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How can buses get better?

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How can buses get better?

Old 04-28-19, 10:17 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by veloiste View Post
I almost never ride the bus in Chicago because they are so dang slow. Here's how you can make them faster:
  • Dedicated bus lanes - this prevents the bus from having to constantly exit and enter traffic which is the biggest reason buses are so slow
  • Eliminate stops - some routes here in Chicago stop at 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th St, etc. All of these stops add significant time, especially in traffic. Let's say my house is closest to the 32nd St stop. Well, if I get off at 31st St and start walking towards 32nd, I'm usually there around the same time as the bus. Eliminating stops will hurt disabled people, however.
  • Express buses - these buses will only stop at the larger/higher traffic stops
I can see that. I can't speak for Chicago, but if its anything like other major cites I've lived in, its all been tried and failed. Trains do work, but only where they don't have to share the road with automobiles.
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Old 04-29-19, 02:36 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Because that's the reality of why many people avoid buses, I think. Have you taken Greyhound? Have you noticed a difference between people taking Greyhound and people flying in airports? Class differences are subtle but they deter people from giving full consideration to all their options.
I have travelled by coach (Greyhound and similar) in several countries. In Australia, Canada, and the UK, there really is no difference between the people on the bus vs those in airplanes.

In the US, things were different. Perhaps the US just needs to upgrade their long distance "coaches" from 1970s city buses to the level of other countries. Although I've had a look around the US greyhound site and apparently upgrades have been made since I last rode with them in 2005. That's good.

So basically ... no, there's no difference.



Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Buses are more fuel efficient than flying (though not as fuel efficient as trains) so it would be better if more people chose them over air-travel, but the challenge is how to make them attractive enough so more people will make the extra time sacrifice required to choose to take a bus a few hundred miles instead of flying or driving.
High speed rail.
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Old 04-29-19, 02:55 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
If people pay more for one airline or bus carrier or hotel or store or filling station than another, it may have to do with something about product/service quality ...
Yes.

I happily pay more for leg room on long-haul flights. Why? Because I want comfort!

I happily pay more for hotels in certain circumstances. Why? Because I want comfort!

I happily pay more for food in certain restaurants. Why? Because it meets my standards. I'm really not that interested in cheap fast food anymore.

Same with lots of different things. It has to do with product/service quality.

I just bought new glasses. I could have gone with the cheapo place, but I've done that in the past and have not been happy. Instead I went with a place that offers quality and service, and for the first time I've been able to wear progressive lenses!!

That's how it works for me.



As far as buses go, I have used them and may do so again. But personally, I prefer to use planes or trains. They are simply faster. Also, they are much more likely to take bicycles.

In fact, when we've opted for train travel in Europe or here in Australia, and something happens that they have to put a bus on for a stretch of the route, it's a real pain when we've got our bicycles with us because they usually don't take bicycles. So suddenly we've got to ride or find alternate transportation. Fortunately that has not happened very often.

Funny thing ... bit of an aside ... there's a stretch in Zwift that Rowan and I have cycled in real life because the trains stopped and people were heading for buses, but Rowan and I decided to cycle back to our hostel. It's in a/the London scenario.

So that would be one big improvement for us on buses ... ensure that they will take bicycles!!
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Old 04-29-19, 05:59 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes.

I happily pay more for leg room on long-haul flights. Why? Because I want comfort!

I happily pay more for hotels in certain circumstances. Why? Because I want comfort!

I happily pay more for food in certain restaurants. Why? Because it meets my standards. I'm really not that interested in cheap fast food anymore.

Same with lots of different things. It has to do with product/service quality.

I just bought new glasses. I could have gone with the cheapo place, but I've done that in the past and have not been happy. Instead I went with a place that offers quality and service, and for the first time I've been able to wear progressive lenses!!

That's how it works for me.



As far as buses go, I have used them and may do so again. But personally, I prefer to use planes or trains. They are simply faster. Also, they are much more likely to take bicycles.

In fact, when we've opted for train travel in Europe or here in Australia, and something happens that they have to put a bus on for a stretch of the route, it's a real pain when we've got our bicycles with us because they usually don't take bicycles. So suddenly we've got to ride or find alternate transportation. Fortunately that has not happened very often.

Funny thing ... bit of an aside ... there's a stretch in Zwift that Rowan and I have cycled in real life because the trains stopped and people were heading for buses, but Rowan and I decided to cycle back to our hostel. It's in a/the London scenario.

So that would be one big improvement for us on buses ... ensure that they will take bicycles!!
I traveled across the country with my bike aboard Greyhound and was surprise at the level of care they took with my bike.

We changed buses a couple of times during my journey so I got a chance to watch them (clandestinely) as they transferred the luggage from one bus to the other. On each occasion they handled my bike carefully and never tossed it, dropped it or laid it on its side.

In fact, on the final leg of my trip I noticed them placing it carefully in a separate partitioned compartment away from the other suitcases sitting it upright (as indicated on the box), all by itself.

Of course it helps to make sure that they can identify it as a bike. So its best to go to your LBS and get a discarded bike box -- rather than a generic box -- that's already clearly labeled with the necessary warnings and what's inside printed on it.

Naturally that only applies for me, and only in the U.S., so I can't speak for anyone else and certainly not how things work in another country.
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Old 04-29-19, 06:05 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
I traveled across the country with my bike aboard Greyhound and was surprise at the level of care they took with my bike.

We changed buses a couple of times during my journey so I got a chance to watch them (clandestinely) as they transferred the luggage from one bus to the other. On each occasion they handled my bike carefully and never tossed it, dropped it or laid it on its side.

In fact, on the final leg of my trip I noticed them placing it carefully in a separate partitioned compartment away from the other suitcases sitting it upright (as indicated on the box), all by itself.

Of course it helps to make sure that they can identify it as a bike. So its best to go to your LBS and get a discarded bike box -- rather than a generic box -- that's already clearly labeled with the necessary warnings and what's inside printed on it.

Naturally that only applies for me, and only in the U.S., so I can't speak for anyone else and certainly not how things work in another country.


It's a bit challenging to find a box when "the powers that be" have decided that the train is stopping HERE, and HERE is some small down in the middle of nowhere ... and the bus is standing there waiting for everyone. Nor is there much point.

You've got about 3 minutes to dash over and beg the driver to let you take your bicycle on board, and if he says, "Nope, not a chance" ... you've got the option of waiting till the trains run again or cycling.


But I have travelled from Eugene to Vancouver (Canada) by US greyhound in 2005, with my bicycle in a bicycle box, and watched them (clandestinely) as they as they transferred the luggage from one bus to the other on one occasion and offloaded all the luggage at the border while the passengers were lined up against the wall on another occasion. There was no delicacy either of those processes. I gasped in horror both times as I watched them pick up my bicycle (in its bicycle box) and threw it across the platform. I was not impressed.

My bicycle, in a box and on its own, has been treated somewhat better on long distance coaches (greyhound, etc.) in other countries ... on the occasions when they have allowed it on.

Last edited by Machka; 04-29-19 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 04-29-19, 05:19 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I have travelled by coach (Greyhound and similar) in several countries. In Australia, Canada, and the UK, there really is no difference between the people on the bus vs those in airplanes.

In the US, things were different. Perhaps the US just needs to upgrade their long distance "coaches" from 1970s city buses to the level of other countries. Although I've had a look around the US greyhound site and apparently upgrades have been made since I last rode with them in 2005. That's good.

So basically ... no, there's no difference.
Differences are largely subjective, based on things like clothing and hair styles. Maybe there are unwashed people on airplanes and it's less obvious because of the low humidity, idk. I don't think people are allowed to be drunk on airplanes. People do smoke when they leave the airplane, but obviously there aren't as many stops where they can take smoke breaks.

Maybe it's just me, but I know plenty of people who will fly but never take a bus to go anywhere long distance. They would drive for 12 hours to go somewhere or fly in a plane, but not take a bus. To me sitting in a bus is more comfortable than having to drive yourself, but for some reason many people will drive or fly before they'll take a bus. Any guesses why that might be if not due to social segregation for some reason or other?
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Old 04-29-19, 05:28 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes.

I happily pay more for leg room on long-haul flights. Why? Because I want comfort!
What about taking a bus with more leg room instead of a flight with less?

I happily pay more for food in certain restaurants. Why? Because it meets my standards. I'm really not that interested in cheap fast food anymore.
Some restaurant food isn't really better quality, but the furniture/decorations and other customers are more expensive

Same with lots of different things. It has to do with product/service quality.
I don't think product/service quality is the only reason people choose to avoid rest stops or choose certain filling station brands over others.

I just bought new glasses. I could have gone with the cheapo place, but I've done that in the past and have not been happy. Instead I went with a place that offers quality and service, and for the first time I've been able to wear progressive lenses!!
Fashion is often about buying social status. You can tell this when you travel and see styles that are foreign to you, which you wonder why they are popular; but the people wearing them have clearly been indoctrinated into seeing the style as good. It's basically just a form of club membership; like the sneetches in the Dr. Seuss book with stars on their bellies.

As far as buses go, I have used them and may do so again. But personally, I prefer to use planes or trains. They are simply faster. Also, they are much more likely to take bicycles.
Well, high-speed rail projects are floundering due to cost overruns and political opposition, so long-distance buses/coaches are the next best thing if you want to put more people per vehicle, which improves fuel efficiency and reduces congestion on the roads, which in turn reduces pressures to expand highways and build more highways, which is leading to more sprawl and loss of natural land/ecology/habitats.

If you like cycling through nature, you might appreciate the importance of shifting the larger public into more efficient forms of surface transportation. Of course if you are still in denial of climate change and the problems of air travel, then you would just think everyone flying everywhere is the best way to protect natural land because planes don't even require rails, let alone pavement (beyond the landing and takeoff strip).
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Old 04-29-19, 09:20 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Differences are largely subjective, based on things like clothing and hair styles. Maybe there are unwashed people on airplanes and it's less obvious because of the low humidity, idk. I don't think people are allowed to be drunk on airplanes. People do smoke when they leave the airplane, but obviously there aren't as many stops where they can take smoke breaks.

Maybe it's just me, but I know plenty of people who will fly but never take a bus to go anywhere long distance. They would drive for 12 hours to go somewhere or fly in a plane, but not take a bus. To me sitting in a bus is more comfortable than having to drive yourself, but for some reason many people will drive or fly before they'll take a bus. Any guesses why that might be if not due to social segregation for some reason or other?
People fly because flying is faster!

People drive because they can stop off wherever they want for whatever reasons they want.

And what do you think can happen when they serve alcohol on the plane?

And if you've ever flown between Australia and Canada, you've got yourself a whole plane load of "unwashed" people mostly wearing sweat pants and T-shirts. But there's an example of why people might choose flying ... kind of difficult to take a bus between Australian and Canada!

Last edited by Machka; 04-29-19 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:48 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Maybe it's just me, but I know plenty of people who will fly but never take a bus to go anywhere long distance. They would drive for 12 hours to go somewhere or fly in a plane, but not take a bus. To me sitting in a bus is more comfortable than having to drive yourself, but for some reason many people will drive or fly before they'll take a bus. Any guesses why that might be if not due to social segregation for some reason or other?
I find driving more comfortable and generally enjoy it. Faster than a bus and no need to travel on their schedule. And you have transportation when you arrive at your destination. The privacy is nice as well. Not really social segregation but segregation from society. Driving long distances gives one the rare opportunity to really be alone with their thoughts.
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Old 04-30-19, 04:22 AM
  #85  
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An experiment.

USA Greyhound.
Boise > Chicago.
39 hours.

Driving ... according to Google Maps.
Boise > Chicago.
25 hours.

So you could spend 39 hours on a bus.





Or you and a friend could tag team for 25 hours, stopping where you want to stop to eat or rest etc. You could even stop for 13.5 hours at a hotel, mid-drive and get a decent night's sleep, and still arrive before the bus!!
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Old 04-30-19, 09:11 AM
  #86  
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smaller

Originally Posted by veloiste View Post
I almost never ride the bus in Chicago because they are so dang slow. Here's how you can make them faster:
  • Dedicated bus lanes - this prevents the bus from having to constantly exit and enter traffic which is the biggest reason buses are so slow
  • Eliminate stops - some routes here in Chicago stop at 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th St, etc. All of these stops add significant time, especially in traffic. Let's say my house is closest to the 32nd St stop. Well, if I get off at 31st St and start walking towards 32nd, I'm usually there around the same time as the bus. Eliminating stops will hurt disabled people, however.
  • Express buses - these buses will only stop at the larger/higher traffic stops
smaller more fuel efficient buses running more often. bring back the street cars in the middle of the streets, instead of the useless planters they put in the middle now. Chicago transit is a mess, along with METRA , weird schedules , take for ever.
"Chicago the city that works"(yeah right, crumbles, very corrupt city and system for property taxes)

Last edited by rossiny; 04-30-19 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 04-30-19, 09:18 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
An experiment.

USA Greyhound.
Boise > Chicago.
39 hours.

Driving ... according to Google Maps.
Boise > Chicago.
25 hours.

So you could spend 39 hours on a bus.





Or you and a friend could tag team for 25 hours, stopping where you want to stop to eat or rest etc. You could even stop for 13.5 hours at a hotel, mid-drive and get a decent night's sleep, and still arrive before the bus!!
high speed rails would be perfect in the USA. Long stretches and flat ground , but the car and plane industry has other agenda
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Old 04-30-19, 11:26 AM
  #88  
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I wouldn't normally post in here, but the topic title caught my eye.

I live in a place with seemingly quite a few bus routes from downtown out to other residential areas and even across areas.

I always notice, no matter the time of day.......they're next to empty. On a bus that could easily carry 50, think the most I've ever seen on one was like 15 people.

Want to fix it? Instead of spending mega bucks to support suburbanite freeways and car feeders, stop doing it. Invest instead in bus, light rail, bike ride shares, park and ride lots.....and make the vehicle tax per-mile and make it steep.

The costs of roads is enormous, and largely ignored. But we'll piss and moan over a light rail project or bus project being a couple million dollars. When the local bypass likely cost a BILLION.

But, since the car and oil lobby is probably a bit stronger than the light rail and bus lobby...........there ya go.
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Old 04-30-19, 01:54 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I find driving more comfortable and generally enjoy it. Faster than a bus and no need to travel on their schedule. And you have transportation when you arrive at your destination. The privacy is nice as well. Not really social segregation but segregation from society. Driving long distances gives one the rare opportunity to really be alone with their thoughts.
I don't understand that at all, especially since I'm the opposite. I can drift off in thought a lot easier as a passenger than as a driver. I've driven across country alone and know one thing for sure, I never want to do that again.

I've flown across the country, driven and taken the bus (no train yet). The only problem I have with the bus is someone wanting to eat potato chips at 2 a.m. But that could be true on a plane just as well.

Anyway, you hear a lot more news with brawls on planes than anywhere else. The gestapo treatment is why I'm not a big fan of planes right now.
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Old 04-30-19, 03:41 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
People drive because they can stop off wherever they want for whatever reasons they want.
There's no solution for that with a bus, unless it becomes possible for smaller local shuttles to dock with buses on the highway while moving so passengers can board and exit long-distance buses without the whole bus stopping.

Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
The privacy is nice as well. Not really social segregation but segregation from society. Driving long distances gives one the rare opportunity to really be alone with their thoughts.
Yes, part of what I was trying to explain by using the term, 'segregation,' in a more general way is that there are legitimate reasons to seek separation from other people for all sorts of reasons. The problem is that too many people have sought segregation for the wrong reasons, giving it a bad name.

Giving people the ability to have more privacy/separation in the form of private compartments or otherwise on long-distance bus trips would make them more popular, I think.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
An experiment.

USA Greyhound.
Boise > Chicago.
39 hours.

Driving ... according to Google Maps.
Boise > Chicago.
25 hours.

So you could spend 39 hours on a bus.

There's no reason a bus trip should take longer than driving. That's why I mentioned the idea of local shuttles docking with long-distance buses on highways so people can board and exit without the bus stopping. Fueling buses on the highway by docking with fuel vehicles or having swappable fuel tanks that would be secured before shifting the fuel line internally would be good technological innovations. Obviously, safety would be the challenge.

Or you and a friend could tag team for 25 hours, stopping where you want to stop to eat or rest etc. You could even stop for 13.5 hours at a hotel, mid-drive and get a decent night's sleep, and still arrive before the bus!!
Two people sharing a car doesn't reduce congestion on the highways the way a bus with 50 passengers does.

Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
high speed rails would be perfect in the USA. Long stretches and flat ground , but the car and plane industry has other agenda
HSR projects are too difficult to maintain support. Political-economic obstructions doom them to being little more than money-wasting projects designed to pay out money for people to spend on car payments and plane tickets.

Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Want to fix it? Instead of spending mega bucks to support suburbanite freeways and car feeders, stop doing it.
It's going to get harder and harder to justify. So much land has been harmed by highways and the development that they bring. They are also contrary to solving the climate unsustainability problems at hand.
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Old 05-05-19, 11:53 AM
  #91  
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Curitiba Brazil is reportedly well designed and got a 3rd ranking , for green cities ..

and their public transit infrastructure is a contributing factor ..
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Old 05-05-19, 12:35 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
There's no solution for that with a bus, unless it becomes possible for smaller local shuttles to dock with buses on the highway while moving so passengers can board and exit long-distance buses without the whole bus stopping.


Yes, part of what I was trying to explain by using the term, 'segregation,' in a more general way is that there are legitimate reasons to seek separation from other people for all sorts of reasons. The problem is that too many people have sought segregation for the wrong reasons, giving it a bad name.

Giving people the ability to have more privacy/separation in the form of private compartments or otherwise on long-distance bus trips would make them more popular, I think.


There's no reason a bus trip should take longer than driving. That's why I mentioned the idea of local shuttles docking with long-distance buses on highways so people can board and exit without the bus stopping. Fueling buses on the highway by docking with fuel vehicles or having swappable fuel tanks that would be secured before shifting the fuel line internally would be good technological innovations. Obviously, safety would be the challenge.


Two people sharing a car doesn't reduce congestion on the highways the way a bus with 50 passengers does.


HSR projects are too difficult to maintain support. Political-economic obstructions doom them to being little more than money-wasting projects designed to pay out money for people to spend on car payments and plane tickets.


It's going to get harder and harder to justify. So much land has been harmed by highways and the development that they bring. They are also contrary to solving the climate unsustainability problems at hand.
So what does countries in the rest of the industrialized world (Spain, Germany, China, Japan, France, Russia, South Korea, UK, etc.) know that we don't?

The Five Best High-Speed Rail Networks in the World


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Old 05-05-19, 04:48 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
So what does countries in the rest of the industrialized world (Spain, Germany, China, Japan, France, Russia, South Korea, UK, etc.) know that we don't?
Here's a link to a thread so you can discuss this topic. This thread is about buses.

High Speed Rail: what do other know that we don't?
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Old 05-05-19, 09:25 PM
  #94  
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An interesting local alternative:

https://www.citylab.com/transportati...n-uber/588154/
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Old 05-06-19, 09:26 AM
  #95  
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Usa

Originally Posted by kranexl View Post
so what does countries in the rest of the industrialized world (spain, germany, china, japan, france, russia, south korea, uk, etc.) know that we don't?

the five best high-speed rail networks in the world


usa- 0
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Old 05-06-19, 01:25 PM
  #96  
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US rail was Private from its 1st transcontinental connection, incentivised by gifting native's lands..
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Old 05-07-19, 03:58 PM
  #97  
tandempower
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Please limit any discussion of rail to making relevant points about bus service improvement, as per the topic of the thread.
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Old 05-07-19, 04:50 PM
  #98  
I-Like-To-Bike
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Buses would be better if they had wheels that could ride the rails in addition to roads, also buses would be better if they could fly. A fully stocked bar and snack shop for the use of the bus passengers (all for free of course) would also be "better."
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Old 05-07-19, 05:40 PM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Buses would be better if they had wheels that could ride the rails in addition to roads,
That's a really good idea, actually. The challenge would be to develop DOT regulations to allow and facilitate entrance and exit of buses from rail road tracks.

also buses would be better if they could fly.
It would be interesting if protocols could be developed so passenger planes could land on highways; e.g. by stopping highway traffic for long enough to clear a sufficient landing strip. Elon Musk was talking about electric VTOL propeller planes.

A fully stocked bar and snack shop for the use of the bus passengers (all for free of course) would also be "better."
I'm surprised none of the more premium long-distance bus/coach carriers have already done this, or at least allowed drinking. I think Uber has a party bus where people can drink, but I think that's just a local bus and I'm not sure if it goes to any destination or just picks people up and drops them off near where they live so they can drink and party on the bus.

It's not my interest but maybe you would enjoy doing some research into that.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:25 AM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
US rail was Private from its 1st transcontinental connection, incentivised by gifting native's lands..
Buses already work, but its the "special" ones (carpool, rapid, events, etc.) that get the thumbs up. As I stated above, standard transit buses will always be handicapped due to their mandate to accept anyone. If you're covered in sewage you might be turned away. But if you smell like sewage you still get to ride along with everybody else.
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