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Special Section: Fare Collection Systems: Part II Page 16

EDM makes the ticket to ride Page 21

Transit in Zurich Page 22

Natural light powers safety Page 26

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NOV 2012

www.busride.com • $5.00

Jefferson Lines hones niche with Temsa TS35s Page 12


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features November 2012 cover story

12 Nothing regular about

superlative service

Four Temsa TS35s serve a distinct niche for Jefferson Lines By David Hubbard

Special Section

26 Natural light powers safety

NuTech National Solar provides years of sun-driver illumination

departments 8 Motorcoach Update

Fare Collection Systems: Part II

16 SORTA weighs its options

After installing new fare boxes, Cincinnati Metro prepares to deploy the go*SMART card

18 Government officials champion

Sacramento transit

Sacramento Area Council of Governments key to funding and public engagement By Glenn Swain

20 Big Blue Bus goes high-tech

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14 The Transit Authority 28 People in the News 29 Marketplace

columns 6 David Hubbard

Santa Monica transit agency partners with LECIP to improve fare collection

21 EDM makes the ticket to ride

11 Deliveries

Electronic Data Magnetics moves toward RFID

November 2012

22 The International Report

By Doug Jack

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david hubbard

One show: To be or not to be? There was a bit of flare up among the ABA, UMA and NTA in late September following an early discussion on the vague idea that all three might come together for one annual convention. A volley of heated exchanges ensued, all touched off over a simple open question as to which of the two trade shows, ABA Marketplace or UMA Expo at Travel Exchange, would one attend if it came down to choosing. Sensing that this abrupt disruption has left an otherwise interesting proposal unresolved, BUSRide posed two questions of its own. Here are a few of the salient points from the written responses from the association leaders. Their complete unabridged comments are available on the BUSRide website, www. busride.com. If there were to be one over-all motorcoach and tour and travel exposition that included the ABA, UMA and NTA, what would your organization gain by participating? Jim Reddekopp Jr, Chairman and CEO National Tour Association (NTA) There is a desire within some in the industry for one show. That is why we took the first step with UMA. We are talking about gains for NTA members. NTA and UMA can offer more of everything to our members — more buyers, more sellers and more contacts. According to figures from the NTA Convention last year, NTA members booked more than $78 million in new business alone. NTA members are looking forward to gaining more new business in Orlando. Tom Jebran, Chairman American Bus Association (ABA) We believe that the biggest beneficiaries of one show are the members. They have told us loud and clear it is getting harder to continue attending multiple shows, especially now that they are close to the same dates. We also believe that one show also will still maintain the financial viability of each organization.

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William Allen, Chairman, United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Travel Exchange is already the industry’s premier event. It brings together every component of the group travel process. The key element that makes our partnership with NTA both exciting and compelling is that we all serve the same customer. Travel Exchange will serve as a catalyst to gain knowledge and understanding among the components to ensure that everyone makes money in the process. While this collaborative effort is apparently off the table for now, do you believe the concept is viable enough to resume discussions in the future? Reddekopp: The idea of an NTA-ABA collaboration bubbles up from time to time. NTA will not close the door on discussing a partnership that could bring our members more and better business. For something that seems so simple on its face, the practical considerations for merging the two shows are enormously complex. Adding a third association to our Travel Exchange structure would be, to say the least, challenging. Jebran: ABA was disappointed to see that NTA and UMA “terminated” the discussions before we got to the true focus of what, where and how to structure a joint show. As far as ABA is concerned we would like to continue a dialog that is open and transparent with member input communications. Allen: It is important to understand that UMA did not bring an end to these discussions. [The attorney for] ABA made it very clear to us that our terms were “a non-starter.” Given ABA’s unwillingness to accept a course of action that was necessary based on ABA’s decision to break past agreements, we see no way fruitful discussions could occur unless ABA agrees to the terms we put forth. Understand that we we’re not asking ABA to abide by any provisions that we wouldn’t be willing to accept and live by as well. Travel Exchange is open to everyone in our industry. We welcome ABA members with open arms.

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

BUS industry SAFETY council

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

Vol. 48 No. 11 Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra

Accountant Fred Valdez

Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600, ext. 203.

BUSRide


update

Volvo Powertrain begins I-Shift assembly in U.S. The Volvo Group’s Powertrain plant in Hagerstown, MD, began assembly of the Volvo I-Shift transmission in August. Dann Wiltgen, Prevost vice-president of Key Accounts, spoke to invited guests and commented on the multiple impacts of this development. “This project represents a significant investment in the Hagerstown plant,” he says. “This operation brings an infusion of new jobs to the economy, and illustrates the pride this region has in manufacturing an integral component of the truck and motorcoach industry.” Volvo I-Shift is a 12-speed, two-pedal, lightweight automated manual transmission (AMT) that delivers an exceptional level of productivity by simultaneously maximizing comfort, safety and fuel efficiency. I-Shift is designed to integrate seamlessly with Volvo engines and provides the motorcoach industry’s only integrated powertrain.

Dann Wiltgen, Prevost vice-president of Key Accounts, spoke to invited guests on the impacts of the Volvo Group Powertrain plant in Hagerstown, MD.

“Prevost has been manufacturing coaches since 1924 and we have always been known for quality, reliability and innovation,” says Wiltgen. “Today we are celebrating an important addition to that legacy — the manufacture of the I-shift

transmission in the United States. Prevost will be a better, stronger company as a result of having the availability of a transmission manufactured here in Hagerstown.”

MCI Public Sector realigns sales territories Motor Coach Industries, Schaumburg, IL, has realigned its Public Sector sales territories for faster response to public transit, government agencies, colleges and universities throughout North America requesting coaches and aftermarket support. “We have a highly experienced team

dedicated to our Reliability Driven principles and the needs and wants of our customers,” says Patrick Scully, vice president, MCI Public Sector. “The new structure improves our overall responsiveness to our customers’ needs.” Under the new structure, business development managers will now reside

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) introduced its realigned Public Sector Team under the direction of Patrick Scully, vice president, Public Sector Sales and Marketing.

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in their assigned regions to stay more closely connected to their customers, and will represent the full family of MCI models offered to the transit, educational and correctional markets. Those models include the Altoonatested Buy America-compliant Commuter Coach available in clean diesel, hybrid and CNG configurations; the MCI ISTV (Inmate Security Transportation Vehicle); and the MCI J4500 and D-Series coaches. Tom Wagner, executive director of Business Development will now have responsibility for the Federal and GSA markets in both the US and Canada, and dayto-day responsibility for leading the Business Development Managers. As part of this move, Guy Tessier, vice president of Canadian sales, and his team will also be responsible for sales to public transit throughout Canada. The rest of the Public Sector team includes: North East Region, Lou Quaglia; Central Region: Dan Kemper; Western Region, Gary Pugsley; with the Southern Region currently open.

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BRief

Capital Metro, Austin, TX, kicked off construction of its MetroRapid station with a recent ceremonial groundbreaking at Chinatown Center, one of 44 stations along the North Lamar/South Congress rapid route, which will open early 2014. The second planned route, Burnet/South Lamar, will open late summer 2014.

BRief

Eaton Corporation, Galesburg, MI aligned with the California Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) to assist California-based fleets in purchasing low-emission, fuel efficient medium- and heavyduty hybrid vehicles. Eaton says these hybrid vehicles will result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, lower fuel costs and reduce the use of petroleum-based products.

BRief

City Sightseeing New Orleans kicked off service in September with an inaugural downtown tour. The iconic red double-decker buses will offer visitors a new convenient, entertaining, and informative way to experience the Big Easy. Emily Valentino, general manager of City Sightseeing New Orleans says the combined impact of 36 full-time positions, related support services and the capacity to transport visitors to locations previously difficult or expensive to access will add over $8 million of new revenue to the area’s economies, including major attractions and hospitality related businesses.

BRief

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, Middlebury, IN, celebrated its manufacture of its 1000th vehicle, a Spirit of Mobility model that is headed to Victoria, British Columbia as part of a contract awarded to Dynamic Specialty Vehicles.

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November 2012

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update

Touchstone LCD monitor rugged enough for shuttle buses Touchstone Technology, Rochester, NY, introduces its FPM1160 24-in LCD monitor to meet the demanding requirements of commercial public transportation. The monitor supports internal media player options and displays full high definition video. The company built the FPM1160 specifically for transit and shuttle bus applications, emphasizing the extremely rugged design can withstand the rigors of around-the-clock usage. High brightness lighting and high resolution of 1920 x 1200 delivers an image of the highest quality, and the wide viewing angle of the 24-in screen accommodates passengers from anywhere on the bus. The display is bright enough to be clearly visible on the bus even during the sunniest days. The internal components can withstand the shock of multiple starting and stopping cycles. Touchstone Technology designed

the power supply to commercial passenger aircraft standards—the strictest in the electronics industry; tested to withstand extreme voltage swings caused by the

use of electric heating and air conditioning systems. Touchstone Technology offers a 3-year warranty on the FPM1160 LCD Monitor.

Greyhound riders: “Thank heaven for 7-11” Dallas-based Greyhound Bus Lines and convenience retailer 7-Eleven, Inc. are now partners in a nationwide program that essentially turns 7-Eleven® neighborhood stores into a Greyhound ticketing offices. Using PayNearMe™ technology, Greyhound cash customers can now purchase tickets online and pay using payment barcodes or Greyhound cards to obtain tickets the convenience store their own neighborhoods 24-hours a day.

10 November 2012

“About 50 percent of Greyhound’s customers use cash to pay for their bus tickets, but until now there has not been a way to deliver exclusive online discounts to this constituency or even to allow these customers to pay for tickets in advance by phone or over the web,” says Dave Leach, president and CEO of Greyhound. “Through our relationships with 7-Eleven and PayNearMe, we can now increase savings for all of our cash customers while eliminating the hassle of

making an extra trip to the terminal. This is our way of making life easier for our loyal cash customers.” Passengers in need of a Greyhound ticket with cash can go to www.greyhound.com to select a schedule and put a ticket on hold for up to 48 hours. They then print a payment barcode and take it to their nearest 7-Eleven store and purchase the ticket at the register. “We developed PayNearMe under the premise that all consumers deserve the right to the same goods and services, regardless of their preferred method of payment or financial situation,” says Danny Shader, PayNearMe CEO. “Our partnership with Greyhound and 7-Eleven provides unbanked and underbanked consumers with more fare options and access to discounts only available on Greyhound.com To make a reservation by phone, customers pick up a re-usable Greyhound card at a 7-Eleven store. After booking with an agent over the phone with the unique card number, the s card is swiped at a 7-Eleven and the transaction is complete.

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deliveries MOTOR COACH ARBOC INDUSTRIES

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R&R Limousine and Bus Austin, TX

R&R Limousine and Bus added four J4500s to bring its MCI coach fleet to 10 in time for Austin’s first-ever oFormula One Grand Prix on the new Circuit of the Americas track that opens in November. R&R President and founder Paul Arcediano says he chooses MCI for reliability and ease of maintenance, as well as coaches with electronic stability control and other standard safety features. R&R also has a full-service operation in San Antonio and recently moved to a 6.5-acre site close the new track in Austin.

BUSRide

VAN HOOL ARBOC

TEMSA

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Academy Bus Company Hoboken, NJ

With the addition of 10 Temsa TS35s to the Academy Bus Company fleet, the Temsa coach count stands at 25. The coaches come equipped with a Cummins engine, Allison B500 transmission and three point seat belts, as well as 110-volt outlets, REI Elite video system, Alcoa rims and the New Jersey DOT safety package. Officially established in 1968 by Frank Tedesco, Academy Bus, the largest privately owned and operated transportation company in the U.S., dates back to the 1930s. Today Academy operates charter, group tour and commuter coaches all over the East Coast from 10 locations.

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King Ward Coach Lines Chicopee, MA

The recent delivery of Van Hool C20245s to King Ward Coach Lines includes six new coaches and two refurbished models. King Ward owner Dennis King says the all-Van Hool fleet establishes a foundation for years to come. The C2045s feature Detroit DD13 engines and Allison B500G4 transmissions, 3-point seat belts. King Ward specified the rear passenger window, WiFi, 110volt electrical outlets, REI elite 6-monitor entertainment system and enclosed parcel racks.

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Nothing regular about superlative service Four Temsa TS35s serve a distinct niche for Jefferson Lines In the time since Charlie Zelle familIn the time since Charlie Zelle family founded the company in 1919, Jefferson Lines has endeavored to connect people with their favorite destinations. The name respects the highway that once ran from Winnipeg, MB, Canada to New Orleans, LA. Company president and CEO Charlie Zelle, formerly a New York investment banker, returned to the family business in 1987 to take over Jefferson Lines from his late father, Louie Zelle. When Greyhound Lines began dropping many of its routes 20plus years ago, Jefferson Lines stepped in to continue with many of them. Steadily increasing ridership, the company has grown to serve 13 states, making Jefferson Lines one of the largest intercity bus systems outside of the East Coast market. Now in its third generation, the mission to provide safe and convenient intercity coach travel that is both inviting and accessible to travelers throughout the nation’s heartland is unchanged.

By David Hubbard

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Nonetheless, regular scheduled service transportation in recliner seats with legroom, Wi-Fi, satellite radio and movies on the bus would give the founder pause. Ninety-three years later. the ride is cutting-edge and Jefferson Lines is a Midwest fixture. Suffice to say, Jefferson Lines is about much needed scheduled service. According to Kevin Pursey, director of Marketing and Culture, only 5 to 7 percent of the company business involves coach charters. “We are making every effort to connect with other transportation systems both public and private,” says Pursey. “We work to establish intermodal bus and light rail connections with the transit agencies in the cities we serve, as well as with other intercity bus companies.” From its base in Minneapolis, MN, Jefferson Lines connects with Burlington Trailways in Des Moines, IA; with Greyhound Bus Lines in Kansas City, MO; Badger Bus in Madison, WI; and Indian Trails in Duluth, MN. To that end, the 35-ft. Temsa TS35s Jefferson Lines recently acquired from CH Bus Sales, Minneapolis, MN, and figure promi-

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nently in the route structure. Following the successful response to its first TS35 now in service between Minneapolis and Rochester, MN, the company has taken delivery of three more and is analyzing its operations for the most appropriate routes to run these smaller motorcoaches. The intent is to put the Temsas in service on routes that are perfect for smaller passenger loads of 30 to 35 riders. Pursey says Jefferson customers find a subtle appeal to the TS35s, which they say is not so overwhelming, and they appreciate the overall comfort and extra legroom these coaches provide. “We certainly consider them a premium ride,” says Pursey. “Our customers see them in the same light as they would any larger coach.” The North American TS35 is constructed on a stainless steel monocoque frame and features approximately 80 percent U.S. specifications. While the 35-ft. Temsa TS35 shares all the qualities of a larger coach and is capable of traveling any distance, Pursey says the Jefferson Lines TS35s will typically run on fourhour routes of approximately 185 miles, as opposed to the 45-ft. coaches that often set out on multiple day rotations. Over the road coach riders in the Midwest may know Jefferson Lines for the Rocket Rider, the name it gives to its exclusive regional express coach service, developed specifically for transporting passengers from point A to point B as quickly as possible with no stops in between. The longest Rocket Rider route runs from Minne-

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The advancements in the industry since Charlie Zelle founded Jefferson Line in 1919 would give him pause.

apolis to Kansas City. Younger markets have Jefferson Lines on their radar, catching the College Connection on Fridays and Sundays for a quick trip home and back on the weekends. “We have really stepped up our marketing of this niche service over the past several months,” says Pursey. “We now offer the College Connection on 13 college and university campuses throughout the Midwest.” Pursey says in addition to free Wi-Fi, the College Connection owes much of its popularity to the very convenient locations for pickups and drop offs on each campus. He says while the service is predominately on Fridays and Sundays, the schedule can vary depending on location and demand. “We offer special discounted rates for students riding the College Connection,” says Pursey. “We plan on growing this service by making this the preferred travel option for college students.” Jefferson Lines employs 265 staff members with 150 drivers operating approximately 75 vehicles. BR

Jefferson Line has taken delivery of three more Temsa TS35s and is analyzing its operations for the most appropriate routes.

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the transit authority

MSBMA honors Pace for its small bus fleet By Richard A. Kwasneski Pace is extremely pleased for the Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association (MSBMA) to have recognized our transit agency for operating the nation’s largest fleet of small buses under 40 feet. We have worked hard to right size our fleet to the levels of demand and the operating environment of the areas we serve. Pace began operations in 1984 after the Illinois State Legislature called for the conglomeration of several independent, disparate bus agencies operating throughout the Chicago suburbs. At that time, the prevailing logic was to apply urban transit methodology, which meant the exclusive use of 40-foot buses. These served us very well for many years. However in a service area comprising urban, suburban, exurban and even rural environments, we needed to develop innovative solutions that involved

smaller vehicles. We began Pace dial-a-ride operations before they were required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and created a vanpool program from scratch that has become one of the nation’s largest — all while some of our fixed routes with modest levels of demand were leading to a perception of big, empty buses in some areas. Nevertheless, with annual ridership consistently between 36 million and 40 million, our buses were obviously not empty. Beyond the perception issue, we determined that smaller buses would use less fuel and create less noise and roadway impacts; important factors to the households and officials in some of the mostly residential areas we serve. Pace operated a modest number of small and mid-size Chance and Orion buses in its

Pace riders are pleased with the new buses, because they replaced models more than 20 years old. Operators and maintenance staff are happy about the increased reliability and modern features the buses provide.

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fleet over the agency’s first 15 years, but had not made a large-scale purchase of smaller vehicles until 1999. At that time, the first of what would be over 100 35foot, low-floor NABI buses entered our fleet. A funding shortage led to a hiatus on bus replacements for a few years beginning in 2003. By 2006, we were in serious need of replacing many of our older, 40foot buses that had aged beyond their intended life span. By this time, we were prepared to significantly increase our number of smaller buses. Because these buses cost less, we were able to replace more vehicles with the funds available. Between 2006 and 2010 Pace took delivery of nearly 225 ElDorado EZRider II buses and most recently two 30foot Orion VII Hybrid buses in 2012 – our first hybrid buses in the fleet. We use the hybrids to study the impact this green technology has on our operations to guide future bus purchases. Our plans for 2013 include the conversion of one of our garages to operate CNGpowered buses, which we have slated for purchase over the next year. Stakeholder response to the smaller buses has been overwhelmingly positive. Riders are pleased because the buses replaced models more than 20 years old. Operators and maintenance staff are happy about the increased reliability and modern features the buses provide, and taxpayers and elected officials are pleased that we listened to their suggestions to use smaller vehicles. Internally, the reduced maintenance and fuel costs have a positive impact on our expenses, as the ElDorados get approximately 25 percent better fuel mileage than the 40-foot buses they replaced. Many of our routes have always had ridership levels that demanded a 40foot bus, and it is for this reason that we have entered into a new contract with ElDorado National for 40-foot buses to replace a number of Orion 40-foot buses that are coming due for retirement. The passenger count information we receive from our Intelligent Bus System allows us to determine which trips require the use of larger and smaller

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buses to maximize passenger comfort and vehicle utilization. For instance, quite often a 30-foot bus can effectively serve the lesser passenger loads on weekends on routes that normally a 40-foot bus on weekdays, allowing us to save fuel and further reduce operating costs. A mixed fleet of small and large buses works very well for our agency and customers because it allows us to operate a family of services ranging from vanpool

to fixed route. Receiving this award from the MSBMA is a privilege that reinforces our pride in adding our small bus fleet to the many programs and initiatives we have that improve customer convenience and satisfaction and contribute to increased efficiency. BR Richard A. Kwasneski serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for Pace Suburban Bus, Arlington Heights, IL.

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S P E C I A L S E C T I O N : BUSRide presents this special editorial section, Fare Collection and Revenue Management, P E C I A T I O N : F on A the R varying E Caspects O LS L Ecritical C Tcomponents I LO S NE CS YS TEMS as a four-part series focusing and in this evolving

FARE

COLLECTION

BUSRide presents Fare Collection Systems as a fourpart series that highlights benefits and addresses the downside of each mode of fare collection. Over the next four issues, leading companies, professionals and transit leaders lend their expertise in each category:

PART TwO: Proprietary cards

Proprietary cards are prepaid cards issued by transit agencies that can only be used to pay for transit services, and sometimes fpr small purchases from merchants partnered with an agency. They can be magnetic stripe cards or plastic cards with embedded smart chip technology. Customers load a certain amount or number of trips on a card, and then can reload the card when the amount runs out.

PART ONE: Open-loop fares PART TWO: Proprietary cards PART THREE: Non-reloadable tickets PART FOUR: Cash and tokens

SORTA weighs its options After installing new fare boxes, Cincinnati Metro prepares to deploy the go*SMART card

Darryl Haley

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), which operates the Metro system in Cincinnati, OH, elected to install new fare technology in conjunction with a new CAD-AVL system to reduce bus operator interaction with the system, improve data collection, and, ultimately, reduce cash handling. SORTA Executive Director of Development Darryl Haley spoke with BUSRide on why the agency is moving to a higher level of automation in fare collection

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SYSTEMS

What benefits do you expect to see from updating your fare system? Metro installed new fare boxes at the end of 2011 and we have spent this year integrating the fare and CAD-AVL systems. Our goals are to get more accurate ridership and revenue data and to provide more options to our customers. There are other advantages, as well. The integration with our new CAD-AVL system means that bus operators have to log on to the system once. We are currently testing an interface that will automatically switch to new fare sets as the bus travels along the route. The new fare technology will also allow us to introduce new fare media. Our customers have started using 30-day passes validated by the farebox earlier this year and electronic transfers, and other fare media including stored value cards, and smart cards are on the near-term horizon for us. What do you prefer about proprietary cards versus the open fare option? We’re not considering open fare in terms of credit card use on bus. It can slow boarding time and could cause challenges in terms of credit card settlement and longer boarding times that we are not prepared to handle at this point.

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FARE

S P E C I A L

S E C T I O N :

COLLECTION

SYSTEMS

What challenges and costs did you face as you updated your fare system? Metro was fortunate to secure $5 million in federal and local funding to replace a fare system that was 17 years old. There were additional costs related to integrating the fare technology with our new CAD-AVL system, but we believe that the benefits will far outweigh the cost in the long run in terms of fare collection accuracy due to our various fare zones.

Do you have any plans to expand the use of your card to other transit agencies, or even to affiliated merchants for small purchases? Metro works cooperatively with the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK), which has the same fare technology as Metro, and with other smaller transit systems. We are working with TANK on fare options for the future using smart cards. We’re open to new opportunities that this technology can offer.

Do you think the cost would be prohibitive for other agencies? A single farebox can cost more than $10,000, and that’s before the cost of the back-office systems. This was a major investment to upgrade our entire 345 bus fleet and purchase spares. I can’t speak to other agencies’ budgets, but for us this was a major investment.

Will you continue to accept cash as fare for the foreseeable future, even as more and more high-tech options become available? Yes. There are customers who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards and may not feel comfortable with pre-loaded fare media. We do plan to move away from tokens toward prepaid value cards in the next few months.

What kind of model will you use for your go*SMART card? Who processes the transactions? We are using smart cards for some selected employers and school programs this year. Our go*SMART cards will be introduced to the general public next year, and we’re looking at a number of options. The processing and related issues are still being worked out, as well as distribution beyond our sales office and a ticket vending machine at our major transit center downtown.

What were the advantages of tokens over cash? Cincinnati has historically used transit tokens; in fact, many of the tokens we use today were minted 50 years ago. A token has a preset value, which is an advantage to agencies who distribute them to clients instead of giving them cash for transportation. But tokens are an administrative challenge in terms of storage, counting and auditing. We’re eager to move to stored value cards as soon as our technology interface is 100 percent ready to go. BR

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Government officials champion Sacramento transit Sacramento Area Council of Governments key to funding and public engagement By Glenn Swain

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When a transit agency entertains open fare options now available, local and regional government officials may not possess the technical expertise, but they most often prove to be the go-to source for funding projects and getting the public engaged in the process. Six years ago when the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SRTD), Sacramento, CA, elected to institute a smartcard system, getting local politicians on board was imperative, as most of the agency’s federal funding goes through the consortium of six agencies that comprise the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACG). Two more agencies may join with the next year. “With the District the single largest transit provider in the region, we concluded this fare payment project would not make sense if it

was not a regional program,” says Robert W. McCrary, a SACG project manager and senior planner. “So the Sacramento Area Council of Governments paid for a $300,000 grant to do a feasibility study.” Presented in 2007, the feasibility study revealed a smartcard system was possible, but the challenge would be in the funding. “With the same group of stakeholders together for nearly six years, we birthed this idea and built a partnership from the ground up,” says McCrary. “We developed a collective vision for what kind of system we wanted and what it would do for this region. Our stakeholders spent most of 2008 gathering resources and making sure we had a way of paying for the new smartcard system.” As they ironed out the wrinkles in the fund-

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ing process, SACG, an advisory group called Transit Coordinating Committee and various focus groups took the project to the people. SACG met with the Pennsylvania-based consultant LTK engineering in its Seattle office. “As this was a very specialized and technical undertaking, it is important to have experts in the industry to provide a broad perspective on the technology and bring their knowledge of lessons learned to the table,” says McCrary. “Our consultants were really involved in the process. We thought it was necessary to make a significant investment in our consulting services. Although SRTD is a large agency, it does not have in-house expertise in electronic fare systems. Plus, this was a multi-agency design, so we really needed a consultant who could bring a dispassionate and objective view.” McCrary stresses that agencies tackling big projects like a fare collection overhaul need to find champions for a

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S E C T I O N :

SYSTEMS

Robert McCrary, project manager and senior planner for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments

project that will very likely be expensive and risky. “Build partnerships early, especially for a multi-agency deployment,” he says. “Every transit agency has important stakeholders. Spend time building those relationships, stressing transparency and get all the important players invested in the project.” The SRTD is finishing up a final system design and are on track to have a pilot project in Spring 2013, with a sequential roll out of the system in the various transit agencies the following summer. It’s likely the agency will do a pilot on a small section of the agency on both rail and bus, and then grow from there. “We will have a very active public education campaign to educate patrons on how to use the system,” says McCrary. “Our training will stress the many ways this new technology will benefit our customers.” BR

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Big Blue Bus goes high-tech

Santa Monica transit agency partners with LECIP to improve fare collection A recent partnership with LECIP, Inc., Motosu City, Japan, worth more than $7 million moves Big Blue Bus (BBB), Santa Monica, CA, closer to a high-tech future in fare collection in which LECIP will develop and install news fareboxes and a new central computer system. This represents the first North American transit contract for LECIP, though the company has worked in the transit industry for over 30 years. BBB says they took a long, hard look at various organizations before settling on LECIP’s bid.

les Metro’s Transit Access Pass (TAP) regional cards for seamless integration between our transit systems. Those were the main factors for our decision to replace the fare boxes.” Once the bids started rolling in, Campbell says LECIP was BBB’s clear choice. “We liked the modular design,” says Patrick. “If, at a later date we want to go directly to a manufacturer for the coin validator, we can do that. We’re taking the best technological solutions out there and incorporating them into the box.”

Riders can dump a handful of change into LECIP’s validator and the box will differentiate legal tender and disregard illegitimate coins.

“Interestingly enough, I believe we were the first property in North America to employ the Odyssey farebox for GFI Genfare,” says BBB Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Campbell, “We’re close to the end of a reasonable life cycle for that equipment, and we’d like to offer additional fare media to riding public. GFI’s fare box incorporates smart cards, but we wanted to look at doing different things, such as integrating Los Ange-

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This partnership includes the Trapeze Group and features the first North American deployment of Trapeze’s Mobile Ticketing Solution, a smartphone application that allows riders to get realtime bus information and pay by mobile phone. LECIP fare boxes will have a barcode scanner to scan the phone and process the fare. “Trapeze will also allow a driver to log into the fare system and the fleet

management system at the same time, what’s known as single point log-in.” says Chung Chung Tam, LECIP vice president, Automated Fare Collection Systems. “Their employee ID smartcard will tap the farebox, and link with the employee ID number shared through the Trapeze system. They can actually pull their day’s schedule from the system.” A big part of choosing LECIP, says Campbell, was to better serve its contracts with the Santa Monica’s college community that includes UCLA and Santa Monica College. Some students get discounted tickets through their university while others ride for free. LECIP aims to integrate the BBB database with the schools’ internal databases. Tam says the current installation date for the new fare boxes is December, 2013. At this time, LECIP will be active in training BBB technicians and operators to maintain the system after the company leaves town. “Our approach is to train the technician how to manage the system, so they can provide their own support,” says Tam. “We are ready to step in and help with any issue they may have, especially with the central computer system. We supply two years of warranty for fixes to the system.” Among other features, the LECIP farebox includes coin and bill validation, a magnetic stripe processor and a smart card swipe reader. Riders can dump a handful of change into the validator and the box will differentiate legal tender and disregard illegitimate coins. Likewise, the box is able to differentiate between $20 bills and $10 bills. “We aim to give our customers and our passengers the best solution out there,” Campbell says. “The LECIP software is robust and so far they’ve shown every effort and attention to supporting this project. It’s been a very good experience.” BR

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EDM makes the ticket to ride

Electronic Data Magnetics moves toward RFID When Richard Hallman and other former employees of National Electronic Computer Supplies, Inc. founded Electronic Data Magnetics, Inc. (EDM), High Point, NC, in 1983, the company initially specialized in manufacturing computer tabulating cards, punch cards that aided in data processing. Such cards were prevalent in transit at the time, so EDM, formerly Southeastern Data Media, Inc., provided the necessary technology for processing fares. As the transit industry began the transition to magnetic stripe cards and tickets for fare collection, EDM shifted its practices accordingly. The new company quickly acquired the West Coastbased Amico Inc. and moved into the world of manufacturing magnetic stripe technology, still manufacturing custom magnetic stripe cards and tickets for the transit industry nearly 30 years later. Its magnetic stripe products are prevalent in the airline, parking and entertainment ticketing industries. In addition, the company’s scope has expanded to include smart cards and tickets equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. As the magnetic stripe signaled the demise of data punch cards in the 1980s, so too will RFID move to replace the magnetic stripe. “A similar transition is taking place with RFID now,” says Brian Hallman, son of Richard Hallman and senior vicepresident, Sales & Marketing at EDM. “All of these smart cards have a computer chip inside that attaches to an antenna. A reader at the turnstiles sends out a radio wave that hits the antenna, allowing it to capture enough energy to power the card’s chip and send a message back to the reader.” However, Hallman says the industry may never completely move away from limited use magnetic stripe cards, as

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the cost for a standard thickness 30-mil card order may prove too much for some riders. “I think there will always be a need for fare media, both permanent and limited use. Though it may diminish some in the next 20 years or so because of technology advances,” he says. “Most operations will use either magnetic stripe and RFID cards depending on rider demand and preference. Hallman says most new installations have both. “The MTA in Boston has the 30-mil smart card for everyday riders, as well as magnetic stripe cards or a RFID hybrid system for visitors who are not daily-use customers to use temporarily,” he says. “This type of transit card basically says, ‘I’m card number one, I boarded the bus here and I’m good for the day, or the week,’ and so on.” EDM manufactures cards from a variety of materials such as standard paper,

direct thermal paper, polyester, direct thermal polyester, synthetic and synthetic direct thermal. Hallman says EDM is currently working with about 500 transit customers, manufacturing cards for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY MTA), New York, NY. The company serves many smaller transit agencies as well, in which annual card requirements typically range from 50,000 cards on up into the hundreds of millions. EDM also serves Cubic Transportation Systems and GFI Genfare, two of the most prominent equipment suppliers to the US transit industry. EDM says it is currently the only domestic approved supplier authorized to provide Cubic’s “Limited Use” smart card, and the company’s product achieved the highest quality rating that Cubic can bestow on a vendor. BR

EDM manufactures cards and tickets from materials such as standard paper, direct thermal paper, polyester, direct thermal polyester, synthetic and synthetic direct thermal.

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the international report

Zurich votes for public transit By Doug Jack Switzerland is a comparatively small, very mountainous land-locked country of 15,940-sq miles and a population of around 7.7 million. Its 26 cantons or regions each have a fair degree of autonomy on policies. There is the added complication of the country’s four official languages: German, French, Italian and English. Zurich is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and well worth a visit. Zurich Public Transport (VBZ) operates a highly efficient public transport system comprised of trams, trolleybuses, diesel buses and even a funicular railway that ascends one of the steep hills that surround the city. On a recent visit to Zurich, board member Andreas Uhl, public

relations, and Daniela Tobler, head of guest relations, told me all about their company. Forty-two public transport operators serve the canton of Zurich and around 1.3 million inhabitants. The public transport authority, ZVV, controls their activities. The largest and most important of those operators is by a long way VBZ, which serves Zurich. Switzerland has considerable hydroelectric power generation. As it can be seasonal, nuclear power is an occasional supplement. VBZ insists with its suppliers that all its electricity comes from hydro stations, thereby ensuring a renewable supply. Switzerland suffered in the two World

A detail of a door on a Cobra low floor tram. The ramp comes out automatically when a passenger presses the push button to open the doors.

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Wars because of its dependence on coal supplied by Germany. Consequently, it rapidly introduced electric traction on the railways and public street transport. Today 85 percent of passengers in Zurich travel by electrically powered transport. Diesel buses tend to operate in the suburbs and on peripheral routes, often acting as feeder transport to trams and trolleybuses. By the way, a trolleybus is not a vintage style vehicle in Europe, but a very modern product that draws current from overhead wires. Today, VBZ operates 14 tram routes, one opened only recently. Running on a track width of only 39.3 inches is relatively unusual, but popular in Switzerland, compared with the normal European standard of 56.5 inches. They have an overall width of just under8 feet. Longer trams run on the busiest routes to maximize passenger capacity. There are still more than 200 of the older 2000 series trams in operation, which full low floor Bombardier Cobra units in five articulated sections are gradually replacing. There are nearly 100 of these modern trams, but it is likely to be many years before the whole tram fleet is low floor. While trams serve many of the busiest routes, and are highly visible in the city centre, there is also a modern trolleybus system. VBZ has a number of highly specified trolleybuses in the course of delivery from Hess, the Swiss manufacturer. When those arrive, all the trolleybuses will have floors only one step above the ground. There are quite a number of 80-ft. bi-articulated vehicles. They have steer-

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International Report continued

ing on the first and fourth axles, with the second and third axles driven to handle difficult conditions in the winter. Though large, they are highly maneuverable, capable of making 90-degree turns in the same place as a standard 40-ft. bus. The latest models now being deliv-

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ered have lithium-ion batteries kept fully charged from the overhead wires to store electrical energy. These buses can run up to one mile off line if a diversion is necessary. It also means that they are totally emission-free at all times. Although electricity is comparatively inexpensive in Switzerland, VBZ ensures energy recapture through regenerative braking while descending the many hills. The electrical power sources for trams and trolleybuses are inter-connected. The electrical energy generated during

braking of a trolleybus feeds into the power network for trams. The VBZ electrical system is in 40 segments. If one goes down, the remaining 39 are unaffected. At the last census in Switzerland as a whole, there were 671 cars per 1,000 people. In Zurich that figure is around 360 per 1,000 and decreasing. Andreas Uhl says there is no need to own a car, considering the high cost of parking in the city centre. There is an excellent city-wide mobility system, where members can rent a car or transit van by the hour or day, whenever they require. Furthermore, as in many European cities, it is not easy to get around by car. Public transport benefits from priority systems, often creating faster point-to-point journey times. Already, around 60 percent of commuting in Zurich is by public transport. Last year, the citizens of Zurich held a referendum on the future of public transport. The objective was to achieve a 10 percent increase in the present modal split between public and private transport by 2020. More than 50 percent voted in favor of the proposal. VBZ reckons that every resident of the city is within 300 yards of the nearest transport stop. There is a simple zonal fare system with tickets pre-purchased from machines at each stop. Local taxpayers meet 40 percent of the costs of VBZ. The new targets will mean that at least two of the busiest routes currently operated by diesel buses will convert to trolleybuses. I asked Daniela and Andreas the reason for such as massive endorsement of public transport. They reckoned there was no one specific factor. Many people already enjoyed the convenience and frequency of the VBZ system, but others were concerned about traffic congestion, traffic noise, air pollution and emissions. Bearing in mind that snow normally starts to fall in Zurich in November and can be bitterly cold, this shows great confidence in public transport. There is no metro system in Zurich. The city lies at one end of a large lake and is bisected by a fast-flowing river. The water table is quite high in the relatively flat city centre, making tunnelling difficult and very expensive. VBZ reckons that it costs around $75 million per mile to build a new tram line,

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with large-scale disruption to businesses and residents on the route. A fairly recent extension takes the trams right into Zurich’s Kloten Airport, an important European hub. At present, most of the routes run across the city centre with a number of excellent interchange facilities. New plans envisage improvements to outercity routes, linking suburb to suburb. Diesel buses still may best serve some. Daniela kindly gave me an all-day pass to sample the network after our meeting. There is excellent real-time information at all the main stops. All the vehicles are in immaculate condition, free from any damage, internally or externally. They have priority at traffic lights and some streets are reserved exclusively for public transport. On one random tram journey, when we reached the terminus, two cleaners came on board, emptying garbage bins and removing unwanted newspapers and magazines from seats. In many cities around the world, public transport is for people who have no alternative. In Zurich, all types of people take public transit, including some who are

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very smartly dressed. They might well use the tram to get to and from work in the week, but take the BMW out to the mountains on the weekend. The whole operation of the transport system in Zurich is overseen by a central control room. They can contact every driver by radio. In the event of a problem, they can quickly arrange for diversions and alternative routes, causing the minimum of disruption to passengers. I strongly believe that the world cannot carry on consuming fossil fuels at the present rate. It is imperative to find alternatives. It was therefore very impressive to find that VBZ, already carrying 85 percent of its passengers on vehicles powered by renewable electric energy, is planning to increase that percentage. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are the most sophisticated and efficient transport systems. It takes political will, public support and high levels of investment over a long period of time. BR Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom. There is a ticket purchase machine at every stop.

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Natural light powers safety NuTech National Solar provides sun-driver illumination NuTech National Solar, Maitland, FL, specializes in the development and manufacture of bus stop lighting for public transit systems and school bus transportation, as well as college campuses and large corporations. Available in a variety of configurations, each set up provides illumination large areas with the highest intensity of light with a plethora of safety features. Solar panels of 40 to 50 watts installed atop the lights at bus stops provide the advantage of less battery power and longer lasting service, extending the margin of safety at less cost. The reason being NuTech National employs its proprietary Lightstop LED solar power lighting, which uses smaller solar panels. The 10-, 20-, 40-, 50-watt solar panels vary in size from vary from 24 to 70 inches in length, which the company customizes to meet specific shelter requirements with its custom drop in panels of rustproof color-coated aluminum. NuTech says the Lightstop LED solar powered system ensures the safety of passengers waiting for their bus. With

the push of a button, the waiting customer can alert the driver to stop. The light turns on and stays on for 15-, 30- or 45-minute intervals. This feature alone can save time on the route when no one is waiting and the driver does not have to stop. To ensure extra security precautions, NuTech can also equip the bus stop shelter with video from a complete pan-tilt zoom camera and audio which the agency can monitor, permitting direct communication with the person and summon for help if necessary. The wireless video operates on existing power from lighting or solar energy. The system features a high tech-high ampage sealed, spill-proof, battery with a fused harness that promises as much as 50,000 hours maintenance free LED lighting — as much as 14 years of trouble free lighting from the sun. The battery fits into a weatherproof recycled PVC housing, which mounts easily with custom bracket kits for most style shelters. NuTech offers a 20-year life warranty on the solar panel. BR

solar panel

light button

Solar panels installed atop the lights at bus stops provide the advantage of less battery power and longer lasting service.

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people in the news Navistar, Inc., Lisle, IL. announced that Bill Schumacher has been named vice president, marketing, for Navistar’s global bus division. Schumacher previously served as vice president, marketing, for Navistar’s RV group. Prior to joining Navistar, Bill ran North and South America customer marketing at NAVTEQ, a Nokia company. An industry veteran of more than 17 years serving transit operators, Louis Quaglia returns to his former position with Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Schaumberg, IL, as Public Sector busiLouis Quaglia ness development manager for the Northeastern U.S. region, where he served from 2005 until 2008 before moving to Nova Bus. Quaglia will report to Tom Wagner, MCI Public Sector executive director of Business Development. The Advantage Funding group, Lake Success, NY, of companies announced that Alvaro “Al” Damiani has been hired as chief financial officer and will be a member of the company’s executive team. Damiani will manage Advantage’s treasury, finance and accounting functions as well as shareholder relations. He will actively participate in establishing long term strategic goals and will be responsible to execute the company’s plans. Proterra, Greenville, SC, expanded its sales team with the addition of Joe Lunny as a regional sales director. With more than 30 years in the bus and trucking industry, Lunny will have primary Joe Lunny responsibility for increasing sales and market share in the Southeastern United States.

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MARKETPLACE • MARKETPLACE • MARKETPLACE • MARKETPLACE

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SHELTERS

EQUIPMENT

TOWING

BUSES FOR SALE

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BUSRide Nov 2012