Designer Creates Comprehensive Transit Map for NYC

Designer Creates Comprehensive Transit Map for NYC

New York City’s famous public transport system is known for being a lot of things, but simple isn’t one of them. Even for longtime residents of the city, finding the quickest route from one destination to another can be challenging. The complexity of the NYC transit system has been compounded by the fact that the city’s Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has never created a map that includes both subway lines and bus routes. Instead, riders must consult different maps to see all the different components that comprise the city’s massive public transit system.

Soon, however, thanks to New York City native and professional designer Anthony Denary, transit riders may finally be able to see all their available bus routes and subway lines in one simple map. Denary calls it the “Bullet Map,” and he’s recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund both an app and a printed version of the map. So far, he’s generated more than half of his $8,000 fundraising goal.

Denary was inspired to design the map based on his experiences growing up in Queens. Although he had spent years transferring from the Q5 bus line to the E train in Jamaica, he had never seen a complete picture of the city’s bus map. After drafting his own map, he realized that there were more efficient transit routes around the city that he’d never been aware of. Now, he’s hoping that his map will help to alleviate transit “tunnel vision” so that other people can find new, faster routes around the city as well. Ultimately, he hopes the map might even be adopted by the MTA.

Next time you’re visiting The City That Never Sleeps, be sure to keep an eye out for the Bullet Map app to make your travels a little easier.

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!

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.

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.

In San Francisco, Riders Can Now Pay Bus Fare With PayPal

In San Francisco, Riders Can Now Pay Bus Fare With PayPal

Over the course of the past couple of years, a number of industry disruptors such as Uber and Lyft have forced public transit services to rethink their business strategies to keep ridership levels afloat. San Francisco, a city with a long history of innovation in public transit, is the latest municipality to update their business model for the 21st century.
 
Back in January, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that they would be partnering with mobile ticketing and payment platform GlobeSherpa to create a dedicated mobile app for ticket transactions. After months of planning and anticipation, the app was finally made available to customers in November.
 
It’s called MuniMobile, and it’s designed to be especially convenient for tourists and casual riders. Once downloaded on Android or iOS, riders can save bank card information or link the app with their PayPal account. They can also purchase tickets for later and then redeem them from their smartphones.
 
“This mobile fare payment pilot program is part of our efforts to improve the customer’s experience on the Muni system. With this new app, riders will be able to buy tickets on their phones anywhere and anytime,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in a press release.
 
The SFMTA’s pilot program might be the first of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last. Other cities with well-established public transportation infrastructures and prosperous tourist industries will likely follow suit in the near future. It’s a step in the right direction to help cities and their citizens make the most of public transit services.
 

See Japan by Bus for Just $1200 a Ticket

See Japan by Bus for Just $1200 a Ticket

No, that wasn’t a typo. A Tokyo-based company is now offering luxury bus tours throughout the country for $1200 a pop. And get this: that’s the economy package. A longer three day trip can cost you upwards of $2500. Granted, that price does include the cost of your meals and a stay in a hotel, but we suspect these expenses account for a pretty small portion of the total ticket price.
 
The passenger compartments of the buses are based on the first class sections of airplanes. With plush leather interiors, flat screen seatback TV’s and more legroom than you can shake a stick at, they do look pretty luxurious, but when your bus tour through the Japanese countryside costs as much as your plane ticket around the world, we can’t help but wonder if it’s all worth it.
 
The buses, which only accommodate 10 passengers at a time, might appeal to you if you’re the sort that doesn’t care for big tour groups. Of course, unless you have a few grand in disposable income lying around, your preference for small tour groups won’t matter much anyway. In spite of the astronomic cost of tickets, the touring company is reporting a successful travel season this summer. Thus far, their largest demographic seems to be retirees.
 
You can get a taste of the Premium Cruiser experience in this promo video from the company’s website. Sit back and enjoy some of the finest natural beauty, overly attentive attendants, and wacky translations Japan has to offer. Also, is that coffee in a paper cup? Seems like they could’ve at least sprung for ceramic.

 

Manure Powered Bus Breaks Speed Record

Manure Powered Bus Breaks Speed Record

In recent years, environmentally minded engineers have begun experimenting with a variety of different fuel sources in an attempt to find a viable alternative to crude oil. From vegetable oil to natural gas to lithium-ion batteries, conscientious gearheads have begun experimenting with all sorts of different fuel sources over the course of the past decade or so. The latest of these experiments comes to us courtesy of Reading Buses in the UK, who have made a bus that runs on nothing but cow excrement.
 
Strictly speaking it runs on biomethane fuel derived from cow manure, but let’s not get bogged down in technicalities. What’s really impressive about the so-called “Bus Hound” is that it doesn’t just amble around highways like a heifer out to pasture. In fact, it can just about blow the doors off of any other bus on the road. Whereas most buses generally top out at around 60mph, the Bus Hound was able to complete a record lap at Bedford’s Millbrook Proving Ground at a blazing 76mph.
 
The BBC reported that chief engineer John Bickerton designed and built the bus in hopes of illustrating the “viability, power and credibility of buses fueled by cow poo.” Bickerton went on to explain that his team “wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly and slow.”
 
It remains to be seen whether or not manure will be powering your local highway coaches anytime soon, but it’s an exciting development in an evolving industry that’s worth keeping an eye on. For now, though, we’ll stick to diesel.

In Hawaii, Old Buses Will Become Mobile Homeless Shelters

In Hawaii, Old Buses Will Become Mobile Homeless Shelters

Honolulu has a homelessness problem, and state officials are tackling it in an unconventional and extremely resourceful way. With the help of architecture firm Group 70 International, the state plans to retrofit a fleet of retired city buses and deploy them as roving homeless shelters throughout Honolulu.
 
Each bus will serve a different purpose; one will house showers, while another will provide sleeping quarters for the homeless population in the city. The buses will require extensive renovations in order to convert them from transit vehicles to comfortable living spaces. They are all in good working order, but have been retired from regular service due to high mileage.
 
Group 70 International hopes to have at least three buses completed by the end of the summer. They’re also seeking partnership with a non-profit organization in order to expand the scope of the plan. In total, the city of Honolulu has agreed to donate about 70 buses to the project.
 
When you hear about projects like this, you can’t help but think about the thousands of other public transit vehicles that have outlived their careers, but not their usefulness. These days, people are finding all kinds of creative ways to put retired buses back to work; from food trucks, to camping vehicles, to homeless shelters.
 
At Las Vegas Bus Sales, we’re doing our part to make sure that used buses don’t go to waste. Whether you need a vehicle to add to your fleet, or a bus to turn into something entirely new, we carry a diverse selection of used options to suit the needs of all of our customers. Browse our entire inventory online, or give us a call today for more information.

The Microtransit Movement in America

The Microtransit Movement in America

Until recently, American city dwellers have been fairly limited in their choice of mass transit options. Public bus lines typically constitute the cheapest but least flexible option, while private cab companies offer a straight shot to your destination, but at a higher premium. In some cities rail lines supplement bus service, but commuter trains are subject to many of the same scheduling headaches as public bus lines.
 
Over the course of the past decade, however, a new generation of entrepreneurs has been shaking up American public transit by serving patrons with small fleets of vehicles that satisfy niches long neglected by public transit. Some of these are carpool startups and ride sharing services, while others consist of shuttle bus fleets operating on schedules designed to accommodate commuters for whom public transit is not a viable option. City planners now refer to these private transportation enterprises as “microtransit”
 
Microtransit is an ideal way to both foster private enterprise in a community, and provide a public service by supplementing gaps in public transit service. In a recent article in CityLab, author Eric Jaffe writes that “private microtransit outfits can target certain niche populations in a way public agencies with a mandate to serve as much of the public as possible cannot.” He also notes that, “in an ideal world, microtransit providers would become the feeders to public transportation’s core routes.”
 
It’s a bright vision of a new, more inclusive kind of mass transit. With microtransit services on the rise in cities all across America, there’s never been a better time to invest in a small fleet of shuttle buses. At Las Vegas Bus Sales, we’re committed to outfitting transit companies with the new and used buses they need to serve their communities. Our extensive inventory of buses features a broad selection of options ideal for transit services of all sizes. Want to learn more about all the buses available at Las Vegas Bus Sales? Browse our entire inventory online, and give us a call today for more information.