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Old July 15th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #61
Teach
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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
And, yet again, you entirely miss the point. I'll repeat once more: the bus you're complaining about is NOT 'the' Van Hool bus, it's the specific design AC Transit, and only AC Transit requested. Any other transit authority could specify a completely different bus. You're pinning this supposed dislike of these buses down them being Van Hools, while it has been explained to you time and again that that is not the case. Yet you keep implying it, and that's getting quite tiring, quite honestly.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #62
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Buy American laws do exist. One of the first things I found was this:
http://www.urbanhabitat.org/node/1477

I have also seen in numerous places that AC Transit went to Van Hool first. The put it up for bids. But the bid asked for a 4-door bus with seats on pedestals and a motor in the middle (because that's exactly what Van Hool offered to produce) and of course, no American company can do this, because we don't make buses like that. Gillig asked for an extension of the deadline to see if they could produce a vehicle to match the specifications. An extension was granted but Gillig eventually decided that it would be too expensive to create a vehicle like that.

I'd say that's really cheating if your online item up for bids is modeled after what a single company would deliver, isn't it?
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Old July 15th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by BART Rider View Post
Buy American laws do exist. One of the first things I found was this:
http://www.urbanhabitat.org/node/1477
You clearly missed this buit:

"As their name indicates, Buy America laws, passed by Congress in the late 1970s and early '80s, are designed to protect US companies and job"

You will find that under the free trade agreements that the US has entered into (and reaping the benifits of) that these will now no longer be valid and if they were would contreivine international rules that the US is a signatory to.

Indeed do some futher research on the latests laws which form part of the stimulus package and you will find they are not anywhere as clear cut as you seem to beleive, mainly so the US doesn't contravine the free trade agreements they have entered into.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #64
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Clearly BART Rider's problem is that these buses are not American.

My advise: relax and drink a good 'ol American Budweiser.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #65
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^I'm a minor. Can't fo that

BTW, I think the only reason other companies in the US would ever buy a Van Hool over an American bus is if VH would create a bus with all seats on the floor and a motor under the floor. And it would have to be a good price and have clear advantages over American models. Otherwise, why not buy an Orion or Gillig or NABI?
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Old July 15th, 2009, 09:28 PM   #66
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I have also seen in numerous places that AC Transit went to Van Hool first.
You probably saw one place claiming it, and a dozen others simply blindly copying the first one's claim. That happens all the time, and it's how rumors are spread.

Here's what likely happened: AC wanted a true low-floor bus, with more doors. None of the North American manufacturers offered that, so they had no choice but to go overseas. Only perfectly normal, I would say. Tell me: if what you want is not offered by anyone in your own country, but IS offered by a foreign company, should you then simply have to settle for a product you don't really want, only because it's American?

Quote:
Gillig asked for an extension of the deadline to see if they could produce a vehicle to match the specifications. An extension was granted but Gillig eventually decided that it would be too expensive to create a vehicle like that.
Well then that settles it right there then doesn't it? Pretty clear they went out of their way to give American companies a chance to come up with a bus matching the specs. The fact that not a single American company was able or willing to build a bus that every single European transit bus manufacturer would happily deliver speaks volumes about either these companies' capacities or about their complacency.

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I think the only reason other companies in the US would ever buy a Van Hool over an American bus is if VH would create a bus with all seats on the floor and a motor under the floor.
Bloody hell man, did you read ANYthing I wrote on these four pages in the past few days? Look up these words in my previouw postings: Van Hool A360.

Oh, BTW, two other companies in the US have already bought Van Hool transit buses: Washington DC's circulator operates exclusively with Van Hool buses, similar to AC's, but with air conditioning, and Salt Lake City's MAX BRT, using 40' A300L's with an additional door and equipped for cold weather and high altitudes.
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Last edited by Teach; July 15th, 2009 at 09:44 PM.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #67
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Yes, but what I mean to say is that the specs that were put online matched EXACTLY what Van Hool offered to give AC Transit. Of course no one else can match it! There's only one Van Hool!

Quick note (I know we have been through this before): What you say is "Low Floor" is not to us in America.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:04 PM   #68
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A Van Hool in Utrecht The Netherlands.

I don't have a problem to ride a VH bus. I don't have even problems with any modern busses from European manufactures. I hope to see an American busmanufacture on European soil. Just to see something else.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #69
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Yes, DC has Van Hools! Sold to them by AC Transit after they wanted to get rid of 16 of them!

Yes, I remember the A360. But I still see a few pedestal toward the rear!

My point to that comment - is there any good reason to use Van Hool over NABI?

Let's say I want a bus with all seats on the floor (semi-low floor as you call it). Okay, I put it up for bids. I might get a bid from NABI, Gillig, Van Hool, Orion, and maybe New Flyer. The American companies will do it for around $155,000 a bus or less. What will VH do it for? Will there be any advantage for them over an American company?
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #70
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There are several possibilities (please note that I don't know any exact figures, so I'm just guessing here):
Performance, reliability, overall quality, cornering, speed, fuel consumption, on/offloading efficiency, capacity, width and height of vehicle (doubt there are big differences), possible customisations, servicing support (education of mechanics for example), quality/possibilities of the display on the front and the back, ...
EDIT: quite important to add: speed at which the order can be delivered. Van Hool is usually very quick I've heard.

There's many reasons why one bus would be better than another. I have no idea about the average price of a Van Hool bus, but shipping prices aren't that high any more, so they wouldn't affect it. The Dollar is quite a bit weaker than the Euro now, so that's a disadvantage (but perhaps not when they were compared/ordered/bought?).

Greetings,
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #71
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I know the hydrogen fuel cell ones were $375,000 a piece. Where as American companies would diesel-electric hybrid buses for $155,000 a piece. That's a 220,000 difference right there, so obviously the American ones would save money.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 12:08 AM   #72
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Just checked an article, and indeed: the price difference is there. Many of the other parameters that I summed up weren't mentioned in the article though.

Also I learnt that the 3-door design is to blame for the lesser quality you are talking about: it has a shorter wheel base with all its disadvantages.

From this I learn that the 3-door design is indeed not as good as it should be. I haven't seen any such bus myself yet so I can't speak from personal experience, but I can somewhat imagine there could be problems with that design.

Greetings,
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Old July 16th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #73
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You mean the A330? Yeah, that one is one of the worst around here. However, the 40' LWF ones (with 2 doors) are nice and smoother riding. They are smoother because of a wider wheel base. These were custom-ordered due to complaints. They're better, but they could still use some more work.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 01:46 AM   #74
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Tell me - anything wrong with this?

http://www.gillig.com/New%20GILLIG%20WEB/Brt.htm

I'd say it's a good candidate for the next set of buses! Well, at least some of them. They should also see if NABI would be willing to make an articulated bus based on the current Low Floor models. We'll be due in 2012 (I think). Either that or 2014.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 02:33 AM   #75
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Quote:
I know the hydrogen fuel cell ones were $375,000 a piece. Where as American companies would diesel-electric hybrid buses for $155,000 a piece. That's a 220,000 difference right there, so obviously the American ones would save money.
I'm sorry, but that comparison makes no sense whatsoever. If you're going to compare, compare things that can actually be compared. Of course the hydrogen powered ones are going to be more expensive! That's nothing to do with Van Hool, it's because they're hydrogen powered! Order them from a US manufacturer and you'll see the same thing!

Quote:
The American companies will do it for around $155,000 a bus or less. What will VH do it for? Will there be any advantage for them over an American company?
No idea what the prices are like. But there's more to be considered than price alone: reliability, fuel consumption, maintenance cost, ...

You seem to have a hard time believing US transit companies would go overseas to buy buses, ans seem to believe that 'patriotism' should play a role in choosing who to give the deal to. But it doesn't work that way: decisions like this are made based on cold hard facts: the right bus at the right time for the right company at the right price. And that 'right bus' is not always going to be the same.

Take the touring coach market: you could use the same argument there: US companies build decent coaches, so why would you go overseas. And yet a lot of companies do, judging by the number of Van Hool coaches in the U.S. It's how a free market works.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 02:39 AM   #76
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Yeah, but I think the process of making the hydrogen makes more green-house gasses than the diesel bus would.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 03:28 AM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BART Rider View Post
Yeah, but I think the process of making the hydrogen makes more green-house gasses than the diesel bus would.
What in the name of sanity does that have to do with the point you were making with your initial comment about hydrogen powered buses being more expensive (which Teach nicely refuted).

Seriously, this thread makes my head hurt. If it were not for the "oh look a car crash" effect, I'd not be so masochistic and keep coming back to read more.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 03:58 AM   #78
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There is nothing wrong with the A330. You only assumed that they are terrible buses as the picture VH has on their website is a 3-door. You should also look at the Viva A330s which only have two doors.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #79
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Interesting facts:

NABI once was part of IKARUS, a hungarian company and seems now to be owned by a hungarian investment fund.

Orion is part of the Daimler AG, Germany.

Many companies in the transportation sector are heavily internationalized with ties around the world so "buying 100% american" might really not be so easy.

Although Gillig seems to be American owned.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BART Rider View Post
Yes, DC has Van Hools! Sold to them by AC Transit after they wanted to get rid of 16 of them!
some of the the van hools in DC were from AC Transit, they went back to van hool to order the shorter 30ft version, if the buses are really as bad you claim, wouldn't they have bought a different bus?
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