Should Transit Services Ditch the Turnstile?

Should Transit Services Ditch the Turnstile?

If you take public transit to get where you need to go, you know the awful feeling of swiping your metro card and running full speed into the turnstile. Ouch! So we’ve been wondering, should transit services across the country get rid of these pesky turnstiles?


The main reason that turnstiles and other forms of payment proof exist is to prevent people from stealing a ride on their city’s public transit. Most transit authorities refer to those who jump the turnstiles as “fare evaders.” According to the NY Daily News, in New York City in 2013, almost 25,000 people were arrested for fare evasion. In other words, the people arrested for fare evasion in 2013 in New York City would fill up Madison Square Garden—with 5,000 people left standing on the stage.

So you need the turnstiles, don’t you? Well, in Norway in 2005, faulty turnstiles that caused some people to get trapped after they paid their metro fare inspired Norwegians to ditch the turnstile altogether. Instead, Norway started selling metro tickets based on an honor-system, with automated options for payment like smartphone apps and reloadable fare cards, and the occasional metro personnel patrolling the train cars and demanding proof of payment.

But wouldn’t that incite a free-for-all? Actually, according to Wired, the new system in Norway led to faster transit travel, less crowding, and no increase in fare evasion. Turns out, when there’s a hefty fine at stake, most humans like to follow the rules!

A similar experiment in California where riders purchased bus tickets before boarding, or tapped their prepaid card at the bus’s door entrance, increased ridership, decreased wait times, and fare evasion decreased from about 10% in 2009 to 7.9% in 2014.

So you’ve heard our demand, transit authorities of America. Bring down the turnstiles! (And upgrade to a more effective method of ticket taking!)

If you’re on the market for a bus, turnstiles not included, click here to check out our available inventory.

Electric School Buses are Coming to California

Electric School Buses are Coming to California

Thanks to companies like Proterra, electric buses have evolved beyond the prototyping phase of development, and are now being used by municipal transit services in a number of major cities. Soon, they may even be coming to a school district near you.

In Southern California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District recently approved the purchase of 33 electric school buses for $8.8 million in a unanimous decision. The buses offer a range of at least 60 miles per charge, and cost roughly $250,000 each. These zero-emission buses will be distributed to 18 school districts throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area.

The purchase was made in conjunction with the statewide low-emission school bus program which has provided nearly $300 million in state and local funds to replace aging school buses in California with new models that run on alternative fuels such as natural gas and electric. Earlier this year, 29 electric school buses were deployed in the Sacramento area as well.

The LA school districts that received the electric buses were chosen based on a number of different criteria, including the local impact of air pollution in the area. Schools in heavily-polluted districts got first pick at the buses, while schools in areas that aren’t as polluted will have to wait for their new buses. Over time, state officials hope that the new low and zero-emission school buses will help to reduce air pollution in Los Angeles, and ultimately improve the health of local students.

Looking for a school bus to add to your fleet? You can find a variety of affordable used options right here at Las Vegas Bus Sales. Stop in or give us a call at our toll-free number today to learn more.

RTC Transit App Is Saving Thousands of Dollars in Expenses

RTC Transit App Is Saving Thousands of Dollars in Expenses

Last year, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada released a smartphone app called rideRTC that allows riders to purchase tickets digitally and easily find bus routes to locations throughout Las Vegas. The app was designed to make it easier for visitors to find their way around the city, and eliminate barriers that might dissuade people from using public transportation. In addition to helping people plan their bus rides, rideRTC can also connect people with ridesharing services and find RTC Bike Share locations around Las Vegas.

Now, less than 10 months after the app was released, the RTC has revealed some promising figures about its performance.

Since rideRTC went live, riders have used it to purchase more than 100,000 bus passes. By eliminating the need to print paper passes, the app has already saved the RTC an estimated $10,000. As rideRTC’s user base continues to grow, these savings are expected to increase in the future. On average, the RTC estimates their app is being downloaded more than 6,000 times per month.

In conjunction with the release of their transit app, the RTC also outfitted all of its fixed-route buses with “scan and go” mobile ticket validators that allow people to validate their bus fares with a smartphone. By modernizing and streamlining Las Vegas’ transit service, the RTC hopes to increase ridership rates and successfully adapt to the changing landscape of public transit.

Looking for a new bus to round out your fleet?  You can find a variety of great new and used options at Las Vegas Bus Sales. Browse our inventory online or give us a call today at our toll-free number to learn more.

Hyundai Introduces Impressive Electric Bus Design

Hyundai Introduces Impressive Electric Bus Design

There are a number of bus manufacturers that are currently working on electric buses that will be able to travel for hundreds of miles at a time on a single charge. One of these companies is the Korean automaker Hyundai, which is planning on unveiling the Elec City bus in 2018.

The Elec City bus is going to be the very first mass-produced electric bus produced by Hyundai, and it sounds like it’s going to have some exciting features.

The Elec City bus will rely on a 256kWh battery pack that will allow for it to go for up to 180 miles before it needs to be recharged. But what makes it even more exciting is that it will only take about one hour for the battery to recharge, which means that the bus will be able to get back on the road after running out of juice in no time.

Hyundai has been working on the Elec City bus for several years now as part of an initiative to increase the number of electric vehicles the company produces.

Originally, Hyundai was only able to squeeze about 90 miles out of the Elec City bus on a single charge, but the technology has improved so dramatically in recent years that engineers have been able to double the bus’s range.

It’s unclear if Hyundai will ever bring the bus to the United States, but if it does, it would certainly offer many towns and cities a great transit option.

Looking for a great new or used bus to add to your fleet? At Las Vegas Bus Sales, we offer a huge selection of competitively-priced buses to meet the needs of all of our customers. Browse our inventory online, or give us a call today at (877) 456-9804 to learn more.

“Uberized” Bus Companies Could Ease Urban Congestion

“Uberized” Bus Companies Could Ease Urban Congestion

In recent years, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have begun offering city dwellers an attractive, affordable alternative to taxi rides and trips in their own vehicles. Now, other companies are beginning to apply the ridesharing business model to bus transit as well.

In San Francisco, a company called Chariot has developed an app that allows people to hail rides from buses in their area on-demand, just like they would with an Uber.

Meanwhile, in New York City, some people are speaking out in favor of a similar ridesharing program that could alleviate stress on the existing MTA bus system.

The proposed program would contract out with existing private bus companies and shuttle services to provide on demand-rides via a smartphone app.

This app would rely on an algorithm that creates flexible bus routes based on demand in different parts of the city. Upon hailing a ride, the app would simply match you with a bus on the nearest available route.

In addition to relieving public transit congestion, proponents of the ridesharing program believe it would also provide the MTA with an opportunity to upgrade their own aging bus infrastructure. Ultimately, they would like to see the MTA adopt a bus rapid transit model to provide fast, direct routes around the city.

Chariot is reportedly planning for a launch in New York City, so this vision of a supplemental bus ridesharing program could actually be coming to The Big Apple sooner, rather than later.

If companies like Chariot continue to be successful, we may even see a bus ridesharing program come to Las Vegas in the future as well.

In St. Louis, a Metro Bus Hits 1 Million Miles

In St. Louis, a Metro Bus Hits 1 Million Miles

There’s a special kind of pride that comes with taking good care of a vehicle and watching the odometer tick into high mileages. But while many people are content to retire their vehicles after 100,000 miles or so, the Metro transit service in St. Louis has achieved an even more impressive accomplishment by running a bus for an incredible 1 million miles.

Its Cummins M11 engine has never required an overhaul despite being driven consistently for more than a decade and a half.

“To put it into perspective, it’s the same as if this bus had traveled around the world more than 40 times,” said John Nations, president and CEO of Metro transit’s parent company in an interview.

St. Louis Metro officials credit their rigorous vehicle maintenance program with enabling them to keep the bus on the road as long as they have.

The Metro service began redesigning its fleet maintenance program in 2001, and since then the expected lifespan of transit buses in St. Louis has increased from about 500,000 miles to 750,000 miles.

Although this is the first bus they’ve managed to run for 1 million miles, they expect more of their veteran buses to hit that same mark in the next couple of years.

In addition to increasing the lifespans of its buses, Metro’s improved fleet maintenance program has also dramatically reduced breakdown rates, making its service far more reliable for riders in St. Louis. It just goes to show how a little extra maintenance and attention to detail can make a transit bus a great investment for the future.

5 Alternative Uses for Buses [Infographic]

Thanks to their large frames and spacious interiors, buses are especially versatile vehicles that can be used for a whole lot more than just ferrying commuters to and from work. Over the years, we’ve seen enterprising individuals transform buses into all sorts of things—from tailgating hot spots at football games to mobile shelters for the homeless. Used school buses are particularly popular options for bus conversions, because they are abundant and relatively inexpensive.

With all these great conversion ideas in mind, we put together a handy infographic that outlines 5 of our favorite alternative uses for buses. Check it out, and get some inspiration for your very own bus conversion!

5 Alternative Uses for Buses [Infographic]

Experimental Singapore Bus Stop Aims to “Make Waiting Fun”

Experimental Singapore Bus Stop Aims to “Make Waiting Fun”

Generally speaking, bus stops aren’t known for being places that people look forward to visiting.

Instead, these small, spartan shelters serve as waypoints on the path to bigger and better destinations. In many cities, however, commuters spend a significant portion of their work weeks waiting for rides at bus stations.

That’s why transit officials in the Jurong Lake District of Singapore decided to create a bus stop loaded with amenities to provide commuters with an extra measure of comfort and convenience while they wait.

After coming up with the idea for a bus stop that could “make waiting fun,” Singapore officials recruited local design firm DP Architects to bring their vision to life.

At first glance, the prototype bus stop doesn’t look too different from the extended platforms you might see on a bus rapid transit route or an elevated subway station. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll find that this bus stop is anything but average.

On top of the bus station sits a vibrant rooftop garden and an array of solar panels for power.

Beneath the canopy, commuters can access free Wi-Fi service and charging stations for phones and other mobile devices.

  • There’s a bookshelf with free reading material that bus riders can take with them on their trip, and a digital panel where they can download ebooks by scanning QR codes.
  • There’s also an interactive journey-planning and bus-tracking board where commuters can find new routes around the city.
  • There’s even a swing for the bus system’s younger patrons to enjoy while they wait.

The designers at DP Architects hope that their creation will help community members to see how a bus stop can be “an extension of their social environments,” and “inspire the community to take greater ownership in shaping their own environments.”

The bus stop has been operational for six months now, and Singapore officials plan to revisit the design in the fall to see if its amenities could be adapted to other waiting areas in the city as well.

To see the innovative bus stop for yourself, you can check out the photos here from CityLab.

Baltimore to Install Bus-Friendly Traffic Light Sensors

Baltimore to Install Bus-Friendly Traffic Light Sensors

Rush hour traffic is certainly frustrating for commuters in cars, but it can be especially disruptive to public bus services.

When buses are caught in gridlock and forced to sit through multiple light cycles, it can cause a phenomenon known as “bus bunching,” wherein the next bus in line catches up to the bus ahead of it. This can wreak havoc on bus schedules, sometimes leaving commuters left in the lurch while they wait for buses that might be hours behind schedule.

This issue has been particularly problematic in Baltimore, where the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has been struggling to correct its inefficient and unreliable bus service.

That’s why the city is investing $11 million in an effort to install traffic light sensors that prioritize bus traffic over other types of vehicles.

Once the sensor system is in place, traffic lights will stay green for six to 10 seconds longer when a bus is approaching, and the duration of red lights will be shortened by the same amount of time when buses are waiting to move.

Each of the city’s 200 buses will also be equipped with sensors that allow them to communicate with the sensors on upcoming traffic lights. City officials don’t expect the new system to disrupt car and truck traffic, but if it does the light timers can be easily adjusted to account for slowdowns and backups.

  • The MTA is also moving 19 bus stops to the far side of their intersections so that buses don’t have to stop and wait for a light twice when dropping off and picking up passengers.

In conjunction with the new sensor system, this change could make bus traffic far more efficient on some of the city’s busiest roadways. For the residents of Baltimore who depend on public buses to get to and from work, these updates could make daily commutes a whole lot less stressful.

Transit Buses in Las Vegas Get Free Wi-Fi Service

Transit Buses in Las Vegas Get Free Wi-Fi Service

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has made some big changes to its bus service in recent months.

Late last year, the RTC released a mobile app which allows riders to find bus stops, track buses in real time, and purchase transit passes right from their smartphones.

The app was designed to make RTC buses as convenient and accessible as possible.

Now, the RTC has made another upgrade that promises to add yet another level of convenience to its bus fleet: free Wi-Fi service.

In early February, RTC General Manager Tina Quigley announced that the transit commission had invested $504,487 in an effort to outfit all 400 of its buses with free wireless Internet.

Now, commuters can check emails, watch videos and more on their daily bus rides without having to rely on their own data plans. The Wi-Fi networks will also allow the RTC to provide more accurate information on its new mobile app.

“This helps us to both provide a value-added service for our customers in today’s connected world and more accurately tracks the vehicle locations so we can provide real-time information,” said Quigley in a statement to the RTC board of directors.

Whether or not the new Wi-Fi networks will increase ridership rates on RTC buses remains to be seen. In any case, the RTC appears intent on providing added incentives for people to use its bus service in the future.

Hopefully that will lead to an overall improvement in the quality of service that makes the transit service in Las Vegas better and more reliable than ever.