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Bendix spec and maintenance Page 12

Triangle Transit connects Page 22

Bus shelters go solar Page 26

D.A.P. drivers are aware Page 31

™

The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry AUGUST 2012

www.busride.com • $5.00

ABC Companies and Van Hool launch SafetyOne program Page 10


www.krystal.cc


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August 2012 cover story

ABC Companies launches SafetyOne Three safety basics support one goal

features Brakes Special Section

Air disc or drum, spec and maintain

12

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC regards brakes as the most fundamental vehicle safety system

By Gary Ganaway

16 Brake check technology: real time, all the time Electronic monitoring addresses the CVSA inspection standard

By Chad Robinson

Transit Feature

22

10

departments 8 Motorcoach Update 9 Deliveries 18 Transit Update 20 The Transit Authority

Triangle Transit connects with one AVL system

32 Marketplace

By Josh Cohen

columns

25

The Research Triangle Region of North Carolina grows and benefits with real-time information

It is Satisfactory Only for ABA members

The systematic program ranks members every 90 days with regard to the FMCSA SAFER system database

Going Green

26

Bus shelters follow the sun

31

Drivers be aware

4

By Ross Lumb

August 2012

6 David Hubbard 28 The International Report

By Doug Jack

FTA formula grant stipulates transit enhancement projects

John Passananti developed D.A.P. to stress the finer points of driving safety and professional behavior BUSRide


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david hubbard

NYC crash still reverberates A year after the 2011 New York bus crash on the New England Expressway that killed 15 people, the National Transportation Safety Board offered the findings of its investigation of coach driver Ophadell Williams. The board determined he suffered from “acute sleep loss and cumulative sleep debt.” Returning on a casino run for World Wide Travel of Greater New York, Williams was traveling nearly 80 mph in a 50 mph zone on I-95 when he plowed into a guardrail, flipped the coach and hit a sign post, shearing off the roof. Fifteen people were killed and others injured. Phone records and work schedules indicate Williams slept little more than three hours at a time in the 72 hours before the grisly crash, mostly in the form of short catnaps on the bus. The severely fatigued Williams told investigators that a semi-trailer truck veered into his lane and hit his bus, running it off the road. According to a preliminary NTSB examination, investigators could not find any evidence of a collision prior to the accident. Toxicology reports showed no evidence of drugs in Williams’ system, but rather the classic signs of sleep deprivation. He allegedly lied to investigators at the scene about his prior activities and whereabouts in the 72 hours preceding the accident. “Fatigue and speed are an especially lethal combination,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman said in a statement. “Unfortunately, in investigation after investigation, we are seeing the tragic results of fatigue, which can degrade every aspect of human performance.” As the ensuing investigation has revealed, his career losses and accumulations at the time of the accident were stacked so high that an event this horrific was inevitable. How and why he was still driving fatigued at the wheel is the truly disgusting part of this tragic story. It turns out Williams had his CDL suspended 18 times and was fired from Coach USA, as well as the New York Metropolitan Transit Agency for his failure to report two criminal convictions on his job application. His numerous violations over 22 years include license suspension,

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improper passing and failure to obey a stop sign. This time, his irresponsible driving that caused the deadly Bronx crash brought him 15 counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. FMCSA shut down World Wide Travel after the crash, finding the company had an accident rate of 5.7 per million miles traveled. The agency classifies firms with rates above 1.2 as unsatisfactory. This company was oblivious to any sort of driver oversight policy. True to the style of a rogue, World Wide Travel melded into Great Escapes Tours and Travel Ltd., which claimed to be a totally separate entity. A question arose as to whether keeping this quiet would send the correct message to the public. The public also has to know that this is indeed a major industry concern; one we are not the least bit proud of, nor one we are trying to cover up. As we have essentially declared war on rogue operators, it is equally imperative that we salute the federal authorities and their associates for taking up the cause and acting on this issue as diligently as they have, and promote their effort. While the industry must continue to promote its fully-compliant operators whose livelihoods hang on their performance safety records, it is not enough to keep singing their high praises in the face of disaster. When hurricanes hammer the coastline, would the public get the correct message if FEMA stressed the other places throughout the country where it wasn’t raining? If the common view paints the entire motorcoach industry as negligent as this handful of operators, it makes everyone’s role more pressing to single out the rogues and present the evidence that changes this perception. By way of example, elsewhere in this issue you will read of two proactive safety programs the American Bus Association (ABA) and D.A.P. driver training initiated in direct response to the non-compliant behavior of World Wide Travel, Ophadell Williams and their ilk.

BUSRide Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane steve@busride.com Associate Publisher Sali Williams swilliams@busride.com Editor David Hubbard david@busride.com Assistant Editors Glenn Swain gswain@busride.com Richard Tackett rtackett@busride.com Director of Sales Jennifer Owens jowens@busride.com Account Executive Maria Galioto mgalioto@busride.com Production Director Valerie Valtierra valerie@busride.com Art Director Dominic Salerno dsalerno@busride.com Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher

BUS industry SAFETY council

POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide • 4742 North 24th Street • Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 • F: (602) 277-7588 Web site: www.busride.com Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra

Accountant Fred Valdez

Vol. 48 No. 8 Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600, ext. 203.

BUSRide


update

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The Motorcoach Marketing Council has announced it will now concentrate more of its outreach efforts on helping operators market their businesses, and making individual board members responsible for much of the day-to-day operation of the council.

EPA rule protecting Navistar engines dismissed

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Amtrak plans to expand its Thruway Service to eastern North Carolina, providing more access and destination options to passengers. Amtrak is actively working with these communities to secure service stops at each location and refine schedules, and anticipates launching the expansion later this year.

fair advantage by producing non-compliant engines. Court documents reveal that most manufacturers spent millions developing compliant engines. Navistar had unsuccessfully tried developing its own new technology, but found that emissions compliance would be even more expensive. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA, taking issue with the agency’s original invocation of the Administrative Procedure Act’s “good cause” exception for Navistar’s engines. “The EPA took this action without providing formal notice or an opportunity for comment, invoking the ‘good cause’ exception provided in the Administrative Procedure Act,” the court said in the ruling. “Because we find that none of the statutory criteria for good cause are satisfied, we vacate the IFR.” Navistar said in a prepared statement that it disagrees with the court’s ruling and will ask for a rehearing. “Navistar will work with the EPA to fully understand the ruling and its impact on the use of NCPs until a final rule is implemented,” Navistar’s statement said. “At the same time, we will continue to cooperate with the EPA on the final NCP rule and will continue to work with the EPA on our 0.20g NOx certification.”

The private equity firm, Celerity Partners, Los Angeles, CA, has a plan in place to acquire Calco Travel, Hotard Coaches and All Aboard America. The motorcoach companies have signed letters of intent to sell in a deal the U.S. Surface Transportation Board tentatively approved and authorized. No further details were available.

A U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed the ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that permitted Navistar, Inc., Warrenville, IL, to continue selling diesel engines with emissions levels above 0.20g NOx. The EPA originally issued an interim final rule (IFR) in January that allowed Navistar and other engine manufacturers to pay nonconformance penalties (NCP) in order to sell engines that do not comply with emissions standards. This came on the heels of Navistar revealing to the EPA that it had nearly run out of emissions credits, which allow companies to pay for their carbon emissions. Navistar competitors Volvo Group North America and Mack Trucks Inc. sued the EPA, indicating that Navistar had gained an un-

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APTA president to speak at BusCon

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Dave Ruback, REI President dies

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FMCSA announced that it removed 287 commercial bus and truck drivers from the roads and took enforcement actions against 128 companies during its annual drug and alcohol strike force sweep that occurred from April 30 through May 11. Both drivers and carriers will have an opportunity to contest the alleged violations and the amount of the civil penalties. Radio Engineering Industries, Inc. (REI) Omaha, NE, earned the New Flyer Industries 2011 Supplier Delivery Performance Award-Gold Level for exceeding delivering expectations, recognizing REI for providing 99 percent on-time delivery to the New Flyer production facilities in a partnership extending over 10 years.

8 August 2012

Michael P. Melaniphy, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), will deliver the opening keynote address Wednesday, Sept. 12, as BusCon Expo gets underway in Chicago, IL, Sept.10-12 at Navy Pier. Serving in his first year with APTA, Melinaphy is a seasoned leader having devoted his 24-year career to public transportation and

the private sector. Melaniphy served as vice president public sector for bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries (MCI), and previously led public transit systems for 11 years in Charlotte, NC, Wichita, KS, Hamilton, OH, and Laredo, TX. He holds an MBA and a postgraduate MBA Plus degree in Transportation Management from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS.

The motorcoach industry mourned the loss of David Ruback, president of Radio Engineering Industries, Inc (REI), Omaha, NE, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in May. He was 56 years old and is survived by his wife, Marcy, and two sons, Joe and K.C. Ruback. Ruback began with REI in 1987 and was promoted to president in 1998. He was instrumental in REI’s growth and commitment to service, and strived for continuous improvement and pushed REI to be on the cusp of technology to provide superior transportation electronic products.

BUSRide


deliveries NOVA BUS

ABC Industries

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West Valley Trailways Campbell, CA

Scott Habr, general manager of West Valley Trailways, accepted five 2012 Van Hool C2945s after testing two preowned C2025s. The coaches are powered by Cummins ISX engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions and feature Saucon GPS tracking and REI luxury entertainment systems. Habr, schooled in the culinary arts, stepped up for his father Stan Habr, now retired from Valley Lines. Located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, West Valley Trailways operates 21 full-size coaches and four minibuses conducting charters and tours throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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Louisiana Motor Coach Marrero, LA

Louis Sanders, founder and president of Louisiana Motor Coach, took delivery of the company’s sixth coach in two years. This 2012 Van Hool C2145L is equipped with wheelchair lift, three-point seat belts, rear passenger window, Alcoa DuraBrite aluminum wheels, Saucon GPS, REI entertainment system, satellite radio / TV and a Cummins ISX engine coupled to an Allison B500 Gen IV transmission. Louisiana Motor Coach serves the New Orleans and southern Louisiana market with charters to 48 states, as well as tours, convention shuttles, airport and cruise ship transfers and casino trips.

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Idaho National Laboratory Idaho Fall, ID

Bus operations for Idaho National Laboratory (INL), experts in nuclear energy research, added 52 MCI J4500s to bring the exclusively MCI fleet count to 103 coaches that transport employees to its testing labs and campus locations. This latest delivery is the first to feature Wi-Fi connectivity and power outlets. The Cummins engines run on B20 biodiesel fuel. INL is working with the University of Idaho and 5D Robotics to test and develop a new method to reduce idling and change driver behavior.

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Louis A. Johnson VA Healthcare Clarksburg, WV

In a salute to the veterans it serves, the Clarksburg, WV Louis A. Johnson VA Healthcare System’s two new MCI D4005 coaches come decked out with patriotic graphics. The new coaches are used in daily-scheduled service to transport veterans to the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center. The new coaches come equipped with wheelchair lifts and the latest clean diesel engine technology for near zero emissions. The Clarksburg VA’s facilities management services staff worked closely with the graphic design team at Motor Coach Industries (MCI) to design the coaches.

Ames, IA

CyRide, Ames, IA, has ordered two articulated Nova Bus LFS Smart Buses which are being assembled in the Nova Bus assembly plant in Plattsburgh, NY for delivery in October. CyRide elected to expand its fleet profile in response to steadily increasing ridership from the City of Ames and Iowa State University. The LFS Artic, based on the LFS platform, ensures a capability to handle high-volume routes. Gilles Dion, president and CEO of Nova Bus, says CyRide represents a new market for his company.

MOTOR Coach Industries

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CyRide

TEMSA

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SFO Shuttle Bus

San Francisco, CA

SFO Shuttle Bus recently added nine Temsa TS35 coaches to its fleet of 150 vehicles. Since 1952, SFO Shuttle has provided transportation services to a wide range of Bay Area businesses, facilities and municipalities. The 40-passenger Temsa TS35 is a 35-foot mid-size coach constructed from stainless steel and features a Cummins ISL 345 HP engine, Allison B500 transmission three-point seat belts and restroom. SFO Shuttle employs over 250 professional and travels three million miles per year for a customer base that includes Facebook, Google, Onyx and Twitter.

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Rollover Certified

in accordance with UN/ECE-Reg. #66.

Backup Camera

reverse and parking assistance to help navigate tight corners and avoid potential obstacles.

Kidde Fire Suppression System

3-Point Belt Passenger Seats

enhance passenger protection via secure restraint system.

protects engine compartment via automatic engine shutdown, ventilation system shutdown in the event of fire. Optical and linear thermaldetectors alert driver with audible and visual alarms.

Antilock Braking System (ABS)

Saucon TDS

SmartWave Tire Monitoring System

provides remote coach monitoring via web-based fleet tracking and monitoring system to give operators secure access to real-time vehicle data and customizable reporting tools.

prevents brake lockup to provide better steering control and the safest, shortest stopping distance.

minimizes coach downtime or accidents by alerting driver to defective or adverse tire and wheel conditions via wireless sensing and monitoring system.

ABC Companies launches SafetyOne Three safe ty b a si c s suppo r t o ne go al Maintaining an exemplary safety record for protecting passengers is a primary concern of motorcoach tour and charter operators. More passengers are reviewing bus operator safety records using the government’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System as they search for carriers. Pending legislation and new compliance guidelines are changing the business landscape for North American operators. While the new mandates will further enhance passenger safety, operators also recognize the importance of safety as a strong tool to attract these more educated consumers and promote their brand and services while meeting their compliance requirements. As part of its mission to support operators’ goals for safe

By David Hubbard

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August 2012

transport, ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, has launched its ABC SafetyOne program, focused on offering features that support its three core safety principles: • Protect the passengers • Promote drivability and driver control • Preserve the equipment Offered on the most popular new Van Hool models, advanced SafetyOne features represent an investment in safety technology that helps operators optimize safe driving conditions that deliver greater peace-of-mind to traveling passengers, and at the same time enhance the long-term value of fleet portfolios. The key features include are shown in the above photo. “By providing these technologies well in advance of pending legislation, ABC Companies and Van Hool can give opera-

BUSRide


Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

offers increased protection against roll-over, skidding and spinning. Automatically engages the brake and drive train systems to enable improved vehicle control.

Automatic Traction Control (ATC) provides smoother operation, works in conjunction with ABS to prevent traction loss.

Lane Departure Warning System

automatically detects and warns driver of vehicle drift/unintended lane changes to minimize sideswipes and run-off-road accidents due to driver fatigue/error/distractions.

Hella DynaView® Head Light System

combines the safety functions of cornering lights, with existing head lights to provide enhanced illumination and road visibility for nighttime and extreme driving conditions.

Daytime Running Lights improve vehicle visibility.

tors a distinct competitive advantage, and moreover help to make the roads safer for all travelers,” says Tim Wayland, Chief Commercial Officer. “An added bonus is the long-term value and ROI safety features can deliver at resale.” The ABC SafetyOne program leverages best-of-breed technologies long used in the European marketplace that have been adapted into the Van Hool product line for American fleets. In fact, ABC Companies and Van Hool have been the front runners in key safety areas with first-to-market introductions such as standard air disc brakes and independent front and tag axle suspensions. Currently, Van Hool is one of the only manufacturers to offer coaches certified to the strict European RU 66 rollover guidelines — a standard feature offered to motorcoach carriers throughout North America. According to Louis Hotard, Director of

BUSRide

Technical Support, ABC Companies, his company and Van Hool have actively participated with U.S. and Canadian trade associations, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders to communicate holistic approaches under development that will enhance motorcoach safety in North America. Hotard serves as a key liaison and representative on behalf of ABC Companies and Van Hool in numerous safety forums. He was the recipient of the UMA 2007 Safety Award. “We are committed to sharing our knowledge of existing European motorcoach safety standards to proactively engage discussion and foster collaboration with regulators,” he says. “We base our work on a common goal of guiding the development of effective new motorcoach safety standards.” BR Ross Lumb serves as Senior Technical Support for ABC Companies, Faribault, MN.

Van Hool passenger seats incorporate compartmentalization and three-point seat belts.

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S P E C I A L

S E C T I O N :

B R A K E S

Air disc or drum, spec and maintain Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC regards brakes as the most fundamental vehicle safety system By Gary Ganaway The federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced in 2010 is reshaping the compliance and enforcement landscape. Phase I of the federal reduced stopping distance mandate went into effect in August 2011. The regulation, which prescribes shorter stopping distances for Class 8 tractors, spurred technological improvements in foundation brakes that benefit the entire commercial vehicle industry, including motorcoaches. In May 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require full-stability technology, known as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), on truck tractors and certain buses with a

gross vehicle weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds (11,793 kilograms). The commercial vehicle industry, including the motorcoach segment, is changing rapidly. Amid this change operators remain under intense pressure to manage operating costs in the face of escalating costs. To do this they must field increasingly safe, efficient vehicles that bring maximum return on investment. Key for operators is choosing braking systems whose performance, reliability and durability meet the challenges posed by these recent changes. Properly spec’ing and maintaining brakes is fundamental to success in the motorcoach segment.

Bendix’s ADB22X Air Disc Brakes offer maximum stopping power, the virtual elimination of brake fade, and straight, stable stops.

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S P E C I A L

S E C T I O N :

Specs begin with needs

In spec’ing braking systems, motorcoach operators must make the important choice between foundation drum and air disc brakes while basing their decision on a deep understanding of the unique needs of their operations. Brake manufacturers and motorcoach OEMs then work together to design a brake package that meets those needs. At Bendix we employ a team of engineers who work full time

Commercial vehicle brakes do not look much different than they did 30 years ago. However, from a technological standpoint, today’s braking system that brings a fully loaded modern motorcoach to a complete stop within the mandated distance represents a giant leap forward. These are not your father’s brakes. with OEMs to spec brakes. Together they take into account factors such as load, wheelbase, center of gravity, maximum speed and which type of tire best mates with the brake system. Engineers help to size brakes, chambers and the air system.

BUSRide

B R A K E S

The two top priorities are brake balance and stopping distance. In a well-balanced system all the brakes on the vehicle operate at approximately the same temperature and wear at the same rate under normal operating conditions, resulting in best overall performance and longest life. The new federal reduced stopping distance regulation does not include motorcoaches, whose requirement remains 280 feet at 60 mph. However, the mandate has led to significant developments in braking technologies that benefit the wider commercial vehicle industry. Motorcoach operators can choose among the latest foundation drum and air disc brake designs. One development is larger and more powerful drum brakes, engineered to develop the increased torque necessary for shorter stops. The brakes then sustain that torque, reducing brake fade and stopping distances. Even with the improvements to drum brake technology, however, air disc brakes still provide the best available performance and safety.

Air disc brakes offer an advantage

Lessons learned from prior technologies have enabled an evolution to the modern, effective designs that have overcome the shortcomings of both drum brakes and the early offerings of air disc brakes. Today’s air disc brakes offer maximum

August 2012

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S P E C I A L

continued

stopping power; the virtual elimination of brake fade with no degradation of stop-

S E C T I O N :

B R A K E S

ping power; and straight, stable stops. Air disc brakes also provide longer brake life and faster pad replacement, simplifying service and improving uptime. Another advantage is passenger carlike feel, which means less fatigue for motorcoach drivers traveling long distances.

Concerning the stopping distance, the advantages of air disc brakes over drum brakes increase significantly as speeds rise above 60 mph. This is particularly relevant to motorcoaches where many states make it legal for them to run at higher speeds. Fleets and other end-users are increasingly choosing air disc brakes over the more economical drum brakes. This rapidly growing customer base can attest that today’s air disc brake is an engineering achievement. It is quickly moving away from its roots as a brake for specialty and niche applications and emerging as a viable option for everyday use. For motorcoach operators who transport men, women and children every day of the year, the superior performance advantages of air disc brakes are particularly compelling.

Two levels of inspection

The safe operation of a motorcoach begins with the brakes. In addition to stopping the vehicle, the foundation brakes are an integral element in many active safety systems like ESC full-stability technology. A malfunctioning foundation brake compromises the vehicle’s safe operation. Properly maintained with the right parts, today’s air disc and foundation drum brakes are largely trouble free. At Bendix we recommend two levels of maintenance. First is the regularly scheduled preventive maintenance inspection, often based on a set mileage interval like every 30,000 miles. The vehicle receives a thorough inspection. For drum brakes we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions for any automatic slack adjuster installation and maintenance. Their setup procedure will differ because each manufacturer takes a different approach. The regular inspection also includes a check for lining wear. The automatic adjuster built into air disc brakes, sealed and lubed for life, is a major advantage over drum brakes. While air disc brakes require very little

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S P E C I A L

maintenance, pad wear is a concern and requires routine inspection. Fortunately, pads on over-the-highway motorcoaches can last 300,000 to 500,000 miles depending on how aggressively the vehicle is driven. Pad replacement takes about 15 minutes per wheel-end once the wheel is off, compared to approximately an hour for drum brakes. Technicians should also check the rotors for cracks, which are rare, and rubber boots and seals to ensure they are intact. A check of parking capability is also important. The second level of maintenance is the pre-trip inspection. During this walk around, drivers look for obvious problems like loose hoses and leaks. They should also check the disc brake rotors for cracks; an indication the brake is disabled or not operating properly. Drivers should check for lining wear on drum brakes, if it is possible to do so with the wheel on. We do not advise getting up under the vehicle for every pre-trip inspection but once or twice a week is a good idea. Drivers should also heed warning lights and be watchful for brake system problems while driving. Most importantly, they need to be aware of brake pull — the feeling of the vehicle pulling to one side or the other during braking. The issue could be with the lining or an adjuster that is not working properly. At this point a technician should perform a complete brake system inspection. The same is true any time a driver observes smoke. A wheel may be locking up or a brake is dragging. Though brakes have come a long way in terms of reliability, problems will still arise. If something doesn’t feel quite right, have it inspected. We cannot stress enough that the brakes are the most fundamental vehicle safety system.

S E C T I O N :

B R A K E S

sents a giant leap forward. These are not your father’s brakes. The systems are both mechanical and electronic, with an electronic control unit (ECU) to direct the antilock brake system. Brakes will become more technically advanced as systems continue to evolve to meet increasingly stringent safety requirements. For that reason Bendix strongly advocates using certified technicians to service brakes. Federal regulations do not require certified technicians be used, but common sense does — once an operator understands how complex the systems are. Equally important is maintaining the braking system as originally intended. Use original equipment replacement parts wherever possible, from automatic slack adjusters to lubricants. Deviating from original equipment to save money

very often introduces problems. Operators find the parts do not perform like the original equipment. They pay more to resolve the problem than they would have for the original replacement part at the outset. An example is brake relining. We encourage the use of lining specified to meet the OEM requirements. Because of the reduced stopping distance mandate, the newest generation of brakes is more powerful than its predecessors. The brakes achieve this performance through design advancements and carefully chosen friction material. Incorrect or inferior replacement friction material can reduce performance, wear out sooner and negatively affect vehicle safety. BR Gary Ganaway is director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC.

Brake Monitoring System

Trust certified techs and OEM parts

Commercial vehicle brakes do not look much different than they did 30 years ago. From a technological standpoint, however, today’s braking system that brings a fully loaded modern motorcoach to a complete stop within the mandated distance repre-

BUSRide

www.mgmbrakes.com *U.S. Patent Nos. 5,450,930 and 5,825,287 and other U.S. and Foreign Patents Pending.

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S P E C I A L

S E C T I O N :

B R A K E S

Brake check technology: real time, all the time Electronic monitoring addresses the CVSA inspection standard

MGM Brakes has continued development of the e-Stroke brake monitoring system with ES3D for air disc brakes.

By Chad Robinson The current reality of reduced maintenance staffing and declining budgets begs for greater effectiveness in every operational area. Electronic brake monitoring as a proactive approach to maintenance has increased in popularity as the technology has developed. This technology enables operators to reduce costs by identifying trends that lead to problematic brake issues. Left undetected, a minor issue can prematurely mushroom into serious component damage and compromise the safe operation of a vehicle. MGM Brakes, Charlotte, NC, a 50-yearold supplier of air brake actuators worldwide, became interested in electronic brake monitoring with its development of the e-Stroke Brake Monitoring System

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for S-Cam (drum) brakes. The company designed this system to address the CVSA standard that requires the driver to conduct a walk-around brake inspection of all vehicles equipped with air brakes before each daily service. The brake actuator in both S-Cam (drum) and air disc systems is the conversion point where pneumatic energy is converted to mechanical force, and where problems with air delivery, air release, and mechanical problems that effect brake adjustment and stroke, can be readily detected. Integrating electronic brake monitoring into the brake actuator was the ideal location to achieve this goal. MGM Brakes has continued develop-

ment of the e-Stroke brake monitoring system with ES3D for air disc brakes. MGM’s prior ES3 technology utilized an Electronic Controller (ECU) and Hall Effect Sensing Technology to monitor brake stroke, which is still widely deployed on S-Cam (drum brake) applications. The new ES3D technology utilizes the same ECU, cabling, diagnostic software, and now adds new infrared optical sensing technology to monitor air disc brake operation. The new spring-loaded chamber ball-end design monitors proper contact and movement of the caliper lever arm during each application and release of the brakes. The first system designs were simple LED-lit stroke indicators that indicated

BUSRide


S P E C I A L

proper brake function and stroke compliance. Today’s systems fully integrate with the vehicle J-1939 data bus, displaying, sending and recording assigned SAE fault codes for out-of-adjustment, dragging, and faulty or non-functioning brakes. The ES3D system monitors the vehicle braking system in real-time and can detect: • Non-functioning brakes caused by broken air hoses, faulty valves and faulty brake chambers • Dragging brakes caused by faulty valves, faulty parking chambers and caliper adjuster failures • Over stroke brakes caused by caliper adjuster mechanism failure or other mechanical failure MGM’s E-Stroke Gen 3 S-Cam systems have been widely adopted for use in transit and passenger bus applications. The operational demands for continuous service, longer duty cycles and proactive maintenance have made electronic brake monitoring popular. This is due largely to

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S E C T I O N :

B R A K E S

its ability to accurately define problems early and relay those via AVM systems, as well as via the onboard diagnostics available to maintenance personnel. Air disc brake systems pose an even greater challenge to maintenance and periodic inspections due to the lack of brake component accessibility. A recent gathering of CVSA and industry experts resulted in an agreement that the only physical inspection of disc brakes a technician could perform required removal of the wheels to check pad wear. Running the vehicle over a pit or putting it on the lift to check brake function would prove fruitless unless the rotors showed obvious rust or were visibly scored from metal-to-metal contact with worn-out brake pads. Other potential avenues to ensure functionality include placing the vehicle on a rolling dynamometer to check parking brakes and service brake forces, or using a temperature-sensing device on wheels after repeated service applications to

check wheel end temperatures. At MGM Brakes we believe onboard technology, like the ES3D brake monitoring system, is the most cost effective and reliable solution. This technology provides real-time diagnostics that monitor brake conditions with every brake application. As a safety device on tour buses departing from remote locations, or as a maintenance alert for city transit operators, real-time monitoring of air disc brakes equates to safer vehicles and better component utilization. It’s like having an inspector on board. Whether the system is alerting the driver via vehicle displays or alerting maintenance to persistent faults in the air brake system, ES3D users will find that having a constantly watchful eye on their braking system will ensure better operational returns and safer braking performance.BR Chad Robinson is the market development manager, Global Transit and Bus, at MGM Brakes.

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update

Greenlink service begins in Houston

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CTfastrak, Connecticut’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), is to be constructed on an abandoned railroad corridor from New Britain to Newington Junction and alongside the active Amtrak rail right-of-way off the Springfield Line.

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Proterra, in partnership with the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD), was recently awarded a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant in the amount of $2.56 million toward an electric bus demonstration project valued at more than $4 million.

Greenlink buses will operate along a 2.5-mile, 18-stop route. Photo courtesy of Houston Downtown Management District

Greenlink bus service, which began in June in Houston, TX, is a free service funded and operated by Downtown District, BG Group and Houston First Corporation. Houston officials believe the Greenlink service will help revitalize downtown shopping as more residents and visitors shop in stores and eat in downtown restaurants. Environmentally friendly CNG buses roll along a 2.5-mile route with 18 stops that includes connections to eight hotels, the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Central Library, Discovery Green, City Hall, Main Street Square and Houston Pavilions. In years past the Metropolitan Transit Authority operated a free downtown trolley shuttle, but that service was discontinued in 2005 after the agency imposed a 50cent fare for rides the year before.

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Sun Metro in El Paso, TX announced the launch of its new website design and the release of “Bike and Ride,” an instructional video on taking your bike with you when riding the bus. The new website contains more in-depth information about the services offered by Sun Metro and was created to be more user friendly.

BRief

Orange County Transportation Authority is celebrating its 40th year of bus service. In 1972, OCTA began bus service with eight buses along three routes. Forty years later the agency operates a fleet of 550 buses along 77 routes throughout Orange County.

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the transit authority

Lessons learned when Hollywood comes to town By Joseph Calabrese

CEO and General Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Greater Cleveland RTA, Cleveland, OH

Summer living is easy in a moderate-sized Midwest city. There may be more people out and about in downtown during the warm months than in the winter, but that’s about it. Not so when Hollywood comes to town. Cleveland played the part of New York City in Marvel Studio’s summer blockbuster movie The Avengers. Marvel contacted the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) in late spring 2011 after working with the City of Cleveland on possible street closures for the film’s action-packed battles. Our communications staff was informed of the exact closures, and filming took place throughout August last year. During that time overturned cars, major explosions with black smoke and actor sightings were normal. Thousands of people flooded in to feel the Hollywood excitement. At the same time, a transit agency is required to make major behind-the-scenes changes to accommodate film shoots at odd hours, while still operating its regular weekly service.

In the case of the GCRTA, dozens of bus routes had to be adjusted during the day and night and at the last minute for various films taking advantage of Ohio’s advantageous film tax credits. The challenges included operator reroute instructions, internal communication and effectively getting the word out to customers. Here are a few lessons GCRTA learned while accommodating the filming of a half dozen motion pictures this summer, the largest by far being The Avengers.

Plan ahead

Do as much advance planning as possible. This includes selecting team members and affected parties internally, as well as identifying external stakeholders. Operations teams in service quality, the bus garages and in service management (scheduling) worked internally with filmmakers and the City of Cleveland to discuss street closures, additional security and other possible concerns at every step. Communications and marketing staffs

An explosion featuring actor Chris Evans is staged in downtown Cleveland, closing East 9th Street to all traffic for nearly a month.

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A HealthLine station transformed into a German bus station for The Avengers on Public Square, one of Cleveland’s busiest bus areas. GCRTA worked closely with the studio to transform the bus and station.

worked closely with these departments within GCRTA, as well as with external entities like the media, who needed to be a great partner in order for customers to receive reroutes and changes. Laying out needs in advance for extensive movie schedules can help everyone ask the right questions. The same goes for laying out a strategic plan for dissemination of information.

Be consistent

Teams

Expect the unexpected

Select individuals in your organization who are key players in each department. Establish an emergency call list for those team members who are available 24/7 in the event of a change or an emergency. GCRTA had individuals on committees representing service quality, transit police, communications, marketing, customer call center, sign shop, bus operations districts and more. Evaluate all the pieces of the business that will be affected and make sure there is a team member from each affected group. Schedule regular briefings to keep your team updated in case major changes develop. Assign someone to document changes, concerns and updates from each meeting.

Use all communications tools

Use all communications methods and channels possible. GCRTA used Facebook, Twitter, Commuter Alerts, media alerts, website updates, phone calls to media and customer service representatives to tell customers about the changes. GCRTA created a special Avengers Commuter Alert where 700 customers signed up to receive closure alerts via text or email, and changes if they occurred. The sign shop and graphic designers were kept busy with a number of signs to tell customers where to catch a bus if filming blocked off streets and intersections. Additional transit police officers assisted when drivers and pedestrians that needed to be directed to an unusual spot.

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If you tell customers to expect a route to change and film crews make changes, stick with what you’ve originally told customers for that day. If filming ends at 2 p.m. but the reroute goes through rush hour, stick with it. Make sure customers know you will do what you say. Remember to tell everyone about any changes as soon as possible, both inside and outside the organization. Outside filming depends on weather conditions, so the enddate that you were initially given may not be the final filming date. Along those same lines, film crews may ask you at the last minute to add days which disrupt bus schedules, cause street closures and inconvenience customers. If you expect changes will come, then it’s much easier to roll with them. Always keep customers in mind. There were consistently several movies filmed here in Cleveland, and there were additional last-minute changes and lengthier filming schedules than initially expected. GCRTA employees found that as much as we planned ahead, we needed to understand that Hollywood runs on its own schedule. Unexpected changes will happen and you need to be flexible with those changes, while consistently communicating with employees, the media and directly with customers. Ultimately, customers know that a transit agency is helping boost a city’s bottom line, even though they might be inconvenienced along the way. During filming, GCRTA carried thousands of people to and from work every day and kept up normal business for all customers, just like every other day. Even with Hollywood and tourists taking over, the mission of safe transport was accomplished. BR ______________________________________________ Joseph Calabrese is the General Manager and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. He joined the agency in 2000.

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Users with the TransLĹ?c app can get real-time route information from any of North Carolina’s Research Triangle transit agencies.

Triangle Transit connects with one AVL system The Research Triangle Region of North Carolina grows and benefits By Josh Cohen The Research Triangle Region of North Carolina includes the capital city of Raleigh, North Carolina State University and Capital Area Transit; Duke University in Durham and the Durham Area Transit Authority; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill Transit. Together these transit agencies operate approximately 320 vehicles transporting passengers to and from the

Transit agencies in the Research Triangle Region, including Chapel Hill Transit, together operate approximately 320 vehicles.

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various universities, medical centers, downtowns and other job centers within the Research Triangle. Between 2006 and 2009, Capital Area Transit, North Carolina State University and Chapel Hill Transit all procured realtime passenger information systems to improve the transit experience for their riders but chose different automated vehicle location (AVL) vendors. In 2010, Durham Area Transit Authority and Triangle Transit elected to provide similar tools to its riders. The good news was that these transit agencies wanted to invest in passenger information to give their riders real-time bus location on the web and on their mobile phones. The bad news was that these separate passenger information systems would not be able to communicate with one another.

As the coordinating agency for this project in the region, Triangle Transit grew concerned over the possibility of up to six different AVL vendors operating in this area and unable to talk to each other, which would make it extremely difficult for riders to understand all the options. In its due diligence, Triangle Transit found that AVL providers and web and mobile developers have very different strengths that did not often overlap. With that finding the agency decided to split up the procurement by first purchasing AVL for the agencies that needed the technology. Secondly, it purchased an integrated, regional passenger information system that took real-time data from all the AVL vendors to provide a consistent look and feel. For this the agency chose the TransLĹ?c Transit Visualization System, a real-time system that is more

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convenient for riders and more efficient for transit administrators. Triangle Transit established two primary goals: increase customer satisfaction and attract more choice riders. Its first step was to ensure all riders including transit-dependent riders had access to real-time information. To accomplish this the agency invested in LED signs at transit hubs and static signs with instructions on how to get real-time information via SMS. As the graph from the Pew Research Trust shows, smartphone penetration rate is increasing with all income levels, all races and all education levels. As more and more riders gain access to this technology, their expectations for its use will continue to rise.

@citybeautiful21: Getting great use out of the @Transloc app riding @triangletransit @gotriangle. TXFRs easier than ever. @thedustin: @gotriangle has real-time bus tracking via mobile & web apps! To attract choice riders in higher income and education levels — currently the highest level of smartphone riders — Triangle Transit realized it has to overcome the “chocolate cake problem,” a funny but true analogy from Glenn Kurtz, VP of Alternative Transportation for Lanier Parking. “It seems if people have a car, they drive it, even if other options are available,” he says. “It is like having a big piece of chocolate cake placed in front of them after every meal. They just eat it.” Convincing people to consider not using their single-occupancy vehicles can be tough. They are so convenient, comfortable and trustworthy. On the other hand, public transit introduces other variables and brings up questions like: Will my bus arrive on time? Where is my nearest stop? What do I do if I have to leave work early? The challenge for transit is to be on a more equal footing with automobiles. Triangle Transit opted for more advanced technology to provide its customers the means to see five different transit agencies in the same place.

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Results

To increase customer satisfaction, consider that according to the most recent data available from the time of the project’s launch through February 2012, ridership increased by 25 percent. Call center calls have been flat and dispatch calls are down 68 percent. Dispatchers can now get real-time information from all the agencies in one place. While this project cannot take full credit for the ridership increase, it has certainly impacted the leveling off of call center calls now that riders have information in the palm of their hands. It will take more than a few months to determine if Triangle Transit and its constituent agencies are attracting more choice riders. Initial indications that include positive social media comments by riders and community members suggest that choice riders indeed count for part of the increased ridership. The new technology is also serving as a platform for rider engagement. Triangle Transit has included the real-time API in its developer resources area, and an enterprising rider has already created a Windows Phone app. The lesson here is that even with existing AVL, transit agencies and regional partnerships can create a unified regional web and mobile app presence. To experience the website or app, visit live.gotriangle.org from a computer or mobile phone. BR _____________________________________________ Josh Cohen serves in sales and marketing for TransLĹ?c.

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It is Satisfactory Only for ABA members The systematic program ranks members every 90 days with regard to the FMCSA SAFER system database

Public outcry rippled through the industry last year following the two horrific coach crashes involving the Sky Express and World Wide Tours motorcoach companies, prompting a number of proactive responses for a safer industry. Suggestions ranged from driver awareness training to stricter safety monitoring. The American Bus Association (ABA) board of directors and staff moved to initiate a new and rather revolutionary program to supplant their anger for the bad name these rogue operations bring on the industry. The association initiated a systematic program to review its membership ranks every 90 days with regard to the FMCSA’s SAFER system database and expel any company that has an “Unsatisfactory” score. ABA allows companies showing a “Conditional” score 180 days to bring the scores up to “Satisfactory” or face removal from the membership roster. According to ABA Membership Director Roderick Lewis, in 2012 the association has identified and immediately removed from its ranks eight companies that had fallen to unsatisfactory status with FMCSA. “We wanted to respond by doing something more concrete and lasting,” says ABA President and CEO, Peter J. Pantuso. “We wanted to let the public know that if anyone boards a motorcoach belonging to one of our ABA members they will have the assurance in knowing they are working with a well-run, compliant company with safe, well-maintained coaches and properly trained drivers.” Pantuso says ABA decided to take this step to clearly demonstrate how seriously it regards all safety issues and to help ABA members run the safest operations possible. Lewis says ABA also found 25 companies operating in conditional status and has informed them of the 180-day period to bring their scores up to the satisfactory level.

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“We tell companies in this situation how they can improve their score,” he says. “ABA can and will assist in whatever way we can, namely by working with well-established companies in the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) and using other resources we can recommend.” Dan Ronan, ABA’s senior director of communications, says none of the eight companies removed from the roster have returned to ABA. “We take this responsibility very seriously,” says Ronan. “The fact ABA has cited 33 member companies and culled out eight proves this is a course of action we will pursue.” He says the ousted operators are but a small fraction of the roughly approximate 1,000 motorcoach companies operating in the U.S. and Canada, and represent about 3 percent of the ABA membership that has faced safety-related issues. The association established its code of ethics to help promote and maintain the highest standards of intercity bus service and personal conduct among its members. Prior to becoming an ABA member company the motorcoach operator must

first agree to and sign the ethics code, promising compliance with all state and federal regulations. Drivers take an oath to conduct operations in a safe manner in order to protect the public and to promote the image of the industry. They promise to instill consumer and public confidence in the industry, avoiding any action conducive to discrediting it or membership in the association. The association based this action on its belief that federal and state governments must have the authority to impound motorcoaches after the authorities shut down such unsavory companies. ABA also supports ongoing legislative efforts to improve motorcoach safety, such as the proposal to assign motorcoach companies a letter grade of A through F, dependent on a company’s inspection scores. According to ABA, no other association takes this step to remove unsafe members from its membership or has a clear-cut code of ethics about business operations. BR

The new ABA Safety Review will help ensure satisfactory results from its member companies in all areas of compliance and accident prevention.

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going green

Bus shelters follow the sun

FTA formula grant stipulates transit enhancement projects

According to the RTC, the new bus shelters will save taxpayers approximately $54,000 a year in energy costs.

RTC unveils new solar-powered transit shelters The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is installing 150 new solar-powered bus shelters throughout the Las Vegas Valley as part of its federally funded transit amenities program. The $1.8 million formula grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the purchase and installation of the new energy-saving shelters specifically stipulates the allocation be for transit enhancement projects such as transit shelters. RTC says the new shelters will provide an attractive, comfortable and shaded place for riders to wait for transit while saving taxpayers approximately $54,000 a year in energy costs.

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Built with recyclable materials, these shelters designed by Luchessi Galati Architects and manufactured by Tolar Manufacturing Inc., Corona, CA, feature energy saving LED lighting and solar panels that enable the shelters to power their own illumination without connecting to the local power grid. Each one is roomy enough to accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair or other mobility device. Each shelter houses a bench, receptacle bin, display case for transit information and two advertising panels. RTC says the installation of the 150 units will be complete by December in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County. The RTC is responsible for the

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installation and maintenance of bus shelters in these jurisdictions. The agency says currently 1,500 of the approximately 3,500 transit stops valley wide have shelters.

Sun Metro introduces new bus stop solar lighting system Sun Metro, El Paso, TX, installed a new lighting system consisting of 13 solar lighting units throughout the El Paso area to better illuminate their previously poorly lit bus stops. Additionally, Sun Metro says the new system will give transit passengers a better sense of security by improving visibility and lessening the chance of a bus passing up waiting riders. Each solar lighting unit contains clear white solar-powered LED lights that provide consistent lighting for up to 12 hours and illuminate the waiting area using a power of six lumens. BR

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Sun Metro’s new solar lighting system will better illuminate poorly lit bus stops with little or no lighting.

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the international report

The Russian bus market revisited By Doug Jack Since reporting on the Comtrans exhibition in Russia last September, I recently attended Busworld Russia in Nizhny Novgorod (formerly the closed city of Gorky) located about 300 miles east of Moscow. Economists frequently talk about Brazil, Russia, India and China, familiarly called the BRIC countries, as the engines for future financial growth. Like so many other countries, the global financial crisis has affected Russia principally because of less demand for its oil, gas and minerals. The country has

since made a strong recovery, resulting in high demand for new buses for the city fleets. Moscow has a superb metro system in which a complement of trams, trolleybuses and buses often provide connecting services. In many cities minibuses and midibuses run parallel services on fixed routes and a slight premium fare. With Moscow heavily congested with cars for much of the day, the city is seeing an increasing number of bus lanes. Last year, according to official statistics, Russia registered more than 57,000 buses

and coaches of all sizes. Factory shipments of 15,382 vehicles over eight tons gross went largely to the domestic market. Around 5,000 imports, mainly interurban vehicles and coaches, came in from Korea and China along with a small number of highly specified Western European coaches at the top end of the market. Registrations rose by 84 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2011. Mosgortrans, the municipal operator in Moscow, is currently taking delivery of more than 2,000 LiAZ full low-floor city buses from the Likino Bus Factory. This

One of these newly re-styled PAZ -3204 city midibuses may run on gasoline, which happen to be more tolerant of cold winter conditions.

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is a subsidiary of the GAZ Group, which also owns another three bus brands. While visiting Russia over the years I have noticed a distinct improvement in product quality and protection of structures against corrosion. The larger fleets are thinking in terms of whole life operating costs, therefore the Moscow buses have MAN Euro 5 engines, with axles and fully automatic gearboxes from ZF of Germany. Increasing demand has encouraged the manufacturing industry to invest in the development of new models. At Busworld Russia there were two new 40-foot allelectric buses, both with full-length low floors. LiAZ launched its 6274 with MOBEL electrical equipment, a Moscow specialist. Electrical energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries mounted at roof level. Much of the other electrical equipment fits into a full-height compartment behind the third door. The bus is fitted with an independent oil-fired heating system to conserve electrical energy during the winter. The engineering team enthusiastically answered my questions, saying they expected a range of around 125 miles on a full charge for the prototype, with extensive overhead wiring for trolleybuses in most cities that should be relatively easy to install. TrolZA, the principal manufacturer of trolleybuses in Russia, showed the second all-electric bus. The company showed a 52501 city bus with lithium-ion batteries on the roof connected to accumulators — an interesting combination. The accumulators provide the energy to move the vehicle away from a stop and up to a speed of around 20 mph. Both buses also have regenerative braking system, which help to extend their range. The authorities are encouraging the purchase of accessible low-floor buses. As the infrastructure in Russia is not always suitable for those models, at least three vehicles in Busworld Russia featured wheelchair lifts located at a second doorway. The largest bus factory is the Pavlovo Plant, producer of the PAZ brand. This subsidiary of GAZ builds around 10,000 vehicles per year, all around 25 to 26 feet long and nearly all with higher floors. Surprisingly for this day and age, around

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A new low floor trolleybus in Moscow.

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the international report continued half still run on gasoline engines but evidently happen to be more tolerant of the very harsh and cold winter conditions. PAZ showed a city midibus with a front mounted Cummins engine and an Allison fully-automatic gearbox. The second exhibit was an interurban midicoach, also with a Cummins engine but with an ordinary manual gearbox. It is not easy to understand how the Russian purchasing system for city buses actually works. In addition to the Central Government, there are strong regional governments with devolved powers. Politicians are keen to keep workers fully employed, and that is a major factor when the large public sector fleets place their orders. MAZ, the Minsk Auto Factory from neighbouring Belarus, is the strongest importer in the city bus sector. It started building buses 20 years ago to German Neoplan designs, but has since developed its own models. MAZ showed a new interurban coach and an attractive

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TrolZA showed this prototype all-electric low-floor bus.

midicoach. Outside, I saw large numbers of MAZ low-entry city buses running on the streets of Nizhny Novgorod. For my return from Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow I chose to ride a new, very reasonably priced high-speed train service running new German stock from Siemens. Announcements on board were in Russian and English and

the friendly crew, all smartly dressed young women, spoke good English. The service was superb and the train pulled into Moscow right on time — all so far removed from the popular concept of Russia. BR Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.

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Drivers be aware John Passananti developed D.A.P. to stress the finer points of driving safety and professional behavior By David Hubbard John Passananti developed his proprietary Driver Awareness Program (D.A.P.) in direct response to the unsafe and unprofessional driving practices he has witnessed in his 30 years working in commercial transportation. In this time his duties with Campus Coach Lines and Hudson Transit, both based in New York, NY, have included conducting driver training sessions as well as safety presentations for Lancer Insurance Company, Long Beach, NY. Passananti says the 2011 New York bus crash on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that killed 15 people sparked his idea for the program. He set out to develop a comprehensive driver training program he hopes will instill pride in the individual sitting behind the wheel of a luxury motorcoach. “I have observed far too many bus and coach drivers who in my mind are simply unaware of the destructiveness they are capable of through their lack of knowledge of safety principals, standard operating procedures and personal conduct,” he says. “Some drivers have no idea how or why they contribute daily to high operating costs and a negative public image of their company.” In addition to rudimentary safe driving techniques, the D.A.P. program that Passananti launched in January focuses on a thorough knowledge of the vehicle, driver appearance and personal conduct. “I want to provide a remedy to make drivers more aware of their position as the vital connection between the company and the client customers,” says Passananti. “The goal of every driver should be to prevent and avoid accidents, satisfy his passengers and help trim down vehicle maintenance and repair costs. They have so many aspects to consider.” His self-conducted D.A.P. seminar emphasizes seven points of awareness: 1. Be the captain — Bus and coach drivers can take a lesson from commercial airline pilots. Smartly dressed and professional pilots exude confidence and trust in their training, as the sterling safety record of the airline industry demonstrates. 2. Know the bus — The safest driver recognizes every odd noise coming from the various components and systems, and responds immediately when the correct numbers and levels on the gauges fall below normal, as well as tire pressure and the correct levels of fluid. He takes time to read the vehicle operation manual from cover to cover. 3. Represent the company — The driver is the first

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D.A.P. is available to all bus and coach transportation companies and municipal transit authorities in groups of 10 to 15 drivers.

and sometimes only contact between the passengers and the operator. He represents his employer through his professional pride. He knows how to execute company policy. 4. Respect the passengers — Top drivers let their professionalism do the talking. They show their respect to the passengers by ensuring their correct and decisive actions instill trust that their leader has safety and comfort foremost in mind. 5. Make a smooth drive — Nothing demonstrates professional driving faster and easier than a smooth coach ride. The best driver should be able to set a glass of water on the dash and drive from point A to point B without spilling a drop. He is aware that any erratic handling of the vehicle, fast starts, sudden braking or speeding can not only lead to an accident, but create an unsatisfactory experience for the passengers. Motion sickness is not uncommon. 6. Read the road — The best drivers know the road ahead. They make it a practice to be aware of highway conditions and hazards, toll booths, trusses, curbs and any temporary dividers and lanes. He does his homework as part of his pre-trip routine to know where trouble may lurk and forms an advance plan for how to respond. 7. Obey the law — Safe driving begins by simply performing the job in a totally compliant manner with respect to laws and regulations. This includes speed limits and rules of driving, proper licensing and certifications, accurate and updated logs and legal documents, and excellent vehicle maintenance. Passananti makes D.A.P. available to all bus and coach transportation companies, as well as municipal transit authorities, preferably in groups of 10 to 15 drivers. The seminar includes a follow-up visit after six months to review the progress of each participant and addresses other issues and trouble spots. Upon completion of the program, each driver receives his D.A.P. certification. Passananti also sends a letter to the operator company, with copies to the insurance company and state DOT, stating he has put the driver through the program. For more information, visit www.driverawarenessprogam.com. BR

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