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.

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.

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.

London Ditches Diesel Buses

London Ditches Diesel Buses

In December of 1952, a cold weather system descended on London and caused a buildup of factory smog so severe that visibility was reduced to just a few feet.

Now known as the Great Smog of 1952, the event forced London officials to finally take steps to alleviate the city’s ongoing air-pollution problems.

Since then, London has made sweeping reforms that have significantly improved the city’s air quality.

London’s air quality might be a whole lot better than it was in the 1950’s, but there’s still room for improvement.

City officials estimate that roughly 9,400 premature deaths happen every year as a result of illnesses caused by long-term exposure to air pollution.

That’s why mayor Sadiq Khan is planning to phase out diesel buses and replace them with hybrid-engine and zero-emission models over the next four years.

  • Starting in 2018 the city will stop adding diesel models to its iconic fleet of red double-decker buses.
  • Furthermore, all new single-deck buses in the city will be zero-emission models.

“I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology,” said Khan in his announcement speech. “Transforming London’s bus fleet by accelerating the introduction of zero-emission buses is important and I plan to work with bus manufacturers, other cities, the European Commission and the C40 Climate Change Leadership Group of Cities to move this agenda forward.”

Khan made the announcement in conjunction with the unveiling of a new hydrogen-powered bus that will begin trials on London roads next year.

Currently, London has a total of 79 zero-emission buses in service, 51 of which are battery powered. The city also maintains three fully-electric bus routes.

After earning a reputation for being one of the most polluted cities in the world during the 20th century, London has found itself at the forefront of the movement to improve urban air quality worldwide.

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

Although we deal in buses powered by conventional fuels, we always like to stay informed when we hear of a cool company making new waves in the electric bus industry.

Today, we’re here to tell you about a French startup that recently raised a whopping $34 million to fund the development of its autonomous electric bus.

Navya, a research company based in France, has been developing its self-driving bus, the Arma, for a full decade. The bus finally debuted in October of this year in its first trials in Lyon, France.

In its first test run, passengers were treated to an autonomous bus ride that sped up to 28 miles per hour, covered five stops and lasted about 13 minutes from the first stop to the last.

Navya’s self-driving technology relies on a series of sensors that are embedded into the bus’s infrastructure. These sensors are what allow the bus to interact with and respond to its environment. While the current test path does not include obstacles like crosswalks, regular traffic, or lots of pedestrians, the success of the test will be a good indication as to whether or not this service will fit Lyons’s commuter needs.

In their latest round of funding, Navya has raised over 30 million dollars to expand their project internationally and continue additional research and development.

They’re now collaborating with a number of other companies to see how they can adapt this bus technology for use in other major cities.

We’ll have to keep an eye on Navya’s progress to see how their next phases of testing go.

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a bus that still requires a human driver, head on over to our inventory page to see what’s available.

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.

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.