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OCTOBER | 2015



BUSRide Road Test:

The TransitWorks

Small Bus Ambulette p16

ADA-compliant seating p12 Charter and tour management p20 Protective Insurance Company manages risk p23


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COVER STORY Official BUSRide Road Test: The TransitWorks Small Bus Ambulette


Proprietary features to the Ford Transit improve traditional paratransit. By David Hubbard

FEATURES The Science Behind The Seat 12 USSC explores ADA-compliant seating solutions

Motorcoach Management Systems 20 Fleetmatics and busHive discuss charter management

Official BUSRide Field Test


Focus On: Finance


Miller Transportation solidifies safety with Protective Insurance Company

Wells Fargo Equipment Finances answers the critical question – to lease or loan?






By Ryan Zemmer


By Todd Carrier


By Cradlepoint


By Mary Sue O’Melia


By Lori Jetha


By Gerry Remus


By Prevost Prep


By Jeffrey Venick


By Doug Jack


After more than a year we are still finding new ways that this powerful program can help us improve our customer service and our bottom line. And the busHive™ staff has


question or need a customized report. Michael Neustadt (Owner), Coach Tours

EasyBus is now

been quick to help whenever we have a


where all your operations come together In 1997 Easybus™ began as a program with three screens that a mechanic with no computer experience could navigate. Both the company and the product were branded to convey this simplicity. Little did we dream that this simple system would blossom into a sophisticated software platform for tracking virtually all aspects of transportation for both school bus and motorcoach operations. In fact, our training today rarely is limited to just one mechanic as it was in 1997; since the software touches nearly all aspects of a transportation department, we provide a 30 day trial to allow the entire staff to put our platform to the test. We are proud of the reputation that not only our software but also our people have earned in these last 18 years, but we believe it is time to update the brand so that it captures the scaled elegance that we offer bus operators of all kinds in 2015. In this spirit, effective July 1, 2015 we are renaming our company and our single flagship software that replaces all former Easy-programs to busHive™. We believe this name conveys the elegance of a single software platform that can effectively organize the workflows of an entire transportation operation. To learn more, visit our website at 518.877.2500

Michael Hinckley President and CEO


An RFP needs your best and sparsest response A request for proposal (RFP) is a delicate process for both the client company and the vendor. As BUSRide invites agencies and organizations to advertise their RFPs online and in the magazine, here are but a few best practices culled from the heaps of online advice on the art of writing an effective, and hopefully winning, response to one of those ads. A concise and carefully composed proposal increases chances for a winning bid, or at best, leaves a lasting impression as future opportunities arise. Information is power – Go in armed. Don’t write a word until you understand what and how much the agency would be asking of you. Understand the reasons for such a request and the scope of the project; the products and services they require; and any mitigating factors that might figure in your response. The first page says it all — Faced with a stack of proposals and hundreds of pages, skimming may be very tempting. Put the most salient points of your proposal on page one. Details to follow. As succinctly as possible, state the concrete reasons why your company is their best — and perhaps only — choice.

CEO / Director of Advertising Sales Judi Victor Publisher Steve Kane Associate Publisher David Hubbard Editor in Chief Richard Tackett Senior Art Director Stephen Gamble Accounting Manager Fred Valdez

BUS industry SAFETY council

Just answer the questions — If the agency is taking your proposal seriously, the team is getting straightforward answers to their questions and seeing potential solutions that are viable. Spare the group from buzzwords and overwrought catchphrases. Exceed their expectations by staying on point. Don’t make anyone read any more than is necessary. Sing your praises Show some vision for how your company can help lead the mission. Affirm your qualities and core values, and why it is important that you fulfill the request successfully and on time. Point to past work that is relevant to this prospective client and create a path for the readers to connect personally with your offer. It’s not about the money Don’t make your price the meat of your proposal. It’s better to concentrate on why your company is unique, what you do better or differently, than to focus on what the next bidder might do. That’s out of your control. If you have convinced the agency you are the “perfect fit,” you might just be worth your price. Besides, who wants to be known for only being the cheapest?

A publication of:

POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to:

BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, STE 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 VOL. 51 • NO. 10

Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. 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.).


David Hubbard Associate Publisher BUSRide Magazine

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 Judi Victor at (602) 265-7600, ext. 125. ©2015 Power Trade Media




Cornell family loses patriarch and industry icon Clancy Cornell The Cornell family is saddened to announce the passing of Clarence Cornell, simply known as “Clancy” to all. Clancy passed away on August 15, surrounded by family at his home in Clermont, Florida. The Cornell family name is synonymous with the bus business in America. A true pioneer of the modern coach and charter bus business, Clancy’s passion for people, buses and foremost his family has truly shaped the bus industry as we know it today. The founder of ABC Companies, Clancy grew a small transport service – Faribault Bus Service – into an industry force leaving an indelible list of accomplishments and memories in his path. Having worked in and around buses since childhood, along with siblings Eddie and Alice, Clancy had the bus business in his blood throughout his lifetime. With a vision to make bus service about passengers, Clancy struck out on his own in the early 1950’s, first purchasing the Boone Bus Service, then Elkhorn Stages and eventually purchasing the Faribault Bus Service – which he transformed from a small city bus service into a full-blown tour and charter business. Ultimately, the operation evolved into buying and selling coaches and the seed was planted for today’s ABC Companies. While busy building a successful business, Clancy and his beloved wife Norma were also building a family. Their four children including Deb, Ron, Roxanne and Dane grew up in the garages of Faribault Bus, where they worked as a team developing a strong work ethic and learning every aspect of the business. The legacy continues to grow today, as the third generation of Cornell grandchildren take on management roles in the daily operation of the business. Along the way many lifetime staffers have joined the Cornell family business as they’ve expanded their contacts and reach across North America – eventually partnering with familyowned Belgian bus manufacturer, Van Hool. In addition to his leadership in the bus industry, Clancy’s legacy includes charitable work. His foremost charity, the Clarence Cornell School of Business at The Bus and Motorcoach Academy is a partnership between UMA and the College of Southern Maryland offering accredited coursework to support industry professionals in their day-to-day business operations. Additionally, Clancy served as Chairman Emeritus at ABC Companies, and was a board member for The Museum of Bus Transportation in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Clancy has also been a past recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Motorcoach Operators Associations. Later in his life Clancy married his love MaryAnn (Haack) and for 25 years they lived in both Minnesota and Florida while raising daughter, Jennifer. They enjoyed traveling around the world together and with family, touring the country in their motorhome, designing and overseeing the building of their homes, fishing, gardening, and last but not least, their cherished Dachshunds. Clancy will be remembered for his easy manner and handson style which helped him establish loyal business and personal relationships throughout his life. He treated customers and employees like family— creating a culture that thrives today at ABC. He enjoyed helping other fellow entrepreneurs, making many deals on a handshake and his good name.

Clarence “Clancy” Cornell February 25, 1930 – August 15, 2015 “My dad was the backbone of this organization, and a true driving force in the industry,” said Dane Cornell, CEO/chairman of the Board, ABC Companies. “He was tireless in his dedication to the industry, and gave his advice and support freely and with much generosity. He will be missed as a leader, a mentor and a friend by so many.” Memorials preferred to Compassionate Care Hospice, 214 East Washington Street, Suite C, Minneola, FL 34715. Becker Funeral Home of Clermont is serving the family. | BUSRIDE



CVSA seeks new executive director The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is looking for a new executive director to serve in its Greenbelt, MD, headquarters. This position provides leadership, direction and administration of all aspects of the Alliance. The executive director responds to the needs of the membership including providing quality programs and services, advocates the public policy positions of CVSA to the proper constituencies, provides assistance in offering services to members and partners, and works toward the achievement of the CVSA’s mission and vision. Ideal candidates will have a post-secondary degree with demonstrated experience in progressively responsible management positions related to regulatory administration, preferably in transportation safety management or enforcement. An in-depth understanding of governmental protocol, policies and procedures, and private sector regulatory issues and concerns as they pertain to commercial motor vehicle and commercial motor carrier safety and enforcement programs is strongly preferred. The full job description can be viewed at Applications will be accepted until October 2nd and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Complete applications will include a cover letter, resume and any salary requirements. Please apply directly to, no phone calls please. CVSA is an equal opportunity employer.

The AMF Bruns Smartfloor flexible floor system.

AMF Bruns of America celebrates one year AMF Bruns, the inventor of the four-point wheelchair retractor securement system, is a family-owned engineering and manufacturing firm based in Apen, Germany. The company has been serving European mobility markets since 1959, producing equipment and modifying vehicles to become the largest commercial mobility vehicle convertor in Europe and is now celebrating its first year of business in North America. Established in 2014 as AMF Bruns of America, based in Hudson, OH, the company continues to build on its 55-year history, supplying components and engineering to the expanding North American mobility market.

SAFET Y THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Protective Insurance Company’s loss prevention team members are specialists in the transportation industry and use a collaborative approach to partner with our insureds to address their specific safety and risk management needs. Our loss prevention team understands that no two companies are the same and solutions must be tailored to fit each one's unique needs. Visit to learn about our specialized online training offerings for public transportation.

FOR COVERAGE THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU, CONTACT STACY RENZ: (800) 644-5501 ext. 2570 pr o t e c ti ve i n s u r a n c e . c o m






AMF Bruns of America says it is experiencing tremendous growth as sales continue to trend upwards. TransitWorks, Richfield, OH, the largest commercial vehicle upfitter in North America, has chosen the AMF restraint systems for all its conversions. “It is great working with AMF Bruns as they bring Germanengineered products with unsurpassed quality to the American market,” said Taylor Clark, president of TransitWorks. “This industry has completely changed over the past year with the introduction of the new Ford Transit, RAM ProMaster and the Mercedes-Benz Metris — models which AMF Bruns has been working with in Europe for years.” AMF Bruns of America Operations Manager Steven Kost is equally excited about the opportunities. “It is great working with the European team to bring these wellengineered products to the American market,” he said. “Our new Hudson facility brings us close to our customers and is an ideal location for serving the country efficiently.” Kost added that all AMF Bruns products have been tested at its own test facility in Germany to meet FMVSS, ADA and OEM regulations and guidelines. In addition to wheelchair restraints, AMF Bruns of America also offers more innovative products that include like the patented Smartfloor flexible floor system; the Future Safe head and back support for wheelchair users, and a full range of wheelchair and occupant restraint systems. Products for vehicle modification and flexible passenger transport include side steps and ramps, the Smartfloor floor system in combination with its own proprietary seats with a fullyintegrated three-point belt system and Smartlegs, a quick release seat leg system. USSC Passenger Ad_BRM.pdf



12:04 PM

AC Transit’s 20,000-hour milestone demonstrates the potential for fuel cells to meet the high standards for durability and reliability in public transit.

AC Transit fuel cell bus exceeds 20,000 hours of service A fuel cell installed in an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District’s (AC Transit) bus has set a record-breaking milestone—20,000 hours of continuous operation. The fuel cell, manufactured by UTC Power, was not expected to operate beyond 5,000 hours, or about one year of service for an AC Transit bus. With 20,000 hours of zero emission service, AC Transit’s quietrunning fuel cell bus has helped to improve the overall air quality, dramatically reducing the amount of noise and pollution in the communities it serves.

LIGHTEN UP! Minimize Weight. Maximize Comfort. 4ONE Gemini passenger seats are designed to maximize seating capacity. Optional SplitFlip ADA feature provides easy wheelchair access and more space for carry-on items. Optional Grabhold helps protect passengers from sudden shifts in bus movement. Interchangeable Inserts are identical on our SplitFip and Fixed seats making it easy for quick replacement.

SplitFlip Gemini with Grabhold

SplitFlip Gemini

4ONE reserves the right to make changes to their products without prior notice.

For more information visit us at or call 866.312.6820

4ONE is a JV between the USSC Group and Freedman Seating | BUSRIDE


Transportation Center Design Bus Rapid Transit station design How sound station design enhances the effectiveness of a BRT system By Nicholas A. Monday and Ronald H. Reekes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus-based transit system that offers fast, reliable and frequent services. BRT uses dedicated lanes and stations with off-board fare collection to deliver quick and easily accessible operations. It often serves as a precursor to light rail, taking the place of express route buses. A major benefit to a BRT system is it is more affordable than light rail, yet delivers the same speed and efficiency of travel to users. In a BRT corridor, the functionality of the system is significantly affected by the station design. A successful BRT project blends vehicles, the system and station design to achieve an elevated transportation experience – a premier service.

BRT Station in mixed-use area showing lane demarcation.

Evaluating a BRT system The transit industry uses a point-based system to help evaluate BRTs, ensuring that these systems are delivering the same social, economic, and environmental benefits worldwide. Using this standard, BRT corridors are certified as basic BRT, bronze, silver or gold, all of which represent excellence in BRT and incorporate elements that make communities more livable, competitive and sustainable. On the BRT Standard Scorecard, the category of BRT Basics is composed of five essential elements distinguishing it from most other transit options. 1. Dedicated Right-of-Way 2. Busway Alignment 3. Off-board Fare Collection 4. Intersection Treatments 5. Platform-level Boarding Other categories include Service Planning, Infrastructure, Stations, Communications, Access and Integration, and Point Deductions. All of these categories are examined and discussed at the onset of design for a BRT project. The unique characteristics of each BRT corridor and project will dictate which categories are pursued and which are taken off of the table. The size of the system, budget and project scope are dominant factors in this decision. Make station design count Station design is a defining element for a BRT system because it, along with the BRT vehicles establish the identity of the service. Station design should be considered an investment that will pay dividends in terms of program identity, rider loyalty, comfort, convenience, and safety. 10


Lighting and wayfinding enhance BRT experience and assure passenger safety.

The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) is a great example of a transit system willing to invest the effort and resources needed to improve travel in Richmond, VA through a new BRT system. The project is currently undergoing design, and spans one of the main corridors in Richmond proper. Early in the design process, Richmond considered the option of designing different stations for each area of the City served by the BRT route. However, for a number of reasons, this idea was rejected. The principal reason was that it was important to GRTC for the stations to be identical so the BRT could be easily and consistently identified from any neighborhood by pedestrians approaching the stations and by riders of local bus routes making connections with the BRT system. All 26 stations designed for the GRTC BRT corridor incorporate a prominent truss or framework feature. The truss concept was developed with two thoughts in mind: 1. Richmond is known as the “river city” and bridges are a huge part of connecting the city from one side of the river to the other, emulated in the truss design. 2. It preserves as much open and free platform space as possible by placing the truss as the “back wall” of the station while fully supporting the roof. Within a BRT corridor, there can be variations to the design of stations to accommodate the different site locations. This was the case in Richmond. While all of the stations look identical, they are a mix of median and curbside locations. Some locations allow for sidewalks behind the station. Other locations require walk-through stations and the varying elevations at each site were addressed to achieve platformlevel boarding. The building materials selected for the station design pay homage to the City of Richmond. It is anticipated that the back wall of the station will be treated glass that will allow printing on the windscreen panels at each station. A large map of the BRT route will be printed on these glass panels to provide riders with information about the city and neighborhoods surrounding the stations. Steel will be used for the truss, as well as for the station name on the totem. Find the right balance The overall design of the station must first address the specific operational requirements of the BRT system. After that, the attention turns to the architecture and aesthetics that speak to the personality and unique qualities of the community it serves. The winning combination is a matter of achieving a balance that seamlessly blends the architectural statement with the function of the structure. Nick Monday, architectural designer, and Ron Reekes, southeast regional manager, are key members of Wendel’s Public Transportation Group and are actively involved with the Greater Richmond Transit Company’s BRT System project. You can reach Ron at: and Nick at: For more information about Wendel, visit



for access By Ryan Zemmer

On July 26th, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted by Congress, and has distinctly changed the face of public amenities and transportation ever since. This past July served as the 25th anniversary of the ADA and allowed millions to celebrate the progressive increase of access and inclusion around the country. Signature events were held in major cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., the home of the bill. I had the pleasure of attending many of these events personally, and the turnout was staggering. It was great to see Senator Harkin, author of the final version of the bill, present at many of the events, continuing to advocate for accessibility.

When going about a normal day, chances are you may interact with a couple individuals with varying levels of ability, but when you attend an event like this it truly drives home the number of individuals that have a need for inclusion in all aspects of society. Disabilities are not a “one size fits all” affair. Over 57 million Americans are registered with some form of disability, representing nearly 18 percent of the U.S. population, and those individuals (and their needs) are just as unique as everyone else. This number will only continue to grow as America’s population ages and lives longer, healthier lives. Statistics show that at some point in their lives most Americans will require mobility assistance, and that we are all temporarily able-bodied. In the past 25 years significant improvements have been made. Upon the signing of the bill, obtaining accessible transportation was nearly impossible. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), over 99.8 percent of public transit buses are accessible. Heavy and light-rail systems also rank in the top percentile. Commuter rails fall a bit short at 67 percent, but some exciting new technology is being pioneered to greatly improve those numbers. On July 29th, the DOT hosted a great event to showcase the progression and current state of accessible transportation, as well as address the challenges ahead. Secretary Foxx noted that additional accommodations will soon be found in airports including increased captioning, relief areas for service animals and lifts for flights that board from the tarmac. Efforts are being made to further increase safety at crosswalks and avoid incidents with the eerily-quiet electric vehicles that are becoming more prevalent. It’s become clear that America isn’t slowing down when it comes to furthering safety and accessibility for all.

July’s ADA celebrations were held in major cities including Philadelphia (pictured), New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.

The private and for-hire transportation industries are also instituting groundbreaking improvements for access around the nation. Multiple cities are increasing the requirements for accessible vehicles at 20-50 percent margins within their taxi fleets. Some groups are elated with the rulings. while others strongly believe that 100 percent of transportation should be accessible, much like the activists fighting for the ADA 25 years ago. The biggest grey area in accessible transportation currently resides with self-claimed “technology companies” such as Uber and Lyft. The design of their business operations fabricates the claim that they are not subject to laws regulating public transit, but I believe most individuals would argue that if the option is available to the general public, it qualifies as public transportation. Recent developments hint that these companies will be forced to make accommodations as the pressure for equal rights and accessibility increases. The good news is that vehicles are now being purpose built for personal and paratransit use. While the ADA has been around for 25 years, the momentum gained in the last five years has been particularly impressive. Every battle has set the precedent for the next and requests for increased access are often answered, if not mandated by law. New technologies are hitting the market every year that improve the quality of life for millions. The momentum for the disability community is here, and it is clear that America is all-in for access. Ryan Zemmer is marketing manager for Mobility Ventures, South Bend, IN, manufacturer of the MV-1 vehicle. Please visit to discover what the versatile MV-1 can bring to your paratransit operation. | BUSRIDE



ADA-compliant seating From testing to ergonomic design, comfort, safety, cleanliness, ride quality and more, bus seating can be a tough nut to crack. This month, The Science Behind The Seat continues, where BUSRide presents a cooperative forum series that explores safety, modularity, design, styling and fuel efficiency associated with modern-day bus seating solutions. In this installment, BUSRide spotlights ADA-compliant seating with a contribution by 4ONE, a joint venture by USSC, Exton, PA, and Freedman Seating, Chicago, IL. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, bans discrimination and promotes equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The ADA’s stated purpose is: (1) to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities; (2) t o provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities; (3) to ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this chapter on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and (4) t o invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.




Advances in

ADA seating By Deanna McGough 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This legislation was enacted to prohibit discrimination and ensure equal access opportunities to public facilities and services for individuals with disabilities. USSC and Freedman Seating are working in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to recognize the critical role public transportation plays in providing opportunities for individuals around the world with disabilities. The transportation industry strives to provide freedom and independence for millions of Americans, and makes special accommodations for those with disabilities. Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, the number of Americans with disabilities riding public transportation has tripled. This growth continues to drive the need for innovative solutions that improve their accessibility to public transit. Under the ADA, transit vehicles are required to have priority seating for the disabled and one forward-facing area for securement of a mobility device. Accessible seating options for ADA individuals have also increased greatly. 4ONE, a joint venture between USSC and Freedman Seating, focuses on providing safety and survivability solutions for passenger seating that go beyond basic compliance. 4ONE provides ADA solutions that also focus on safety, comfort and securement. 4ONE offers two of the most popular ADA systems, the patented VPRO II - PRS (Passive Restraint System) and the Q’POD, the first fully-integrated standalone ADA module. Continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement is important to fulfilling the purposes of ADA. For example, the adjustable shoulder belt for the Q’POD is designed with input from transit properties and customers in the ADA community. 4ONE has produced more than 7,000 Q’PODs for the transit industry, enhancing the safety and comfort of ADA passengers throughout the country. The newly redesigned Q’POD has an automotive-quality heightadjustable shoulder belt. The new seatbelt’s sliding mechanisms operate just like those in most cars and give the wheelchair occupant several inches of vertical adjustment, which provides greater comfort and increased safety for passengers of varying heights and wheelchair styles. 4ONE also added the option to store the rear restraint hooks on the top of the barrier which simplifies the securement process for bus operators. Q’POD occupant lap belts can now be conveniently attached to receptacles on the barrier and flip seat, for a seamless and faster securing/detaching process. 4ONE offers the Q’POD with its ultra slim Bantam flip seats, Gemini slim flip and newly redesigned Aries slim flip, along with its traditional line of flip seats.

The Q’POD is the first fully integrated standalone ADA restraint module.

In the 25 years since the passage of the ADA, mobility and accessibility in the transportation industry continues to grow. As communities across North America move toward mass transportation in record numbers, USSC and Freedman Seating Company look forward to making the ADA passenger experience safer and more comfortable. Deanna McGough serves as marketing specialist for USSC, Exton, PA. Visit | BUSRIDE







Hotard Coaches New Orleans, LA Hotard Coaches recently took delivery of nine Van Hool TX45 luxury motorcoaches equipped with REI deluxe entertainment systems, wood-grain floors and leather accented passenger seating. The coaches are powered by Cummins ISX engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen V transmissions and are equipped with Van Hool safety features including three-point seatbelts, backup camera, lane departure warning, antilock brakes, Smartwave Tire Pressure Monitoring, Kidde Fire Suppression Systems and Automatic Stability Control. Hotard has seven additional TX’s on order. Callen Hotard represents the third generation of Hotards to run the company since it was founded in 1935. Specializing in charters and contract transportation services, their fleet has grown to 78 coaches and 10 mini-coaches.

Roadrunner Companies Euless, TX Roadrunner Companies’ eight newly delivered Van Hool CX45’s are equipped with Allison (Gen4) B500 SixSpeed Automatic transmissions, wood-grain flooring, Alcoa DuraBright Aluminum wheels and Van Hool’s exclusive contoured parcel racks, including REI Elite Video Systems with 22-inch video monitors. Roadrunner (www. serves the Dallas/Ft. Worth market with 88 buses, offering charters to destinations throughout the US and Canada. Beginning with a single small bus in 2001, CEO Ron Wills’ passion has expanded the company into one of the largest and most modern carriers in the region.




Have Have

TRANSIT Questions? Questions?

? Autobus Galland Laval, Quebec, Canada Autobus Galland’s two new MCI J4500 coaches come equipped with the latest safety technology, including electronic stability control, a new ZF independent front suspension for a superb turning radius and ride quality, and a Bendix braking system that delivers car-like control for drivers. The MCI J4500 is also renowned for premium workhorse reliability, low total cost of operation and significant fuel economy gains. Galland equips its fleet of 20 coaches with its own GPS featuring telematics. The system collects key data such as asset operation, location, engine status, fuel efficiency, driver hours and driving habits.

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Don’t slam on the brakes!

Properly maintaining speed and following distance are crucial to safely operating a commercial motor vehicle, but even the most experienced drivers commonly follow too closely or do not properly control their speed. These behaviors could lead to a serious collision or passenger injury from braking too hard or taking a turn too fast and should be avoided.

All drivers should always obey posted speed limits but keep in mind they only apply when conditions are favorable. Visibility; road condition; vehicle length, condition and weight; work zones; and traffic all factor into determining a safe speed. Also, some states have raised speed limits to 75 mph or higher, which may be excessive for motorcoaches. Ultimately, a safe speed is one that is below the posted limit, allows the driver to easily control and stop the vehicle under current conditions and does not exceed the limits of the equipment.

A vehicle traveling at double the speed will require four times the braking distance because it has four times the energy. The same vehicle traveling at three times the speed will require nine times the braking distance.

Speed should always be reduced and following distance should be increased whenever the stopping distance of the vehicle is increased. Drivers should plan ahead for conditions that may require increased stopping distances including wet, icy or snow-covered roads and areas that have a higher potential for road hazards such as work zones and mountain roads. When faced with poor visibility at night or during adverse weather, drivers should reduce their speed to a point that will allow them to make a safe stop in the distance that they are able to see ahead.

How to maintain safe speed and following distance

Maintaining a proper following distance is just as important as properly controlling speed and will ensure the driver has enough time to slow down or stop their vehicle as necessary. To maintain a safe following distance, drivers Stopping distance is one of the most important need a way to easily measure this distance. The best factors in determining a safe speed and following way to do this is by using time. Drivers should look distance. Stopping distance is calculated by adding for an easily seen, stationary object that is in front of the distance traveled while perceiving a hazard, the vehicle they are following. Reflective road signs applying the brakes and braking. For example, and lit overpasses are good objects to use for this an average, alert driver under ideal conditions can By Todd Carrier procedure, because they are easily seen during the day perceive a hazard in 1.75 seconds and apply the brakes and at night. Once the vehicle the driver is following in 0.75 to 1 second. At 55 mph, the vehicle would travel passes the selected object, the driver should begin 142 feet while the driver perceives the hazard and an additional 61 feet while the driver moves to apply the brakes. counting in “Mississippi seconds” until their vehicle passes the Once the brakes are applied, it will take about 216 feet to stop same object. With this amount of time in mind, the driver should the vehicle if the brakes are in good condition and the vehicle is then calculate the proper following distance by adding one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length while traveling on dry pavement. The total rounding up to the next 10 feet and one stopping distance at 55 mph, under ideal additional second each for traveling over conditions, adds up to be a minimum of 40 mph, nighttime, poor visibility and 419 feet. This distance can be drastically poor road conditions. increased by conditions that affect the performance of the driver and/or the Training your drivers to properly vehicle, such as distractions, adverse maintain their speed and create safe weather or road conditions, worn brakes following distances, along with reducing or tires and other factors. speed and increasing following distance when in doubt, will go a long way Speed has a large impact on stopping to prevent collisions and passenger distance because the time it takes for an alert driver to perceive a hazard under good conditions and injury and will lessen the severity of any collisions or injuries that move to apply the brakes will be a constant. This means that the do occur. distance traveled before the brakes can be applied will be the same unless the speed of the vehicle is reduced. Increased speed not Todd Carrier serves as director of risk management for Protective Insurance only increases the distance traveled before the brakes are applied, Company, Carmel, IN. Watch Protective Insurance Company’s “Safety Solutions: Turns and Tail Swings” video online at but increases the amount of energy required to stop the vehicle. For more information, please email

Stopping distance is one of the most important factors in determining a safe speed and following distance. | BUSRIDE



BUSRide Road Test:

The TransitWorks

Small Bus Ambulette Proprietary features to the Ford Transit improve traditional paratransit design. By David Hubbard


perating on its mission of 18 years to “make the world accessible,” MobilityWorks, Akron, OH, has built its business on serving the wheelchair community. The company reestablished its manufacturing operations as TransitWorks in 2014 as a separate manufacturing and sales entity to build accessible shuttles, mobility vans and transporters from its Ohio and Kansas locations. Since TransitWorks’ inception in 1998, MobilityWorks and TransitWorks have built over 25,000 vehicles. “TransitWorks focuses on innovative solutions for paratransit providers,” says TransitWorks Vice President and General Manager Denny Summers. “We sell to public transit entities across the country and have a national private dealer network with over 140 locations.” The Ford Corporation has recognized TransitWorks as its number one mobility builder for 13 consecutive years as a certified Ford Qualified Vehicle Manufacturer (QVM). BUSRide traveled to Akron, OH, to meet with TransitWorks for this Official Road Test of the company’s newest product offering — the Ford Transit Small Bus Ambulette. The vehicle is available in two lengths — the Transit 350 and 350 Extended, which seats up to 15 passengers including the driver. According to TransitWorks, the Ford Transit essentially replaces the former Ford E Series cutaway. BUSRide also called on Akron Metro RTA as its third-party reviewer. The agency enlisted senior driver Walt Young to



Lifelong wheelchair passenger, Michelle Stiles counts on public transit to move her career and lifestyle forward.

TransitWorks developed its new Ford Transit Small Bus Ambulette in response to requests from the public transit and wheelchair transport industries.

test drive the new Ford Transit and offer his observations and comments. Young has earned high praise for his 25 consecutive years of safe driving without a preventable accident. Michelle Stiles, a lifelong wheelchair rider, was aboard to evaluate this new vehicle in light of her experience and interest in accessibility. Stiles works regularly with Akron Metro RTA as a service coordinator for the local Board of Developmental Disabilities. Young is passionate about his work in paratransit transport. “Driving paratransit involves a lot more than moving passengers from Point A to Point B,” he says. “For me, I enjoy the interaction and communication with our customers in seeing to their needs I appreciate the relationships I have developed over the years.” Stiles is equally passionate over her participation in public transit and the services she provides. “The people I work with require the same services that I do,” she says. “I have been in a wheelchair all my life. That’s why I take a very active role in Metro’s paratransit program and am enthused to share my perspective. At this time, I have lived the first half of my life prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the second half of my life in the years after its implementation.” The ADA is Stiles’ benchmark for when her life began to improve with the mandated changes public transportation began making for the disability community. | BUSRIDE


“If it weren’t for this type of transportation service I would not have my job,” she says. “Because I have my job, I have money to do what I enjoy — meet my friends at a restaurant or go shopping like anyone else. Paratransit is hugely important to me. At the end of a single day I may have made as many as 10 trips, being loaded and unloaded off a bus.” According to Bambi Miller, director of Metro RTA Customer Services and Paratransit, Akron Metro RTA, provides an average of 1,200 demand response trips per day. “We take our responsibility very seriously to ensure safety, accessibility and comfort for our customers,” she says. “Our passengers and operators are of equal important for our success. We need passengers, of course, and we need operators who understand their needs and can make it happen for them. In turn, the needs of both groups influence our choice of paratransit vehicles.” Young says he was comfortable with the TransitWorks vehicle as soon as he slipped into the driver’s seat. For the test drive, he drove a route through Akron that he typically covers transporting passengers to and from appointments at various facilities and medical offices. Those stops include the expansive Cleveland Clinic, as well as the newly opened Metro RTA Robert K. Pfaff Intermodal Transit Center in downtown Akron. The forward-looking structure is strong testimony for public transportation. “For a commercial vehicle, handling isn’t an issue,” Young says. “This is more like the pickup truck I drive, which I really can’t compare to the bus I drove over here this morning. I also think the narrower body makes it much easier to maneuver in the tight spaces we find ourselves as demand for our services grow.” TransitWorks says it has developed its Small Bus Ambulette in response to requests from the public transit and wheelchair transport industries. As a result, the custom entry door, AMF Bruns SmartFloor assembly, Freedman seats on wheeled AMF

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Bruns seat bases, and the Braun Ability power wheelchair lift are the defining features of TransitWorks’ modification of the Ford Transit platform. The patented modular SmartFloor floor system by AMF Bruns of America, Hudson, OH, is available exclusively on TransitWorks vehicles. The technology makes it possible to relocate seats and wheelchair positions nearly anywhere within the vehicle easily and quickly. “Our SmartFloor system offers hundreds of possible seating configurations,” says Peter Haarhuis, chief executive officer of AMF Bruns of America. “The aluminum profiles allow an operator to easily rearrange these lightweight seats with wheels without lifting, which minimizes the chance for injury.” TransitWorks says the capability to change the seating layout within minutes increases the opportunities for a transit operator. The flexibility to move, remove or reconfigure the seats as needed throughout the day was not lost on Young. “I am very impressed by the ease with which the driver arranges the seats to fit different groups of passengers,” he says. “Some can be removed to accommodate a mix of ambulatory and wheelchair passengers. Then quickly refit the seats into position to transport a busload of students. I think any driver would appreciate this kind of versatility.” TransitWorks replaced the standard sliding door entry for most vans with its proprietary lighted 38-inch wide door entry with a non-slip step and stainless steel grab bars. A remote control allows the driver to operate the side bus doors from inside or outside the vehicle, and be in a better position to assist the loading and unloading of passengers. Stiles says she found her ride in this vehicle to be very comfortable and especially quiet. “Many of the buses with lifts that I ride tend to rattle and get

a little noisy over time,” she says. “This was very smooth, and we were able to talk in a normal voice.” TransitWorks says Stiles’ comments are attributable to the additional insulation and added sound-deadening materials meant to improve comfort and enhance the ride. “We feel these are all important improvements, and our engineers work hard on these areas,” says TransitWorks Marketing Manager James Cermak. “Michelle and Walts’ observations seem to bear out our mission to offer an impressive vehicle for operators to serve their customers — and one that is reliable and economical.” Stiles concluded her day Akron Metro RTA paratransit driver Walt with TransitWorks in support Young found the TransitWorks Small Bus easy to maneuver in tight spaces along of Cermak’s claim. his routes. “It is nice to ride in a vehicle that feels special,” Stiles says. “This van does not stand out as much as the typical paratransit vehicle.” “People like Walt and Michelle are the people TransitWorks wants to serve from our heart,” Cermak says. “Our intent far surpasses simply being ADA compliant.”

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Motorcoach Management Systems

Charter and tour management In this issue, BUSRide continues “Motorcoach Management Systems,” an in-depth forum series addressing vehicle inventory management, charters and tours, fleet maintenance and personnel management. Experts in this forum focus on what metrics agencies should focus on to optimize vehicles, trips and routing, as well as what software is available that can help. This month, we cover charter and tour management – a crucial aspect of any comprehensive fleet management software. Fleetmatics, Waltham, MA, spotlights a recent partnership with the MiLB that demonstrates how SaaS solutions deliver better performance for motorcoach operations. busHive, Ballston Lake, NY, explores how advanced software is aiding charter management. Next-generation programming allows operators to increase efficiency and have better oversight over their bus companies.



SaaS enhances performance By Jonathan Durkee

Fleetmatics Group is a leading global provider of mobile workforce solutions for service-based businesses of all sizes delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). The company’s solutions enable businesses to meet the challenges associated with managing local fleets, and improve the productivity of their mobile workforces, by extracting actionable business intelligence from real-time and historical vehicle and driver behavioral data. Fleetmatics Group’s intuitive, cost-effective web-based solutions provide fleet operators with visibility into vehicle location, fuel usage, speed and mileage and other insights into their mobile workforce, enabling them to reduce operating and capital costs, as well as increase revenue. An integrated, full-featured mobile workforce management product provides additional efficiencies related to job management by empowering the field worker and speeding the job completion process — quote through payment. As of March 31, 2015, Fleetmatics served approximately 28,000 customers, with approximately 594,000 subscribed vehicles worldwide. Fleetmatics has used, and intends to continue to use, the investor relations portions of its website as a means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with disclosures obligations under Regulation FD. SaaS is valuable in any market Fleetmatics Group is partnered with Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) for the 2015 season. As part of its initial agreement, Fleetmatics works with select MiLB teams across the U.S. to demonstrate to local small businesses and sponsors how the company’s workforce management solution can be performance enhancing. Fleetmatics will use Excursions Trailways, a current customer and the official motorcoach company of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, to demonstrate how Fleetmatics’ solutions can enhance performance. The SaaS platform will track the team’s fuel usage, speed and mileage and other insights as it travels cross-country for the 2015 MiLB season. Throughout the season, Fleetmatics, which also serves as the Official Fleet Tracking Software of Minor League Baseball, hosts a Sponsor/Small Business Appreciation Day for local small businesses in 20 markets. Each event provides these valued members of their communities a unique VIP ballpark experience. Attendees have the opportunity to network with other local businesses, see Fleetmatics in action with a live demo, and create their own baseball card, among other engaging activities. “MiLB is one of the most road-traveled sports and seeing as we are one of the most road-traveled brands, it’s a home run for both parties,” said Kathleen Finato, chief marketing officer at Fleetmatics. “We look

The Fleetmatics SaaS platform tracks fuel usage, speed and mileage and other insights.

forward to meeting with other MiLB sponsors, many of which are in the distribution, delivery and service industries, and have fleets on the roads every day, to show how they can maximize their efficiencies and increase overall productivity.” “Minor League Baseball and its clubs are continuously looking for new ways to enhance relationships built with fans, as well as with local and national sponsors,” said Michael Hand, Minor League Baseball CMO and president, MiLB Enterprises. “Fleetmatics shares a similar vision by offering solutions to businesses and helping to improve their productivity through their intuitive software. We look forward to seeing how their services can benefit our partners.” To learn more about Fleetmatics, visit Jonathan Durkee serves as vice president, products & sales, product management, for Fleetmatics, Waltham, MA. Fleetmatics is a leading global provider of mobile workforce solutions for service-based businesses of all sizes delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Visit | BUSRIDE


Charter management By Brian Mann busHive, formerly Easybus, began with three screens that operators and technicians could navigate with little or no experience with computers. In nearly 20 years, this software suite has expanded and evolved into three separate programs that help organize and manage motorcoach charter reservations and logistics, driver compliance and vehicle preventative maintenance.

The dispatch function features a color-coordinated system that clearly shows driver and vehicle availability and any conflicts

As of this year, the three modules are packaged as one centralized system with the goal to help coach companies operate more efficiently in all business functions, i.e. sales, fleet and driver allocation, payroll, customer billing and driver and vehicle compliance. The busHive software addresses charter management through its flexible, customizable capabilities. While the basic functions are essentially the same for most motorcoach companies, their methods and workflow can differ significantly. The key is to work closely with clients to evaluate and understand the needs of their specific operations, and adapt the technology accordingly. A solid motorcoach management system provider works very closely with clients evaluating their needs, while also staying in tune with the latest technology and development. For instance, with busHive operators are able to customize the program to fit their billing and pay rates without changing how they have always run their business. It is business as usual, but with more organization and essential data within reach. The company has access to more than 90 separate reports. The program calls for essential benchmarks such as revenue per vehicle, as well as a profit and loss analysis for every reservation. 22


The program aids in charter management in very specific ways, beginning with the quote request platform which makes repetitive data entry less of a drudgery. “We have grown in size 300 percent over the past four years,” says Gilles Beaudin from DanNel Transportation, St Catharines, ON, Canada. “All charter and invoicing was all done manually before the introduction of busHive. Having grown in the school bus, wine tours, airport transfers, private charters and shuttle services, we had to find more efficient ways of operating. Without the use of this software we would not have been able to keep up with the quotes and requests for confirmed bookings and invoicing. Charter reservations have grown by 128 percent from 2013-2015, year over year.” The end-user receives a charter request and can generate a quote with one simple click. The software also sends confirmations and customer copies of new contracts. The dispatch function features a color-coordinated system that clearly shows driver and vehicle availability and any conflicts, sending prompts to the user. The system displays a driver’s hours of service and says whether or not that particular driver will be put into overtime by taking the assignment. The program can calculate the arrival time at the destination for the customer from the time of pick up. The safety module tracks personnel and vehicle compliance, monitors all federal, state and company requirements to keep safety managers up to date, and tracks infractions such as traffic citations, recordable accidents and customer complaints, as well as absences and tardiness. The new PC Miler feature monitors mileage and generates quarterly IFTA reports that keep fleet managers up-to-date with preventative maintenance. Fleet managers can pull vehicles out of service and alert dispatchers. Safety managers can track all DOT requirements, training classes and infractions. The busHive program addresses the problems that coach companies of every size confront. One northeastern motorcoach carrier says the busHive program has helped the company achieve more through accurate pricing. “We now able to bill the actual amount of the charter bill and not deal with estimates,” says a company representative. “Accurate dispatching that shows fleet and driver availability prevents overbooking. “ Another operator in the southwest U.S. appreciates the program’s capability to track vehicle costs. “busHive tells us if we are spending too for maintenance for any one vehicle,” he says. “We can see exactly where and how the bus is costing more to maintain than the revenue it is generating. We know more precisely to get of rid a vehicle that is no longer performing.” The program is user friendly and rarely requires onsite training. Implementation of the software may vary from seven to 30 days, depending on the size of the company and which busHive programs are being set up. Brian Mann serves as director of sales and marketing for busHive, Ballston Lake, NY, a sophisticated software platform for tracking virtually all aspects of transportation for both school bus and motorcoach operations. Visit


BUSRide Field Test:




ohn Miller, president of Miller Transportation, knew he chose the right insurance provider when it became clear that this wasn’t the typical insurerinsured relationship. “They’re really responsive,” he says. “It’s an ongoing relationship. I feel very comfortable calling and texting them any kind of quick question. I know I don’t need to go through bureaucracy in order to get an answer.” Miller Transportation has been providing reliable interline scheduled route bus service throughout the Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee region for more than 25 years. Though the family business has been around since 1939, the company was incorporated in 1977. It’s currently run by the third generation Millers. The Miller fleet consists of 47-passenger and 55-passenger motorcoaches, 44-passenger school buses and 29-passenger shuttle buses. The provider Miller chose, Protective Insurance Company, boasts more than 80 years of providing insurance to the transportation industry. Protective is licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all Canadian provinces and provides coverage for transportation fleets of all sizes. In addition, the company offers a public transportation insurance program that provides comprehensive coverage specifically for charter and tour bus companies, school bus contractors and limousine services. Forming a bond Miller Transportation, after being with a different provider for years, made the switch to Protective coverage in 2010. John Miller was drawn to Protective because he’d had a previous insurance relationship with one of the company’s agents and wanted to preserve that continuity. “For a long time, they were with a competitor of ours,” says Scott St. Clair, Regional Sales Manager, Public Transportation at Protective. “I don’t think they were getting the level of input and service that we provide our customers. They weren’t really being engaged from a safety and loss prevention standpoint, but they liked what we had to offer.” Despite the history, Miller was surprised to see just how in-depth the staff at Protective was willing to go in setting up a relationship with their new client. “We were very happy with them since the onset,” he says. “They invited us up to their headquarters almost immediately. They engaged us and allowed us to speak to their representatives so that they could have a better understanding of our business. We taught them about what we did while also learning about their capabilities.” Todd Carrier, Director of Risk Management at Protective, has a staff of safety and risk management professionals who consult with transportation clients. They worked roundthe-clock, as much as needed, with Miller to make sure that their relationship would be a fruitful one. “When our partnership began with Miller, just like with all of our customers, we do what’s called a New Account Visit,” Carrier says. “We went to their facilities and talked to them about our service offerings. They were very receptive to that and appreciative of our hands-on approach.” Carrier says that because of their relationship-building methodology, the adoption of the Protective partnership was fairly seamless. “One thing that makes us a little different than some of 24


our competitors, and some of Miller’s previous insurance companies, is that we spend much more time on-site getting to know our customers’ operations,” he says. “We’re spending at least a day on-site with them. We really feel like that develops a closer relationship and also a trust factor.” “Our partnerships differentiate Protective,” St. Clair says. “We’re not just delivering premiums at a price. We’re providing comprehensive loss prevention and claims services.” Making changes Early on, Protective and John Miller identified some personnel and procedural changes that could easily be integrated into their current operation to improve their output. “Those conversations can sometimes be difficult,” Carrier says. “It requires a lot of discussion on both sides and a lot of collaboration with other executives and key stakeholders. Sometimes the suggestions we make are met with resistance. There can be difficult conversations about who has what kind of authority, or about people who aren’t performing to the position they’re in.” John Miller and the Protective team ultimately agreed upon solutions that made good business sense for Miller Transportation. “Discussions with Protective brought me to the realization that personnel changes were in order,” Miller says. “We went through a few changes in both personnel and structure before we got to the comfortable feeling we have now.” Unexpected opportunities Early in the collaboration process with Protective, Miller Transportation unfortunately experienced some unexpected claims in the form of accidents. Thankfully, the flourishing relationship between the companies yielded positive results. “We used a collaborative approach and performed an indepth review of Miller’s safety program components, while giving them an assessment of the overall safety culture of the organization,” Carrier says. “We then rolled up our sleeves, helped them with regulatory improvements and also provided guidance for the establishment of an accident review committee. Now they have not only the tools to investigate what happened, but also to prevent accidents like these from occurring in the future.” Proactive vs. reactive As with any changes to a safety or risk management program, results are not seen overnight. Aside from unforeseen issues, it’s difficult to have patience to set a longterm plan and execute it. “Sometimes the plans we put in place with our customers can take anywhere from one to three years to realize the intended results,” Carrier says. Carrier says that the Protective team strives to be trusted advisors to their customers. They don’t want to be seen as third-party inspectors or auditors, but rather business consultants. “Immediately, they felt as though they had someone they could call when they had questions regarding coverage” says Stacy Renz, Vice President of Sales, Public Transportation at Protective. “Whether it’s a DOT challenge or an issue with an employee, they can call us and receive an answer

Al Daoud, senior loss prevention specialist at Protective Insurance Company. | BUSRIDE 2 5

almost immediately. That was a service level they did not have in the past.” “We were able to have much more candid and open conversations,” Carrier says. “When we would go there and visit onsite, there was a visible improvement in the safety culture.” Under the new relationship, Miller Transportation saw a transition from a reactive safety program to more of a proactive safety culture. “Sometimes people in the safety field get caught up with treating symptoms but not addressing the problem,” Carrier says. “If you’re walking through a maintenance facility and you see a puddle of spilt oils, treating the symptom would mean cleaning up the oil. Solving the problem means finding out where the oil came from and making sure the spill doesn’t happen again.” Other benefits John Miller notes that Symbol “1” insurance status and competitively priced premiums were other elements that attracted him to Protective. Furthermore, vehicle telematics have provided many unforeseen benefits to his business. The GPS-equipped devices installed on his buses were installed for safety as a cost-savings and driver coaching tool that alerts Operations when hard braking, speeding or other events occur. “If a customer goes to our website, they can take advantage of the device’s GPS and see where our bus is and all of our scheduling,” Miller says. “It’d be tough to live without it now, because it helps our responsiveness and the customer-facing aspect is great. Protective involved us in a pilot program for safety, but it’s helping many aspects of the business!” “This technology helps John better understand the true performance of his fleet,” Carrier says. “As a transportation operator, his business is dispersed. It’s out on the road and highways. This helps him, and his customers, be more connected.” Moving forward Recently, Miller Transportation made a huge step by investing in a driving simulator, allowing the company to train new drivers or put at-risk drivers in retraining situations. “That really shows a dedication and commitment to safety,” Carrier says. “That was a significant investment and we were extremely proud of John for taking that step. He has a real desire to achieve world-class safety.” For his part, John Miller is happy with the way his ongoing partnership with Protective is going. He praises Protective’s expanded offerings, such as seminars and coaching about major industry safety initiatives. He frequently sends his staff to the Protective home office to take advantage of those perks. The partnership has also included business networking and referrals between the companies. The biggest compliment any organization can receive is a recommendation. With this, Protective and Miller look forward to many more fruitful years.

John Miller, president of Miller Transportation. 26



ECM: Cloud-delivered network solutions for easy deployment, management and monitoring By Cradlepoint

Deploying and managing in-vehicle networks with a primary 3G or 4G connection can be daunting for transit operators who don’t see themselves as “tech savvy.” In reality, connecting and monitoring these networks is easier than ever with web-based, user-friendly tools and software from solutions providers such as Cradlepoint. The company’s Enterprise Cloud Manager (ECM) network management and application platform not only improves productivity, it helps to reduce costs and enhance the intelligence of transit network and business operations that rely on cellular WAN connectivity. The deployment and management process hinges on a few factors: EASE OF USE The ECM platform is designed for simple deployment, and that simplicity starts with the cloud. Because Cradlepoint’s Software as a Service (SaaS) lives in the cloud, operators can have it up and running within minutes. Registering routers on the network is an equally easy process. Cradlepoint ECM allows operators to register routers one by one as needed, or in groups. It is merely a matter of entering the appropriate credentials and linking routers to the agency network. Router registration can be handled through Cradlepoint with what the company calls “zero-touch” deployment. “We’ve made the deployment process for routers very simple,” says Mike Hagman, Cradlepoint senior product manager, SaaS. “Once the first router is registered, users can manage everything in a group. Using the software, it takes one click to place a router in a group, after which it will assume all of the configurations of that group. In this way, agencies get consistency across the network with mass deployment of routing platforms. The Cradlepoint platform is purpose-built to manage entire fleets.” REAL-TIME MONITORING In-vehicle routers can connect to ECM any time there is a network connection. The devices do not require static IP addresses and can be provided through any carrier. “Once a router is online, it establishes a secure tunnel to ECM,” Hagman says. “The connection is open in real-time so that we can manage the devices instantly.” That’s unlike other software in the industry, which often has a polling mechanism that will check in with cellular routers every 10-15 minutes. MANAGEMENT BENEFITS ECM is a comprehensive platform allowing administrators to monitor an agency’s entire network, or even just the performance of

Cradlepoint’s Enterprise Cloud Manager allows for real-time monitoring and updates.

individual router connections. This allows operators to monitor, among other areas: (1) signal strength and data usage in real-time in individual vehicles; (2) content filters on guest Wi-Fi; and (3) all security events. “All of these functions use alerts for monitoring, either through email or API,” Hagman says. “If a company has existing infrastructure to monitor its network, or if it is using tools from other providers, ECM can integrate Cradlepoint’s alerts into those systems so that administrators can see it on a high level along with all other alerts. When the agency needs additional information, administrators can use ECM to drill down into the specifics and troubleshoot issues.” TROUBLESHOOTING Cradlepoint ECM troubleshooting capabilities allow administrators to connect directly to the router in real-time, even as the bus is rolling. Agencies are able to trace network routes, connect to the router console or even connect directly to the router GUI. “The router is always connected to ECM and always hooked up to our security products,” Hagman says. “Administrators are always able to monitor and troubleshoot the system from a centralized location.” UPGRADES AND SECURITY Firmware upgrades can be pushed out to the fleet remotely, with the click of a button. This is especially advantageous when a security issue is identified. Without remote updates, the agency would have to physically connect to each router on each vehicle, by touch or by proximity Wi-Fi. “ECM is the total package,” Hagman says. “It’s real-time monitoring, simple configuration, easy troubleshooting, and upgraded security through the cloud for 4G in-vehicle networks.” Cradlepoint is the global leader in 4G LTE networking solutions that power transportation fleets — joining data, cloud, security, and the evolving IoT with intelligent networking. Visit them online at | BUSRIDE



Should I lease or loan?

This month, BUSRide continues “Focus On: Finance,� a series highlighting the ins-and-outs of finance and leasing as they relate to the bus and motorcoach industry, factors that influence lending decisions and suggestions for operators to improve their financial capabilities and better their chances for sound financing. Matt Hotchkiss, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Minneapolis, MN, writes in this installment about leasing vs. taking out a loan: why companies might be interested in lease financing, the availability of lease products and the overall benefits of leasing. Accelerated depreciation, balance sheets and returned assets are all potential impetuses for leasing assets. Furthermore, Hotchkiss details TRAC leases, split (modified) TRAC leases, and fair market value (FMV) leases.





loan TRAC Lease The motorcoach industry is capital intensive and most companies need to utilize financing when purchasing Year Depreciation Interest Total Lease Payments Difference equipment. Once that purchasing decision has been made, 1 $100,000 $21,290 $121,290 $77,520 $43,770 the next step is choosing what type of financing is most beneficial for your business; traditional loan financing or a 2 $160,000 $18,575 $178,575 $77,520 $101,055 lease finance product. 3 $96,000 $15,740 $111,740 $77,520 $34,220 Since loan financing is easily understood, I’ll focus 4 $57,600 $12,770 $70,370 $77,520 ($7,150) more on the various motivations and options for lease 5 $57,600 $9,665 $67,265 $77,520 ($10,255) financing before providing a summary comparison of the two. Companies may be interested in lease financing on 6 $28,800 $6,420 $35,220 $77,520 ($42,300) motorcoaches for any of the following reasons: 7 $0 $3,020 $3,020 $102,520 ($99,500) A) The company isn’t able to realize the benefits of (w/residual) accelerated depreciation. This could be because they Total Tax Write Off: $587,480 $567,640 have enough deprecation available already, they have limited taxable income, or they have net operating loss carryforwards. By transferring the depreciation benefit to the finance company, the company can realize cash flow savings percent, 19.2 percent, 11.52 percent, 11.52 percent and 5.76 percent (years 1-6). In addition to the depreciation, the owner can also write through lower interest rates on the financing. B) The company wants the asset to be off balance sheet. Off balance off the interest expense associated with that loan. On a TRAC lease, the lessee writes off 100 percent of their sheet financing can strengthen a balance sheet, improve financial ratios, and may keep a company in compliance with bank covenants. lease payments. To illustrate the tax differences on a TRAC lease versus a loan, let’s C) The company wants the use of the assets for a stated period and then wants to return them. This may appropriate for a contract with assume a $500,000 motorcoach is financed over 84 months. We’ll add a 5 percent balloon/residual for a simple comparison. a specified term, or if residual values of equipment are a concern. As this example demonstrates the write off between a TRAC lease Although not a comprehensive list, the main lease products available in the coach market are the following. Each product references the factors and loan is slightly more for a loan over the term of the financing, however the timing varies. A loan accelerates the write off in the earlier in play from the section above. part of the term whereas the lease is consistent through the term. The 1) T RAC lease. This is easily the most dominant form of leasing in difference between the two ($19,840) represents the cash flow savings our industry. TRAC stands for Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause on the TRAC lease as a result of a lower interest rate. A tax dollar saved today is worth more than a tax dollar saved and allows a company to have an option to purchase the coach for a pre-determined residual value at the inception of the lease. A TRAC tomorrow, so if you are still making taxable income after all write offs, lease is a capital lease for FASB purposes (shows up on your balance then loan financing is likely the best option for your company. Again sheet) but an operating lease for tax purposes (lease payments are this assumes you are not doing leasing for the reasons B and C earlier in this article. However, if you have enough write offs to shield your written off). [A] 2) Split (Modified) TRAC lease. This is similar to a TRAC lease but the taxable income, a TRAC lease allows you to save a significant amount responsibility for the residual value is shared between the company of cash over the term of the contract. Many companies utilize a mix of (lessee) and finance company (lessor). By sharing in the residual, the both to maximize the financing benefits. Your decision will require a careful analysis with a tax advisor. lease may qualify as off balance sheet for FASB purposes. [A,B] Leasing, in its various forms, can be a beneficial financing decision 3) Fair Market Value Lease (FMV). An FMV lease allows a company to return a vehicle at the end of the lease term or purchase it for the for your business. Choose a trusted lender to help you explore the fair market value at that time. FMV leases will have mileage caps and different options available so you can make the best decision for return conditions that a company must comply with or be subject your business. The information contained herein is general in nature and not to additional costs. Although a company is able to eliminate their financial obligation at lease termination they also give up the benefit intended to provide you with specific advice or recommendations. of any equity that may be present at end of term. Since a lessor is Contact your attorney, accountant, tax or other professional advisor taking the residual risk on an FMV lease, they are likely hoping for with regard to your individual situation. end of term equity. [C] Since TRAC lease financing is the most common lease in the coach Matt Hotchkiss serves as senior vice president for Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Minneapolis, MN. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance offers financing industry the rest of this article will focus on a comparison of that to designed specifically for businesses in the transit industry, including charter traditional loan financing. For tax purposes, a loan allows the owner to and tour service providers, transit contractors, schools, municipalities, and bus write off depreciation in whatever form is currently available per IRS and motorcoach manufacturers and distributors. Reach Matt at 800-322-6220 guidelines. For the last three years, Bonus depreciation was allowed x74129 or at Visit Wells Fargo Equipment but so far in 2015, MACRS is the accelerated method that is currently Finance online at available. MACRS depreciation is used in six years at 20 percent, 32 | BUSRIDE


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– Predictive Analytics by Mary Sue O’Melia You have Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Dashboard up and running. It provides timely, accurate information about past performance and is being used by managers within your organization to identify areas for performance improvement. Congratulations! You have made an impressive start. But there is always more if you are ready to take the next step. Business intelligence is the past – predictive analytics are the future Earlier this summer, Barbara Meyer, director of New Client Services at TransTrack Systems, started the mantra that we needed to get into predictive analytics. So while I thought I understood what she was saying, I did what most of us do when we are unsure: we Google the topic. The diagram on the right is from the Kognitio website and appears when you Google “Predictive Analytics”. Business Intelligence and our current Dashboards and KPI Reports illustrate what has already happened. And if the Dashboard is well designed, we may even have information as to “Why”. As transit managers, we can begin to develop strategies to positively impact performance. Why else would we be collecting and reporting all of this data? Conceptually, predictive analytics is using mathematics and statistical analyses to predict the outcome of specific actions and strategies. These same analytics can be used to help us better understand the why. Predictive analytics defined According to Wikipedia, “Predictive analytics is an area of data mining that deals with extracting information from data and using it to predict trends and behavior patterns. Often the unknown event of interest in in the future…The core of predictive analytics relies on capturing relationships between explanatory variables and the predictive variables from past occurrences, and exploiting them to predict the unknown outcome. It is important to note, however, that the accuracy and usability of results will depend greatly on the level of data analysis and the quality of assumptions.” This sounds like regression analysis. Wikipedia outlines a series of analytical techniques starting with regression techniques (e.g., linear regression model, discrete choice models, logistic regression, multinomial logistic regression, probit regression, time series models, etc.). It is great that there are all of these Business Analytics tools that allow for the end user to create visualizations for Predictive Analytics, but someone still has to understand the theoretical basis and mathematics behind the predictions.

Where are we going? Applications may be designed to address a variety of key questions: • Travel Demand Forecasting. What is the total travel market in an area? How should service be designed to increase transit’s share of the travel market? • Customer Relationship Management (CRM). What are the most effective marketing strategies and service design to attract new riders and retain existing riders? What are the most effective strategies for direct marketing, cross-selling, and customer retention? • Product Prediction - Route Planning. If we eliminated select trips with low ridership, how much would productivity (e.g., passengers per hour) improve? Conversely, if we added more service during peak travel periods, how much would ridership increase? As an industry, we know that people will walk to more frequent service. What is the statistical relationship? • MAP21 Asset Conditions. What is the cost to maintain a particular subfleet at different points in the average life cycle? Are costs, fuel efficiency and equipment reliability impacted by equipment age, vehicle type, or maintenance practices? What is the optimal retirement age and if this is extended, what will be the cost and service reliability impacts? • Risk Management & Safety. What are the factors that influence the total number of bus collision accidents, passenger injuries, and personal safety incidents? What strategy should we invest in next to reduce the total number of accidents? What type of safety event results in the highest overall cost including: third party claims, equipment repair and replacement, and lost employee time? • C ontext Data Analysis. What are the impacts to ridership, safety and reliability resulting from seasonal periods (e.g. school versus non-school days), significant weather events, and major events (e.g., festivals, natural disasters, sport events)? If we know the impacts, can we design policies and strategies for real time operational adjustments? Conclusion Future efforts, in the form of case studies supported by statistical analyses, may help narrow analytical efforts. For example, a variety of agencies have had fare restructurings and fare policy changes so as an industry, we should have good fare elasticity figures. As an industry, we have a number of anecdotal stories and experiences that can be tested statistically and if validated, shared with our peers. In any case, these anecdotal stories may point us in a direction to start our statistical analyses. Mary Sue O’Melia is president of TransTrack Systems®, Inc., a business intelligence solution that transforms volumes of data into meaningful information for transportation managers and executives to use in planning, strategizing and ensuring optimal performance. Visit TransTrack Systems® at: | BUSRIDE



The key to video surveillance implementation success By Lori Jetha

Video surveillance technology can be an important tool to address security and liability issues on public transit, but an equipment purchase alone is not enough to ensure success. Once a transit agency has calculated the ROI of their surveillance upgrade (see the August Installment of Security and Surveillance) and secured funding, the real work begins. We’ll use a real-life customer scenario in the state of North Carolina to illustrate some key factors that contribute to a successful video system implementation. Establish clear objectives Having clear goals and objectives is the first step in any technology implementation project, and it is no different for video security upgrades. Start with a project charter that specifies what problems the technology will address, and quantifies the expected improvements and the timeframe those improvements are expected. This will both keep the project on track and in scope, and can be used to assess your success postimplementation. For the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the goal was to equip 1500 paratransit and demand response vehicles in 83 counties with video surveillance technology from a single supplier within a 12 month period. The key objectives for the technology were: reducing accident re-construction costs, improving driver behavior, and streamlining the incident investigation process.

short-listed vendors to ensure their systems met claims of reliability, ease-of-use and functionality. Plan for success Have a detailed plan, not only for implementation, but also for postinstallation and ongoing maintenance. Assign roles to responsible teams. Develop a technology refresh program, to make sure the equipment is replaced in a timely fashion. Also consider the following: 1) H  ow will you retrieve video recorded on the bus, and then ensure the chain of custody for that footage? 2) What is the process required to request video footage? 3) H  ow will you restrict access to video and ensure driver and passenger privacy.

Having clear goals and objectives is the first step in any technology implementation project.

Build the right team Assembling the right team, and ensuring that all key stakeholders and influencers are consulted, is another key element. NCDOT used a multipronged approach. First, they secured key executive sponsorship for the project, to display a top-level show of support and demonstrate the project’s top priority. Second, they consulted every key stakeholder that would either be involved in the implementation, or would be impacted by the new technology on an ongoing basis, to ensure they were committed to its success. Finally, they chose tech-savvy people to add to the project team that understood the technology and its benefits, to drive the project forward.

Do your research Once the project team is in place, do your research so that you select a technology and a vendor that will support your objectives. Technology should suit your current needs, plus accommodate any future requirements or initiatives, without a full-scale replacement. Choosing the right vendor is critical. Consider not just price and functionality, but experience with projects of similar size and scope, reputation for reliability and support, and overall responsiveness. NCDOT did extensive research on their technology options, discussed their needs with multiple vendors, and then tested five 32


Put all of these decisions into a formal video surveillance policy, vet it with your legal team and publish it. NCDOT researched and created a template document that made it easy for all participating transit agencies to modify and adopt.

Spread the word Once your new surveillance system is installed, it is important to let drivers, passengers and the general public know about your security upgrade. Show drivers how the new technology can protect them, and how they can use the presence of that technology to diffuse conflict. Make sure that you address any concerns with the driver’s union up front and secure their help in making drivers comfortable with the change. For NCDOT, it was important for drivers to see how the camera footage could help them improve their customer service levels, and prevent or address on-board incidents. Consider a public awareness campaign to make the travelling public aware of the change in security. This can be as simple as posting a notice at the entry of the bus, or as sophisticated as a multimedia campaign to inform customers of the added protection measures. Studies have shown that public awareness that the cameras exist can actually reduce the number of incidents that occur. Measure your success After your security upgrade is complete, don’t forget to look back at your initial objectives to ensure you’ve attained the goals of the project. If there are shortfalls, determine why and develop a plan to address them. By following the key success factors above, NCDOT was able to get 95 percent adoption of the technology in just over 12 months, prove 75 percent of injury claims were false, and reduce insurance costs and payouts. In addition, video proved to be a great tool for driver coaching and helped reduce accident investigation times significantly. Lori Jetha serves as marketing manager for Seon, a video surveillance and fleet management company based on Coquitlam, BC, Canada. Visit



Understanding vehicle stability and handling By Gerry Remus


he primary role of a suspension system on a bus is to offer a level of protection to the vehicle itself, the passengers and for the driver. While the ride quality of a bus garners the most attention, the stability and handling of a vehicle play a key role in how the bus performs on the road. Ensuring that the bus operates in a safe and predictable manner requires the appropriate roll stability and handling performance from the suspension system.

Roll stability is a measure of how well the suspension and chassis resist swaying or any lateral motion. A vehicles’ roll stability is most apparent when in a turn or on a highway off-ramp, where the passengers feel their body leaning or shifting; this movement is defined by a term called “head toss.” The suspensions stiffness is a primary contributor to the vehicles roll stability and defining what is appropriate for a bus lies in how the passenger responds to road events. As an example, while driving through curves or on stretches of road with potholes, a suspension with high roll stability can cause the passengers’ heads to toss side to side in a jerking motion. While this may be okay when driving in a dump truck, this is not the feeling a passenger wants on a motorcoach or transit bus; the preference would be to have a smooth, controlled swaying motion as the vehicle maneuvers. This is where suspension design becomes critical, developing a balance between the appropriate stiffness to safely carry the bus body and chassis while meeting the passengers’ expectations of comfort. Handling is a measure of how well the suspension and chassis optimize the cornering performance of the vehicle in reaction to inputs by the driver at the steering wheel. Handling determines how fast you can drive and what kind of turns you can make while maintaining control of the vehicle. A suspension with good handling characteristics can give the driver greater control and road feel during tight road maneuvers or lane changes. As a passenger, you want a vehicle that has predictable handling to ensure a safe, comfortable ride. The key performance metric for vehicle handling when it comes to a suspension is called roll steer; a vehicle can be characterized as having oversteer, understeer or neutral steer. In an oversteer condition, the vehicle will feel like it is pushing or plowing through a turn. This is viewed as safer and more stable for the driver. With understeer, the vehicle will feel loose or that the tail of the vehicle is coming around into a corner. For the driver, this is directionally unstable or loose. The neutral steer condition is preferred for the bus application, where the vehicle responds exactly as expected when the driver applies steering inputs. Suspension geometry has a direct influence on vehicle handling, specifying the right product with the right characteristics provides drivers the confidence and predictability required for controlling a vehicle filled with precious cargo.

Looking ahead to the next generation of buses, there is growing demand for alternative fuels which changes the complexion of the bus. This will have a definite impact on the areas of stability and handling as the center of gravity changes and additional tanks are mounted on the roof or along the chassis frame. As the center of gravity shifts, frame & body structures are reinforced for more rigidity, causing changes to how the vehicle behaves. This drives the need to evaluate changes to the suspensions kinematics, or functional design, to ensure buses continue to operate in a safe and comfortable manner moving forward. As a suspension system provider, Hendrickson goes to great lengths to understand vehicle performance needs now and into the future. Partnering with OEM’s and integrating into chassis and body designs is essential to achieve these objectives. Gerry Remus serves as business unit director – Global Bus for Hendrickson Commercial Vehicle Systems, Woodridge, IL. Visit Hendrickson online at | BUSRIDE


By Prevost Prep

A few basics — from one driver to another Common sense is low tech There is hardly a better way to learn and improve than good advice coming from someone who’s “been there, done that.” New drivers can always use a helpful hint now and then, even when what they are hearing couldn’t seem more obvious. The industry is full of veterans who also learned it the hard way; wishing someone had had just taken the time to share what they learned early on. It’s about continuing to practice the basics until it becomes routine. Bob Bergey, a veteran motorcoach driver for Hagey Coach, Franconia, PA, is one such veteran. He willingly shares his experiences and passes along what he has learned — and is still learning —at his blog, He offers up these few basics for new drivers, and for anyone needing a refresher — from one driver to another.

Operating a motorcoach is highly technical, but a low-tech, common sense approach to most situations will work well.

Do your homework Know precisely where you are going and how to get there — before you start. It is much easier today with the available online mapping and GPS. It is worthwhile to take the time to learn all the features of GPS driving directions on dashboard devices and smart phones. Once you know how to get there, brush up on the destination, and learn a few of the more interesting details. No one expects you to be an expert tour guide, and it certainly comes with experience, but being able to share general feeling for the ground you are covering is of tremendous benefit to the passengers and group leaders. On the road, keep a safe distance Chances are new drivers will start out on multiple-coach moves, or driving the second coach even further back in the pack. Not to worry. A responsible lead driver is not going to lose members of the team or let them get too far behind. Typically, new coach drivers are more apt to tailgate far more than experienced drivers, simply for fear of becoming separated from the lead driver due to a stop light or traffic congestion. Just keep the Four Second Rule in mind — maintain a space of four seconds from the coach ahead. Talk to other drivers —and listen Seasoned drivers will tell you their most valuable driving tips and lessons often come from other drivers in casual conversation during rest breaks or waiting for passengers. Listen to what they have to say but also don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how elementary they may seem. This leads to the next rule…

Never pretend to know what you don’t know This applies to every situation, both with other drivers and passengers. For example, if dispatch or the lead driver wants to know how familiar you are with a destination or particular area of the trip, be totally honest with the information —or lack thereof. It’s far better to admit not knowing and reaping the benefit of very clear instruction, rather than faking familiarity and getting lost in strange surroundings. As for the passengers, never pretend to know more than you do, as chances are good they’ll discover the truth soon enough. They don’t necessarily need to know that this is one of your first few trips as a coach driver. But, should they ask, be honest and they’ll be on your side. Sleep and get plenty of rest While the first few charters or tours will likely be the shorter assignments, there is no less reason for not getting a good night’s sleep and coming to work well rested and ready to go. Everyone in the industry knows all too well the danger and deadly consequences of overly fatigued drivers falling asleep at the wheel. It is always a good practice to find time to rest and nap during a trip. Once the passengers have been dropped off at their destination or next stop and there is a lull or down time, a 30-minute or so catnap can go a long way toward a driver feeling refreshed for the return trip. Operating a motorcoach, as well as understanding the components and mechanical workings, is highly technical, but a basic, low-tech common sense approach to most situations involving passengers and other vehicles on the road works well for the driver who performs safely with confidence and comfort. More information on Prevost Prep can be found at



Outsourced management and paperless fare collection make it easy

load money. They can also interface with an automated voice system, kiosk or in-person with the agency. The system can integrate with existing fare collection hardware, but MJM provides a proprietary hardware and software solution as well. All fare information is captured in a secure database and made available to the agency.

By Jeffrey Venick In paratransit operations, or any transportation operation that serves the disabled or elderly, ease of use is key – both for the passengers, transit agencies and the operator. MJM Innovations, Baltimore, MD, serves transportation; senior and aging services; and other programs with transaction tracking software and outsourced management services. We know that outsourcing fare collection and revenue management can go a long way toward streamlining services at an agency. Furthermore, paperless and cashless fare collection can make a paratransit ride easier and more enjoyable for the passenger. Here are a few positive effects outsourced management and paperless fare collection can have on paratransit operations: Reduced costs Outsourced revenue management removes the need for in-house infrastructure and staff to do the same job. That means less overhead is required from the agency and it frees up more time for agency staff. Paperless fare collection means reducing the cost of moving bills and coins from vehicles to counting facilities. Revenue control With paperless fare collection, agencies control the entire fare collection process through software. Operators have better access to revenue data with real-time information. Minimize fraud Paper-based programs have potential issues with staff stealing money, reselling coupons/tickets or giving tickets to other people. Paperless fare collection allows for much tighter control and again, better access to data. Streamlined services As outsourced management tightens up the revenue system, agency funds are freed up and the agency is able to provide additional trips and services. While many of our competitors offer only fare collection technology and others only revenue management services, MJM Innovations provides both options. When linking with an agency, we first do an analysis and review of the current system and environment. This allows us to learn how the system’s working before we implement any solutions. Next, we put together a plan to migrate the current system to our web-based automated system. This involves a transition plan so the process doesn’t impact business or operations. Normally it takes three to six months to implement a new system. Each rider uses a card, either a smart card or swipe card with the agency logo or a personalized I.D. card. The cards are tapped or swiped in the vehicle. The fare is immediately deducted from a prepaid onetime or reloadable account. All data is sent to the web application where it’s easily managed. It’s a much easier process for riders, as they have several means of adding funds to their account. The riders have their own web portal where they can check balances, see transactions and

EzTransport® technology gives riders the freedom to take on-demand individual passenger rides on-the-go rather than scheduling shared rides 24 hours in advance.

Real-world applications One of the nation’s largest multi-modal transit systems, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates various public transportation systems including a comprehensive paratransit system in addition to performing other functions that support public transportation throughout Maryland. For its paratransit program, Mobility, MTA sought to reduce costs, streamline management and improve customer service by providing rides that were even more efficient, timely and convenient for program participants, especially those who were traveling to medical and other appointments. MJM Innovations provided a custom-built transportation technology and management solution called EzTransport® to help the MTA achieve its goals. The service created was a premium service and was offered to complement the ADA Paratransit program. MJM Innovations’ unique solution provided same-day services using approved taxi and sedan companies and offered cost-effective rides without requiring the MTA to expand their infrastructure. • EzTransport technology is integrated with many approved taxi and sedan providers, giving riders the freedom to take on-demand individual passenger rides on-the-go rather than scheduling shared rides 24 hours in advance. • The swipe card and software solution tracks all of the information required to ensure accurate billing for trips, including GPS coordinates for pick-up and drop-off locations as well as the number of trips taken per day. • Web-based software allows administrative staff to review, manage, audit and prepare invoices. Featured accomplishments include the following: • Annual cost savings approximated at 50 percent • 1,650 average daily trips provided • More effective, reliable management through a custom-built solution • Greater flexibility and growth potential for the program, with zero infrastructure updates required by MTA • Greater customer satisfaction attributable to the freedom and spontaneity of trips MJM Innovations has been helping the MTA achieve its goals since 2004. Jeffrey Venick serves as president at MJM Innovations. MJM Innovations improves transportation, senior and aging services, and other programs with transaction tracking software and outsourced management services. Visit | BUSRIDE



European buses are putting on


By Doug Jack



In the European Union, we have enjoyed higher maximum permitted weights axle weight limits on commercial vehicles than in North America. However, legislators have been reluctant to make any increase, because of our strong environmental lobbies that protest against any proposed increase in truck axle weights. They seem to forget that almost all the food, drink and other goods that they purchase are distributed by trucks.

Longer double-decker buses, like this one in Edinburgh, will benefit from higher weight limits.

Recently, the European Union published a new directive that will benefit manufacturers and owners of buses and coaches, without any corresponding benefits for any trucks. The European Parliament considered the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, to improve road safety, to adapt legislation to technological developments and changing market needs. They took into account the need to protect the road infrastructure. The creation of European legislation goes through a number of drafts and numerous debates, before culminating in directives which are adopted by all the member states. The directive on maximum weights noted: “alternative powertrains, which includes hybrid powertrains, are those which, for the purpose of mechanical propulsion, draw their energy from a consumable fuel and/or a battery or other electrical or mechanical power storage device. The use for heavy-duty buses may generate extra weight, but reduces pollution. That extra weight should not be counted as part of the effective load of the vehicle, since this would penalize the road transport sectors in economic terms.�


The directive noted that the average weight of bus passengers has increased substantially. This has resulted in a gradual reduction in the number of passengers carried. The equipment needed to meet the current technical requirements, such as Euro6 emission legislation, adds to the weight of the vehicles carrying them. The need to promote public transport over private transport in the interest of better energy efficiency means that the previous number of bus passengers must be reestablished, taking into account the increase in their weight and that of their luggage. The directive concluded that this could be done by increasing the authorized weight of buses with two axles within limits that ensured that road infrastructure was not damaged as a result of faster erosion. The European Union has recognized that some member states, 40-foot transit buses can have as few as 25 seats and carry a further 75 standing passengers. In most countries that bus is limited to a maximum gross weight of 18 tons, but some permit 19 tons. On coaches over the years, operators and their customers have demanded ever increasing levels of comfort, all of which have added weight. Legislation has added to this problem, such as the requirement to strengthen structures at roof level to prevent deformation in the event of a coach rolling over – fortunately very rare. Decks have become higher to accommodate greater underfloor luggage capacity. Reclining seats, double glazing, air conditioning systems, galleys and washrooms all add to the weight of a typical high specification coach. Going back to the Directive, the European Union proposes that the maximum gross weight of a two axle bus or coach can be increased to 19.5 tons. The maximum weight of a three axle vehicle will be increased to 26.5 tons. That is subject to a proviso that the driving axle is fitted with twin tires and that the vehicle has air suspension. That last provision probably demonstrates that the legislators are out of date. The first air suspensions came in more than 50 years ago, but after a period of refinement, they became more of less standard on buses and coach. In the new directive, the European Union expects member states to carry out regular inspections to ensure that gross weight limits are not being exceeded. Currently, there are periodic checks on coaches, especially when crossing international borders. In the United Kingdom, coaches have been chartered to cross the Channel to the megastores in Calais that sell alcohol at prices that are considerably lower than ours. If each passenger bought his/her allowance, permitted by our Customs, a returning coach could be seriously overloaded. After several

prosecutions, excursions are declined. They could recover with the higher permitted axle weight limits. Perhaps, that was not in the minds of the legislators! The other beneficiaries of the new directive will be the manufacturers and owners of buses fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) or biogas. Typically, the weight of the tanks when fully fueled adds around one tons to the weight of the vehicle. They are most popular in France and Italy, which already permit slightly higher axle weight limits, but registrations of the new gasfueled buses in Europe are still running at low levels. Another main beneficiary of the new directive might well be manufacturers of all-electric buses. These are coming rapidly up the political and legislative agenda in Europe, and we can expect to see quite a number of innovations in the forthcoming Busworld Kortrijk, which will be the subject of a separate International Report. If an all-electric bus has sufficient batteries for a full day’s range, then its weight is increased to such an extent that is can not legally carry the maximum amount of passengers within permitted gross weights. The new directive will help. However, BYD, the leading manufacturer of all-electric buses, demonstrated in June at UITP in Milan that it has | BUSRIDE



An artist’s impression of the BYD Alexander Dennis buses for service in London.

been able to reduce the size of the batteries by one third without decreasing the daily range. In August, BYD teamed up with Alexander Dennis to secure an order for 51 all-electric buses which will enter service in London next summer. These 40-foot transit buses combine the best of BYD’s battery and chassis technology with Alexander’s proven aluminium body structures which will help to save weight. They are likely to be able to carry 90 passengers within current limits. The debate about the future of all-electric buses in Europe has recently intensified. IDTechEx Research, with offices in Cambridge, England; Boston, MA; San Jose, CA; and Berlin, Germany, is an independent

research and business intelligence organization, advising on advanced technology including electric buses. They recently published a report: “Electric Buses 2015-2025.” The report predicted that the winners in new bus technology would be pure electric powertrains based on lithium-ion batteries, more rugged electric motors (preferably inwheel for efficiency) and four-wheel drive capability, presumably for articulated vehicles. Dr. Peter Harrop, chairman, also predicted that fast charging would win. He hoped that wireless charging would remove hassle and personnel issues such as holding a heavy wet power terminal. Smaller batteries, which would save vehicle gross weight, could be topped up at traffic lights and bus stops, using solar roads. As just one example in Europe, Scania is about to start an experiment with trucks which can draw electric power from cables buried within the surface of a highway. This would enable them to run emission free in urban areas. Dr. Harrop thought it was unlikely that fuel cells or battery swapping would be adopted in buses because of ownership and operational issues. Fuel cells and their hydrogen will continue to cost too much, even when hydrogen comes from fossil fuels (i.e. not green sources). Purchasers and legislators now care a lot about green sources. Gantry charging of electric buses will not become mainstream. It is not permitted in many locations because it is ugly and often expensive to install and maintain. Coming back to the main topic, about the increase in vehicle gross weights, the main reason for introducing fast charging was to keep within weight limits and carry the maximum number of passengers. There might now be a happy medium between fast charging at each end of a route and the weight of batteries for a full day’s operations. We will have to watch that space! Doug Jack is with Transport Resouces in the United Kingdom.


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IN AN INDUSTRY THAT VALUES QUALITY, IT’S NICE TO BE NUMBER ONE. The coaches we build are designed to win accolades from passengers. But we were especially proud to learn that Prevost recently ranked first in seated coach sales. It’s proof that our industry is increasingly committed to passenger comfort, convenience and safety. And it affirms our dedication to building coaches that deliver the superior quality that tour operators need in today’s competitive marketplace.

PMS 185


BUSRide October 2015  

The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry!

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