The women of Cincinnati transit Page 20
Special Section: Collision repair Page 26
SCRTTC leads transit training Page 35
Coach conversion dos and don’ts Page 39
The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry www.busride.com • $5.00
Arrow Stage Lines
puts refurbishment to the test
expands its service network Page 12
Cincinnati’s Transit Trio
Crews, Evans and Hock are kings in The Queen City By Glenn Swain
Miami-Dade and Gardenia demonstrate Thermo King HVAC alternatives By David Hubbard
Collision Special Section
Not always about hard hits
Collision repair includes special repairs, maintenance and refurbishment
There’s been an accident-now what?
What to expect from your insurance company; the process of physical damage claims process By Paul R. Berne
SCRTTC leads in transit training assessment
The new learning model from Southern California transit consortium meets evolving needs and raises the bar By Nina Babiarz
Four easy lessons in coach conversion
July 2012 cover story
A service network is a work in progress Prevost continues to expand facilities, add providers and develop new technologies By David Hubbard
Motorcoach Update 8 Deliveries 11 Transit Update 16 The Transit Authority 18 Marketplace 44
David Hubbard 6 Risk Management
By Matthew A. Daecher
30 Letter from Europe By Doug Jack
Creative Mobile Interiors provides a few dos and don’ts By Owen Connaughton
The exceptional efficiency of an integrated powertrain The Volvo 9700 consistently delivers a profitable combination of performance, efficiency and passengerpleasing comfort. With its dependable Volvo D13 SCR engine, you get a proven platform that saves fuel and minimizes maintenance. The integrated I-Shift transmission takes fuel economy to the next level by keeping engine speed in the sweet spot. Advanced safety features add bumper-to-bumper protection. And wherever you go, youâ€™re backed by our extensive network of Prevost professional service providers. The Volvo 9700 is known around the globe for its high productivity and low operating cost. Here in North America, itâ€™s the best way to accelerate your bottom line. Learn more at www.prevostcar.com.
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New IMG leader pushes for greater industry awareness Bronwyn Wilson stepped into her new position this year as president and CEO of the International Motorcoach Group (IMG), Overland Park, KS, the private consortium of more than 60 motorcoach companies operating throughout the U.S. and Canada. Wilson, a native Australian, cut her teeth in the escorted tour industry in 1982 and arrived in the U.S. in 1990 as president of worldwide tour and cruise operator Australian Pacific Touring to oversee its North American operations. She also served on the board of directors of the U.S. Tour Operators Association and was vice chair of the organization in 2010. Contracting with motorcoach operators in the U.S. and Canada to provide transportation for the escorted touring program, Wilson was no stranger to motorcoaches and IMG stakeholders when the invitation came to join the team following Steve Klika’s departure. IMG saw the vacancy he left as a formidable challenge, crediting the outgoing leader with growing the group into an internationally respected organization. In his 11-year tenure, Klika implemented an online driver training curriculum, developed volume purchasing relationships and aligned IMG and its European counterpart, Global Passenger Network (GPN). “Having several IMG members as customers, I was very familiar this group’s sense of excellence and cooperation,” says Wilson. “They apparently thought I could bring a new perspective and would be a good fit.” Four months into her new role, Wilson has been busy traveling to meet and visit with IMG shareholders at their facilities. She called in from the road to discuss her plans for the organization and share her perspectives on the North American motorcoach industry. BUSRide: What is the first item on your to-do list? Bronwyn Wilson: I am looking to expand the sales and intensify the marketing of IMG. This is a remarkable network of independent companies throughout the U.S and Canada. They are well known, but not well known enough, so marketing is key and always a work in progress. BR: What is the focus of this initiative?
BW: Greater awareness of IMG of course, so prospective motorcoach customers will know to drill down to an IMG company in their local markets or the IMG shareholder in the region they may soon be visiting for whatever reason — family activities, vacation, business or national programs. BR: Does your knowledge of the tour industry come into play? BW: I may be able to help the group with a perspective on the tour component. However, while escorted coach tours are an important aspect, it is not the only area we are involved in. We also are reaching out to schools, colleges, universities, businesses, corporations and nonprofit organizations. Anyone with a need for a coach needs to know how to reach out to IMG members. BR: Can you share your view of the North American coach industry since your arrival? BW: It has been interesting to watch the evolution of motorcoaches over the last 20 years. From a customer perspective they have really improved. A motorcoach today is a truly luxurious touring vehicle in every respect of comfort, as well as being safer and more environmentally sound. BR: Can you give a specific example in expanding the marketing effort? BW: One example would be as the sales staff of a company sells the tremendous benefits of motorcoach travel in terms of luxury ground transportation that is environmentally sensitive, the education process for our customers must include an explanation of how reality has set in and the cost to charter a motorcoach might be higher than it once was. BR: Do you think the general public is aware of this evolution? BW: That’s our challenge. I think regular customers who use motorcoaches consistently appreciate all today’s coaches have to offer. We have done a lot of good work, but it is still vital to communicate our message to the public as a whole, for not only IMG but also the entire motorcoach industry. I think this is very important.
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CTfastrack BRT breaks ground in Connecticut
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited Stertil-Koni’s company facility in Streator, IL.
Stertil-Koni USA Business of the Year Stertil-Koni USA, Inc., Streator, IL, a manufacturer of heavy-duty vehicle mobile and inground lifts recently received the coveted “Manufacturing/Industrial Business of the Year” award from the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce. The honor presented at the Chamber’s 100th Year Annual Meeting recognizes and applauds truly outstanding business organizations within the greater Streator area. According to the Chamber, this award is an opportunity to review the best business practices of successful entrepreneurs and to set a benchmark for others. Criteria for the award, which Doug Grunnet, former President of Streator ALM, accepted are based on outstanding growth or growth potential, outstanding management, excellence in customer service, community involvement and entrepreneurial spirit.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation, Hartford, CT, broke ground in May on CTfastrak, the state’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to be constructed on an abandoned railroad corridor from New Britain to Newington Junction and alongside the active Amtrak rail right of way of the Springfield Line. Designated the New Britain-Hartford Busway during the planning stage, this project is only one of the new elements in the statewide public transportation CTrides branding campaign. CTfastrak project will include 11 stations in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford. Buses will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m and during peak times buses will operate every three to six minutes. In addition to regular service, express bus services from west of New Britain will use CTfastrak to improve service and travel times between New Britain and Hartford by way of a dedicated bus exit onto CTfastrak from Interstate 84/ Route 72. Buses will also use CTfastrak to provide direct service to major employment sites such as the UConn Medical Center, Westfarms Mall and throughout downtown New Britain and Hartford.
Industry mourns Robert B. Colborne (R.B.) BUSRide joins with Motor Coach Canada (MCC) and the entire North American bus and coach industry in expressing sadness over the passing of Robert B. Colborne (R.B.) on May 15 following a brief illness. Colborne was 85. Colborne was the founder and chairman of the Pacific Western Group of Companies, Calgary, AB, Canada, a group of more than 20 transportation companies. That group includes Colborne’s pride and joy Red Arrow Lines, which connects the central cities of Alberta with luxurious coach service. MCC remembered “R.B.” as a man of integrity, with a deep commitment to his values. With
8 July 2012
a steadfast confidence in his people he built one of North America’s largest (privately held) transportation companies. In recognition of Colborne’s contributions, the Ontario Motor Coach Association honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In lieu of flowers memorial tributes may be made directly to the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta (LDAA) 340 – 1202 Centre St. SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 545 or The PREP Program, Woodbridge PREP Centre 2004 – 12 Ave. NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1J7. Messages of condolence may be forwarded to the family at www.piersons.ca.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff visited the state-of-the-art, energyefficient John W. Olver Intermodal Center in Greenfield, MA, that will serve as a central hub for transportation in the heart of the community’s urban renewal zone. The spacious Olver Center replaces the old Franklin County transit hub, where passengers were forced to wait for buses on two benches in crowded conditions outside Greenfield City Hall.
Student wins bus wrap honor
With a board mandate that 20 percent of purchased electricity come from certified renewable energy sources, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, MA, owns and operates one wind turbine and will build a second this summer. The MBTA anticipates a cost savings of between $200,000 and $250,000 annually.
Phoenix high school senior Stephen Bielecki with his winning Valley Metro bus.
Valley Metro Transit Education, Phoenix, AZ, hosted its Design a Bus Wrap event at Pinnacle High School. Stephen Bielecki, a senior at Pinnacle High, earned the first-place honor for his creative interpretation of the theme of the bus: Saving more than the price of gas. His American icon graphic shows strength and confidence that comes with using an alternative transportation mode.
Coach America shutting down July 23
Dallas, TX-based Coach America Inc. will cease operations July 23 and will layoff more than 70 employees. Coach America Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early January in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. At the time Coach America was the largest tour and charter bus operator and the second largest motorcoach service provider in the U.S. In May England’s Stagecoach Group agreed to buy nine Coach America businesses out of bankruptcy protection for $134 million to increase its Megabus network. The businesses purchased are centered in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington to California, Florida and Texas. That same month Transportation Management Services Inc. (TMS) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets and operations of Coach America.
According to TMS, the acquired assets and operations will provide TMS with further market expansion in Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, Denver, CO, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, Orlando, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Charlotte, NC, Winston-Salem, NC, Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Jacksonville, NC.
Lancer offers crisis response video to ABA members Through a recent collaboration between the American Bus Association (ABA) and Lancer Insurance Company ABA operator members are now eligible to access a free copy of the Lancer video, “The First 24 Hours: How to Develop, Implement and Test a Serious Incident Response Plan.” Lancer produced the video exclusively for its bus and motorcoach policyholders to help them build and maintain a crisis management plan, and says this marks the first time it
10 July 2012
has offered one of its videos to non-policyholders. ABA operator members can access Lancer’s online link to fill out a short survey and then download the 30-minute program. Lancer has been producing and distributing a large array of management and driver training video packages since 1989.
deliveries NOVA BUS
MOTOR Coach Industries
Business has been good enough for Wade Tours to add another J4500 to the all-MCI fleet of 27 coaches. Wade Tours, a family-owned 80-year-old company under fifth generation leadership, prefers to operate a fleet that is on average five years old or less. The company chose the Detroit Diesel DD13 engine, a new standard option, because of its familiarity with the Series 60 engines. The J4500 comes equipped with 110-volt outlets, chrome mirrors and Durabright wheels. The company installed its own Wi-Fi system.
San Antonio, TX
OK Tours recently took delivery of three J4500 coaches to bring the all-MCI fleet to 18 J4500s. Founded in 1993, the Sarmiento family runs OK Tours, which conducts its Texas-based charter tour business from Florida to Canada and all destinations in between, as well as scheduled service to nearby casinos and charters for local colleges. With family members in key positions, OK Tours employs a staff of 30, including drivers, and operates out of its own building on two acres that includes offices and a service shop.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority Burnsville, MN
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority has placed an order for seven 40-foot Nova LFX Smart Buses for its BRT services. MVTA has opted for the LFX Smart Bus, which includes the Nova eCooling system and the Nova Bus proprietary integrated electric engine cooling. The stainless steel structure designed for highly variable operating conditions can handle Minnesota’s climate. The selected configuration features disc brakes, composite flooring and all LED lighting options. Nova President and CEO Gilles Dion says MVTA represents a new market for the company and looks forward to providing the distinctive models.
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www.easybus.com July 2012 11
a service network is a work in progress Prevost continues to expand facilities, add providers and develop new technologies
Already the largest service network in the industry with eight proprietary service centers and 142 certified service providers throughout North America, Prevost, St. Claire, QC, Canada, has been further expanding its Prevost Service Network over the last few years to support not only Prevost and Volvo operators but the entire motorcoach industry as well. The Canadian coachbuilder offers this update on facilities, services and products for maintenance and warranty service. “Expansion of this type is never complete,” says Prevost President and CEO Gaetan Bolduc. “We will continue to add certified service providers at a steady rate. We also will continue to offer better access to service and maintenance materials, and expand our parts availability.”
New BC service center
The expansion began in 2010 with the opening of a new service center in Delta, BC to support the influx of motorcoaches and new Nova Bus LFS vehicles that were in service during the Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games. The 6,600 square-foot facility is now permanent and continues to serve Western Canada.
Prevost Service Locator Mobile App
Prevost says it will continue to add certified service providers at a steady rate and continue to offer better access to service and maintenance.
By David Hubbard 12
The release of the Prevost Service Locator Mobile App in 2011 made finding a Prevost service provider much easier. Users can find the nearest location with a simple touch of their smartphone or other mobile device from anywhere on the road. A search by province or state gives the address, phone number, email, website and map directions. Available in English, French and Spanish versions, the free downloadable app is at Apple’s App Store or the Android Market. Michael Power, Prevost’s director of marketing, says this effort is part of a companywide program to provide easier access through available technology to help make the business of customers more productive and efficient. “We have taken advantage of these tools and turned them into a valuable, cost-effective, any-time, any-where resource,” he says. “This opens the opportunity for operators to provide better quality service and a safer customer experience.”
Ft. McMurray service center now open
Earlier this year Prevost opened a new 10,000-square-foot Service Center in Ft. McMurray, AB. Four service bays accommodate collision repair to include frame straightening and fire restoration, all mechanical repairs, electronic and HVAC repairs, paint and graphics, as well as refinishing and refurbishing.
New mobile service trucks
New mobile maintenance and repair service is in operation in Montreal and Southern California to provide emergency roadside service, scheduled maintenance or repairs at a customer’s location. Prevost says the fully-equipped service trucks ensure rapid response times and regularly stock a wide array of coach and transit parts to support Prevost, Volvo and Nova vehicles and other OEMs in the motorcoach, transit and conversion coach markets.
QR codes for important information
Prevost and Volvo coaches now feature black and white QR codes that passengers and drivers can scan with a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to access important information. Passengers can scan and play a safety video, which explains important safety features on the coach. Drivers can use their device to scan the code to view a driver’s guide, a vehicle manual or an instruction video on using the wheelchair lift. The videos are available in English, French and Spanish, and the manuals are available in English and French. “The Prevost Mobile Application initiative delivers what the Prevost team finds valuable: resources that help customers increase the value of their business,” says Andy Kankula, Prevost’s senior vice president of Marketing and Sales. “We want to assure our customers that our products and services always exemplify premium quality in the industry.”
Technical literature available online
The Prevost Technical Publication website houses all the literature and information for the operation and maintenance of the Prevost and Volvo
Prevost service expansion began in 2010 with the opening of a new service center in Delta, BC.
coaches such as technical literature, training manuals, wiring and pneumatic diagrams, as well as up-to-date service bulletins.
Parts customer service in Illinois, Quebec and online
Prevost is the exclusive distributor of all Prevost and Nova Bus certified parts and components. Prevost also offers quality OEM replacement parts for all make and models of coach and transit buses in North America. Coach and transit bus experts equipped with advanced technologies that include a large competitive cross reference database are able to identify, locate and ship the needed parts from any of its six warehouses strategically located throughout North America. Using RF barcode technology, Prevost offers online 24/7 emergency parts ordering and shipping anywhere in the United States and Canada at a special discount. Prevost’s exclusive computerized parts catalog provides immediate access to all coach assemblies, subassemblies and components.
Prevost Connection webinar program
The Prevost Connection webinar program is a continuing series of online presentations and discussions for motorcoach operators, drivers and maintenance personnel. It offers easy online 24/7 training on maintenance and product topics with all past training webinars available at any time. The 2012 webinar line-up includes in-depth education on the Volvo 9700 and Prevost motorcoaches, as well as presentations on the Prevost Parts eCommerce site and Prevost Liaison
telematics system. Prevost says this program educates customers about important topics regarding new and existing Prevost vehicles, vehicle maintenance and customer service programs. Each session also allows for discussion between Prevost product and service experts and webinar attendees, who can submit questions for the presenter to address during the session and offer suggestions for specific areas of concentration. The Prevost Connection schedule of webinars is available at https://prevostevents.webex.com.
Prevost Liaison telematics system Prevost says it is the only motorcoach manufacturer to develop its own telematics system, and developed Liason specifically for its motorcoaches. This year the company launched Prevost Liaison 2.0 telematics system. According to the company this latest version with more advanced features offers more reliable communications and more efficient data transfer. The telematics system now utilizes a cellular network to improve signal reliability and provide wider coverage. Liaison continuously monitors many electronic systems on the motorcoach, including engine, transmission, ABS, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Diesel Particulate Filter and Prevost Electronic Stability Program. Reporting is possible every five minutes and fault alerts are in real time, allowing up to the second status of the vehicle. The customizable fault alerts can also display hardware and software currently installed for faster, easier troubleshooting.
Prevost says Liaison 2.0 improves driver/dispatcher communication by allowing drivers and dispatchers to send pre-set or customized messages to one another, which are visible on the driver information display (DID) on the dashboard. Dispatcher-to-driver pre-set messages might read “Please call,” “Vehicle due for maintenance,” or “Received your request, sending Mechanic.” Built-in driver-to-dispatcher messages read “Pre-trip check OK,” “Trip-leg completed” and “Stopped: Off duty.” Prevost Liaison keeps operators connected to their motorcoaches and drivers anywhere, anytime, from any computer or mobile device. Users access the service via the Internet, so they have password-protected access anywhere a high-speed connection is available. Prevost Liaison is standard on all Prevost and Volvo coaches.
Earlier this year Prevost opened a new 10,000 square-foot Service Center in Ft. McMurray, AB.
Prevost Action Service System
Prevost Action Service System (PASS) provides immediate access to call-center assistance. PASS services include locating the nearest qualified road service, securing emergency
maintenance assistance and towing, scheduling emergency service appointments, ordering parts, and helping with related financial matters and warranty claims paperwork. BR
VIA unveils new Primo buses
VIA Transit’s new Primo buses will be put into service in December.
In late May VIA Metropolitan Transit unveiled the first of its new vehicles that will be used to serve VIA Primo, the agency’s signature bus rapid transit service. The new vehicles, manufactured by North American Bus Industries, are 60 feet long, and they are articulated in the middle. Powered by compressed natural
gas, the vehicles are also equipped with added amenities such as an expanded seating capacity, wireless internet connections, an on-board video-monitor information system, and inside bicycle racks. They will be put into service along the Fredericksburg Road corridor when VIA Primo begins running in December.
San Francisco approves BRT plans for Van Ness Avenue In May the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved plans for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route servicing the city’s Van Ness Avenue. Buses run along dedicated lanes and receive preferential waiting times at traffic lights, with the goal being speedier service for transit riders. In addition to providing transit benefits, transit officials say their plan would increase safety along the corridor by reducing conflicts with left turning cars and adding pedestrian improvements like curbbulbs, countdown and audible pedestrian signals, and pedestrian lighting. Transit authorities project the Van Ness BRT will cost between $90 million and $130 million. Officials say construction could begin in 2014 with service beginning as early as 2016.
Voith SensoTop said to improve fuel economy for transit buses Voith, York, PA, recently introduced its patented SensoTop technology for heavyduty transit buses operating throughout North America, which the company says optimizes transmission gear-shifting to reduce fuel consumption, save money and further advance Voith’s commitment to environmental sustainability. “We’re very excited about the release of SensoTop in North America,” DIWA Sales Manager Brian Sharp said. “SensoTop will save transit systems money through improved fuel efficiency while making their buses more environmentally friendly.” Based on the VoithDIWA transmission system, SensoTop comes equipped with an additional maintenance-free inclination sensor to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. SensoTop automatically adapts the gear-shifts of the DIWA transmission to the prevailing topography and load conditions. Where fuel consumption accounts for up to 30 percent of the operating costs for municipal transit buses, preliminary tests suggest operators can
expect a two- to five-percent savings in fuel economy depending on the route. On ascending routes, SensoTop will adjust the gear-shifts to the precise power needed by the driver, while minimum engine speed is achieved on descending routes. While ideal for hilly or mountainous routes, SensoTop achieved fuel savings
even on relatively flat routes. Voith is currently testing the technology in a number of North American cities that include Portland, OR and Minneapolis, MN. Last year Voith opened a hybrid powertrain development center near San Diego that will further develop Voith’s innovative hybrid diesel-electric power-train drive systems for transit buses.
AC Transit buys America from Gillig Adhering to its strict policy to only buy American goods, the AC Transit Board of Directors has agreed to purchase as many as 40 low-floor buses from the Gillig Corporation, Hayward, CA. The total order for the 40-foot, dieselfuel vehicles amounts to $16.4 million. The State Local Partnership Program will match half the amount at $8.2 million. Board President Elsa Ortiz, who authored the agency’s “Buy American
Goods” policy in 2009, is especially gratified because the bus purchase is expected to stir the local economy by providing jobs for scores of local residents. Gillig will deliver a prototype of the new bus to the agency by the end of the year, and several of the buses are expected to be in service in the early part of 2013. The Buy American Goods policy directs the agency to employ its best efforts to procure goods manufactured in America and when possible give first priority to goods manufactured in California.
DART resumes 2012 Resort Transit bus service
In May U.S. DOT Feds approved $54.5 million for new Bus Rapid Transit line in Fort Collins, CO. The new MAX BRT line is expected to reduce commuting times and traffic congestion and spur economic development in the heart of the Mason Corridor.
A report by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and The Leadership Conference Education Fund documents the lack of funding, enforcement, and oversight of transportation programs that allow people with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in community life.
BRief DART First State unveiled its resort transit route 201 at the famed Rehoboth Park Boardwalk.
The Delaware Authority for Regional Transit, (DART First State), Wilmington, DE, began its 2012 Resort Transit bus service in May. Seven bus routes serve Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk, Lewes, Long Neck, Dewey Beach, Ruddertowne, Bethany Beach, South Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean City seven days a week. Routes run seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. This seasonal bus service operates through Sept. 16. The DART Route 305 Beach Connection resumed in May, providing bus service from Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach on Friday nights, weekends and holidays. The Beach Connection is a comfortable 45-seat motorcoach with two wheelchair positions, along with under-coach storage compartments for beach gear and luggage.
In May First Transit, Inc., a private provider of transit management and contracting services, was awarded the paratransit contract for the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) in Louisville, KY.
Express buses are now rolling on I-595 between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, FL, which includes two routes with departures every half hour during rush periods. The new service is expected to lure commuters who donâ€™t want to put up with two more years of highway construction on I-595. The buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi and an outlet is located under each seat to charge electronics.
the transit authority
It’s Bus Time for MTA New York City By Thomas F. Prendergast
Thomas F. Prendergast serves as President of MTA New York City Transit.
Ensuring the quality of the bus and subway service MTA New York City Transit provides to more than seven million riders each day is our highest priority. Our accurate and efficient delivery of information that helps our customers access our services with greater ease and convenience than before has become our second most important job function. Several major projects over the past two years focused on keeping riders informed of their wait time for their next bus or subway train. We have installed countdown clocks on platforms for approximately one third of the system’s subway lines. We are currently implementing a similar system we call Bus Time that makes that information available along the MTA NYC bus routes. Since January, Staten Island bus customers have responded enthusiastically to the borough-wide roll out of MTA Bus Time. Their 7,700 SMS text message queries, 3,800 requests from desktop computers and another 500 requests from mobile web devices amount to around 12,000 inquiries each weekday to know how long they have to wait. Bus Time is a far cry from stepping off of the curb every couple of minutes to look down the street to see if the bus in on its way. With guidance from MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota, this initiative has proved effective because of the impressive leadership by Darryl Irick, our senior vice president at the Department of Buses. He continues to demonstrate his willingness to embrace new technology across all three key categories: service delivery, maintenance and customer service. Bus Time has been operating along Brooklyn’s B63 route for more than a year. In April Manhattan’s SelectBus M34/34A routes transitioned from an earlier version to a new NYC Transit-managed system. Work is already underway to introduce this
extremely customer-friendly feature along all Bronx bus routes. By the end of 2013 riders throughout New York City will be able to use Bus Time, once we complete the installation of the technology on 6,000 buses and at approximately 14,000 bus stops. Computers, cell phones, smartphones and other electronic devices are increasingly becoming the way we access information and NYC Transit is working diligently to ride this wave of innovation. Given this proliferation of devices, it is a reasonable expectation that we take the guesswork out of next bus and train arrival times. When we consider the needs of our bus riders, our ability to keep them informed during their wait at bus stops is especially helpful. We know their time is precious, and this technology allows them the opportunity to go into the corner store and pick up a newspaper, or stay home an extra few minutes to take care of personal business. Bus Time uses location data provided by an enhanced global positioning device (GPS) mounted inside of each bus. The GPS information integrates with the bus operator login information (including the route, run and destination sign code) which is then transmitted wirelessly to a Bus Time server via onboard cellular equipment. This server then integrates location and login information with schedules and map files to output real time “next bus information” to the customers who can now obtain this information through their cell phones, smartphones, PCs and digital displays. Coupled with Select Bus Service (SBS), the MTA’s version of bus rapid transit (BRT), Bus Time is revolutionizing bus travel in New York City, and finally providing 21st Century solutions to problems that have existed since the first motorbus hit the streets of New York City more than 100 years ago. BR
Cincinnati’s dynamic transit trio, from left: Lou Ann Hock, Terry Garcia Crews and Inez Evans.
Cincinnati’s Transit Trio
Crews, Evans and Hock are kings in The Queen City By Glenn Swain Cincinnati Metro may be the most unique transit agency in the U.S., in that its top three management positions are filled by women who have more than 50 years of combined transit and private sector industry experience. Cincinnati’s transit trio consists of CEO and General Manager Terry Garcia Crews, Chief Operations Officer Inez Evans and Chief Financial Officer Lou Ann Hock. Crews previously served as general manager and CEO of LexTran in Lexington, KY and as assistant general manager for SunTran in Tucson, AZ. Evans served as the director of paratransit at Star Tran, Inc., a service provider to Capital Metropolitan Transportation, Austin, TX, and as general manager at Veolia Transportation, San Jose, CA. Meanwhile, Hock is responsible for Metro’s $88.9 million annual operating
budget, capital program, grants administration, fuel hedging, and investments. “Here are three women all very capable of handling the positions they are in, and we’re all very comfortable with each other,” says Hock. “We all bounce ideas off each other, which is a bonus for the agency. We have transit industry experience that intertwines, and we all bring a private sector background. Instead of running this like a public agency, we’re looking at running this as a business.” Crew points to the private sector experience all three bring to the agency. “We’ve been able to achieve tangible results in a very short period of time,” she says. “We have a strategic plan that has six areas of organizational focus and we are results driven. That plan is married into the employee performance review process. Most important is revenue enhancement, which is critical as we see federal dollars shrinking.” Evans says Crews invites them to
become involved in the process, finding it a refreshing change to be a part of an agency that embraces that philosophy. While the trio is aware of the uniqueness of an agency run by women, they don’t consider themselves trendsetters or possessing more leadership abilities than men. “Leadership is skill-set based, not gender based,” says Crews. “We just happen to have the three top positions filled by women. I think we are unique and it could be seen as being trend setting, but I think we are women who are driven to make a difference for our employees and this community.” Being a woman in the traditionally male-dominated world of transit has its challenges, but also its advantages. All three have learned throughout their careers the importance of complimenting the differences between men and women in the workplace and to listen to all perspectives.
Even so, Evans believes women tend to be more open to creativity and out-ofthe-box thinkers. “Having that skill set has allowed me to look outside of the norm to be more efficient,” Evans says. Often the balance of work and family life is more of a concern for women in transit rather than men. Throughout their careers the Cincinnati transit trio have gotten their families involved in the transit business, which helped husbands and children to understand the pressures and responsibilities of being a leader in the industry. “It’s important that your family understands the dynamics of what we do,” Crews says. “It’s when you get that phone call at 2 a.m., when you’ve had a fatality, or it is Mother’s Day and an issue comes up. Your son hands you your Blackberry and says, ‘Mom, its dispatch.’ They understand and there is a respect as you bring them into the process.” “It’s difficult to balance family and work,” says Evans, who often had to move for job advancement. “My family was a transit family. They knew how to work in the dispatch office. My children are now grown and gone. I didn’t realize the effect that the moving had had on them. They’re saying they never want to move again.” While Cincinnati’s transit trio may not consider themselves trendsetters, by the lofty positions they hold they are role models for other women coming up through the transit ranks. All agree that women interested in transit careers need to learn every aspect of the business. “There really is no college someone can attend that will prepare them for transit,” Hock says. “I started as a school bus driver and worked my way up through the positions. You learn the business from the ground up and you grow with the organization.” “When I first started in transit I was a customer service representative, and I got behind the wheel a few times and decided bus driving was not for me,” Evans says. “But when I speak to a bus driver I can understand what they go through. I’ve answered calls on the reservation line and I’ve done preventive maintenance
with the mechanics. I can understand the language they are speaking and the challenges.” When Crews came to Cincinnati Metro in November 2010 she decided to get back to basics and, she says, “do transit the right way.” Those basics include more than just improving quality service, monitoring employee performance and
the monetary bottom line. Crews is often seen walking down the sidewalk waving at operators and other employees to personally connect with them. “I never want to be a CEO where the title has gone to my head and become unapproachable,” she says. “It’s not Terry’s show, it’s everyone’s show.” BR
The one-piece all-electric Athenia E-800 from Thermo King is a hermetically sealed rooftop unit for hybrid bus, trolley bus and alternator-powered applications.
Miami-Dade and Gardenia demonstrate Thermo King HVAC alternatives By David Hubbard
All-electric heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) for hybrid buses and trolley buses is not new. However, supplying high voltage power to the electric HVAC unit using an independently powered alternator driven by the bus engine is. The primary obstacle when the alternator or generator drives the bus engine is maintaining clean, stable voltage throughout
the speed range of the engine. In this application developed in 2004, the alternator provides a high voltage output to a static converter that conditions and stabilizes the voltage before powering the electric compressors and fan motors. “Creating electric power from an alternator or generator is not a new concept, but creating it to power something as large and complex as a bus HVAC system is,” says Steve Johnson,
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senior product manager for Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand. “You must deal with the changing speed of the engine and its variable output.” The HVAC system is the largest electrical load on a transit bus, requiring as much as 40 percent of the total available electrical energy. Essentially, the HVAC can now operate separately from the engine as it is no longer linked to engine revolutions per minute. This constant energy flow creates new opportunities to optimize the performance of the HVAC system. “The trick in making it work most effectively is the intelligence of the inverter system,” says Johnson. “This little black box allows the varying input of DC voltage coming in from the alternator to converge into a constant output.” The alternator output is variable with engine speed. The variable output adjusts to provide a constant output to the HVAC system regardless of engine speed, and can provide full capacity at engine idle. Thermo King cites the benefits to this technology as lower maintenance costs, improved reliability, fuel savings and a control system that optimizes energy management and conservation. Alternator power can be applied to rear mount and roof mount all-electric HVAC systems that feature environmentally sensitive, high-efficiency hermetic scroll compressor technology inside the unit. The alternator powered all-electric HVAC system from Ther-
mo King can be used on all diesel engine driven transit buses and motorcoach markets. It can also be used in hybrid bus applications when the available power for an all-electric HVAC system is limited. Flexible hoses that would connect with the compressor to the unit have been eliminated and replaced with robust wiring, which should significantly reduce the level of maintenance required over the life of the bus. The HVAC system comes factory pre-charged with high-capacity refrigerant R-407C. It also features a one-piece design for easy installation. All pipes and fittings are enclosed within the system to help ensure refrigerant remains contained. The one-piece all-electric Athenia E-800 from Thermo King is a hermetically sealed rooftop unit for hybrid bus, trolley bus and alternator-powered applications.
Miami-Dade Transit electrifies
Miami-Dade Transit (MDT), Miami, FL, the nation’s 14th largest public transit system, is one of the nation’s first transit agencies to electrify bus accessories. In a move to improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs, it recently electrified key accessories on 13 NABI 40 foot diesel/electric hybrid buses and five 40 foot Gillig diesel/electric hybrids, which officials expect will prove 25 percent more fuel efficient. “By electrifying accessories on MDT buses, we are saving money and operating our buses more efficiently,” said Harpal S. Kapoor, former director of MDT. “This also reflects our long-term commitment to increasing sustainability for our community.”
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The electrified accessories include the propulsion system; the radiator fans; and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Electric power steering will be added when the manufacturer makes it available. Miami-Dade Transit initiated the electrification process on a trial bus in early 2010. When the pilot proved successful the agency electrified eight buses and put its last five into service in April 2011. Based on the anticipated savings, the county says it expects to recoup its investment by 2015. As part of its effort to implement environmentally conscious initiatives, MDT has committed to purchasing only hybrid buses. Over the next five years the agency says it plans to electrify other bus components such as power steering, doors, air compressors and wheelchair ramps. Oahu Transit, Honolulu, HI, has taken delivery of 10 buses with all-electric HVAV with 48 more buses currently being delivered. Culver City, CA, is running 22 buses, and Antelope Valley, CA, is running 13 units with 17 more on order.
Gardena Municipal Bus Lines
The new Gardena Municipal Bus Lines (GMBL), Gardena, CA, is one of the nation’s only transit systems to feature 100 percent electric heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems on its hybrid buses. However, it relies on the allelectric HVAC technology Thermo King developed in 1994.
Gardena Municipal Bus Lines (GMBL), Gardena, CA, features all-electric HVAC systems on its 53 hybrid buses.
This technology has increased fuel efficiency on its 53 hybrid buses by an estimated 8 percent and lowered operating costs while providing 13,500 consistently comfortable rides on an average weekday. The City of Gardena selected and installed the all-electric HVAC systems in 2010 to reflect a city-wide commitment to increased sustainability, greater reliability and reduced energy and repair costs, and to adhere to forthcoming California Air Resource Board regulations. “Beyond the cost savings and the sustainability benefits, the consistent reliability of the electrified HVAC systems has been a huge benefit for the agency,” said Tony Cohen, equipment maintenance superintendent for GMBL. “The hybrid buses are so dependable that we’ve seen most repair costs and passenger complaints become a thing of the past.” Because energy needs to come from somewhere to power an all-electric HVAC system, Thermo King has applied this technology first to electric rail cars, trolley buses and most recently to hybrid-electric transit buses. Other municipal transit fleets to utilize this HVAC technology include Hamilton, ON, Canada; Victoria, BC, Canada; Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago, IL, and Long Beach, CA. Typically, the HVAC on a 40-foot bus is capable of putting out 110,000 BTUs at high engine speeds, even though the capacity required to cool and maintain a passenger filled bus is actually somewhere between 60,000 – 70,000 BTUs. The tendency has been to design oversized HVAC systems to compensate for performance specifications and variable capacity due to variable engine speeds. All-electric HVAC with its constant output is not affected by varying engine speed. All this leads bus operators to reconsider ways the industry measures performance of buses in terms of pull-down requirements. With new technology the standards will evolve accordingly. BR
The compressor is the heart of HVAC The engine drives the speed of the BITZER transit style model By Norman J. Gillespie
BITZER transit style compressors are German designed and American built. For 75 years BITZER has been building compressors using reciprocating piston, screw and scroll designs. This broad experience is applied to provide a more advanced and reliable product for harsh bus applications, which differ from industrial or commercial applications. In this application, the engine controls the compressor speed. This means the bus could be fully loaded on a hot day, but when sitting on low idle, the A/C system will not produce at maximum capacity. Conversely, the bus could be empty on a mild day and running high speed allowing for maximum cooling when not required. These types of scenarios provide for sometimes difficult operating challenges for the air conditioning system and compressor. The compressor is the heart of any air conditioning system and essentially the only real driving (or moving) component within the refrigeration circuit. As such when system upsets like liquid return, flooded starts, short-cycling or excessive superheat occur, the long term consequence results in compressor breakdown.
As robust and well-engineered as the BITZER transit compressor is, the system has to be designed with two basic requirements in mind: protect the compressor and provide comfort cooling. The cooling is second because it is not possible without the first. The BITZER transit compressor is designed to accommodate system controls for high pressure cut-out, low pressure cut-out, high discharge temperature and low oil pressure operation. The company strongly recommends the system designs contain liquid line solenoid valve(s), discharge check valve(s) and suction accumulators to adequately and reliably protect the compressor and help reduce the risk of catastrophic failure. BITZER Engineering has developed multiple advancements to reciprocating piston technology over the years, resulting in improved bearing surface, increased strength, greatest speed range and the lightest transit style compressor in the market. BR Norman J. Gillespie servies as Technical Sales Manager, Transport NA, Bitzer Canada Inc., Oakville, ON, Canada.
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Not always about hard hits Collision repair includes special repairs, maintenance and refurbishment
Greg Dotseth Operations Manager, Midwest Region ABC Companies Faribault, MN
Gigi Walker Owner-President, Walker Collision Repair Concord, CA
The very word collision implies horrendous accidents that result in tremendous damage, not to mention the headaches that come with the costs of repair. These four experienced specialists equip their shops more than the average maintenance facility in preparation for the worst that can happen, but spoke with BUSRide about what else goes on in their shops. Their work doesn’t always have to do with hard hits. On the average day they may be just as likely to be involved in painting, applying vinyl graphics or just smoothing over parking lot dings. What goes on in a collision repair shop? Rob Pek: We describe collision repair as the unplanned repairs. Most repair shops focus on the planned repairs, which include running repairs and preventative maintenance programs. Collision repair is disruptive to the daily routine of most repair shops and often farmed out to a specialist in that field. Greg Dotseth: We have everyone involved, from the frame straighteners to high-tech body men and fabricators. It is all an integral process, requiring work and attention in every area. Andy DeLaGarza: On a typical day we will be doing collision repair on frames using our Gold Medallion 63-foot frame machine and painting on a variety of large vehicles. Gigi Walker: The work we do is not always as severe as it sounds. A day in our shop can be as much about minor bodywork, but the complexities of the systems involved can be difficult and require experience to sort through damaged components such as wiring and electronics.
Rob Pek President, BRC Coach and Transit Calgary, AB, Canada
Andy DeLaGarza Owner-President Budget Truck and Auto Janesville, WI
What are the unique aspects of your operation? Dotseth: We seem to be able to operate in a national market because of our experience and skill sets, as well as the quality of the labor force in the Midwest. Our team has been working together for years. I have 26 years of experience at ABC Companies, and the collision shop manager has been coming to work for 32 years. Walker: We are under contract with Tri Delta Transit and The County Connection in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco, CA. Being registered with the Department of Transportation as a woman-owned business has helped me tremendously. After working in a number of body shops, I opened my own shop 24 years ago. We leaned toward public transit and fleet work, along with the fire trucks and sheriff’s cars, where the door was open. There’s no problem with women doing the work. Our three full-time employees have been here since day one. DeLaGarza: We are a family-owned operation that has been in business for 39 years, doing minor to major repairs on every type of vehicle from passenger cars to large buses and semi-trailers. Because of the size of our 40,000-squarefoot facility and the variety of services required on so many types of vehicles, we don’t really fit the category of an average maintenance shop. What is the extent of the damages you typically address? Dotseth: We have a fast-paced body shop that just takes care of the dents and scrapes. Our major collision repair center handles damages from $40,000 and up. Our separate maintenance, body shop and collision functions are all
under one roof. The body shop gets vehicles patched up and back on the road within the week. We might keep a bus in the collision center for more than 15 days. The seemingly smallest issues, be they a pinched wire, lights flashing on the dash or fault codes coming up, can cause the most pain and aggravation. Pek: We focus on heavy-hit collision repairs and mechanical and structural refurbishment. This work is very specialized and it takes experienced technicians and management to source parts and ensure the quality of work meets OEM specifications. Walker: We’ll get a “nasty” in here about once every two years, a hard hit where the damage is severe. However, we do not handle the more horrific collisions where a bus lays down or rolls. A hard front-end hit often damages the electrical components. We get into replacing wiring harness, and because that work we have to do ourselves, we are involved in the mechanical aspects. We’ll replace lower skirt panels, do fiberglass repair and rebuild battery boxes that get hit all the time. What new equipment and gear have you recently added to the operation? Dotseth: We recently added new laser measuring instruments for the frame straightening that pinpoints any twisting or misalignments in the framework. Insurance claims adjusters really appreciate how precisely it measures every detail of the damage, which helps them estimate the cost to repair. Pek: We recently purchased frame straightening equipment and an additional 70-foot paint booth. Walker: We updated our paint facility and paint systems. DeLaGarza: Our newest enterprise is our graphics department where we can now produce and install partial to full bus wraps and lettering.
The work also requires specialized equipment such as specialty welders, breaking and bending machines for fabrication, frame straightening equipment, forklifts, overhead cranes and large industrial paint booths. What will I see in your collision shop that I won’t see in the average maintenance facility? Pek: The scale of the repair. Many heavy hit collisions and refurbishments lead to an entire bus torn down to the skeleton and even the frame. Most repair shops won’t have the specialized equipment that make nearly every collision repair possible, such as 150-ton frame straightening machines, fabrication and manufacturing tools, specialized welders, forklifts, cranes and 60-foot paint booths. Dotseth: You are going to see more catastrophic damage that’s not so obvious that we have to ferret out. Beyond just replacing frames and sidings, front and rear caps and glass, it could mean having to validate the multiplexing systems, intricate emissions control components, onboard computer, electronics and wire harnesses. Walker: As public entities, our customers supply us with the majority of the parts needed for a particular repair. We give the agency our list of parts, which they can obtain faster than we can through their procurement channels, and get them for a better price. Because we don’t mark them up 25 percent, the taxpayers save a little money. BR
Where does the maintenance shop end and collision repair begin? Dotseth: With our mechanics, body shop employees and collision specialists all cross-trained in each operation, that line is kind of blurred. Working in the same building, we can always bring a mechanic over to the collision center, or send our frame repair expert over the body shop. Walker: The transit agency will usually take care of the mechanical repairs and send the bus over to us to handle the bodywork. We get a lot of minor scrapes and bumps and dents. The transit authorities are terrific to work with. They will often send over one of their technicians to work alongside our staff to work out the technicalities. Pek: Experienced technicians, bay space availability and equipment are the deciding factors. Many shops can repair minor damage. The heavy-hit collision requires a completely different skill set to assess the damage, ensure an accurate estimate of the costs and order parts in accordance with the “just in time” delivery procedures used by many manufacturers.
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There’s been an accident-now what? What to expect from your insurance company: The physical damage claims process By Paul R. Berne You have had an accident. Now you are expecting an avalanche of paperwork, phone calls and questions from regulators. Your bus has received damage and at this point you do not know what to expect from your insurance company, the damage appraiser or the repair facility. Perhaps you have had a claim in the past that went smoothly, or you encountered snags that you are now better prepared to address. In either case, here are several important points to consider that will help you better deal with this unwanted but necessary process and make it easier to bear.
that accompanies the policy. This makes it very important to value all the vehicles in the company correctly. It also is very important to be aware of any co-insurance penalties claims in which an undervalued vehicle is involved. Again, discuss this with your broker so that you understand the process and can be confident you have purchased the coverages you need. You must be clear on the difference between “actual cash value,” “stated value” and “replacement value.” Also, remember to update the insured values of your vehicles on a regular basis.
Knowledge is power
Report all incidents immediately
Step one begins before the incident even occurs. Specifically, you must know which coverages you have and make sure your coverage limits are adequate. Be clear on the differences between collision coverage, specified perils and comprehensive coverage. There are unique factors for when and how each category might apply. We advise operators to review their bus insurance policy carefully and become more familiar with the language. Study the declarations page and accompanying vehicle list on the policy to make sure the coverages you want and need are in place and that the applicable deductibles are clearly described. Working closely with your broker prior to policy inception will help clarify any issues and make the process less confusing if you have a claim.
Prompt claim resolution begins with timely claim reporting. At Lancer Insurance our basic recommendation is for operators to report the claim immediately, no matter how large or small it may appear. The claim handling process can become far more complex and time consuming with any delay in claim reporting. This is especially true for a small claim an operator has decided on his own is probably under the deductible, only to find out otherwise once the vehicle goes into the shop and repairs are underway.
Late reporting to the insurance company typically slows the process and makes the determination of the amount of loss even more complex. In some instances late reporting creates problems in determining if coverage is even possible in the event the late notice violates certain criteria. After more than 32 years in the commercial vehicle claims business I have learned above all else that there is no way initially to know which claims will remain low-exposure events. Policyholders are best served by reporting all accidents and incidents to their insurer. While this is especially true for claims carrying the potential for bodily injury that can worsen over time, it also applies to physical damage/collision claims. Claims professionals who are experts in handling bus claims know how to correctly respond, and will take immediate steps to help operators get the repairs completed, or the total loss claim paid promptly. Insurance companies have varying methods for evaluating damage claims to vehicles. Some might use appraisers on every claim. Others might set
Value vehicles correctly
Some bus insurers base their physical damage claim payments on the values of vehicles as described in the vehicle list
thresholds for when to call out the appraisers, while others might accept body shop estimates and photographs. The claims examiner handling the loss should advise the operator on what to expect at the very beginning of the process. Never hesitate to ask questions about who to talk to, how long the process might take, what documentation to provide, as well as the process for determining the amount of loss and when you can expect to receive a settlement. You should expect regular updates and be persistent in pursuing them. This is a core expectation of any insurance company, but it holds true especially with physical damage/collision losses as the need to get the vehicle back in operation or accept a total loss payment is essential to the business. The question occasionally surfaces during the claim process whether it is more feasible to repair vehicle components than to replace them. There is no simple answer to this question, and the situation can vary greatly depending on the type of part involved, vehicle type, degree of damage and availability of re-
placement parts. When in doubt, ask your claims examiner for specifics as to how the appraiser made this particular evaluation. You can also ask to speak directly to the appraiser. This situation during a claim can often be the point at which you will discover the major difference between a knowledgeable insurance company experienced with the types of vehicles you operate, as opposed to a company that insures cars, trucks, boats and other property very unlike buses and coaches.
Determining a total loss
The question might also arise as to why the vehicle has been determined a total loss when it appears repairable. The basic explanation is what anyone would expect. The insurer will usually deem a crashed vehicle a total loss when the projected cost of the repairs and the salvage value exceed the actual cash value (ACV). However, this can vary state by state. For example, in some states the determination is based on repairs as a percentage of the vehicleâ€™s value. There are
times when subsequently reduced repair costs allow the insurer to declare the vehicle repairable. There are laws and regulations in place that determine what an operator can and cannot do with the vehicle once it is determined to be a total loss. These are just some of the issues that you might confront during a physical damage/collision claim. Frequent and clear communication is paramount to a smooth and efficient claims process that is legal and in accordance with all relevant regulations. Become insistent that your insurance company, its appraiser and the repair facility are each knowledgeable and responsive in their respective areas and able to answer all of your questions. BR Paul R. Berne serves with Lancer Insurance, Long Beach, NY as Senior Vice President, Claims, and brings more than 32 years of experience in the management and administration of property/ casualty claims. Prior to joining Lancer, Paul was Vice President of Claims with Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and serves as Executive Director of the Tri Community CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) in his hometown in Ohio.
Send the same message for all accidents large or small By Matthew A. Daecher
Matthew A. Daecher is president and CEO of Daecher Consulting Group, Inc., Camp Hills, PA
Accidents are costly. An accident of any degree invites variable expenses that are hard to plan for in any budget or projection. Even the most minor incident or scrape requires greater sales revenue to fund the necessary repair. Still, I talk to many operators who feel accidents are simply a natural and inevitable occurrence given the nature of the business. This may be true to a certain degree. However, not only do operators assume accidents are inevitable, they also often segregate them into various categories according to their severity. While such categorization may be beneficial and necessary for policy-driven decisions concerning the drivers involved, operators must be careful not to send the wrong message when insignificant accidents occur. Holding drivers accountable for the more serious accidents is generally a more prominent practice, especially for the driver not following company rules or otherwise negligent, and was a primary cause of the accident. A major accident usually results in an organization-wide response with swift, negative consequences for the driver. In less serious accidents though, especially those where no other parties are involved, accountability and sometimes even investigation lessens. Minor accidents often result in a simple admonishment or verbal warning in which the driver faces no further consequence. Companies often chalk up the proverbial mirror or fence strike in the yard to complacency. The driver just let his guard down. Generally, in such cases the driver has repeatedly demonstrated his driving competence over time successfully by not being involved in many on-road accidents. I suppose because the company perceives the cost of a parking lot ding as minor relative to a bigger collision, management is more forgiving of the driverâ€™s actions. Nonetheless, as with any observed behavior that is unacceptable, understanding any complacency that leads to a driver letting his guard down can certainly crop up any driving situation beyond the yard. This is an important concept for management to embrace.
In fact, accident event recorders have a way of capturing accidents in which drivers have let their guard down. Reports show that these monitoring systems trigger more frequently when the driver is alone. Why is this? My theory is drivers who are alone and not focused on satisfying passengers needs
Any complacency that leads to a driver letting his guard down can certainly crop up any driving situation beyond the yard. This is an important concept for management to embrace. â€” and working the gratuity angle â€” are more apt to let their guard down and take unnecessary risks. It may also have to do with organizational behavior and the subsequent response to such minor occurrences as a mirror knock in the yard, with more severe consequences dealt out only in major accidents. Some drivers may read this unintentional message that risk taking is acceptable if the result of an accident is only minor. Correcting this perception requires assigning accountability for each and every accident and incident. Management must make drivers more aware by having them own consequences of the risks they face while performing their driving duties. Experience tells me drivers will better recognize and own that risk once they have something at stake. A simple analogy to this concept is how travelers may treat their rental car as opposed to their own. Ownership has a unique way of instilling responsibility.
Here are some successful methodologies I see operators applying that make their drivers risk-responsible by owning the risks they take: • Tough love — Delivering a consistent, relatively tough response to any unacceptable behavior during individual or company training emphasizes a more disciplined approach to any type of accident. Even a minor fixed-object accident that is otherwise preventable exhibits behaviors that are just as serious as an accident that produces injuries. Receiving a speeding ticket indicates risk-taking behaviors that are the same as those that lead to accidents. From the standpoint of risk, following too closely is dangerous whether an accident occurs or not. • Drivers buy into the risk — Establish a policy that requires drivers to contribute financially to the repair costs for any property damaged as a result of their actions. Even a small amount of financial consequence, perhaps a percentage of a deductible, will enlighten drivers to the costs associated with their actions. Please note: For anyone who decides to employ this methodology, I highly recommend introducing a written document that drivers sign off on that clearly acknowledges their understanding and receipt of the policy. • Stress the economics — Openly discuss the financial outcomes of accidents that have resulted from unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. Drivers will better understand the costs associated with an accident of minor damage and how it affects business overall. Multiply that one example by the number of fixed object accidents the company has been experiencing and employees will get an even bigger picture of the monetary effects. Understanding the many disruptions to the operation that a minor accident can create should change the way most employees think about their actions and how they perceive the consequences of their mistakes.
The New Citaro is now entering production in Germany.
letter from europe By Doug Jack
Perspective on North America Daimler delivers a wake-up call; Alexander Dennis teams with New Flyer I trust you will not object, but looking from my side of the Atlantic the decision by Daimler to close its Orion Bus Industries factory in Canada and New York after completion of current orders sends a sharp wake-up call to the whole of the North American transit bus industry, especially manufacturers and transit authorities. Last year, globally, Daimler Buses built around 39,700 chassis and complete vehicles. Daimler is the oldest bus manufacturer in the world, with more than 125 years of experience in the industry. The company does not rush into decisions and traditionally has been in markets for the long haul, except when there have been serious changes in circumstances. Daimler Buses is familiar with volatility in bus markets around the world. Sales can go up or down from year to year and are subject to many factors beyond the control of manufacturers. For instance, in good years there can be major tenders from the larger cities. In other years, there can be severe shortages of funding, as we are seeing currently in most of the countries in Southern Europe. Daimler Buses has long experience of handling that kind of volatility. I interviewed Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, on Friday, April 13. We
talked about his companyâ€™s activities all around the world. On the subject of Orion, he simply said that the operation was losing money and was a cause for concern. The sales figures speak for themselves with deliveries having fallen from 734 in 2010 to just 463 in 2011. Orion had enjoyed considerable success with hybrid buses, but demand was moving back to less expensive standard diesel-powered buses. Daimler concluded that it could not turn Orion round with demand for transit buses from regional and municipal authorities across North America falling. Daimler must have decided this was not a short-term factor, but potentially a long-term problem. The fact that it has decided to close the plants will hurt its pride, but will not dent its global standing. There were strong rumors that Daimler offered Orion to other manufacturers in North America, but they too were suffering from declining volumes. It seems clear that they preferred Daimler to depart from the market, giving them better prospects for long-term survival. I have no doubt that Orion would have been in a far healthier position if it had been able to use a much higher percentage of standardized Mercedes-Benz components
in its city bus range. The Citaro range of city buses is extensive, including solo and articulated models with the options of hybrid, compressed natural gas engines, and the most advanced fuel cell hybrid systems in the world. The whole range benefits from economies of scale. If Daimler could have assembled the Citaro in North America, transit authorities would have benefited from an extremely well proven city bus. As you know, that was simply not possible because most agencies procure their transit buses through federal funding and therefore must have a minimum of 60 percent U.S. content, by a combination of labor and materials. Furthermore, it must be U.S. content, not even content from the North American Free Trade Area countries. Put at its most blunt, the Buy-America regulations are a restrictive practice. One could well make a case that they are a restraint on trade under the rules of the World Trade Organization. No doubt their introduction originally protected jobs in the United States, but that has come at a heavy price to the transit authorities. The Buy-America policy and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are responsible for generations of transit buses
The modern and ergonomic cockpit of the Citaro.
unique to the North American market that cannot be sold outside the U.S. and Canada. For example, very few countries outside North America will permit an overall width of 8ft 6in. Most countries work to a metric maximum width of 2.55 meters, or 8ft 4.4in. The Citaro is built to this overall width in Germany, but because it has slimmer side pillars than Orion buses, the actual interior wall-to-wall space for passengers is marginally greater. To my knowledge, Japan is the only other developed country to impose such restrictive regulations, largely by enforcing different dimensions. Additionally, right hand drive can be quite a deterrent to many potential suppliers. For instance, in Japan the maximum permitted width is 2.49m or 8ft 2in, which would involve manufacturers in very substantial re-tooling for the sake of just over 6in from the European standard. It is possible to import wider vehicles to Japan, but they require special dispensation and are limited to operation on specified routes. The net result in Japan is that there are three manufacturers fighting over a market of around 4,000 larger buses and coaches per year. They offer a very wide range of products, including transit buses of various lengths, with the options of the floor one, two or three steps above the ground. They also have coaches at various lengths and with various deck heights, which results in very low volume manufacturing, and therefore high unit costs and high prices for customers. Another major contributing factor to the high price of vehicles is compliance
with legislation. I am not for one minute suggesting there should be any reduction in safety standards or permitted levels of vehicle emissions. However, it is a fact that there are three main sources of legislation in the world. Japan and the United States have their own vehicle construction standards and their own limits on emissions. In Europe, much of the legislation originates with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, (ECE), based in Geneva, Switzerland. The European Union often incorporates its regulations, which are also widely adopted in many other countries around the world. For instance, it was UNECE that first devised legislation on passenger survivability in the event of a coach rolling over. Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom were among the first countries to adopt this regulation. On engine emissions, Europe, Japan and the United States are all seeking reductions very close to one another. However frustrating for manufacturers
supplying global markets, there has been no harmonization of test cycles. They have had to homologate their products under each set of regulations for those markets where they want to participate. That inevitably means the employment of a greater number of highly qualified engine technicians. Most markets outside the United States and Japan adopt European emissions legislation, but quite frequently they are two or even three steps behind the European Union in introduction. One of the main problems is ensuring that oil companies can provide the infrastructure to offer much lower sulfur fuel, which is obligatory in the latest generations of engines. If there could be much closer harmonization of legislation between Europe and the United States, and Japan for that matter, then transit authorities would benefit from economies of scale. There are internationally excellent American suppliers who would benefit â€” Cummins, Allison and Eaton for instance. In Europe, the top five bus manufacturers are all associated with major truck builders and use many common components, particularly engines. Daimler and Volvo are very established brands in the United States. The other three, Iveco, MAN and Scania, have chosen not to come into the U.S. automotive sector, although Scania has targeted the U.S. with industrial engine supplies. One of the main deterrents to higher volumes of imports from Europe is the vast size of the United States and Canada. Setting up parts and service networks would be a mammoth task and very expensive. However, transit buses come back to the same depot every night, so service support is available wherever the vehicles operate.
The interior wall-to-wall width is greater on the Citaro.
letter from europe continued
Abolishing the Buy-America rules, or even reducing the percentage content, would not be a serious threat to American transit bus builders. They know their market and their customers, but abolition or easing of the rules would enable them to shop around for the best components at the most competitive prices. If they could pass those benefits on to customers, it would enable them to purchase more vehicles and bring down the average age profiles of their fleets more rapidly.
New Flyer and Alexander Dennis
There is a recent and very promising announcement in the proposed joint venture between New Flyer Industries and Alexander Dennis. The British company has 20 yearsâ€™ experience building midibuses, with over 16,000 in service in various parts of the world. Alexander Dennis will develop versions of its Enviro200 range for the North American market. I believe the plan is for Alexander Dennis to supply underframes and aluminum body structures in kit form from the United Kingdom for assembly by New Flyer. Fortunately, the Enviro200 already uses Cummins engines, Allison gearboxes and Dana axles, made in Europe, but the directly equivalent units can be sourced in the United States. No doubt New Flyer will also be able to use many U.S. components in the fitting out of the vehicles. The Enviro200 is a purpose-built midibus, not a full size heavy-duty vehicle that has been shortened. It uses smaller wheels and tires, which gives better space for the passengers in the interior. It uses a smaller and lighter Cummins engine offering excellent fuel economy, a very important factor at a time of rising fuel prices. This is potentially a win-win situation for both companies. It gives New Flyer a significant addition to its range and it adds to the rapidly growing export volumes of Alexander Dennis. Fortunately, this project meets BuyAmerican standards already, just think what else could be achieved and offered to transit authorities if there was not such restrictive legislation in place. BR Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.
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 !
leads in transit training assessment
The new learning model from Southern California transit consortium meets evolving needs and raises the bar By Nina Babiarz
Challenged with regional air emission mandates put forth by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to operate and maintain low-emission transit buses, Southern California transit agencies could no longer just talk about the need to develop and deliver updated technician training. Since transit authorities are often the first to deploy many transportation technologies “en mass,” the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC) formed to find and share solutions to the problems of evolving technologies looming large over the transit industry and outpacing their preparedness to address these advancements.
The work begins SCRTTC first established its Transit Training Needs Assessment to identify and anticipate industry skills training needs for now and in the future. This academic assessment complemented with practical experience of the transit industry, ultimately melded a much needed hands-on component of transit training into classroom instruction.
Working with a very small pot of funding, this incorporated group of 43 members consisting of municipal transit authorities, community college members, affiliate members and private industry partners took the initiative nearly 10 years ago to lead the development of a national transit training model. The consortium now enjoys national recognition for its transit training accomplishments.
Assessments & goals surveyed The SCRTTC has been persistent in achieving its goals: • Develop a new learning model to increase the professional and technical competency of the Southern California public transit workforce • Assure this learning model includes the elements of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS); • Develop industry driven, competency-based courses that meet present and future needs • Expand the model to regional and national levels. The initial Transit Training Needs Assessment process was comprised of a detailed regional industry survey with the pri-
mary method of data collection being surveys distributed to depict the region followed by a face-to-face workshop. Using a survey distributed to Southern California bus transit authorities representing a fairly large geographic area, followed by face-to-face workshops, the objective was to identify transit agencies implementing or anticipating the deployment of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) products and services that may require trained ITS professionals to ensure successful implementation. Moreover, the survey portion also intended to uncover information that SCRTTC policymakers could use to make accurate decisions in regards to ITS training needs, as well as serving as a guideline in procurement processes. This approach verified and ensured the transit training SCRTTC identified was specifically what was needed as opposed to allowing assumption to drive the assessment. As the proverbial ITS umbrella covers innumerable technologies, systems and integrated applications, SCRTTC kept the survey questions focused only on the major ITS topics. However, diverse examples as a part of each question enabled a full range of responses that revealed multiple areas of transit training needs. The highlights of the findings of the ITS surveys focused on what systems and/or equipment were being used, experiencing failures, having key reliability issues, requiring workplace skills needed by new employees or additional maintenance/repair training by existing technicians, as well as those
stimulate discussion of what training and skill needs transit agencies required in order to maintain current and anticipated ITS systems and equipment. A variety of training topics and observations were discussed such as: • Employee computer skills critical to trouble shooting • Better diagnostics make trouble shooting easier but still include basic electrical and electronic skills • Diagnostics require knowledge and optimum use of diagnostic tools e.g. PCs, laptops, multi-meters • ITS equipment subcomponents and assemblies are frequently treated as disposable items which eliminate the troubleshooting process • Agencies see substantial rapid changes in transit technologies over the life of a bus • Technicians need to have a better hand in specific essential skills as they address and resolve common technical issues, maintenance activities and failure modes. • ITS overview targeted to technicians beneficial to understanding how/where their work fits into the overall system This list consisted of common tangible and practical skills necessary for technicians to successfully diagnose, repair, and maintain transit bus ITS systems. Ironically, the essential skills listing read somewhat like a job posting.
Tapping existing resources
The next task was to review all existing and available training programs and determine if these existing resources could meet the newly established training criteria. This review idenThe value of collaborative observation Additionally, a two-hour Needs Assessment Workshop tified an inventory of academic subjects and a host of career was conducted with representatives in attendance from both certificates from community colleges in Los Angeles, Orange, the transit maintenance organizations and the regional com- San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. It also remunity colleges. The previously referenced survey results vealed a number of instruction programs for skills that assesswere summarized and presented to the attendees in order to ment deemed necessary and in some cases severely lacking in the transit industry. Also, because California has the largest community college system in the nation, accessibility to these courses and their instructors by each transit property makes them extremely valuable assets in the equation of solving this transit training problem. The final step was to take the training inventory and compare it to the transit training needs as assessed. Identifying gaps in the most needed training areas helped the SCRTTC to prioritize the order and delivery of the different types training in an appropriate and attainable timeframe. The initial assessment results were summarized in a report entitled the Transit Agency ITS Survey and Transit Agency Maintenance Manager and Trainer This practical experience of the transit industry ultimately melded a much needed hands-on component of transit training that were expending the majority of the employee’s time.
into classroom instruction.
ITS Surveys and set down the foundation for funding in 2007 which enabled the SCRTTC to undertake a more detailed and updated assessment which became the keystone component to the SCRTTC’s implementation of a solid training development and delivery track record. By analyzing the gaps in skills, this method assisted in the development of
future programs that targeted the most effective delivery mechanisms of those programs by which the gaps would be addressed and the transit systems benefit. This endeavor also helped to further enhance the choices, increase the options, reduce replication, and increase availability and accessibility of the transit training programs throughout the Southern Californian region. The objective of the 2007 assessment was to expand the training topics and current training needs beyond the
identification of only ITS products and/or services and encompass all transit training topics that are relevant to the transit industry training requirements. This inventory of training topics, conducted independently with the SCRTTC transit and community college members, revealed the current transit training courses that were available and being conducted by the member entities and those still needed by transit agencies. SCRTTC identified the following list of common tangible, yet essential, skills as necessary to aid or improve technician abilities to successfully and effectively work with, diagnose, repair and maintain transit specific ITS systems and equipment. They are: • Basic electrical and electronics theory and practical applications • Personal computer usage and basic computer programming • Troubleshooting skills • Use of diagnostic tools, especially multi-meters and PCs • Specific vendor supplied or vendor system-specific training • Knowledge of Computerized Engine Controls • Read system schematics i.e. wiring diagram • Locate and interpret technical manuals and specifications The group also identified specific instructional aides and other educational resources and made them available in order to bring the training to fruition by the SCRTTC members. Over the years these instructional aides have revealed such priceless gems as transit brake assemblies, CNG cutaway tanks, HVAC simulators and stand alone test engines, just to name a few. The SCRTTC’s successful learning mode has its foundation in the Needs Assessment and Skill Gap Analysis methodology described here. Further details can be found on the SCRTTC website on the ‘New/Publications’ tab in the ‘Publications and Presentation’ section at: http://www. scrttc.com/news.htm BRM
Nina Babiarz serves as training director for the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC), La Mesa, CA.
3838 JulyBUSRideMaintenance 2012
BUSRide July 2012
Four easy lessons in coach conversion Creative Mobile Interiors provides a few dos and don’ts
By Owen Connaughton
In 30 years of converting and retrofitting motorcoaches I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, all which have led me to some very specific dos and don’ts in the area of coach conversions. Anyone about to convert a coach for personal use or for a client would do well to mind some key trouble areas. Four areas of consternation that generally arise in coach conversions are mechanical access, a serviceable cabin, floor space and plumbing.
Assure mechanical access
Whether you’re purchasing a converted coach or converting it yourself, it’s always paramount to keep serviceability in mind and make sure there is always easy access to coach components. This includes converter components and chassis components. Many coaches have the ATEC and DTEC modules in the under floor bays. These modules are often completely buried and near inaccessible. Coach air conditioning filters, blowers, and system components are typically in the under floor bays as well. Some-
With seating configurations, consider how much floor space will be taken up by seated passengers.
times we have had to disassemble an entire plumbing bay to service these items. Before buying, or when planning your build, you will save yourself headaches down the road if you make sure these components are within reach.
July 2012 39
Coach Conversion continued Make the cabin serviceable
I’ve seen coaches built in such a way so that if the refrigerator or icemaker needs service, there’s not enough room to pull the unit out because it’s built too close to cabinetry. Alternatively, sometimes the unit can’t be taken out through the coach’s front because the aisles are too narrow. Many of these components require taking out the windshield so that they can get in
and out of the coach. Avoiding these spatial issues can help ease serviceability in a converted coach. It’s very important to make sure all interior equipment and electronics are vented. Improperly vented equipment can lead to thousands of wasted dollars for replacing refrigerators, TVs, and audio and satellite equipment. Read the manufacturer’s requirements for venting and make sure your coach complies.
Avoid fitting appliances too close to the cabinetry to ease serviceability.
Design adequate floor space
Seating layout and design is another area of conversion that’s sometimes overlooked. As you layout the seating configuration, consider how much floor space will be taken up by passengers’ feet when seated. With two couches installed across from one another, it’s virtually impossible for someone to pass through the aisle. It’s always a good idea to install a dinette or individual seating across the aisle to improve access to the rest of the coach. A coach interior designed with a good “flow” ensures the owner and passengers will enjoy a comfortable ride for a long time.
Switch to pliable plumbing
We recommend PEX Tubing and fittings for the plumbing systems in a converted coach. PEX is an alternative to metal tubing and has many benefits to a vehicle. It is a flexible plastic that is able to bend around corners that would normally require fittings if metallic piping were used. PEX does not require sweating the fittings. It requires no solder, blowtorch or special fittings, and comes in long lengths that enable a continuous run with no seams. It will not rupture if the system freezes. The fittings are attached with a special metal ring that is crimped on with special pliers. Generally, PEX installations include a manifold for the entire coach’s water system complete with shutoff valves. Much like an electrical circuit breaker panel, this manifold can be situated in the under floor plumbing bay where it allows coach owners to easily shut off water to any part of the coach should the need arise. BR Owen Connaughton is founder and president of Creative Mobile Interiors, Grove City, OH.
40 July 2012
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BVT American showcases Branson Motorcoach tours on the upswing By Glenn Swain
The true value of a Prevost coach goes far beyond the purchase price. Prevost coaches enrich your reputation by dependably transporting your passengers in comfort, style and safety. They move your business forward by ensuring the best possible fuel efficiency and lowest operating cost. Our high-deck H-Series Coach offers state-of-the-art amenities that elevate every passengerâ€™s experience. And our longer-wheelbase X3-45 Coach combines a luxurious ride with a wider entry and 80"-high interior passenger space. All Prevost motorcoaches are built to deliver exceptional performance, durability and value. Which makes Prevost the safest investment in a complex industry thatâ€™s always on the move.
Please contact your Prevost Regional Sales Manager for more information. USA 1-877-773-8678
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48 July 2012