AUGUST | 2015
O F F I C I A L
BUSRide Road Test:
2015 Prevost H3-45
Transit revenue management p10 Telematics and driver coaching p13 Driving in inclement weather p27
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AUGUST 2015 CONTENTS
COVER STORY Official BUSRide Road Test: The 2015 Prevost H3-45
The new vehicle from Prevost passes muster on the Arrow Stage Lines training route By David Hubbard
FEATURES Focus On: Fare Collection
SPX Genfare and Trapeze Group discuss revenue management
Focus On: Finance
Cash flow is important – know how to calculate and manage it
The Science Behind The Seat 22 USSC Group explores the science behind ergonomic seating design
Company safety starts with culture
NTSB leader speaks to motorcoach industry at Bus Industry Safety Council
Reenergizing the industry
WTS Transportation YOU Summit attracts more young women to industry
DEPARTMENTS 8 UPDATE 20 DELIVERIES 20 PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
10 EQUAL ACCESS
By Ryan Lamb
13 LESSONS LEARNED
By Dick Mahany
17 THE CONNECTED BUS
By Estee Woods
By Mary Sue O’Melia
25 SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
By Lori Jetha
27 DRIVER SAFETY
By Prevost Prep
28 THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT 4
By Doug Jack
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
After more than a year we are still finding new ways that this powerful program can help us improve our customer service and our bottom line. And the busHive™ staff has
question or need a customized report. Michael Neustadt (Owner), Coach Tours
EasyBus is now
been quick to help whenever we have a
busHive TRANSPORTATION SOFTWARE
where all your operations come together In 1997 Easybus™ began as a program with three screens that a mechanic with no computer experience could navigate. Both the company and the product were branded to convey this simplicity. Little did we dream that this simple system would blossom into a sophisticated software platform for tracking virtually all aspects of transportation for both school bus and motorcoach operations. In fact, our training today rarely is limited to just one mechanic as it was in 1997; since the software touches nearly all aspects of a transportation department, we provide a 30 day trial to allow the entire staff to put our platform to the test. We are proud of the reputation that not only our software but also our people have earned in these last 18 years, but we believe it is time to update the brand so that it captures the scaled elegance that we offer bus operators of all kinds in 2015. In this spirit, effective July 1, 2015 we are renaming our company and our single flagship software that replaces all former Easy-programs to busHive™. We believe this name conveys the elegance of a single software platform that can effectively organize the workflows of an entire transportation operation. To learn more, visit our website at www.busHive.com
Michael Hinckley President and CEO
Something about The Maintenance of Headway Here is a suggested summer read for bus enthusiasts: The Maintenance of Headway by a brilliant, clever and perhaps a bit warped writer living and working in London named Magnus Mills. His biography has it that he has typed seven novels and three collections of stories on a typewriter. I can’t contact him by email, as he only corresponds by postcard. Aside from all that, Mills is a bus driver by trade. He has been praised as “a demented, deadpan comic wonder.” In his latest, The Maintenance of Headway, his first book published in the U.S., Mills takes on what he sees as the absurdities of the transit system (I am only the messenger here), which largely stem from the insistence on maintaining headway — the appropriate space between buses on a route. Through his experience and wit, he doesn’t leave out who he sees as the ruling class of inspectors, herds of oblivious commuters, and “the creed of timeliness that rules their every move.” According to Mills, arriving early is absolutely forbidden. A fixed interval between buses can be attained and adhered to — even when it seems absurd. Never mind the demands of the hapless passengers. In the bizarre world of the bus driver, Mills says it is up to him to compensate for the whims of the other drivers, such as Mrs. Barker who stops everywhere. “She did not seem to realize that she was part of a coordinated operation, which ran buses at a specific time.” Apparently, a six-minute time difference means a call from the inspector. “It was his job, above all else, to prevent us from being early — and he was a master.” But best not to worry. Mills writes that no matter how early or late, a driver was rarely in danger of being sacked. What happens when Mills is running early? He obediently disregards his passengers and fakes engine trouble until the proper amount of time has passed. “The idea of curtailing bus journeys in order to provide better bus service defied logic, but needless to say, the Board of Transport had a logic all its own.” If Catch-22 is a favorite, check out Magnus Mills’ twisted folly with logic. It is available through www.bloomsbury.com.
busride.com CEO Judi Victor firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Steve Kane email@example.com Associate Publisher David Hubbard firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief Richard Tackett email@example.com Art Director Stephen Gamble firstname.lastname@example.org Account Executive Jeanette Long email@example.com Accountant Fred Valdez firstname.lastname@example.org
BUS industry SAFETY council
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David Hubbard Associate Publisher BUSRide Magazine
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BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
Transportation Center Design The Science and Art of designing successful intermodal transit centers By Donald E. Gray, AIA, LEED AP Fully integrated intermodal transit centers enhance the quality of life in the communities they serve by offering as many transportation modes as possible and spurring economic development and infrastructure growth. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential their design is an appropriate balance of Science and Art.
provide the “Petersburg Experience” by incorporating elements of Petersburg’s rich history, thereby drawing travelers and non-travelers alike to visit. In recognition of Petersburg being a strategic railroad center by the mid-19th century, metaphorical inlaid concrete train rails on the outside of the building and inlaid zinc train rails inside the building are part of the facility’s wayfinding system that leads customers safely from mode to mode and throughout the building. Following these rails provides an interpretive walking experience by means of inlaid floor medallions and wall plaques that contain historical information. Another aspect of the “art” of the facility is the inclusion of art itself. Thirty busloads of local children were invited to the site to create drawings of what they think about when they hear “public transportation.” Their artwork is displayed in the main concourse of the facility on a rotating basis.
The Science The science of an intermodal center is primarily the engineering and technical design and includes: Pedestrian safety and walkability Circulation patterns that minimize the number of times pedestrians cross vehicle paths. Vehicle type separation Provide separate ingress and egress points for each mode and vehicle type – local bus, intercity bus, shuttles, taxis, bicycles, Kiss and Ride, parking, and deliveries. Vehicle movements Accurate horizontal (geometric) and vertical (grade) engineering so vehicles can maneuver through turns without backing up or “bottoming out” when entering or exiting the site. The use of computer design software accomplishes this during the design process. Traffic control Impacts to adjacent streets, roads and intersections is mitigated by separate ingress and egress points for each vehicle type, as well as appropriate traffic signage and signalization. Signage and wayfinding The signage and wayfinding design enables users to find their way without having to ask for directions. Federal requirements Applying the Federal Transit Administration and state environmental regulations to prevent the project from having an adverse effect on people and the environment. Federal requirements are typically referred to as “NEPA.” The Art The art is what makes a transit center feel and act like the “Town Center,” an integral part of the community fabric. The following examples illustrate how this can be achieved: Petersburg Intermodal Transit Center, Petersburg, VA This transit center accommodates intercity and local bus carriers, paratransit vehicles, a trolley service, taxis, bicycle racks and lockers, Kiss and Ride drop-offs and on-site parking. In addition to providing state-of-the-art transit service, the community wanted the facility to
This Niagara Falls intermodal station is designed to be a focal point and impetus for tourism.
Niagara Falls Intermodal Station, Niagara Falls, NY This intermodal station, currently under construction, is located on the U.S.-Canadian border. Home to the majestic Niagara Falls, it was designed to be a focal point and impetus for tourism and future development of the commercial district, providing a state-of-the-art portal for tourists and commuters alike. The jewel that makes it a true tourism destination is the interpretive Underground Railroad museum that will be located in the historic, rehabilitated Customs House portion of the facility, as Niagara Falls was an important stop on this route to freedom for slaves on their flight to Canada. Transforming this station into a community center is accomplished in several ways. The main lobby of the station is purposely designed and sized to accommodate large community events and social functions. Additionally, the project will have a large outdoor plaza, named “Harriet Tubman Plaza,” that will host outdoor entertainment and community events. Marrying the Science and the Art The result attained when marrying the science and art in a transit center is expressed in the timeless phrase, “The whole is greater than the sums of its parts.” A transit center that is a combination of excellent engineering and community-centric design will be a foundation for a sustainable, resilient community. Donald E. Gray, AIA, LEED AP, serves as vice president public transportation and principal at Wendel, Williamsville, NY. Visit Wendel online at www.wendelcompanies.com.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
UPDATE rule would help ensure buses are long lasting and low maintenance, saving transit agencies valuable resources and reducing the frustrating delays that riders endure when buses have to be removed from service unexpectedly.” The proposed bus testing rule was developed following extensive outreach to FTA’s partners across the transit industry, including transit vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers, public transit agencies and state departments of transportation. Public outreach efforts will continue throughout the comment period to solicit feedback from these and other stakeholders. The proposed rule was directed by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). As FTA continues to implement its statutory safety authority under MAP21, the proposed bus testing rule will be coordinated with FTA’s other safety initiatives. Metro Transit Operator of the Year John Boone
King County Metro honors top driver King County Metro, Seattle, WA, praised bus driver John Boone for his enthusiastic attitude, excellent driving skills and first-class customer service in naming him its Top Driver of the Year. Boone, who has been driving buses since before Metro Transit formed in 1973, was chosen from among Metro Transit’s 2,530 bus operators to be this year’s Metro Transit Operator of the Year. Since 1979, the drivers themselves have selected the best of their peers to hold the award. Boone’s advice for fellow drivers is to be careful. Double check and triple check, and keep the head and eyes moving.
FTA proposes rule to improve transit bus testing The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would improve the process for testing the safety and reliability of new transit buses funded with federal dollars. The proposed rule would establish minimum performance standards, a new pass-fail grading system for bus testing, and a weighted scoring process that would better assist local transit agencies in purchasing an appropriate vehicle. In addition, the proposed rule would clarify and improve verification of two departmental regulations: the Buy America requirements that have stimulated American manufacturing of transit vehicles, components and related technology; and the rules that support businesses owned by women and minorities (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) throughout the supply chain. “Millions of riders depend on transit buses every day to get to work, school, healthcare and home again,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “While buses are already a very safe mode of travel, transit customers deserve to know that the buses they ride on are as safe and reliable as possible.” The proposed rule would require new buses meet minimum thresholds in structural integrity, safety, maintainability, reliability, fuel economy, emissions, noise and performance. The rule would refine and streamline the existing standardized procedures used by the FTA Bus Testing Facility at Pennsylvania State University’s Larson Transportation Institute in Altoona, PA. “When the FTA helps local transit agencies purchase new buses, it is imperative that those vehicles are a high-quality investment,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “This proposed 8
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
Rigid Lifelines releases Anchor Track™ Rigid Lifelines®, a leader in engineered fall protection systems, has branded its enclosed rigid rail product line as Anchor Track™. Rigid Lifelines’ Anchor Track can be easily customized to accommodate curves or slopes, making it perfect for anywhere fall protection is required. Customers can choose from plain or trussed track in five track types, three track sizes and three track materials. The enclosed design prevents debris from accumulating on the track and allows overhead trolleys to glide effortlessly indoors or outdoors. Rigid Lifelines offers 10 Anchor Track systems, including the portable Griffin and permanent Traveling Bridge. Rigid Lifelines’ quality engineered Anchor Track comes standard with its patented Anchor Trolley technology, which offers effortless movement, decreased post-fall drift and increased self-rescue capability— technology that is unmatched by the competition.
EPA, DOT propose new standards for motorcoaches The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are jointly proposing standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution to reduce the impacts of climate change, while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation. The proposed standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons, cut fuel costs by about $170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. These reductions are nearly equal to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with energy use by all U.S. residences in one year. The total oil savings under the program would be greater than a year’s worth of U.S. imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). busride.com
Technology drives accessibility By Ryan Lamb Since the advent of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990, accessibility for people with disabilities who rely bus transportation is evolving steadily toward a state of equal access for all passengers; those with mobility challenges using walkers, wheelchairs and scooters, to mothers with strollers, to the elderly. Equal access is in its infancy in terms of an industry segment. Passengers are still being loaded in and out paratransit buses on lifts in the back, and have no idea that technology exists for a more comfortable and dignified ride — until they actually experience this themselves. However, a number of bus builders have worked diligently to improve the bus experience for all passengers. Champion Bus and Dallas Smith Corporation are among them. The philosophy of equal access rests on sound engineering, innovative technology and precise mechanical function, with electronically controlled air-ride suspension as the foundation. An air suspension system, such as the Champion IntelliSync® Smart system featured in Champion Bus’ LF Transport™ model, essentially allows transit agencies and private providers to serve all passengers in a vehicle everyone can appreciate. The overall comfort and stability of a paratransit vehicle equipped with air ride suspension surpasses standard leaf spring or coil suspension. The benefit is a consistently even ride height regardless of capacity, with the capability to raise the 2 to 3 inches in certain situations such as a steep driveway entrance. Air-ride suspension is particularly robust in heavy-duty cycles, such as the rigorous schedule of an airport shuttle, which may go through 500 kneeling cycles picking up passengers curbside. It not only provides improved accessibility, but is also very dependable. An air-ride suspension system allows another feature critical to equal access: the benefit of a self-leveling floor, which adjusts for weight imbalances from the air tanks positioned on one side of the bus and varying passenger loads. Additionally, electronic sensors are able to detect variations in ground level beneath the bus and make appropriate adjustments to level the floor of the bus. This feature is extremely advantageous for passengers seated mobility devices, as it eliminates their concern for accidently rolling forward or backward, or having to negotiate a sloping floor. The components and tires wear evenly on a vehicle that is always stable and level, which also eases maintenance. A uniformly-sloped entry ramp on an accessible vehicle eliminates the need for hazardous interior steps and cumbersome lifts, and is perhaps one of the best features of a bus designed for equal access. To the passenger rolling up the ramp onto a level floor, it is the essence of accessible. An entryway that is accessible for everyone does not segregate passengers using mobility devices, and is a more
An air-ride suspension system allows for the benefit of a self-leveling floor.
A uniformly-sloped entry ramp on an accessible vehicle eliminates the need for hazardous interior steps and cumbersome lifts.
dignified way to enter and exit a transit vehicle than with a standard wheelchair lift. This integral combination of systems and components that improve safety and comfort hits the mark for accessibility. Ryan Lamb serves as product specialist of the LF Transport™ at Champion Bus, Imlay City, MI. Champion Bus, a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles, is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and has been producing buses since 1981. Visit Champion Bus online at www.championbus.com.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION Revenue Management BUSRide Magazine is proud to continue the “Focus On: Fare Collection” series, highlighting the benefits of various modes of fare collection, as well as addressing the best practices associated with each. This month’s featured installment is centered revenue management, an essential element of any modern fare system. Coordinating agency revenue is one of the most important things a comprehensive fare collection system can accomplish, so it’s no surprise that the systems and technology involved are becoming increasingly complex. Streamlining processes and simplifying busywork can make not only agency revenue management, but transit service altogether more efficient. For this installment, BUSRide called for contributions from revenue management experts SPX Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IN, and Trapeze Group, Mississauga, ON, Canada. SPX Genfare builds from roots that date back to 1880 and the invention of the first farebox by Johnson Farebox Company, which acquired Cleveland Farebox in 1938. In this chapter, the company explores best practices that agencies can implement now in order to better manage revenue and increase security. Trapeze Group is a provider of solutions to the public passenger transportation industry, creating, delivering and supporting software solutions and services that make it easier for transportation agencies, schools, taxi companies and non-emergency medical transportation providers to manage their complex, day-to-day business operations. This month, Trapeze writes about simplifying the complex revenue management landscape. Thank you for joining BUSRide as we continue to “Focus On: Fare Collection!”
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION
Revenue management best practices By The SPX Genfare Team
Being a responsible transit agency takes focus, resiliency and determination. There are so many facets of the business that must run efficiently and that fall within fiduciary responsibilities. One of the most important areas for an agency is revenue management. How does an agency ensure an efficient, secure and effective process for revenue management? Understand the vulnerabilities! It’s critical to understand where the agency needs improvement prior to implementing any changes to the revenue management process. SPX Genfare has been involved with fare collection solutions from start to finish – with thousands of installed solutions for over 30 years. Our staff understands that assessing the vulnerabilities within an agency is an important first step to managing and improving any revenue management process. There are adjustments that agencies can implement quickly in order to better manage revenue and ensure they are optimizing security. Security and control An important part of ensuring a secure revenue environment involves creating a secure method for issuing revenue-system keys to revenue and maintenance staff. Evaluating available key control systems and how they apply to the agency is the first step in preventing fraud or theft. After a key control system has been implemented, be sure to clearly train staff on how and where keys are to be stored as well as the complete accounting process for each key holder. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be clearly stated throughout the facility. This should detail how employees are to manage any keys that are assigned to them as well as an analysis on all current keys and where they are stored. Counting/money rooms Controlling the money room process is critical to ensuring proper cash counts and to avoid fraud and theft. If the transit agency maintains an in-house counting facility, it is important to minimize any human error that can occur in the manual cash counting process. To avoid miscounting and/or theft, assign more than one staff member to count cash. Utilize surveillance video and assign a supervisor who is responsible for the process of cash counting. Also, provide staff with a clear process on how to recount cash, should the counts be different. Some important areas to address for this process are: well lit room, bills facing the same direction, serialized bill banding straps and ensure the bank recounts against staff counts. Consider supplying unique uniforms (short-sleeved, no pockets, fully zipped) to moneyroom staff in order to differentiate them from others in the agency and to avoid theft. If the agency uses an outside cash-processing company (bank or armored car), this outside service provider must also be carefully monitored to ensure they are accurately processing revenue. Well-established reconciliation and accounting processes must be in place to ensure accurate revenue credit back to the fare collection system.
Equipment inventory In order to maintain accurate revenue processing, implement a serial-number checkpoint process. Each farebox and cashbox has a unique serial number. It’s imperative for staff to use the correct equipment serial numbers and for this to be reflected in the daily data. If these farebox/cashbox serial numbers do not match, discrepancies will occur. Create a process for serial number inventory on a monthly basis; this will help catch any discrepancies or anomalies in enough time to make inexpensive changes. Serial numbers need to be clearly visible, so they can be easily and quickly recorded. Back-end solution Implementing a reliable and robust back-end software solution is a key component in assuring superior revenue management. Genfare Link™ enables agencies to address many areas of the process in real-time (depending on agency connectivity). The combination of hardware and a robust back-end software solution gives the agency complete control over users and permissions—only allowing authorized staff access to revenue data. Genfare Link™ gives the agency control while solving many issues that have had long-standing effects on the transit industry. SPX Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Don’t miss the next two connecting articles in the November 2015 and January 2016 editions of BUSRide Magazine, and visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in SPX Genfare’s eBook.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION
Simplifying the complex fare revenue management landscape By Floyd Diaz
In 2015, transit managers can walk into the office and have the total revenue generated for all transit activities over the last 24 hours on display to greet them. They have instant access to the details that make up that number; by pass type, by sales channel, by customer. They are able to see the status of all revenue equipment deployed for service. For many agencies with the latest in fare technology, this is today’s reality. Yet for some agencies, this seems like an impossible dream. The primary focus of each transit agency is ensuring their riders get where they need to be. It can be a challenge to embrace modern trends in payment technologies and revenue collection systems. Solution partners like Trapeze work with agencies to lessen these challenges. This partnering approach allows agencies to continue to focus on what’s important - their riders. The first step is to start the migration from simple cash-oriented, paper-based ticketing/pass systems. Often a gradual process, agencies adopt smartcard and mobile options piecemeal as they emerge. New payment methods also increase demand for multifunctional fareboxes, ticket vending machines (TVMs), and Mobile Ticketing Apps. For riders, the fare payment process is becoming ever more convenient. For agencies, however, the revenue management landscape is growing to be quite complex. Adding to the challenge are vendor-locked systems that do not integrate well with other revenue solutions. The implementation of these systems creates new complexities for the agency. Realizing these challenges, solution partners like Trapeze have created solutions that embrace new technologies. With an open approach, Trapeze works with many vendors to make the faring evolution easier for agencies. A key foundation to this new era of revenue collection is the Central System software. Agencies lose efficiency when they need to pull data from across a variety of disparate systems. Add to that the hours spent configuring spreadsheets and other tools for system views and performance data. Obtaining the performance data needed to manage the agency’s business should be a fast and simple process. Trapeze has found an easier way for agencies to get the most from their revenue collection systems: a single platform that underpins all the elements of an agency’s revenue ecosystem, whether an agency has a single vendor for these elements or has many vendors for their various system components. This centralized solution allows agencies to manage all elements of their fare collection system. Managers can see graphic views of operating TVMs or fareboxes and, at a glance, assess their status. This gives them quick insight on in-service equipment, inventory levels, vault status etc. There are many advantages that a Central System provides. Managers can make instant changes across their entire fleet. 12
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
They can make simple software updates and solve challenges with individual equipment items. A range of reports and dashboards support revenue management reporting and reconciliation. Easy access to rider behavior allows agencies to predict needs and optimize their service. Integrating with supporting transit The best fare solutions partners and fellow agencies is encompass new card-based now an achievable goal. In the options and are NFC capable past, several factors that made for mobile payments. it difficult to establish crossagency relationships, central clearing, settlement and revenue allocation to name a few. With a centralized approach to revenue management, these factors evolve from challenges to opportunities. A clear example of these transformations has been the evolution of the Ticket Vending Machine. Trapeze has brought the latest in TVM technology design and functionality to its customers. Building on core foundations of security and efficiency, the TVM embraces consumer engagement trends like sleek design, gesture control and screen manipulation. This TVM embraces what we’ve learned over the years about how best to handle cash. Building on this, it encompasses new card-based options and is NFC capable for mobile payment - all in a user-friendly, easy to navigate, ADA-compliant form. A robust Central System works with the Trapeze TVM to deliver an exceptional customer experience. With such advanced feature sets, it is critical that the agency has the means necessary to track and keep them up to date. This way, the agency is always communicating fresh information through the consumer engagement screens. Monitoring maintenance elements is also easier through a centralized system. Teams can issue alerts and avoid system interruptions in a fast and effective manner. For years, the dream has been out of reach for transit agencies as they struggle to find the means to navigate this new landscape. But with a Central System and a new approach to partner solution delivery, the dream is very much a reality. Floyd Diaz serves as director of automatic fare collection, Trapeze Group, Mississauga, ON, Canada. Visit the company online at www.trapezegroup.com. Get the full story by reading Trapeze Group’s eBook at www.busride.com/ebooks.
The benefits of telematics and driver coaching By Dick Mahany
Gone are the days of fleets being out of communication with drivers until they return from a trip. As technology has advanced and become more affordable, fleet managers have discovered more ways than ever to improve the performance of their drivers and track the movement of their motorcoaches or school buses. One type of technology that is becoming increasingly popular among public transportation fleets is telematics. Telematics integrates vehicle monitoring systems, three-axis accelerometers, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and cellular technology in a device that is smaller than a deck of cards. The device serves as an operator’s eyes and ears on the road, providing valuable data to help improve customer service, driver safety and operations management. Some systems even include video capture with both interior and exterior views. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently concluded that event-based on-board video systems, along with a driver feedback program, can provide significant safety benefits. Vehicle tracking determines if drivers are on schedule and making stops as planned, and helps fleets predict arrival times. With this data, companies can alert customers if a vehicle is going to be late. ON AVERAGE, THE RISKIEST SPEED Additionally, vehicle 10% OF DRIVERS SPEED diagnostics, tracked 5 TIMES MORE IN A WEEK MORE by the telematics PER WEEK THAN THE REST COMBINED. device, can provide a picture of how comfortable the travel experience was for customers. For example, if a vehicle breaks down during Remainder of drivers Riskiest 10 percent a trip and requires maintenance, the instance can be logged by the device. Companies can then follow up with customers after the trip to apologize for the delay and explain that it was due to maintenance issues. Data on driver behavior is especially useful for making safety training effective and reducing accidents and injuries. Telematics monitoring tracks drivers’ actions during training and in real-time on the job to verify that they are putting into practice safe behaviors and techniques. Telematics data reports highlight trends in unsafe behaviors or improper procedures, helping to focus remedial training in the most needed areas. If a specific driver is not performing safely, operators can provide one-on-one feedback and monitor the driver closely to make sure the behavior is changed.
Some telematics systems include video capture with both interior and exterior views. (Courtesy: Drivecam / Lytx, Inc.)
Industry research shows that 5 – 10 percent of drivers in a fleet consistently drive faster than posted speed limits, drive fastest on highways, and have more “hard stops” and “hard turns” than the other 90 – 95 percent of the workforce. The research also shows that drivers who have these speeding events aren’t necessarily driving longer distances than other drivers. These “high event count” drivers typically don’t speed to do their work; they speed because they don’t really understand the risks they are taking. “The cost of implementing and managing a robust safety program that includes telematics and formal driver coaching is much less than the cost of the losses themselves,” says Todd Carrier of Protective Insurance Company. “Our internal studies have shown that a driver behavior modification process based on relevant and timely telematics data can result in a 20 – 30 percent reduction in losses.” From a fleet management standpoint, telematics can increase operational efficiency. Vehicle diagnostics provided by the device show if vehicles are performing correctly or if maintenance is needed. The device can report developing problems detected by engine and drive-train sensors so timely maintenance can be planned that minimizes service interruptions and repairs. By regularly monitoring diagnostics reports, you can anticipate maintenance issues and fix them before any problems arise, thus reducing breakdowns and maintenance costs. Operators can also use the data to measure fuel use and incentivize drivers to reduce fuel costs by limiting idling, speeding and aggressive driving. Telematics improves customer service, promotes driver safety and helps protect the bottom line. As the amount of telematics data available continues to grow, risk management practices within both the insurance and public transportation industries will continue to grow in sophistication and effectiveness. Dick Mahany serves as director of insurance technology for Protective Insurance Company, Carmel, IN. To learn more about telematics best practices and loss prevention safety services, please visit www.protectiveinsurance.com/loss-prevention or email us at email@example.com.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
O F F I C I A L
BUSRide Road Test:
2015 Prevost H3-45 The new vehicle from Prevost passes muster on the Arrow Stage Lines training route
Earlier this year, Prevost delivered a 2015 model H3-45 to Phoenix, AZ, for an Official BUSRide Road Test. While the noticeable differences from previous year models are few, new technology to advance driving safety as well as heightened operating efficiency were noteable. By David Hubbard BUSRide engaged Arrow Stage Lines, Omaha, NB, to conduct the test drive and offer comment from its Phoenix facilities. Safety and Training Coordinator Mark Ashcraft volunteered to do the driving. Ashcraft started in bus transportation as a young man driving parishioners in the church bus. Following his time in the ministry, he moved to Kansas where his children were attending school and subsequently went to work driving motorcoaches for Heartland Trailways. He later moved to Arrow Stage Lines in Topeka, KS, and served as operations manager before his recent transition to the Phoenix location. As it turned out, Ashcraft has always been a fan of Prevost coaches. “I have always felt an affinity with Prevost coaches, seeing them as a standard of excellence,” he says. “When I drove for Great Southern Coaches, Jonesboro, AR, the company had one Prevost H3-45 in its fleet. New drivers were always relegated to the older equipment. I waited my turn and gradually worked up to my chance at the wheel. When any of us drove the H3-45, we were on top of the world.” Ashcraft says he drove that particular Prevost in the relief effort and evacuation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “Though it was an older model, I always enjoyed taking it on trips, simply because of the smooth ride and comfort,” he says. “Even with the mileage in excess of 400,000 miles, the durability was amazing.” For the test drive in Phoenix, Ashcraft chose his typical training route for new Arrow Stage drivers. The first leg ambled through downtown Phoenix on the busy narrow city streets near the sports arenas. “Narrow streets are always a good test for nervous candidates making tight turns while watching for traffic and pedestrians,” he says. “This is the perfect situation for me to test this new Prevost Coach.” Aschraft says he has driven 1995 to 2013 model Prevosts, and was anxious to compare them to the newest iteration. 14
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“As I have driven consecutive year models, I have been able to see the subtle differences in the changes and improvements from one year to the next,” he says. “This is my first chance to drive the latest version.” “My first thought is this is basically what I have come to expect from Prevost,” he adds. The second leg of the training route takes the bus on a rural stretch of highway behind Arizona’s famed Superstition Mountains, 35 miles west of Phoenix in an area called Tortilla Flats where motorcoaches rarely tread — except for Ashcraft with his aspiring Arrow Stage drivers. “This is an old, narrow and twisting two-lane highway with plenty of dips,” he says. “This is an ideal setting for a driver to really get the feel for the coach and understand how it handles. There’s a lot to be aware of out here, especially in oncoming traffic.” As for the handling capabilities of the Prevost during Ashcraft’s drive, he remained impressed with its responsiveness. So what new additions to the 2015 Prevost did Ashcraft notice? It often comes down to those few changes or improvements that only a driver or technician would notice. In this case, heading directly into the afternoon sun, it was as simple as the sliver of amber-tinted plexiglas covering the gap between the front left column and the pull-down windshield sunshade. “Where I am sitting, a driver can just sit, bake and feel very uncomfortable,” he says. “In most coaches, the driver has to lean one way or another in the seat to find relief from the light shining through this section of the windshield. The simple addition of this shade screen is an easy solution to a nerve-wracking situation for coach drivers.” He says he had not seen this small but important addition until now. “I recall one driver who put white duct tape over part of the windshield to block the sun,” Ashcraft says. “I would just politely remove it. Now I completely understand.”
For sun protection, the Prevost H3-45 features a sliver of amber-tinted plexiglas covering the gap between the front-left column and the pull-down windshield sunshade.
The new H3-45 sports a variety of new features.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
While his Official BUSRide Road Test through downtown Phoenix and out in the Superstition foothills went just about as Ashcraft anticipated from Prevost, a number of systems were at work on the 2015 Prevost H3-45 work that ensured his expectations were met. One is Prevost PRIME® — power recovery by intelligent management of energy. “Prevost PRIME reduces fuel consumption by using the engine down time in braking, deceleration and other negative torque situations to charge the batteries and compress air, and delivers an estimated 2 percent fuel savings,” says Prevost Marketing and Communications Director Michael Power. “Prevost validated these results in real driving conditions with various duty cycles.” He says a Prevost coach equipped with PRIME can obtain maximum fuel economy driving over hills and flat portions that allow the batteries to charge only when the vehicle is in free wheel. The batteries charge with free energy without consuming fuel during the charging process. “In all honesty, I wasn’t really wasn’t aware of this system while I was driving,” Ashcraft says. “It just quietly does its work behind the scenes. I appreciate how Prevost has introduced technologies that help reduce operational costs.” Prevost AWARE® — adaptive cruise braking by Bendix® for the coach market — is an innovative approach to collision mitigation that helps the driver maintain a safe following distance. When the distance between the coach and the vehicle ahead begins to close, the system provides warnings and action to maintain the distance when cruise control is engaged, including brake applications. Using a small radar sensor mounted on the front of the coach, the system sends out a radar signal up to 500 feet in front of the vehicle, tracking up to 32 objects in its range. “Bendix road tests have indicated that drivers using the system are more alert throughout their shift,” Power says. “The system delivers solid data, such as information about following distance, cruise control use and stability events.” Power explains that the driver enjoys the benefit of both audible and visual alerts, and proactive interventions, such as reducing throttle, engaging the engine retarder and automatic brake applications to maintain the prescribed following distance. “The system helps in two significant ways,” Power says. “In addition to maintaining a safe following distance, AWARE can help drivers stay in cruise control longer, which also can result in fuel savings.” “I have seen video footage of the Prevost AWARE system in action,” Ashcraft says. “It helps for the driver to understand how it sends an alert and slows the coach. From a safety coordinator’s viewpoint, this system is a valuable asset.” “Fortunately, in our test drive, we were never in a situation that would engage the system,” he adds. “Nonetheless, AWARE is a great safety asset, and it helps just to know it’s there.” Bendix ESP® is a full stability system and integral to Prevost AWARE as a further step in collision mitigation. “ESP is always active to help mitigate rollovers and loss of control,” Power says. “It is especially helpful on every type of road condition, from summer rain to winter snow and ice.” Prevost points to tire choices as another important factor in fuel consumption as an effect of rolling resistance. Prevost has partnered with Michelin to provide a choice of tires that lay claim to a reduction in fuel consumption and a long tire life. Ashcraft pulled the 2015 Prevost H3-45 into the Arrow Stage Lines yard after driving the coach for nearly the full work shift, extremely pleased with the performance and response of the coach.
Arrow Stage Lines’ Safety and Training Coordinator Mark Ashcraft conducted the test drive.
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
THE CONNECTED BUS
The benefits of cloud-based management By Estee Woods As riders become more “wired,” transit agencies are modifying their services to be more in line with modern technology. Cloud-based management frees up agency resources in this regard, enabling agencies to reduce their in-house responsibilities and provide faster, better service for riders. King County, WA, has become one of America’s major technology hubs. Large companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have major offices there, and hundreds of smaller technology companies have started up in the greater Seattle area. Customer WiFi Access With so many hi-tech employees using public transportation, King County decided it could serve its ridership better by providing Wi-Fi access on its RapidRide commuter bus lines. After an extensive search and in-depth testing, the County’s Metro Transit Division’s System Development & Operations Group implemented Cradlepoint LTE networking solutions in its fleet of high-end commuter buses. The county’s Vehicle Maintenance Section installed the devices in 113 buses, and then implemented Cradlepoint Enterprise Cloud Manager so the team could monitor and manage all the devices from one central location. The county’s transit department and its riders soon saw the benefits associated with cloud-based management across the network. Greg Debo, former IT project manager at King County Metro Transit, and Tony Puopolo, vice president of product management at Cradlepoint, offer best practices and answer frequently asked questions about the intricacies and benefits of cloud-based management for public transit. What are some of the top-level management advantages realized by agencies using cloud-based networking? As a government entity answerable to taxpayers, transit agencies are continually trying to find ways to do more with less. System administrators have to oversee entire mobile networks with a limited number of staff. There are significant IT cost savings associated with cloud-based management. An agency can have a central administrator who’s trained on the system in a short period of time, because it’s all GUI-based as opposed to traditional management interfaces. That means simpler training and reduced costs associated with networked devices. Cloud-based management enables administrators to be proactive, to see problems as they develop, and to implement solutions that keep networked devices up and running. Error-free rollbacks are another advantage to Cradlepoint’s cloudbased management. If an administrator accidentally types in the wrong APN or misconfigures something, devices out in the field can roll back to their connected state without interrupting service. Those kinds of protections are available in advanced cloud-based systems like the one
GPS / Vehicle Tracking
from Cradlepoint, allowing for less user error and less downtime than in older systems. What’s involved with updating devices on the network? Cloud networks allow for remote, group-based updates in minutes, not hours. System administrators can roll out an update to the entire fleet remotely, without sending anyone into the field. This is called zero-touch configuration. Without the cloud, that same update requires bringing in every vehicle, one by one. Content filtering, anti-virus and anti-malware software – all can be modified, updated and implemented instantly. Furthermore, it’s less of a bandwidth hit because everything resides on the cloud. What benefits are there for the riders of agencies using cloud-based networking? Aside from the stated benefit of less service interruptions, the flexibility associated with cloud-based networking also boosts customer satisfaction. If, for example, riders are complaining about low bandwidth on a route that offers Wi-Fi, system administrators can instantly respond to those complaints and make appropriate network changes, such as changing the wireless service provider. Remote, realtime control is good for administrators and for riders. Greg Debo is the former IT project manager for King County Metro Transit in Seattle, WA. Tony Puopolo serves as vice president of product management for Cradlepoint, Inc. in Boise, Idaho. Cradlepoint is the global leader in 4G LTE networking solutions that power transportation fleets — joining data, cloud, security, and the evolving IoT with intelligent networking. Visit them online at www.cradlepoint.com.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
FOCUS ON: FINANCE
Managing cash flow
This month, BUSRide continues “Focus On: Finance,” a series highlighting the ins-and-outs of finance and leasing as they relate to the bus and motorcoach industry, factors that influence lending decisions and suggestions for operators to improve their financial capabilities and better their chances for sound financing. The incomings and outgoings of cash can mean life or death for an operator’s finances. Matt Hotchkiss, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Minneapolis, MN, writes in this installment about cash flow: the importance of cash flow, managing it, and variables that influence it. It’s important to not confuse cash flow with profit – they’re completely different from fixed and variable costs. In this issue, Hotchkiss explains how cash flow must outweigh debt obligations. A simple positive flow of cash is not enough – incoming cash must outpace outgoing cash if a company is to have a positive financial outlook.
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
FOCUS ON: FINANCE
Managing cash flow By Matt Hotchkiss The importance of cash flow When appraising a business, there are a number of metrics that lenders will review as they consider financing for your company. Some of these metrics include revenue growth, leverage, profitability and tangible net worth – but the metric that stands out above all others is cash flow. Cash flow is the ability of a company to generate enough cash to meet its debt obligations. In simple form, cash generation (net income + depreciation/amortization) should be enough to cover the principal portion of the company’s debt obligations during the time period being measured. Business owners should have a firm handle on their respective company’s cash flow in order to keep it running smoothly. Cash flow problems can be the leading cause of failure for businesses. It’s a good business practice to take time to track cash flow on at least a quarterly basis if not more frequently. Too often I see business owners base the health of their company on a positive net income, a growing revenue number, or sometimes on EBITDA growth. These can all be positive factors in a business, however; if the increase in debt obligations is outpacing cash contributors, the net result will negatively impact the company. Cash flow measures the cash generated from the operations of the business and compares that to the principal amount due on the company’s debt. With cash flow as a numerator and debt as the denominator, the product is the cash flow ratio of your company:
Net Income + Depreciation/Amortization Current portion of long-term debt (CPLTD) and capitalized lease payments For example, if for every $1.00 of debt the company has they generate $1.20 of cash, then the company has a cash flow ratio of 1.20 to 1. Here are a few variables that may impact a cash flow measurement: Gains/Losses on sale of assets: If a company sold an asset in the current year that resulted in a gain on sale, that gain is included in the net income. Typically a gain is not recurring year-to-year and not considered part of operational cash flow, so the gain on sale would be a reduction in the cash flow (numerator) of the business. Similarly a loss on sale would typically be added back for the same reasons. Non-recurring expenses: Occasionally a company will have an extraordinary high legal expense or possibly transaction expenses related to the acquisition of a business. If these or other similar expenses are clearly non-recurring in nature, it’s reasonable to add them back when determining operational cash flow. Timing: The CPLTD on a balance sheet represents the principal payments due in the next 12 months. If the company added equipment late in the year, then using the current portion of debt is misleading because that debt didn’t have a chance to contribute revenue to the company. Therefore it’s reasonable to also look at the CPLTD from the prior year and maybe average those two debt numbers. Since balloons or residuals that are due in the current year are likely to be re-financed, they should be modified to reflect the new amortization. For example: 1/3 of the balloon amount should be included in the CPLTD if it’s being re-financed for 36 months, not the entire balloon.
Managing cash flow Cash flow will vary month to month or even week to week, depending on the business. Preparing for and managing a shortage of cash will help operators in the long-run. There are a variety of shortterm ways to compensate for a cash flow-shortage. These options may help you manage cash flow in the short term but should not be used as long-term solutions. Selling an asset: Raising cash by liquidating equipment Using a line of credit: A LOC should be used as a short-term solution to compensate for seasonality. Contributing cash: This could either be personally or from another business. Companies may also stretch Accounts Payable or compress Accounts Receivable days to collect, defer debt payments with a lender, or factor (sell) accounts receivable. All of these solutions are short-term fixes to a bigger problem, which is that the business is not generating positive cash flow from operations. Understanding cash flow is the first step to managing it. Don’t incur debt simply to increase revenues. At the end of the day, each dollar of debt service needs to contribute more than a dollar of cash flow for that investment to make business sense. If the business has seasonality, then plan for that by either scheduling debt payments to match the seasonality, using a line of credit during down months which is paid back during strong months, or simply conserving cash to cover weaker months. Three key items to keep in mind for effective cash-flow management: 1. Understand your company’s cash flow and how to best to manage it for business success. 2. Be proactive by reviewing your cash flow on a regular basis. 3. When cash flow challenges arise, have some quick fixes in place but focus on long-term solutions. Matt Hotchkiss serves as senior vice president for Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Minneapolis, MN. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance offers financing designed specifically for businesses in the transit industry, including charter and tour service providers, transit contractors, schools, municipalities, and bus and motorcoach manufacturers and distributors. Reach Matt at 800-322-6220 x74129 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Wells Fargo Equipment Finance online at www.wellsfargo.com/motorcoach.
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DELIVERIES MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES (MCI)
Lakeland Bus Lines Dover, NJ Lakeland Bus Lines has relied on MCI coaches for much of its 43-year history. But with its newest purchase, an MCI J4500 delivered in May, it will be making a bit of company and MCI history. That’s because the company’s newest coach is the first J4500 the company has ever purchased. The new bus includes Amaya seats with three-point seatbelts, seat-back cup holders and self-retracting footrests; two reversible seats and card tables to give passengers extra comfort and added social options; 110-volt outlets at every passenger seat, plus self-installed Wi-Fi; extra blue ceiling LED lighting; an upgraded driver’s seat and passenger-side window blinds; elegant woodgrain Tarabus flooring and other wood-grain touches; an REI entertainment system with 15-inch monitors; back-up camera; wheelchair lift; and more.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
ABC Companies announced the appointment of Joe Lunny as transit bus and service sales specialist for the Eastern Region of the U.S. Joe Lunny brings more than 25 years of bus sales and management experience, most of that time serving the transit bus industry along the East Coast. Prior to joining ABC he served as Southeast regional sales manager at New Flyer Industries. Lunny will be serving customers east of the Mississippi River, working with industry veteran Jim Morrison who manages the Joe Lunny Western Region. They are teamed with two dealerships in the sales and service of New Flyer transit buses. DATTCO Inc. will cover the New England states, while Creative Bus Sales’ territory is Texas and Oklahoma.
Keolis announced that Keolis America President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Townsend is retiring after a 43-year career spanning multiple industries including oil and gas, environmental services, facilities management and transportation. Townsend joined Keolis in his current role in 2007. Under his leadership, Keolis has successfully expanded into the commuter rail and transit markets in the U.S., winning contracts to operate the Virginia Railway Express and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail system. He also oversaw the acquisition of Tectrans, Inc., now Keolis Transit America. 20
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Express Transportation Orlando, FL While Orlando ranked as the top summer travel destination in 2014, the area’s Express Transportation has what it takes to keep many of those travelers coming back for more. The charter and tour company has recently added three new 2015 MCI J4500, adding to four 2014 MCI J4500 coaches it purchased last year, making the majority of its 16-coach fleet the very latest. The vehicles feature spiral entryway for easy boarding, tiered seating for exceptional views, and seating for 56 passengers with three-point seatbelts. The model also comes equipped with new clean-diesel engine technology for lower emissions and fuel economy gains, and a Smartire and fire-suppression system. Express Transportation also has added on-board cameras and GPS.
INSURANCE SINCE 1952
SERVICE INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC 6850 Catawba Lane • Richmond, VA 23226
Charter • Transit • School • Limo Auto Liability • Physical Damage Workers’ Compensation Easy Payment Plans Local: (804) 288-6993 Toll Free: 1 (800) 444-0205 FAX: (804) 288-7925 E-Mail: email@example.com Tim O’Bryan Ext. 303
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The Southwest of public transit bus companies
By Mary Sue O’Melia
If there is an incident that causes a significant delay in service or inconvenience for your customers, what are your policies and practices for dealing with the customer? How does your agency define good customer service? Poor customer service examples In the past month, I have twice experienced delays on the first leg of air travel resulting in a missed connection and an unplanned mid-trip overnight stay. Two separate airlines – United Bad and American Worse. In both cases, weather at the destination terminal was the reason for the initial delay. Equipment issues and a flight attendant decision to have an irate customer removed from the plane further contributed to late departures. In one case, lack of employee empowerment to hold the door on the last flight of the day resulted in 30 customers missing their connection. Neither company paid for hotel accommodations; weather is not the airlines’ fault and the other company admitted fault but ran out of vouchers – there may be some cots set out in Terminal K. I could not help thinking, “What would Southwest do in the same situation?” I am fairly certain that whatever they did I would have been less annoyed – Southwest employees are just so polite and upbeat. Good customer service starts at the top As I sit in Chicago O’Hare at 2 a.m. pondering the meaning of customer service, I started thinking about public transit and how important the employees are in ensuring customer satisfaction. The attitude of customer service and doing what it takes to do right by the customers is a philosophy and core value. Some companies have it and some do not. Southwest and Nordstroms get it. Which transit agencies fall into the same class? It is a corporate philosophy that must be constantly rewarded, reinforced and encouraged. When it is working, the customer definitely has a better experience and the employees seem happier too. When was the last time your agency or department rewarded outstanding customer service? Does your agency recognize realtime operational decisions that avert or at least alleviate a customer service nightmare? This is a column on transit information technology, so what does this tirade have to do with technology? Using technology to improve the customer experience Transit technology provides a set of tools that, if utilized correctly and maintained, can enhance the customer experience. For example, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology can provide real-time information to dispatch for corrective action, real-time information to customers about schedule adherence, and information that can be reviewed after the fact to improve schedules and identify drivers who require coaching (or drivers to reward for good schedule adherence).
Other examples include Automated Passenger Counting (APC) and Automated Fare Systems (AFS) technologies that can reduce the amount of time to board passengers, allowing drivers to pay attention to safe driving and taking the time to smile or at least nod as customers board the bus. Smart cards can provide a significant improvement in payment options and ease of payment, assuming the technology works. In-vehicle diagnostic equipment to reduce roadcalls, apps to tell customers when the next bus is arriving, online information for trip-planning, and Wi-Fi on commuter buses are technologies that can help improve the customer experience. Technology and information systems can also tell us when things are not working so well or are outstanding. Customer comments, route ridership and farebox revenues all provide information about what customers think of transit service. As companies, do we invest in technology to improve the customer experience? Do we include safety as well as comfort and convenience in our definition of what we are trying to provide? Do we collect data and spend public funds on systems so that we have information to make better decisions regarding resource allocation and to develop strategies to improve customer service? Conclusion All this new technology is wonderful. We have the tools to help monitor and improve customer service. However, if the organization and its people are not polite and helpful, then the technology will not matter. You cannot paint a smiley face on the farebox and call it customer service. Mary Sue O’Melia is president of TransTrack Systems®, Inc., a business intelligence solution that transforms volumes of data into meaningful information for transportation managers and executives to use in planning, strategizing and ensuring optimal performance. Visit TransTrack Systems® at: www.transtrack.net.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SEAT
Ergonomic Seating Design From testing to ergonomic design, comfort, safety, cleanliness, ride quality and more, bus seating can be a tough nut to crack. This month, The Science Behind The Seat continues, where BUSRide presents a cooperative forum series that explores safety, modularity, design, styling and fuel efficiency associated with modern-day bus seating solutions. In this installment, BUSRide spotlights seat safety with a contribution by 4ONE, a joint venture by USSC Group, Exton, PA, and Freedman Seating, Chicago, IL. USSC Group incorporates in-depth engineering that includes 3-D modeling to develop premium, durable and ergonomically-sound driver seats for many types of vehicles. The company analyzes five critical areas that discerning operators can focus on when analyzing their own seats. Seat designers must achieve a balance of comfort, ergonomics and durability in order to meet the stringent needs of these bus and coach operators. The science behind the perfect bus seat rests on structure, its mechanisms, foam, upholstery and safety testing. It might seem just that simple, but the engineering behind it all requires exact design, implementation and methodology at the OEM level.
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SEAT
Ergonomic seating design Jeff Krueger and Deanna McGough
The most significant challenge in the design of operator seats is to arrive at a safe and comfortable solution that is ergonomic for all operators while being extremely durable for this heavy-duty market. Seating manufacturers like USSC Group test and manufacture thousands of seats for extremeduty use based on core engineering principles. Whereas some people may think a seat is a seat, and focus on its exterior look and trim, seat design is far more than meets the eye. Most seats can be broken down into four primary areas, each of which requires detailed engineering principles to maximize overall performance. Seat structure The seat builds from the steel structure that is engineered first and foremost to meet structural requirements. There are multiple test requirements, including many Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The more challenging FMVSS requirements require seats with seat belts attached to meet a load requirement, with loading at key points equaling 8,000 pounds without failure. This simulates the performance of the seat in a crash situation. The structure must meet other standards including multiple American Public Transportation Association specifications for a 12-year life cycle. Tests are conducted on computer models, using such tools as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and solid modeling, that ensure performance prior to production tooling. Seat mechanisms and suspension The mechanisms, such as air suspension, seat track, recline gears, lumbar and bolster adjustment, and seat tilt, pair to the seat structure. Designed with the operator in mind, these mechanisms ensure maximum comfort and adjustability for the complete range of body types. It is critical that these points of adjustment allow for ease of use, structural integrity and overall adjustability for all users in order to manage muscle fatigue during long shifts. As with the seat structure, all the mechanisms must meet specific standards. Above and beyond these specifications, the suspension plays an important role in driver comfort and overall health. The seat suspension is designed to remove the energy transmitted from the road into the bus floor, where the seat is bolted, before it reaches the operator. Tests show the true performance of the suspension and overall seat, with the international standard of ISO 2631 being one of the best. In this particular requirement, the energy is measured at the base of the seat and again at the top of the seat cushion as the seat is tested on a vibration table using actual road profile data. The energy levels are then compared to a graphical requirement in order to ensure the energy level at the seat is acceptable for a typical eight-hour shift. Along with this testing, multiple tests focus on durability and functionality, including seat lift and hold capacity. While it may seem extreme to design the suspension to lift and hold 500 pounds of dead weight, this is important in providing full use for all operators while giving maximum structure durability.
Pressure mapping equipment shows key pressure metrics to ensure maximum comfort.
Seat foam Seat foam focuses on comfort, aesthetics and durability. The seat foam must provide the appropriate amount of flexibility, shape and support without atrophy over its period of use. Seat comfort is designed using computer aided design (CAD) models with ergonomic criteria to ensure proper fit and function. The bus operator seat typically focuses on fit for a wide range of drivers. Comfort for each person is achieved through objective data using pressure mapping equipment that shows key pressure metrics to ensure maximum comfort. When it comes to materials, the OEM has multiple options. Polyurethane (PU) is the most common. Along with selecting the best foam material, it is just as critical to specify the appropriate cushion firmness to maximize comfort and durability. Upholstery Lastly, the best cover material and fabric design incorporates upholstery with tremendous durability and strong design focus. USSC uses military grade fabrics and incorporates a triple stitch design for all critical seams of visual interest while increasing the overall strength of the seat cover. Testing Most component manufacturers conduct their own product testing in conjunction with NHSTA test labs. They will typically test to a maximum weight, following federally-mandated safety standards, as well as their own quality criteria and standards to exceed the government requirements. USSC Group puts a seat through a series of 40 separate tests for safety, fit and comfort, taking several months to complete, before the seat qualifies for production. Director of Engineering & Quality Jeff Krueger and HR/Marketing Specialist Deanna McGough work for USSC Group, Exton, PA. Visit USSC Group online at www.usscgroup.com. Get the full story in USSC Groupâ€™s eBook on www.busride.com/ebooks.
busride.com | BUSRIDE
Company safety starts with culture NTSB Leader speaks to motorcoach Industry at Bus Industry Safety Council
Bus Industry Safety Council BWI Marriott June 22nd, 2015
Thoughts on Enhancing Bus Safety Earl F. Weener, Ph.D. Member, NTSB
Members of the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) heard from one of the nation’s top transportation safety experts during its recently concluded three-day annual summer meeting in Baltimore, June 22-24. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Member Earl Weener Ph.D. delivered the keynote address discussing how motorcoach companies can improve their internal culture of company safety. Weener’s presentation focused on the 20-year effort to improve safety in commercial aviation, and how many of those changes can be implemented by motorcoach companies. To see his presentation, visit: http://ntsb.gov/news/speeches/EWeener/Documents/ Weener_20150622.pdf “Dr. Weener’s presentation challenged members of the Bus Industry Safety Council to look at innovative, and in many cases significant ways to create an improved culture of safety in their overall operations,” said BISC Chairman Stephen Evans, the vice president of safety for Pacific Western Transportation. “The motorcoach industry is the safest form of surface transportation, but we must continue to strive to do better every day. Our members went home with many additional tools because of what Dr. Weener said and because of the collaboration that takes place during the BISC meetings.” 24
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BISC is comprised of security, mechanical, safety, operational and maintenance leaders from across the North American motorcoach industry. The group meets to discuss issues and innovations in areas of safety, regulatory compliance, mechanics, technology and security. The council’s mission is to develop and promote methods, materials, and procedures to improve motorcoach safety. BISC, which meets twice a year bringing together bus industry safety and compliance professionals, centered its 2015 summer meeting on collaborating with its federal agency partners. The NTSB was just one of many federal agencies to attend and participate in the event. The three-day meeting also included a security specific training exercise provided by the Transportation Security Administration. Overall, attendees had a prime opportunity to get to know and build stronger relationships with their federal partners, all in the interest of improving motorcoach safety as well as security. The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry. The Bus Industry Safety Council meets twice a year, and everyone in the motorcoach industry is invited to attend and participate. The BISC Winter Meeting will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, January 9-12 as part of the ABA’s 2016 Marketplace. busride.com
Security & Surveillance
Calculating the ROI of transit surveillance By Lori Jetha
Safety and security are at the core of every successful transit system operation, but when it comes time to cough up the money to upgrade surveillance equipment, it can often be difficult to secure funding. Getting the budget for an upgrade is usually the first hurdle to taking a proactive approach to passenger and operator safety. Money always talks. Supporting your request with a return on investment calculation (ROI) can be very convincing. This shows exactly what improvements and cost reductions can be achieved through investment in the latest security technology with real dollars and cents. It helps to start with a basic model for calculating the return on investment to convince key funding contributors and decision-makers. Here is a step-by-step guide we have developed to help transit agencies measure their own ROI. Step 1: Quantify security risks One of the best places to start is by making a list of problem areas, or the biggest security risk in terms of time and finances. For a lot of agencies, this is fraudulent injury or accident claims. For others, it might be vandalism such as graffiti or seat destruction, increasing crime rates, or driver assaults. Try to put together as comprehensive a list as possible. It may be surprising to see how a few small things can add up to make a big impact. Step 2: Collect historical data to create a benchmark The next step is collecting historical cost data to create a baseline. Use actual data to establish credibility. For example, to create a benchmark for fraudulent injury claims, collect data such as the average number of claims by type, the average claim payout, the number of claims settled vs. dismissed, and the hours spent investigating claims. For onboard crime, consider the average number of crimes by type, average cost of repairs, and the cost of taking the bus out of service to perform repairs. Consult risk management, legal or human resources departments to collect this data. It helps to calculate the monthly costs in order to establish a payback period. You can be as detailed or as general as your agency allows or time permits. Step 3: Set goals and objectives for the upgrade Once data is compiled, the next step is to set some realistic and feasible goals and outcomes for the surveillance system upgrade. Take the same data collected in the last step and determine which of these costs can be reduced or eliminated after the security upgrade.
In Synthesis 93 (released by the Transportation Research Board) Coast Mountain Bus Company estimated that they reduced operator assaults by 40.2 percent between 2006 and 2009 and they attribute that success to the deployment of AVL, advanced communications and video surveillance equipment on their buses. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their recent report on Commercial Vehicle On-Board Video Systems estimates that having on-board video equipment in concert with operator training programs can result in a 20-35 percent reduction in the number of vehicle accidents. Step 4: Do the math Now itâ€™s time to do the math. First tally up the current monthly costs and then subtract the projected costs after equipment is installed to calculate the monthly cost savings. Then use the calculation below to determine your payback period:
Halifax Transit was featured in a recent case study citing a payback period of 18 months for a $2 million investment in Seon video surveillance technology, mainly attributed to a reduction in on-board crime and easier claim investigation. Regina Transit claims their video systems decrease accident investigation times and have significantly reduced the number of assaults and crimes on board. Take those numbers and calculate the ROI over the optimal operating period of a typical camera system (five years). Subtract the costs of the upgrade from the savings anticipated from the investment and divide that by the investment cost to calculate the ROI percentage. With this, you have a very powerful business case, spelled out in dollars and cents, to bring to your board or decision-making committee to justify your continued investment in transit security. Lori Jetha serves as marketing manager for Seon, a video surveillance and fleet management company based on Coquitlam, BC, Canada.
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Reenergizing the industry WTS Transportation YOU Summit attracts more young women to industry In Late June, in the midst of marriage equality and affordable healthcare wins for the U.S., senior U.S. Department of Transportation administrators, agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and high-profile leaders from transportation’s private sector, took the time to meet with select high-school girls who have shown an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the industry. Transportation YOU, a program of WTS International—the association for the advancement of women in transportation— capped off its year-long programs occurring around the U.S. at its flagship DC Youth Summit created for the young women and their mentors, women who themselves are rising leaders in the industry. “The success of the future of the transportation industry lies in its most important asset—its workforce—and its future leaders must be gender diverse to be successful,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS International’s president and CEO. “WTS International created Transportation YOU and this flagship DC Summit program to show young girls that developing their STEM talents can lead to a challenging and highly rewarding career in transportation.” Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS chapters work to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation and encourage them to take courses in science, technology, engineering and math, which are the stepping stones to exciting careers that can change the face of the transportation industry. The Transportation YOU DC Youth Summit spanned five days and included a visit to USDOT to meet with some of the young women from various modes who have chosen transportation as a career, and a meeting with Victor Mendez, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to visits to WMATA and NTSB to learn about data technologies and career paths in transportation investigations, the Summit attendees embarked on an academic challenge project coordinated by a special team from Rutgers and Carnegie Mellon about transportation technology. The project was woven throughout the robust Summit agenda. “The DC Summit program relies heavily on the steering committee that creates the participant experience,” Ferranto says. “WTS International recognizes these committee members and their organizations for the incredible time, dedication, and resources they provide, including 2015 Committee Chair Helen McSwain from Atkins, Laurie Cullen, also from Atkins, and Diana Giraldo from HNTB.” Also on the committee were Avital Barnea and Kristine Boswell of USDOT, Felicia Boyd of FAA, and Casey Manders, a graduating senior from Atlanta, GA. 26
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
Transportation YOU capped off its year-long programs occurring around the U.S. at its flagship DC Youth Summit.
The full agenda for the Transportation YOU DC Summit can be found at this link: http://www.transportationyou.org/dcsummit/2015-summit-diary/. The Transportation YOU initiative that takes place at the local level across WTS International’s 60 chapters was spearheaded by USDOT in partnership with WTS in 2010 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. The program is a source of scholarship, internship and networking opportunities. It links young women with professionals in the field and inspires them to pursue STEM-related coursework and exposes them to career possibilities in the transportation industry not typically pursued by women. The DOT has been unwaveringly determined to support President Obama’s call to action to get more students, particularly young women, on track to take the helm of the country’s infrastructure needs and in support of the “Ladders of Opportunity” initiative to provide a robust economy, thriving communities, and success of individuals. WTS was a natural fit for getting the program off the ground. WTS International and WTS Foundation, Washington, D.C., seek to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation. As the industry’s premier multi-modal association, WTS boasts a network of more than 6,000 transportation professionals—women and men from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Every transportation mode is represented, as is every service within the industry. From federal leaders to engineers and planners, the WTS membership base represents nearly 1,500 companies and 400 agencies in more than 90 cities. WTS Foundation has provided more than $1 million in scholarships to deserving women throughout the transportation industry, supporting the next generation of transportation professionals and advancing the principles of WTS. More information can be found at www.WTSinternational.org.
By Prevost Prep
Driving in inclement weather As the summer sun continues to beat down, this may not seem like the time to take up driving in inclement weather. Nonetheless, rain and wet roads are always a challenge and winter weather isn’t that far off. With storms seemingly growing harsher and more relentless, there is no time like the present to address safe driving practices in these conditions. This may all be old hat to the industry’s countless safe professional coach drivers, but that doesn’t preclude beginning the discussion, keeping these safeguards front of mind and practicing in a safe place when winter arrives. Pre-trip prep If conditions look bad, get off the road. Anticipate a change in weather. Check a weather report before departure and always be prepared for sudden changes in road conditions. In threatening weather, the pre-trip inspection should include attention to tires, tire chains (if needed) and wiper blades. Don’t go. When the weather turns severe with heavy storms in the forecast, avoid making the trip. Postpone or cancel if possible. If the conditions look particularly ominous, stay off the roads until they clear. On the road Drive at a slower speed. Most accidents in inclement weather occur simply because the coach is traveling too fast for road conditions. Driving at reduced speed allows more reaction time in an event. Turn off the Cruise Control. The driver has more options without cruise control. In rain and snow, cruise control only increases the chance of losing control. To maintain traction, the driver needs to let off the accelerator quickly to reduce speed and maintain traction. Leave room. In inclement weather, allow ample stopping distance between vehicles on the road by increasing the following distance from the vehicle in front. Allow at least three times the usual distance.
Get a grip. Hold the steering wheel firmly and keep the vehicle steady through snow, ice and heavy wind. Avoid quick moves and sharp turns. Where possible, drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead. Brake and accelerate lightly. Try not to do anything forcefully in slippery road conditions. Lightly pump the brakes to reduce the chance of locking the tires and going into a skid. To engage the anti-lock braking system (ABS) in an emergency, press and hold the brake down as far as possible. The ABS prevents the wheels from locking, enabling the driver to steer. Skids happen. The coach can go into a skid at any time for any reason. Don’t panic during a skid – let the training take over. As the coach begins to skid, the driver must avoid hard braking, turning sharply, and continue to steer in the direction the front of the coach should go. Brake, turn and accelerate one step at a time. Beware of black ice. Black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice formed when the temperature is close to freezing, with the road appearing to be wet rather than frozen. Black ice is the most dangerous winter road condition. It’s difficult to spot when the temperature gets close to freezing. Look for clues. Watch other vehicles, feel the road, and get off the road at the earliest possible moment. Anticipate bridges, structures and highway overpasses being more slippery than the pavement, which typically freeze first. More information on Prevost Prep can be found at www.uma.org/academy.
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THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT
All kinds of drive systems at By Doug Jack
The International Union of Public Transport (UITP) held its biennial Congress and Exhibition in the northern Italian city of Milan, June 8-10. Although Rome is the capital, Milan is the country’s financial and industrial powerhouse.
The attractively styled i2e all-electric bus from Irizar.
BYD’s latest batteries are much more compact but offer the same range.
BUSRIDE | AUGUST.2015
The exhibition was spread over two large halls. The lower one was occupied by bus manufacturers and their component suppliers. The upper hall was for rail manufacturers because UITP members include cities running tramway and metro systems. Although UITP started out in 1885 as a European organization, it has in recent years become much more global. It attracts top executives from the world’s largest transport systems as well as many politicians and legislators, the people who should be planning the provision of public transport at least 10 to 15 years ahead. UITP has its own ambitious PTx2 program to double the use of public transport by 2025. It means that UITP exhibitions are always more about quality of visitors, rather than quantity. Various congress sessions are run in parallel, so, at times, the exhibition halls are relatively quiet, but that gives the opportunity for useful discussions with exhibitors. Entry prices to the exhibition for visitors were spectacularly high, and that certainly kept numbers down. In the lower hall, all the bus exhibits were situated side by side, facing a wide central aisle. On the opposite side of that aisle there were the booths of well known suppliers like Allison, Cummins, Voith and ZF which, incidentally, celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. In the exhibition, the manufacturers were certainly not singing from the same sheet. Between them, they were offering the latest Euro 6 diesel engines, hybrid, compressed natural gas, biogas and all-electric. The major European manufacturers and independent engine builders like Cummins have all spent a fortune developing and meeting the latest Euro 6 emission standards. While the majority of them will be sold in trucks, bus manufacturers also need to recover their share of the costs. busride.com
THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT
Mercedes-Benz showed the CapaCity L articulated bus, built to an overall length of just less than 69 feet. This is longer than the standard European limit of 61 feet, 6 inches, and therefore needs special dispensation to operate. However, the vehicle has a fourth axle that steers, enabling a turning circle as good as the standard articulated model. It has capacity for 191 passengers, nearly as many as on a biarticulated bus, but without the complication of two turntables. Two years ago, Iveco Bus launched its Urbanway range, starting with diesel and hybrid, the latter using BAE Systems. In Milan, the range was completed by the option of a compressed natural gas (CNG) engine. Iveco has supplied more than 5,000 buses with CNG engines in Europe over the last twenty years and seems comfortable and confident with the technology. VDL Bus, with its headquarters in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, showed the first of eight articulated all-electric buses that will enter service in the coming months in Cologne, Germany. This vehicle had a modified front assembly, with a large one-piece windshield sloping backwards towards the roofline, looking more like a tram than a bus. These vehicles will take a full charge in a depot overnight and then a fast charge (using a roof-mounted pantograph system) at each end of the route during service. This enables the bus to have fewer batteries and lower weight. The whole vehicle was very well packaged and passenger friendly. Volvo had a strong presence in Milan. The company can offer hybrid, electric hybrid and now full-electric city buses. The electric hybrid uses overhead charging at each end of the route to top up the batteries, therefore the small diesel engine probably only runs for 30 percent of the time. The all-electric model requires more batteries and the same overhead charging facilities. Van Hool displayed a front section of its Exqui.City Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicle, with a number of new features. The main side windows were considerably deeper than previous production models, letting more light into the vehicle and making it more attractive to passengers. Jan Van Hool, design and development director, said that the factory in Macedonia was now fully operational and that more than 600 CX coaches had been built for U.S. customers. It was now gearing up to supply similar but more competitively priced coaches to European markets. The main factory in Belgium was fully occupied with highspecification coaches, including many for the expanding networks of intercity express services in Western Europe. One week after UITP in Milan, megabus.com started an Italian network with 23 double-decker Van Hool coaches. On the Solaris stand, I met someone who will be well known to many BUSRide readers. Dr. Andy Strecker took up the position of chief executive on April 1. He had spent the last four years in another industry but is delighted to be back with buses. Solaris built a record 1,380 units last year, but they included articulated, gas, all-electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as trolleybuses. There is considerably more work in most of those vehicles than in standard 40-foot transit buses. Therefore, Solaris is currently extending the factory near Poznan, Poland, to provide more production capacity and offices. Looking ahead, development projects include an 80-foot biarticulated version of the new Urbino city bus. Turkish manufacturers were well represented in the exhibition. TEMSA introduced an all-electric midibus, called the ElectroCITY. It was alongside a full low-floor transit bus with a CNG engine. Gas is an increasingly popular option in Turkey. Bozankaya is a company with factories in Turkey and Germany. It builds structures for all-electric city buses in Ankara then ships them to Salzgitter in Germany for fitment of all the electrical equipment and drivetrain. Their vehicle was a 60-foot low-floor articulated all-electric bus that was evidently completed just a week before the exhibition!
New features for Van Hool’s Exqui.City BRT vehicle.
Irizar is best known as a major builder of luxury coaches and that came through in the styling and finishing of their i2e all-electric bus. This 40-foot model had a full low-floor layout and carried sufficient batteries to give around 150-mile range on a full charge. The first three i2e buses are in service in two Spanish cities, while others are being demonstrated in France and Spain. Two will reach London by the time you read this article. Irizar is confident about the future of all-electric city buses and plans to build a separate factory for that range, near to its main factory in the North of Spain. A number of other group companies are involved in the project and that should give Irizar a competitive advantage. BYD had a standard 40-foot bus in the exhibition. The battery packs were two thirds of the size of the previous generation, but still offered the same daily range of around 160 miles. There is no doubt that the Chinese have invested very heavily in battery technology. That is bound to continue, giving more range and/or lower weight. Indeed, BYD argued strongly against fast charging during the course of the day, saying that buses can be held up in city traffic and fast charging at each end of the route could delay their schedules. BYD also said that it will launch an all-electric double-decker bus at Busworld Kortrijk this coming October. You can always find a Cummins stand, with its beautifully showprepared bright red engines. Both diesel and gas models were on display. The company said that it was working on stop-and-go technology to improve fuel consumption. Customers thought that stop-and-go was simple because they were used to it in cars. There were many more challenges in city buses, but Cummins expects to unveil this option later in the year. In many parts of Europe there has been a revolution in payment for transit bus travel, although there are still too many places where time is taken up by passengers paying individual fares to drivers. UITP gave a Global Public Transport Award for Operational and Technical Excellence to Transport for London (TfL), Barclaycard and Cubic for their joint project, “Acceptance of Contactless Payment Cards for Pay as you Go Travel on London’s public transport network”. UITP said that the award was “recognition for their contribution to the deployment of contactless payment cards in London, contributing to more efficient operations, increased customer satisfaction and decreased costs related to revenue collection. The negotiation of the transit transaction model and the ability of the system to support the local transport smart card, the national transport smart card and contactless payment cards are among the most remarkable achievements”. It is all the more remarkable when one considers that there are more than 8,000 buses contracted to TfL, but none owned by the authority. The cards also work on the extensive underground (metro) network. In two years the UITP Congress and Exhibition will be held in Montreal. The city had an attractive booth, tempting visitors with fresh pancakes and maple syrup. The Canadian city is bound to be a popular venue for delegates, but UITP will have to work hard to persuade European exhibitors to incur the additional costs of crossing the Atlantic. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.
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BUSES, TECHNOLOGY AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE INDUSTRY. SEPTEMBER 28-30, 2015
EXHIBIT HALL OPEN SEPTEMBER 29-30, 2015 INDIANA CONVENTION CENTER INDIANAPOLIS
REGISTER BY AUGUST 28 AND SAVE!! BusConExpo.com • (800) 576-8788 To exhibit at BusCon, email James.Blue@Bobit.com or call (310) 533-2449.
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BEST VIEW FROM EVERY ANGLE. Prevost coaches deliver the luxury experience that todayâ€™s charter travelers are looking for. With their fuel-efficient powertrain and low-maintenance design, theyâ€™re as comfortable on your balance sheet as they are for your passengers. www.prevostcar.com
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