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CH Bus Sales: Three years later p 15

FCCC showcases at BusCon p13 TAPS grows in Texas p18

Small & Midsize Bus Roundtable p24


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Specifications are subject to change without notice. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is registered to ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004. Copyright © 2014 Daimler Trucks North America LLC. All rights reserved.Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

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COVER STORY CH Bus Sales solidifies TEMSA in North America


The principles speak to BUSRide on the first three years forming the company, bringing three coach models to market and establishing aftermarket support By David Hubbard

FEATURES BusCon succeeds in Indianapolis


The 2014 show reports Best in Show winners, charitable donations and new products

Freightliner showcases advances 13 The company’s new applications were on display at BusCon


Revenue management roundup 22 BUSRide updates on the latest fare collection news from around the world

BUSRide Small & Midsize Bus Roundtable: Part One


By Richard Tackett

Volvo launches all-new electric hybrid


The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid was officially launched at the International IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September








By Mary Sue O’Melia



By Doug Jack



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

For more information: USA 336-393-3929 Canada 418-883-3391


Margean Gladysz had a doozy of a ride Long before onboard surveillance cameras, the bus lines relied on company inspectors as its eyes and ears. Riding on secret missions for Great Lakes Greyhound Bus Lines from 1946 to 1949 was a tough and dangerous job for 18-year old Margean Worst Gladysz, fresh out of college and straight off the farm in Galesburg, MI. Her role was to pose as a passenger and take copious notes on the drivers: keeping a leg up for the company on ethical behavior, infractions of the law, driver safety and company procedure. Gladysz and a few others earned handsome salaries to secretly monitor and report on the drivers’ integrity, honesty, safety practices, drunkenness and reckless performance. She lived through the experience she called one doozy of a ride. Gladysz went on to become a professional librarian and recounted her saga 60 years later in her book, A Spy on the Bus: Memoir of a Company Rat, compiled from the letters she wrote to her parents. In her graceful writing style, she explains how she learned to grab the seats out of sight behind the driver, and ride hunched up looking tired and sleepy while secretly writing her notes on a tiny pad concealed inside her sleeve. Always under threat of drivers turning her up, she covertly planned every route and connection to avoid suspicion and recognition as a company spy. Posing as a passenger and paying cash to ride, she watched if the driver issued a stamped receipt. What certain drivers did with that money was a main concern. Another mission took her to the Dakota Black Hills to ascertain which of the drivers under suspicion owned a slew of slot machines and serviced them on his runs. Getting the goods on these guys always came with the risk of them settling the score their own way if they lost their job. Gladysz sounds relieved anytime she could give high praise to the drivers who did everything right. Finally in 1949 she’d had enough. She concludes: I went home, telephoned Chicago and resigned. I had grown up and was ready to live. Margean Gladysz’s book is available through Arbutus Press, Traverse City, MI,

David Hubbard Executive Editor BUSRide Magazine

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

BUS industry SAFETY council

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Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Sali T. Williams at (602) 265-7600, ext. 209.




ABA and AGA jointly ensure safer casino trips As part of the gaming industry’s continual effort to promote and ensure safety for its patrons and communities, the American Bus Association (ABA) and American Gaming Association (AGA) announced their new partnership in September to promote motorcoach safety and reduce the number of unsafe bus operators transporting passengers to gaming destinations. “Both organizations are leaders within their industry segments and recognize that by working together we can help to ensure our respective customers will have safe experiences,” said Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association. “I look forward to working with AGA in a collaborative effort to enhance safety of our customers.” The two organizations will share best practices with their members and build on the industry’s strong commitment to ensuring that only properly credentialed and safe buses transport casino visitors to gaming facilities. “Our industry is committed to the safety of our guests,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “Our partnership with the American Bus Association will take that commitment one step further.” According to Stan Smith, vice president emergency management, Boyd Gaming Corporation, everyone involved takes the safety of our patrons very seriously. “This partnership will help us work even closer as partners with bus companies,” he said. “We’re in the business of minimizing risks and details matter. Tour buses play an important role in facilitating visits for our customers, and we want to make sure we partner exclusively with safe, reliable and licensed bus companies.”

San Diego MTS secures $18 million for new buses San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), San Diego, CA, secured an $18 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to purchase 45 new Gillig buses for East County operations in the second largest grant awarded in the DOT “Ladders of Opportunity” initiative. The buses will operate out of the East County Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility. MTS is also investing $31 million to expand and modernize that facility to include a new 34,000-square-foot highbay maintenance building, a 10,275-square-foot mezzanine and second floor office areas. The facility will accommodate 120 buses serving East County when completed by June 2016. “This was a very competitive grant process and we were able to secure nearly 20 percent of the entire grant funding available for the entire United States,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “This is a big win for MTS and our riders. It keeps us on pace to retire the last of our diesel buses from our fleet.” The $100 million “Ladders of Opportunity” competitive grants went to applicants who directly enhanced access to work, offered transit access to educational and training opportunities and

access to basic services for veterans, seniors, youths and other disadvantaged populations. Only 24 agencies in 19 states received a portion of the available $100 million. The City of Detroit received the largest grant award at $25.9 million, followed by MTS at $18 million and the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority at $9.4 million. The new Gillig buses powered by compressed natural gas replace older models that have reached the end of their useful life. They feature on-board video surveillance, new wheelchair restraint systems, disk brakes, compressed natural gas tanks with 20-year lifespans and enhanced cooling systems.

St. Cloud Metro Bus driver is Minnesota Operator of the Year The Minnesota Public Transit Association (MPTA) named Metro Bus driver Jerry Gillman as Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year. A Dial-a-Ride driver since 1999, Gillman also serves as a driver instructor and Jerry Gillman Teamsters Local 638 Union Steward representing Dial-a-Ride bus operators and dispatchers. He is the second Metro Bus driver to receive this award since its inception. MPTA presents the Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year award to an individual who has consistently demonstrated high levels of achievement in all aspects of their performance including attendance, safety, customer service, leadership and commitment to the organization. Overall contributions made by this driver have significantly improved the organization in which they work and the lives of the public transit customers they serve.

Trailways welcomes new partners Boardwalk Hotel Group, Ocean City, MD, and Hughes Brothers Theatre, Branson, MO, have joined the approximately 100 member companies of the Trailways Affiliated Partner Program. Trailways, Fairfax, VA, created the program to provide access for these companies to the Trailways network of 70 bus company owneroperators in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Boardwalk Hotel Group operates the Howard Johnson Plaza at 12th Street, Days Inn at 23rd Street, and Howard Johnson Inn at 24th Street in Ocean City, MD. The group sales staff can assist groups with money-saving packages or rooms, attractions, meals and touring at the beaches and boardwalks featuring antique shops and malls, national outlets and boutiques, as well as championship golf courses. Hughes Brothers Theatre in America’s family-friendly group entertainment capital offers special handling from arrival to departure for groups of 20 or more that book reservations for the IT show and the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, featuring over 45 family members of singers, dancers, and musicians, performing Broadway, country, comedy, patriotic, gospel and rock-n-roll. | BUSRIDE



UMA out with survey facts and figures From the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), a few highlights from its annual UMA Member Assessment Survey conducted in May: • The average miles driven annually by members is 712,789 miles. • 65 percent of members report that their financial status is better than last year and 25 percent of members report that their financial status is the same as last year. • Around 40 percent of members say they also assist groups with planning hotel stays, restaurant visits, attraction tickets and complete packaged tours. • The top three motorcoach charter destinations for members in 2013 were: Washington, D.C.; New York City, NY; and Orlando, FL. • UMA members have an average of 16 full-size motorcoaches in their fleet. • 80 percent of members have a listing on • 72 percent of members offer Wi-Fi on-board coaches and 72 percent of members provide 110-volt outlets. UMA presents at BusCon United States Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the Bus & Motorcoach Academy presented an educational session geared to both motorcoach operators and transit operators at BusCon 2014 in Indianapolis, IN. The session, Understanding the FMCSA Safety Management Cycle, was held prior to the BusCon Welcome Reception. This session discussed the Safety Management Cycle – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s signature tool behind its investigative process. This multi-step system provides Safety Investigators and motor carriers with a step-by-step process that goes beyond just identifying “what” the violation is to get at “why” the safety performance issue is occurring. Presenters were Ken Presley, United Motorcoach Association, and Bob Crescenzo, Lancer Insurance Company.

Transit Labs partners with Detroit DOT to spur economic growth Following the momentum of the recent Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Detroit, MI, Transit Labs CEO and Founder Dag Gogue announced a partnership with the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) to make the city’s public transportation more efficient. He says the partnership will bring data visualization and analytics, as well as cloud computing, to turn the public transportation system in Detroit into a truly integrated and modernized 21st century regional transportation network. Transit Labs will integrate data already collected by the city, including automated passenger counters, automated vehicle locators, next bus arrival data and more, and overlay it with census, GIS and economic activity data. Operators, planners and executive leadership will now have a better picture of their transit system and be able to evaluate historical performance, make real-time decisions and model future service and growth. Transit Labs’ preliminary analysis shows that: • Operating cost per service hour for fixed bus service increased by almost 20 percent between 2007 and 2012. • Service and labor hours were cut by 25 percent and 35 percent respectively. 8


• Paratransit service has experienced a 96 percent decline in ridership. Those affected include the most vulnerable residents, the elderly and disabled. • Roughly one third of Detroit’s buses are consistently out of service for maintenance, scheduling has been highly volatile and wait times are longer and uncertain.

New Flyer Xcelsior® All-Electric launched at APTA EXPO New Flyer Industries Inc., Winnipeg, MB, Canada, unveiled its a zero-emission battery-electric propulsion Xcelsior® transit bus during APTA EXPO 2014 in Houston, TX. “We’re very excited about the addition of the battery-electric propulsion XE40 to our proven bus portfolio,” said Paul Soubry, New Flyer president and CEO. “In addition to clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, electric trolley and fuel cell, our


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UPDATE customers now have a commercially available and cost effective all-electric propulsion option that can integrate seamlessly with their existing transit fleet. We believe electrification of transit buses was not a matter of if, but when.” The XE40 features: • A New Flyer integrated energy storage system • A Siemens electric drive system • Proven electric subsystems and accessories currently available on the Xcelsior hybrid variants • Depot charging capability and an Eaton en-route conductive charging capability The lithium ion battery packs have the ability to receive a partial recharge using a regenerative braking system, which is ideally suited for the typical start-and-stop duty cycle of a transit bus. New Flyer says it has designed the XE40 with public transit agencies in mind using components and systems that are Buy America compliant and are manufactured and supported by long time supply chain partners. New Flyer’s commitment to zero-emission fuel cell technology began in 1995 with the delivery of the first 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell bus in North America. The company’s zero-emission transit bus product line also includes electric trolley and battery-electric propulsion variants, a total of 362 which are in service today. In 2012, New Flyer unveiled its battery electric pilot bus, along with partners Manitoba Hydro, Red River College, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Manitoba Government and Winnipeg Transit. The pilot bus has undergone extensive all-weather service testing and in March 2014 it began shuttle service operation. To date, New Flyer has built six XE40’s for North American customers, and expects five of them to enter service this fall. The sixth vehicle has commenced its FTA new bus model testing at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center in Altoona, PA.

Arrow Stage Lines opens 12th location in Nevada Arrow Stage Lines has expanded its presence in the western United States with its 12th location in Mesquite, NV. This marks the 12th location for Arrow Stage Lines after its acquisition of a Nevada company. “We are excited about this recent acquisition,” said Arrow Stage Lines COO Luke Busskohl. “This addition for our western fleet better equips us to service business throughout Utah, California and the growing Las Vegas Market.” He says the new location will house all California-compliant vehicles, to better serve the tour and athletic markets traveling in the coastal area.

VIA recognized for diversity efforts The Texas Diversity Council selected VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX, as one of its 2014 Corporate Award Winners. The Diversity Council recognizes and commends organizations for their support of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community. The Corporate Award was presented to VIA at an awards luncheon in San Antonio on October 9, 2014 during the 10th Anniversary Best Practices and DiversityFIRST Awards Luncheon. The award honors businesses and agencies that have developed and implemented effective equal opportunity programs and that have cultivated and promoted diversity initiatives that establish a more inclusive and equitable work environment, among other criteria.

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Rotary Lift debuted its MOD35 in-ground lift in October during APTA EXPO and showed the MW-500 mobile wheel lift introduced earlier this year. The company also demonstrated how to use vehicle lifts correctly during a free education session presented by Spiller in the APTA Bus Technical Maintenance & Clean Technology Learning Zone.










Daisy Charters San Antonio, TX

Louisiana Motor Coach New Orleans, LA

A&A Metro Transportation Bridgewater, MA

David Bratcher of Daisy Charters says customers are pleased with the company’s recent purchase of eight new Van Hool CX45 luxury coaches. The eight 2014 CX45’s, like the rest of Daisy’s fleet, are packed with features including wood grain flooring, REI Elite Entertainment systems, Saucon GPS, Wi-Fi, 110-volt electric outlets, passenger side shades, Van Hool’s unique rear window and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels. They are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 G transmissions. Daisy has enjoyed a great partnership with ABC since 1998 when buying its first new coach, a Van Hool T940.

In September Louisiana Motor Coach began taking delivery of the first four 2015 Van Hool CX 2045s and CX 2045Ls in New Orleans. The coaches are equipped with three-point seat belts, Van Hool’s unique rear passenger windows, Wi-Fi, Alcoa DuraBrite aluminum wheels, Saucon GPS, 110-volt outlets, REI entertainment systems with 15.4” monitors and satellite radio / TV and are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions.

A&A Metro currently has a fleet of 140 luxury sedans, mini buses, vans, full-size coaches, and wheel chair accessible vehicles. New to the A&A fleet are two 40-passenger 2014 TEMSA TS 35 mid-size motorcoaches. The TEMSA TS 35 coach is a fully integral mid-sized coach constructed from stainless steel for extra durability. All TEMSA coaches are equipped with a Cummins / Allison drivetrain. A&A’s TEMSA TS 35 coach is equipped with quality features such as 110V plugs, Alcoa Dura Bright wheels, an auxiliary preheater, rear camera, a rear window, and an Elite REI A/V system.

Underway, Not Under Repair. Small BuS HVaC from tHe Big BuS expertS 3 Unmatched Reliability 3 Superior Capacity 3 Expert Service & Support | BUSRIDE


BusCon succeeds in Indianapolis The 2014 show reports Best in Show winners, charitable donations and new products

BusCon donates to Wounded Warrior Project This year, BusCon was about more than bus operations and networking— attendees also had Wounded Warriors in mind. BusCon attendees banded together to support wounded veterans by raising $1,300 for the Wounded Warrior Project®. Additionally, BusCon’s show producer, Bobit Business Media, matched the earnings bringing the donation to a total of $2,600. The Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders sold raffle tickets for $10 a ticket at the “BusCon Happy Hour,” sponsored by Starcraft Bus. Tickets were also sold at the “Night on the Town” reception and the raffle drawing was held at Dick’s Last Resort. Three raffle winners received a football signed by the Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, a Luck football jersey and a GoPro HERO3 Camcorder, respectively.

2014 Best in Show The annual BusCon Best in Show awards recognize winners in five categories: display, vehicle, green initiative, new product/service and on-site marketing. The 2014 Best in Show winners are: Best Booth Display (300 square feet or smaller) XL Hybrids Best Booth Display (400 square feet or larger) Allied Specialty Vehicles Best Vehicle or Chassis Freightliner Custom Chassis Best Green Initiative Complete Coach Works Best New Product or Service Freedman Seating Company Best On-Site Marketing REI New products and services

The Wounded Warrior Project® is a nonprofit veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for the U.S. military’s Wounded Warriors. 12


New products and services showcased at BusCon 2014 include the M2 Vista from Ameritrans, the Terra Transit from Turtle Top, the Esquire Seat from Freedman Seating Company, the QRT-360 tie-down systems from Q’Straint, the A.R.M.O.R. Mobility solution from REI, and many more. For a full list of new product highlights from BusCon 2014, visit Next year’s BusCon will be held September 28-30 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN.

FREIGHTLINER SHOWCASES ADVANCES Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. showcased a propaneautogas concept version of its popular S2C chassis at BusCon 2014, held in September in Indianapolis.

The company’s new applications were on display at BusCon S2C LPG chassis

PIthon was developed by Powertrain Integration with fuel system partner CleanFUEL USA and with support from the Propane Education Research Council.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) showcased a propaneautogas concept version of its popular S2C chassis at BusCon 2014, held in September in Indianapolis. FCCC unveiled the LPG version of its S2C chassis for the work truck market earlier in 2014. At BusCon, FCCC demonstrated the chassis’ capabilities for additional applications, including the shuttle and commercial bus markets. FCCC says the S2C LPG concept offers the bus market a number of key features and benefits, including a quieterrunning engine; reduced maintenance cost and downtime; significantly reduced fuel costs for buses in continuous-running applications; and excellent cold-weather starting and faster warm-up times. The S2C LPG concept FCCC showcased at BusCon is powered by the “PIthon,” an 8.0 LPG engine from Powertrain Integration with a | BUSRIDE


provides abundant passenger heat in winter while optional dual air conditioning option promises a cool ride in the summer. The S2C’s 60-gallon, between-therails LPG tanks can provide a range of up to 300 miles.

XBA chassis powers ARBOC’s new low-floor FCCC also showed off what it calls the most innovative and accessible low-floor chassis on the market at BusCon. The XBA chassis powers the new Spirit of Liberty from ARBOC Specialty Vehicles. The low-floor, medium-duty Spirit of Liberty, which ARBOC anticipates full production in the first quarter of 2015, utilizes the unique design of the XBA chassis to feature a completely open floorplan with no open steps throughout the passenger area. The rear-engine diesel bus, ranging in floorplan size from 29 to 33 feet, can carry up to 37 passengers plus 15 standees thanks to its GVWR of 25,900 lbs. In addition, by employing lightweight, advanced technologies and components, the XBA helps the Spirit of Liberty provide best-in-class curb weights of 15,600 pounds or less. It’s powered by a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine delivering 240 HP with Allison B220 six-speed rear transmission.

factory-installed CleanFuel USA liquid propane system. The 60-gallon, between-the-rails LPG tanks can provide a range of up to 300 miles. PIthon builds upon Powertrain Integration’s propane autogas engine experience, and was developed with fuel system partner CleanFUEL USA with support from the Propane Education Research Council. Industry updates continually report fleets are exploring, ordering, or taking delivery of alternative fuel buses for huge fuel cost savings as well as greatly reduced operating costs. PIthon burns very clean resulting in less maintenance, and does not require diesel exhaust fluid and expensive exhaust regen and DPF service. PIthon also

Freightliner’s XBA chassis powers the new Spirit of Liberty from ARBOC Specialty Vehicles (previous model pictured).

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CH Bus Sales solidifies TEMSA in North America The principles speak to BUSRide on the first three years forming the company, bringing three coach models to market and establishing aftermarket support By David Hubbard

CH Bus Sales, Inc., Faribault, MN, reorganized in September of 2011 with new ownership and management to serve as the North American distributor of TEMSA Global motorcoaches, a division of the Sabancı Group, headquartered in Adana, Turkey. Over the last three years, CH Bus Sales led by a handpicked team of industry veterans has successively introduced three TEMSA models and launched its sales and aftermarket service networks. BUSRide spoke with President and CEO Bob Foley; Executive Vice President, Sales and Service, Duane Geiger; and Vice President, Sales, Service and Product Development, Tim Vaught about the company’s progress, its products and partnership with TEMSA.

Coming to the end of 2014, do you feel you have reached a plateau where you can catch a breath? Bob Foley: Three years ago, this is where we hoped we would be. We have 500 TEMSA coaches in the market, and we’re planning to open our third sales and service center next year. We’ve also extended our partnership with TEMSA Global, but we can’t exactly take a breather. There is a lot of work ahead. What excited you in the formation of CH Bus Sales? Foley: Each of us had worked together at some point in our careers. The group had expertise in the different areas that are needed for motorcoach distribution. We are a small organization with some crossover in our roles. Some of us wear more than one cap, but we never have to worry about someone not understanding their responsibilities, and that was a big help in getting the group off to a good start. Tim Vaught: For me, it was the opportunity to work with Bob, Duane and Tony Mongiovi. Even though we had worked together for many years, this is our own project. It was exciting for me to get in on the ground floor of what looked like a very exciting company. Duane Geiger: We believed each one of us could do the job, and we have since surrounded ourselves with smart and professional people. We communicate well and we service our customers. We all understand what we need to do to be successful in this industry. What is the state of CH Bus Sales at this point?

Above: After opening its Texas Service Facility, CH Bus Sales will expand the network into the Northeast in 2015.

Geiger: In 2012, our first calendar year, we sold 100 new coaches. We sold 150 in 2013 and this year we will reach 200. These are not huge | BUSRIDE


Robert F. Foley, CH Bus Sales president and CEO

numbers but they are good numbers for a new high-quality coach in new markets. These numbers reflect our earlier introduction of two TEMSA models, the TS 35 followed by the TS 30, and the TS 45 this year. Foley: While we are proud of our progress, I have never found a situation where operators come looking for us. We will always go out and meet our prospective customers. Many may know of us, but several still do not know who we are. We have several demos in the field that we take from one operator to the next and continue to knock on doors.

Trace a few keystones that helped CH Bus Sales gain a foothold. Geiger: We are fortunate to have TEMSA Global as our partner in Turkey. The company is an excellent manufacturer, which helped us greatly in introducing the 35-foot TS 35 and gain credibility. This alone stands out with me, as our customers are seasoned bus companies throughout the country and they’re used to buying coaches. They are coming to respect the TEMSA brand. Foley: The biggest step, of course, was to put together our original team to build a consistent structure for receiving and delivering TEMSA coaches. Today we are up to 45 employees in our offices, service centers and in the field. Vaught: Much of that has to do with the systematic approach we have established not only to sales, but also to aftermarket service and warranty. Marv Borntrager joined our team early, to manage parts/after sales service (warranty & technical) and has done a great job. We have streamlined all the processes from delivery to the service centers. Our consistent, repetitive delivery process is an immense help in quality control. Foley: We are fortunate to have found our Tim Vaught, CH Bus Sales vice president, location in Orlando, FL, so quickly. It is so Sales, Service and conducive to what we wanted to accomplish Product Development with a consistent receiving and delivery process. We turn our PDIs and dealer-option installs quickly and the same way every time. This helps immensely in quality control for coaches going to market. What is the excitement in working with TEMSA Global? Foley: It has been exciting to work with TEMSA to create what we see as a unique niche in the industry. I truly believe leading off with the 35-foot TS 35 was the right approach for TEMSA because it was the only full-monocoque 35-foot bus in the North American market. It has certainly worked to our advantage in getting operators to know TEMSA and our new company. Vaught: After reviewing the product, I could see the heart that TEMSA Global had for the North American market, and they were more than willing to work with us to make the necessary improvements to the coach to best suit American operators.

Duane Geiger, CH Bus Sales executive vice president, Sales and Service 16

What are some changes you initiated to Americanize the TS 35?

cosmetic changes such as redesigning the step well and entry, and reorganized the dashboard area. Our list of minor changes added up to a big difference. Not to beat a dead horse, but you did inherit the issues associated with the Caterpillar (CAT) engines in the first TEMSA TS 35s delivered to North America. How did CH Bus Sales manage that situation? Foley: I can say this: Had the early coaches come with Cummins engines, perhaps TEMSA would have enjoyed a better introduction to North America operators. I realized CAT had some issues, but I just assumed the company was going to fix them — and it never did. It took us about four months to realize the assorted issues inherent in the CAT powertrain were essentially unfixable. There’s no question that we were nervous. However, at that point we had delivered 10 EPA 07 models with Cummins engines, as well as EPA 2010 demos that arrived in the fall. The Cummins-Allison combination has worked out very well. Did you convert to Cummins-Allison exclusively? Foley: We were converting to Cummins as we were coming on board and trying to figure out how to deal with the remaining inventory; how to take care of existing customers who had purchased TEMSA coaches with CAT powertrains, still feeling confident that they were going to work. Some customers never could get them to work, others did okay on short runs where they could bring them in for regens more often between runs. Then we started repowering the CAT powertrains. Fortunately, we didn’t have a great number of units; a total between 60 and 70, so it wasn’t as big of an issue as it could have been. It was a serious issue nonetheless. We have sorted through it. No question, this situation created some negative PR, but a number of operators knew the members of our group from before and trusted us. When we asked them to demo the Cummins-Allison combination, they put their foot in the water with us. It has worked well for them. How significant was it to lead with the TS 35 instead of a more conventional full-size coach? Foley: This approach has allowed CH Bus Sales and TEMSA to gain a foothold in North America without the traditional 45-foot manufacturer competition. If we would have lead with a 45-foot model, folks might have been a little reluctant because of their brand preferences at that point. North American coach owners have struggled to find a shorter vehicle that would hold up. Introducing the TS 35 and following with the 30-foot TS 30 has allowed us time and space to work with operators and have them realize TEMSA builds a high quality product. Geiger: When we went out to meet operators in 2011, charter folks told us their tour groups were smaller than they once were and we got the feeling many operators were perhaps filling some but not all of their buses on every charter. It wasn’t much more than our educated guess that they were ready for a solidly built full-fledged 35-foot motorcoach. Vaught: The shorter TEMSA coaches are in no way a downgrade, but rather the perfect solution for a smaller charter group. Geiger: Most of the operators we talk to are getting 90 to 95 percent of the revenue they charge for their full-size coaches; and in some cases, the cost to operate the smaller coach is 50-percent less. We also have talked to some operators who have actually quit counting passengers. It didn’t matter if there were 30 or 55 riding their 45-foot coaches. With their TS 30s and TS 35s, they have started counting passengers again and measuring utilization. Foley: We have heard many times how spread out a tour group of 25 or 35 passengers becomes on a 45-foot coach, which is not the quaint atmosphere they enjoy. If you put a group of this size on a smaller coach of the same quality, it is a better experience.

Vaught: We used high quality products that are long lasting, implemented subtle


understand the quality, longevity and that this coach is more versatile, in order to justify the price over a cutaway. Was there always a plan to introduce the TS 45? Foley: The TEMSA factory was more than willing to work with us to eventually develop a 45-foot coach. At first I didn’t think we really needed the 45-foot coach, but customers were soon requesting the fullsize coach because of their success with the TS 35. We delved into it two years ago and are having success. What does it mean to be able to offer three TEMSA models in different lengths? Dincer Celik, TEMSA Global’s general manager, and CH Bus Sales President and CEO Robert Foley met at the TEMSA factory in Adana, Turkey, in May to sign the agreement that extends their partnership.

How is CH Bus Sales faring specifically in the midsize bus market? Foley: For the TS 30, the cutaway bus market is our competition. When companies are working with groups of 25 and 30 passengers for shuttles, schools and colleges, the cutaways work well in certain applications. For the groups that expect a little better ride more akin to a coach with more comfort and luggage underneath, though, that’s where the TS 30 is a perfect fit. Geiger: We talk to operators about utilization. If they can fill their 45foot coaches, then that’s the way to go. However, with group sizes getting smaller for a variety of reasons, for charters of less than 40 passengers, it is nice to offer an alternative to a half filled vehicle. What has the response been to the 30-foot TS 30? Foley: The TS 30 gives an operator even more versatility in booking smaller charters and longer school travel. However, we have had to convince many in the industry on the merit of this coach. One has to

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Foley: Our family of three models is a distinguishing factor that separates CH Bus Sales. Other OEMs may promote other models and styles, but not as closely related as the three TEMSA coaches we offer. As a company, we need more than one model to build a sufficient volume of sales, and our family of TEMSAs gives us more to offer our customers. What is the state of CH Bus Sales aftermarket service at this point? Foley: We are right on track, growing one step at a time. We most recently opened our sales and service center in Fort Worth, TX, and have an expansion plan for other regions of the country. We will be opening in the Northeast in 2015, which will give us stronger presence in New York and New Jersey. We are also putting more mobile service technicians in place. Can CH Bus Sales share any secret to its early success? Geiger: We are not ordering as many coaches as we could, simply because we are not necessarily trying to sell as many buses as we can. One of our policies is to sell only as many coaches as we can service correctly and efficiently. Foley: Putting too many out there too fast and not being able to service them is worse than not selling enough.





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grows paratransit inTEXAS

By Brad Underwood CEO/Executive Director Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS) Sherman, TX



As a father of two, I often get the question, “Dad when am I going to be big enough to do…” whatever they are watching on the Disney channel the time. I have wondered much the same for us when I consider how TAPS began from a small and mostly rural agency. Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS), Sherman, TX, originated with a van and station wagon providing services to 13 senior centers and communities in a three county area. TAPS was a spinoff of the AAA and still reflected many of those characteristics. The leadership that had operated our system was retired or simply no longer around. Jump to early 2010 when TAPS was the provider for six rural counties and one of the smallest of the small urbans in the state of Texas. Today, the agency serves 16 counties in north Texas and features a regular fixed-route service that connects into southeastern Oklahoma. The agency’s biggest expansion was into Collin County last year. Beginning as a provider of paratransit service for that county, within weeks TAPS signed an ILA to operate local bus service for the City of McKinney (the county seat). Not long after that, the city of Allen began a TAPS-operated local fixed-route service with express commuter trips connecting with Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s light rail service in Plano. This summer, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission awarded TAPS Public Transit a three-year contract to provide nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) to members of the state’s Medicaid program.


TAPS serves an area of 13,958 square miles.

From a position on the board of directors in 2010, to the executive director’s job — with little to no public transit operational experience — I arrived at a critical time for the agency. Everything was falling apart. Spoiler alert — the agency survived and thrived.

In less than four years we were serving 16 counties, seven rural programs, two small urbans, one large UZA, and providing over 700,000 annual trips with a fleet of over 200 units. We made our share of mistakes, but learned some very valuable lessons along the way.

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In a span of 12 months, the agency grew from less than 100 employees to a payroll of over 250 at last count. TAPS currently operates a mixed fleet of 130 assorted small and midsize paratransit buses ranging from small on-demand vehicles to fixed route transit buses. The OEM models include ElDorado AeroTech, Goshen and StarTrans for standard paratransit service; Glaval Titan II LF and ElDorado EX Rider in fixed service; Turtle Top in Airport Shuttle Service; as well as MV1s and Ford Transit Connects for individualized paratransit and Medicaid services. LESSON 1: COMMUNICATION People are people. Employees want some basic recognition from their leadership team — and it starts with communication. No one wants to feel out of the loop. Effective written communications, a robust intranet and productive meetings all contribute to keeping a workforce informed. A quarterly conference gets everyone out of their work environment, offers an opportunity to receive required training, become familiar with management and, most importantly, meet and get to know people from other departments. LESSON 2: NURTURE CHANGE When I came on board, we had a workforce that knew how we did something a particular way but couldn’t tell you why. It had just always been that way. What we needed was insight. When we began accepting that our situation could be different, the amount of innovation and freshness that resulted was profound. Today, we are a company that is open minded and always looking for a better way. Once a year we do a full review of one another and of our company. We fully vet any idea proposed to change a process or system. The suggestion gets serious consideration and its author gets serious feedback. We value every idea presented.

TAPS enjoys a reputation for pushing the envelope; functioning on the edge but prepared to fail, which has the potential to change our culture. My management team has permission to fail, so long as there is a lesson learned. I tell them to just get back in there and find the right way — now. Allowing employees the freedom to try something new and take their own approach can be as valuable as any financial reward. LESSON 3: IT TAKES A TEAM No man or woman is an island, and that couldn’t be truer in transit. From day one, I have attempted to build a drawer full of sharp knives I could count on to get the job done. I have built relationships with other transit agencies across our state and across our state border. I wanted to learn why they did what they did and what projects they were working on. Which are the successful agencies and how are they making a difference? Building relationships with local agencies, community groups, governments and opinion leaders is a must. Our relationships are why our agency has been so successful in attracting funding and support. Having the community see us as a partner that accomplishes its goals has helped us earn our strong reputation. Raising a strong, healthy transportation operation in today’s environment is a challenge. The keys to success are being open to new ideas, building both public and private partnerships, engaging both our customers and our employees, and having a strategy for where we want to go.

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Key performance indicators – what to measure and why By Mary Sue O’Melia The challenge for transit agencies is to determine key performance indicators (KPI) that help measure mission achievement. The second challenge is to establish a process involving the entire team in keeping score and improving performance. Key performance indicators (KPI) Transit agencies typically have mission statements such as “Provide safe, reliable and cost effective and efficient services that meet customer travel needs.” A list of KPIs that is small enough to present to the Board of Directors and covers most of the strategic areas from the mission statement is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1 – Key Performance Indicators for Board Presentation

Strategic Area

Key Performance Indicator

Source Data


Accidents Per 100,000 Total Service Miles

NTD Data – Safety Report and S-10 Transit Services

Service Reliability – Schedule Adherence

Percentage of Trips On Time

Not Required by NTD; Need AVL System or Manual Counts

Service Reliability – Roadcalls

Miles Between Roadcalls (i.e., NTD Major System Failures and Other Failures)

NTD Data – R-20 Maintenance Performance and S-10 Transit Services

Service Productivity

Passengers Per Revenue Service Hour

NTD Data – S-10 Transit Services

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Complaints Per 100,000 Passengers; Customer Commendations Per 100,000 Passengers

Passengers from NTD Data; Customer Comments Not Required by NTD

Cost Effectiveness

Farebox Recovery Ratio

NTD Data – F-10 Source of Funds and F-30 Operating Expenses

Cost Efficiency

Operating Cost Per Revenue Service Hour

NTD Data – F-30 Source of Funds and S-10 Transit Services

Transit agencies reporting to the National Transit Database (NTD) have a start on collecting information for KPI reporting. Schedule adherence and customer comments are not required for NTD reporting. All other items are reported on a monthly or annual basis, while much of the data is collected daily, tabulated monthly and reported annually. Trust the data A problem in KPI reporting is trusting the data. Address this issue by using the same source for monthly, quarterly and annual NTD reporting. To improve the integrity of the data, document its sources and owners. Check the data and talk about it. Inquire as to trends; why they are changing, and how those changes impact performance results. An agency may not want to report to its Board of Directors the first year due to a lack of confidence in the numbers. Nonetheless, once an agency begins reporting and discussing KPIs on a routine basis, the data will improve. Ongoing involvement from the team is critical to data integrity as well as performance improvement.

Involve the entire team The purpose of KPI reporting is to determine how an agency is doing relative to key objectives. Achieving measureable performance results requires ongoing involvement of the entire team. It is critical to data integrity and an improved performance. • Identify data managers for each KPI. This may be more than one person for cross-departmental objectives. Data managers are responsible for the integrity and reliability of the data used in KPIs and other scoreboard measures. • Set annual performance targets for each KPI. Targets should represent improvements the agency desires to achieve. Service plans and annual budgets provide much of this information, as does past performance. Sadly, if implemented as planned, some service plans and budgets result in declining performance. The focus should be on the status of the agency after three or five years of continuous improvement. • Involve departmental staff in score keeping An agency may track KPIs and report them to the Board (e.g., Figure 1 KPIs) but the information and format for team member involvement will be different. For example, the agency goal for schedule adherence may be 80 percent on-time performance. In addition to the daily, monthly and year-to-date score, the transportation team may want to see the actual percentages of trips early and late trips by operating division, route or even employee badge number. • Take measurable actions to improve performance. With access to the scoreboard, each team is involved in identifying actions that improve performance. For example, under schedule adherence, it may identify the 10 worst performing routes for analysis. Other actions may be to recommend a policy change to eliminate pennies as fare payment, or to reconsider the type of equipment used in specific route assignments, as some buses are faster or more reliable than others. Develop strategies that effectively address passengers’ questions and concerns. Establish a deadline for each plan of action and the means to measure the results. Changing fare policy and training operators may be accomplished short term; equipment changes may require a longer period of time. Four disciplines of execution In their 4 Disciplines of Execution (2012), Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling offer these three principals: 1. People play differently when they are keeping score. 2. A coach’s scoreboard is not the players’ scorecard. 3. The purpose of a players’ scoreboard is to motivate the players to win. The 4DX provides the steps to developing player scoreboards and how to execute a plan to achieve performance results. While the agency may have KPIs it reports to the Board on a routine basis, in the successful implementation of a business intelligence program, it is the team that keeps score and becomes involved. 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 | BUSRIDE








Revenue management roundup BUSRide updates on the latest fare collection news from around the world Today a resolution to address the immediate concern is in hand. The Greater New Haven Transit District (GNHTD), recognizing the burgeoning LECIP INC., Des Plaines, IL, a consolidated population that they served, began planning subsidiary of LECIP HOLDINGS CORPORATION, almost two years ago to be able to act rather than received an order for an Automated Fare Collection react when a need arose for that population. (AFC) Farebox System for fixed route buses from the GNHTD formed the GNHTD FOUNDATION, an Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area (C-TRAN) independent 501c3 whose mission is to support the in the United States. GNHTD and its riders. For LECIP Group, this is the third major “With major outreach and an overwhelming contract following the Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus positive response from the community at large, in California and the Transit Authority of River the ‘IT MAKES CENTS’ fundraising campaign was City in Louisville, KY, last year. LECIP says that developed and is still evolving,” said Donna Carter, as the company gains momentum in the North executive director, Greater New Haven Transit American market, it will continue to aggressively District. “In terms of a rollback of fares, once the pursue business activity backed up by state-ofgoal of raising $49,352 has been realized (which we the-art technology, high-quality equipment and hope will be only a matter of a month or two), the reliable service. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is a supporter fares will be rolled back to $2.60 per ride.” C-TRAN was established in 1981 and operates of the “IT MAKES CENTS” campaign. “‘It Makes Cents’ to help our seniors and friends approximately 30 routes and over 100 buses in and neighbors with disabilities to live with dignity, without having to Clark County, WA, and into Portland, OR. C-TRAN’s current farebox worry about the extra cost of a shopping trip or trip to the doctor,” said system was at the end of its useable life and C-TRAN sought to replace Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “The services provided by the GNHTD it with a new, modern, state of the art system. In a competitive process are so important for the quality of life for our seniors. Let us all do what LECIP successfully won the bid due to a high evaluation in the farebox we can to help our seniors and people with disabilities in need use equipment’s high processing speed, easy maintenance of the hardware programs like MyRide.” and usability of the system as a whole. The first supporters in the business community of “IT MAKES GNHTD Foundation launches “IT MAKES CENTS” CENTS” are Brazi’s restaurant and Liberty Bank. Each business in its To the thousands of riders of the Greater New Haven Transit District, own way will be creating a grassroots campaign to collect funds to Hamden, CT, which provides over 123,000 rides a year to seniors and donate to this cause. LECIP awarded for automated fare collection system from C-TRAN

people with disabilities within the Greater New Haven landscape, the $0.40 per ride increase has led to worry and concern for a population that has been underrepresented in the past. 22





Valley Metro lowering height of 62 fare vending machines Purchasing fares along the Valley Metro Rail line is becoming easier for many riders. With the lowering of 62 fare vending machines over the next three years, Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ, and the city of Phoenix are helping improve accessibility for everyone. The adaptation was prompted by Phoenix Councilmember Kate Gallego after a local veteran in a mobility device asked her for assistance in purchasing a transit pass. While the fare vending machines along the 20-mile line meet height requirements required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, it was determined that lowering the pedestals under the machines would help all riders with purchasing fares. One fare vending machine at each station entryway will be lowered for a total of 62 machines. On future extensions, the lower pedestal will also be used.




An integrated Intermodal Transport Control System (ITCS) and ticketing system is currently implemented for an urban transport operator in the districts of Paderborn and Höxter. This system is being extended to as many as six more regional transport operators in the final rollout stage of the project. In a next step, current fare products such as annual ticket subscriptions and annual student tickets will be turned into “electronic authorizations” which are stored according to the VDV core application standard. M•CARDs now available Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), Milwaukee, WI, began selling one-day, seven-day and 31-day passes on MCTS M•CARDs (electronic smart cards) at select locations throughout the county on Monday, September 29, 2014. The final transition from paper passes and tickets to MCTS M•CARDs will occur in steps.

CAT raises fares A Capital Area Transit (CAT), Raleigh, NC, fare increase was implemented on October 1, 2014. This increase will allow CAT to continue to make improvements to bus services and facilities. Projected revenues from the first year of the fare increase will be used to provide additional holiday service and designated route improvements. Local paratransit fares will increase effective January 1, 2015.

CAT’s fare increase will allow the agency to make improvements to bus services and facilities.

Transport association Paderborn/Höxter awards system implementation to INIT Intelligent and user-friendly ticketing and passenger information systems in public transport have continued to gain acceptance and spread more and more in Germany. Due to the modern, pioneering technology from INIT, the transport operators in the region of Paderborn/Höxter and the VerkehrsServicegesellschaft Paderborn/Höxter (VPH) can now make a perceptible difference for their passengers while preparing themselves for the future. | BUSRIDE


Small & Midsize Bus Roundtable: Part One

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter from Meridian Specialty Vehicles

In September, BUSRide convened with a select group of manufacturers and dealers in the small and midsize bus industry during BusCon 2014 in Indianapolis, IN. Our roundtable discussion centered on the issues, trends and practices that affect the manufacturers, dealers and operators that utilize these workhorse vehicles. Part One of the conversation focuses on the current state of the industry and how it might grow in the future. The panelists at the table were: Vern Kauffman - Chief Operations Officer, Meridian Specialty Vehicles Ken Becker - Sales Manager, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles Randy Angell - Account Executive – Midwest Region, CH Bus Sales K. Cihan Yaycioglu - Regional Coordinator, TEMSA USA Mehmet Dikce – Account Manager, TEMSA Global Doug Dunn - Chairman & CEO, Alliance Bus Group Troy Snyder - General Manager, Ameritrans Bus Gary Rivers - Sales Manager, Ameritrans Bus Jamie Sorenson - Director of Specialty Vehicles, Winnebago Industries



The TS 30 from TEMSA

Alliance Bus Group represents all of the major small and midsize bus OEMs.

Please offer an executive summary on the current state of the small and midsize bus industry. Vern Kauffman: From a manufacturer’s perspective, we’re not typically involved in the day-to-day business of operators. But, in general terms, something that is on every independent operator’s mind these days is the app-based services. Uber is at the top of the list, and so is Lyft to some degree. I think that’s one of the more pressing issues in the mind of the operators, or at least the people that we talk to. Ken Becker: From a small/medium commercial cutaway bus manufacturer, the big issue is of course money. FTA-funded deals pay for typically 80 percent of our product that we build. We see swings in this as the budget is released every year, but we’re ok. I attended the Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association meeting yesterday and it was very interesting. Interest rates are going to eventually go up. They’ve been low for a while, so money’s been cheap. That’s not going to last forever, it’s only going to go up and it’s a matter of the next couple of years. Spending is tight but it is starting to loosen up a little bit. That’s a good thing. I’d say the overall state of the industry is down a little bit right now, but we’re ok. We should have a strong third and fourth quarter. Troy Snyder: Our business is not slowing down. We’re optimistic that the market will stay at its current pace. All in all, the market is flat to slightly up and we don’t envision any slowdown in the near future. Randy Angell: CH Bus Sales/TEMSA are sort of the new people to this industry, although we started in 2011. We started with a 35-foot midsize motorcoach, but we’re a little bit different than the cutaway business in the sense that we’re a monocoque design, full stainless steel coach. It’s been a good niche for us and we’re actually trending up because we deal with customers that have line runs and also do charter tours. We’re doing very well with our midsized and smaller coach and a lot of that business is coming from tour groups getting smaller. A lot of sports teams use our vehicle as well, and it has a lot of intercity applications. The groups are smaller, so we feel that’s our niche right now. Another big part of our manufacturing process is the luggage capacity, that’s a big deal and a big bonus. Becker: We’re seeing a similar trend in Canada with the benefits of smaller buses vs. big city-transit buses. If you’re not filling that heavy-duty transit bus, the smart way to go is the smaller vehicle. K. Cihan Yaycioglu: Before we entered the United States market, we never thought to enter the shuttle market. In Europe and in Turkey there are different sizes of motorcoach. The 30-foot and smaller motorcoaches are very common there as well. The market here, as Randy said, has groups getting smaller and

smaller. It’s becoming very costly for customers to keep using 45-foot motorcoaches, but that customer wants the same customer level in our 30-foot bus. The current state of the small and midsize bus industry is that every year it’s getting bigger and bigger for us. The big fleet owners are looking for a smaller vehicle that services the same comfort level. Jamie Sorenson: The bus industry is wide open for companies willing to accept challenges, from new compliance legislation, emerging technologies in relation to materials and techniques, as well as addressing customer concerns over bus design. I think the cutaway transit bus has been viewed by many as a commodity with a fixed life cycle. It’s our responsibility as manufacturers to invoke change in the industry by listening, observing, researching and building a better product. In what ways are you seeing the small and midsize bus industry grow and advance? Doug Dunn: From the dealer’s perspective, we haven’t seen a lot of growth overall in the marketplace. It’s been rather stagnant the past three years with little blips up or down. It’s obviously difficult for the industry to grow in that environment. It’s caused increased pressure on margins, competitive pressures are higher and it’s been a difficult time to grow and gain market share. Kauffman: We’re seeing coach operators, as the others were saying, who typically run bigger coaches now catering to smaller groups. We’re focused very heavily on the Sprinter platform and that’s one growth area we’re seeing – the big tour operators with a new offering in their service. Gary Rivers: We’re reaching a new market by getting out with those coach operators that we haven’t served in the past. These customers are looking for an alternative to their 50-passenger coach that will service customers in the 30-35 passenger range. That’s where we’re growing rapidly. The biggest opportunity for these coach owners is the price point, which is much less compared to a large coach. They also may need to serve groups of only 30-35 passengers and a large coach is too much expense for that. Our M2 Vista fits nicely into that niche. Becker: This is something that every manufacturer or dealer thinks about. There’s only a few ways to grow. How do you make 15,000 units, for example, become 20,000 units? That has to come from somewhere, and I mean it has to be taken from some other industry. With the small/medium cutaway bus, one way we’re seeing it grow is by taking business from large transit buses. Transit agencies with a large fleet are saying, “We don’t need this heavy-duty rearengine transit bus, we could do it with two small cutaway buses.”

The M2 Vista from Ameritrans | BUSRIDE


Sorenson: From our perspective at Winnebago, I see our biggest advances being in bus design. We listen to the end user, look at design issues and try to improve them while keeping an eye on the cost. As far as the industry’s growth is concerned, I think industry growth in the last three years is directly related to our recovery from the recession and a down economy. When we were in the pits of the recession, public transportation was a necessity. Now that people have more expenses and need to move around, we’re seeing private businesses like airport shuttles, hotel shuttles and parking lot shuttles all pick up because of the recovery. The Metro Link from Winnebago Industries

What are motorcoach operators’ perceptions of the smaller vehicle? How are you overcoming objections? Snyder: Our feedback is that the operators would like to experience the feel and the ride of a fully-sized coach. The M2 Vista is as close as you’ll get. Cardinal Bus Lines was happy with it, and so were several other customers. It’s a body-on-chassis, so it’s a little bit of a different animal for them in terms of serviceability. All in all, we have been given great feedback and the product has shown very well.

The Spirit of Liberty from ARBOC Specialty Vehicles

Check back next month for an extended second installment of this stimulating conversation.







UK leads with flywheel hybrids By Doug Jack

There are more hybrid buses in operation in the United Kingdom than in any other European country. Although the greatest numbers of hybrid buses are operating in London, others are running in many other parts of the country. Governments in London and Edinburgh have stimulated their purchase by paying much of the difference in price (compared to cheaper conventional diesel buses) with Green Bus Funds.


One of 14 new buses with the GKN Gyrodrive.

The Gyrodrive with electric motor.



he level of subsidy has gradually come down because bus companies have become more confident about the technology and are achieving impressive savings in fuel consumption. Considering the high price of diesel in the UK and most European countries, these funds are a major incentive. In the early days, there were concerns as to the life of the batteries and the cost of their replacement. It would not have made sense to replace the batteries in mid-life, where the cost might well have been more than the value of the complete vehicle. There is now competition between battery suppliers who are prepared to maintain and replace batteries for a fixed price per mile, similar to tire contracts. Until now, BAE Systems, Siemens, Volvo with its own in-house system, as well as a small number of Allison units were the main suppliers of hybrid drive systems in the UK. The technology is has been continually refined. For example, Arrive & Go from BAE Systems switches off the small diesel engine as the vehicle approaches a stop. The bus arrives and goes in all-electric mode, silent and emission-free, which is a big benefit to people in the vicinity of bus stops. The diesel engine does not switch on again until some distance after departing. The Formula 1 racing team Williams has worked for some time on flywheel technology to boost performance and improve fuel efficiency. A change in F1A regulations meant this technology could no longer be used in racing cars, but Williams successfully applied it to the Audi R18 that won the 24-hour LeMans race three times — one of the most grueling endurance tests in the automotive world. Williams also saw the potential to fit the system in buses as they stop and start so frequently. The company worked with Go-Ahead, one of the largest British bus groups, to retrofit the system in a Volvo double-decker bus running in London. Go-Ahead was able to compare it directly with standard diesel and full-hybrid buses. Sufficiently impressed with the savings in fuel and emissions, Go Ahead talked about fitting the flywheel hybrid drive as standard in new buses. This was probably a step too far for Williams, because it meant that the whole production process would have to be industrialized. It would also distract from the core competencies of Williams in racing and high-performance cars. Williams Hybrid Power sold in April to GKN, a 250-year old company and one of the UK’s largest engineering groups with interests in automotive drivelines, off-highway systems, aerospace and special metals.


The aluminum structure of the Enviro400. The upper-deck pillars and roof are added later.

The prototype two-door London version of the new Enviro400.

Based near Oxford, GKN Hybrid Power employs more than 40,000 people and operators in more than 30 countries. In the United States, it manufactures drive shafts, brakes, clutches and wheels. “This acquisition is an opportunity for GKN to take a unique technology to global markets,” says a company spokesperson. “It helps solve the emissions and efficiency challenges faced by mass transit companies around the world.” Within weeks, Go-Ahead placed an order with GKN Hybrid Power to supply 500 Gyrodrive systems — an electric carbon fiber flywheel that offers a highly efficient energy transfer back and forth between the flywheel and the drivetrain. The Gyrodrive system is light and compact. It can be packaged anywhere on the vehicle and is equally suitable for transverse and in-line engine applications. GKN says that the flywheel system is a fraction of the weight of battery-based hybrid systems. In a bus application, the flywheel has no physical connection to the engine or drivetrain. Instead, a motor harvests the energy normally lost during braking and turns this into electrical power to charge the flywheel, which spins at up to 36,000 rpm when fully charged. The flywheel can reverse the process, releasing stored energy to power the motor, helping to accelerate the bus back up to regular speed. The system generates savings of more than 20 percent at a significantly lower cost than battery hybrid alternatives. GKN supplies the flywheel, the advanced EVO electric motor, an in-house-designed and manufactured gearbox, and it provides the installation. Designed and built to last the life of the bus, it eliminates the need for any battery changes. The first of those were installed in a fleet of 14 Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-decker buses that entered service in early September at Go-Ahead’s Oxford subsidiary. Painted in a special color scheme, the buses provide services to and from Oxford Brookes University (not to be confused with the world-famous Oxford University).

The Alexander Dennis double-decker buses are the first of a new generation to go into service. The Enviro400 has been around for several years, but the company decided to make many improvements to coincide with the introduction of Euro VI engines. GKN claims further benefits over battery systems, such as the ability to operate in a broader range of temperatures, from -20ºC to 45ºC, not that we get those extremes in the United Kingdom. Storage and handling at zero charge state is intrinsically safer than for a typical partially or fully-charged high-voltage battery. In the United Kingdom, bus companies running regular services, but not express services, receive a rebate on some of the duty paid on diesel. Vehicles certified as being low carbon receive a larger rebate. All hybrid buses and the GKN system qualify. GKN reckons that the payback period for the Gyrodrive is between four and six years, and that all subsequent mileage is a bonus. Bearing in mind that most of our service buses have at least a 15-year life, that is a major benefit. In a project codenamed MMC (Major Model Change), customers invited to a series of design clinics at the main factory in Scotland were asked about their experience with the previous generation and the improvements they wanted. When they visited the factory for what they thought was a further round of consultations, they were pleasantly surprised to find a complete prototype with many of new features incorporated. These included new electrical circuitry that makes it easier to trace faults; a new heating system located centrally under the staircase and novel glazing for the main side windows. The new model is available at optional heights of 13 feet, 9 inches; and 14 feet, 2 inches, both with the same interior headroom. The lower height is achieved by mounting the body directly onto the chassis frame and by using a new sandwich construction between the decks. It is also available in three different lengths, all on two axles: 33 feet, 11 inches; 35 feet, 9 inches; and 37 feet, 9 inches. Primarily for the London market, the shortest version is available with two double-width doors. Maximum seating capacity in the longest model is 86. As with all Alexander bodies, the structure is aluminum. Despite the greater weight of the Euro VI engine, and especially its cooling system, the overall weight was reduced compared with the previous model. Early tests demonstrated a 12 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The GKN Gyrodrive is also available in the Enviro200 singledeck midibus, the same design that is being promoted by New Flyer as the MiDi. The first examples are due to go into service very soon. The Gyrodrive The entrance and driving compartment of the new is not exclusive Enviro400. to Alexander Dennis by any means. In its promotional material, GKN states that installation solutions are also available for Optare midibuses, the Mercedes-Benz Citaro and Scania OmniCity heavy-duty single-deck buses and a Volvo double-decker bus. There is at least one other flywheel hybrid project in development in the UK, but the GKN solution is the first to go into volume production. Furthermore, with its strong export activities, GKN is in a good position to promote the Gyrodrive in many other markets. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom. | BUSRIDE


Volvo launches all-new electric hybrid The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid was officially launched at the International IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September

The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid can run as an electric bus in selected areas but performs as a hybrid on any route.

Volvo Buses is taking the next step in electrification with the launch of the Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid. The company says its plugin technology reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by up to 75 percent, compared to a conventional diesel bus. Total energy consumption is reduced by 60 percent. “I am very proud to launch this ground-breaking bus system,” said Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Bus Corporation, in a statement. “Electric-hybrid buses and full-electric buses are tomorrow’s solution for urban public transport. They will allow us to reduce energy consumption, air pollution, climate impact and noise, which are some of the biggest challenges facing large cities worldwide.” The noise level beside Volvo’s bus is 65 decibels, or normal conversation level. The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid runs in electric mode on average 70 percent of the route, silent and emission-free. The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid offers great flexibility in operation; it can run as an electric bus in selected areas, but performs as a hybrid on any route. Charging at end stations takes six minutes. The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid shares the technology of the Volvo 7900 Hybrid, securing high uptime and availability. A number of European cities are showing a keen interest in Volvo’s Electric Hybrids. Hamburg, Luxembourg and Stockholm will implement the new bus system in 2014 and 2015. Series production is scheduled to start in early 2016. Three Volvo Electric Hybrids have run in a field test in Gothenburg 30


over the past year, a test that has verified the reduction in energy consumption and emissions. As of this autumn and for two years ahead, eight Volvo Electric Hybrids will be put into regular operation in central Stockholm. This is part of ZeEUS, an EU project being conducted in six European countries. Facts about Volvo’s Electric Hybrid bus • The bus is equipped with an electric motor that is powered by lithium batteries. It also has a small diesel engine. The bus is charged quickly at charging stations via an overhead power connection. Recharging takes approximately six minutes at end stations. • The bus can be driven about 7 kilometers on electricity alone, covering the distance silently and entirely without exhaust emissions. Enables indoor bus stops. • 75 percent fuel saving • 60 percent energy reduction • 75 percent CO2 reduction • Passenger capacity: 95 • No. of seats, max: 32+1 (folded) • Electrical motor: Volvo I-SAM, output: 150 kW, torque, max (Nm) 1200 • Gearbox: Volvo I-Shift • Lithium-ion battery: voltage 600 V, capacity, total: 19 kWh


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BUSRide November 2014  

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