How to say Welcome aboard Page 14
Inside Turtle Top construction
Special Section: Batteries and ultracapacitors
HVAC: Ventilation is key Page 60
The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry www.busride.com â€˘ $5.00
BUSRide ROAD TEST:
Texoma Paratransit tests Glaval Titan II LF Page 18
September 2012 cover story
BUSRide ROAD TEST:
Glaval Titan II LF
Texoma Area Paratransit System sold on the kneeling support and easy access By David Hubbard
14 How to say Welcome aboard
Energy Storage Special Section
FMCSA encourages operators to adopt an onboard pre-trip safety announcement; Terrapin Blue shows how By Bob Copestake
38 Group 31 AGM is the
only way to go
44 Eco-friendly energy
avoid questions later
Improved predictive analytics correctly identify safety hazards By Mark Collett
28 Motorcoaches are
now in the loop
Indian Trails and MDOT bring a proven technology to hearing-impaired bus riders By David Hubbard
32 Turtle Top shows
what it’s made of
An inside look at construction and component testing By David Hubbard
departments 8 10 25 26 53 65
Motorcoach Update Deliveries Transit Update The Transit Authority Going Green Marketplace
55 Five steps to a
Batteries must match growing demands from greater electrical loads By Brad Bisaillon
22 Clearer images
storage good for all
in as needed
ElectroMotive Design goes with Ioxus ultracapacitors in emDRIVE® By David Hubbard
Give it a rest 51
The Redline Phone Blox removes the temptation to call and drive By Ginny Foster
30 Risk Management 48 The International Report
Begin by planning the work and working the plan By Keith Sheardown
Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitors power 5000 buses worldwide By David Hubbard
46 Full tilt power kicks
stronger supply chain
Tip of the Month
Begin by planning the work and U.S. DOT guidance for the safe transport of medical oxygen for personal use By Robert A. McGuire
60 HVAC: Ventilation is key Properly cleaning HVAC units
is time consuming, but the payoff is well worth it By Robert Buchwalter
Correction: BUSRide August 2012, David Hubbard; the motorcoach accident in question occurred on the New England Expressway. BUSRide
Even for the safest operators, accidents are part of the motorcoach business. But recovering from a collision shouldnâ€™t require extensive downtime. Simply count on Prevost Service for bumper-to-bumper repairs for your Prevost, Volvo and Nova coaches. All work is performed by skilled technicians and welders who are committed to the high standards used in factory production. Following ISO-certified protocols, our experts access the latest technical and engineering data for your specific coach. Immediate access to OEM parts means accident work proceeds without delay, and replacement coaches help you meet your passenger obligations. Prevost collision repair. The only way to get your coach back to assembly-line perfection. And the fastest way to get back on the road.
Prevost Service Locator Mobile App. Available for iPhone and Android. Please contact your Prevost Regional Service Manager for more information. USA 1-877-773-8678
T h e u l t i m a t e c l a s s.
MAP-21 is good for the motorcoach industry BUSRide stands with the bus and motorcoach industry to offer congratulations — and breathe a long sigh of relief — that Congress managed to pull together and come to an agreement on the next transportation authorization. President Obama signed Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) in July. MAP-21 extends surface transportation programs through September 2014. In addition to funding for much-needed provisions in public transit, this legislation also begins to resolve a number of long-standing issues that affect safety and compliance in the motorcoach industry. If all goes to plan, the new legislation ensures a more disciplined approach to managing and monitoring new entrants in the industry, which should go a long way to corral the rogue operators slithering under the radar whose actions have perpetrated so much misperception. The stricter policy has essentially criminalized their actions, allowing the secretary of transportation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to increase the penalties for non-compliance and put considerably more sting into enforcement. For instance, the operator who willfully ignores an out-of-service violation, or shows no regard for a cease-and-desist order, can now expect to face a fine of up to $25,000 per incident. Rather than allow the driver to leave the scene and see the same company suspiciously reappear a week later under a different name in a new location, inspecting officers now have the authority by the secretary to impound vehicles on the spot they deem an imminent hazard to public safety — and can include fleetwide impoundment. At the same time, MAP-21 requires state transportation departments to elevate standards and enforcement agencies to demonstrate more diligent inspection programs for buses and motorcoaches as well as trucks. Without saying as much, the new legislation should give officers pause before pulling over a commercial carrier for a roadside inspection, as MAP-21 now holds the state responsible for the safety and security of the passengers on-
board. The inspection process can no longer leave the paying customers unduly stranded and make it the fault of the company in question. The state is responsible for providing and paying for all necessary accommodations. This action should encourage more consideration of where and when to inspect a vehicle other than the terminal or destination. In the case of an imminent hazard that prevents the vehicle from continuing safely, officers might be more diligent in locating a reputable carrier in the area to bring up another coach to transport the passengers. The process will no longer be as easy for newcomers to the bus and coach business. Before receiving authority to operate, the new entrant must pass a written exam to demonstrate an understanding of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). No more checking the box and signing off without verifiable proof. MAP-21 further mandates that new passenger carriers undergo a safety review no later than 120 days after receiving operating authority. FMCSA mandates also could impose a registration fee to cover the cost of the new entrant inspection. A motor carrier previously declared unfit will have to wait three years from the infraction date to apply for new authority. The law further requires a registration update within 30 days of a carrier changing addresses, contact information, officers, process agents and other essential information. With regard to physical safety enhancements and redesign to vehicles, MAP-21offers flexibility and a considerate timeline reaching to 2017 to allow for science-based engineering and common sense safety improvements with regard to cost and feasibility. Peter Pantuso, President and CEO of the American Bus Association (ABA) expressed his praise of Congress for having listened and responded in earnest to the industry’s concerns, giving a shout-out to Representatives John Mica, Bill Shuster and John Duncan, who have each taken a very serious interest in motorcoach safety.
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BUS industry SAFETY council
POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide • 4742 North 24th Street • Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 • F: (602) 277-7588 Web site: www.busride.com
Vol. 48 No. 9 Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra
Accountant Fred Valdez
Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600, ext. 203.
Once called a Latino Lifeline, Latin Express Services, Miami, FL, known for its colorful coach graphics and signature splashy rainbow, run coaches that glow along the eastern seaboard between major northeast cities and Miami-Fort Lauderdale and the west coast of Florida. Passengers reach Florida in a little over 24 hours, as La Cubana outfits an onboard bunk so drivers can get their mandated rest.
Radio Engineering Industries, Inc. (REI), Omaha, NE, exceeded delivering expectations over the summer and earned a Gold Level New Flyer Industries 2011 Supplier Delivery Performance Award, which recognizes suppliers who have provided value-based, quality products with 99 percent on-time delivery to New Flyer production facilities.REI enjoys a 10plus year partnership with New Flyer.
MCI names Patrick Scully vice president of Public Sector Sales and Marketing Motor Coach Industries (MCI) announced today that Patrick Scully has been named vice president of Public Sector Sales and Marketing. The move follows MCI’s recent acquisition of the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights for Setra motor coaches from Daimler Bus, where Scully was formerly chief commercial officer. At MCI, Scully will lead the Public Sector division that serves public transit, military, university, law enforcement and other transportation specialty markets. Scully will also significantly contribute to MCI’s strategic and long-term planning as part of the company’s executive team. He reports to Rick Heller, MCI president and CEO.
Diamond Coach unveils the VIP 3201
Rotary Lift, Madison, IN, recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of it MOD30 modular environmentally friendly in-ground lift, which Rotary Lift says changed the industry when increasing environmental and safety concerns in the 1990s led many service managers to install surface lifts instead.
ITEXPO, the world’s largest and best-attended communications and technology trade show, takes place in Austin, TX, October 2-5. Registration is open to meet the entire communications and technology community that includes vendor companies, service providers, manufacturers, developers, government and end users. Contact http://itexpo.tmcnet.com to register.
Stagecoach, London, U.K., has completed its acquisition of Coach America. The company bought nine businesses and related assets and liabilities for $134.2 million. In addition, the firm has purchased 12 coaches for a cash consideration of $2.9 million from the company, which also retains the option to sell further vehicles to Stagecoach for the balance of a potential cash consideration of up to the $22.7 million.
The Diamond Coach wide-body VIP 3201 accommodates up to 32 passengers in spacious 19-inch wide seats.
Diamond Coach Corporation, Oswego, KS, introduced its new 102-inch wide-body VIP 3201 during its 2012 dealer meeting. The bus offers available seating options for up to 32 passengers in spacious 19inch wide seats. Built of no-rust composite and affixed to an International UC chassis, the VIP 3201 incorporates Diamond’s trademark fiberglass step well. The composite construction provides a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,500 lbs. A 300 horsepower diesel Maxxforce 7 turbodiesel engine features a compacted graphite iron block. up to thirty-two passengers with a variety of seating options. Diamond Coach President Dick Seybolt
says the expanded size, expanded seating and expanded options for handicapped access make the VIP 3201 a unique offering. “The market for bigger, more efficient, more powerful bus transportation is growing rapidly, and I know it is difficult to match the demand for larger buses, larger seats and more interior design options with the weight limit requirements and a desire for durability,” he says. “This vehicle features three-quarter-inch exterior grade plywood flooring and many standard amenities, such as seat belts. The 3201 is an extraordinary value.”
Greyhound to the rescue at World Choir Games When an Indonesian choir endured a traveling mishap that forced its 49 members to miss their scheduled performances at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, OH, two divisions of FirstGroup America took quick and generous action to turn the group’s nightmare into a positive memory by helping the choir to get to the West Coast. The Gema Chandra Cendrawasih University Choir from Papua arrived at the games seven days late. Already providing transportation to the games’ more than 15,000 participants, First Student scrambled to provide another bus for the choir. Senior Location Manager Jim Ring secured the transportation and First Student bus driver Richard Fumey stepped up to drive the choir Sunday and Monday. But its troubles weren’t over. The group planned to fly from Cincinnati to San Francisco to catch their connecting flight home to Indonesia. However, their tickets from Cincinnati to San Francisco were voided following their first traveling mishap.
The Gema Chandra Cendrawasih University Choir from Papua was thankful to leave the driving to Greyhound.
When First Student National Charter Sales Manager Lisa Marrs learned this, she immediately contacted Greyhound’s David Reeves and Sharon Hagen. Marrs asked if Greyhound could pick the choir up in Cincinnati and transport the members to San Francisco so they could fly home to Indonesia Friday morning. Despite this being Greyhound’s busy sea-
son and the absence of routes to San Francisco, Reeves and Hagen pulled together what was needed to pick up the students Tuesday to begin their 54- hour trip to the West Coast. The choir is enjoying a better view of the U.S. than most of the other choirs had the chance to see.
CH Bus Sales earns Blue Seal of Excellence CH Bus Sales, Inc., Orlando, FL, the exclusive distributor of Temsa motorcoaches in the United States, earned Blue Seal of Excellence recognition from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) — meaning 75 percent of its maintenance professionals are ASE certified. ASE is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service by means of voluntary testing and certification for automotive repair and service professionals. ASE certification also requires a certified technician in each area of service offered. To remain in the program, a business must renew each year and confirm the certification status of its professionals. “Employing ASE-certified professionals is an important element in a company’s overall customer satisfaction program, says ASE President Timothy Zilke. “We salute those businesses that achieve this goal and thank them for helping promote quality automotive repair and service.”
AFC Transportation Houston, TX
A 2012 Van Hool C2045 marks the 13th Van Hool motorcoach for AFC Transportation. The coach is equipped with leather trimmed seats with 3-point seatbelts, woodgrain floor, oversized 22” video monitors and a contoured overhead rack with PC and iTouch connections. A Cummins ISX engine couples to an Allison GenIV B500 transmission. John Ferrari founded AFC by adding limousines as an amenity to complement his family’s five-star restaurant business, La Tour D’Argent. Once his customers asked for motorcoaches, he went all-in with chauffeured service in limousine, charter and transit vehicles.
Empire Coach Line Orlando, FL
Empire Coach Line has recently taken delivery of three Van Hool C2045’s, which are European style 57-passenger vehicles featuring video screens with DVD, air conditioning, a restroom, large luggage bays, overhead bins, reclining seats and microphones. The motorcoaches are manufactured in Belgium by Van Hool, one of the largest independent manufacturers of buses, coaches and commercial vehicles in the world. Empire started with a single used coach in 2005, and now operates 14 coaches and two transit buses providing charter, shuttle and convention services to the Central Florida area.
Victoria, BC, Canada
BC Transit began taking delivery at its Victoria facility in July on 57 ARBOC Spirit of Mobility vehicles, with final delivery of the first order scheduled for mid-November. The order comes from a contract awarded to Dynamic Specialty Vehicles to develop and monitor the procurement, which includes an extension clause if BC Transit chooses to extend the contract on a yearly basis. Upon arrival and inspection, BC Transit will release the buses to various transit properties throughout the province of British Columbia.
MOTOR Coach Industries
Tour West America Phoenix, AZ
Tour West America President Peter Shelbo recently made MCI his coach of preference, taking delivery on the companyâ€™s first J4500 while citing its service and reliability. The coach comes equipped with a Cummins and Allison transmission, electronic stability control, fire suppression equipment and tire monitoring system, and the optional three-point passenger seatbelts. Tour West America began in 1983 in Yuma, AZ. Shelbo and B.J. Brooks acquired the company, moved it to Phoenix and have since grown the company into a fleet of 18 coaches and buses.
Latin Express La Cubana Miami Miami, FL
Latin Express Service, Inc., operator of La Cubana Miami, purchased three MCI J4500 coaches that feature the companyâ€™s signature splashy rainbow graphic, bringing the MCI fleet count to nine. The J4500s feature wheelchair lifts, three-point passenger seatbelts, and come equipped with Cummins and Allison transmissions, electronic stability control, fire suppression equipment and a tire monitoring system. La Cubana also customizes its J4500s with an onboard bunk so drivers can get their mandated rest. President and owner Rosa Alvarez-Cambo picked the pink for her granddaughter.
Clark Travel Taylor, TX
Clark Travel, a Texas-based charter company, recently took delivery of 10 new MCI J4500 coaches equipped with the latest engine technology for near-zero emissions, a high-end entertainment system, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and 110-volt outlets, bringing its fleet to 26 MCI coaches. Clark Travel employs nearly 55 people and serves many area schools, colleges and youth groups. The company recently consolidated it locations, opening a new nineacre, 13,500-square-foot facility in Taylor, near Austin, that includes an environmentally friendly bus wash, three-bay maintenance area and space for fueling.
September 2012 11
people in the news
J Thomas Hodges
Bob Paddon, executive vice president, Strategic Planning and Public Affairs, TransLink, Vancouver, BC, Canada, has been elected chair of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). Bob came to TransLink in 2001 from Metro Vancouver, bringing expertise in local government, communications, media relations and business administration. He was also part of the Metro Margaret O’Meara Vancouver team that created TransLink. Paddon supersedes John King, City of Lethbridge, who becomes immediate past chair. New members to the CUTA Executive Committee include Stéphane Forget, Société de transport de Montréal, first vice chair; Laurent Chevrot, Société de transport de Sherbrooke, vice chair Communications & Public Affairs; Chris Akiyama, Carsten Reinhardt SEON Design, vice chair Business Members; and Daniel Bergeron, Agence métropolitaine de transport. Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), Cincinnati, OH, appointed J. Thomas Hodges as chair and Suzanne Burke as vice chair for the unexpired officer terms for this year until the next election
in early 2013. They have served as interim chair and vice chair since May. WTS International, an association for the advancement of women in the transportation industry, named Margaret O’Meara as its Woman of the Year. O’Meara is a vice president in the Boston office of Parsons Brinkerhoff, where she is responsible for client relationship management, strategic planning and business development within the company’s New England region. Carsten J. Reinhardt is now a member of the Corporate Board of Management of Voith GmbH, and president and CEO of Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG. Reinhardt has nearly 20 years of international management experience in the areas of commercial vehicles and powertrain manufacturing. MCI named Jim Stibgen as director of its Aftermarket Parts Sales team. Ray Smith rejoins the companyas parts solutions manager for the Northeast and Eastern regions. Mark Haake continues as a parts solutions manager for the South and South Eastern Regions, and Doug Depape remains parts solutions manager in Canada.
Passengers board a Megabus coach in New York City. Copestake writes that all coach companies can benefit from welcoming their customers aboard with a safety message.
How to say Welcome aboard
FMCSA encourages operators to adopt an onboard pre-trip safety announcement; Terrapin Blue shows how
By Bob Copestake A cordial and informative Welcome Aboard is one of the most important elements to a safe motorcoach trip. Following several serious motorcoach accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a basic safety plan for motorcoach companies. Drawing on recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it includes a safety awareness program for passengers. FMCSA is offering this guidance to encourage operators to adopt an onboard pre-trip safety announcement for their passengers similar to what the airlines provide on every flight (refer to FMCSA Federal Docket No. FMCSA–2005–21324). The thought is that every passenger deserves a safe trip and needs to know what to do if a problem develops along the way. Find the Bus and Motorcoach Safety Information Plan for Passengers on the FMCSA website: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ about/outreach/bus/bus.htm. In addition to its safety aspects, a Welcome Aboard safety announcement also presents coach operators with an excellent opportunity to reinforce the special values and services the company can provide for its onboard guests. When properly produced and executed, it can set a tone that will make the company the carrier of choice for future trips.
A customized announcement can provide information about the unique services the operator provides, as well as the unique passenger comfort and safety features of the vehicle. The Welcome Aboard safety announcement helps create a positive relationship between the operator and passengers, providing the perfect opportunity for a formal introduction and to impress upon the passengers that safety is the primary concern. This announcement establishes the driver as the “Captain of the Ship,” whom the passengers can look to for leadership and basic instructions in matters pertaining to the trip that must include all safety precautions in case of an emergency. The company can present its Welcome Aboard safety announcement in various formats: verbally by the driver, with written brochures, through a recorded audio format, or over the television monitors in a DVD/video format. A company can create a professionally customized DVD format with a small investment that will clearly provide the critical safety information, as well as explain the essential safety measures and emergency exits on their specific vehicle(s). Additionally, the message can also include a customized segment promoting the company and its unique transportation services.
Welcome aboard Tips for a successful safety announcement: 1. Begin with a cordial welcome that thanks the passengers for choosing the company for their coach travel and assures them that their safety is absolutely the top priority for a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
continued 2. Clearly point out and explain each of the various safety features on the vehicle or motorcoach such as emergency exits, all signage, release handles and safety mechanisms, handrails, lighting, fire extinguishers, seat belts where applicable and first aid kits and medical equipment. Repeat the information for each safety feature if warranted.
3. Point out some basic vehicle controls in the driver compartment, such as how to operate the emergency parking brake and how to open the front door. This may be important information if the driver becomes incapacitated. 4. It may be reasonable to take the time to demonstrate some of the safety features on the motorcoach. Many survivors of serious bus and coach accidents have stated they did not know how to get out of the vehicle or how to release the emergency exit hatches. Regardless of how it is delivered, the Welcome Aboard announcement must address the passengersâ€™ basic safety principles that the company requires them to observe and practice while onboard, such as staying seated while the bus is moving, wearing the seatbelt if available and how to safely move about in a moving bus. Discuss some basic emergency procedures. Remind them to remain calm in all circumstances and to look to the driver for leadership in an emergency. Make it clear to passengers how to evacuate the bus in an orderly manner and what they should do once they exit the bus. Give them appropriate emergency numbers and remind them to call 911 to report an emergency or to call the home office if they have onboard safety concerns. For school-aged groups or boisterous partying groups, the safety announcement can also provide a way to establish reasonable onboard noise levels, appropriate forms of conduct and acceptable onboard activities. Remind everyone to be respectful of all passengers and help them to think about the needs of others while onboard during a normal trip as well as in case of emergency. As a closing note, the Welcome Aboard announcement can point out the convenience features and special amenities on the coach that reinforce the companyâ€™s wish for a safe and enjoyable trip. End by thanking the customers for their business. BR Veteran safety professional Bob Copestake serves as director of safety for Terrapin Blue, Athens, GA, and previously was vice president for safety at Coach America, overseeing 30 locations in four regions.
16 September 2012
Texoma Area Paratransit System was among the first companies to demo the Titan II LF prototype, testing it in Sherman, TX.
By David Hubbard The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 mandates that people with disabilities and other physical or mental challenges be able to lead productive lives through the availability of public transit. The legislation is the impetus of low-floor bus design, which utilizes a ramp for wheelchair passengers to board. Until then, people with disabilities considered public transportation out of the question. With the rise in mobility-assisted ridership for the disabled and elderly, now more than ever the demand for low-floor buses is in full stride. Glaval Bus, Elkhart, IN, a manufacturer of commercial buses since 1998, first unveiled the prototype of its Titan II LF low floor model in 2011. Based on its predecessor, the Titan II, one of the companyâ€™s top-selling models, the Titan II LF totally eliminates the need for steps by incorporating a Ricon or Braun wheelchair ramp with a 1:6 slope, which exceeds the current ADA minimum standard of 1:4. The Titan II LF is available in 24-, 26- and 28-foot lengths with various random access configurations to accommodate up to five wheelchairs. Glaval Bus worked with Spartan Chassisâ„˘, Charlotte, MI, to develop an integrated chassis/floor structure to achieve a level floor surface for all wheelchair positions with only a minor slope between the rear wheel wells.
The Titan II Low-Floor custom vocational chassis from Spartan Chassis incorporates a four-corner, self-leveling air suspension that gives it the ability to kneel with the touch of a single switch.
Glaval Bus can build the Titan II LF with perimeter style seating to accommodate hotel and airport shuttles, as well as car rental agencies. INSET: The Titan II LF offers configurations to accommodate up to five wheelchairs with room inside the bus to secure wheelchairs and easily maneuver passengers in and out.
Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS), Sherman, TX, sold on the kneeling feature and easy access Features of the purpose-built low-floor platform • • • •
1:6 ramp angle on level ground exceeds ADA minimum Low-floor design offers improved route cycle times with ramp Straight entrance maximizes interior floor space Floor design allows random access for all passengers
Specifications • • • • •
Chevy G4500, 6.0L gas chassis Front and rear air-ride suspension with sway bars Front and rear electronic control kneeling Available in 24-ft, 26-ft and 28-ft lengths High-strength, low-alloy steel construction: 50,000 psi minimum yield • Powder-coated frame for extended life and corrosion resistance • Premium air dryer system with spin-on eco-friendly filtration • 5 year/100,000 mile limited chassis warranty • 460 authorized service centers nationwide • Comprehensive service training for service technicians
Utilizing a Chevy 4500 as its foundation, Spartan made extensive design modifications and reinforcements to the chassis and incorporated a four-corner self-leveling air-ride suspension with capability to kneel with the touch of a single switch. The Spartan purpose-built structure integrates the chassis frame rails into the lowered floor members while maintaining much of the Chevy OEM components like the drive shaft, rear axle and brakes. Models are available with a rear wheel drive Vortec 6.0L V-8. Glaval says it is also looking to offer the Titan II LF with the Duramax 6.6L diesel in the near future. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is also an option. Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS), Sherman, TX, is a private, non-profit corporation providing assisted bus transportation. From its facilities in Sherman and Dennison TAPS serves elderly and disabled passengers in six counties, running 67 active units on six routes and covering two million miles a year. TAPS General Manager Joel Gardner of managing partner First Transit was among the first to demo the prototype, using it in service this past spring and summer.
Glaval Titan continued
“We were actually considering and testing as many as five different vehicles,” he says. “When the Glaval Titan II LF came in, it looked very sleek and it rolled well. But more importantly to me, when I look at a vehicle it’s always
from an operational maintenance standpoint. The best feature on this bus in my opinion is the kneeling function — a huge selling point for me. As the entire vehicle would lower, the front axle would pigeon-toe and cant, which appeared to be less stressful on the substructure.” Gardner says he is always looking for what he might have to worry about, in this case, what effect the kneeling function might have on the original body and
framework, and what repairs may crop up. “Glaval, Chevy and Spartan really came together on this model,” Gardner says. “This model is integrated so that it does not appear that the kneeling function is adding any additional stress and strain; especially on the front end of this vehicle. The bus flows smoothly into the kneeling position in a beautiful little orchestration. They were very careful and patient with the engineering to get it correct.” Preferring function over form, Gardner says the Titan II LF performs just as operators and maintenance personnel would like. “In our mind, a vehicle must first be mechanically sound and relatively easy to maintain,” he says. “I am not concerned about its looks. A bus could be laced with gold, but if there are operational and maintenance issues, I could care less.” As for any features or issues with the Titan II LF Gardner might share with the manufacturer, he says it is still too early to tell, as TAPS will not begin taking delivery on its procurement of at least 12 Titan II LFs until spring 2013. “Once the buses begin arriving and we have them in service, we may see something we want to discuss with Glaval; something where we would like to see a modification,” he says. “I think OEMs are listening to operators. I am confident any concerns would be taken to heart and that the OEM would respond proactively to come up with solutions.” Overall, the TAPS team appreciates the low floor on type-2 and type-3 cutaways because of the ease of working with elderly and disabled passengers. “It just makes it so much easier and faster than using standard WC lifts,” says Gardner. The use of a ramp saves an hour or more a day loading passengers who require an ADA accommodation.” BR
Example of a “noisy” image with static and motion blur.
Noise reduced through digital noise reduction motion technology significantly enhances the clarity.
Clearer images avoid questions later
Improved predictive analytics correctly identify safety hazards By Mark Collett Buses present high security risks because their public nature makes it difficult to screen each and every passenger. Speaking to the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Transportation Security, Greyhound Bus Lines Chief Executive Officer William Blankenship told the panel that an estimated 500,000 items brought on Greyhound buses each year could in effect be used to overtake drivers. Coupled with this is the fact that less than 2 percent of the Transportation Security Administration budget goes toward protecting surface transportation. This puts the burden of safety squarely on local law enforcement and individual transit agencies, which are facing budget cuts of their own. All of this means that bus operators are increasing their use of technology to enhance security in cost-effective and unobtrusive ways. One of the biggest technology trends we are seeing in bus transportation security is the use of predictive analytics — identifying possible safety hazards and correcting them before an incident occurs. At their core, predictive analytics are sophisticated software algorithms that create alarms based on “if-then” scenarios. For example, if a security camera captures video of someone dropping a large package into a trash can at a bus station, the system then sends an alert to authorities who can investigate the activity. Or, if a piece of baggage is loaded onto a bus but its owner does not board, it then notifies the police of a suspicious package. Of course, the algorithms are typically much more complex than this and can operate based on any number of triggers. The complexity of the technology means that all of the data under evaluation by the software needs to be as accurate as
possible in order to avoid generating false alarms, or “false positives.” This has been a common problem with analytics to date and is an issue the security industry is constantly striving to improve. One way that predictive analytics is improving is through better image quality in security cameras. The vast majority of analytics rely on visual data from IP-based security cameras, like their capability to detect motion or identify abandoned packages. The images need to be clear so the software can accurately analyze what is happening in each frame. Imagine the waste of time and money if security guards are dispatched to a bus depot to check a motion detection alert after hours, only to find that an opossum or a tree branch has tripped the alarm. Unfortunately, this has become a common reality with poor quality images fed into analytics software from security cameras. We have all seen security footage that is too grainy, too dark or washed out to be of any use. Lighting is the most common cause of poor video quality. Lighting conditions change dramatically throughout the day and even season by season. A camera facing a bus station might have ideal lighting conditions for only a few hours each day. For the rest of the time there are likely to be issues with back lighting, darkness or glare that seriously erode picture quality. In these cases, it can be quite difficult for the analytics software to distinguish between a person and a pesky opossum. Thankfully, IP camera technologies like those under development by Sony are now addressing these concerns by improving the “wide dynamic range” of IP cameras. Video taken at various shutter speeds combine into a single video stream
Sony Surveillance continued
that makes images more visible even under extremely highcontrast lighting conditions. This improves the quality of the visual data that is fed into the analytics software and reduces the number of false alarms. Wide dynamic range takes image quality beyond the megapixel trend in security cameras. Today, there is a common belief in security cameras that with more megapixels comes better image quality. While that is partly true, increasing the number of megapixels on a camera does nothing to improve how well that camera will perform under a wide variety of lighting conditions. A 10-megapixel picture of a figure that is unidentifiable due to extreme backlighting will do nothing to improve the accuracy of analytics software. On the other hand, a five-megapixel camera with excellent dynamic range can provide much more valuable data. In addition to improving the dynamic range of IP cameras, reducing the “noise” in low-light or fast-moving video enhances image quality and enables analytics software to be more accurate. In video transmission, noise refers to the level of static or blur in an image. Static often results from images that are poorly lit, while blur is a common problem with fast-moving objects against a still background. When using analytics, this
noise often results in false alarms because software algorithms can interpret the pixel changes as motion. Digital noise reduction technologies such as Sony’s XDNR feature apply filters to video that decrease static or blur. This helps IP security cameras and analytics software distinguish true motion from image noise. Unfortunately, there are still no standards in the security industry that dictate minimum performance for dynamic range and noise reduction in IP cameras. Prospective users need to conduct thorough research to determine which technology will produce the best image quality for their specific environment and lighting conditions. However, as the technology continues to improve and standards evolve, we expect that the use of predictive analytics in bus transportation systems will only increase. Links that further explain the importance of wide dynamic range in video surveillance: Explanation of dynamic range and wide dynamic range technologies: http://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/assets/files/cat/ camsec/brochures/prodbroch_viewdr_ve.pdf Actual video of backlit figure walking on train platform: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=svn4QK2z_qo BR Mark Collett is general manager of Sony Electronics Security Systems Division. He has more than 20 years of security and technology industry experience. Collett is on the Board of Directors for the Security Industry Association (SIA) and he is a frequent speaker at security industry events.
“NextTrolley” comes to I-Ride The nostalgic I-Ride Trolley service that has logged more than 25.5 million trips since it began in 1997 has unveiled a new transportation system that is taking navigating the I-Drive area to a new level. A new fleet of 15 trolleys is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated vehicle location system (AVLS) known as NextBus. Branded as “NextTrolley,” visitors can now obtain predicted Trolley arrival times and live maps. Luann Brooks, executive director of the International Drive Master Transit & Improvement District, says that the innovative technology has been utilized to make the system simpler and more convenient. “The goal of the District is to help connect our visitors to the information they
need when they are on the go within the destination,” she says. “The system uses the strength of mobile applications to provide a more interactive experience to the visitor without having to access a traditional website.”
The I-Ride Trolley service is owned by the International Drive Transit & Improvement District and is operated, under contract, by the Mears Transportation Group in Orlando, FL.
Meet the women of Foothill Transit For the first time in the 24-year history of Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, the five members of the Executive Board are all women. They acknowledged the historic accomplishment at the June 2012 meeting of their Executive Board. Sitting on the dais for 2012 meeting in June at the agency’s West Covina administrative offices were Pasadena Councilwoman Margaret McAustin, Pomona Councilwoman Paula Lantz, Board Chair Patricia Wallach, Covina Councilwoman Peggy Delach, and Diamond Bar Councilwoman Carol Herrera. The historic roster was noted for the minutes and the historic board received acknowledgements from each successive presenter. McAustin, who is serving as the first Pasadena representative on the agency’s Executive Board, noted the serendipitous timing with the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark education amendment that stated, “No person in
the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” However, the historic all-women board roster is temporary – Delach was sitting in for Glendora Councilman Doug Tessitor as an alternate at the June meeting.
With full primary member attendance, the board has four women and one man. “I’m honored just to be able to sit on this board with these other ladies,” said Delach, who has served previous terms as the Executive Board’s chair and vice chair. “It goes to show what we can all do together. I’m just thrilled to have been here.”
the transit authority
Santa Clara VTA steps up in Silicon Valley By Michael T. Burns VTA General Manager
VTA’s Bus Rapid Transit program is one of the most highly anticipated transit improvements to serve the streets of Santa Clara County.
The worldwide financial crisis that began in late 2008 resulted in an unprecedented rise in unemployment with job losses in the millions. The loss was particularly profound in Santa Clara County, with the unemployment rate peaking at 12.1 percent in January 2010. Record unemployment in Silicon Valley impacted ridership levels and sales tax revenues necessary for advancing projects and funding bus and light rail operations. Rather than wait for an economic recovery to stimulate ridership, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) looked at ways to deliver innovative services, within the confines of its own financial constraints, with the explicit goal of attracting new riders to the system. In June 2011, the VTA Board of Directors adopted a two-year budget and transit service plan that supported VTA’s objective of increasing system efficiencies and ridership by investing in service, infrastructure, and the agency’s capital program. We put recommendations into action on how to enhance VTA’s Express Bus and Limited Stop Services that serve commuters between the southern and eastern residential neighborhoods of the county and employment centers to the northwest. In Silicon Valley, it is common to find employers like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Cisco offering their own commuter bus services to compete and retain talented high-tech employees. To become more competitive with this high-
level service, VTA conducted a study to evaluate service options and vehicle amenities that were most attractive to Silicon Valley workers. Based on the feedback received, VTA introduced an enhanced Express Bus service in January 2012, featuring faster travel times, more convenient access to bus stops and adjusted schedules that fit Silicon Valley workers’ preferred commute times. With the long-distance commuter in mind, VTA deployed 20 new Gillig hybrid buses complete with Wi-Fi and reclining, high-back seats to make the travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable. VTA also launched a new express route serving the Fremont BART Station, a major destination point where passengers from the South Bay connect to the rapid rail line serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the January launch, ridership on VTA express routes has increased by 17 percent compared to the same period last year. Routes that feature the high-amenity vehicles have seen an average ridership increase of 28 percent during the first five months of 2012, with the most popular routes experiencing increases in ridership as high as 70 percent.
Is this bus or light rail?
Staying with the goal of offering a service that features upgraded amenities to attract new customers and meet the needs of loyal customers, VTA’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program is one of the most highly anticipated transit improvements to serve the streets of Santa Clara County. High quality, high-speed BRT provides the same service and amenities of light rail but at a much lower cost to implement. The plan is for BRT service to operate at 10-minute frequencies 18 hours per day, seven days per week throughout the county. BRT lines will feature light rail-like stations and facilities that bring all the benefits of rail service to a rubber-tired vehicle. Stations will facilitate rapid boarding and limited dwell time. Stations
VTA introduced an enhanced Express Bus service in January, featuring faster travel times, more convenient access to bus stops and adjusted schedules that cater to Silicon Valley workers.
relieve the over-crowded buses passengers currently experienced on the existing local service. Santa Clara County residents have never been hesitant in voicing their needs and opinions on what public transit should look like in Silicon Valley. In fact, voters have long supported taxing themselves, by passing a total of three sales tax measures in the past 35 years, to deliver much-needed and desired transit service and infrastruc-
ture improvements. With improvements like the enhanced Express Bus service and plans for future Bus Rapid Transit in place, VTA continues to pursue opportunities that will deliver a rapid, innovative, and more efficient transit system well positioned for future growth in Santa Clara County. BR Michael T. Burns serves as general manager of Santa Clara VTA, Santa Clara, CA.
and vehicles alike will offer comfort and amenities to passengers such as Wi-Fi, real-time information, quality seating and lighting, and off-board ticket vending machines. Three corridors are currently planned for BRT service, the first being the Santa Clara-Alum Rock Corridor which connects San Joseâ€™s HP Pavilion to the Eastridge Transit Center in east San Jose. Paid for by California State bond funds and local sales tax revenue, the $128 million project should be under construction by summer 2013 and operational by fall 2014. The second BRT corridor planned for El Camino Real will benefit the most cities in the county including San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto. The 17-mile stretch is currently in the planning and environmental review phases. VTA is actively pursuing federal Small Starts funding for this project, which the agency anticipates to begin service by 2017. The third corridor, which is in the early stages of conceptual design, serves one of San Joseâ€™s largest shopping and entertainment areas along Stevens Creek Boulevard through the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara and Cupertino. There has not been a cost estimate or a base design developed for this project. However, the high travel demand in this corridor has VTA taking initial steps to offer more frequent, limited stop bus service â€“ the first step towards building an effective BRT line. Beginning October 1, 2012, new Limited Stop Line 323 will provide faster, more direct service between De Anza College and Downtown San Jose with 15-minute headways on weekdays. This new line will help
Ernie Nieman, an Indian Trails driver for 22 years, points to the icon indicating that his vehicle is part of the first bus fleet in the U.S. to be equipped with hearing loops.
Motorcoaches are now in the loop Indian Trails and MDOT bring a proven technology to hearing-impaired bus riders By David Hubbard
Family-owned Indian Trails, Inc., with operations in Owosso, Kalamazoo and Romulus, MI, enjoys a 100-year history of innovation. The company says it was the first motorcoach operation to install two-way radios, video monitors, stereo sound systems and Wi-Fi on a fleet of buses. Over the summer Indian Trails teamed up with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to install hearing loop technology on a fleet of 17 motorcoaches operating 34 scheduled routes throughout the upper and lower peninsulas. For tens of thousands of Michigan residents, the Indian Trails routes are the only means to connect with the national transportation network of airports, Amtrak and Greyhound. “This is proven technology that represents an enormous improvement in the on-board experience of many of our passengers who are hard of hearing,” says Gordon Mackay, president of Indian Trails. “The cost was relatively low ― about $800 per bus ― and very little maintenance is needed. We would eventually like to see it installed in all of our motorcoaches and in all bus stations.” Hearing Loop Systems, based in Holland MI., worked with Indian Trails on the install. Established in 2008 as a division of Ascom Inc., Grand Rapids, MI. the company brings over 30 years of experience into installing audio/video systems for all types of commercial establishments and is the leading provider of loop systems. With the popularity and awareness of loops
on the rise, the company is developing systems for all types of facilities across the US, such as the Breslin Center Arena at Michigan State University and all the passenger terminals at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. “We are working together with audiologists, architects, consulting firms, and non-profit organizations across the country to promote and develop looped communities,” says Hearing Loop Systems President Todd Billin “Hearing Loop Systems is extremely excited about what Indian Trails has accomplished,
The input to the induction loop amplifier can be a sound source such as a television or stereo, a public address or sound reinforcement system, a dedicated microphone, or any sound source that users inside the looped area wish to hear more clearly. Not all loop layouts are a simple single wire surrounding a room, but this illustrates the basic principles.
and we just are passionate to teach others in the bus and coach industry about this technology.” MDOT says it was very excited over this opportunity to provide state funds to allow Indian Trails to make hearing loops available on a portion of its fleet and two intercity bus stations. MDOT also installed hearing loops on a pilot basis at bus stations in Saginaw and Bay City. According to Sharon Edgar, administrator, MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation, MDOT and Indian Trails share a commitment to increasing the accessibility of the state transportation system. At the same time, David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College, Holland, MI, has hearing loss and is one of the nation’s foremost advocates for hearing loops, and runs the website www.hearingloop.org. “I’m quite sure this is the first American bus line with hearing loops,” Myers says. “The Indian Trails and MDOT installation of hearing loops on inter-city buses is a model of transportation accessibility for the entire country.”
What is a hearing loop?
Based on proven technology dating back to the 1950s, a hearing loop is essentially a wire attached to the sound source that extends around a space such as a living room, auditorium, church, airport terminal or bus interior. The wiring enables hearing aids equipped with telecoils — tiny coils of copper wire — to amplify a single source of sound such as a telephone, television or PA system instead of amplifying all sounds as ordinary hearing aids do. The hearing loop electromagnetically transmits those sounds from the PA system directly into to the telecoil in a hearing aid, allowing hearing-impaired passengers to clearly hear the announcements while screening out surrounding noises. Nearly 70 percent of hearing aids in the U.S. are already equipped with telecoils. The inside of a bus, train, airplane or transportation terminal can be so noisy that even passengers with ordinary hearing aids cannot separate important public announcements from the sound of a crowd, a crying baby, background music or nearby conversations. “Because hearing aids work far better when a hearing loop is available, and because hearing loops are common in Great
Britain, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand, I am often asked why more hearing loops are not being installed in the U.S.,” Myers says. “The answer is that our federal disability laws require most public facilities with 50 or more seats to provide unspecified assistive listening devices, which they tend to do by letting visitors borrow earphones and pocket–size receivers that tune into FM broadcast signals or infrared waves.” He says most people with hearing loss won’t bother with those. “On the other hand, if a hearing loop is available, it’s easy for people to just flip a switch on their hearing aids and change to T-mode to get sound from the telecoil rather than through the normal microphone mode,” says Meyers. “Moreover, rather than providing the same generic headset sound to everyone, hearing aids customize hearing loop sound output to suit one’s peculiar hearing needs.” The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Bethesda, MD, the country’s leading membership and advocacy organization for people with hearing loss, provides assistance and
resources for individuals and families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss. According to HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat, the organization fully supports hearing loop technology for the independence it invites. “Hearing loops offer seamless access to facilities and services that would normally cause a hearing-impaired person a lot of frustration,” she says. “While emphasis over the last three years has been on assisted technology such as FM frequency and infrared, which require hand-held receivers and other apparatuses, hearing loops are not as obtrusive. Pushing a button on a hearing aid is a lot easier.” She says HLAA is based on self-help; that given enough information and resources, people with hearing loss can deal with a challenge and go out and make changes on their own. “We give Indian Trails high praise for responding to the needs of our members, and essentially stepping up as the leader in their industry,” says Battat. “Hopefully others will follow.” BR
Driver training must include vehicle dynamics By Matthew A. Daecher I don’t know of many bus company owners who wouldn’t agree that we expect a lot out of bus drivers. My occasional attempts to precisely define and produce a job description of a bus driver have reinforced my belief of this. While this list of duties can vary depending on the system or type of transportation, it definitely has a common core inherent in any driver position for any passenger carrier. My results have ranged in length from anywhere from one to three pages of descriptive duties. I recall a similar list the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) developed. After the committee had scribed a long list of duties, one participant spoke up, “Don’t forget about driving the coach.” Funny but true. After all, driving the company vehicle without wrecking it is certainly one of those core driver responsibilities. A preventable crash is likely to result in some type of discipline, additional training or a combination of both. While driver training practices vary widely, consideration of the fleet’s vehicle often seems to be lost on management. This is most obvious to smaller operations growing from smaller fleet vehicles into larger ones, such as limousine and shuttle van operations that often acquire minibuses as the next logical step in the move to larger vehicles. Called on to drive the larger vehicle, the driver learns from experience that larger vehicles handle differently than smaller ones. This learning experience often comes with various dings, scrapes and property damage – call it Vehicle Dynamics 101. The first step for a company in this
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transition is getting properly licensed drivers to operate the new class of vehicle — those with commercial driver licenses (CDLs). Companies typically do not hire a new driver but instead have one of their current drivers acquire the
components. Turning radius, wheelbase, engines, transmissions and other factors all affect how a particular vehicle drives, which in turn affects how drivers operate the vehicle. I know of very few large or small fleets comprised entirely of the
While driver training practices vary widely, consideration of the fleet’s vehicle often seems to be lost on management. proper license to operate the larger vehicle. What inevitably occurs, even after the driver acquires a CDL, is they use the larger vehicle less often while operating the smaller company vehicles more regularly. Within a short time these multipleclass vehicle drivers have adapted and managed to reduce collisions as they relate to vehicle dynamics. They come to understand that most vehicles operate much the same when accelerating forward, but significantly different when turning and backing. As drivers grow more capable of compensating, they are acutely aware of the differences as they switch from a smaller vehicle to a larger one. The same process may repeat itself when the company purchases its first motorcoach, though the learning curve is generally expected and not as steep. This thought about drivers also applies to fleets with only full-size motorcoaches. There is more to vehicle dynamics than class and size. Much has to do with manufacturers and individual
same make and model of vehicles. Understandably, most operators’ fleets consist of whichever buses happened to be the best deals available for the vehicle class they needed at the time. While it would be simpler to follow the Southwest Airlines model of only having one type of vehicle, reality is much different. Today’s bus companies’ fleets are a melting pot of assorted MCI, Prevost, Setra, Van Hool, Freightliner and Ford vehicles. Unfortunately for the all-motorcoach fleet, the issue of fleet dynamics and the role it can play in collisions is not as obvious as a fleet graduated makes and models. But it is just as critical due to the size differences in dynamics. So, back to our list of driver duties: It’s a tall order to ask drivers to think about the specific vehicle they are driving each day and remember all its specific operating characteristics and dynamics. That said, management should help drivers understand the differences between vehicles to limit the role of vehicle dynamics in collisions. BR
Turtle Top shows what itâ€™s made of An inside look at construction and component testing By David Hubbard
Turtle Top stakes its claim on its buses standing the test of time by sticking to its roots and building products as solid as the companyâ€™s foundation. From the standpoint of design, construction and product testing, Turtle Top buses are renowned for their full, primed roll cage and exceptionally strong load-bearing floor. Throughout the process the vehicles and components undergo rigorous and extensive testing to ensure FMVSS compliance and years of continual use.
Inside the Turtle Top construction process Photo 1
Construction of a Turtle Top vehicle begins at the floor starting with G-channel cross members that stretch from wall to wall (photo 1) followed by a full perimeter frame (photo 2). Most of the weight Photo 3
Center aisle stiffeners built of reverse cap steel C-channel (photo 3) prevents the aisle from sagging after years of operation. The seat tracks also mounted on reverse cap steel C-channels have been tested and certified to exceed DOT Standards. The contoured walls add strength, aerodynamic wind advantages
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from the construction of the cage ends up on the exterior perimeter frame where the walls meet and seats are installed.
and aesthetics that complement the quality and style. Steel corner window gussets (photo 4) add perimeter sidewall strength and create a solid built frame for the windows that prevents window sags and water leaks. All welds are made with a continuous bead as opposed to spot welding.
Before construction begins the frame is painted in primer black.
Turtle Top technicians secure the Huber Industrial Panel floor with adhesive and mechanical fasteners, which ensure there will be no squeaks or movement.
All wiring, air conditioning and heating fluids are channeled for easy access and protection from the elements.
The sidewalls and ceilings are insulated by a closed-cell stiff foam that will not sag or allow moisture to penetrate for long-life protection from the weather and sound deadening.
The lower thermal properties and higher tensile strength of the new exterior C-Tec wall makes the body dent and scratch resistance with a lower coefficient of expansion. Turtle Top also says in the event of a needed body shop repair, the serviceability of Noble Select Composite should be less expensive and less time consuming.
Given the growing concern over communicable diseases, Turtle top is a pioneer in clean bus practices that include Nanocide technology. Dimensions vinyl or NPF fabric contain the Nanocide silver particles that kill the likes of super bugs, staph infection and mildew. The process also includes Altro antimicrobial flooring and antimicrobial foam cushions, rails and handles.
One test at a time
Turtle Top says its proprietary testing and compliance program ensures product safety and durability. Rather than rely solely on vendor test results, the company works with an independent agency. One test simulates vehicle usage and confirms its vehicles are among the safest in the industry. The goal is to meet and exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). In addition to the required testing in its own research and development facility, independent labs for FMVSS safety testing include the Federal Testing Center and MGA Research Component Body Strength Testing Federal Bus Testing.
Here are a few examples of the tests Turtle Top conducts during the design and construction stages and on the finished product prior to shipping. FMVSS 207 requires seating systems to meet standard of safety regulations
Turtle Top undergoes federal bus testing at Altoona
involving strength of the assembly and installation. Turtle Top tests all seating assemblies in the vehicle to ensure normal operating data as compared to a crash. Forces required in these tests vary from 3,000 to 12,000 pounds
Component body strength testing
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Seat belt assemblies are tested and mounted to seat in a vehicle body.
Testing OEM seat belt assemblies in a modified cab.
Entrance door cycle testing.
HVAC testing in independent test labs and generally in accordance with SAE specifications verifies passenger comfort from an affective heating and cooling system.
Turtle Top installs three-point safety belt systems that meet FMVSS 208 Occupant Crash Protection standards for occupant protection devices and assemblies. Turtle Top is active with vendors/chassis manufacturers in the required testing for installation with respect to FMVSS 209-210 Seat Belt Assemblies. FMVSS 105 requires vehicle brake systems to adequately support the weight and center of gravity of the vehicle. Turtle Top conducts tests for this at Bosch Proving Grounds and Progressive Engineering. Additional weight and CG calculations are done on each vehicle before Braking center of gravity testing. shipment. Other FMVSS testing addresses the flammability of interior materials (FMVSS 305); lamps and reflective devices (FMVSS 108); and emergency exit and window retention (FMVSS 217).
Cycle tests conducted to improve design and installation prove the durability of a product through rigorous repetitive motion. Advantech cycle tests also serve to hold vendors accountable prior to the release of a product.
Heater testing to -10 degrees in cold chamber.
Turtle Top conducts continuous water testing during design and prior to shipping in a booth designed for testing at a steady 200 gallons per minute. For every bus that rolls off the line Turtle Top offers Greenshield Protection, a robust comprehensive warranty plan that the company says stands as its pledge to safety and customer satisfaction.
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Group 31 AGM is the only way to go Batteries must match growing demands from greater electrical loads By Brad Bisaillon Shrinking budgets paired with the pressure to remain profitable are challenging transit agencies and bus companies to do more with less in the wake. Ensuring the reliability of bus fleets and maintaining low operating costs have resulted in executives more closely scrutinizing bus designs and operating components such as battery technology. The latest bus models incorporate technology that requires a greater reliance on batteries to supply increased electrical loads to operate such components and accessories such as fare boxes, fire suppression systems and security and surveillance equipment. These new electrical systems put a tremendous strain on the batteries and have caused traditional flooded batteries to prematurely fail. Maintenance crews are quickly realizing the importance of selecting the right type of battery to effectively manage these more strenuous electrical loads, as well as provide the power to start buses that may have sat idle in the storage yard. Group 31 AGM batteries are proving to be the best choice for today’s mass transit bus and motorcoach operations. This new technology better handles the deep discharge inherent in these applications while retaining the capability to start the vehicle. This is a shift from 8D and 31 flooded lead acid batteries which were not able to sustain the continuous strain of electrical systems that now require power 24/7. Not all AGM batteries are the same. There are significant differences in the construction and performance characteristics that determine the ideal
regulator setting to maintain the health of the battery and gain maximum life. Onboard systems like engine ECMs, Vansco and I/O Controls prevent the regulator from being adjusted to any higher than 29.0 volts, narrowing the field of AGM batteries that best suit particular applications. Not all AGM batteries will survive at a charge voltage rate as low as 29.0 volts. Selecting the wrong battery technology could result in dramatically reduced battery life by delivering too high a current at too low a voltage, causing premature failure and unnecessary downtime, which can be costly and detrimental to a transit line’s on-schedule record. Supercapacitors (also known as ultracapacitors), when used in
conjunction with deep-cycle AGM batteries, provide effective power storage and ensure successful engine starting. Ultracapacitors can deliver their storage electrical energy at a high crank rate in a variety of extreme temperatures to provide reliable and consistent starting. Some bus fleets are adopting supercapacitor technology for cranking applications and then employing AGM battery technology to manage auxiliary loads. Implementing deep-cycle AGM batteries eliminates the need for the routine maintenance required for flooded 8D battery technology. While AGM batteries are sealed and do not require the addition of water, they do “off gas” and should have good ventilation.
Trojan’s TransPower deep-cycle batteries are used in Gillig buses in service at TheBus, which is operated by Oahu Transit Services in Hawaii.
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Nonetheless, employing standard maintenance practices is the best way to keep AGM batteries performing at their highest level. Evaluating the state-of-charge of AGM batteries is an important part of a regular battery maintenance program. Determining the state-of-charge can be easily done by taking the open-circuit voltage reading using a voltmeter and should be done while the batteries are not under an electrical load. When using an inexpensive digital voltmeter with a basic accuracy of at least 0.5 percent or better, simply attach the positive and negative voltmeter leads to the appropriate battery terminals and read the measurement. When taking measurements using a voltmeter, be sure to do the following: • Wait two hours after any charging to take a measurement. Use the disconnect switches to stop all charging or discharging if necessary. • Ensure the polarity is correct as reverse polarity meter can damage analog meters. • Measure DC voltage across the main positive and negative terminals. • Always consult the manufacturer’s technical specifications to determine the proper charge measurements for your specific batteries. Voltage readings gradually lower as batteries age. This
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occurs at a faster rate if technicians have not maintained the batteries regularly and properly. The maintenance team should keep a battery maintenance log to record voltage readings over time, which will help when troubleshooting problems. Also, if batteries are not in regular use on buses and are stored for long periods of time without being charged, they will self-discharge, and the hotter the temperature the more selfdischarge the batteries will incur. However, AGM technology has a much slower self-discharge rate than traditional flooded technology. For these reasons, it becomes necessary to charge batteries that are in extended storage approximately every six months. As buses and motorcoaches, along with the electrical systems that power them, grow more advanced, the need for more advanced battery technologies will continue to be in demand. Always purchase deep-cycle batteries from companies that have the background and expertise in providing deep-cycle battery technology that can effectively manage bus starting and auxiliary power applications. The proven battery technology providers offer products with the reliability operators count on. BR Brad Bisaillon serves as sales manager, strategic accounts and transportation for Trojan Battery, Santa Fe Springs, CA.
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Lithium-ion energy storage takes to the HyRoad
Batteries must match growing demands from greater electrical loads By David Osborne AC Transit, the third largest public bus system in the state of California, serving the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District in the Bay Area, launched the HyRoad program in 1999 to demonstrate the viability of zero-emission public transit. In conjunction with bus manufacturer Van Hool, the agency introduced a fleet of three hydrogen fuel cell buses that operated for nearly 225,000 miles with an overall fuel economy of 6.60 miles per kg., which equates to 7.55 miles per diesel equivalent gallon. During the same period AC Transitâ€™s diesel buses had a fuel economy of 4.2 mpg, which equated to the fuel cell buses having a 61 percent better fuel economy than the diesel buses. The initial demonstration project was a tremendous success. Fast forward to 2009 when Van Hool and AC Transit started looking for a new partner to provide an energy storage system for the next generation of fuel cell buses. The goal was to manufacture a total of 12 fuel cell buses using new technologies to increase efficiencies
and performance in providing service to cities around the Bay Area. AC Transit now operates the largest single fleet of fuel cell buses in the U.S. EnderDel, Indianapolis, IN, provided its lithium-ion energy storage solution to capture the energy created by the fuel cell as part of an integrated energy propulsion system. Lithium-ion cells, the core component of a lithium-ion battery, use a cathode (positive electrode) and an anode (negative electrode) coupled with an electrolyte to serve as a conductor between the two electrodes. The cathode uses a mixed oxide and the anode consists of hard carbon. During charge and discharge, the ions flow from the anode to the cathode to create, store and release the energy. To meet the desired energy and capacity required for the application, a specific number of battery pack modules containing a specific number of lithiumion cells insert into the finished battery pack. The AC Transit hybrid-electric fuel cell buses use the on-board fuel cell system to combine oxygen from the air
Van Hool and AC Transit collaborated with EnerDel to provide the energy storage system for the next generation of fuel cell buses.
with hydrogen from the tanks to produce water vapor and enough electricity to power the bus, which integrates with the lithium-ion battery pack and battery management system to manage the power system that propels the bus. Braking energy captured by the drive motors is also stored in the EnerDel lithium-ion batteries for extra power on demand.
Integrated energy storage
EnerDel provided its PE350-689 Vigor+ Battery Pack, which provides a rated capacity of 35Ah with an energy rating of 21.5kWh. The high charge and discharge rates of this battery pack delivers the performance and reliability required for the power system developed for the Van Hool fuel cell bus. The EnerDel battery pack is designed with proprietary prismatic cell technology that provides one of the highest energy densities in the industry (>145 Wh/kg). EnerDelâ€™s battery pack incorporates the T100 Assure+ Battery Management System (BMS), which integrates the battery pack with the fuel cell and continually communicates with the entire vehicle drive system with regard to efficiency and safety. The BMS also controls and manages the lithium-ion cells in the battery modules, including balancing the energy of the system at the cell level. It calculates and manages system parameters and provides diagnostics for all control system components. To date, the AC Transit hydrogen fuel cell hybrid bus fleet has traveled more than 550,000 zero-emissions miles and carried more than 1.8 million passengers. BR David Osborne serves as program management director for Transportation, EnerDel, Indianapolis, IN.
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A word about Lithium and Lithium-ion batteries Lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential and provides the largest specific energy per weight. Rechargeable batteries with lithium metal on the anode (negative electrodes) could provide extraordinarily high energy densities. However, the inherent instability of lithium metal, especially during charging, shifted research to a non-metallic solution using lithium ions. Li-ion batteries come in many varieties, but all share the catchword, lithium-ion. Although strikingly similar at first glance, these batteries vary in performance, and the choice of cathode materials gives them their unique characteristics. Although lower in specific energy than lithium-metal, Li-ion is safe, provided cell manufacturers and battery packers follow safety measures in keeping voltage and currents to secure levels. Today this chemistry has become the most promising and fastest growing on the market. Meanwhile, research continues When the cell charges and discharges, ions shuttle between cathode (positive electrode) and to develop a safe metallic lithium battery. anode (negative electrode) on discharge, the anode undergoes oxidation, or loss of electrons, The specific energy of Li-ion is twice that of NiCd, and the and the cathode undergoes a reduction or a gain of electrons. Charge reverses the movement. high nominal cell voltage of 3.60V as compared to 1.20V for nickel systems contributes to this gain. Improvements in the stored energy in a desirable voltage spectrum of 3.70 to 2.80V/ active materials of the electrode have the potential of further increases in energy density. The load characteristics are good, cell. Nickel-based batteries also have a flat discharge curve and the flat discharge curve offers effective utilization of the that ranges from 1.25 to 1.0V/cell. BR
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“By understanding our business and the needs of our customer, Lancer turned an unfortunate incident into a positive for us.”
John Croswell President and Chief Executive Oﬃcer Croswell Bus Line Williamsburg, OH Lancer customer since 1988
“When one of our buses caught re, Lancer went far above and beyond its obligations to take care of our customer, a Cincinnati public school district. There were no injuries, fortunately, but Lancer needed to settle 30 property claims, and did so in just three months. Lancer replaced students’ uniforms, gym shoes and personal media devices. The kids got everything they needed and were ecstatic, and Lancer never batted an eye. The incident ultimately received positive coverage in the newspaper, and we received a letter of appreciation from the school district.” If you want the benefits of responsive customer service from a passenger transportation specialist, ask your agent for a Lancer quote or call Lancer directly and get assigned to an agent. To learn more, call 800-782-8902, x3304 or email email@example.com.
370 W. Park Avenue, P.O. Box 9004, Long Beach, NY 11561 www.lancerinsurance.com
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Eco-friendly energy storage good for the world Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitors power 5000 buses worldwide By David Hubbard
Maxwell Technologies, San Diego, CA, says its UC-based ultracapacitors operate in approximately 5000 buses worldwide with approximately 3000 to 4000 buses in China. In the Chinese market, Maxwell UC-based hybrid buses account for 60 to 70 percent share, with battery-based hybrid buses accounting for approximately 30 to 40 percent share. Last year, 25 cities were operating buses with Maxwell ultracapacitor systems in service. The company expects more in 2013. Ultracapacitors can complement batteries or replace them altogether in buses and trucks. Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, ultracapacitors store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 to +65 degrees Celsius), operate reliably through one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration. Maxwell offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from one to 3,000 farads and multi-cell modules
ranging from 16 to 125 volts. Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd. (Yutong), Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China’s largest bus manufacturer, selected Maxwell ultracapacitors for energy storage and power delivery in the dieselelectric hybrid buses it produces for public transit agencies worldwide. Yutong’s hybrid drive system incorporates 16 of Maxwell’s 48-volt ultracapacitor modules to support braking energy recuperation and torque assist functions. They enable hybrid transit buses to achieve fuel savings and reduce CO2 emission reduction by approximately 25 percent, as well as 90 percent reduced particulate emissions compared to conventional diesel buses. “This opportunity to work closely with a world leader in transportation technology is helping us to better understand the requirements of hybrid-electric vehicles,” says David Schramm, Maxwell president and CEO. “Yutong has developed an innovative hybrid drive system for efficient, environmentally friendly transit buses and other heavy vehicles, allowing us to continue optimizing our products.” Maxwell Technologies does its module and cell testing for use in hybrid buses Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd. (Yutong), Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China’s largest bus manufacturer selected Maxwell ultracapacitors for energy storage and power delivery in the dieselelectric hybrid buses it produces.
Maxwell’s 48-volt ultracapacitor module supports braking energy recuperation and torque assist functions.
at North Vehicle Quality Supervision and Qualification Test Lab, affiliated with China North Vehicle Research Institute.
Maxwell ultracapacitors can absorb and store virtually all kinetic energy from a braking system. The emission-free stored electrical energy in ultracapacitors is then available to assist in acceleration, reduce fuel consumption and accompanying emissions or battery drain, as well as power the air conditioner, operate power steering or perform other electrical functions. Regenerative braking also takes most of the load off mechanical brakes, reducing brake maintenance and replacement expenses.
Start-stop technology enables the engine in conventional, electric or hybridelectric delivery trucks and refuse vehicles to shut down when they come to a stop at a red light, picking up or dropping off passengers, or when sitting in traffic. Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitors then provide a short burst of energy that restarts the motor.
Bus starter systems
Maxwell Technologies says its ultracapacitors prevent lost down time due to no-start, overnight “hotel” loads, and are especially beneficial for heavy-duty vehicles in cold climates or that require repetitive starts. Trucks place heavy demand on energy storage devices and depend on the reliability of ultracapacitors. According to the company, however, the real benefit comes in removing up to three lead acid batteries, freeing up under-hood and step-well space, enabling load stabilization and preventing “brown out.” Starter systems for buses in cold climates eliminate morning idle heat-up and the cost of jump-starting. As design engineers have found, batteries have high energy capability while
the ultracapacitors have high power capability. In an optimal hybrid alternative drive system, both technologies could combine in a way that maximizes the benefits of both. Maxwell Technologies says it offers the most comprehensive ultracapacitor product line for the transportation industry. The company says its 125V Heavy Transportation Module stores more energy per unit volume, delivers more power per unit volume and weight, and lasts longer than most commercially available ultracapacitors. BR
A few points about ultracapacitors Ultracapacitors are made by coating two metal foil electrodes in carbon â€” because of its high surface area-to-volume ratio â€” separating them with a thin piece of paper and then immersing these two coated metals in a liquid electrolyte. These sometimes weave together carbon fiber threads. This essentially functions as two capacitors in a series, which is why ultracapacitors have such a higher energy and power density than traditional capacitors and batteries. Because of their ability to pass large amounts of current in a short amount of time, they are extremely valuable when extra boost is required. An ultracapacitor takes .3 to 30 seconds to charge or discharge. This charge time is nearly 500 times faster than that of lead acid batteries. However, its discharge time is about 1,000 times faster. Long cycle capabilities are another valuable feature of ultracapacitors. Most lead acid batteries can maintain a life cycle from 500 to 1,000 charges and discharges, but ultracapacitors can be cycled through at least 500,000 times. This reduces the frequency of changes of the energy source, which is costly and environmentally detrimental for batteries. The major downside to relying heavily on ultracapacitors lies in their low energy density. The achievable range on a single charge is not tremendous. This is why placing ultracapacitors in series is so critical to increasing their voltage output.
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Full tilt power kicks in as needed ElectroMotive Design goes with Ioxus ultracapacitors in emDRIVE® Ultracapacitors can handle more than one million charge and discharge cycles and offer a longer lifespan than batteries. With a high cycle life, a high charge acceptance rate of 95 percent, wide temperature operating range and instantaneous recharge, ultracapacitors are the ideal energy storage solution for hybrid-electrical applications. Ultracapacitor technology is able to capture the high peak power levels of a regenerative braking event in a compact, low-weight package. Ultracapacitors offer a host of highly reliable solutions for hybrid-electrical applications. Ioxus, Inc. of Oneonta, NY, a manufacturer of ultracapacitor technology for transportation, alternative energy, medical, industrial and consumer markets, is partnering with ElectroMotive Design (EMD), based in Ronkonkoma, NY, an engineering company and manufacturer of hybrid electric conversion systems for Class 2 through 8 buses, trucks and vans. EMD is using Ioxus ultracapacitors as the primary energy storage technology in the hybrid electric technology called emDRIVE®. Ioxus Vice President of Sales Jeff Colton says ultracapacitor cells are rugged, charge-efficient and provide the best energy storage solution for acceleration and energy recapture. “The increased efficiency of the emDRIVE hybrid conversion system through the use of ultracapacitors will reduce vehicle system maintenance,” Colton says. “The associated cost reductions and quick return on initial investment have the capability to propel this particular technology toward mass adoption.” Used in its emDRIVE hybrid conversion system, EMD General Manager Joseph Ambrosio says ultracapacitor technology dramatically enhances the operation over previously used energy storage solutions. Ambrosio says EMD selected the Ioxus 3,000F iCAP™ cell as the core energy storage solution, noting its lowest weight, lowest equivalent series resistance (ESR) and highest power density that is currently available. With the increased fuel mileage and reduced maintenance requirements, Ambrosio says many EMD customers should see a payback in two to three years. “We use ultracapacitors as our energy storage medium in order to capture regenerative braking energy to be used later to assist the vehicle’s acceleration,” says Ambrosio. “Because ultracapacitors are highly efficient at energy recapture and storage, they are best able to handle the high power bursts we need for our hybrid conversion systems to deliver the highest fuel efficiency.” The emDRIVE is a closed-loop parallel hybrid drive system that fits on the driveshaft between the transmission and the differential. It takes DC current from the ultracapacitor and runs it through the inverter to make AC current that runs the motor.
The rotator of the electric motor provides propulsion and acceleration to the wheels, as well as helping to stop the vehicle during braking. It is a general vehicle control device that communicates electronically and operates independently. Ambrosio says the emDRIVE system, now in beta production, is cost-effective, easy-to-install and can adapt to Class 8 buses and shuttles. Installations take less than 20 hours, with Ioxus making installation really simple as there is no maintenance involved with the ultracapacitor. The pre-production prototype Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, has been running for the past year fits onto a Ford 450 chassis. Ultracapacitors are the only technology able to capture the high peak power levels of a regenerative braking event in a compact, low-weight package. EMD’s emDRIVE, with the help of Ioxus ultracapacitors, extends the life of brake pads anywhere from 50 to 100 percent. Ultracapacitors have a design life of 10 years, which can increase by reducing voltage and temperature. Ioxus says any increase in temperature and voltage will typically shorten design life. Most applications will use cells at a lower nominal voltage to ensure longer design life at higher temperatures. An ultracapacitor only provides energy as its voltage decreases and absorbs energy as its voltage increases. They store much more energy than other traditional capacitors, but substantially less than batteries. However, compared to a battery’s limited operating temperature range, ultracapacitors have a great operating temperature capability, able to operate in temperatures of -40 to 65 degrees Celsius. Ultracapacitors are well suited for automotive applications whereas batteries are out of their comfort zone. BR
Components to the Ioxus-powered emDRIVE® system.
the international report
The world of buses and coaches for 2012 By Doug Jack Every two years, I research and write a large part of The World Bus & Coach Manufacturing Industry 2012 on the worldâ€™s bus and coach manufacturing industry. It concentrates on vehicles above eight tons gross where the estimated global production last year was around 320,000 units, excluding North American school buses. China and India are by far the largest producers. It is quite difficult to obtain accurate data from China, because of the relatively small number of manufacturers making chassis but up to 130 bodybuilders. The latter tend to put their names on the completed vehicles. Many are supplying regionally and some are subsidiaries of city transport operations â€” inhouse builders in effect. The industry in China is changing, albeit slowly. The government wants to consolidate manufacturing into a much smaller number of large players capable of benefiting from economies of scale. However, the high levels of competition are encouraging innovation and there have been significant improvements in engineering and quality over the last 10 years. Exports have been increasing in number but there is still a very high level of demand from the domestic market, especially for city buses. There is no doubt that the Chinese have taken a lead in the development of all-electric city buses. There is still a challenge to build vehicles with sufficient range to work all day in city traffic. One solution is to provide fast charging stations along a route and at each end. The situation in India is quite different. The two major manufacturers, Ashok Leyland and Tata, are in the top five in
The latest Volvo 7900H hybrid bus is selling well.
the world. Western European manufacturers led by Volvo have started building in India, introducing engines that are more powerful. Features such as automatic transmissions and air suspension are driving up the standards of buses in India. Although Western Europe accounts for just fewer than 10 percent of global production, manufacturers have a strong influence in many other parts of the world through subsidiaries, joint ventures, licensees and direct exports. They are particularly strong in Central and South America. Daimler and Volvo control major Japanese manufacturers. The structure of the manufacturing industry continues to evolve. Volkswagen already had a majority shareholding in Scania of Sweden. Last year, it acquired a similar majority in MAN of Germany, which required clearance from the competition authorities in Europe, Brazil and China, making Volkswagen a global au-
tomotive giant. European manufacturers Irisbus (Iveco), MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Scania and Volvo are vertically integrated companies, meaning they make their own engines and other drivetrain components. Their coaches often have a high degree of commonality with trucks, which helps with the provision of parts and service. City buses invariably have fully automatic gearboxes sourced from specialist suppliers like Allison, Voith and ZF. I also added the VDL Group of the Netherlands and Alexander Dennis (ADL) of the United Kingdom, the one European manufacturer really growing strongly. VDL buys engines from DAF (Paccar) and Cummins, while ADL uses Cummins exclusively. It is quite amazing how many bus manufacturers around the world rely on Cummins power units. A highlight of the report is the series of interviews I conducted with the chief executives of the top seven European
manufacturers. I particularly wanted to find out who among them had a major breakthrough or was taking a different direction. I found no sign of that, but they did speak to some interesting developments in engines, hybrid systems and alternative fuels. All are preparing for the introduction of Euro 6 emission limits, which come into force in January 2014. These will require much larger cooling systems. On coaches, the additional weight is a problem, especially on touring coaches when they have a full complement of passengers and luggage. The European manufacturers are moving at a different pace on hybrid drive systems. Volvo and Alexander Dennis are very comfortably into volume production â€” the former with its own in-house system and the latter in conjunction with BAE Systems. MAN, Mercedes-Benz and Irisbus are somewhat behind. The two German companies work with Siemens, while Irisbus uses BAE Systems. Irisbus recently secured an order for 102 hybrid buses for the French city of
Dijon. Part of the deal was to take back in exchange around 60 gas-fueled buses. Scania is running behind the others on hybrid applications. It may be another two years before they reveal their plans, which is interesting because Scania is a very thorough engineering-led company that has remained profitable even in the worst of the global financial crisis. Mercedes-Benz is also building fuel cell hybrid buses, now in the third generation in which efficiency is substantially better and prices are a little lower. However, fuel cells as a practical alternative are still a few years away. Much depends on what happens with the price of oil over the next decade. Gas no longer has the advantage, which once led diesel engines in terms of emissions. Demand for gas-fueled buses has fallen off in most European countries, with the notable exceptions of Norway and Sweden. There is strong political pressure to use biogas or compressed natural gas, even if it means devaluing the buses virtually to zero over a five to seven year contract.
All the manufacturers were concerned over lingering serious financial problems in some of their main markets. With a shortage of public funding, city authorities find it all too easy to defer the purchase of new buses for a year or two. Although the interurban and express coach sectors have held up well, the economy has hurt top-end luxury coaches due to less demand for inclusive tours and through competition from low-cost airlines. Some of the manufacturers publish their financial performance. Others include them in the overall commercial vehicle operations. Scania is probably the most profitable and one of the leanest. Mercedes-Benz makes a reasonable profit buoyed last year by the strength of the Brazilian market. VDL Group admitted to a slight loss due to high development costs of new models that are now in volume production. They felt much more optimistic about 2012. Profits are marginal for the others and not helped by the high development costs for Euro 6. In 28 chapters, report topics include legislation; diesel engine, alternative driv-
International Report continued eline and transmission developments; alternative fuels; chassis equipment; body systems and components; climate control; electrical systems and telematics. The following chapters review activities in various regions of the world and include registration and production data for the main markets. In the developed world, high levels of car ownership mean ridership tends to increase mostly when the price of oil rises. Express coach services should benefit as commuters become more selective about using cars in urban centers. In the developing countries, the majority of people will never own cars and always require public transport â€” largely by minibuses on fixed routes. For instance, in the mega-city of Lagos, Nigeria, more than 100,000 minibuses form the backbone of the public transport system. These small vehicles cause a large amount of congestion and pollution and
A Scania bus running on compressed natural gas in Sweden.
have a poor safety record. Authorities would love to replace them with larger buses. However, they can only proceed steadily over time, because the small buses provide employment for many people. Again, the price of oil may well be a contributory factor in reducing the numbers of minibuses. Truck & Bus Builder Reports Ltd in Taunton, England publishes The World
Bus & Coach Manufacturing Industry 2012 report. For further information, visit www.truckandbusbuilder.com. The report is an essential reference document for anyone in the manufacturing and component industries. But of course, I would say that. BR Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.
Give it a rest The Redline Phone Blox removes the temptation to call and drive
Phone Blox keeps the cell phone from the driver during vehicle operation.
Distracted driving is a hot topic this year as enforcement of the federal ban on commercial vehicle operators’ use of handheld cellphones while driving kicks into high gear. The law applies to companies whose vehicles cross state lines and weigh more than 10,000 pounds, or carry at least 15 passengers and weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Drivers who violate this mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) face fines of $2,750 for each offense and loss of their CDL for multiple violations. Companies that require or allow drivers to use handheld phones while driving face a maximum penalty of $11,000. The company’s liability risk increases dramatically when its drivers use either a work or personal cell phone, or both. Companies are scrambling to alleviate their concerns about cell phone liability. As such, many have implemented a cell phone policy for their drivers. In cases involving bus accidents, plaintiffs’ lawyers are requesting and looking at cell phone records to determine cause. While this looks great on paper, the reality is more complex. A zero tolerance cell
By Ginny Foster
With the phone tucked away while driving, Phone Blox locks as the ignition engages.
phone policy results in violations, which can lead to driver terminations. Qualified, seasoned drivers are often lost due to momentary misjudgment. Other companies experience continued liability despite company policy because the driving culture remains unchanged. Even though a written policy may dictate that no driver use a cell phone while operating a vehicle, it is easier said than done. Many drivers carry their cell phones in their pocket or other discrete locations and check to see who is calling while behind the wheel — even if they do not intend to reply to or pick up a call. Holding a phone and looking at the screen still constitutes cell phone use, which undermines any written policy. The most effective method an employer can implement to limit liability includes three levels of prevention: establishment of a standard, providing drivers with training, and providing a tangible safety reminder. This three-tier approach limits liability and establishes clear safety expectations. Training alone is not enough to change culture. Enforcement of a rule prohibiting cell phone use may be sporadic. Taking a step beyond safety training and written policy will give drivers the
Redline says the Phone Blox is a tool that enables safe driving habits.
tools that enable safe habits. Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, Nashville, TN, was able to combat both of these issues by installing a simple product called Phone Blox™ on its buses. The agency participated in the 2010 pilot project that won the American Public Transportation Association GOLD Safety Award. After installing Phone Blox on all fleet vehicles Nashville MTA has now not only limited its liability, it has seen an increase in driver retention and cost savings. Phone Blox is a patented device marketed by Redline Electronics LLC, St. Louis, MO, that provides a physical barrier between driver and cell phones while the vehicle is in operation. Phone Blox attaches to the dashboard or interior front of the vehicle within sight of the driver and requires a connection to ignition or transmission lines. Phone Blox locks as the ignition engages. A successful program that eliminates liability and enhances employee retention requires a change in the way drivers manage cell phone use. Phone Blox is a catalyst to change behavior and help eliminate the loss of valued employees. Many drivers find that carrying a per-
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Redline Phone continued
sonal cell phone makes them feel more connected to family and friends. However, drivers have difficulty not answering a ringing phone, especially if they know if might be a loved one calling. “It’s just a natural reaction,” says Nancy [last name withheld on request], a driver at Nashville MTA. “If I have it there and I hear it ringing, I’m going to want to answer it.” Installed in conjunction with a zero tolerance cell phone policy, the protocol for answering a ringing phone is clear with Phone Blox: Pull to the side of the road, turn off the ignition, then answer the phone. Nancy says it strikes a good balance between safety and convenience. “I still have my cell phone with me,” says Nancy. “If all else fails and I have to make a call, I can still have the phone with me, but it’s no longer a distraction.” A tangible reminder encourages safe
habits on a daily basis and demonstrates a solid commitment to prevent distracted driving. Nashville Safety Manager Earl Rhodes compares the tangible reminder of Phone Blox to a common safety device we all use. “Phone Blox is like a seat belt,” says Rhodes. “We have our operators wear a seat belt so that they are safe, and if they are in an accident, they don’t fall out of the seat. Phone Blox is a safety deterrent as well. It keeps the cell phone out of their hands so they don’t use it while the bus is in motion.” He says the cost savings are significant because of Phone Blox. “Prior to Phone Blox, we had a number of grievances and arbitrations that we had to deal with involving operators using their cell phones that resulted in terminations,” says Paul Ballard, CEO of Nashville MTA. “Since we implemented Phone Blox, I can’t remember the last time we
actually had arbitration on a cell phone issue.” A case involving discharge arbitration can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. The average time spent addressing grievance cases amounts to 32.4 days each year, according to 2011 CIPD survey. Prior to Phone Blox in Nashville, the average number of cell phone related arbitrations were two to three per year. Over the course of two years, with more than 200 vehicles, the agency estimated the cost savings associated with Phone Blox to be $250 per vehicle per year. The agency reports no cases have occurred since, and the device has paid for itself. Accidents related to cell phone use while driving are preventable. Heavy civil and criminal liabilities follow accidents involving distracted driving. Fleet owners are especially vulnerable to losses if their safety programs do not include both policies and tangible support to keep their drivers off their cell phones while operating vehicles. BR Ginny Foster is founder and president of Redline Electronics, St. Louis, MO.
Rock Island MetroLINK gets eco-friendly with FTA funding award $787 million goes to 255 public transit initiatives A $2.16 million federal grant will help Rock Island County’s bus service become greener. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $787 million in federal funding to modernize and replace transit facilities and vehicles throughout the country. In his announcement in July, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said the money is to fund 255 projects in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In Illinois, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit
will use the grant money to purchase five new MetroLINK transit buses that run on eco-friendly fuels. Spokeswoman Jennifer Garrity says 70 percent of the MetroLINK fleet, about 40 buses, run on compressed natural gas, with seven more recently delivered. According to Garrity this leaves only 15 diesel-powered buses in the fleet. MetroLINK began using compressed natural gas buses in 2002 and has made the use of sustainable energy a core value of the organization. The new buses will be compressed natural gas vehicles or another form of green technology yet to be determined. “The technology is ever-evolving,” she says. “The dieselpowered buses that remain in the fleet are fueled with highoctane fuel that burns cleaner than regular diesel fuel.” “By investing in the transit infrastructure people depend on to get where we need to go each day,” LaHood said in his announcement of the funding. “We will keep our economy moving forward well into the future.” BR
Americans show little guilt over subpar environmental behavior National Geographic Society and GlobeScan reveal an eco-paradox According to a new National Geographic survey, Americans are the least likely to suffer from “green guilt” about their environmental impact, despite trailing the rest of the world in sustainable behavior. Reporting for National Geographic News, Ker Than wrote in July that the 2012 Greendex Report by the National Geographic Society and the research consultancy GlobeScan, Toronto, ON, Canada, found that Americans are the most confident that their individual actions can help the environment. Canada also ranked low in the survey. The National Geographic Society and GlobeScan has conducted the Greendex Report since 2008 to explore environmental attitudes and behaviors among tens of thousands consumers in 17 countries through an online
survey that asks questions relating to housing, transportation, food, and consumer goods. “We hope the Greendex can help shed light here,” says GlobeScan Director of Sustainability Eric Whan. “In our culture of consumption, we’ve sort of been indoctrinated to believe that we can buy ourselves out of environmental problems.” Whan says what people need to realize is that the sheer volume of consumption is relevant. Whan says this year Americans again ranked last in sustainable behavior, just as they have every year since 2008. Just 21 percent of Americans reported feeling guilty about the impact they have on the environment, among the lowest of those surveyed. Yet 47 percent had the most faith in an individual’s ability to protect the environment. Americans also ranked last in the area of transportation. According to the Greendex report, 56 percent believed Americans were the most likely to report regularly driving alone and the least likely to use public transportation. BR
T h e E x c l u s i v e M a i n t e n a n c e R e s o u r c e f o r t h e Tr a n s i t a n d M o t o r c o a c h I n d u s t r y !
By Keith Sheardown
steps to a stronger supply chain
Where cost management is a critical responsibility for every transit agency, only a few transit managers fully grasp the true cost of a supply chain and the potential impact throughout the organization. Do these four scenarios sound familiar? 1. The morning meeting discussions focus primarily on parts shortages and the fact that maintenance cannot repair the equipment because the necessary parts are unavailable. 2. Technicians remove, or cannibalize, parts from other vehicles, as the agency does not have the materials in stock to get equipment back in service. 3. A steady stream of people line up at the parts storeroom throughout the day to retrieve parts and materials. 4. The purchasing department is smaller than before and now takes weeks to get materials on order. These situations not only increase the costs of doing business, they also negatively impact reliability. A great number of transit agencies fail to realize that where parts and materials are not
readily available for repairs, the maintenance department uses work-around plans to get the job done. Virtually every maintenance organization will take parts off, or cannibalize, shopped equipment in hopes it will work as intended on the failed unit. The initiative may seem commendable, but in actuality that borrowed part may be 10 years old. Not only that, removing a part off of another vehicle doubles the labor costs and increases the chance of failure because the replacement part is essentially used. Here is another very common and inefficient practice that can cause the supply chain to break down. Maintenance organizations will typically order more material than they actually require. They do this because they may have limited confidence they will get parts when they need them, so they order extra material and store them for later. This practice essentially makes for a worse situation. Material costs have raised dramatically, space requirements increased, and by the time a technician needs the parts they very likely will be hard to locate and no longer tracked in an inventory system.
Supply chain continued Here are five simple steps to reduce costs and improve the utilization of all maintenance and materials resources.
Plan the work and work the plan It is simply not possible to predict failures in every instance, and have all the necessary parts and materials on hand, ready for deployment when the vehicle rolls into the shop. The maintenance department can do much to improve the degree of work actually planned. It can analyze common repairs and work activities, and ensure the plan includes giving advanced warning to the parts department as to the required materials. Every maintenance management software program provides a field called Work Order Type. Use this feature to identify two types of work orders â€” planned and unplanned. The goal is to increase the amount of planned work orders by first measuring and then improving upon the number of such orders.
Improve communication channels between maintenance and materials With more planned work the maintenance department can now better coordinate with the parts and materials department.
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Preventative maintenance inspections conducted every 90 days, or at a fixed mileage interval, may require routinely changing out a specific number of consumable parts such as filters. For many transit agencies this can typically result in the replacement of 20 or more different components. The parts and materials department in leading agencies knows when the equipment is scheduled for inspections, as well as the number of inspections it will carry out each week, month and year, allowing more efficient scheduling for purchases and deliveries that connect with the specific needs of maintenance at a particular time. The maintenance and materials departments must agree on the bill of materials (BOM) to ensure the necessary parts are available at the time of the scheduled repair. This simple task adds value and must start with clear communication with departments working as a team.
Reduce the number of manageable items Assume technicians change out 20 items every 90 days and those 20 items come from 16 different suppliers. The cost and complexity lies in the effort to purchase these items, receive them, and then pay the particular vendors. Most major transit agencies carry in excess of 30,000 items in stock. These stock-keeping units (SKUs) drive costs. Reducing the number of SKUs requires a focused effort to lower costs and increase the availability of the materials.
September 2012 BUSRideMaintenance
Begin simply by addressing the periodic inspections. Validate with maintenance that the list will not change. Agree on the specification for the parts and then buy the entire list of parts as a kit from one supplier. Procurement rules require competitive bidding, but these rules do not require an agency to buy 30,000 parts from 30,000 separate suppliers. A transit agency can plan many of its parts kits requirements over an entire year or longer. An RFP for one year with scheduled release dates now reduces the number of POs issued, the number of needed items and the amount of inventory to cycle count. The overall cost will be lower because the number of parts the agency purchases will be on a one-year blanket order. Last year, New York MTA issued a report called â€œMaking Every Dollar Count,â€? which identified the fact the agency spent 16 cents on every dollar to manage the parts and materials it purchased. Efficient parts management in a transit environment requires the supply chain to begin and end with the person making the repairs. The process must allow technicians the capability to determine the parts they need, and have those parts at their stations as quickly as possible after delivery to the department. Storeroom salaries are far less than those of maintenance technicians. Such a delivery service only maximizes wrenchtime and eliminates waste of parts. Reducing the number of SKUs in inventory is the most effective means of reducing these costs.
The supply chain ends in the hands of the technician When looking at the management of materials in a transit environment it is essential to know that the supply chain begins and ends with the person that needs to repair the equipment. Actions need to be taken to ensure that technicians are able to define what parts they need, and also get those parts as rapidly as possible. While some would argue that technicians should go to Stores to get the material they need when they need it, I suggest that Materials should be delivering all material to the technicians where and when they need them. The investment at any transit agency in storeroom salaries is far less than the cost of salaries for technicians. You will only maximize wrench time by having a delivery service to your technicians, thereby allowing them to stay focused on repairing equipment.
Create a scorecard and drive improvement in the numbers Such a strategy to drive continuous improvement involves establishing goals, measuring progress, and keeping score. The Scoreboard must not be a secret report that only management gets to see, but be highly visible with everyone held accountable for helping achieve the desired results. BRM ___________________________________________________ Keith Sheardown serves as president of MTB Transit Solutions, Toronto, ON, Canada, a provider of bus overhaul services.
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tipoftheMonth The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recommends bus operators take precautions to safely transport medical oxygen.
t r o p s n a r t fe a s e h t U.S. DOT guidance for e s u l a n o s r e p r fo n e of medical oxyg In the passenge
der away Secure each cylin heat or from sources of . potential sparks n, At the destinatio ove all immediately rem e bus. cylinders from th
r cabin in the passenge en yg ox t or sp Tran al necessity only as a medic ntained in a cylinder mai s en yg ox t or sp an Tr rerâ€™ h the manufactu it w ce an rd co in ac lly precautions usua instructions and tached label. printed on an at t load linder and do no Inspect each cy es or ug go ks, dents, any showing crac nd the valve area and arou pits, especially leaks vice. Listen for de f lie the pressure re ing cylinders on ak le ad lo t no do and bus. ber of le, limit the num Whenever possib rtment passenger compa e th in rs de lin cy . to one per person using cylinder carefully der, Carry an oxygen lin cy er drag or roll a both hands. Nev r. to la lve or regu or carr y by the va ygen cylinders Do not handle ox nds or gloves h ha or apparatus wit h oil or grease. it contaminated w t der in an uprigh Secure each cylin d ent movement an position to prev leakage. use of cess to exits or Do not restrict ac ygen cylinder. ox the aisle with an oxygen engers requiring Do not seat pass on the aisle.
September2012 2012 September
In the cargo comparment
der in a Place each cylin load and box or crate, or right transpor t in an up position. t for The total weigh oxygen cylinders s cargo permitted in a bu 99 compartment is ams). pounds (45 kilogr ation, For further inform â€™s contact PHMSA ials Hazardous Mater at ter Information Cen 2. 92 1- 800-HMR-4 re Rober t A . McGui Associate r Administrator fo ials er at M Hazardous Safety
Ventilation is key
Properly cleaning HVAC units is time consuming, but the payoff is well worth it By Robert Buchwalter
We have all been enjoying, or enduring, an extended hot and humid summer in North America. For those of us in the bus business, images of warm weather, picnics, baseball and fireflies are mixed with dreams of refrigerant bottles, compressors, filters, gauges and unhappy drivers. Our daily write up sheets include the expression “A/C not working” written boldly, often followed by more than a few exclamation points. It happens every year. But this summer’s record setting heat and drought have only increased the scrutiny paid to our HVAC systems, especially by our paying customers. The heat is on everyone’s mind in 2012 and we have to be on top of our game in servicing and diagnosing our HVAC systems.
to inspect the refrigeration system: the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and expansion valve. But this month, I would like to focus on the V in HVACCDT. Ventilation is extremely important in maintaining a comfortable cabin, but it is often overlooked in diagnosis. When it comes to ventilation, we usually look at the amount of air being discharged at the window sills and flowing into the cabin. If this flow seems to be less than normal, we adapt the mindset of trying to force more air into the cabin. But as we look to improve discharge airflow, and passenger comfort, I suggest we also look at the other side of the squirrel cages, to the return air side. Return air is equally important to discharge air. If you cannot pull the air out of
Ventilation is extremely important in maintaining a comfortable cabin, but it is often overlooked in diagnosis. HVAC brings to mind a number of diagnostic disciplines (refrigeration, electrical, heating) that we need to apply in repairing these systems, but let’s look at those letters intently. Traditionally, HVAC means Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning. But for us, it actually means Hot Vehicles Aren’t Chartered. A bus with no air conditioning is clearly a bus down situation. Yet the letters themselves – HVAC – are incomplete. It ought to be HVACCDT, which stands for Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, Controls, Driver, Technician. If we are missing something in anyone of those areas, we will have problems keeping our passengers, drivers, and supervisors cool. Traditionally, a hot bus complaint rives us
the cabin, you can’t push it back into the cabin. In the Prevost training seminars that Robert Hitt and I conduct, discussions about return air flow center on the Prevost H-Series coaches. The Prevost X-Series: XL, XLII, and X345 coaches have a simple return air system: a single basket placed above the evaporator compartment. The H-Series is a bit more complex. In the H-Series has a return air grill in the stepwell and two return airs on the driver’s side of the coach, at the front and rear. These are the starting points for the ductwork system that eventually delivers the return air to the evaporator compartment. Cabin debris can set up in these areas and begin
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to impede return air flow. Regardless of your OEM, you should explore, learn and be familiar with the return air system and be on the lookout for areas that can compromise this air flow. Wherever air flow is forced to turn a corner, it will slow and debris can drop out of the return air stream. These areas need careful cleaning based on your coach’s environment and operating cycles. Blockage in the return air system, with the resultant loss of ventilation, can also cause problems for the cabin temperature sensors which are usually in the return air ducts. If we are not flowing the proper return air, these sensors will fail to obtain a true reading and the driver must over or under adjust the set point to obtain a comfortable cabin temperature. In certain cases, it may be necessary to create your own inspection panels by cutting into the duct and directly inspecting areas of the return air system not normally viewed. You can also reach in and remove any built up cabin debris that will collect in these areas. Inspect the duct completely, as there are a lot of nooks and crannies where debris can lodge. When you do this, remember to leave a flange for attaching the closure panel you will have to fabricate to seal the inspection area. There’s also another procedure that used to be a staple in the bus business: reverse cleaning of the evaporator. Generally, the return air flow in a coach is pulled through the return air filter, evaporator and the heater core, then sucked into the squirrel cage fans and pushed back into the cabin. When we reverse clean an evaporator, we are going to remove the filter, completely remove the evaporator motor, housing, fans and ducting. Then we remove the heater core (shutting off our manual coolant control valves first). Once we’ve exposed the face of the evaporator, we are going to blow compressed air backwards through the evaporator fins and tubing, then use a low pressure garden hose to wash out the evaporator. As with the air, we are going to flow
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the water against what would be normal air flow direction. Once this is done, clean out the area behind the evaporator and repeat the process for the heater core before reinstalling it. This is a big job and, at least on a Prevost, requires 4-6 hours to complete, but I believe the results are well worth it. Take the oldest coach in your fleet and conduct this operation. I think the results, improved air
flow and improved performance of the evaporator and heater cores will absolutely convince you it’s worth the time. BRM Robert Buchwalter has been in the motorcoach industry since 1981 and joined Prevost Car in 1991. He was originally a regional service manager and since 1997 has been one of Prevost’s two technical field instructors. He conducts seminars at the Prevost factory in Quebec, customers’ shops, and transit agencies.
products & services
Defibtech Lifeline View shows you what to do Meet the AED that’s taking easy-to-use to a whole new level. Other AEDs tell you what to do in an emergency. The Lifeline VIEW is the first and only AED that shows you with video in fullmotion color. Durable and easy to maintain, the View’s large, full-color interactive display provides step-by-step instructions for performing CPR, rescue breathing and external defibrillation. The View is tough, coming out on top in some of the most demanding environmental tests. It is ideal for use in all locations, including ground transport, and can be used by even untrained responders. AED Superstore Palatine, IL
KEI alternator replacement for small buses K.E.I. Products, the high-amperage alternator manufacturer, introduces their newest OEM replacement alternator, Model KGV240HI. This new model is designed for the GM/Chevrolet truck/van Chassis. This is a 240 amp alternator with 180 amps at 700 engine RPM’s. The alternator can be retrofitted to existing vehicles, or specified when it’s time to replace older vehicles. KEI Products Dallas, TX
World’s first high-speed rubber door In response to the demand for lower maintenance doors capable of surviving such harsh conditions, Rytec Corporation introduces its Powerhouse™ SD industrial, roll-up rubber door. Made from the same durable material used to manufacture tires, these industrial-grade panels withstand the extreme demands of these heavyduty industrial applications. Rytec says conventional metal doors can protect large doorways but the Powerhouse styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) roll-up panel is fast, safe and practically maintenance-free. Rytec Corporation Jackson, WI
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products & services
PrecisionAir electrified compressor takes a load off The U.S.-built PrecisionAir electrified air compressor package for hybrid-electric or traditional diesel-powered buses incorporates oil-free scroll technology. The company says it eliminates engine parasite load and runs only when needed at optimal speed rather than at low idle RPMs. Oil-free means less maintenance on the compressor and downstream components. The lightweight stand-alone unit weighs 80 lbs, occupies a 27-in. x 15-in. x 13.5-in. footprint and meets DOT FMVSS 121 pump up test requirements. PrecisionAir LaPorte, IN
Tracer Products Tracerline® OPTIMAX™ 365 Tracer Products has introduced the Tracerline® OPTIMAX™ 365—a cordless, rechargeable enhanced UV leak detection flashlight featuring ultra-highflux LED technology. This high-intensity UV lamp works with all automotive/truck systems and fluorescent dyes, including difficult-to-fluoresce yellow dyes. It can pinpoint oil leaks in diesel engines, even when the oil is extremely dirty. The OPTIMAX 365 weighs 11.8 ounces. Its inspection range is 20 feet or more. The flashlight has a corrosion-resistant, anodized aluminum lamp body Tracer Products Westbury, NY
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