For decades, motorcoach providers have provided commuter-express service, under contract, to transit agencies (and, occasionally, to municipalities which do not even have formal transit agencies). Particularly in the past 20 years, this role has expanded: Motorcoach providers are increasingly providing service on local and regional routes, often with regular buses – not even motorcoaches. Similarly, many motorcoach companies also own schoolbuses, and provide schoolbus service, under contract, to school districts. For decades, roughly a third of all schoolbus service has been contracted out, and this percentage had remained surprisingly consistent. For the same reasons that contracted transit service has been
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Over the years, I have predicted countless things in the pages of National Bus Trader. No reader will ever find me to have been wrong. Nor am I wrong about this: Some day, charter and tour service will come back stronger than ever. But that day is a long way off. The challenge is what to do in the meantime. Particularly from the Pandemic, America is in far deeper collapse than most people would have thought possible. Recent estimates have suggested that renters (and their families) of 20 million households could be evicted after the short-term bans on evictions expire.
There are many dangerous transportation practices (or malpractices) which robots could help prevent or discourage. It is important to acknowledge when these deterrents are not employed. One failure is the refusal to control vehicle speed and the spacing between vehicles. Another is the socio-economic, institutional and/or political failure to employ a decades-old technology that would put a stop to this practice. These practices have been compounded by other developments in recent years. During my decade in paratransit operations, my company deployed vans and minibuses: Relatively high centers-of-gravity and lots of surface area along the sides. As a formal contract provision,
Two installments ago, I described alternative roles motorcoaches could play to make important contributions to the current pandemic, and which would keep drivers, mechanics and vehicles at work, and operating agencies and companies, manufacturers and suppliers in business. In the last installment, I described how to put motorcoaches back on the road in traditional roles. In this installment, I will outline some ideas for getting fixed route transit buses and passenger trains back to work, consistent with safety for both drivers and passengers. The ideas focus on NYC’s transit system as a model, since the challenges facing this system are