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david hubbard

Two drivers inspire beyond the call

BUSRide Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane Associate Publisher Sali Williams

As this issue honors the Best of BUSRide and the newest inductees into the Safe Driver Hall of Fame, I thought it fitting to recognize two individuals from earlier in the year who drive the point home that transporting passengers on a daily basis is more than just a job. New York City Transit regards its bus operators as bona fide icons of The Big Apple such as one Jefrick Dean who has been maneuvering the streets with pride, dedication, dignity and an unswerving concern for his customers and fellow workers for more than 20 years. No less than 132 unsolicited commendations by appreciative transit regulars phoned in or emailed back this claim. According to the agency, few NYC bus operators have received even a dozen such kudos in their entire career. Receiving even one means the customer was moved enough to take the time and effort to relate a positive experience about an employee. The Fund for the City of New York further honored Dean with its Sloan Public Service Award, presented each year to six worthy New Yorkers. “Jefrick Dean embodies the true spirit of what it means to serve the public,” says MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “His receipt of the Sloan Award acknowledges what we have known all along. Mr. Dean selflessly goes above and beyond the call of duty to put the needs of his customers first.” MTA NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast says the Sloan Public Service Award is a tremendous honor for both Dean and for NYC Transit, and recognizes the consistency with which Dean has shown courtesy, patience and good cheer while piloting a 40-foot vehicle through one of the most congested cities in the world. Darryl Irick, MTA Bus Company president and senior vice president, NYC Transit Department of Buses, says in addition to everything else the job often requires a bus operator to even be an amateur psychologist. Dean joined NYC Transit in 1990 and works


December 2012

out of the East New York Depot, just a short bus ride from his home in Brooklyn. “I remember my first day on the job looking in the rearview mirror at all those people,” he says. “I was saying to myself I don’t think I can do this.” According to Dean, not only did he prove that he could perform the job, he grew to thrive on his daily duties. Following the December 2008 murder of fellow bus operator Edwin Thomas, killed by a farebeating passenger, Dean stepped up as a much-needed pillar of emotional strength and support. According to Department of Buses Vice President Stephen Vidal, also a Sloan Award winner, Dean, now an ordained minister was the person everybody migrated to from his first day on the job. Meanwhile, Team Trailways recognized Jonathan Wilson of Kobussen Trailways, Kaukauna, WI, as its 2011 Trailways Driver of the Year. Kobussen Trailways President Joe Kobussen says Wilson, a native of Madison WI, has always been the standard by which his company measures safety awareness, customer service and general motorcoach goodwill. “He is the face of company for thousands of customers annually,” says Kobussen. “Jonathan’s commitment to driver safety and customer service supports our company’s mission to provide the safest and best passenger experience.” As an example, Kobussen cites Wilson’s chartered excursion for a cheerleading squad on its way to a national high school competition in Florida. When a snowstorm closed the local airport, Wilson personally arranged to have his customers driven from Wisconsin all the way to their destination in Florida. The team made it on time and even won the competition. “In an age in which service appears to be slipping in all areas of business,” says Kobussen, “Jonathan has never lost sight of what makes our company successful.”

Editor David Hubbard Assistant Editor Richard Tackett Account Executive Maria Galioto Production Director Valerie Valtierra Art Director Dominic Salerno Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher, Christopher Ferrone

BUS industry SAFETY council

Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra

Accountant Fred Valdez

POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide • 4742 North 24th Street • Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 • F: (602) 277-7588 Web site:

Vol. 48 No. 12 Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600, ext. 203.



APTA awards its best and brightest at Annual Meeting American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded public transportation systems and individuals demonstrating exemplary leadership during its 2012 Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. Innovation Award – Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Washington, DC. WMATA confronted the twin challenges of providing more service for a growing number of customers with disabilities, while working to contain the high cost of door-to-door paratransit service.

Best Public Transportation Systems in North America

(Three categories based on annual passenger trips) More than 20 million: Despite a sluggish economy in 2011 ridership for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Philadelphia, PA, reached its highest levels in 22 years, serving 334 million customers. More than 4 million; less than 20 million: In an effort to create a more sustainable community, Metro Transit, Madison,

WI, partners with several area universities, hospitals, employment centers and small businesses in offering an unlimited ride pass program that encourages people to use public transit for their commutes on a fleet that is nearly 10 percent hybrid. 4 million or fewer: Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK), Moline, IL, makes use of sophisticated technologies and efficient route structure to attract riders on its fleet of 55 fixed route buses, 15 paratransit vehicles and two ferry boats. MetroLINK has incorporated environmentally friendly policies for more than a decade, and its commitment to sustainability is evident through the 70 percent of the bus fleet that uses compressed natural gas.

2012 APTA Individual Awards

Peter M. Cipolla, senior vice president, Hatch Mott MacDonald, Phoenix, AZ, received the 2012 APTA Hall of Fame Award, honoring his more than 35 years of industry leadership that began with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and later as general manager for Lexington Transit Authority Delaware Administration for Regional Transit. During this time as 2001-2002 APTA chair, he set up a special APTA Security Working Group to work with federal agencies.

Marcia Milton takes a seat on the Trailways Board

Marcia Milton


December 2012

Trailways Transportation System (Trailways) Fairfax, VA, named Marcia Milton, founder, president and CEO of First Priority Trailways, District Heights, MD to its Board of Directors as a midterm (2012-2015) replacement to represent the Northeast Region. “We are delighted to welcome Marcia to the Trailways Board,” said Anthony (Tony) Fiorini, Trailways’ Chairman, of Silver State Trailways, Las Vegas, NV. “She is the quintessential entrepreneur who has built her company without the benefit of a multi-generation industry legacy. Marcia brings a fresh perspective to our leadership vision and efforts; we look forward to having her valuable input as we continue to strengthen and grow our organization.” Milton founded First Priority Trailways in 1999 with one full-size motorcoach. She had been director of a school-to-work program in the nation’s capital where she organized college and school trips for students. Following some industry research and familiarization, she launched her new company

to provide providing consumer trips to New York City shopping and Broadway show programs. “I attended a national bus association conference to learn more about the business and the industry,” says Milton. “Soon after that, I purchased my first coach and marketed to a more sophisticated upmarket consumer. I made certain that my coach interior was different and unique, using bright colors and galleys similar to those on airplanes. It was quite successful and we grew from there.” First Priority Trailways now has a fleet of 18 vehicles, ranging from full-sized coaches to mini-buses and provides charter transportation for corporations, government agencies, universities and schools. Milton said she looks forward to assisting the Trailways Board with its continuing expansion of brand marketing and procurement of large transportation projects that benefit multiple Team Trailways companies.



MCI Orlando acquires former Setra center Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Schaumburg, IL, recently relocated its Orlando Sales and Service Center to the nearby former Daimler Bus North America service facility, a larger facility which MCI acquired as part of its agreement to take over distribution rights of the Setra brand. It features additional maintenance bays, a paint booth and body shop, and now staffs both MCI and Setra factory-trained technicians. Patrick McGuire, director of MCI Service Centers, says the new facility doubles the number of technicians in the Orlando market to service all customers throughout Florida and the Southeast. Maintenance services include engine and glass replacement and minor to major collision repair. To celebrate the move, the facility is offering 20 percent off of any customer’s first service at the facility, up to $200; the offer is good through December. Operators should call for additional details and restrictions. The toll-free number remains 800-3900287.

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December 2012 BUSRide




Vandalia Bus Lines Caseyvillle, IL

Dennis and Dale Streif say the addition of three Van Hool coaches, one T2145 and two C2045s, serves to elevate fleet standards. As technology continues to improve, they say Vandalia owes it to customers to ride that wave. The coaches include Electronic Stability Control and Iteris lane departure warning systems, Cummins ISX engines, Allison B500G4 transmissions, luxury entertainment systems with 15-inch flat screen TVs and three-point seatbelts. The Streifs have grown 80-year old Vandalia Bus Lines into a transportation group with mother Judy still active in the business.






Moose Mountain Bus Lines Regina, SK, Canada

Moose Mountain Bus Lines added a 2012 Prevost H3-45 to its fleet of 13 motorcoaches. General Manager Ed Bourassa says will it run primarily in conjunction with a long-term athletic partnership serving the University of Regina. He says the H3-45 is ideal for transporting teams and their copious amounts of gear. Founded in 1958 as southern Saskatchewan’s premier charter and tour operator, Moose Mountain Bus Lines provides local, regional, and national service to destinations throughout Canada and the continental U.S.



David Thomas Tours and Travel Philadelphia, PA

David Thomas Tours President David Thomas says his drivers prefer the Temsa TS35 over the other mid-size coaches in the fleet, and his maintenance department appreciates the craftsmanship. T h e 40-passenger integral mid-size coach constructed of stainless steel features a Cummins ISL 345 HP engine, Allison B500 transmission and three-point seat belts, as well as REI audio/video, Alcoa rims and 110 volt plug outlets. Established in 1997, David Thomas Tours serves the mid-Atlantic region, providing charter tours, corporate transport, sporting events, airport transfers and shuttle service.

December 2012 11

Drivers hold the keys to an accident free day 5Star Specialty Programs congratulates the new inductees By Buzz Cook


December 2012

5Star Specialty Programs believes it is important to participate in this noteworthy program that recognizes the safest among the nation’s transit and motorcoach drivers. These honorees set high standards for other drivers and demonstrate it is indeed possible to maintain this exemplary feat over millions of miles. Safe driving over time requires high standards in every facet of the job from behavior behind the wheel and passenger awareness to vehicle maintenance. These inaugural Hall of Fame inductees who have logged up to three million accident-free miles represent the best in their industry. Their high performance standards, driving skills, personal appearance and conduct, personal hygiene and physical health, as well as care for the physical appearance of the vehicle contribute directly to the reputation and performance of their companies. We can never overemphasize the necessity of placing only the safest drivers behind the wheel. Drivers with the skill and dedication to play it safe continually for the sake of their passengers, others on the road and the equipment, are treasures to their company and agency and to the entire bus and motorcoach industry. The road to millions of miles of accident-free driving begins with the driver’s sense of professionalism that encompasses the highest performance standards in driving skill, personal appear-

ance, exemplary conduct and physical health, as well as for the safe operation and physical appearance of their vehicles. One million miles of safe driving is a significant achievement as even small “fender-benders” count as accidents. The bus and coach drivers nominated and chosen for the BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame raise the bar for other drivers and demonstrate that it is possible to maintain this exemplary feat. To keep it going over millions of miles is exemplary. Three million miles add up roughly to 36 years behind the wheel — or as some have noted: six runs to the moon and back. The National Safety Council says fewer than 200 drivers ever achieve three million miles of accident-free driving. The importance of attracting, hiring, training and retraining drivers to stay safe behind the wheel substantially impacts every area of company operations. Driver behavior and performance behind the wheel directly affect the tangible and intangible costs of accidents. 5Star Specialty Programs believes reducing accidents is an obvious way to lower costs and insurance premiums. The BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame sends the message that drivers with a sense of professionalism make a difference. BR Buzz Cook serves as Advertising Manager for 5Star Specialty Programs, Melbourne, FL.


3,000,000 miles

Charles Frasier Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority (CARTA), Veolia Transportation

INDUCTEES SAFE DRIVER HALL OF FAME presented by 5Star Specialty Programs

Charles began his career as a transit bus driver in 1974. He begins his route each day meditating and sharing motivational messages with his peers that benefit the customers he interacts with daily. Charles says safety is his top priority and has earned recognition and commendations for excellence and exemplary service.

Robert Tobin, Veolia Transportation Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Authority; Veolia Transportation Robert began his career with Las Vegas Transit in 1992. As an employee of Veolia Transportation for the last 19 years, he shares his high level of attention and his onthe-job experiences to mentor newer operators. He has served over 15 years as line and revenue instructor and has numerous recognition awards for his safe driving.

Marshall F. Thomas Valley Metro, Tempe, AZ; Veolia Transportation Marshall joined Veolia Transportation in 2000, coming from his previous position with Forsythe & Associates. He has received numerous awards for his safe driving, and mentors newer drivers in safe driving techniques.


December 2012

Sue Sutain, Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ Veolia Transportation Sue has logged an estimated 3,500,000 miles in her 42 years as a transit bus driver, 10 years with Wunderlich Bus Company in Minnesota and 32 years with Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys recognition and numerous awards for her high level of attention to the job. She enjoys her passengers and considers their safety her most important focus.

2,000,000 miles Jones Kinloch, Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority (CARTA), Veolia Transportation Jones began with SCE&G in 1977 before his career with Veolia Transportation, and has logged an estimated 2,888,500 miles. He is the recipient of the 2012 Fixed Route Operator of the Year Award, following numerous awards for service and perfect attendance on the job. At one point he received a letter from the Mayor of Quebec, QC, Canada extending an invitation to visit Quebec in appreciation of his politeness.

1,000,000 miles Susie Ramirez Veolia Transportation Chico Division (Butte Regional Transit - Bline)

Scott QUARRY Veolia Transportation Chico Division (Butte Regional Transit - Bline)

In her 16 years with Veolia Transportation, Susie has served as a fixed route and paratransit operator, and is currently a member of the Chico DRIVE Team.

Scott is a foundational member of the Chico Division team for Veolia Transportation. He makes safety a priority and works as a safety instructor mentoring newer drivers.

Jonathan Wilson Kobussen Trailways Kaukauna, WI A native of Madison WI, Jonathan became a motorcoach driver in 2004. Kobussen Trailways President Joe Kobussen says Wilson has always been the standard by which his company measures safety awareness.


3,000,000 miles


Graham Hyde. Red Arrow Bus Line Calgary, AB, Canada

Joseph Anderson, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA

Graham Hyde continues his career with Red Arrow Bus Lines, a division of Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) with more than 3.5 million miles of safe accidentfree driving to his credit. Hyde was behind the wheel for the inaugural run when Red Arrow launched in 1979.

Joseph Anderson is one of four veteran drivers for Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA, to have reached three-million-miles. He received a proclamation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts commending him for this distinction.

2,000,000 miles

= 24-plus years of accident-free performance

1,000,000 miles

= 12-plus years of accident-free performance

2,000,000 miles Patrick Magner Peter Pan Bus Lines Springfield, MA Pat Magner began his career in 1980 with Pawtuxet Valley Bus Lines and joined the former Bonanza Bus Lines in 1985, which Peter Pan Bus Lines acquired in 2003. Well liked and appreciated for his sense of humor, Magner always ensures his passengers a safe and enjoyable ride.

1,000,000 miles Eugene Nwafor Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA Born in Nigeria, Eugene Nwafor immigrated to Toronto, ON, Canada before coming to the U.S. in 1978. He has driven 15 years for Peter Pan Bus Lines.


Michael Dise Peter Pan Bus Lines Springfield, MA Peter Pan saluted Michael “The Diceman� Dise for his quick wit, great service to his passengers and his accident-free driving record.

Howard Simon Peter Pan Bus Lines Springfield, MA Howard Simon, a native of Ghana, joined Peter Pan at its Tuxedo, MD Division in 1997, and has driven nearly 15 years for the company.

Peter Frangomihalos Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA After 16 years of service for Peter Pan, Peter Frangomihalos is one of the most requested charter drivers in Secaucus, NJ.

December 2012


4,500,000 miles 2,700,000 miles Emory Hysell, Greyhound Bus Lines

Emory Hysell, has driven motorcoaches for more than 50 years and estimates he has driven 4,500,000 million miles with Greyhound Bus Lines. Today the company puts him at the top of its list of its Exceptionally Safe Drivers (ESDs) — drivers who have not had any traffic violations, accidents or reported incidents of unsafe driving while on duty.

Lee Roy Weems Village Charters and Tours

Lee Roy Weems also drove for Continental Trailways and helped found Prestige Charters, Wichita, KS. He joined Village Charters & Tours and drove full time up until 2007 and has logged 2,700,000 mile without a recordable accident.

INDUCTEES 2,550,000 miles SAFE DRIVER HALL OF FAME Russ Lippincott, Village Charters and Tours

Russ Lippincott began driving coaches in 1977 for Continental Trailways, continuing through its acquisition by Greyhound. He moved to independent charter coaches and joined Village Charters & Tours full time in 1988. To his credit, Lippincott has not put so much as a scratch on a coach in the last 10 years.

Everett L. Anderson

Edward C. Hope

Everett credits caution, training, experience and luck for his hitting the three million mark. He continues to drive everywhere the job takes him and says he enjoys the view from behind the wheel every day.

Edward is the first motorcoach operator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to drive three million accident-free miles. Anderson completed his 36 accident-free years in May 2008.

3,000,000 miles

Aubrey Hutchings

Judy Breneman

M.T. Lewis

In 27 years behind the wheel Aubrey has logged three million miles without a reportable accident. Currently the operations manager for K-T Contract Services, He still drives over four hours per day.

A driver for 10 years with Elite Coach, Judy logged two million accident-free miles over her 40-year career. She is a favorite among Elite customers and serves as a trainer and mentor to new drivers entering the industry.

Committed to safe driving for over 29 years, M.T. passed one million miles without a reportable accident. He attributes his success to two words that require his consistent dedication — concentration and patience.

3,000,000 miles

presented by 5Star Specialty Programs


December 2012

3,000,000 miles

2,000,000 miles

1,000,000 miles


Basic safe driving skills revised DriveCam lists its most dangerous behavior — and it’s not texting

Onboard video shows the driver in relation to the view ahead.

In their effort to reduce bus and coach collisions, government, industry and trade associations publish lists of the most common risky driving behaviors which fleet operators then draw from to build their safety programs. Unfortunately the methods for these studies are limiting, as the majority rely on data from accident reports, witness statements and law enforcement analysis. Although it is important to consider such resources, their perspectives are often incomplete and commonly skewed. The most commonly cited risky driving behaviors include distracted driving, speeding, traveling too fast for conditions, fatigue, traffic law violations and aggressive driving.

review center for evaluation, the client receives notice of any events that might require further driver coaching through a web portal. DriveCam has analyzed more than 20 million risky driving events

The case for onboard video re-made

The value of video

By Del Lisk

In-cab video technology remains one of the most reliable means for capturing the indisputable evidence of what really happened. It improves driver behavior and provides proof in the case of a collision. The video event recorder affixed to the windshield captures inside views of the driver as well as the outside oncoming view. Substantial force, such as hard braking or swerving, triggers the device and saves the last eight seconds before the moment of force and the four seconds after. The net result is a visual record that reveals what happened and why. With the video coverage uploaded to a

30 December 2012

In a 2009 study, DriveCam found that those drivers who had one or more risky events involving a cell phone risked higher crash rate. However, risky driving events involving a cell represented less than five

“In a 2009 study, DriveCam found risky driving events involving a hand held cell represented less than five percent of all risky driving behaviors.” that have sharpened industry knowledge about driver behavior. DriveCam’s findings from commonly held beliefs — such as cell phone use and texting. In fact, the Department of Transportation has implemented stiff penalties for commercial drivers cited for using hand-held devices while behind the wheel, leaving commercial fleets to limit or prohibit their use. There is no question drivers engaged in texting or dialing are driving blind, clueless to their surroundings. However, DriveCam data suggests that even if drivers do put down their cell phones, it will not have the impact most anticipate for reducing collisions, injuries and fatalities.

percent of all risky driving behaviors identified. This implies riskier behaviors that are getting overlooked — behaviors clearly revealed in the DriveCam data. DriveCam is finding the most common risky behaviors are not products of new technologies. Instead, they relate to the fundamental skills that all drivers should have acquired. All too often drivers do not understand or recognize the risk. .

The revised list of risky behaviors

Not looking far ahead —This behavior turns risky when a driver responds abruptly to a problem well after it becomes unmistakably visible. Late responses can lead to rear-ending the vehicle ahead, getting rear-ended from behind, passengers fall-


Drive Cam


ing or load shifts damaging goods. This risky behavior was present in 28 percent of the risky driving events that DriveCam reviewed. Findings show that drivers who repeatedly exhibit this behavior are more likely to have one or more collisions, as opposed to drivers not identified with this issue. A recent 26-week DriveCam study revealed that a driver with five or more incidents of not looking far ahead is three times more likely to experience a collision. Failure to keep an eye out — This is an instance where a driver unnecessarily cuts it too close to other vehicles, pedestrians or objects. Though observed in only 5 percent of risky events, researchers found that drivers with this behavior correlated significantly to increased collision potential. For example, a driver with five such events during the study period was five times more likely to have a collision than one with none of these events. Following too close — Data shows that following cars at distances of less than two seconds is very risky. This was present in 27 percent of the risky events reviewed. Furthermore, a driver with five or more instances of following at a distance of one second or less was four times more likely to have experienced a crash than a driver with none of these events. Driver safety efforts tend to go through periods where one issue reaches a critical mass in awareness and goes viral. This is beneficial in that it draws attention the issue and promotes change. However, it can also lull fleet operators into thinking they have solved the problem. Some may overlook other crucial safety issues and will be disappointed when they don’t realize their expected results. Until technology can take driving decisions out of operators’ hands, driving safety efforts need to focus on ensuring drivers are using the fundamentals of safe driving. Vehicles and technology may have changed dramatically over the years, but the underlying causes for driving mistakes have not. BR Del Lisk serves as director of safety services for DriveCam, San Diego, CA.


December 2012


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

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

The current reality of reduced maintenance staffing and declining budgets begs for greater effectiveness in every operational area. Electronic brake monitoring as a proactive approach to maintenance has increased in popularity as the technology has developed. This technology enables operators to reduce costs by identifying trends that lead to problematic brake issues. Left undetected, a minor issue can prematurely mushroom into serious component damage and compromise the safe operation of a vehicle. MGM Brakes, Charlotte, NC, a 50-yearold supplier of air brake actuators worldwide, became interested in electronic brake monitoring with its development of the e-Stroke Brake Monitoring System for S-Cam (drum) brakes. The company designed this system to address the CVSA standard that requires the driver to conduct a walk-around brake inspection of all vehicles equipped with air brakes before each daily service. The brake actuator in both S-Cam (drum) and air disc systems is the conversion point where pneumatic energy is converted to mechanical force, and where problems with air delivery, air release, and mechani-


cal problems that effect brake adjustment and stroke, can be readily detected. Integrating electronic brake monitoring into the brake actuator was the ideal location to achieve this goal. MGM Brakes has continued development of the e-Stroke brake monitoring system with ES3D for air disc brakes. MGM’s prior ES3 technology utilized an Electronic Controller (ECU) and Hall Effect Sensing Technology to monitor brake stroke, which is still widely deployed on S-Cam (drum brake) applications. The new ES3D technology utilizes the same ECU, cabling, diagnostic software, and now adds new infrared optical sensing technology to monitor air disc brake operation. The new spring-loaded chamber ball-end design monitors proper contact and movement of the caliper lever arm during each application and release of the brakes. The first system designs were simple LED-lit stroke indicators that indicated proper brake function and stroke compliance. Today’s systems fully integrate with the vehicle J-1939 data bus, displaying, sending and recording assigned SAE fault codes for out-of-adjustment, dragging, and faulty or nonfunctioning brakes.

December 2012


Brake check technology continued The ES3D system monitors the vehicle braking system in real-time and can detect: • Non-functioning brakes caused by broken air hoses, faulty valves and faulty brake chambers • Dragging brakes caused by faulty valves, faulty parking chambers and caliper adjuster failures • Over stroke brakes caused by caliper adjuster mechanism failure or other mechanical failure MGM’s E-Stroke Gen 3 S-Cam systems have been widely adopted for use in transit and passenger bus applications. The operational demands for continuous service, longer duty cycles and proactive maintenance have made electronic brake monitoring popular. This is due largely to its ability to accurately define problems early and relay those via AVM systems, as well as via the onboard diagnostics available to maintenance personnel. Air disc brake systems pose an even greater challenge to maintenance and periodic inspections due to the lack of brake component accessibility. A recent gathering of CVSA and industry experts resulted in an agreement that the only physical inspection of disc brakes a technician could perform required removal of the wheels to


December 2012

check pad wear. Running the vehicle over a pit or putting it on the lift to check brake function would prove fruitless unless the rotors showed obvious rust or were visibly scored from metalto-metal contact with worn out-brake pads. Other potential avenues to ensure functionality include placing the vehicle on a rolling dynamometer to check parking brakes and service brake forces, or using a temperaturesensing device on wheels after repeated service applications to check wheel end temperatures. At MGM Brakes we believe onboard technology, like the ES3D brake monitoring system, is the most cost effective and reliable solution. This technology provides real-time diagnostics that monitor brake conditions with every brake application. As a safety device on tour buses departing from remote locations, or as a maintenance alert for city transit operators, real-time monitoring of air disc brakes equates to safer vehicles and better component utilization. It’s like having an inspector on board. Whether the system is alerting the driver via vehicle displays or alerting maintenance to persistent faults in the air brake system, ES3D users will find that having a constantly watchful eye on their braking system will ensure better operational returns and safer braking performance. BR Chad Robinson is the market development manager, Global Transit and Bus, at MGM Brakes.


It is Satisfactory Only for ABA members

New program systematically ranks and removes non-compliant members in the FMCSA SAFER database Following the two horrific coach crashes in 2011 involving the Sky Express and World Wide Tours motorcoach companies, public outcry for a safer industry prompted a number of proactive responses. Suggestions ranged from driver awareness training to stricter safety monitoring. This year the American Bus Association (ABA) board of directors and staff initiated a rather revolutionary program to supplant the industry’s ubiquitous anger toward rogue operations. ABA is now ranking coach operators every 90 days with regard to the FMCSA’s SAFER system database and expels any company that has an “Unsatisfactory” score. ABA allows companies showing a “Conditional” score 180 days to bring the scores up to “Satisfactory” or face removal from the membership roster. According to ABA Membership Director Roderick Lewis, by late 2012 the association had identified and immediately removed nearly a dozen companies. ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso says ABA decided to take this step to demonstrate how seriously it regards all safety issues. “We wanted to respond by doing something more concrete and lasting,” says Pantuso. “We wanted to let the public know that if anyone boards a motorcoach belonging to one of our ABA members, they will have the assurance in knowing they are working with a well-run, compliant company with safe, well-maintained coaches and properly trained drivers.” Lewis says ABA also found 25 companies operating in conditional status and informed them of the 180-day period to bring their scores up to the satisfactory level. “We tell companies in this situation how they can improve their score,” he says. “ABA can and will assist in whatever way we can by working with well-established companies in the Bus Industry Safety

By David Hubbard


The new ABA Safety Review demands satisfactory results from its member companies in all areas of compliance.

Council (BISC) and using other resources we can recommend.” Dan Ronan, ABA’s senior director of communications, says none of the companies removed from the roster have returned to ABA. “We take this responsibility very seriously,” says Ronan. “The fact ABA has culled out member companies proves this is a course of action we will pursue.” He says the ousted operators are but a small fraction of companies operating in the U.S. and Canada, and represent about 3 percent of the ABA membership that has faced safety-related issues. The association established its code of ethics to help promote the highest standards of intercity bus service among its members. Prior to becoming an ABA member company, the motorcoach operator must first sign the ethics code, promising compliance with all state and federal regulations. ABA says it based this action on its belief that federal and state governments must have the authority to impound motorcoaches after the authorities shut down such unsavory companies. ABA also supports ongoing legislative efforts to improve motorcoach safety, such as the proposal to assign motorcoach companies a letter grade of “A” through “F” dependent on a company’s inspection scores. According to ABA, no other association takes this step to remove unsafe members from its membership or has a clear-cut code of ethics about business operations.

December 2012


Do not overlook this key to safety Rockford Mass Transit advises paratransit technicians to inspect the restraint system By Dan Engelkes


December 2012

Maintenance professionals may take the time to check the mechanical systems and wheel chairlifts on paratransit vehicles, while overlooking the necessity to inspect and maintain the restraint system. Rockford Mass Transit and Rockford Paratransit, Rockford, IL, makes this a critical aspect of its daily operator pre-trip inspections. Regardless of manufacturer and brand, only two components comprise the restraint system and both require periodic inspections. The first is the floor track constructed of strong, lightweight aluminum bolted through a wood floor panel into the steel frame. Over time the floor tracks can weaken due to corrosion and warping. In a panic stop situation with a track in this condition, the tie down strap could come out of the track and possibly cause the wheelchair passenger to tip.

There are a few theories as to what causes the corrosion. The steel bolt that attaches the track to the floor may create electrolysis with the aluminum in the track. Or the aluminum reacts with the treating of the plywood sub floor. Another is that track corrosion is simply due to normal operation such as water, dirt, road salt and chemical cleaners. Regardless of what actually causes this problem, it requires attention. One of the first clues will most likely come from a driver complaining that the tie down strap doesn’t fit at every location, indicating the track may be warped. If the technician does not find anything obvious such as build up dirt, he should remove the track and look further. If he detects any corrosion, it is time to replace the track and perhaps the tracks at the other WC positions as well. Figure the expense and downtime as a small


The best maintenance advice to prolong the life of the tie down straps is to simply keep them clean.

price to pay for the safety of the passengers. The tie down strap is the second piece in the restraint system. The many manufacturers that produce these tie down straps design restraints to work with their specific floor track systems and that are not interchangeable with other manufacturers. In fact, tie down straps may not

for broken or worn hardware, frays, and contamination. Replacing a damaged belt always eliminates any doubt about its condition. It is also important that drivers maintain careful documentation on belts they have inspected and had replaced. Most belts clean up easily with mild soap and water, but the recommended

“Regardless of manufacturer and brand, only two components comprise the restraint system and both require periodic inspections.� work on another restraint system by the same manufacturer even though they may appear to fit. The best maintenance advice to prolong the life of the tie down straps is to simply keep them clean. Most manufacturers provide storage bags for belts when they are not in use. Make protective storage of the tie down straps an operation requirement and do not leave unused straps lying on the floor. Drivers must inspect the belts on a daily basis and during every preventive maintenance inspection, checking


cleaning and maintenance methods found in the owner’s manual or belt manufacturer web site provides the best results. If possible keep an extra set of belts on hand for use while the other is drying. Through these diligent efforts, complaints from Rockford Mass Transit passengers and reportable accidents due to strap failure are virtually non-existent. BR Dan Engelkes serves as maintenance manager, Rockford Mass Transit District, Rockford, IL

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the City of Cleveland to discuss street closures, additional security and other possible concerns at every step. Communications and marketing staffs worked closely with these departments within GCRTA, as well as with external entities like the media, who needed to be a great partner in order for customers to receive reroutes and changes. Laying out needs in advance for extensive movie schedules can help everyone ask the right questions. The same goes for laying out a strategic plan for dissemination of information.

Pick strong teams

Evaluate the effects on each area of the agency and assign a team member from each affected department as the point person. Select individuals in the organization who are key players in each department who can be available 24/7 in the event of changes or emergencies. GCRTA had individuals on committees representing service quality, transit police, communications, marketing, the customer call center, the sign shop and bus operations. Schedule regular briefings to keep the team updated as major changes develop. Assign someone to document changes, concerns and updates from each meeting.

GCRTA created a special Avengers Commuter Alert where 700 customers signed up to receive closure alerts via text or email. The sign shop and graphic designers were kept busy with a number of signs to tell customers where to catch a bus if filming blocked off streets and intersections. Additional transit police officers assisted the when drivers and pedestrians needed to be directed to an unusual spot.

Use all communications tools

Be consistent

Use all available communications methods and channels. GCRTA used Facebook, Twitter, Commuter Alerts, media alerts, website updates, phone calls to media and customer service representatives to tell customers about the changes.


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

If the agency tells customers to expect a route to change and film crews make subsequent changes, stick with the message customers originally received for that day. If filming ends at 2 p.m. but the reroute goes through rush hour, do not change

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it. Make sure customers know the agency will do what it says. Just alert everyone inside and outside the organization to any changes as soon as possible.

Expect the unexpected

Outdoor filming depends on weather conditions, so the scheduled wrap date may not be the final filming date. Along those same lines, film crews may ask to add extra days at the last minute, which will disrupt bus schedules, cause street closures and inconvenience customers. Anticipating that such changes will occur makes it much easier to roll with them. Always keep customers in mind. With each of the movies filmed here in Cleveland, there were always additional last-minute changes and lengthier filming


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schedules than initially expected. GCRTA employees found that as much as we planned ahead, we needed to understand that Hollywood runs on its own schedule. Unexpected changes will happen and you need to be flexible with those changes. Consistently communicate with employees, the media and directly with customers. Ultimately customers know that a transit agency is helping boost a city’s bottom line, even though they might be inconvenienced along the way. During filming, GCRTA carried thousands of people to and from work every day and kept up normal business for all customers. Even with Hollywood and tourists taking over, we accomplished our mission of safe transport. BR Joseph Calabrese is the general manager and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. He joined the agency in 2000.


Wanderu streamlines the search for intercity bus travel Craig Lentzsch joins the team to advise on intermodal solutions Wanderu, a coach savvy company based in Boston, MA, comes equipped with the latest online technologies to further modernize ground travel. According to co-founder and CEO Polina Raygorodskaya, its services make life much easier for travelers to find and book intercity travel on buses and trains. “Anyone who has ever planned a trip between two cities on a bus or train knows the stress and confusion that often Craig Lentzsch incurs with trying to figure out schedules, pricing and connections,” says Raygorodskaya. “Finding and booking travel between cities still proves to be a big headache for consumers scouring the internet to find the best option.” The rising cost of fuel continues to drive consumers by the droves to buses and trains for a less expensive and more eco-


friendly alternative to driving and flying. Raygorodskaya says Wanderu has tackled this issue head-on by allowing travelers to search all of their options in one place on Confident in the service that Wanderu provides, former Greyhound CEO Craig Lentzsch accepted an invitation to serve on the Board of Advisors. “Wanderu is truly simplifying bus and train travel by creating an intermodal system that connects the various carriers and forms of transportation in an easy to use search,” says Lentzsch. “In creating an environment which will connect travelers between any two points of the country, Wanderu is the first site to provide the complete ground travel experience, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.” With over 30 years as a leader in the bus transportation industry, Lentzsch is ready to help guide Wanderu founders Igor Branikov, Polina Raygorodskaya and Eddy Wong toward their lofty goals. Wanderu says it is the first of its kind in ground travel search. The company is a partner with several bus travel providers to allow consumers to find and book bus travel between any two points in the country.

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T h e E x c l u s i v e M a i n t e n a n c e R e s o u r c e f o r t h e Tr a n s i t a n d M o t o r c o a c h I n d u s t r y !

Faulty valves may be the cause of unexplained accidents A serious problem with air brakes seems to have been over looked for several years, and could certainly point to causes of numerous accidents involving heavy-duty vehicles in which the cause was never determined definitively. In cases where the driver lost the brakes and could not slow the vehicle on a downhill grade, he caught the blame for not inspecting the brakes for the correct adjustment. But more likely there is another more realistic cause for these accidents to occur, which may just answer any questions as to why so many accidents go unexplained in cases in which the brakes were not performing correctly at the time of the accident. It could also explain why there are no brake marks at the scene of the accident. It requires a closer look at the problem of the air foot-control valve, also called the treadle valve — the brain of the air brakes. It is the first valve that supplies the correct amount of air pressure to the rest of the valves and brake chambers on the second-

By Allan Powell


ary side of the brake system. Pressing down the treadle valve pressurizes the air brake canisters, pushing a rod to the brake adjusters with the correct degree of pressure as the brake pads press on the drum. The brakes will not work if the treadle valve sticks or does not perform correctly. There are several ways the treadle valve can stick. 1. The driver will have no brakes if the treadle valve sticks in the up position and the plunger in the valve housing will not go down. Any accident will not be the fault of the driver. 2. If the plunger sticks in the center the air pressure supplied to the brake chambers will be just enough to cause brake drag, which in turn causes the brakes to heat up and catch on fire without the driver knowing. Also, the brake lights won’t come on. With the brakes hot enough to catch fire, the seals usually burn out and ignite the grease and tires, setting the rest of the vehicle on fire.

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Treadle valves continued 3. A treadle valve stuck in the down position can lead to brakes locking up and not releasing, causing the driver to go into a skid. Most of the times when the Treadle Valve freezes in the down position, the vehicle has been left sitting with no air pressure. The brakes will not release until the valve is replaced.

Recalls of the Treadle Valve

The recalls of treadle valves over the years over the years should be enough to see that this problem has existed for a long time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been recalling treadle valves since the 1970s with the latest recall coming in August 2012. What’s causing so many problems with treadle valve? Why more issues now than ever before? Yes, there are more vehicles with air brakes on the road today. But the real reason has to do with greater number of chemicals that come in contact with the treadle valve today, such as the liquid salt many states use on roads that often corrode the inside of the valve. This loose corrosion can block the plunger and the valve and prevent the treadle valve from working properly — which can ultimately lead to an accident. It takes shaking or jarring to get the treadle valve working again. Without disassembling the valve to inspect the treadle valve, the reconstructionist has no knowledge of this problem and leaves the actual cause of the accident unexplained A treadle valve with corrosion inside the housing can slow down brake reaction time enough to cause an accident. If the plunger in the valve is not smooth due to corrosion it can cause a brake reaction time failure or delay. Every second counts in the prevention of an accident. At this point, we may never know how many accidents damaged treadle valves have caused in the past. But if mechanics, reconstructionists and drivers were more informed of this major problem, many accidents could be avoided in the future. BRM A veteran truck driver of 30 years, Allan Powell is now a full-time consumer advocate for the prevention of accidents, and champions the cause of greater awareness of the hidden dangers of treadle valve corrosion, closer inspection and maintenance. Contact him at


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Check the treadle valve for brake fade In early 2011 the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance considered issuing an emergency inspection bulletin throughout North America for all motorcoach operators targeting a problematic brake treadle valve that could be causing an unknown number of bus fires and catastrophic brake failures nationwide. A series of incidents of bus fires and what is called brake fade, where brakes and brake drums become white hot and fail to work, had been occurring more and more. An increasing number of bus mechanics and tow operators are seeing more fires beginning in the wheel areas of buses and other cases of hot brakes. The problem could lie in the treadle value. A bus operator climbing in and out of the vehicle naturally tracks in dirt, small rocks, road salt and grime, which eventually works its way down along the brake pedal, and onto the mat and floorboard. This eventually creates corrosion on the pivot pin that allows the brake pedal to move up and down. The housing assembly for the brake pedal is held in place by the pivot pin bolts to the floorboard of the vehicle. The housing also holds the plunger that extends through the floorboard and sets atop the treadle valve in place with a rubber booth around the top of the housing behind the brake paddle. This is where two problems occur. First debris and corrosion can build up between the plunger and the housing. Second, the pin for the pedal is steel, but the housing the treadle valve is aluminum. The reaction between these two dissimilar metals begin the corrosion process. Over time, the corrosion expands just like rust, pinching off the pin and eventually causing it to stops pivoting as intended. At the point the brake pedal releases, the brake shoes relax and pull away from the brake drums and air pressure returns the pedal back into


position. But if the pivot pin is bound up the brake pedal will not completely return. This allows the pedal to keep up to 10 pounds of pressure with the brake shoes remaining against the drums because they are not releasing fully. There’s not enough air pressure being exerted that would alert a driver to feel the drag. This could eventually

go beyond “brake fade.” It’s also commonly referred to as a brake “white out,” where the brakes get so hot they turn fiery white. Continued friction can result in the driver having no brakes and causing serious accidents or damaging fires in wheel areas that can end up rendering the bus a complete loss. BRM

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BUSRide December 2012