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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.

August 11th, 2009
The Hybrid Bus Is Finally Here
By Dale Roethlisberger

A handful of bus manufacturers are now selling or taking orders to deliver hybrid buses during this and next years model cycle. There have been some ‘experimental’ or ‘demonstration’ hybrid buses available for a few years now, but the 2009 and 2010 model years appear to be the time when full production models become part of the mix. For a variety of reasons, the ability of the manufacturers to ramp up hybrid bus production has been hampered by competing fuel technologies, such as natural gas fuel, or limitations in the fuel/electric/battery technology to achieve better mileage characteristics. When you add in the new technology increase in base cost to bring such a vehicle to market, the hybrid bus has previously been just beyond the normal budget for municipalities and bus fleet operators. New pricing and lifetime operating expenses are now much more economically viable. When future supply of petroleum resources indicate an ever upward spiral in fuel costs, it is highly likely that the hybrid bus will gain a significant share of future bus sales.

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