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BUSRide Road Test:



Spirit of Liberty


Fleet optimization


Seating improves fuel efficiency p16 Build vs. buy



Revolutionizing Accessible Transportation. Built from the ground up and not a conversion, MV-1 is designed to withstand CNG is a factoryinstalled option.

the demands of round-the-clock operations. MV-1 is ADA compliant, FMVSS certified with no exceptions or exemptions and the only purpose-built mobility vehicle that meets the “Buy America” act. Contact Mobility Ventures to learn why more transit authorities are switching to MV-1.

(877) 681-3678 © Mobility Ventures LLC



When it comes to power, maneuverability, comfort and reliability, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation sets the standard. Backed by the legendary engineering strength of the Daimler Family, FCCC is the only manufacturer to offer 24/7 Direct support and the largest nationwide service network. Visit to learn more about the chassis that will back your fleet for life.

Specifications are subject to change without notice. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is registered to ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004. Copyright Š 2015 Daimler Trucks North America LLC. All rights reserved. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.



COVER STORY Official BUSRide Road Test: ARBOC Specialty Vehicles 2015 Spirit of Liberty


The Spirit of Liberty is ready to roll By David Hubbard

FEATURES Fleet Management Systems


Avail Technologies, Trapeze Group and Infor discuss fleet optimization

The Science Behind The Seat 16 Kiel North America explains how lightweight seats increase fuel efficiency

Military skills help the industry 24 Veterans transition into civilian jobs as bus drivers in record numbers

Peter Pan Bus and 15-40 Connection hit the road


The specially-wrapped coach asks, “Would you recognize a cancer symptom?”

On accident investigation authority 30


An open letter from FTA to the industry By Therese W. McMillan





By Jonathan Durkee


By Jeff Cassell


By Johnson Yang


By Ryan Lamb


By Gerry Remus


By Mary Sue O’Melia


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


The beat goes on — stay tuned The Senate managed to pass its version of a six-year highway and transit bill in late July just at closing time for the House to consider, revise and come up with once it reconvenes in September. The beat goes on — hoping Congress reaches some sort of agreement on a long-term surface transportation program before the current funding expires after October 29. American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy is speaking for everyone as he emphasizes the fact they have much more work ahead of them. “It’s a good starting point,” he writes. “It takes us closer to passage of bipartisan legislation that helps our communities and country.” The Senate bill replenishes the Highway Trust Fund in the first three years by using a variety of revenue-raising measures. There is no provision yet for funding the final three years. The highlights so far under the Senate-passed bill: • Total transit authorization grows by almost 14.5 percent in the third year and by almost 25 percent in the sixth year. • Bus and bus facilities program grows by more than 59 percent in the third year and by over 90 percent in the sixth year. • State of Good Repair program grows by almost 17 percent in the third year and by over 25 percent in the sixth year. • Urban and Rural Formula Grants grow by more than 7 percent in the third year and by over 17 percent in the sixth year. • Capital Investment Grants grow by more than 26 percent in the third year and by close to 36 percent in the sixth year. The Senate also voted to invoke cloture, a procedural step to limit debate and proceed to consideration of the comprehensive surface transportation authorization bill. APTA says it would like to see more growth in the overall transit program, and in the discretionary bus program to accurately reflect transit industry priorities. APTA says it will push for maximum funding, while expressing concern over the reliability of funding to support the multi-year bill. Its letter to negotiators on the bill noted that the funding for the MTA should guarantee complete funding for public transportation over the same period as the Highway program.

CEO Judi Victor Publisher Steve Kane Associate Publisher David Hubbard Editor in Chief Richard Tackett Senior Art Director Stephen Gamble Accountant Fred Valdez

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NTSB calls for mandatory second door, e-logs on motorcoaches The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that motorcoach interiors be designed with improved flammability requirements as well as improved emergency exits, and that event data recorders be installed on commercial trucks and motorcoaches. The recommendations resulted from the investigation of the truckmotorcoach collision that resulted in 10 fatalities in Orland, CA, on April 10, 2014. In the crash, a 2007 Volvo truck-tractor, operated by FedEx Freight, Inc., crossed a 58-foot-wide median, struck a 2013 Nissan Altima four-door passenger car, and then collided head-on with a 2014 Setra motorcoach. Both the truck and the motorcoach drivers were killed, along with eight motorcoach passengers. Thirty-seven motorcoach passengers and two occupants of the passenger car were injured. Investigators were unable to determine why the truck crossed the median, but they ruled out truck and motorcoach driver experience, licensing and training, as well as alcohol and drug use, mechanical factors, and weather as causes of the crash. Likewise, the agency found no evidence that the driver was experiencing distraction, fatigue, or that he intentionally crossed into opposing traffic. The investigation revealed inadequacies in the fire performance standards for commercial passenger vehicle interiors, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 302. The flammability testing under FMVSS 302 involves a small-scale fire source, such as those that might be caused by matches or cigarettes – which differ drastically from the actual common causes of bus fires. The Board also found that neither the motorcoach driver who initiated the trip nor the relief driver gave a safety briefing or played the prerecorded safety briefing that the company had provided, and

many passengers struggled to locate and open the emergency exit windows. At least two passengers died because they could not exit the motorcoach before succumbing to asphyxiation due to inhaling smoke from the fire. NTSB said that neither the truck-tractor nor the motorcoach had event data recorders, which impeded the investigation of the accident’s cause. As a result of the investigation, the NTSB issued safety recommendations regarding commercial passenger vehicles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that address the fire performance standards; pretrip safety briefings; improving vehicle design to facilitate evacuations; requiring the development of minimum performance standards for event data recorders in trucks and motorcoaches; and requiring them to be installed in these vehicles.

UMA partners with AMBEST The new partnership between the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) with America’s Best Travel Centers and Travel Service Centers (AMBEST Inc.) has created a UMA member benefit that will allow its members to save substantially on their diesel fuel purchases when using an authorized AMBEST location and the AMBEST Fuel Card. The program offers wholesale cost as determined by the Oil Price Information Service, (OPIS) plus 8 cents or retail less 3 cents, whichever is most beneficial to the UMA member at the time of purchase. While savings will vary with wholesale, retail prices and region, AMBEST estimates today a typical UMA member will save between 20 – 25 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.



KORTRIJK EUROPE 16–21 OCT 2015 Upcoming exhibition




AMBEST partners with some of the nation’s finest travel plazas, including Davis Travel Centers, Circle K, Sunoco and Little America. Overall, across the country AMBEST offers UMA members 200-plus Travel Center locations and 80-plus Service Center locations to take advantage of the savings. “This exclusive UMA Member benefit demonstrates how the United Motorcoach Association continues to contribute to our members’ bottom line” says Ken Presley, UMA COO. “AMBEST will be a Silver Sponsor at the 2016 UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Atlanta. This is a great way to demonstrate AMBESTs commitment to UMA members”. This new benefit is just one of the many membership benefits that are offered by UMA. The association offers an array of benefits and services that are crucial to the success of the motorcoach industry. UMA offers resources to grow a motorcoach business, along with a powerful opportunity to network in the industry. Other benefits such as a Free Process Agent Service, Music Licensing Fulfillment, Toyo Tire Program, UMA Motorcoach EXPO and health insurance program discounts are just part of the programs UMA members may take advantage of.

MacKay & Company releases bus study MacKay & Company, a leading specialized management consulting and market research firm based in Lombard, IL, announced the completion of its inaugural analysis of current service and parts replacement practices among North American transit bus and motorcoach fleet operators. The information is based upon public transit and private motorcoach fleet managers’ responses to surveys conducted in August 2014 and February 2015 in combination with available public data reported by organizations representing these transportation industry segments. The 2015 Transit Bus & Motor Coach Study is an expansion from the firm’s flagship aftermarket program, DataMac ®. DataMac ® examines replacement demand, distribution characteristics, operating populations, market size and composition. As a result of current research, 2014 North American transit bus and motorcoach vehicles in operation are believed to total 84,600 and 40,200, respectively. Estimated service parts volume totals $836.3 million with 74 percent allocated for transit bus demand and 26 percent to motorcoaches. The 2015 study provides subscribers with a detailed examination of the aftermarket information on the motorcoach and transit bus aftermarket for the U.S. and Canada. The data is available in a modular structure – the five major product categories are: 1.) Power generation (engine and related components), 2.) Power transmission (transmissions, axles, etc.), 3.) Undercarriage (brakes, suspension, steering, etc.), 4.) Electrical (alternators, starters, batteries, lights, etc.), and 5.) Other (Seats, Air-conditioning, etc.).

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Get the knowledge to enhance your risk management solutions. Hosted by Protective Insurance Company in Indianapolis, Ind., the Public Transportation Claims + Safety Seminar is your chance to hear from industry experts and network with other safety professionals. Seminar topics include, among others: • passenger control/driver safety • driver-dispatcher relations • negligent hiring and punitive damages We will also offer the option to extend your stay for an OSHA 10-hour General Industry Training course following the seminar. We hope to see you there!

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Parts and Labor Design collaborated with the architects of record, local firm Felder & Associates, to rehabilitate this 1938 bus terminal. NOTE: This is an edited version of the originally contribution by Nicole Anderson, managing editor, The Architects Newspaper.

Historic Savannah Greyhound Bus Depot reborn as The Grey The city of Savannah, GA, known for its rich stock of architectural styles, has given new life to one of its long shuttered, Art Moderne marvels — the former Greyhound Bus Depot on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, reborn as an elegant bar and restaurant aptly named The Grey.

Owner and managing partner Johno Morisano teamed up with Chef Mashama Bailey, who spent her childhood in the Spanish Moss-filled city, to open the local eatery. New York–based studio Parts and Labor Design (PLD), collaborated with the architects of record, local firm Felder & Associates, to rehabilitate the 1938 bus terminal, originally designed by architect George Brown. Through a meticulous restoration—including such measures as preserving and recreating the facade’s blue and ivory Vitrolite panels to designing new modern furnishings, decorative lighting and details — they captured the era’s streamlined geometric forms. They preserved the unique history of the building by maintaining its original terrazzo floors and even kept the divot in the floor from where people once stood in line to buy tickets. In its labyrinth of rooms, the bus depot has been transformed into a gracefully meandering series of spaces to eat, drink and socialize. A casual diner at the front leads into an expansive dining area, which was formerly the main terminal with the gate numbers recreated on the walls above the windows. Upstairs, the female bus drivers’ shower room featuring the original mint green tiles, oak paneling and stainless steel was converted into a private dining room. Downstairs, the men’s bunker is now the wine cellar and the boiler room serves as another intimate private dining room resembling a “man cave.” The main dining room opens to the yard where the Greyhound buses once pulled up and is now an outdoor area for live music, oyster shucking and pig roasts.



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Visit our web site: | BUSRIDE


Motorcoach Management Systems

GPS tracking provides an efficient future By Jonathan Durkee Huskey Trailways built its name transporting precious cargo. No less than two U.S. presidents and their 90-person entourages have chartered its motorcoaches while traveling through Missouri. The U.S. military regularly relies on it to transport personnel. And students participating in the government’s Job Corps youth training program travel halfway across the country on the fleet. “The importance of knowing where our fleet is and what it’s doing— that’s just of the ultimate importance to us,” Huskey Trailways owner Kent Huskey says. GPS fleet management was new to Huskey, but motorcoach management software has definitively proven its worth since he integrated it into his 25 motorcoaches in November 2013. In addition to helping Huskey track the fleet’s whereabouts across the U.S., Fleetmatics’ solutions let Huskey monitor maintenance needs, idling times, driver speed, fuel consumption, departure and arrival times, and so much more. Perfect match Huskey spent about a year researching numerous providers before deciding on his current motorcoach management system. It didn’t take long for Huskey to confirm he made the right choice. “The first weekend, Fleetmatics identified issues that I had an idea we had problems with, but now we could see it in black and white,” he says. One of those launch weekend discoveries was exactly how much time his drivers spent idling between journeys. Huskey Trailways policy stipulates that drivers can idle their vehicles 30 minutes prior to departure and 30 minutes after. It’s an important cost-containing rule, considering the high price of diesel fuel. Huskey tries to enforce it by occasionally making trips to the field during which he visits departure and arrival points. But with a territory that stretches the entire continental U.S., he can’t be everywhere all the time. The motorcoach management solution revealed that 25 buses spent a total of 54 hours idling over just a three-day period—far exceeding their allotted idling time. Huskey was able to provide concrete evidence to his drivers that he knew about their habits and saw fuel economy improve immediately. “This gives me the capability of knowing what they’re doing, where they’re at, and whether they’re behaving,” he says. Driver approved While Huskey’s drivers were initially skeptical about such close monitoring, they quickly realized that the software provider, Fleetmatics, was a big brother that would have their backs. In January, Huskey Trailways transported dozens of teenagers from Michigan to Kentucky. The bus was scheduled to stop at Chicago’s Union Station at 3:20 a.m. and pick up additional kids. It arrived at 3:15 a.m.—five minutes early—and left at 3:29 a.m., giving the kids a 14-minute window around the pick-up time to get on the bus.

Huskey Trailways incorporated GPS fleet management into all of the company’s 25 motorcoaches in 2013.

A program leader called Huskey about an hour later and says that the driver left early, abandoning 15 students on the station platform. Fleetmatics showed the actual arrival and departure times, proving that the driver had followed instructions. “And the program leader said, ‘OK, not your problem. We’ll put them on a train,’” Huskey says. “Without Fleetmatics, we would have had to turn the bus around because it would have been their word against my driver’s.” Returning to Chicago after one hour of driving would have cost Huskey two hours of fuel, two hours of time and two hours of salary— not to mention he would have had to schedule a second driver to finish the job because it would have put the first driver over his work limit for the day. Huskey estimates the company saved $1,000 from just that one report. Word about how the system verified this driver’s account of the incident quickly spread throughout the team, ensuring buy-in from all the drivers. They realized that it protected them, Huskey says, as much as it monitored them. “If I get complaints,” he says, “they know I go straight to this.” A more efficient future Anytime a driver speeds, Huskey gets an alert on his smartphone that he can forward directly to the driver. It’s a subtle way to let the driver know he needs to slow down before he gets a ticket. Mechanics can swiftly figure out issues—or determine non-issues— from remote locations. A driver might report problems with his bus, for example, and the mechanic can activate a minute-by-minute route replay, see that the driver was traveling up a hill and determine that the incline, not a mechanical problem, bogged down the bus. Efficient mechanical issue monitoring has also served Huskey Trailways well as the Department of Transportation (DOT) boosts the number of inspections it performs on motorcoaches. DOT performed three random inspections on Huskey’s fleet in 2013; in January 2014 alone, they did 16. The stakes are high, considering DOT has the authority to shut down bus companies found with violations. “They’re starting to stop us more, and we need to know what our buses are doing and how they’re doing it,” he says. On the occasions buses do break down, Huskey can quickly locate the disabled vehicle as well as the closest functioning bus, ensuring only minor disruption to passengers’ travels. When the wind chill hit 30 below zero in Wisconsin this winter, for example, one bus refused to start. Instead of going to dispatch, Huskey clicked on the option to find the nearest bus. A vehicle just 150 miles away was able to detour to Wisconsin and pick up the passengers. It all adds up to a wise investment. 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


Fleet Management SYSTEMS

Fleet optimization In this issue, BUSRide continues “Fleet Management Systems,” an in-depth forum series addressing asset management, vehicle tracking, fleet monitoring, fleet optimization and in-vehicle diagnostics. The best fleet management system helps agencies ensure that their entire fleet is being utilized and routes are optimized for maximum efficiency. Experts in this forum focus on what metrics agencies should focus on to optimize vehicles and routing, as well as what software is available that can help. This month, we cover fleet optimization – a crucial aspect of any comprehensive fleet management software. Trapeze Group, Mississauga, ON, Canada, proposes that EAM software can help improve asset performance across the board. Avail Technologies, State College, PA, examines a holistic approach to optimizing the fleet. As Vice President of Programs Development Kevin McKay writes, this can be accomplished in two ways – optimizing dispatch and optimizing the passenger experience. Finally, Infor, New York, NY, shows that fleet optimization can mean many different things, depending on the agency.



Fleet Management SYSTEMS

Using EAM to measure and improve asset performance By Brett Koenig For years, transit asset managers have been tasked with the challenge of maximizing fleet performance and availability while minimizing costs. Recent federal regulations will also soon require transit agencies to begin tracking data on asset condition (“state of good repair”). Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems have emerged as the central tool used by transit authorities to support these asset management efforts. The passage of new national laws (MAP-21) and international standards (ISO-55000) has resulted in a rapid evolution in EAM functionality, expanding them beyond their modest roots as the maintenance department’s work order system to being the go-to solution used by asset managers, planners and analysts for tracking the full lifecycle performance of all physical infrastructure across the enterprise (fleet, facilities, linear). The leading transit-focused EAM solutions also offer native integration with other transit enterprise systems (e.g., ITS and fixed route operations solutions), yielding many

Minimizing revenue vehicle service interruption is a key goal for any transit authority. Equally important is the effective managing of incidents when they do occur. Several key performance metrics (MDBF, MTBF, etc) are calculated from data tracked in an EAM related to failures and incidents. To further explore how an EAM supports the ongoing monitoring of these key metrics, let’s break down a specific example: what happens when a bus experiences a major component failure (e.g. transmission) in service. First, the bus operator will report the problem to dispatch. Dispatch will typically use a CAD-AVL system to view the location of the bus, while working with operations and maintenance staff to assist the situation. Detailed data about the incident is captured in CAD-AVL throughout this process (Vehicle ID, symptom, description, etc.). An interface from CAD-AVL is triggered, transmitting the incident data to the EAM so that maintenance has a record of it. The EAM system alerts the appropriate maintenance staff to help expedite the response (e.g. emails the shop supervisor the Incident ID and details). Depending upon the severity and type of incident, the EAM can either automatically generate the work order or the supervisor can do it, so the two records are linked for later root-cause analysis. Often a maintenance technician is dispatched to the scene of the breakdown and the vehicle is towed into the shop. As the repair is performed, detailed information about the component failure is tracked on the work order, which in this case includes the specific transmission that failed, the diagnosis, and the reason for the failure. In addition, transitfocused EAM solutions offer the following operational benefit: As soon as the work order is created, the EAM updates the service status of the vehicle to “Out of service” and integrates that data back to the fixed-route scheduling solution, helping create alignment between maintenance and operations about which vehicles are available to make pull-out.

“Minimizing revenue vehicle service interruption is a key goal for any transit authority.” additional benefits: Automating the exchange of vital information between the maintenance and operations departments resulting in increased operational efficiencies and improved service. Asset performance can be measured in a number of ways, and will vary by type of equipment (rolling stock performance is measured differently than facilities, for example). As the master repository of your agency’s asset data over their lifecycle, EAM systems are uniquely suited to support transit asset performance analysis. An EAM centralizes all of the vital signs of your infrastructure’s health into a single system. Modern systems quickly amass large volumes of data in support of the daily maintenance and materials management workflows at the agency. As maintenance events are performed by agency staff (e.g., vehicle inspections), those work activities are entered into the system. In parallel, the EAM system is automatically “fed” data from various point technologies via interfaces built among them (e.g., Fueling systems interface fuel quantity and odometer data to EAM). By consolidating information from a variety of sources, the EAM has become the “hub” database that tracks information ranging from the basic attributes (asset ID, age, manufacturer, serial number), to the indicators of daily usage (mileage and fuel/fluid consumption), to the dynamic health monitoring data that measure asset condition (telematic data, such as engine diagnostics). These data are the building blocks of the performance metric calculations used throughout the industry to monitor asset performance including: • Mean distance between failure (MDBF) • Mean time between failure (MTBF) • Incident with Major Service Delays • Fleet availability (Service status) • Preventative maintenance compliance

In sum, EAM systems are a central tool for modern transit asset optimization and performance monitoring. By consolidating incident, failure and usage data throughout the year, EAM systems give managers the ability to track how the agency is trending with regard to key performance metrics. Further, to help reduce the frequency and impact of major disruptive events, leading EAM systems can support failure reporting analysis and corrective action (FRACAS) that is performed by engineering as part of the agency’s Reliability Centered Maintenance program. Brett Koenig is the industry solutions manager for Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) at Trapeze Group. Trapeze delivers solutions that consider the full 360 degrees of passenger transport, including integrated solutions spanning EAM, ITS, Operations and Scheduling, Paratransit, Traveler Information and Automated Fare Collection. Brett can be reached at: | BUSRIDE


Fleet Management SYSTEMS

Optimize the fleet for better service By Kevin McKay Inviting a holistic approach to running smoother transit operations, real-time diagnostics, GPS, maintenance intelligence, and monitoring systems contribute to an optimized fleet management system. A cohesive suite of technology helps realize greater cost effectiveness and a more seamless and efficient use of fleet resources. In addition, it makes life easier for your ridership, as you strive to provide them with consistent, reliable and safe bus transportation. Fleet optimization comes down to two essential objectives for the company: use information technology to effectively operate the fleet, and translate that information into noticeably enhanced experiences for the passengers. Optimizing dispatch The process begins by simply knowing where the vehicles are in the yard and where drivers need to go. While the dispatcher typically has access to and control of this information, something as simple as installing a kiosk where drivers can locate their own assignments and the physical location of the vehicles can create organizational efficiency that translates into saved time and resources. Current fleet management solutions allow dispatchers to monitor when drivers arrive on-site, log-in and drive to their correct destination at the correct time. An integrated information technology system allows dispatchers time to proactively address any situation before riders begin calling in to complain. Today’s technology has the capability to track the number of passengers onboard each vehicle at different times throughout the shift and detect any overcrowding or under-utilization. This ability to virtually see the bus gives dispatchers insight that goes well beyond traditional GPS-based vehicle tracking. Fleet management systems help dispatchers prioritize their focus and tasks, whether they are monitoring 20, 100, or more vehicles. Imagine a scenario where a number of buses could be running late because of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances. It’s that one bus in particular with a critical transfer point that needs immediate attention. Fully integrated fleet management systems help dispatchers connect people and places more efficiently and reliably by calling those critical ride points to their attention. Avail Technologies works to change the paradigm of fleet monitoring systems. An operator who knows and understands what has happened in the past has a good idea of what conditions and situations will affect services in the future. It is all a matter of using the monitoring system proactively as a tool to achieve fleet optimization, as opposed to reacting to circumstances. The best ITS vendors directly involve the dispatchers to determine the two or three most worrisome scenarios that affect the efficiency of the fleet and customer service. Discussions focused on how everyone can use the answers and not just the data from the monitoring system help the team become more aware of critical issues before they arise, and identify where and how it may be possible to make better use of the technology for resolving problems. 14


Optimum fleet monitoring gives dispatchers the tools to share information with passengers, so they are more informed on services.

Optimizing the passenger experience Your network of riders are your single greatest asset, your advocates in the field. A ridership that experiences fewer interruptions in service and more accurate real-time information not only exhibits fewer complaints, but it also becomes an agency’s greatest form of advertising on the road. Reliable real-time information sets the stage for better planning, which improves service to help achieve optimal levels. Fleet management systems that obtain the most accurate information become the penultimate tool that helps an agency carefully analyze all that is occurring on a daily basis every day, and use that data to reduce interruptions and increase efficiency. This data analysis can also point to previously unseen ways to leverage the agency’s various transportation modes, such as paratransit, fixed route, commuters, express or BRT, to deliver optimum service that is reliable, convenient and cost effective. The beauty of an optimized fleet management system is that it helps determine the “what, where and when” necessary to make sure the entire transit system is running as expected. Optimum efficiency prepares an agency to better execute crisis intervention practices — traffic jams, rainy weather and snowstorms, and public events in the community are all unexpected and uncontrollable events which are more easily managed when an agency has optimized data at its fingertips. Fleet monitoring tools give dispatchers the information to run the service with minimal interruptions, while at the same time sharing realtime service alerts with passengers sooner so they can make informed transportation decisions. From a passenger perspective, running late is rarely permissible, but if the agency lets the passengers know in a timely manner that service will not be as expected, riders remain in control of their individual transportation decisions. Some riders may choose to wait for a late bus, and others may opt for an alternate mode. Although inconvenienced, if an agency includes the customer by keeping them informed, chances are they will continue to be satisfied with the overall service. Fleet monitoring aids with the more efficient allocation of vehicles and drivers (which in turn increases company profits realized from an understanding ridership) enhances the rider’s experience, and ensures the most effective use of available transportation modes. Kevin McKay serves as the vice president of programs development at Avail Technologies, an ITS solutions provider for transit operators in the United States. Visit for more information.

Fleet Management SYSTEMS

Fleet optimization: one size does not fit all

not to spark on that platform, and able to float. The company made a substantial investment—$15,000 per device—and yet nobody used them enough to justify the investment. The reason? The rig staff liked coming into the air-conditioned office to enter their inspection data. They didn’t want to be stuck on the hot platforms even longer by now having to enter data via field devices. By Kevin Price The point is that organizations need to identify their own personalized definitions of optimization, based on their own then be able to measure the progress being made. Optimization: what does it mean for a fleet, and how constraints—and The metrics tracked must also be customized, so that they show what can it be achieved? an organization is doing, how well they are doing it, and how they can demonstrate that they are doing it well. While almost anything can Here’s one definition of optimization: “Finding an alternative with be measured, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be. The SMART the most cost effective or highest achievable performance under the method is one way of figuring out the usefulness of a metric: given constraints, by maximizing desired factors and minimizing • S – specific; clear and unambiguous undesired ones.” • M – measurable; able to be quantified against other data vs. That’s not exactly earth-shattering news, but still food for thought: “yes/no” measurements have all constraints been taken into consideration? Have the desired • A – attainable; reasonable under normal conditions outcomes been identified in detail? Which negative factors have the • R – realistic; fitting within an organization’s specific constraints biggest impact on profitability? • T – timely; achievable within the given timeframe For every fleet, optimization will mean something different. A bigAn enterprise asset management (EAM) system can help fleet city agency may be constrained by yard management issues—rows and managers optimize according to their defined constraints and metrics. rows of buses backed up in a crowded depot. A union shop must have Knowing the asset’s history when scheduling maintenance or repair technicians certified and available to work on the particular makes in is invaluable: when the asset last ran, where it was running, what is the fleet. Regional topography and weather are huge considerations. needed now, who is needed to A bus company in Canada needs to address it (taking into account be especially cognizant of having union status, certifications and the right gear on the right rig in the availability), and what materials right season. A fleet near the ocean are needed for the job (Refrigerant? will be susceptible to saltwater Tires? Core work?) corrosion and other effects. StartA system should be able to and-stop traffic and mountainous schedule in increments of one roads will significantly impact fuel minute for the greatest efficiency. consumption and brake wear. It should facilitate better yard Not having enough data isn’t management through spatial usually a problem; it’s more capabilities that help determine challenging to sift through all the which vehicles should be parked data that is available to figure out closest to or furthest from the what’s important to measure, and An enterprise asset management system can help fleet managers optimize exit, depending on recent repair what matches an organization’s vehicle usage. issues or upcoming maintenance. individual definitions of It should generate campaign constraints, desirable outcomes, and undesirable factors. Warranty slips after a warranty review that can be sent to the manufacturer information is especially important so that both forced and voluntary for reimbursement—and it should incorporate VMRS (Vehicle recall work is done in a timely manner and the costs will be recouped Maintenance Reporting Standards) numbers so the fleet organization from the manufacturer instead of diluting profitability. and the manufacturer are speaking the same language. Nearly all companies and agencies understand that having Finally, a solution should be mobile, light, capable of being deployed technicians enter information as they work is more efficient than in the field without requiring extensive data entry—allowing entering it later. But the constraints around that practice are not technicians to record as they work, saving up to 45 minutes per always considered. Bus mechanics in the middle of a job, for instance, technician per day in the process—and flexible enough to work within can have hands covered in grease, and stopping to enter data in the the constraints of each individual organization. traditional way doesn’t work. Perhaps the method of entering it needs Optimization is a worthy goal—but only worth embarking on once to be examined—such as offering a kiosk with pre-programmed it has been clearly defined and constraints have been identified, with a options instead of a keyboard—or the data entry required needs to be solution for addressing them. reformatted as a checklist instead of a form. Company culture is a compelling factor that is often overlooked as Kevin Price has more than 17 years in Infor’s asset management business, a constraint—in all industries. One oil and gas company identified holding roles in sales and service, as asset solutions director for the Infor Public what, on the surface, appeared to be a better way to collect data in Sector group, and now product director for Infor EAM, MP2, Spear Technologies, and Infor Energy Performance Management. He is based in Greenville, SC. Kevin real time: new hand-held devices for rig personnel. The devices needed welcomes your feedback and questions. Please don’t hesitate to email him at to be rugged enough to be dropped on a steel platform, safe enough | BUSRIDE



Fuel efficiency 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 increased fuel efficiency associated with modern-day bus seating solutions. In this installment, BUSRide spotlights fuel efficiency with a contribution by Kiel North America, Elkhart, IN. Kiel North America is part of the international Kiel Group, a leading manufacturer of innovative transit seating systems for commercial vehicles and public transportation, including seating solutions for buses and trains on the local, regional and intercity level. Kiel operates globally with production plants in the U.S. (North America Headquarters), Germany (World Headquarters), Poland, France, Netherlands and Turkey. Increased fuel efficiency can be achieved through advanced engineering by seat manufacturers. J端rgen Mill, senior VP of engineering and R&D at the global headquarters of the Kiel Group, explains how lightweight seating can shed pounds off of a motorcoach and thus work wonders for fuel savings. Furthermore, he looks to the future of seating design in order to spotlight reduced costs still unrealized by the industry.





works to improve fuel efficiency By Jürgen Mill

The virtues of fuel efficiency Although the use of public transportation is saving over 4 billion gallons of fuel annually that would otherwise end up in the gas tanks of private vehicles, the combined fuel consumption of motorcoaches in North America alone is enough to fill up almost all of the 110 floors of the Willis Tower to its 390 million-gallon capacity. The volatile cost of fuels, combined with rising operational costs, is enough to make operators explore more fuel-efficient options for their fleets. Additionally, state, federal and local mandates for reduced carbon emissions and better air quality push for an ever increasing fuel efficiency in today’s vehicles. Reducing vehicle weight is one of the most effective ways to save on fuel costs, and the EPA estimates that for every 100 pounds taken off a vehicle, its fuel economy increases by 1-2 percent. Less weight can also mean less wear and tear on the vehicle’s axles and breaks, for example, and therefore a longer service life. Science diet for seats An empty 45-foot coach weighs about 50,000 pounds (passengers plus baggage may add another 30 percent) but it is extremely challenging or almost impossible for bus builders to alter their triedand-proven technology to shed off pounds. More likely, it is the seat manufacturer who can bring value into the equation by offering a lightweight seat that fulfills every safety requirement while satisfying customer expectations for exceptional comfort and great design. After all, every pound shaved off one seat quickly adds up if multiplied 50 or 55 times. Over the last 15 years, Kiel seats have lost about 30 percent of their weight and the company continues to invest much of its R&D into the advancement of lighter materials. Kiel’s ESOS for example (a versatile model for city buses) weighs only 26 pounds per double seat, and despite its luxurious looks, the popular coach seat Avance 2050 weighs only 60 pounds (per double seat with aluminum rails). Compared to an average 75-pound double seat, the 15-pound difference reduces the overall bus weight by over 400 pounds per 55-seat set. Saving weight and saving lives A great way to bridge the dichotomy of comfort vs. safety (and to satisfy the strict North American requirements for material strength) is to implement high-grade materials and engineering concepts that absorb energy (e.g., from an impact) more intelligently by entering a carefully calculated state of controlled plasticity.

Lightweight seats save fuel: IndyGo’s new electric fleet is equipped with a low-weight Kiel seat model (25 pounds per double seat) for city buses. Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation.

Metals like high-alloy steel and a special engineered aluminum are crucial for a successful lightweight design, as they can be processed into thinner sheets (which saves weight) while maintaining their excellent plasticity characteristics (which saves lives). The goal of “intelligent absorption design” is always to integrate metals that do not break like a brittle piece of Wasa bread but rather like a piece of chewed bubble gum that has the capability to deform without compromising structure.

The light coach seat model used in a MassDOT commuter program reduced the amount of fuel needed by about 4 percent. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

What is good for fuel efficiency, it turns out, is equally good for the safety of passengers. The future of fuel-efficient seat design The research of new materials and their usefulness as lightweight design material is an exciting field for engineers and one with considerable depth. The automobile industry has started working with metal foams that weigh only a fraction of traditional metal sheets. In addition to being true lightweight wonders, they also exhibit phenomenal material strengths and safety features as tiny air bubbles sandwiched between the outer sheets act as “mini-airbags.” While their application in the bus and rail industry is still a bit further into the future, it is never too soon to start thinking about new ways to implement these metals into an even lighter seat design. Jürgen Mill is senior VP of engineering and R&D at the global headquarters of the Kiel Group. Kiel is a trendsetting seat provider to transit systems around the world including seating solutions fort buses and trains on the local, regional and intercity level. Visit | BUSRIDE



BUSRide Road Test:

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles 2015 Spirit of Liberty By David Hubbard

The Spirit of Liberty is ready to roll ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, Middlebury, IN, recently drove its Spirit of Liberty to the BUSRide headquarters in Phoenix for an Official BUSRide Road Test. Four years in the making, the company says it has successfully met its original challenge to engineer and develop a reardrive, low-floor pusher bus with a continuous plane aisle from front to rear. “With the completion of product development and production phases, this unique medium-duty low-floor transit bus is now ready for market,” says ARBOC National Sales Manager Ken Becker. “The Spirit of Liberty has completed all required testing including the rigorous Altoona process, and is now eligible for FTA funding.”

ARBOC offers the Spirit of Liberty in two lengths: 30 feet and 35 feet. The longer model can accommodate up to six oversized wheelchairs within 54-inch long zones, which exceeds ADA guidelines. The 30-foot model handles four wheelchairs in the same size space. The overall body height is 120 inches (excluding roof hatch or A/C); overall width is 100 inches. Interior height is 85 inches front, 79 inches rear; interior width is 97 inches. MV Transportation, the paratransit management partner for Valley Metro RPTA, participated with BUSRide for this road test. Catherine Kadrich, a veteran paratransit driver for the company, took the wheel for a third-party review of the new vehicle.

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles offers the Spirit of Liberty in two lengths: 30 feet and 35 feet.



This photo shows ARBOC’s continuous aisle to the rear of the bus.

Kadrich’s passion for commercial transportation began with chauffeuring her mother who served as a missionary. She quickly graduated into big rig trucking and eventually turned to driving transit buses in Jacksonville, FL, and school buses in Texarkana, TX. Now back home in Phoenix, AZ, Kadrich says she has found her calling in paratransit service, where her people skills and penchant for customer service flourish. Marvin Rochelle, a longtime regular customer of Valley Metro DialA-Ride, was on-board to offer his observations and comments as a passenger with disabilities. Over the years, Rochelle has participated on various advisory committees involved in the planning of paratransit services and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the greater-Phoenix area. Before leaving the MV Transportation yard, Kadrich put the bus through a full-circle turn to get the feel of the turning radius. “It was surprisingly short and tight for a bus of this size,” she says. “I could tell this bus would be very responsive.” “We have demonstrated on several occasions that our 35-foot model can handle challenging routes that transit agencies typically utilize 30foot heavy-duty buses for,” Becker adds. “This means extra passenger capacity at a medium-duty price point.” The 35-foot model Kadrich drove has a 202-inch wheelbase with an impressive 55-degree wheelcut. “The 30-foot model features a 150-inch wheelbase, which is much shorter than a comparable cutaway bus,” Becker says. “This bus can actually turn inside that turning radius.” For the test, Kadrich first took the bus north on Interstate-17 before choosing a winding route through central Phoenix, resembling her typical day transporting passengers to and from medical plazas, assisted living centers and shopping malls. The long curving entrance to the freeway was a good test. “I immediately liked how this bus held the curves,” she says. “It only took a few blocks for me to realize this is a solidly-built vehicle with some very nice features. The ride is quiet and the driver’s area is

The driver’s area features ample legroom and a clear view through the windshield.

comfortable. I especially like how the mirrors are positioned, similar to what I was used to when I drove transit buses in Jacksonville.” The only concern Kadrich had with the Spirit of Liberty as tested was with its acceleration. “Traffic typically backs up on the freeway entrances, particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours,” she says. “I would’ve appreciated just a little more pick-up on the ramp and as I was working my way into traffic.” Meanwhile, Rochelle had maneuvered his motorized wheelchair over the 41-inch wide, 1:6 Braun ramp through the angled entrance door set at 5-degrees for his easier turn in and out of the bus. “The wheelchair tie-downs are fantastic,” he says. “No give, no shaking. They are solid; the best I have ever experienced.” Becker says the Q’POD by Q’Straint, an option on the vehicle, is a unique wheelchair securement system. In the case of a mobility scooter, another strap comes out of the wall and attaches and cinches the device into position. It makes securing down a wheelchair or scooter very simple and quick. | BUSRIDE


Marvin Rochelle, a longtime customer of Valley Metro Dial-A-Ride, was on-board to offer his observations and comments as a passenger with disabilities.

Kadrich concurs with Rochelle on the Q’POD. “I took comfort in these lock-down restraints as well,” Kadrich says. “The chair never moves, even during quick, tight turns. I am always concerned for what is going on with my passengers, and it was gratifying to know that Marvin felt so secure.” Rochelle says he also appreciated the wide and tall windows and solid feel in the flooring. The Spirit of Liberty windows as tested (frameless solid-bonded windows) are an upgrade option, as well as T-slider windows. Solid-frame windows are standard. Rochelle also commented on what he thought was a “level” floor, saying he felt very secure in his wheelchair. “In reality, the 2-degree slope in the floor is so negligible that Marvin was not aware of the slant,” Becker says. “This slightly sloped single-plane floor allows all to use the rear seats regardless of mobility concerns.” A single-unit front wheel tub facilitates a smooth transition from the ramp into the interior and driver’s area. This fiberglass section fits seamlessly into 5/8-inch wood flooring with a poly-urea-coated underside, similar to truck bed liner. The topside is standard transit flooring material. “The Spirit of Liberty body design is entirely vacuum laminated fiberglass reinforced plastic including the roof,” Becker says. “Only a few OEMs undertake this process. Most glue the wall.” ARBOC and FCCC ARBOC entered into an exclusive collaborative agreement with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), Gaffney, SC, to engineer the patented XBA chassis for the Spirit of Liberty. The A stands for ARBOC. “Our partnership with Freightliner gives our customers operators access to warranted aftermarket service and parts through the expansive network of Freightliner service facilities,” says ARBOC 20


President and CEO Don Roberts. “We would not have been able to provide this service benefit on our own.” The chassis is fitted with a four-corner air ride suspension which requires only the front to kneel, as well as Bosch hydraulic actuated disc brakes front and rear with antilock braking (ABS). Putting the bus through several controlled sudden stops, Kadrich noted the ease and responsiveness of the braking system. This includes the variable geometry turbo exhaust brake (VGT) which works similar to the traditional Jake Brake but without any of the noise. “What truly surprised me about this bus are the hydraulic brakes with the built-in exhaust brake,” Kadrich says. “I have not experienced anything like this in other buses. I like the feel of the bus slowing automatically, which is a tremendous safety asset if the driver is fatigued or inattentive for some reason.” “I was a little hesitant to step hard on the brakes,” she adds. “But the bus slowed quickly and smoothly, so I wasn’t worried about jostling my passengers. I think they would be okay and understand during any emergency braking situation.” The Cummins ISB 6.7L diesel 240 hp and Allison B220 Heavy Duty six-speed transmission make up the only available drive train. The drive axle is Detroit; the front drop axle is Meritor. The rooftop HVAC system is a Dual TC 80 Tropicool. ARBOC recommends a dual-system like this for hotter climates, particularly in the South and Southwest deserts. The driver enjoys a separate heat and AC system with separate controls. An energy-absorbing bumper is optional. “For easy maintenance, the single top-lift rear door to the engine compartment has extended height and width and top hinged style for safe access to the engine compartment,” Becker says. The bus is equipped with a rear-engine run box that allows the service technician to shut off the front ignition for safety while working on the bus. It also allows the bus to be started from the rear for testing purposes. On the curbside of the vehicle is an equipment box housing the batteries, master switch and other common maintenance items. The Spirit of Liberty is the next offering from ARBOC’s family of low-floor buses, from 14 passengers to 37 passengers, which also includes the company flagship Spirit of Mobility and Spirit of Freedom. Keep following ARBOC for the next low-floor design. “We are committed to the low-floor bus,” Roberts says. “We now have three models and are looking at doing more engineering work for upcoming models.” Visit ARBOC Specialty Vehicles online at

Catherine Kadrich, a veteran paratransit driver for MV Transportation, took the wheel for a third-party review of the Spirit of Liberty.

By Jeff Cassell

The Moston Public Transit Agency has been implementing a new plan to greatly improve safety NORMS. George, the executive director, wants an update on the progress. “It’s going great,” said Ryan, the supervisor responsible for leading the implementation. “We have everyone using a new language and focusing on changing behaviors. Only yesterday in the driver’s room, the discussion focused on removing the 300 unsafe behaviors and almost everyone joined in the discussion. They talked about our vision, mission and values and what they were doing to achieve this.” “300 unsafe behaviors, what do you mean?” asked George. “Part of the training explained to the drivers is the safety theory of 300:29:1,” said Linda, a dispatcher. “Many years ago, Herbert William Heinrich explained that in workplace injuries, 300 unsafe behaviors will result in injuries 300 times, 29 minor injuries and one serious injury. He went onto say that you cannot prevent the 29 minor injuries or the 1 serious injury. You cannot directly reduce injuries, they will happen. However, you can reduce the unsafe behaviors that lead to injuries. That is where the focus should be.” “The same logic applies to safety on the road,” Ryan added. “For every catastrophe or serious accident, we will have had 29 minor accidents and for every minor accident we will have performed 300 unsafe behaviors. We cannot reduce accidents, but we can reduce unsafe behaviors. We have challenged the drivers to reduce or eliminate their 300 unsafe behaviors as a norm. No unsafe behaviors = no accidents. This explanation helps turn the gray subject of safety into a very clear, black and white issue.” “Obviously, these statistics of 300:29:1 are just a ratio to make the point,” Linda said. “In reality, it could be 475:36:1, or any other ratio. The point is the only way to reduce accidents is to reduce your unsafe behaviors.” “A way to reinforce this is the new poster we have hung at the exit to the yard,” Ryan said. “They see this every day and it will serve as a reminder for them to think of the 12 safe behaviors on our Vision, Mission and Values poster.” “Ok,” said George. “But what are the results that have been achieved?” “The new plan has only been in place for two months,” Ryan answered. “The good news is we have had no accidents at all in that

time. But, it’s too short a period to claim success. What we do know is that everyone is on board with creating the safety norms. The route supervisor has noticed that everyone is now staying back at least 4 seconds. We have changed this and many other behaviors.” “As part of the process to improve our safety norms, I went through a comprehensive Trainer Certification Process,” said Greg, the driving trainer. “Following this, we introduced two new safety practices into our training. These are commentary driving and the 30-day LLLC focus. Commentary driving means that the trainee has to talk and explain everything they are doing while they are driving. They voice any concerns, particularly about the application of LLLC Defensive Driving practices. I try to have two other trainees aboard watching and listening and they are to be attentive and critique the driving. After a time, the trainees switch places and change roles. To improve our safety norms, we took our existing drivers through this process as part of their ongoing training. It has led to a huge improvement.” “That really is effective training,” said George. “What do you mean by the 30-day LLLC Focus?” “To make a practice an automatic habit, a norm, you need to force yourself to follow this practice for 30 days,” Greg replied. “If you do that, you will likely take this practice on as a norm. So we ask the drivers as they are about to start driving each day to say to themselves, ‘I will look ahead, I will look around, I will leave room and I will communicate.’ They are then to rethink these LLLC practices at least every 30 minutes and put them into practice.” “The drivers have willingly accepted these new practices,” Ryan said. It makes sense to them and everyone wants to be a more accomplished professional. We are well on the way to creating the safety culture we sought when we started this process. A safety culture where everyone does it right, the first time, every time by removing or reducing risk and performing no unsafe behaviors.” “That sounds like our vision, mission and values” George said. “Great work, carry on.” This series by Jeff Cassell will continue in the November 2015 Issue! Jeff Cassell is president of Transit & Paratransit Company (TAPTCO) Hudson, Ohio. TAPTCO provides training courses that change driver behaviors. Visit | BUSRIDE




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Security & Surveillance

4G video surveillance meets GPS fleet management By Johnson Yang

Web-based in-vehicle surveillance and is more important to today’s fleet management than ever before. At this time, the majority of fleet management activity is web-based in some way, giving operator and dispatch managers easier access regardless of the location of the buses and drivers. Still, a large portion of fleet management systems don’t offer video capability. A lot of fleet management systems can only monitor using GPS, but not view a situation with video. When dispatch managers are eager to know for sure what is occurring during an incident with the fleet, the GPS-only technology only goes so far. 4G with GPS delivers the bigger picture 4G is the cellular connection tunnel from the driver and vehicle to the command center that allows a video surveillance system to transmit streaming data immediately to the dispatch command center when a significant event occurs on the route. While fleet management relies heavily on the wide use of GPS, additional video coverage is much more difficult without 4G capability. 4G in combinationwith GPS allows managers to view routes and drivers to instantly assess weather, road conditions and outside circumstance, and to communicate and respond in real time. Dispatchers have the capability to tap into the surveillance visually, which alleviates the guesswork and having to call the driver on a cell phone. 4G system integration varies Streaming video over 4G is the fastest connection currently available. However, as prevalent as 4G is today, the question then becomes why fleet management video surveillance is not in use everywhere. For a variety of reasons, it has mostly to do with the technical aspects of system integration. With so many video surveillance providers, the specifications may be different for each system, which make it more difficult to integrate and still attain flawless 4G video streaming. 4G integration is a different scenario for every company. Each one will have its own way of implementing the technology, meaning myriad different compression ratios as the cloud fills with more and more videos. One bus may have as many as eight cameras that use much more bandwidth for video streaming and thus take more time to integrate. Some companies use H.264, others MPEG4, and others still use Motion JPEG. Those videos are typically not easy to handle, not to mention when having to transmit over 4G. With so many surveillance providers, the specifications may be different for each one; making it very difficult to integrate with web-based fleet management and still attain flawless 4G video streaming. Traditional surveillance access goes through a firewall, involving DDNS and port forwarding, which increases the complexity of integrating video with fleet management. For example, to access a DVR or camera remotely, the dispatch manager must go through a router. Most transportation companies put the DVR and camera behind a firewall. Given the nature of transportation, port forwarding set-up and remote access configuration become necessary. One way to simplify the process is Unique Device Identification (UDID). Similar to an iPhone or Android, every device carries its own unique identification number for easier contact.

Video Over Fleet Management



With fleet management aided by video surveillance, dispatchers have the capability to tap into the bus via GPS and video feed.

The Plustek solution incorporates a UDID for each device to help with the 4G integration process, and also utilizes peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to leverage the UDID through the Plustek software and mobile app with a server. The software directly connects to the device without going through those complicated settings. P2P is very easy to code into existing fleet management systems. The integration involves only a few lines of code. HTTP coding with a correct UDID, channel and camera number is all it takes. Integration does not require back-end servers and the other complexities. It is quick, secure and streamlined. UDID and P2P are not new technologies. Traditional surveillance began using them some time ago for consumer applications. Regular maintenance is not required after implementation. The system is operative so long as long as the video and 4G/GPS are live and the vehicle is running. P2P software is the solution that forgoes the integration process. By streamlining the complexity, it eases the barrier for standard fleet management to integrate with video surveillance, and provides flawless streaming video over 4G connections. Johnson Yang is the vice president of sales at Plustek Security in Southern California. Plustek Security is a manufacturer of ruggedized, high quality mobile surveillance products. To learn more, visit | BUSRIDE


Military skills help the industry Veterans transition into civilian jobs as bus drivers in record numbers More than 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have now taken advantage of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Military Skills Test Waiver Program. In the first three years of the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtained a civilian commercial driver’s license (CDL). In the past 12 months alone, another 4,000 individuals, including Reserves, National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard service members, have taken advantage of the program. “It is our duty to help returning veterans transition into civilian life, and I am proud that so many have used this program to secure careers in the transportation sector,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Just as important, we want to put their valuable skills and experience to work driving the nations’ economy.” The Military Skills Test Waiver Program, which began in 2011, grants state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the authority to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus.

Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian CDL application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies. “In the near future, the need for skilled drivers is expected to grow dramatically,” says FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling. “Having skillful and experienced drivers operating on our roadways will lead to increased safety for every member of the motoring public.” The USDOT/FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program has been conducted in close cooperation with the Department of Defense and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). Additional information, including a standardized application form accepted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, is available at:


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Accessibility ramps up By Ryan Lamb

Let’s talk about what accessibility means in terms of mobility and security on a moving bus. In the case of random wheelchair accessibility, this simply describes the capability of a passenger using a mobility device to board and leave the vehicle without disturbing another wheelchair passenger and others. For example, with five wheelchair passengers, any one of those five passengers should be able to maneuver and exit without the other four having to move. This gets tricky on a crowded vehicle. With more than a few shuttle bus floor plans, it is often necessary to remove three wheelchairs simply to accommodate that fourth passenger. Champion Bus LF Transport™ level floor design ensures level passenger securement. Often transit agencies and paratransit providers have to load and position their wheelchair and scooter passengers, then arrange the route in accordance with the order of their drop-offs. A vehicle that is 102-inches wide, such as the Champion Bus LF Transport™, incorporates random accessibility because of its width — the same width as a standard transit bus. For instance, with three wheelchairs, two can stow on either side, leaving the center aisle open for the third to move as needed. This style of paratransit vehicle features the best qualities of a larger intercity low-floor transit bus, compressed and repackaged into a smaller midsize configuration that still allows a comparable experience for the passenger. This type of low-floor bus design features a lower front Standard sloped-floor design seating section at the entrance with steps up toward the back to get up and over the rear axle. It is a dual-level floor Where this becomes possible in a smaller vehicle, Champion Bus has with two flat platforms at the front and rear of the bus. This no-slope designed and patented a beneficial feature it calls the Dynamic Ramp® theater seating is by design, developed in response to customer — a single stable mid-body step-up for seated aisle-facing passengers feedback as passengers expressed their preference for being secured or ambulatory passengers as they board, such as on a large low-floor to a flat surface. transit bus. With a flip of a switch by the driver, the step folds down to This flooring configuration offers safer ingress and egress throughout become the manageable 1:6 wheelchair access ramp. the bus for all passengers. Wheelchair passengers say they notice an This interior Dynamic Ramp® offers easier maneuverability for increase in comfort and stability when secured to a level surface, as customers using mobility devices, as well as the opportunity to access opposed to leaning forward on sloped floor construction. the rear of the bus. Champion Bus has achieved this accessible transition Customer response to earlier vehicles with a sloped floor design was over the rear axle assembly and drivetrain without modifying the OEM not favorable. Both secured and un-secured wheelchair passengers said component positioning, and ensuring the warranties are still in effect. they did not enjoy the feeling of rolling forward, and strongly advised This all adds up to a more comfortable, more accessible experience for against the full-sloped interior surface. all passengers, and certainly improves the opportunity for passengers The actual difference in height is so slight that Champion Bus is able with wheelchairs to maneuver and travel unassisted. to provide a transition ramp that exceeds ADA specifications. This is not possible on a larger heavy-duty transit bus, where two steps up is Ryan Lamb serves as product specialist of the LF Transport™ at Champion Bus, 12 to 15 inches high, and would require a six-foot long ramp to meet the Imlay City, MI. Champion Bus, a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles, is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and has been producing required 1:4 to 1:6 slope ratios. buses since 1981. Visit Champion Bus online at | BUSRIDE


Peter Pan Bus and 15-40 Connection hit the road The specially-wrapped coach asks, “Would you recognize a cancer symptom?”

Peter Pan Bus Lines is partnering with 15-40 Connection by providing a specially-wrapped coach to serve as a rolling billboard.


he 15-40 Connection, Westborough, MA, is a nonprofit organization with the mission of empowering people with the lifesaving advantage of early cancer detection. 15-40 Connection is raising awareness of the fact that cancer survival rates in teens and young adults aged 15 to 40 have barely improved since 1975, in large part because of delays in diagnosis. In an innovative step to get the word out, the organization is turning to motorcoaches. Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA, one of the country’s largest privately-owned bus companies, operates premier regular-route service to over 100 communities throughout the Northeast corridor, with daily service to cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Partnering with 15-40 Connection by providing a specially-wrapped coach to serve as a rolling billboard, the company is helping to communicate throughout New England the importance of learning to recognize and act on cancer symptoms, in hope of detecting the disease in an early stage. As partners 15-40 Connection and Peter Pan Bus Lines say, the wrapped bus initiates a new cancer conversation by asking commuters riding the daily route service, “Would you recognize a cancer symptom?” The campaign also features young adult cancer survivors who are sharing their stories to help others recognize cancer symptoms, and to explain why it is so important for them to become be an active member of their healthcare team should the situation arise. “I’m alive today because I went to the doctor right away when I noticed a health change that wasn’t improving and got diagnosed early,” says Dave McGrath, diagnosed with brain cancer at age 18. “I speak for 15-40 Connection because I think it’s my duty as a survivor to raise awareness for early cancer detection.”



“This is helping drive a new conversation about cancer.’ McGrath now travels regularly on the road with 15-40 Connection to share his story in schools, colleges and workplaces. “Partnering with Peter Pan Bus Lines is helping drive a new conversation about cancer,” says Jim Coghlin, Sr., founder of 15-40 Connection. “Teaching people how to recognize potential cancer symptoms and when to seek medical attention has saved lives” He says the hope is for the coach to encourage more people out on the road to be more aware of their health. “As the Peter Pan coach drives through many communities and major cities, the early cancer detection message could be seen by everyone boarding the bus,” says Peter Pan Bus Lines Chairman and CEO Peter Picknelly. “This is important and could help save lives. If anyone is riding on the coach, or sees the slogan, Would you recognize a cancer symptom? we encourage riders and commuters to let us know.” 15-40 Connection Executive Director Tricia Laursen invites commuters to further help build awareness and empower early cancer detection by posting on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #peterpanempowersNE and tagging the organizations (@1540connection and @peterpanbus). “This puts everyone on board to help themselves, their friends, family and loved ones to detect cancer earlier,” she says. “You are your best chance to detect cancer.”



Data dictates

COMFORT By Gerry Remus


s urban population trends continue to rise, so has the need for an infrastructure to handle these increasing demands. A tremendous opportunity exists for buses to satisfy the need to transport the growing population in a safe, reliable and comfortable manner. Bus manufacturers are challenged with providing solutions that can maximize the number of passengers, maintain the highest level of durability and to ensure passenger safety and comfort. The suspension system and axles are at the root of the bus experience and influence the vehicle in three primary ways: safe handling for the driver, ride comfort for the passengers and reduced vibration that saves wear and tear on the bus body and other components. Bus operators tend to think of ride comfort first when they make the move to an air suspension system. However, suspensions protect more than just the passenger; contributing to safe handling as well as ensuring long life for the vehicle, a substantial investment. While buses around the world may have a similar look and feel, the passenger and equipment loads, environmental factors, road conditions and braking cycles can vary greatly between countries, states and even cities. For example, the potential to overload a transit bus operating in the U.S. is unlikely. However, in more populated countries, such as India and China, overloading can account for up to 40 percent of the rated capacity of the suspension. For these reasons, one suspension will not fit for all markets and consideration must be given to these regional differences to ensure optimal performance.

Understanding ride comfort A principle function of the suspension system is to absorb as much of the vibration and harshness as possible. Ride quality hinges on the degree of isolation the suspension provides the vehicle from vibration and road inputs. It is a measure of how road shock affects the vehicle, driver and passenger as the vehicle encounters bumps, potholes or other road irregularities. Air bags and shock absorbers work together to offer a smooth ride with one passenger on board or with 50. The challenge is to build in ride comfort while maintaining roll stability and vehicle handling. Not all suspensions are created equal, so choosing the right suspension to meet the needs for a given application is critical. Hendrickson, for example, places high value on relationships with bus manufacturers to understand their expectations, needs and wants. The bus OEM typically defines the desired ride quality for their product. In some instances, vehicle handling may be more critical than ride comfort or roll stability may be the priority for the OEM. Once the goals for ride quality are set, building in ride comfort begins by collecting data that defines the application. Hendrickson takes a total vehicle approach, understanding how products are influenced by other chassis components and what factors can change performance. Before design work begins, it is essential to understand everything possible about the environment that the bus will be operating in. Hendrickson goes to great lengths to collect real-world data to

A virtual bus performs a lane-change maneuver using Hendrickson’s advanced simulation software. Before building physical parts, this unique software allows the company to understand how a vehicle will behave in key performance areas like ride quality, roll stability and vehicle handling.

determine the specifications necessary to maximize performance and durability. Extensive data collection from the field along with customer interviews and site visits enable Hendrickson to get a true understanding of what a product must endure while in operation. Ensuring durability and performance Understanding real-world scenarios is essential, but this alone is not enough to bring a solution to the market. Hendrickson invests in the most advanced engineering software to model specific components, identify stress points and simulate suspension performance in different application environments and load conditions. As the design matures, sophisticated in-house research and development facilities are utilized, featuring numerous test rigs designed to simulate realworld scenarios, to ensure that reliability, performance and quality objectives are met before finalizing the design. Once a suitable design has been created, track testing commences and final design refinement occurs as the product endures tests that emulate real-world conditions and are correlated to industry or OEM test tracks. In proving-ground testing, Hendrickson utilizes test tracks that replicate the actual Altoona test track so that a firm understanding of durability and performance are well known. Hendrickson has a rich history of providing the right product for the right application, which requires a series of critical steps to ensure many years of successful operation in the field. As the bus market needs continue to evolve, Hendrickson stands ready to support our customers, developing solutions that exceed expectations for performance and durability. Gerry Remus serves as business unit director – Global Bus for Hendrickson Commercial Vehicle Systems, Woodridge, IL. Visit Hendrickson online at | BUSRIDE


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TransIT Transit information technology – build versus buy By Mary Sue O’Melia

An agency’s Information Technology Department is tasked with finding a better way to report information. Did the agency decide to build or buy? Does the agency now get timely information, or is it still waiting? You can get better, but you can’t pay more It’s the summer of 2007 and I am at a transit agency board meeting. Sitting next to me in the audience waiting to speak is a project manager of an ambitious ITS project. He is presenting an overview of the recently completed “middleware” project and proceeded to explain that middleware was a data warehouse for farebox, customer service, AVL and onboard vehicle diagnostic equipment. I asked how much this project costs – $100 million he said. I asked what kind of reports they were getting – he said none; that is the second phase of the project. I asked about maintenance and return on investment – he said that other agencies in the region were going to participate by adding their data to the project. I asked what this would cost – he said $15,000 per vehicle and then $1,500 per vehicle annual maintenance. The ITS project manager gave an example to the policy board of how this data could be used to improve service – data from the new AVL system was being used to investigate and validate customer comments. In the fall, I was once again sitting in the audience of the same policy board. The ITS project manager was there to give an update. It seems that the union had protested the use of AVL data to validate customer complaints. Two years later, the executive director of this same agency stopped by our booth at a trade show and picked up a sample report noting, “I would have to wait a million years to get a report with basic route-level performance information.” The Dashboard craze – build or buy In 2008, interactive Dashboards with drilldowns became the rage. Speedometer-type gauges become the standard in data visualization. Our company started looking for someone to build a set of Dashboards. We were about a month and $20,000 into a proof of concept project with a consultant specializing in dashboard development. It became very clear that at this pace, it would be years to develop a full suite of transit functional area dashboards. In 2008, we got smart and searched out and procured a Business Intelligence solution. This was better than custom programming, but still required significant development time (two to four weeks once the design had been agreed upon). By 2012, it was clear that the world of Business Analytics had moved on – it was time to update. Once again, we had the “build or buy” decision. Operations investigated the options and came to the conclusion that many IT Departments reach – it is more cost effective to build our own. Twelve months, and one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboard later, it was clear that we were not accomplishing what needed to be done – the goal was one functional area dashboard per month; not one per year. Operations decided they needed help and outsourced four of the 12 planned dashboards. After six months,

one of four projects was completed, but the visualization was too ugly to put into production. Anything is possible with enough time and money The build-your-own approach is really NOT less expensive. The costs are just better hidden and often times not understood at the project start. For the past month, we have been researching and doing proof of concept visualizations working with a number of Business Analytics companies. Clearly Operations was biased when the decision to build our own BI tool was made. If you are developing your own data warehouse and reporting tools – that is, develop versus buy – then here are a few things to consider: • The IT Department will estimate the time to program new reports and Dashboards. The management team will need to factor in the time to design and specify reports, communicate these needs to the development team and then test and validate reports once completed. IT will then need to document business rules and algorithms. Be optimistic and assume that this cycle is required only twice per report. My rule of thumb is to triple the estimated time for development in order to be in the realm of reality. • Then there are the hidden costs: hardware, software and the staff to specify, configure, and maintain all of this equipment. When figuring out costs, remember that hardware has a useful life of about three years. • Who will provide support to the internal end users? Who will be responsible for maintaining the database? Who will be responsible for on-going enhancements? The argument that is often presented is that it is more cost effective to develop in-house – but time is also important. Remember the rule of thumb – triple all time estimates. This increases the cost. Do you know what the fully-loaded hourly cost is for your development team? What about your business analysts? Are you prepared to wait three years for that new Dashboard? Conclusion Remember the rule of three – three times the cost, three times the original schedule, and three times the frustration.

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


On accident investigation authority An open letter from FTA to the industry By Therese W. McMillan

Dear Colleagues: I am writing to share important information about the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) ongoing role in strengthening transit safety as it relates to our accident investigation authority. In particular, I want you to know how FTA accident investigators operate and interact with State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs) and FTA grantees to promote safety throughout the transit industry. In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) granting authority to the FTA to conduct investigations, inspections, audits, examinations and testing to ensure the safety of America’s federally funded transit systems. Additionally, FTA has the authority to make reports, issue safety directives, issue subpoenas and take depositions. These authorities provide the FTA with a clear mandate to conduct investigations for safety oversight of the transit industry. The FTA accident investigators have extensive rail transit safety experience enabling them to analyze and evaluate reports, hazards, operations and procedures. The role of these investigators is two-fold: to investigate safety-related events in the transit industry and to gather information that informs the safety process within the FTA. The FTA’s investigators may travel to the scene   of an incident, or simply contact the responsible SSOA, the FTA grantee or other involved parties to obtain information. An FTA Federal investigation in no way changes the expectations and regulatory requirements for FTA grantees and SSOAs to conduct their own comprehensive investigations.   The duties of FTA investigators also include regularly contacting SSOAs, transit providers, manufacturers, trade organizations and other   industry stakeholders to collect detailed safety-related data. These communications are part of FTA’s   effort to use Safety Management System processes to identify risk across the transit industry. As a result, FTA’s investigators may contact you when there has been an   accident or incident, as well as on a regular basis as they seek to partner with you to make a very safe mode of travel even safer.   It is important to make clear the difference between investigations conducted by the FTA and the National Transportation Safety   Board (NTSB). The NTSB is an independent Federal agency that conducts investigations and issues safety recommendations aimed   at preventing future accidents, although it has no enforcement or regulatory authority over any mode of transportation. When the   NTSB conducts an investigation, it does so to determine the probable cause of an accident and to make recommendations to prevent a   reoccurrence of that particular event. The FTA’s investigations serve a different purpose.   While FTA also conducts accident investigations to determine probable cause, it differs from the NTSB insofar as FTA can take   action to address the cause of a a regulatory or other enforceable given accident. It also is important to note that by regulation, the FTA is guaranteed party status in  any NTSB investigation of a transit safety incident. For a given transit-related safety event, the FTA may



participate in an NTSB investigation, conduct its own independent investigation or choose not to investigate at all. I remain committed to keeping you informed on all developments of our growing safety oversight program, and furthering our mutual goal of keeping transit workers and passengers safe. Please feel free to contact Thomas Littleton, associate administrator for Transit Safety and Oversight, at (202)-366-9239 or via email at, with any questions or concerns on FTA’s safety investigation role. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of public transportation passengers. Sincerely yours, Therese W. McMillan Acting Administrator Federal Transit Administration

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TITLE: B40663 Furnish and Deliver 138   Low Floor 40‐ft. CNG Buses.    

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Newton Bus Service Gloucester, VA


Newton Bus Service operates by the motto, “making sure everything is done right.” That’s the sentiment behind Newton Bus’s purchase of two 2015 MCI J4500s that the company operates within its tour business operating up and down the East coast. Newton’s two latest J4500s, part of its 20-coach fleet, features a Detroit Diesel engine and Allison transmission with all-luxury appointments inside – wood grain floors and paneling, Wi-Fi and a full state-of-the-art-entertainment system. The coaches are also fitted for wheelchair access. The J4500 is a true utility player for Newton Bus. In addition to providing an industry-leading standard of tour and charter passenger comfort, Newton continues to do fill-in work with Greyhound during busy seasons of the year.

In one of the largest contracts between NJ TRANSIT and MCI, New Jersey’s public transportation board of directors has authorized the purchase of 772 fully-featured MCI 45-foot Commuter Coaches. In the latest equipment purchase in a 33-year relationship between NJ TRANSIT and MCI, the $395 million order for clean diesel, cruiser-style coaches will offer NJ TRANSIT riders three-point seatbelts, comfortable forward-facing seating for 57 passengers, as well as individual airflow controls and reading lights. The six-year delivery schedule for the new Commuter Coaches will begin in 2016. This latest order between MCI and NJ TRANSIT will replace existing MCI coaches in New Jersey’s fleet.

Underway, Not Under Repair. Small BuS HVaC from tHe Big BuS expertS 3 Unmatched Reliability 3 Superior Capacity 3 Expert Service & Support | BUSRIDE



UITP undertakes EBFS_2 By Doug Jack

One of the concept drawings for the original EBSF project.


uring the Congress and Exhibition in Milan in June, UITP launched EBSF_2 — the second phase of European Bus System of the Future, largely funded by the European Union, which UITP will manage. This follows the original project which ran from 2008 to 2012. The purpose of this project has been to consider the design and development of buses not as an isolated venture, but as part of an urban transport system. The project looked at vehicle design, passenger flow on and off vehicles (including optimum accessibility), passenger information systems, driver workplaces and comfort, diagnostics to monitor vehicle performance, as well as the coordination of services with other transport modes. At the original launch, some artist’s very futuristic impressions of buses showed large amounts of glass and minimal seating, but at least they stimulated thought. Several manufacturers participated in that project. Some refined their standard products, but the most outstanding was an articulated bus developed by Volvo with the driver’s compartment mounted centrally over the front axle. While it resulted in a long wheelbase in the front section, it increased the area of a flat floor one step above the ground. Four double-width doors facilitated rapid entry and exit. Although this model did not enter volume production, some of the ideas carried forward to subsequent Volvo buses. A total of 42 organizations will take part in the EBSF_2 project. They include bus OEMs Irizar, Iveco, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo as well as with 10 suppliers of systems/services and research entities, along with public transport authorities in Gothenburg, Lyon, London and Madrid. There are also public transport operators, trade associations and other partners described as knowledge providers. In the broadest terms, EBSF_2 is looking to establish advanced solutions for improved efficiency and attractiveness of bus systems. The project has identified six key areas for innovation and has set ambitious targets for their achievement.



1. Strategy and auxiliaries: The first area covers energy. The target is to achieve a 10-percent reduction in energy consumption by auxiliary systems such as HVAC by improving air circulation and door sealing. Passenger doors pose a potential conflict. On the one hand, they must be safe and fully controlled. On the other, ease of access is important in reducing dwell time at stops. In Europe, the variety of doors systems from a number of specialist suppliers is bewildering, with doors operated both by air and electrically; opening inward and outward, single leaf and twin leaf. 2. Green Driver Assistance: There are already systems on the market in which a series of lights in the driver’s compartment note if the bus is being driven economically or harshly. Bus fleets can monitor individual drivers and help them to improve their efficiency. In some fleets, the drivers with the best results are given cash incentives. Stagecoach, the largest bus group in the United Kingdom, reckons that these systems can save 3 to 4 percent on fuel consumption. EBSF_2 wants to see systems utilizing different propulsion technologies, such as diesel, hybrid and all-electric, with a target of 5-8 percent reduction in energy and fuel. 3. IT standards: The target is to raise IT standards and make systems on board vehicles and back-office support compatible with other public transport systems in the same city or region. The aim is to achieve faster, easier and more cost-effective public transport. The speed in delivering commercial services is, of course, subject to other factors such as traffic density, for which the biggest improvements come from dedicated bus lanes and other priority measures. 4. Vehicle design: The overall design principally considers capacity, accessibility and modularity. At the launch, UITP showed a picture of an ingenious design by Iveco Bus with forward-facing twin seats for use in quieter off-peak periods, where one-half of the seat could slide under the other half, leaving single seats against the side-wall and creating a much wider gangway for standing passengers during peak periods.


In terms of capacity, early designs of electric vehicles suggested too much battery intrusion in the passenger area. Studies on accessibility will concentrate on passenger flow and dwell time at bus stops. Multiple doors reduce dwell times, but at the risk of fare evasion. However, clever ticketing and payment systems can minimize that problem, and need to be considered in the overall project. 5. Intelligent garage and predictive maintenance: With the goal of a 10-percent reduction in garage and maintenance costs, EBSF_2 will study optimized maintenance processes and algorithms, changing from scheduled preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance. All the main European manufacturers have very thorough maintenance guidelines for their backed software which can constantly monitor the performance of a bus for interrogation remotely by engineers in a depot. The OEMs can offer contract maintenance carried out on the customer’s premises or at authorized dealerships. It will be interesting to see how EBSF_2 tackles the maintenance aspects of this project, as all the OEMs promote their recommended maintenance systems very strongly, often as unique selling points, closely tied in with the vehicle warranty and the use of recommended oils and maintenance intervals. The project also wants to study optimization of garage costs, including automation of parking procedures. This will be an interesting challenge in the duty cycle of a bus returning to its garage, getting washed, refueled for the following day and then parked. In the United Kingdom, most garages tend to have a mix of different sizes of vehicles, from midibuses to double-deckers. EBSF_2 will specifically include electric buses. Garages will need overnight recharging facilities. The concern is fast-charging facilities at the end of each route must be compatible with the different makes of electric buses. We are already seeing different systems on fast-charging buses, from inductive to conductive. When Volvo first introduced fast charging, a pantograph mounted on the roof of the bus rose to make contact with the overhead charging gantry. In the latest version, the pantograph is part of the overhead gantry and comes down to make contact with the roof of the bus. This saves weight on each bus and also reduces the required number of pantographs. Other manufacturers prefer a charging system beneath the bus that can also recharge other electric vehicles, such as municipal and local delivery trucks.

The latest Volvo fast-charging system with the drop-down pantograph. | BUSRIDE



6. Bus and urban interface: The last area for study in the EBSF_2 project is the interface between bus and the urban infrastructure, what UITP describes as the interplay between buses and bus stops with specific attention to safety and passenger flow. Electric vehicles require a new configuration of bus stops. The project will also look at a new generation of bus terminals. In Western Europe, the internet is making fundamental changes to shopping habits. Many people purchase goods online for home delivery by vans. As a result, fewer people are visiting traditional urban shopping centres. This is creating an urgent need to regenerate traditional urban centers. Solutions include the abolition of parking charges. Hopefully EBSF_2 will look at measures to improve the travel experience by bus, including shelters for waiting passengers and high-quality route information. In too many cities, the residents understand and know how to use their transport network, but the systems throw up barriers to visitors and tourists.

A Solaris BRT vehicle in Paris.

Twelve EBSF_2 demonstration projects will take place in seven European countries, involving more than 500 buses with diesel, hybrid and electric power. Hopefully, EBSF_2 will produce guidelines that will be of benefit to the entire industry, including fleets, drivers, passengers and the cities that they serve. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.



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BUSRide September 2015  

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