Posts Tagged ‘buses’

For a Better Commute, Throw Drivers Under the Bus

July 13, 2016

China has almost 300 million private cars, and some of the worst traffic and air pollution in the world. Auto sales are brisk, crashes and road rage are epidemic, and it’s so dire a futuristic transit concept first proposed 45 years ago might finally get the green light.

In 1969 architects Craig Hodgetts and Lester Walker proposed the Bos-Wash Landliner, a towering vehicle running between DC and Boston with enough space underneath that passenger cars could dive under it. China’s Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment Company (HS Future) introduced a similar electric-powered “Straddle-Bus” design at a 2010 trade fair and updated it a few years later but got no, um, traction, and the concept went back into hibernation.

Until now. HS Future says it will start building the first 116 miles (186 km) of track in western Beijing’s Mentougou District for the “Widebody Elevated Dimensional Fast Bus” aka 3D Express Coach” at the end of the year. It will only travel through the city at about 38 mph (60 Km/hr) but holds 1400 passengers, isn’t troubled by traffic jams, doesn’t need its own dedicated lane or parking lot, and only costs about 15% of what a subway would.

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Driverless Bus

April 14, 2016

Driverless Bus

A robotic bus in Trikala, Greece, is serving city passengers for free. In the first six months of operation there have been no accidents or complaints about rude drivers.

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The Blessing of the Buses

January 11, 2016

The Blessing of the Buses
“The quality of life in cities has much to do with systems of transport, which are often a source of much suffering for those who use them. Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy. This makes it necessary to build more roads and parking areas which spoil the urban landscape. Many specialists agree on the need to give priority to public transportation. Yet some measures needed will not prove easily acceptable to society unless substantial improvements are made in the systems themselves, which in many cities force people to put up with undignified conditions due to crowding, inconvenience, infrequent service and lack of safety.”

—  Laudato si’, Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on care for our common home

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Metro Shuttle Buses

November 4, 2013

Metro Shuttle Buses

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority closed the Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center SW, and Capitol South subway stations for construction work on tracks and station platforms this past weekend. Metro buses were used to bridge the rail line gaps. Since subway trains can haul 1,000 to 1,400 passengers and a bus fits only about 75, it took lots of buses. The logistics reminded us of the Berlin Airlift (June 27, 1948 to May 12, 1949) when British and U.S. airplanes flew food and coal into West Berlin, which had been blockaded by the Soviets.

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Halloween Bus, Anacostia

November 1, 2013

Halloween Bus, Anacostia

Westbound Circulator bus, Anacostia Metro stop, 7:00 PM October 31, 2013.

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March 18th: International Bus Driver Appreciation Day

March 18, 2012

March 18th: International Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Today is International Bus Driver Appreciation Day but there’s no holiday website and the bus drivers’ union doesn’t mention it. The holiday is the idea of Seattle bus rider Hans Gerwitz. Why March 18th? On that date in 1662, city buses premiered in Paris (for the record: they flopped).

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Rolling Plunder: Palin in DC

May 30, 2011

Rolling Plunder: Palin in DC

Sarah Palin successfully stole the thunder from the annual Rolling Thunder event honoring America’s war dead. In leathers and heels, she rode pillion on a Harley and crossed Memorial Bridge from Arlington to the National Mall.

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Busload

March 23, 2011

Busload

Was your bus ride a bit crowded this morning? It’s not the bus, it’s us. We’re … um, bigger. Heavier. Bus capacity is still measured using our old average weight, 150 lbs., and bus testers pretend we can still cram into 1.5 square feet of standing room. But why do so many bus seats seem to be single-occupancy these days?

The Federal Transit authority thinks the old standards compromise safety. FTA wants to test new buses using a 175-pounds-per-passenger measure and calculate standee area as 1.75 square feet.  But don’t get too comfy. All those old buses will be on the road for some years yet. If you want more room, you’ll have to take it off your waistline.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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