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October 9th, 2015
Operate Your Bus Fleet With Wrappers
By Dale Roethlisberger

Don’t let your bus go on the road without a wrapper. Naked bus exteriors just don’t make it these days. Make it snazzy and your buses may get noticed a whole lot more. More importantly, if you lease advertising space as a bus company, that’s a source of revenue. On the other hand, it is, at least, cheap promotional spot-lighting for individual bus operators like a bluegrass performer. You may not see Rhonda Vincent in the picture greeting a fan, but if ya know what she looks like closeup you can’t mistake her image on the side of the bus. Her name doesn’t appear on the bus actually, but since Martha White products are sponsoring, just Rhonda Vincent’s image is enough if you’re a fan.
When is the last time you saw any buses either private or public that don’t have advertising on them? Advertising that relates to bus travel of any type goes right along where the bus actually goes. The wrapper is on the bus itself. It’s better than the old school roadside billboard, which is stationary and may not be on anybody’s route. Just like there used to be a lot companies that did stationary billboards, there are a lot of people who do custom painting, artwork, advertising, and wrappers for buses and trucks. Just Google(tm) ‘bus wrappers’ if your interested.

(All images taken at the May 2015 Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. There is genuine excitement when an artist tour bus rolls into an event like this.)

July 2nd, 2014
Bus Nostalgia For A Company Older Than 100 Years
By Dale Roethlisberger

The Flxible (not misspelled) Bus Company started in 1913 under the rightly spelled ‘Flexible’ moniker, but to insure copyright and trademarks they decided to go with Flxible and continued until 1996. These buses still run all over the world and many surviving buses have been converted to customised motor homes or RV’s.
The classic lines of air-streaming and ‘modernistic’ design are apparent. Some view Flxible as a period coach well worth preserving. We agree. Check out the Wikipedia article at Wiki Flxible or just Google(tm) the term “Flxible”.

There are many more images on Google(tm) and the Wikipedia article even highlights the organizations that enthusiasts of Flxible are members. These buses will likely stay around for another century as people lovingly preserve the past.

June 13th, 2014
Bus Safety, Despite the Recent Noteworthy Accident, Still Very Good
By Dale Roethlisberger

Most are aware of the accident of a minibus that actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was on, with his friend, James McNair who died in that crash. We give our condolences to all those who have suffered as result of this terrible incident. Recent reports indicate that it was a large transport truck that rammed the minibus from behind and the driver of the truck appears to be the responsible party. Given the nature of the accident, it could very well be that the minibus itself may have actually helped saving additional lives in the wreck.

Even a minibus is more robust than most passenger cars and there are additional safety design features in most buses because they carry larger amounts of people generally. Certainly, these details can be argued. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that approximately a tenth of one percent (0.1%) of highway deaths occur on buses. Cars, motorcycles and trucks have much higher rates. In Fact, only commercial airline travel (I.e. not general/private aircraft) has a lower fatality rate per passenger mile.

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June 5th, 2014
Large Metropolitan Areas Need Bus Transportation
By Dale Roethlisberger

The well known motion picture title is “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles “. However, they forgot to mention the bus. The bus carries more people and at a cheaper cost per person mile than it’s direct competitor, the automobile. The bus doesn’t need the costly terminals and sometimes inconvenient locations of trains and airplanes. From a cost and accessibility perspective, and as long as there are streets, the bus will remain an important component of the urban transportation scheme. Furthermore, we will likely need the bus as an alternative pathway to get to urban areas as well.

A useful example is the use of buses in urban mall contexts. Just limit traffic on a stretch of street in a commercial area and run shuttle buses up and down that street and you have it at a reasonable cost with little planning and relatively low impact to existing transport systems. Or, can you imagine large subway systems like New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC without associated bus routes to enhance the overall transport matrix.

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January 23rd, 2014
Natural Gas Transforms Metropolitan Bus Systems
By Dale Roethlisberger

The production of Natural Gas in the U.S. has surpassed all previous records and is an economic boom in its own right. On the other hand, this increased supply of natural gas has changed metropolitan bus transportation systems even more. It is rare to see a bus in most major cities these days that does not tout that it runs on ‘clean’ natural gas.

There are a number of reasons this transformation has taken place over a handful of recent years. First, current gas production techniques have radically changed the amount of natural gas available. Furthermore, with such abundance, the price has decreased greatly making natural gas more economical.

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October 21st, 2010
Electric Bus Possibilities Abound With New Fuel Cells
By Dale Roethlisberger

Bloom Energy is moving towards full market availability from their research and development stage and trial product with select customers for its fuel cell technology. While their fuel cell products appear to be for commercial buildings in the start-up phase, the technology itself doesn’t appear to have any engineering barrier to deployment in a transportation environment. Their product uses a wide range of fuel types and has low emission by-products.

Applying these fuel cells to a bus, with its larger form factor should be possible with a minimum of engineering and design. Early adoption of this technology, while expensive at first, would accelerate the market affordability as production ramps up.