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Old July 17th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #101
APTA-2048
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deasine View Post
Are there any North American Mercedes Buses?
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is sold in a minibus form by Daimler in North America. Ballard in British Columbia does work with Mercedes-Benz for their Citaro BZ. I believe one tested around BC for a short time. Daimler Buses has imported a Citaro G for Orion R&D. It has been demoed in different cities. The plan is for Orion to develop their own articulated bus. How much of the Citaro G will make it into the final product remains to be seen. It can be anywhere from a Citaro G branded under Orion and using more local components to something more like Orion's current model.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 02:38 AM   #102
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Actually: It is possible to have a Low Floor bus without pedestals! Us Americans have quite a few

Like I said, the definition of "Low Floor" does not mean the same to everyone. In Europe, a Low Floor bus is a bus with seats on pedestals and the aisles are low. In America, the seats are on the floor, and the back third of the bus is higher to place the motor and other equipment but still have seats on the floor. When I say 'Low Floor" I mean that seats are on the floor, not on pedestals.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 02:41 AM   #103
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From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Many low-floor buses are low-floor over only a part of the bus, with the rear section raised to accommodate equipment. Van Hool has a series of "side-engine rear-drive" buses that puts the engine off to one side of the cabin longitudinally, to maximize usable cabin space.
Notice, it doesn't say "a bus with seats on pedestals and the floor the same height from front to back".

Again, it doesn't mean the same to everyone, but this is what it means to many of us in the United States (not Chris Peeples obviously).
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Old July 18th, 2009, 03:15 AM   #104
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So, on your "completely low floor buses" - where do the wheels go?
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Old July 18th, 2009, 03:19 AM   #105
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They are often just covered with metal and left untouched. They are very high, but bench seats can be positioned next to them, and some passengers who feel so inclined can sit on them if they want to.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 06:07 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by BART Rider View Post
some passengers who feel so inclined can sit on them if they want to.
Exactly. So that means people have a choice to sit to sit either on the low seats or on the pedestal seats.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 06:28 AM   #107
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No, I'm sorry. Bad wording on my part. You could actually theoretically sit on the wheel wells if you wanted to. The bench seats are low. NO seats are on pedestals on these buses. The back seats are higher, but are on a platform. So they're still on the floor. Which means PEDESTAL FREE! So basically, you get on (through an entry that's not narrow!) and pay your fare. If you are disabled, you just sit on a bench seat that's right on the floor. If you are able to go all the way to the back, you can do that. Reserving seats on pedestals for disabled is like a bad joke. Why are they reserved for the disabled if they are a foot high? I'm not asking anyone to answer those, BTW!
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Old July 18th, 2009, 06:33 AM   #108
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the back of the bus where the floor is raised about the rest of the bus could be considered one big ass pedestal.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 06:34 AM   #109
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It could be, but usually isn't
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Old July 18th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #110
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Well what Van Hool could've done is raise the back of the bus (between second and third door) with two steps like most other North American buses. But this disadvantage to that is there will be steps behind the back door which could be not safe. But like stated earlier, this is what AC Transit could've asked Van Hool to do but they didn't do so obviously.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #111
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Yes, they didn't do that.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 07:39 AM   #112
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Here is the problem with Van Hools and AC Transit:

AC Transit is constantly broke. AC is buying Van Hools (which they have to pay for themselves, they can't get federal funding, as they are not built in America) to replace buses that are less than 12 years old! Because the NABI's, New Flyer's, and soon the MCI's for the Transbay lines were retired less than 12 years of age, they must be sold because they were paid for with federal funds. If I'm not mistaken, AC Transit must pay back the federal government for retiring buses early. AC Transit then goes and buys new Van Hool buses (that don't get federal funding, and AC doesn't have any money) that clearly are not necessary, as the buses they are replacing are still in good condition. AC Transit is clearly throwing money away to convert their fleet to 100% Van Hool buses. Clearly Van Hool is in the managers of AC Transit's pockets! The new Van Hool coaches shown at the beginning of the thread are replacing MCI coaches that are only 6 years old, and MCI's last 15-18 years! AC Transit is always cutting service and raising fares. AC Transit had to sell some of their Van Hool buses to Washington, DC because they did not have enough money!

Many of the riders are dependent on transit, so service cuts are very bad for them. They don't care about the fancy buses, they just need to get places on time and the bus system needs to be frequent and efficient! Throwing money away on new, expensive buses to replace buses that have not even exceeded half of the useful life is not what a transit agency that is always broke should be doing. You don't see any major cities (like NYC) pulling this crap, because it is not about fancy buses, it is about providing good service. AC Transit is going to cut 15% of service later this year and they just raised fares again!

It costs AC Transit $10,000 for just one bus to be delivered from Belgium, while Gillig's manufacturing plant is in AC Transit's service area, and it would cost $0 to deliver buses. Gillig buses are cheaper than the Van Hool buses, and this is important to a transit agency that is broke! Not to mention Gillig (or other bus manufacturers like New Flyer, NABI, Orion and MCI) qualify for federal funding, which means AC Transit would hardly have to pay anything for new buses! What the hell is wrong with AC Transit!?!?! Why are they wasting taxpayers money in a state where there is no money at all!?!?! Who gives a crap about America's trade policies, Gillig is obviously cheaper for taxpayers than Van Hool. It's not about how nice the bus looks, it's about best value for the limited money that is available.

If you commenters knew how poor the AC Transit service was, then you would be complaining that AC Transit was throwing money away too! AC Transit bus lines only run every 30-60 minutes, except for the few trunk lines that run every 10-15 minutes. And good luck trying to get to San Mateo County on the weekend, the M bus only runs every 2 hours and ends at 5 pm.

Here is a list of North American transit agencies that use Van Hool buses:

YRT/Viva (York Region, Ontario) - A330, AG300
RTL (Longueuil, Quebec) - AG300
UTA (Salt Lake City, Utah) - A300L
AC Transit (Oakland, California) - A300K, A330, A330FC, AG300
WMATA/DC Connector (Washington, DC) - A330
University of Minnesota (owned by First Transit) (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - A300L, AG300

A300K - 30 foot bus
A300L - 40 foot bus, replaced A330
A330 - 40 foot bus, no longer offered
A330FC - 40 foot bus, hydrogen fuel cell
AG300 - 60 foot articulated bus

AC Transit's current bus fleet besides the Van Hools consists of:
44 NABI 40-LFW (low floor) buses built in 1999
23 NABI 40-LFW (low floor) buses built in 2000
40 NABI 40-LFW (low floor) buses built in 2003
30 New Flyer D60 (high floor) 60 foot articulated buses built in 1996 (due to be replaced by Van Hools)
79 MCI D4500 (commuter coach) buses built between 2000 and 2003 (to be replaced by Van Hools)
133 NABI 416 (high floor) buses built in 1998 (may have been replaced by Van Hools already)
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Last edited by Tcmetro; July 18th, 2009 at 07:52 AM.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
So, on your "completely low floor buses" - where do the wheels go?

The guy is a bit twisted. His idea of a low floor bus is one where you have 2 or 3 steps from the ground to get in then the floor is flat. Hence the wheels don't become an issue because they are at floor level already. Would love to see a wheel chair get into one of them.

Maybe he would like the type that Transjakarta run where the floor is 1m off the ground and to get on you need to enter through a station with a platform at the same height. These buses have no plinths what so ever and are stepless entry so are perfect, of except of course that you need a special platform at EVERY stop to get on and off. Have a look here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TransJakarta

BART rider, time you realised that a low floor bus is one where the floor is low to the ground and has stepless ENTRY, don't go twisting the meaning to suit your own argument. Some may be flat all the way to the back, some may have steps etc past the rear door to accomodate the engine, fuel tank etc. Low floor buses, but virtue of what goes underneath (wheels for example) require a certain amount of plinths to mount sets on. They are clearly not perfect for everyone but they are a massive improvement over older buses.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcmetro View Post
Here is the problem with Van Hools and AC Transit:
i agree that AC Transit shot themselves in the foot by buying Van Hools, but it seems like that people are blaming the buses for buses for service cuts, they caused them, but someone had to order them in the first place, so blame the morons running the agency and it also doesnt mean the Van Hools are bad buses.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #115
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I agree with almost everything that Tcmetro wrote. Only about the transport costs I don't agree: that's really not expensive. Sure, it's more expensive, but it's not much compared to the total price of a bus.

So basically there's something we all seem to agree on: AC Transit seems to be making very strange decisions. If they'd give a good reason why they'd buy Van Hool buses: sure, but they don't seem to be able to give any good reasons.

Greetings,
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Old July 18th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #116
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Quote:
If they'd give a good reason why they'd buy Van Hool buses: sure, but they don't seem to be able to give any good reasons.
Reasoning was pretty simple: they wanted a full low floor bus (as in, with the floor low all the way to the back, BART rider), with a third (or fourth for the articulated ones) door. No American manufacturer could build those, so they had to go overseas.

Quote:
AC is buying Van Hools (which they have to pay for themselves, they can't get federal funding, as they are not built in America
Actually, I don't know if that is true. I remember reading that AC has found a way around the 'buy American' provision. Don't remember exactly how they did it, but it meant they were still getting the money, just for something else on paper.

Plus the whole 'service cuts because they're buying Van Hools' is a bit of a silly argument, that can not be proven.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #117
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The 'Buy American' provision only applies to buses bought with federal funds. Therefore AC Transit needed to get funding from themselves, the local municipalities, the MTC, the State of California, and/or whoever else wanted to pay to buy the Van Hool buses. I have no idea how they would get around the Buy American provision otherwise.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach View Post
Plus the whole 'service cuts because they're buying Van Hools' is a bit of a silly argument, that can not be proven.
It's because the county probably does not collect enough taxes to cover the service. California is home to a very influential right-winger by the name of Grover Norquist. His mandate is to reduce the amount of taxes available, because he believes taxation is "theft"(no joke),
From what I understand, what would help AC transit, and other California services, is if they collected more taxes. But it's not going to happen when Norquist holding great political sway in the state.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #119
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Quote:
I have no idea how they would get around the Buy American provision otherwise.
Did a little googling, and found what I was referring to:

"But in July 2001, before AC Transit had even signed the Van Hool deal, MTC agreed to help the agency circumvent Buy America in a series of financial transactions.

In these so-called "fund swaps," MTC has allowed AC Transit to
take at least $80 million of federal funds in the past six years --
money typically used for bus purchases -- and spend it instead on
maintenance for its fleet, records show. In turn, the agency then
uses general operating funds normally spent on bus maintenance to
buy the Van Hools. In one internal e-mail, Kate Miller, AC Transit's
manager of capital planning, used the word "wash" to describe the
agency's handling of federal dollars.

Despite the money laundering connotation, Paul Griffo, spokesman for
the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), said AC Transit's fund
swaps are legal."
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Old July 18th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #120
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Quote:
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His mandate is to reduce the amount of taxes available, because he believes taxation is "theft"(no joke)
Then from where he plans to get his wage?
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