins to proceed with the concept for commercial markets. Drivers of the Collins Ford Transit School Bus are saying this is clearly the bus they want to drive. They attribute this to the unparalleled windshield visibility, and the fact that the Ford Transit handles more like a conventional SUV than its competitive cutaway vehicles. Drivers will no doubt have similar responses for the Collins Commercial Ford Transit. Matt Scheuler is general manager / vice president of Collins Bus Corporation, a division of REV Group. REV is a privately-owned corporation dedicated to serving fire & emergency, commercial and recreation specialty vehicle markets worldwide. Visit www.collinsbuscorp.com and www.revgroup.com.


{ A New Look @ Transit Tech } AUTOMATIC VOICE ANNUNCIATION – THE FUTURE MADE SIMPLE BUSRide spoke with Brandon Curtis, executive managing director at Aesys, about the benefits of Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA). How does AVA benefit passengers and drivers? Brandon Curtis: AVA automates on-board passenger announcements, which not only keeps passengers up to date automatically, but also helps create buses with enhanced accessibility for low-vision and hearing-impaired passengers through audible announcements and text on the OBNSS (On board next stop sign). Automated voice announcements alerting passengers to upcoming stops are coordinated with LED signage on board the bus to help all riders travel with increased convenience and independence. The system is fully automated, freeing bus operators to concentrate on driving and the other myriad tasks requiring their attention.

What about the early days – before onboard GPS? Curtis: Prior to onboard GPS location systems, vehicle location was very different than it is now. In Seattle in the late 1980’s, for example, sign-post technology was used. Approximately 200 locations were designated relative to the number of routes that passed the proposed sites as well the frequency and quantity of vehicles. Each site had one transmitter and a corresponding identification number; the ID number is all that was transmitted. Each bus was equipped with a receiver. The agency would then drive the routes again and again, measuring odometer pulses to establish the number of odometer pulses for each route. As the bus got closer to the sign-post transmitter, it would use RSSI, (receiver signal strength) to determine the point at which the bus was likely closest to the sign-post transmitter. When the bus pulled away from the transmitter or site, an onboard computer would readjust the odometer pulses for the next known sign-post transmitter on the route. In the mid-to-late 1990s, AVA was first introduced. For the benefit of low-vision passengers, drivers are required to announce each bus stop manually. After it was clear that bus drivers couldn’t be effectively mandated to do this, the idea of AVA began to gestate. At that time, it was becoming feasible to use GPS. Technology had advanced, and there were more satellites in the sky than ever before.

How does AVA work in a digital world? Curtis: Onboard computers are either equipped with built-in GPS units or they draw GPS coordinates from an external source. In a typical “smart bus” scenario, route information is loaded into the bus’s computer. The smart bus is typically loaded with the route information for all routes in the system. Keep in mind that the smart bus is a vehicle that can operate without communicating to a central system. The vehicle “knows” the route it’s supposed to run, and it knows when it has entered a given zone of geographic

coordinates that will trigger an automated announcement and/or a text message on the OBNSS.

Is the advancement of GPS technology making AVA better and/or more affordable for transit agencies? Curtis: To a large degree, GPS has been touted as a sort of “black magic” by providers – but the wizard behind the curtain has been revealed by technology like the iPhone, where users can enter an address and quickly triangulate it with their own geographic coordinates. It’s just not that hard anymore to be accurate with GPS. Why should I be able to do that at a low cost with a smart phone or TomTom, while the same task with a bus costs agencies and taxpayers many thousands of dollars per vehicle? Many technologies are reaching a breaking point, beyond the legacy systems that have traditionally occupied this space. Where these technologies were once complex, they’re now incredibly userfriendly. Providers are challenged to justify high costs while also making their products more usable.

What is being done to reduce costs? Curtis: We’re working on releasing a fully-automated stop announcement system that will cost around $2,000 per bus. It uses text-to-speech, which is a technology that’s become highly advanced in recent years. The programming software has become very easy-to-use. Furthermore, by using text-to-speech the cost of the audio is much lower, the relevant data maintenance much easier and the file that has to be uploaded to the bus is considerably smaller. This, coupled with Wi-Fi, makes the data nimbler and gives transit agencies more freedom to adapt and tailor the AVA to their needs and potential wants. Most AVA tools being circulated around the transit industry are very complicated; especially if an agency wants to use it for anything but stop announcements. We’re hoping to change that. The programming software package is very simple, to the point where it will allow agencies to program any geo-code they want, whenever they want for whatever they want. This will simplify stop announcements and also allow for new ideas. For example, agencies can use the AVA system as a tool to advertise local businesses close to a given bus stop, or tie any message to any GPS trigger as well as meet the requirements for the ADA community. This is the kind of idea that can help agencies fund themselves and make their systems easier to use, while opening up potential funding sources to benefit the taxpayers who pay to use that agency’s services every day. It doesn’t get more simple than that.

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Environmental benefits of CNG By George Kalet

Compressed natural gas (CNG) is often called the cleanest burning natural source of fossil fuel propulsion; much more environmentally friendly than conventional gasoline and diesel fuels. The combustion of natural gas produces negligible amounts of sulfur, mercury and particulates. This mostly has to do with its chemical composition. The process of cleaner burning fuels involves the elimination of carbon molecules that are the root cause of contamination to the environment. The evolution of combustible fuels has moved from coal, which is essentially 100-percent carbon, to liquid petroleum that combines carbon and hydrogen, and then methane, which is comprised of one carbon molecule and four hydrogen molecules, and considered a greenhouse because of its lone carbon molecule. Burning natural gas does produce nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are precursors to smog, but at lower levels than gasoline and diesel used for motor vehicles. The one downside: methane burns at approximately twice the combustion temperatures of liquid petroleum fuels; close to 1,100 F

compared to 500-600 F. In terms of efficiency, the degree of power generated from the same amount of fuel is an energy to power ratio. Look at the two side by side, for the same amount of energy produced, and you’ll find that methane burns off more oxides of nitrogen at these temperatures, but not for as long a time. Natural gas has often, and perhaps unjustly, received a bad reputation, but only because of its being burned in an engine designed for gasoline or diesel combustion. CNG burns at a lower compression ratio, and responds much more efficiently in engines engineered specifically to burn CNG. Compared with conventional diesel and gasoline powered vehicles, natural gas produces lower emission levels; and because CNG fuel systems are completely sealed, they do not produce any evaporative emissions. Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of processed and used CNG goes toward automotive transportation fuel. In the event of a leak or emergency venting, because it is lighter than air, CNG dissipates much more rapidly into the atmosphere. Methane burns within a very narrow fuel-to-air ratio, between 5 and 15 percent in air, meaning it takes in less air to realize the same degree of combustion. Released and mixed into the air, CNG becomes flammable only when the mixture is within 5 to 15 percent natural gas. At less than 5 percent natural gas, the mixture doesn’t burn; and at more than 15 percent natural gas, there is not enough oxygen to allow the mixture to burn. Methane is a cleaner, environmentally friendlier fuel than propane, which is a heavier-than-air gas that runs to the lowest point and typically pools on the ground. In terms of efforts to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards, environmental protective appliances fitted on CNG-powered vehicles are less expensive than the emission systems and filters on fossil fuel engines. As the EPA continues to drill down on the emissions performances of various fuels, the requirements for efficient emissions control on gasoline and diesel engines have driven up the costs — but are not required for today’s natural gas engines, which already surpass the 2020 EPA emissions standards. See the August /September issue of BUSRide for the next chapter in this series, detailing CNG conversions – installation, maintenance and training best practices! George Kalet is CNG applications and key account manager for Atlas Copco, Gas and Process Group. Atlas Copco develops innovative sustainable solutions that create value for its customers in more than 180 countries. The company’s expertise is in compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Visit www.atlascopcogroup.com for more information.

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Report presented by The Pacific Western Group of Companies

Are we ready for the Rise of the Robots?

By Stephen Evans Chairman, Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC)

The Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) is an affiliate in the American Bus Association (ABA) group of councils created to elevate the level of safety in the intercity bus and motorcoach industry through the collaborative efforts of all professionals committed to the highest standards of action and conduct in all operations. Stephen Evans serves as vice president of safety, Pacific Western Group of Companies, Calgary, AB, Canada. As presenting sponsor of the BISC report, Pacific Western operates more than 3,000 buses in motorcoach, transit, and school bus operations throughout Canada, for which safety is first on the list of core values that define every action and decision in support of its 4,100 employees and customers, and ensures at the end of the day everyone always returns Safely Home.


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

When I was a kid, emerging technologies were just the stuff of Sci-Fi movies. Robby the Robot ruled Forbidden Planet and later on the TV series Lost in Space. Such futuristic thinking back then, is merely the normal of today. The World Economic Forum suggested the recent barrage of emerging technologies is ushering in The Fourth Industrial Revolution — what could be called The Rise of the Robots! We’ve come a long way since my days spent watching classic movies. Now my smartphone can seemingly do almost anything except Star Trek-level teleportation. Consider this: the shear amount of raw data created from the dawn of civilization up to 2003 is now being generated every two days. Yikes! So what has changed since Robby ruled? Advances in three general areas have made all this possible: Sensors & Actuators; Connectivity; and Cloud Computing — world game changers to be sure, that have led us step by step into the Internet of Things (IoT). This network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense, collect, communicate, transfer and interact inside themselves or with an external environment now includes things like light bulbs, appliances, thermostats, and of course our vehicles. What does all this mean for the bus and coach industry? Clearly, today’s available technology is allowing us to finally address the outstanding public agenda issues surrounding traffic congestion, pollution and accidents. Big Data streaming from an ever-widening array of sensors is being used for predictive analysis, as well as achieving safer, more efficient fleet management. Meanwhile, testing on platooning trucks and autonomous driverless cars is moving forward, and will forever change how people view transportation — and will turn the role of buses completely upside down. The bus industry will soon have to realize passenger transportation will be more on-demand, have less to do with schedules and will use mobile applications that gather data and then shop to meet passengers’ needs. This technology will drive the choice of services and how they are purchased. The motorcoach and bus drivers of the future will probably no longer “operate” their vehicle, rather, they will monitor and manage a variety of advanced autonomous driver assistance systems; and only rarely jump in to respond to special situations. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Face it, the bus industry is not science fiction. It is where the rubber meets the road. Our business is done face to face, and we keep the wheels turning by talking to people; not so much by e-mails, texts, or Facebook. For an industry so steeped in family values and personal relationships, embracing a new way of interacting electronically with one another is going to be a struggle, and for many, it will probably only get worse. That said, according to Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture, one of the world’s largest management consulting firms, digital technology (or the lack thereof) is the primary reason why slightly over half of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since the year 2000.

Perhaps we need to heed Robby the Robot’s iconic warning: Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! is for sure if bus and coach operators fail to keep pace and make use of emerging technologies, and at the very least, stay on top of the four elements of the acronym SMAC - Social Media, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. Companies that, for whatever reason, do not adapt and embrace this new way of doing business will be left behind, and far faster than they might think. Can we find a way to preserve the past and embrace the future? Is there a balance out there that will allow us relationships with people while we work with robots? I hope so.



By Doug Oswald Why are there so many different seating designs on the market today – with such drastically different levels of comfort? Most transportation seating solutions are designed for unique purposes. But even within the same application, why does Company A’s seat “sit” differently than American Seating’s flagship product, InSight, Company B’s seat? was conceived, engineered, tested and tooled by The root reason is American Seating to meet the needs of the North that all ergonomic American heavy-duty transit market. design begins as an “art form.” But the designers of the art form must take into consideration the application, dimensional, structural and production design criteria that uniquely shape the seat. At the same time, the designer has to create an ergonomic contour that will fit the widest range of all sizes of people. Since each transit seat is generally a common size, the ergonomic guidelines are to meet the needs of 5th to 95th percentile users. All ergonomic design starts as an art form and takes shape through the application of the design criteria, but most of the science occurs in the evaluation of comfort. The following explains the science of ergonomic seating design. Materials and processes The application of new technology in materials and processes has always provided a significant impact on the history of product and seating innovation. The key in maintaining an ergonomic design is not to allow the production technology to overshadow the ability to achieve a comfortable seat. Too much focus on materials and processes that limit the three-dimensional contours of the Ergonomically Correct, seat is a recipe for a lack of comfort. InSight Contour Figure 1 shows two drastically different Limited Contour, centerline seat profiles designed for Production Focused the same purpose and meeting the Bus Seat same design criteria. Dimensional and structural requirements All bus seats are required to meet certain dimensional and structural Figure 1 requirements, which impact the design of the seat. APTA guidelines specify certain dimensional standards in order to maintain seat sizes, angles and thicknesses, and each seat on the market generally complies. In addition, structural testing is done with static loading or dynamic force in order to prove structural properties for general durability and crash protection. While dimensional and structural requirements keep the seat design within

some specific parameters, there are no specific ergonomic criteria that define the shape or comfort of the seat. InSight’s slim profile People size and seat contour creates The North American more space for enhanced population has been getting ingress and egress and superior comfort. larger for decades. Providing a seat frame and back with a slim profile and using Largest personal curvature to enhance hipsitting area Maximum to-knee room are key to aisle space * providing optimal comfort on a bus. Maximizing seat width is also critical to both comfort and personal space. Interior bus width and aisle space are set dimensions. Most seating manufacturers * Maintaining White Book aisle space provide one size seat for Figure 2 all applications, but one company offers two seat-width options: a straight-sided 17-inch-wide seat and an 18-inch-wide seat with a tapered upper section (see Figure 2). This feature allows for maximum comfort while meeting industry dimensional standards.

Art ➤ Science Although all ergonomic design begins as an art form, there is plenty of science that goes into a seat design. Once a look is established, understanding the physiology of comfort, and the science of how to create a comfortable seat, is critical. This is not to be trusted to designs from other continents, as body dimensions and comfort perceptions of the North American population are different than those of other countries. Utilizing a panel of people to evaluate how various body types interface with seating contours is part of solving the equation in ergonomic design development. This process is essentially trial and error until the optimal form is achieved. InSight Seat Another Bus Seat In addition to the seat Figure 3 contour, the pitch and back angle of the seat play critical roles in comfort as well as retention in a moving vehicle. Digital pressure mapping is the latest technology to evaluate the comfort of a seat. While sitting upright on a flat surface, 75 percent of a person’s total body weight rests on two concentrated areas – technically referred to as “ischial tuberosities,” and known to most of us as the “sit bones.” In the Figure 3 images, cooler colors represent less pressure (absence of discomfort) while warmer colors represent more pressure (discomfort). This technology is commonly used by those specializing in the science of seating, but there is a simple way a transit authority also can evaluate comfort scientifically. It is highly recommended that seating decision-makers establish a user panel and perform a survey to evaluate comfort of various seating samples. Doug Oswald serves as the director of marketing for American Seating’s Transportation Division and has over two decades’ experience in seating product development. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, American Seating employs a U.S.-based workforce and takes pride in sourcing locally. American Seating has been listening to, designing for and investing in public transportation and related industries for 85 years. Flagship products InSight, Vision® and Metropolitan® were conceived, engineered, tested and tooled by American Seating to meet the needs of the North American heavy-duty transit market. Visit www.americanseating.com for additional information.

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BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

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Customer care and passenger safety By Todd Carrier The public transportation industry carries the most valuable cargo — people. Customer service and unwavering commitment to safety gives your company an edge over the competition. In today’s world, it seems threats are numerous. There are the news reports on shootings, violence on the bus and horrific accidents on the road. At a very basic level, there are three key components of customer care and passenger safety: preparation, practice and passenger control. Your obligation to the motoring public and the safety of your passengers starts with good customer service. Never underestimate the importance of (or the time involved with) preparation, no matter how long you’ve been doing the job. Prior to each trip, ensure the driver has met all regulatory and company policies and procedures, including pre-trip inspections, mirror adjustments, route planning and being well rested. Ensure they will be flexible and sensitive to the needs of your passengers and communicate regularly; if passengers are not updated on all facets of the trip, they may become nervous. It is also important to outline the safety features of the vehicle and expectations of passengers. Passengers should be reminded to stay seated, use seat belts and handrails, know the location of fire extinguishers, and follow evacuation procedures. This not only shows good customer service, but also demonstrates the driver is attentive and in control. As in athletics, practice makes perfect. A driver will not be able to perform under duress unless the agency has made emergency procedures routine. Hands-on training is often the most effective, but practice begins with the drivers’ own personal habits. For example, there is no message more damaging to passengers than not wearing the seat belt or passing vehicles to make up lost time. Drivers should practice how to deal with distractions or unplanned events. If people are talking excessively to the driver, they should politely inform them that safety is the first priority and they must concentrate on driving. If they experience an emergency, regardless of how minor it might be, their job is to control the scene. They should be prepared and trained to proceed to the nearest roadway exit, side-street or parking lot to minimize exposure to traffic. In most situations, it is usually safest to keep everyone in the vehicle unless the danger is inside the bus. Calling dispatch first in a true emergency will delay response time and prove to be poor judgment in subsequent investigations. Passenger control techniques are the most underutilized and misunderstood topic in the industry. Often, the company and drivers blur the line between customer satisfaction and safety. We do not place enough emphasis on how to handle threats from non-passengers such as the general public, terrorism, active shooters, student violence and even angry parents. “Most drivers and companies alike recognize there is a distinct possibility, but they don’t know what to do or where to start in regards to that possibility,” says Jesus Villahermosa of Crisis Reality Training, Inc. “I tell them to expect the unexpected and to remember that when someone has been interviewed from an incident after it occurred;

“As in athletics, practice makes perfect.” almost all of them have made a statement to the effect of, ‘We never thought it would happen here!’” Villahermosa suggests companies train drivers on crisis management by focusing on the acronym I-A-M: identify, assess and manage. Identifying a threat begins by being aware of your surroundings and learning to recognize body language indicators, which can be precursors to violence. “If you think and feel something bad is about to happen then you need to start trusting that instinct and take some action that will eliminate or mitigate whatever you perceived the threat to be,” Villahermosa says. Reasonable responses include locking down your bus, driving away or making an emergency stop and allowing passengers to exit the bus to get away from the internal threat. Villahermosa recommends training drivers on reasonable and necessary defensible use of force and de-escalation techniques. “We are teaching drivers to learn verbal response techniques that could de-escalate that incident without it ever getting physical,” he says. “Everyone has a legal right to defend themselves, so we also discuss what your options and legal obligations are if it does get physical.” Managing a situation requires training the driver on options and, most importantly, making a decision. In stressful situations, it’s human nature to choose fight or flight. Unfortunately there’s a third reaction — freeze. Companies and drivers must realize that the worst decision is no action and inadequate training can expose the risk of vicarious liability. Although no one likes to talk about the possibility of these types of incidents occurring, these are the very questions where drivers are looking for reality-based answers. Todd Carrier serves as assistant vice president of risk management for Protective Insurance Company, Carmel, IN. Jesus Villahermosa, Jr. is the president of Crisis Reality Training, Inc., a firm that specializes in assessment, policy, procedure and protocol development for crisis situations. He has partnered with Protective to develop reality-based tools and training for the public transportation industry. To learn more, please visit www.crisisrealitytraining.com.

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Hybrid DVRs: Preserving your security investment By Lori Jetha

Keeping up with the latest technology is hard. New mobile security products are being developed every year with more bells and whistles. It seems the only constant is change. So how does a transit agency ensure that their mobile surveillance system is up to date while keeping budgets in check? One costeffective solution is to consider a hybrid digital video recorder (DVR). What is a hybrid DVR? Similar to a hybrid vehicle that uses two forms of energy (gasoline and electric), a hybrid DVR can record video and data from two types of video security cameras – traditional analog and digital highdefinition (HD) or ‘IP’ cameras. Traditional analog cameras are most common in mobile surveillance and still made up almost 95 percent of new camera sales in 2015 (Source: IHS Group). Hybrid DVRs give you the flexibility to add new high-definition cameras where it makes sense while preserving your initial analog camera investment. An example of a hybrid DVR is Seon’s new Explorer model HX16, a 16-channel DVR designed for mobile applications. HX16 DVRs support connection of up to 12 analog cameras and up to four HD (IP) cameras. A brief history So what is the difference between traditional analog and IP cameras? Analog cameras go way back to the days of VHS tape recorders, when operators were required to search through hours of video evidence to find videos of interest. But analog cameras continued in popularity even after the introduction of digital video recorders in the late 1990’s. Even with the adoption of DVR technology, high-definition, ‘IP’ cameras really have only emerged in the mobile surveillance market in the last three years. One of the reasons for this is due to gradual improvements in analog camera technology in terms of camera size, lens options, reliability, digital signal processing and more lines of resolution. According to the 2015 IHS Report on Mobile Surveillance, in some cases there is an overlap in resolution and image quality of high-end analog cameras and low-end IP cameras. Another reason for the continued popularity of analog cameras is video storage and retention. Although high-definition cameras can produce an image three-to-six times the resolution of an analog camera, they also consume three times more storage space, thereby reducing the number of days of video you can store on the hard drive before being overwritten. What are the benefits of a hybrid? Beyond the simple connection of two camera technologies, hybrid 26

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

DVRs have a number of advantages for transit agencies looking to upgrade their security systems. The obvious benefit is cost. Replacing an entire surveillance system with a DVR, up to 16 cameras, wireless technology, playback and video management software can be expensive. Hybrid DVRs allow you to improve your return on investment and extend the useful life of your analog cameras and software. You can focus your budget dollars on adding more cameras to provide more coverage in and around the bus, rather than replacing existing cameras. Being able to continue to record video and audio from analog cameras also reduces the DVR storage requirements, allowing you to store more hours of video on the DVR hard drive before needing to download. Once you’ve installed a hybrid DVR you can gradually introduce high-definition cameras in specific areas of the bus where a higher resolution image is required for incident review, such as the farebox,

3 reasons to go hybrid 1. Phase in newer technology 2. Extend life of existing cameras 3. Improve ROI windshield, or exterior of the bus. You have a wider range of camera selections to choose from to suit your application. You will have a higher quality picture and the ability to zoom-in on images to create better video evidence essential in license plate capture. When does a hybrid DVR make sense? The main reason for purchasing a hybrid DVR is to introduce new high-definition camera technology to your fleet while preserving your existing investment in analog cameras. It makes sense for any size fleet with a large investment in analog camera infrastructure and resource constraints. Hybrid DVRs are a great way to introduce stateof-the-art technology into your surveillance system without breaking the bank. Lori Jetha serves as marketing manager for Seon, a video surveillance and fleet management company based on Coquitlam, BC, Canada. Visit www.seon.com.


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FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION Security and fare evasion “Focus On: Fare Collection” highlights the benefits of various modes of fare collection, as well as addressing the best practices associated with each. This month’s featured installment is centered on preventing fare evasion, an essential element of any modern fare system. Fare evasion and walk-away money are some of the biggest sources of financial loss for transit agencies, so it’s important that operators know how to best protect their revenue. For this installment, BUSRide called for contributions from revenue management experts Trapeze Group and Genfare. Trapeze Group is a provider of solutions to the public passenger transportation industry, creating, delivering and supporting software


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

solutions and services that make it easier for transportation agencies to manage their complex, day-to-day business operations. This month, Floyd Diaz of Trapeze Group shares five security benefits of smart cards vs. magnetic-stripe technology Genfare builds from roots that date back to 1880 and the invention of the fi rst farebox by Johnson Farebox Company, which acquired Cleveland Farebox in 1938. In this chapter, Christina Belmont explores how agencies lose the most fare revenue, and the best practices they can implement to fight lost money. Thank you for joining BUSRide as we continue to “Focus On: Fare Collection!”



How do agencies lose the most fare revenue? By Christina Belmont Fare revenue can be lost in various ways, and we believe those losses fall into three main buckets — electronic, physical and procedural. When talking about an electronic-related loss, we are referring to credit card issues, fraudulent payments, etc. By physical loss, we’re talking about cash — bills and coins. An agency’s electronic and physical fares need to be protected, but in vastly different ways. For example, Genfare’s validating fareboxes: Fast Fare, Odyssey and Odyssey Plus validate U.S. coins and currency. If an invalid coin (slug, Chuck E. Cheese token, foreign currency, etc.) is inserted into the coin validator, it will be immediately rejected back to the rider. The farebox will emit an audio response “coin not valid” notifying both the operator and the rider that invalid currency was inserted into the farebox. By validating incoming currency at the farebox, a transit agency has the advantage of intercepting invalid currency and collecting the correct fare with each rider. As many agencies have learned the hard way, it is a gap in your procedures that can cause a loss in fare revenue. It’s imperative for an agency to know who is collecting money, and it’s as equally important to reconcile consistently and frequently with reporting. This will help the agency identify any inconsistencies or adverse trends. What new technological innovations can protect against lost revenue for transit agencies? There have been innovations across the board with hardware, software and media advancements. Hardware has advanced with fareboxes becoming more sophisticated, along with the accompanying vaulting procedures. Software now captures the entire rider experience—from the moment someone boards and pays their fare and the equipment records their passenger data. From an industry perspective, there have been several advances in fare media. For instance, one technological innovation that has helped protect against lost revenue is the smart card. Cashless transactions benefit transportation agencies, as the security risk to drivers and other cash handling employees is significantly reduced. Another benefit is their enhanced security characteristics—smart cards reduce the potential for abuse, fraud, counterfeit and fare evasion. All of these benefits contribute to protecting an agency against lost revenue. In conjunction with the

advancement of smart cards, the ability to accept mobile payment also shares many of the same benefits while also contributing to the continuous improvement of the fare collection system. What’s the biggest potential for fare and revenue fraud in a transit agency, and how best can agencies protect against it? Overall, it’s the lack of processes and procedures that can safeguard transit agencies against manipulation and human error. It’s necessary for each agency to reduce the number of chances that allow the creation of an opportunity for loss within the revenue system. Knowing that this is a huge challenge, understanding what is at the core of the problem is what will make the biggest difference. Ensuring compliance is by no means an easy task, but it must be a large component of a comprehensive set of processes and procedures designed to safeguard against risk, which will foster and build a culture of fare compliance. Once these pieces are in place, it is now easier to do what is right rather than doing wrong. With that said, the majority of our transit customers have chosen to deploy surveillance systems on the buses and the fueling island. These surveillance systems provide that extra layer of peripheral security to inhibit fraudulent activity. What else should agencies know? Being familiar with PCI standards is incredibly important. The credit payment landscape is constantly evolving, and PCI standards remain complex and often misunderstood by many transit agencies. Confusion ranges from exactly what PCI is, to misperceptions regarding to whom the standards apply, who is responsible for attaining and maintaining PCI compliance and certification and (equally or more important), who is liable for failures. It is crucial to have a full understanding your agency’s roles and liabilities, which will help prevent revenue loss. If it had to boil down to one thing, we’d say that not having a fare collection system in place is the biggest risk of losing revenue. Genfare has more than 35 years of experience, and we want our customers to benefit from and build off of that expertise. Genfare’s domain is issuing tickets, managing them and collecting costs and revenues, and the heart of our solutions are that they are secure and accurate. We have found that when a client implements a fare collection system for the first time, their revenue increases immediately. Christina Belmont serves as marketing manager for Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook and visit the Genfare website at www.genfare.com.

Security of physical fares, as well as electronic fares, is of paramount concern – so fareboxes like the Odyssey by Genfare will immediately reject invalid coins and bills.

busride.com | BUSRIDE



5 benefits of contactless smart cards over magnetics By Floyd Diaz For the purposes of fare payment in public transit, contactless smartcards are a clearly superior technology to magnetic stripe cards. As far back as 2008, the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA), via the Transit Cooperative Research Program, had identified the advantages of contactless systems over all other forms of payment, with smart cards out-performing magnetics in terms of reliability, convenience, security, speed of use, fraud risk management and lowering operating costs. Don’t let the sluggish adoption of smart card technologies in North America fool you. That reticence is based more on an attempt to leverage legacy investments than any objective analysis of the merits of contactless systems. Contactless smart cards will become the standard because they are simply a better option for passengers and agencies alike – especially as transit agencies adopt account-based payment systems. Here are five clear benefits of contactless smart cards over magnetics in a modern transit agency environment. 1. Smart cards are more secure. Compared to magnetics, smart cards offer more storage and secure reading and writing of data thanks to a number of encryption algorithms and electronic keys. In transit, there are numerous examples of fraud with magnetic cards based on the poor security of the technology. Contactless smart card technology has been deployed at some of the largest transit agencies internationally and in the U.S. with virtually no cases of fraud based on the technology. There are also inherent behavioral safeguards to contactless systems, as the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston pointed out in an Emerging Payment Industry Briefing, “Active participation of the cardholder is required to perform a transaction. The payment device never leaves the consumer’s hand; and the distance factor of 4 inches between the reader and the RFID chip makes unauthorized scanning for customer data more difficult.” Contactless smart cards, which feature on-board microprocessors, are difficult to hack, replicate or counterfeit. By comparison, replicating a magnetic stripe card is easy and inexpensive. So, an investment in a contactless smart card system is also an investment in fraud prevention that will yield immediately measurable ROI. 2. Smart cards are more reliable and reduce maintenance costs. Those preoccupied with the expense of transitioning from magnetics should consider the long term. The maintenance savings alone of eliminating magnetic stripe tickets will more than offset the cost of switching to contactless smart cards. For one, smart cards are more reliable and durable with a failure rate of one in 25,000 transactions compared to one in 5,000 for magnetic stripe cards, according to IBM. Secondly, contactless validators have no mechanical parts, thereby reducing maintenance costs for both parts and labor. Finally, contactless smart cards are sturdy and waterproof, requiring fewer replacements than magnetic stripe cards that are easily damaged by magnetic fields, moisture or normal wear and tear.


BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

Smart cards are more secure, more reliable, faster and easier to use than magnetic stripe cards.

3. Smart cards are faster and easier to use. Smart cards can perform complicated transactions in very little time, automatically allocating charges for each stage or mode of travel. In conjunction with the ability to recharge via web or mobile, this improves passenger experience and provides ease of use. As to speed: A typical contactless smart card transaction takes about 300 milliseconds - there’s no need to fumble through a wallet or purse, feed tickets into machines, or navigate a turnstile. Improving experience and getting more passengers boarded faster means increased operational efficiencies, greater on-time bus performance and lower total cost of provisioning the service. 4. Smart cards lower operating costs and reduce losses from fare evasion. Yes, deploying a contactless smart card system is an investment, but it’s a good investment. As noted above, reduced expense in maintenance costs more than make up for the upfront expense. And, although producing magnetic stripe cards is less expensive, contactless smart cards are still less costly overall because of the lower equipment costs and usable life of the smart card. 5. Smart cards have great BI benefits. By creating a repository for contactless smart card data and linking it to other databases and systems across the transit enterprise, the agency creates a powerful business intelligence (BI) engine for route planning, in particular. There are also benefits to the enterprise in correlating smart card data to solutions for workforce management, KPIs in operations and enterprise asset management, and for strategic planning purposes. This is the direction the industry is going - connecting data from smart payments systems and all across the enterprise to improve every facet of experience and operational performance. Floyd Diaz is director of Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) at Trapeze Group, where he is responsible for developing long term strategic initiatives that will facilitate Trapeze’s market growth in the AFC domain. Visit www.trapezegroup.com.


The “Fab Five”: Peter Pan Bus Lines’ accident-free 3-million milers Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA, is proud to have employed five professional coach drivers who achieved three million miles or more without a reportable accident. Robert “Bob” Guistimbelli reached his 3 million mark after more than 36 years of accident-free driving. He was the third Peter Pan motorcoach operator to reach this impressive milestone. Robert “Bob” The late Peter L. Picknelly approached Guistimbelli Guistimbelli as he was entering the Army in the 1960s and offered him a job upon his return. His next “tour of duty” with Peter Pan Bus Lines lasted 44 years. It was the only job he ever held. Now retired, Guistimbelli was one of Peter Pan’s most popular drivers for tour and charter groups. He received the Peter C. Picknelly “Founder’s Award for Excellence,” as well as the Mrs. Picknelly, Sr. “Driver of the Year Award.” Brothers Everett and Joseph Anderson may be the only siblings to have both achieved three million miles of accident-free safe driving. Everett began driving for Peter Pan in 1970 and crossed the 3 million mile line in 2008. Peter Pan described Anderson as the epitome of a true professional driver — a polite, neat and customer-driven individual, whose main Everett Anderson

concern is the safety and comfort of all his passengers; and for that has bestowed him every award it has to honor its drivers. Peter Pan says safety must run in the Anderson family, as Joseph enjoys 37 years and three million miles of accident-free driving, and has been deemed one of the best of the best. Edward Hope continued his accident-free driving Joseph Anderson with Peter Pan upon its acquisition of Continental Trailways in 1986. By 2010, Hope had accrued 41 accident-free years of safe driving, as well as many awards from the company and countless letters and accolades from satisfied customers over the years. Al Protano began his career as a bus cleaner for Shortline Bus Company. It wasn’t long before Protano took to driving, a career that gave him 43 accident-free Edward Hope years on the road. He earned countless testimonials as a very well dressed driver with tremendous customer service skills. “Peter Pan is better for having had these drivers as loyal employees,” says Peter A. Picknelly, chairman and CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines.

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Modifying Driver Behavior Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Time: 11 a.m. EST Attendees of this valuable BUSRide / GreenRoad Technology webinar will learn about how driver behavior modification programs can transform your bus fleet into a safer, more efficient and profitable operation, allowing you to: • Correct driver behavior in real-time, achieving total fleet safety • Cut overhead and maximize revenue by improving fuel economy • Gain meaningful, real-time visibility through fleet tracking and performance • Achieve sustainability • Accurately predict and manage risk

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Royal Coach Tours San Jose, CA

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Royal Coach Tours was founded as Smith Charter Bus Service, by Lee and Joanne Smith, in 1960 with a single 37-passenger used coach. They offered commuter service, carrying aerospace workers from Fremont, CA, to Lockheed in Sunnyvale. Now in the second generation of family management, the company has grown to 67 vehicles and 125 employees. It recently took delivery of two 38-passenger Van Hool CX35 coaches. The new coaches are powered by Cummins ISL 9-liter engines driving through Allison B500 transmissions, and have chrome mirrors, wood grained floors, Grand Luxe black leather seating with cup holders and magazine nets, power outlets with USB ports, as well as a tour guide HDMI port station.

Sun Travel Trailways recently took delivery of two new 40-passenger TEMSA TS 35s powered by Cummins ISL 8.9-liter 345 HP engines coupled to Allison B500 transmissions. They feature Wi-Fi, 110-volt outlets, USB ports, and REI luxury entertainment systems and Alcoa Durabright Aluminum wheels. The TS 35s offer 245 inches of luggage space and a stainless steel frame that meets the stringent UN/ECE R66 rollover standards. Sun Travel specializes in providing churches, schools, usinesses and the military with quality charter coaches to anywhere in the US and Canada.

COVERAGE THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Protective Insurance Company, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, has been providing specialized insurance policies to the transportation industry since 1950. Our hands-on approach to insurance allows us to understand the needs of our customers and form long-standing partnerships. We have a strong safety culture, a tenured Claims Department and superior customer service standards.

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Here are just a few of the benefits Protective offers: • Outstanding cash flow payment options • Superior claims service • Ability to package all lines of coverage, including auto liability, general liability, physical damage and workers’ compensation • Dedicated Loss Prevention & Safety Services Team that specializes in the transportation industry



BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016




BUSRide Field Test:

The Enviro500 by Alexander Dennis Inc. brings a new dimension to transit in Seattle By Richard Tackett

When the “Double Tall” buses – otherwise known as the Enviro500 by Alexander Dennis Inc. (ADI) – pull up to their earliest morning and afternoon stops, it’s surprising to see how many passengers come onboard. That’s because riders of Community Transit, based in Snohomish County, WA, want to make sure they get the “best” seats on these double-decker vehicles. “The first thing riders rush to do is sit in the upper saloon, which is understandable,” says Martin Munguia, corporate communications manager at Community Transit. “We find that people try to catch the bus at its earliest stops in the mornings and afternoons, because they want second-level seats toward the front of the bus. Still, even if they’re seated further back, any view from the upper saloon is great.” busride.com | BUSRIDE


The Enviro500’s lower saloon features ample room for seated and standing passengers.

Community Transit named its buses “Double Talls” in homage to Seattle’s coffee culture.

Trial runs Community Transit, serving the Seattle and Puget Sound area, saw approximately 9.8 million passenger trips in 2014. It runs 25 local routes and 19 commuter routes over a service area of 1,305 square miles. Approximately 39,000 passengers use the service each day. Initial interest in the Enviro500 came about because of an order by the Regional Transit Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada. RTC saw the bus at the APTA EXPO in 2002, which happened to be in Las Vegas, 34

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016

and the then-general manager saw it as a fantastic opportunity to get high-capacity buses into the Las Vegas strip corridor. Along with improving vehicle capacity, he rightly predicted that the buses would “pull in” tourists and increase ridership. “Community Transit had seen the buses being supplied to Las Vegas and they knew that the vehicles had worked well,” says Stephen Walsh, vice president at ADI. “Our first delivery to Las Vegas was in 2005. A lot of the initial sales of the double-decker were made through transit managers and CEOs that were somewhat innovative and entrepreneurial. Las Vegas wasn’t afraid of trying something new, and they helped ‘grandfather’ Community Transit with their experience.” Joyce Olsen, then-CEO at Community Transit, was also innovative. At the suggestion of June DeVoll, a senior planning manager formerly with RTC, she requested that ADI bring the Enviro500 to Washington for a trial run. The trial lasted one month and Community Transit liked the results, but was still cautious. The agency requested that ADI lease out the bus for one to two years, so that the agency could run it through normal routes and gauge its acceptability with the rest of the fleet. “We built it, they leased it, they renewed their lease for another year, and in the end they decided they very much liked what the bus was doing,” Walsh says. “We surveyed customers about the buses, and of course we were also talking to our drivers and mechanics,” Munguia says. “During that leasing period, we received incredibly high marks from all involved. The customers loved the scenic views, so much so that they were excited to ride the bus. They’d pass up an articulated vehicle just to wait for a double-decker. From an operations perspective, Munguia says the vehicle’s handling was a lot more like a 30-foot bus than a 40-foot bus because of its triple axel. Furthermore, riders and drivers loved that the bus handled much better in inclement weather than the articulated buses in Community Transit’s fleet. “We provide service from downtown Seattle to Snohomish busride.com

Community Transit has 45 double-decker buses in service – the second largest fleet of double-deckers in the U.S.

County, which is about 25-30 miles north of Seattle,” he says. “For those trips, our riders are getting on a bus in a park and ride and then sitting there for as long as 60 minutes on the ride to and from Seattle. We have a lot of 60-foot articulated buses, but they have their issues. When we get bad weather, we sometimes have to pull them off the road. Seattle is a very hilly city, and you don’t want to drive articulated buses on icy roads.” At the end of the trial, agency planners found that the bus worked very well for their purposes. Discussions soon began with ADI. The agency found that RTC had received a waiver for Buy America compliance, but Community Transit decided early on that it needed to use federal money – and thus, wouldn’t seek a waiver. Community Transit worked closely with ADI to manufacture a bus that would meet Buy America regulations. It took a bit of work, and ADI needed to contract with a plant in the U.S., but ADI met the specs of the contract and the first order for 23 buses was delivered in 2011. In 2015 another 22 Double Talls were delivered. Today, Community Transit has 45 double-decker buses in service – making theirs the second largest fleet of double-deckers in the U.S. The “Double Tall” The Enviro500, or the “Double Tall” as it’s called in homage to Seattle’s coffee culture, has an overall height of 13.6 feet and length of 42 feet. It weighs 52,911 pounds and features a ceiling height of 5 feet, 7 inches. The Enviro500 uses less fuel than an articulated bus and also requires less maintenance thanks to the lack of a “joint” in the middle. It can seat up to 77 passengers with standing room for up to 20 more – a marked improvement over the 60-foot, 60-seat buses they replaced. All seats have 3 inches more hip-to-knee room than standard, reading lights and individual air vents. Extra-large windows provide a panoramic view of the beautiful Puget Sound area. The “Double Tall” moniker was an instant hit with local riders. Riders, who had been waiting excitedly since the leased bus was

Community Transit says its Double Tall buses were an instant hit with riders.

pulled from service, were ecstatic to board the brand new vehicles. “It’s an interesting concept, as Seattle is known for its coffee,” Walsh says. “We welcome our customers naming the buses, because it separates the service and gives it more brand identity. It creates positive publicity for the agency.” Working together Obviously the introduction of so many double-decker buses warranted some changes at the agency – but Community Transit busride.com | BUSRIDE


representatives say that ADI worked hand-in-hand with them the entire way. “There are always issues with large deployments, but nothing that was a show-stopper,” Walsh says, referring to space issues that Community Transit found when installing features on the bus – including HVAC, GPS, the smart card farebox and automatic passenger counting (APC) systems. “With all of the equipment already on the bus, we found several issues with space for wiring and electronic cabinetry,” Munguia says. “ADI was very gracious and brought their people out here for a few months, working with our mechanics and getting the buses fitted to our standards.” Community Transit needed to raise the height of some maintenance bay doors because they weren’t quite large enough for the new vehicles. The agency also installed hydraulic lifts to handle the increased “Double Tall” weight. Munguia says it was a partnership between agency and OEM from the beginning. As a public agency, Community Transit can’t specify a single manufacturer in a bid – but ADI managed to meet all required specs and even changed some manufacturing procedures to meet Buy America compliance. This diligence has extended to new orders, as well. “ADI wants us to succeed,” Munguia says. “Recently, we put in a new order for double-deckers and even got a few different manufacturers to bid, but ADI again had the best proposal to meet our needs. They have advanced on their Buy America compliance. The bus is almost completely manufactured in the United States. In all, they’ve been great partners to us.”

“The views are the number one reason people like the bus,” he says. “Our Facebook and Twitter pages are inundated with updates and photos from riders.” Despite initial doubts, passengers quickly embrace the doubledecker feel. “Whenever we drive under a bridge for the first time, passengers instinctively duck,” Munguia laughs. “We cleared bridges and the like beforehand, of course. We also hear from first-timers who are a little worried about the bus being unstable, but we explain that the bulk of the vehicle’s weight is below deck and it won’t tip over, and that a lot of testing has been done to validate that fact.” Drivers overcame similar doubts, and they were especially welcoming to the reliability in bad weather. “Drivers love the traction they get when weather is bad,” Munguia says. “They appreciate the fact that we can keep these buses on the road in inclement weather, whereas we often had to pull articulated buses from the road and cancel trips when weather got bad.” Walsh says that, above all else, the “Double Tall” Enviro500 buses bring a luxury coach-like ride to a long downtown commute. “The bus brings a fantastic view to passengers, and it brings a lot of comfort,” he says. “Compared to sitting in a car in traffic, it’s a wonderful alternative. It’s a unique way to commute and it’s a stress-reliever. It’s no wonder the ‘Double Talls’ are such a hit in the Pacific Northwest.”

Community feedback Passenger response to the “Double Tall” buses has been universally positive. Munguia says that the views from the windows are particularly popular.

The Enviro500 has an overall height of 13.6 feet and length of 42 feet. 36

BUSRIDE | MAY . 2016


TransIT Actionable business intelligence and your team of data managers By Mary Sue O’Melia Transit Information Technology produces volumes of data. The real challenge is to turn this data into information that is useful in developing strategies to improve performance and influence outcomes. This is “Actionable Business Intelligence.” This same information is then used to determine if the actions taken were effective in changing performance. Did you get the desired result? Actionable business intelligence Attention is being given to “actionable” performance measurement. The process is to fi rst identify what comprises good performance, measure performance to determine areas requiring action, and then provide enough information to develop a sound strategy for improvement. Once an agency has taken action, the next step is to measure performance again to determine if the action taken was effective. The real challenge is to come up with and then implement and sustain performance measurement program that includes action plans linked to performance improvement. Who in any organization has enough time, staff, experience and resources for this? One strategy is to designate and train a group of Data Managers. Think of this task as grooming future managers and organizational leaders. Identifying Data Managers While multiple departments may use specific data sets (e.g., farebox system, fi nancial system, AVL system, dispatch system, payroll system), generally one or two departments have primary responsibility for each system. And most organizational units have a Data Manager, although that is typically not the person’s job title. You know who these individuals are within your organization. They are the ones you go to for information and reports. In smaller agencies, it may be one person. The role of Data Managers The Executive Management team is responsible for coaching, training, and skill development for a performance-based organization. Why not start by grooming a group of Data Managers to get your organization started? The Executive Team would still decide which KPIs to report to the Board, but the Data Managers would start by compiling information and be the research arm of the Executive Team. Data managers would work as a group on projects to ensure: • Regular reporting of key performance indicators (KPI), targets, and quarterly board reporting. • Documentation of data definitions and standardization of measures. • Provision of quality data and presentation formats that are useful and easy to understand regarding what is occurring, when, where, who, how many and potential causes and conditions. Just because a Data Manager reports a specific statistic does not mean that the Data Manager is responsible for performance. The Data Manager is responsible for collecting and validating data and helping to present information to management. Data Managers are not responsible for reporting information that make the Executive Team look good. They just report the information and help identify causes and conditions. The team (i.e., entire organization) is responsible for performance.

Data accuracy Don’t quit if you use data as a group and discover that there are errors. Your company just invested significant resources in a system to collect all of this data. Work with your Data Manager team to figure out how to clean the data and/or make the presentation more useful, and try again next month. You cannot use data if it is not accurate, but if the Executive Team never tries to use the data and does not look at it regularly, it will never be good data. Start with simple questions As a group, the Data Managers should start by explaining the trends for KPIs. Ask “Why?” Why is this KPI going up or down? Show me data that identifies causes and conditions. Suggest areas for investigation. The Data Managers come back with additional information to defi ne the cause of the observed performance trend. What program or action can be taken to influence performance or mitigate conditions? Practice, practice, practice. As the Executive Team asks questions, the Data Managers learn. Field trips Sounds like grammar school but it works. For example, when discussing KPIs about passengers, Data Managers discussed the accuracy of farebox data. Who knows how to log onto the farebox system? How do the fare keys work? What data is generated when a customer taps their fare card? Do all keys denote a passenger or are some keys just for information? What role does the driver play in ensuring good data? A field trip in your own backyard may be in order. There are also field trips where you meet with peers at other agencies to see how they do business and perhaps share best practices. Sometimes these are conferences, but it may be a day trip to a neighboring transit agency. Teamwork Data Managers are from a variety of departments. As information is shared, Data Managers learn about your organization and the transit industry. They are also learning team work as they contribute to inter-departmental solutions. An example is in order: Ridership on Saturdays during the month of September is down 20 percent compared to prior months. Planning states the trend. The Revenue Data Manager notes that fare inspections were conducted on Saturdays during the month of September. Customer Service notes that complaints were up in the month of September; specifically complaints about Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) not working. Maintenance noted that there were a high number of requests to fi x TVMs but upon inspection, TVMs were working just fi ne. Ridership has been going up year to year but revenues have been decreasing. This agency has a fare evasion problem. Work to solve the issue of fare evasion begins. Conclusion The exciting part is when the team works for the organization rather than protecting some idea that there are never any performance problems. The lights start going on and the team recognizes that: A) there is a problem; and B) that they can solve this problem. Mary Sue O’Melia is president of TransTrack Systems ®, Inc., a business intelligence solution that transforms volumes of data into meaningful information for transportation managers and executives to use in planning, strategizing and ensuring optimal performance. Visit TransTrack Systems ® at www.transtrack.net.

busride.com | BUSRIDE



Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) hires Gloria Boyce as new general manager

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Boyce was chosen through a multi-month process of candidate recruitment; qualifications review; and board, staff, and community stakeholder interviews with the assistance of executive search firm The Prothman Company. “Gloria has demonstrated the best skill set, style, and temperament to lead Ben Franklin Transit as our general manager into the future,” said BFT Board Chair Matt Watkins. Boyce has been with Ben Franklin Transit since 2012. Until serving as the interim general manager, Boyce was the administrative services manager for three years. Gloria Boyce Prior to coming to BFT, Boyce served as director of capital programs coordination and reporting at METRO in Houston, TX, where she directed the preparation and monitoring of project and program budgets, grant eligibility and FTA reporting for the three-line light rail expansion, HOT lanes and other major capital projects.

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