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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:05 AM   #41
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Oh, they were!
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:16 AM   #42
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Not to me, sorry!
What it means to you really doesn't matter much. It's what it actually means that matters.

Quote:
I would rather the seats be on the floor and be able to sit in front rather than the entire bus having seats on pedestals.
Did you completely ignore both the picture of the viva bus and the part of my previous post where I stated that a large chunk of the seats are NOT on pedestals?

Oh, btw, this one was just too good to pass up, so here goes:
Quote:
http://www.nabusind.com/NABI/brt-bus.htm

Notice this isn't box shaped and they have 3 doors.

It has a good looking design.
Tell me, have you ever taken a look at the interior of this bus you are praising here? Let me help you:


Notice anything peculiar about the seating in the back, and those in the middle? Thought so.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:30 AM   #43
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Buy America requires a certain amount of the bus be made in the US. Alexander Dennis has recently made their Enviro500 double deck Buy America compliant by haveing US company ElDorado nation assemble them.

I think North American buses and European buses are both pretty good. However, I believe in the style category, Europe comes out on top. North America hasn't really seen a stylish bus since General Motor's RTS. The bus in North America I'd say is the most stylish is NABI's CompoBus (Metro45C) and to a lesser extent NABI's BRT line and Nova Bus's LFS.

Employees of Viva (operated by Veolia) have said positive things about the Van Hools. One problem they've experienced however is that some parts like glazing have to be shipped from overseas so it takes longer to get parts.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #44
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Like I said, "Low Floor" is a term with a couple of definitions. Some say it means a bus with seats on the floor where you don't have to climb steps to board. Others say that it means buses with the floor always at the same level and seats on pedestals. For me, it's the former. That's the case for many people in America. Now, I don't want to argue any more.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:11 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by BART Rider View Post


Good one! No, we don't need to bomb the UK, but it makes little sense to violate Buy America laws and go all the way to Europe when there are perfectly good buses here in the US.
Oh who needs the UK. And, for once, the French won't be protesting on the streets when the US starts another bombing campaign.

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Those high seats are like thrones, stupendous things! I would LOVE to sit there. And all shall kneel before me, ye peasants of little faith.

BTW riddle me this - why is a high seat on a bus a bad thing when toilets for disabled people are always higher than normal toilets?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #46
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Yes, yes. A few seats on Pedestals there, but it's not nearly as bad. So, you have a cane? Okay, so just sit in front. Don't bother going to the pedestals.

Same thing as what you call a "Semi-Low Floor" bus. You have a cane? So sit in the priority seating area in front and don't bother going to the last 3rd of the bus.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #47
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There shouldn't be any "Buy USA" laws- the taxpayers or transit riders should get the best bus for the money no matter where it's built. The American-based car makers have tried that nonsense on for years now, that it's Americans' 'patriotic-duty' to buy American as if the bottom line of the company is somehow more important than 'my' bottom line.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #48
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Since most of us in the Bay Area prefer the NABI High Floor and Low Floor buses, the best bus in this case would have been a NABI low floor bus.

Please, let me be done!
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:28 PM   #49
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Yes, yes. A few seats on Pedestals there, but it's not nearly as bad. So, you have a cane? Okay, so just sit in front. Don't bother going to the pedestals.

Same thing as what you call a "Semi-Low Floor" bus. You have a cane? So sit in the priority seating area in front and don't bother going to the last 3rd of the bus.
You really are unbelievable. So when the bus is made in the U.S., you look for ways to excuse the 'pedestals', but when it's made in Europe, it becomes a reason to despise the bus? Your true colors are showing more and more with every post you make, and they're not particularly pretty...

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Since most of us in the Bay Area prefer the NABI High Floor and Low Floor buses, the best bus in this case would have been a NABI low floor bus.
And who made you the spokesperson for the Bay Area transit users? I've been following the online discussions on the AC Van Hools for a while now, and it's always the same thing: one or two people (more often than not the same ones on different sites and discussions) blasting the Van Hools with a vigour, with most people reacting (actual users) either not caring or actually preferring the Van Hools to the other buses. So I really would not bet the farm on that 'most of us' statement of yours...

Last edited by Teach; July 13th, 2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:33 PM   #50
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Alright, I'm tired of this! I have your opinion, you have mine. Mods please close this thread.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #51
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Alright, I'm tired of this! I have your opinion, you have mine. Mods please close this thread.
You're only tired of it because you've been proven wrong time and time again by various posters. Your nationalistic clap-trap about US buses and the "inferior, expensive and somehow not good enough" European buses was entertaining though.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #52
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I am going to agree with the OP on one point (and one point only) and that is the definition of what a low floor bus is not as clear cut as what some may think. Over the past 15 years the definition has changed with each new and varied development.

For example in my native Australia a low floor bus today would defined as a bus with stepless entry and a stepless floor to the rear door. Most of out buses have platforms after the rear door, owing in no small part to Australian operators prefernce for rear mounted horizontal engines, the platforms are clearly for the engine and other components.

Few if any buses in Australia are low floor all the way, if they were I would imagine they would be called 100% low floor buses, just like our trams which are 100% low floor.

But if we were to go back 10 or 15 years the definition would be different. The bus I descibed above would have been an ULF (ultra low floor) and (SLF) super low floor bus (like the Dennis Dart which a few Aust operators ordered). A low floor bus could have had a single step, it just had to be lower than our previous generation (high) floor buses. Indeed my city of Canberra had buses that were considered low floor, namley the PR100.3a, but by modern definitions I wouldn't be calling them low floor, just stepless entry buses.

So considering how far the USA seems to be in bus technology compared to Europe I am not surprised that the OP's definition of a low floor bus is different to those who live in Europe.

As for the OP's obvious resentment of foreign buses and the like, that again highlights the main think I dislike about America as a whole. America is happy to enter into free trade agreements with other countries and reap the benifits yet still maintains a protective attitude. Be it through buy American campaigns and policies or through trade subsidies. To me that is wrong, if you enter into a free trade agreement you take the bad with the good, it CANNOT be a one way street.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #53
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Buy America laws exist because you are using American federal money to purchase your vehicles. There's no good reason to go to Europe for a bus when you can get perfectly good ones in the USA. I object to them because of everything I mentioned at the beginning of the thread. Because they have pedestals, get very crowded, and are uncomfortable to ride in. I'm not here to argue, so please don't argue with me.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 12:02 AM   #54
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Buy American rules and laws go against international free trade conventions that the federal government has signed. Though quite clearly in this case the said operator has gone o/s.

PS you need to get out and open your eyes a bit and see how the rest of the world does things.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 01:43 AM   #55
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Buy America laws exist because you are using American federal money to purchase your vehicles. There's no good reason to go to Europe for a bus when you can get perfectly good ones in the USA.
They're protectionism, pure and simple. They go against everything free trade stands for, and are extremely hypocritical for a country that calls itself the largest proponent of free trade. On top of that, they're hurting your country in the long term: thanks to this 'Buy American' deal, American transit bus manufacturers have no real reason to innovate, as they don't really have foreign competitors to fear. The result of that can today be seen in American streets: buses that seem to come straight out of the 1980s, and lag years behind their European counterparts.

With free trade, companies can go out and buy THE BEST buses, not the ones that happen to be made in the right country. I know for a fact that if it wasn't for those Buy American laws, a lot more transit authorities in the US would be driving Van Hool buses around today than is now the case.

Quote:
I'm not here to argue, so please don't argue with me.
Not here to argue? Could have fooled me! If you say something I don't agree with, I'll argue with you. That's what a discussion forum is there for. The only reason you don't want to argue anymore is because you've lost every argument you've had.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #56
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Most buses are made to specification. The very fact that you're whinging that they're made in "Europe" shows that a bit of nationalist bias is entering your posting. Sure, moan about new bus procurement by the transit agency, but remember that the buck stops with them, not with the manufacturer per se - especially not given your complaints with these buses as that is the sort of thing that those who order the bus should have specified during procurement.

Also, the buses you show look vastly different to the Van Hool buses that you see in Europe - the bike rack alone should hint that these are very different.
In my experience, the Van Hool buses are very nice looking & comfortable, a welcome addition to the AC Transit fleet. Ive heard some concerns about their mainteance & durability. Perhaps some of the issues relate to the fact that AC relied for many years primarily on Gillig buses, which were produced at its facility south of Oakland, thus providing local jobs.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Teach View Post
They're protectionism, pure and simple. They go against everything free trade stands for, and are extremely hypocritical for a country that calls itself the largest proponent of free trade. On top of that, they're hurting your country in the long term: thanks to this 'Buy American' deal, American transit bus manufacturers have no real reason to innovate, as they don't really have foreign competitors to fear. The result of that can today be seen in American streets: buses that seem to come straight out of the 1980s, and lag years behind their European counterparts.

With free trade, companies can go out and buy THE BEST buses, not the ones that happen to be made in the right country. I know for a fact that if it wasn't for those Buy American laws, a lot more transit authorities in the US would be driving Van Hool buses around today than is now the case.


Not here to argue? Could have fooled me! If you say something I don't agree with, I'll argue with you. That's what a discussion forum is there for. The only reason you don't want to argue anymore is because you've lost every argument you've had.
I think most transit authorities are smart enough to know that passengers won't like the buses! There have been plenty of complaints to AC Transit (I've followed this stuff too) and they don't seem to want to listen.

Van Hools are certainly not "The Best" buses (in my opinion of course) for transit service in the Bay Area. We're not Europe! But Chris Peeples seems to think it is Europe. The very fact that people complained to the district about them is a dead giveaway that the Van Hools are not the best bus! They could have bought buses from Gillig in Hayward, which I'm sure the public would have like much better

Okay, I'll put it this way: my OPINION of these buses is on the first post of the thread. I'm open to a FRIENDLY debate about this, nothing more. I'm not trying to say "this is how it is" in solid stone, but to offer an opinion of a frequent Bay Area bus rider.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #58
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People don't like change, I think that's the main reason for those complaints. And even if the complains are about the bus: then that's AC Transit's mistake because they ordered the buses to be configured like that. The only other reason people could complain is because indeed the buses aren't American. But that's just pure racism applied on buses, because if Van Hool got chosen by the specifications, it just means they have the best bus for the need.

The "Buy American" laws weren't passed as they do indeed go against the free trade agreements. It was a stupid idea anyway, for aforementioned reasons.

I travel in Van Hool buses daily over here (Van Hool is completely Belgian by the way ) and I haven't had any reason to complain. Sure, they make tight corners quickly, but that's because they can. Probably if you try that with another bus, they'd break down or so (can't think of any other reason why it wouldn't happen in other buses, they share the same roads).

I'll also go through your list of remarks of the first post and add in my personal experience.

1. The Van Hool Buses are very cramped inside.
Looking at the picture posted a few posts before this one, there's little difference. The only thing I see different would be that the seats are wider. It seems impossible to me that two grown-up people sit next to each-other on that bus.
2. All seats are on foot high pedestals. Aisles are very narrow.
The aisle is a bit (max 10cm) narrower indeed. Still wide enough most of the time for two peopel to stand next each-other over here though... Not all seats are on foot high pedestals over here. There are about 6 seats available which are accessible without any additional steps. These are also reserved for the elderly people.
3. Wheelchairs have to be loaded from the middle door.
That's what the company must have decided then. In my opinion, that's just the most efficient way of letting them enter the bus though. This way, when they enter the bus they're immediately at the good location where they can attach their wheelchair.
4. They are not very smooth riding.
Never had any complaints about that. Only when the road itself isn't smooth, the buses don't ride smooth, which isn't any different in any other buses, I've experienced myself.
5. Wheelchairs cannot see where the bus is as their view is obstructed by the motor. The motor is in the middle of the bus!
Not over here... But that has already been discussed.
6. There are stop request buttons. They don't make as much sense as the chords.
Never knew any buses with chords. I can only say: welcome to the 21st century, never had any problems with those buttons, nor did anyone else I ever seen in the bus. A button with "STOP" on it is a bit more obvious for the occasional bus traveller than a chord with nothing on it...
7. People have been injured trying to get to seats on these buses.
Then the specifications were wrong. Look at point 2 about the available seats at floor-level.
8. Many drivers do not like to drive these buses.
While all drivers I spoke to (about 30) love them because it allows them to manoeuvre very precisely and have very quick response times to the steering wheel.
9. AC Transit wasted money on these before seeing how the public likes them.
That's like the "chicken or the egg" problem: how can they see whether the public likes them if they don't get any?
10. They are very expensive.
That's up to the management to decide. If they fit the specifications perfectly, then they're worth their price.
11. Many buses from the US were scrapped as soon as these were purchased. There won't be any getting rid of these now!
I fail to see the point. If they don't meet the demand, that's only logical I think?
12. They get very hot when you ride them on hot days.
Transit bus != Luxury bus. Sure it gets hot sometimes, I experienced that myself several times, but that happens in each bus.
13. AC Transit wants to raise fares and cut service. They blame it on a lack of state funding, but I think it's the Van Hool buses. They payed a lot for them and now it's coming back to haunt them!
If so: blame the management instead. Those prices were fixed so they could've seen this coming all along.

Please note: I don't want to say Van Hool's buses are perfect for everything. I only use them as transit bus between two cities, and they really perform very well over here compared to the other buses we used to have. I can perfectly imagine that the road conditions aren't the same as over here. Drivers over there won't be used to buses that can take such short corners and as such may drive in a rude way with them. I just don't think it's fair that you say Van Hool delivers bad buses if it is the transit company that asked for these annoying changes.

Greetings,
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Old July 15th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #59
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Buy America laws exist because you are using American federal money to purchase your vehicles. There's no good reason to go to Europe for a bus when you can get perfectly good ones in the USA.
That's not true...there are MANY reasons to look elsewhere, for example: if you can get a better deal or a better bus. As an American taxpayer I don't want federal funds going after a bad deal just so someone in a factory hundreds of miles from me can get a bigger Christmas bonus.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #60
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I think there's some confusion about the Buy America situation. As I understand it, Buy America dictates that funding will be supplied if a certain percentage of the work is done in the USA. Like my example earlier in this thread, Alexander Dennis of the UK has made their Enviro500 double decker bus "Buy America compliant" by having final assembly done in the USA by ElDorado National. If a transit agencie chooses to buy a bus not meeting Buy America, they can still get the bus, but won't receive funding for the purchase.

There seems to be a similar issue in Quebec, where they will get funding only if a percentage of the work is done in Quebec. This basically gives local manufacturer Nova Bus a monopoly. Van Hool had to go into an agreement with Quebec minibus manufacturer Girardin to assemble the Van Hool articulated buses that Longueuil ordered.
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