Las Vegas Gets a New Mobile Transit App

Las Vegas Gets a New Mobile Transit App

There’s some exciting news for public transit riders here in Las Vegas! The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has released a new smartphone app that makes it easier than ever to purchase tickets and find bus routes around the city.

 

The app, rideRTC, was developed in a partnership with Masabi, a London-based technology company whose JustRide mobile ticketing platform is used by more than 25 other transportation agencies around the globe. Using rideRTC, commuters and visitors to Las Vegas can locate bus stops, track buses in real time, and purchase transit passes in advance.

“RTC Transit takes you where Vegas takes you, yet potential riders, especially visitors, may not know where to find bus stops, how transit can get them to their destinations, or how to buy tickets,” said RTC general manager Tina Quigley in a statement. “The new rideRTC app removes all of these challenges visitors face in a new city and puts the information conveniently in the palm of their hand.”

In addition to the app’s bus-based functionality, rideRTC can be used to help people find a number other forms of transportation as well. Users can plan rides with Uber, for example, or find RTC Bike Share locations around the city. By the end of the year, RTC transit vehicles will all have electronic readers to validate mobile passes from the app.

In an effort to encourage people to try the new app, the RTC has also announced that it will be partnering with AT&T to give users the chance to win a $150 Visa gift card. Each person who downloads the app will be entered into a drawing that runs until the April 30, 2017. Take it for a spin, and let us know what you think!

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Little cars aren’t the only ones getting in on the electric vehicle action. This fall, Proterra, an electric bus maker that’s become one of the most recognizable names in zero-emission bus design, will release its latest model, the E2 Max.

According to Electrek, the E2 Max was designed to handle the “daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge,” which means these buses can be implemented even in the busiest cities where buses trek many miles back and forth on a single route. The newly designed battery pack in this model can store between 440 and 660 kilowatts of power, which translates into a range of about 200 to 350 miles, depending on terrain. Proterra has reported, though, that they’ve managed to drive one of these buses more than 600 miles on a single charge!

Proterra’s previous battery pack was only about 330 kilowatts, so the extra power in the new model will definitely give it an edge in the market. The larger battery in conjunction with a lightweight design and a “regenerative braking system” is what gives the bus the ability to travel such great distances on a charge.

While new electric cars and buses may someday revolutionize environmentally-friendly transportation, they won’t come cheap. This list price of an E2 Max is about $799,000, which is about twice what you’d pay for a brand new fuel-powered bus of the same size.

Proterra hopes to see many of these buses on the road in the coming years, and they’re already on the right track in Los Angeles. LA’s Foothill Transit has announced that it will be 100 percent electric by 2030 to help reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, and the Proterra E2 Max is one of the buses LA public transit riders may see on the road early next year.

For more information on Las Vegas bus sales, call us today at (877) 456-9804, or check out our current inventory online.

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Have you ever driven past a parking lot full of old school buses and wondered what becomes of them in their old age? Well, they don’t just sit around in a junkyard forever. You might be interested to learn about what Guatemalans call “chicken buses.”

Once an American school bus has been shuttling kids around from home to school to soccer games for about ten years, or when they reach about 150,000 miles on their odometers, they’re resold to places like Guatemala where they’re prepared for their “second lives.”

After some engine rebuilds, seating reconfigurations, and some seriously cool paint jobs, these yellow student-carriers are turned into off-roading buses that carry Guatemalans and their belongings from rural areas into city centers, where they trade goods to make money, go to work, go to school and live their lives.

The name “chicken bus” may come from one of two places—some say that the buses are called “chicken buses” by the locals because they are so packed with people they look like livestock trucks. Others say that these buses earned their name because they are often actually used to transport live animals, like chickens.

Either way, these very special buses, are given colorful new lives in South America thanks to the efforts of their devoted drivers. Although if you take a look at the video below, I think you’ll agree our kids’ school bus drivers tend to play it a little safer when it comes to obeying the rules of the road!

 

Stay Safe When Sharing the Road With School Buses

Stay Safe When Sharing the Road With School Buses

With summer vacation over and buses hitting the roads again to shuttle kids back to school, here at Las Vegas Bus Sales we thought it might be a good idea to go over some safety tips for sharing the road with school buses.

 

Safety Starts With Preparedness

When you’re sharing the road with a school bus, you should always be prepared to make sudden stops and turns. Make sure to give the bus plenty of space; increase your normal following distance significantly, and pay attention to the bus’s turn signals.

When you see a bus unload kids, take your time re-accelerating. Wait to make sure you know exactly where those kids are going before you drive away. You don’t want one of them to make a sudden turn into the street with your foot already on the gas pedal. Give the kids plenty of time to walk to where they need to be, and wait for the bus driver’s signal. The bus driver usually knows where the kids are supposed to be, so they’ll give them enough time to get there with the bus’s stoplights flashing before driving away.

School buses are required to come to a full stop at railroad tracks, so keep that in mind. You should also remember that school buses tend to travel at slower speeds in the mornings and afternoons, since they’re usually packed with kids.

Keep in mind that the large size of a school bus gives you limited visibility around it. Follow the bus’s lead: when the stop sign is out and the lights are flashing, stop, whether you are in front of the bus, or driving in opposing traffic. If you’re at an intersection, it’s best to wait and let the bus make its move first before you drive on.

Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for competitively-priced used school buses – Las Vegas Bus Sales.

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

In recent years, transit companies all across the country have begun installing a variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi routers and charging stations in buses to try to incentivize ridership. It’s a strategy that makes sense in theory, given our ever-increasing dependence on handheld electronics and Internet connectivity. In practice however, it may not be as effective as transit services would hope. According to a new report from research group TransitCenter, Wi-Fi routers might be nice frills, but it’s fast, reliable service that riders really want.

The researchers surveyed more than 3,000 respondents from 17 regions throughout the country about what kinds of improvements they’d like to see from their local transit services. Options included power outlets, Wi-Fi connections, shelters designed for bad weather conditions, cheaper fares and more frequent service.

The survey found that the two most important determining factors in rider satisfaction are service frequency and travel times. Real-time ride updates and improved shelters were also high on the list for many respondents. Wi-Fi connections and power outlets, on the other hand, were the least important factors for rider satisfaction.

While this doesn’t mean that transit companies should abandon amenities like Wi-Fi service altogether, it does suggest that they would have better luck increasing ridership rates by investing in service improvements first. Commuters don’t expect much in the way of bells and whistles from their buses and subway systems. What they really want is a service they can count on to get them where they need to go, when they need to be there.

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Even luxury automakers are taking a stab at the autonomous vehicle market these days. Mercedes-Benz is the latest to throw their hat in the ring with an eye-catching design appropriately named “Future Bus.” Featuring sleek lines and expansive window panes, the design truly does look like the bus of tomorrow. Leave it to Mercedes to make a great-looking vehicle.

But the Future Bus is about more than just aesthetics; it’s built to be uncommonly efficient as well. The Future Bus uses Mercedes’ proprietary CityPilot technology that was originally introduced two years ago for the company’s self-driving Actros truck. CityPilot is capable of detecting and recognizing different objects on the road and communicating with a city’s local infrastructure. This means that the FutureBus will not only be able to predict when traffic lights are going to change, but also provide cities with valuable data about wear and tear in their roads.

In the FutureBus, CityPilot is programmed to automatically stop at bus stops along its route. The designers at Mercedes-Benz note that their self-driving software offers a gentle, smooth ride that allows riders to comfortably stand on the bus during busy commutes. The bus has a top speed of 70 km/hr (about 45 mph).

In July, the FutureBus passed its first major road test when it navigated more than 20 kilometers on complex section of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route in the Netherlands. While a driver had to be at the wheel in order to maintain legal compliance, the bus was able to gracefully complete the route on its own. The next step for Mercedes-Benz will be to start implementing the FutureBus on select BRT routes in Europe for further testing. Meanwhile, other companies are trialing similar technologies here in the United States as well.

VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

In addition to their applications in gaming, virtual reality platforms have gained a lot of interest from the educational community in recent years. Imagine teaching engineering students how to work on complex equipment in a virtual laboratory, for example.  Or teaching history students about the Civil Rights Movement by allowing them to sit in on the court cases where landmark decisions were made. The only trouble with virtual reality experiences is that they’re usually limited to one person wearing a headset. That’s why Generation Beyond, an educational subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has turned a school bus into a huge, mobile virtual reality platform that allows a whole classroom of students to take a shared tour of Mars. They call the bus the Mars Experience

Each of the windows in the bus was replaced with a transparent 4K display and a layer of glass film which becomes opaque when an electric current is applied to it. This lets the vehicle transform from an ordinary school bus to a roving VR platform at the flip of a switch. Once the VR is enabled, the simulation begins tracking the movement of the bus to create a dynamic virtual experience. Each time the bus turns, hits a bump in the road or changes speed the simulation of Mars reacts accordingly. The system’s designers mapped their simulation onto the streets of Washington, D.C. so the bus can move freely around the city while maintaining the virtual environment in a 250 square mile area.

The simulation was designed by Framestore, the same VFX studio that created many of the landscapes in the sci-fi thriller The Martian. In addition to the VR-enabled window panels, the team also outfitted the bus with a surround sound system to add an extra layer of immersion to the experience.

To learn more about what went into the creation of the Mars Experience, check out this video from the design team!

 

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

While transit officials in the Washington, D.C. have been working overtime to repair the city’s aging subway system, a new kind of bus with some serious personality is making its debut in the nation’s capital. It’s called Olli, and it’s got the brain of IBM’s Watson computing system.

Olli might be smaller than other buses in the city, but it’s a whole lot smarter. So smart, in fact, that it doesn’t need a human driver. Passengers can hail the little bus from an app similar to Uber or Lyft. Once Olli picks them up, they simply ask the bus to take them to their destination, and off they go. Using an array of 30 sensors and its Watson-powered brain, Olli is able to continually collect and analyze transportation data, allowing it to make quick decisions and get better at navigating busy city streets.

Olli was created by American automotive startup Local Motors – a company that focuses on innovative open-source vehicle designs. Rather than build Olli with conventional manufacturing processes, Local Motors chose to 3D print most of its components instead. This allows replacement parts to be printed at local shops, rather than shipped in from elsewhere. The company has built “micro factories” to accomplish this goal in Germany, Arizona, Tennessee and Maryland.

According to EcoWatch, Local Motors is currently working with cities in at least 50 other countries who are also interested in Olli’s unique approach to bus transit. You can learn more about this smart little bus in the video from Local Motors below!

 

Detroit Reveals Plans to Revitalize its Ailing Transit System

Detroit Reveals Plans to Revitalize its Ailing Transit System

In the first half of the 20th century, Detroit was one of the foremost hubs of industry and engineering in the United States. For decades, the Motor City manufactured millions of automobiles for drivers all over the world. Then, the energy crisis of the 1970s forced American automakers to scale back their operations, and the city fell on hard times.  Since then, Detroit has struggled to curb an economic collapse that left the city in bankruptcy in 2013.

City planners in Detroit have long identified a slow, fragmented public transit system as one of the chief obstacles to the city’s economic renewal. In 2012, the Michigan State Legislature approved the creation of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to bridge the gap between Detroit’s two independent transit services – the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). Now, four years later, the RTA has unveiled its plan to overhaul Detroit’s transit system to make it faster, more accessible and commuter-friendly.

The RTA’s plan focuses primarily on revamping Detroit’s bus service. New cross-county routes will be implemented to connect separate SMART and DDOT routes, eliminating the need for riders to transfer between lines and wait for multiple buses. In addition, commuter express routes will run during rush hour between the city’s most populous areas and the places with the most employers. Finally, the RTA plans to construct dedicated lanes for a bus rapid transit service to quickly move people around the city and surrounding suburbs.

The RTA is expected to ask voters to approve a $1.2 million tax levy to fund the project later this year. Many of Detroit’s residents hope that fixing the broken transit system will be a significant step forward in the city’s recovery.

360° Cameras are Coming to School and Transit Buses

360° Cameras are Coming to School and Transit Buses

Long, tall buses might be ideal for carrying large groups of people, but they’re not known for having great visibility. Broad body panels can make it difficult for drivers to spot people and objects around the sides and rear ends of buses in particular. Large mirrors can help, but they often don’t completely eliminate blind spots.

Thanks to mobile video surveillance and fleet management company Seon, however, blind spots in buses could soon be a thing of the past. Recently, Seon released the inView 360 Around Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) System which uses a series of four cameras to provide drivers with a complete, live view of the space around their buses. An electronic control unit stitches and blends the images from the four cameras to create a 360° panoramic view of a bus’s surroundings.

Fleet managers can also review data recorded from the AVM system to determine the cause of accidents. The playback software synchronizes with audio and vehicle telemetry data such as speed, GPS location and brake signals. This can give fleet managers the ability to dispute fraudulent insurance claims and ensure that drivers obey the rules of the road.

“The desire to improve driver visibility is the core value behind the development of the inView 260 AVM system,” said product manager Kevin Brady in an interview. If we can give drivers a better view of their surroundings, they can avoid costly accidents and prevent vehicle damage, saving the lives of pedestrians and reducing fleet liability and insurance costs.”

Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for new and used buses – Las Vegas Bus Sales.