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How can buses get better?

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How can buses get better?

Old 04-17-19, 05:40 AM
  #1  
tandempower
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How can buses get better?

High-speed rail has been pursued as a way of popularizing medium/long-distance transit to relieve air-traffic. The expense and political problems with it, however, block it from taking off.


Bus transit holds so much potential, since it can utilize existing roads and highways, but its unglamorous image impedes its popularity.


Many innovations and advances in buses have been achieved, such as wifi, better seats, and upper decks with better views on some carriers.


But what else could make bus transit more popular, especially for longer distances.


some ideas:

1) self-driving systems for the highway portion of a trip: making a long-distance run requires drivers to stay overnight and/or return to point-of-origin as a passenger, which wastes time and money. Self-driving buses could go long distances without inconveniencing drivers, who would only need to bring the bus to and from highway exits.

2) bus trains: connecting multiple buses on the highway would save fuel. Autonomous control systems would make it safe to do.

3) refueling without stopping: it would be challenging to design a refueling system that could operate while the bus and fueling vehicles are moving next to each other at highway speed, but autonomous control and other safety systems could make it feasible, imo.


What other potential can you think of for bus transit for intercity travel? More leg room? Beds for sleeping? Private passenger compartments?
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Old 04-17-19, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
High-speed rail has been pursued as a way of popularizing medium/long-distance transit to relieve air-traffic. The expense and political problems with it, however, block it from taking off.

Bus transit holds so much potential, since it can utilize existing roads and highways, but its unglamorous image impedes its popularity.

Many innovations and advances in buses have been achieved, such as wifi, better seats, and upper decks with better views on some carriers.

But what else could make bus transit more popular, especially for longer distances...

What other potential can you think of for bus transit for intercity travel?...
This is not a reply to suggest improvements, but just year I have found a new appreciation for buses.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Emergency Winter Cycling Kit?"

I too ride on urban / suburban routes with similar measures, but early, before 6 AM. I envision going to an indoor ATM machine to fix a flat, so I carry a bank card too...

Since I have excellent Commuter Rail as an alternative commute, even on which to take my bike, I have frankly disdained busses, which are more accesible and frequent on my routes.

Last week I did take a bus with my bike, and was pleased with the service, and carrying capacity, so now that looks like a primary emergency measure...
Furthermore the mass transit (MBTA) website has a detailed schedule, by closely-spaced, individual stops, for my 10 mile segment traversed by bus, between directly in front of my workplace, to a subway stop that delivers me within a mile of home.

So I can conveniently pick up the bus at any point, Bikes are allowed on that subway line during non peak hours, convenient for me as a reverse, non-peak commuter.
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Old 04-17-19, 09:22 AM
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I used to take a regional commuter bus between Denver and Boulder, and also occasionally to the Denver airport. Interestingly, the demographics of the regional buses were more like that of the trains - professionals, students, people going to work normal jobs, and people visiting one city or the other for recreation and nightlife.

For me, it was pretty simple: the bus was easier than driving (traffic), took about the same amount of time (express routes required fewer stops), substantially cheaper (parking at my job would have cost ~$15/day), and easy (frequent routes, long hours, accommodations for luggage and bicycles).

Public transit in my current town does not have any of those features. There is no traffic, taking the bus takes longer than driving or riding a bike, parking is free everywhere and the bus costs money, and the bus does not run frequently or on weekend evenings.

In short: if taking the bus results in substantial savings of time, money, or stress, people will take it. Where I currently live, the bus lengthens travel time, increases stress (short hours and infrequent scheduling), and costs more than parking a car; so, people do not take it except out of necessity.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
In short: if taking the bus results in substantial savings of time, money, or stress, people will take it.
The same criteria are applicable for choosing/"taking" ALL types of transportation modes by almost everybody.

There may be an exception for the relative handful who are obsessed with some sort of ideological compulsion to ignore the obvious criteria for making transportation choices.
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Old 04-17-19, 10:40 AM
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With smaller driverless buses, pooling software can match people to routes that get them point to point - where each point closer to desired start/stop terminals. The start/stop terminals wouldn't be limited to preexisting bus stations, they'll be wherever they're needed.

And of course comfortable computer-work seating, full electrictrical charging services, and room for bikes (and recharging for those damn e-bikes ).
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Old 04-19-19, 06:33 PM
  #6  
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#2 Bus Trains. - Sounds sort of okay on a interstate highway. Sounds like a nightmare on city streets with traffic all around. Look into multi trailer freight trucks to learn those limitations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_combination_vehicle

#3 Refueling without stopping. - Buses have a pretty impressive range already. Never stopping sounds like an "express service". Coordinating a "tanker" to join up with a bus coming down the highway sounds like a neat trick on a flat loooooong section of highway, but otherwise would be a safety nightmare.
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Old 04-19-19, 07:02 PM
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Many countries have Jitney buses. Tiny micro-buses that can do more local bus routes and run more frequently.

Of course, there are several things that make them difficult in the USA including population density, wealth (people like cars), and cost of wages.

Good for small towns with limited destinations, but they could likely work with dropping people off at express bus routes in larger cities.

Nonetheless, I'd rather see a 15 passenger van stuffed full than a 40 passenger bus cruising around with a single passenger.

At a minimum, the after midnight routes could shrink their buses, and thus have safer and more fuel efficient vehicles.
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Old 04-19-19, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
#2 Bus Trains. - Sounds sort of okay on a interstate highway. Sounds like a nightmare on city streets with traffic all around. Look into multi trailer freight trucks to learn those limitations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_combination_vehicle
Yes, it would be for efficient long-distance (highway) travel.

#3 Refueling without stopping. - Buses have a pretty impressive range already. Never stopping sounds like an "express service". Coordinating a "tanker" to join up with a bus coming down the highway sounds like a neat trick on a flat loooooong section of highway, but otherwise would be a safety nightmare.
My thought was that longer non-stop coach runs could be facilitated by driverless control combined with refueling-without-stopping and maybe really comfortable seats/beds for sleeping.

Longer trips are a pain for drivers, who have to go back to their point of origin. Night trips are also a pain for drivers, who can't sleep while everyone else does. For passengers, on the other hand, sleeping makes time pass more easily. The problem is sleeping around a bunch of snoring strangers, but if there were passenger compartments similar to trains, passengers could opt for an individual sleeping compartment or one they can share with a few friends/family.

In addition to fueling-without-stopping, it would be good to have local buses that could dock-without-stopping on the highway so new passengers could step onto the long-distance bus without that bus slowing down. Transferring luggage would be more difficult, but if the luggage compartment could be accessed via floor-hatches inside the coach, people could board with their luggage in hand and then stow it under the floorboard once they were securely inside the bus.

Self-driving systems should provide really stable momentum so it would be easy to walk around and stow luggage without acceleration/deceleration caused by human drivers negotiating traffic, topographical contours, and other road conditions.
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Old 04-19-19, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Many countries have Jitney buses. Tiny micro-buses that can do more local bus routes and run more frequently.

Of course, there are several things that make them difficult in the USA including population density, wealth (people like cars), and cost of wages.

Good for small towns with limited destinations, but they could likely work with dropping people off at express bus routes in larger cities.

Nonetheless, I'd rather see a 15 passenger van stuffed full than a 40 passenger bus cruising around with a single passenger.

At a minimum, the after midnight routes could shrink their buses, and thus have safer and more fuel efficient vehicles.
It's a pain that there are all these good reasons to reduce automotive traffic, from congestion to infrastructure costs to sprawl/deforestation, to climate reforms; yet other business/economic concerns obstruct the developments that would make reforms go smoothly and comfortably.

In short, if everyone just realized that improving and expanding bus service would solve so many problems at a fraction of the cost of rail investments and/or highway infrastructure expansion for personal automobile travel; then it would be an obviously-good investment. Yet because driving is the status quo, the government will invest too much in highway expansion projects while ignoring the exacerbation of environmental problems and unsustainability they cause.

Last edited by tandempower; 04-19-19 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-19-19, 08:43 PM
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Smaller buses

Smaller more fuel efficient busses. Maybe hybrids. Running them every 15 minutes all the time ,, everywhere. Maybe then people will stop driving cars?
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Old 04-19-19, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Longer trips are a pain for drivers, who have to go back to their point of origin. Night trips are also a pain for drivers, who can't sleep while everyone else does.
Schedules take care of those things.

It's not like the driver stays up all day ... and then drives all night.
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Old 04-19-19, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
Smaller more fuel efficient busses. Maybe hybrids. Running them every 15 minutes all the time ,, everywhere. Maybe then people will stop driving cars?
I would like to see this in our area.

They can continue to run the larger buses on the current schedule where the buses go about every 60 minutes during their designated "off peak" times, but I'd like to see a smaller bus going in between.

For example, the other night, we ended up taking a taxi home from an evening event because we had two choices ...

1) Wait 20 minutes for the bus, then be on that bus for 45 minutes.
2) Take the taxi and be home in about 15 minutes.

We took the taxi and were unlocking our door before the bus would have been pulling up to the stop in the city.

But if there were smaller, more frequent buses, we would have probably gone that route because it would have been less expensive.
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Old 04-20-19, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Schedules take care of those things.

It's not like the driver stays up all day ... and then drives all night.
Most people prefer day shifts. Some people get stuck working less-desirable shifts because they need a job and they have to take what's available to get in the door. If the operator has to pay extra for long trips and night trips, it drives up operating costs, which in turn justifies higher ticket costs.

Automated driving systems will save money and misery for numerous reasons. Highway driving should require it to eliminate human error. It will be difficult to achieve that, however, because of all the politics surrounding trucker jobs. There should be plenty of work driving between the highway and destinations, though, if automated driving is only allowed on the highway. Operators could afford to take more time and drive more slowly and carefully, and they'd be better rested and alert if they didn't have to spend all those monotonous hours on the highway.
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Old 04-20-19, 03:41 PM
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Get involved

run for a seat on your local transportation planning commission
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Old 04-20-19, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Most people prefer day shifts.
... if they didn't have to spend all those monotonous hours on the highway.
Some people prefer night shifts and don't mind long hours on their own.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 3:00 pm - 11:00 pm shift I worked one year some time ago. It suited my personal clock.
I also liked the 4:00 pm - midnight shift I worked for a while some time ago too. It wasn't quite as good as the 3:00 pm - 11:00 pm, but pretty close.


Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
run for a seat on your local transportation planning commission

+1

Last edited by Machka; 04-21-19 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 04-21-19, 11:16 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Some people prefer night shifts and don't mind long hours on their own.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 3:00 pm - 11:00 pm shift I worked one year some time ago. It suited my personal clock.
I also liked the 4:00 pm - midnight shift I worked for a while some time ago too. It wasn't quite as good as the 3:00 pm - 11:00 pm, but pretty close.
I don't understand the relevance of your experience here. If you enjoyed your late shift, that doesn't mean that everyone does. It doesn't mean that some people don't take such shifts as a way of establishing themselves and thus working toward another shift they would prefer.

The bottom line is that driving is monotonous work and there are many situations where automated driving systems would relieve humans from what would otherwise be an unpleasant task. If people are resistant to automation, it's out of fear that they will end up unemployed or with less income; not because they actually like all the work that automated systems could do.
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Old 04-21-19, 05:01 PM
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How strange I read what is posted by someone who doesn't really have a clue.

I worked for years in journalism, which involved evening shifts as a sub-editor getting the newspapers to printing stage. Often after midnight, getting home in the early dark morning. I miss it now, but that is the way life is when moving on to something else.

And it really is about time you moved on in the world of the motor vehicle. As you know it now, powered by petroleum products, it is likely to change in the relatively near future to solar power.
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Old 04-21-19, 05:20 PM
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More Subsidies..


2X a day, Our county is served by a Bus with the help of the State DOT and Amtrak ,
it's a very comfortable bus made in Sweden By Volvo.. (fare $18 each way)

It connects to other systems with 2 stops in Portland at the Greyhound and Amtrak stations

you can also connect with the city transit system and get to the PDX airport..

& fly anywhere in the world..


...
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Old 04-21-19, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
How strange I read what is posted by someone who doesn't really have a clue.

I worked for years in journalism, which involved evening shifts as a sub-editor getting the newspapers to printing stage. Often after midnight, getting home in the early dark morning. I miss it now, but that is the way life is when moving on to something else.

And it really is about time you moved on in the world of the motor vehicle. As you know it now, powered by petroleum products, it is likely to change in the relatively near future to solar power.
It's nice when you like your shift, but not everyone likes all shifts so it is good for automation to give people more freedom to work when they want and not when they don't want.

As for "moving on in the world of the motor vehicle," are you saying there is something bad about LCF because EV's can be powered with solar power? LCF is good for many reasons beyond saving fuel and CO2 emissions. If you really get down to it, it is about a more organic lifestyle, where you may not necessarily want to live completely without industrial machines, but less is better and the more you can do with your own 'human power,' the better.

I don't understand why people go on an LCF discussion forum to criticize LCF and promote driving. I wonder if it's because this forum was bought by internet brands, which seems to do business in car parts. If so, it's strange they've never stated explicitly that their purpose is to discourage LCF. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and use it to discuss LCF in a positive way.
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Old 04-21-19, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
More Subsidies..


2X a day, Our county is served by a Bus with the help of the State DOT and Amtrak ,
it's a very comfortable bus made in Sweden By Volvo.. (fare $18 each way)

It connects to other systems with 2 stops in Portland at the Greyhound and Amtrak stations

you can also connect with the city transit system and get to the PDX airport..

& fly anywhere in the world..

...
Air travel waxes and wanes in popularity, probably related to the economic cycles; but many people realize it is a relatively inefficient form of transportation and seek to replace it with more efficient and safe surface modes. Many people like trains for this reason, but trains can't make use of existing highways, as buses can. So figuring out ways to make buses more comfortable, efficient, and attractive to a broader spectrum of people would help improve the scheduling and routing inefficiencies that seem to be caused by them being a relatively marginalized form of transportation.
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Old 04-21-19, 05:34 PM
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Yes freight and high speed rail need separate tracks ...

who will pay for that?


Europe like France has SNCF , a Public/government rail

US had multiple Private rail companies from the 1800's


Still steel Rail on Wooden ties with a few nails banged into them ..

their big money is in hauling fossil hydrocarbon fuels..






....

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-22-19 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 04-21-19, 06:26 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I don't understand the relevance of your experience here. If you enjoyed your late shift, that doesn't mean that everyone does. It doesn't mean that some people don't take such shifts as a way of establishing themselves and thus working toward another shift they would prefer.

The bottom line is that driving is monotonous work and there are many situations where automated driving systems would relieve humans from what would otherwise be an unpleasant task. If people are resistant to automation, it's out of fear that they will end up unemployed or with less income; not because they actually like all the work that automated systems could do.
Automation of jobs is a real fear for some. The world population keeps growing and growing, but if there are less and less jobs paying a living wage for all of those people . . . then what?
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Old 04-21-19, 09:50 PM
  #23  
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For long distance travel, I prefer planes, trains, and automobiles.

Having travelled some long distances by bus, they are probably best suited to shorter distance travel.

So how can buses be improved?

GPS tracking so we know where they are at all times - real time information.

QR codes on the bus stop signs to get departure information and also information about whether the bus is delayed or not
QR codes

Contactless payment, so people don't have to fumble for change.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolo...-customer.html

Phone chargers ... they've already got wifi, but at times it would be nice to be able to charge the phone.

Route information on front, back and sides of buses. Where I am, they put it on the front and sometimes the side, so when we're running by a row of buses, we've always got to run to the front to check if it is our bus.

Able to carry bicycles inside, or if not full-sized bicycles, then folding bicycles.


Larger buses that follow a rigid schedule ... smaller buses that might be "on demand".

Use of hub and spoke systems, perhaps in combination with "on demand".

Park & Ride and also Cycle & Ride facilities ... and network integration in general

Dedicated bus lanes!

Some of these things are discussed in more detail here:
https://theconversation.com/dont-for...services-94984



And now that I've composed that list, I've copied it, made a couple local modifications, and have sent it to our local Transit feedback page.
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Old 04-22-19, 04:15 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Automation of jobs is a real fear for some. The world population keeps growing and growing, but if there are less and less jobs paying a living wage for all of those people . . . then what?
Well, the point of an economy is to serve needs and to regulate production and labor. So there are uncountable ways to accomplish these economic goals, and there are a lot of political-social issues that impede potential solutions. Regardless of how people's labor/productivity and consumption are ultimately regulated, it's possible to look at the bigger picture of what is better in terms of something like bus transit.

Imo, if no one was afraid for their job and you asked them if they'd rather get paid the same amount to drive a bus all night over a long distance or do so locally during a day shift, very few would choose the long distance night shift. Such shifts/jobs probably pay better for that reason, and that is the reason that drivers would hate to see them lost to automation. It's ironic, really, because the reason the job pays better is because it's less desirable, but then because people are afraid to lose money, they end up wanting to save the job for humans even though the whole reason it pays more is because it is less desirable.
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Old 04-22-19, 05:46 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
How can buses get better?
I don't think you want to talk about shift work and working nights, right?

How about coming up with some more ideas of how buses can get better, like I did a couple posts up?
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