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51 The survey discussion in chapter two identified a number To assess this issue in more detail, regulations on vehicle of infrastructure modifications that may need to be carried size and weight were reviewed, and the findings are detailed out to deploy HC buses. in Appendix C. With respect to 45-ft intercity coaches, the location of the The latest configuration of the double-deck bus measures wheelchair lift toward the mid-section or rear of the bus may 14 ft in height and the articulated bus models are 60 to 65 ft require the modification of concrete pads at bus stops. This in length. The review of state and provincial regulations in- modification would be applicable for any bus with a lift or dicates that the double-deck buses meet the height limits of ramp in a location other than the first door. 21 states, and the 60-ft articulated buses meet the length lim- its of 17 states. Exemption certificates may be needed in the The length of articulated buses may lead to a number of other states and in all Canadian provinces, as was done in potential modifications to stops in terms of removed parking Victoria and Kelowna, British Columbia. spots or lengthened concrete pads (depending on whether the bus has a third door). Articulated buses may also require The federal regulation on weight (CFR 658.17 Weight) modifications to maintenance pits and hoists, paint booths, was changed in February 2007 to extend the exception for wash facilities, location of air hoses, striping of parking buses of a single axle limit of 24,000 lb on the NN until areas, etc. However, survey respondents did not identify October 2009. The tandem axle limit remains at 34,000 lb. these modifications as particularly onerous. In many cases, deployment of the articulated buses had OTHER OPERATIONAL ISSUES been contemplated well in advance of the actual acquisition of Labor Issues the buses and had been incorporated into the design require- ments of garage facilities. For example, the Champaign There were no labor issues of significance related to the op- Urbana MTD had designed their garage to have storage rows eration of HC buses. The survey found that 97% of transit that were 240 ft in length, which allowed them to store six agencies do not pay operators of HC buses a different wage 40-ft buses or four 60-ft articulated buses. Long-term plan- rate. ning for HC buses that can be incorporated into maintenance facility design greatly reduces the requirement for retrofits to In terms of training, little special training is provided for maintenance and storage facilities. operating HC buses. Some transit agencies provide operators with training concerning the tag axle on 45-ft intercity With respect to double-deck buses, the vehicle's height is coaches. Others provide in-vehicle training for operators to the obvious factor in possibly requiring infrastructure modi- become familiar with the driving of an HC bus; an example fications, which might lead to modifications of garage doors, was the Denver RTD, which has two underground terminals maintenance bays, paint booths, bus wash equipment, service in the downtown area that are very busy with articulated and islands, etc. It will also require the acquisition of a work plat- 45-ft buses. The training is essentially practice to become fa- form to access the roof for maintenance. miliar with the set up and turning queues necessary to nego- tiate the circular path and docking properly in the bay. The height clearance of the double-deck bus along planned routes will need to be carefully assessed, as will clearance for adjacent power poles, in particular where there is pronounced Scheduling crowning of the roadway. However, the Victoria case study indicates that this can be achieved simply and did not involve The survey found that less than one-third of respondents ded- many modifications. icate their HC buses to specific routes, whereas more than two-thirds mix HC and standard operations along single As discussed in the Victoria case study, the smaller turn- routes. Mixed operations can however take many forms: ing radius of the double-deck bus may also require relocation of street furniture at stops because of the vehicle's overhang Trunk service operated by HC buses, with added trips at sweep. the peak provided by standard buses (or vice versa). BRT or limited stop service operated along a corridor using HC buses, with local service operated along the LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY IMPEDIMENTS same corridor with standard buses (or vice versa). Mixed operation along a route resulting from an inade- Survey respondents did not identify regulatory limitations quate number of HC buses, etc. as a significant issue, although some references were made to the limitations created by the regulations for double- If a route is built specifically for HC buses, then specifying deck buses (height and weight) and articulated buses HC buses at the block level can be handled by most schedul- (length). ing packages. This is also the situation if the different services

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52 in a given corridor (e.g., BRT and local) are treated, and In addition, to enable the most efficient interline opti- blocked, separately. From a scheduling perspective, express mization, the transit agency has worked aggressively with services are often treated as a separate system altogether, local school boards to encourage different school start times which allows optimization while ensuring use of dedicated in- and to shift them away from the commuter peak. This coop- tercity coaches. However, to fully mix HC and standard buses eration between OC Transpo and the schools has worked into a given route schedule requires working at the "trip" very well, and start times of schools now vary considerably (rather than "block") level, and this in turn requires a special- (e.g., 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 9:15 a.m., etc.). This permits con- purpose optimization module for vehicle blocking, as well as siderable efficiency in the interlining of buses; for example, considerable on-street supervision (J. Pappas, personal com- an interlined articulated bus might have a block that links: munication, Feb. 14, 2007). One transit agency reported try- ing to manage the headways of different capacity vehicles on An early school trip starting at 7 a.m., finishing at 7:30 the same route, based on the individual capacity of the vehi- (for a 7:45 school start), to cles, but abandoned this approach. One-third of the systems An express commuter trip downtown from 7:45 to using mixed operations made no attempt to deploy the HC 8:15 a.m., and to buses based on demand. Another school trip to arrive for a 9:15 a.m. school start time. Beyond routes that are dedicated (and blocked) for HC buses, many respondents indicated that their HC buses were The overall process for interlining buses (including artic- used to address specific overload situations, such as school ulated buses) is schematically as follows: trips. There are two approaches. In the first approach, a tran- sit agency may simply deploy HC buses to the entire route The Service Planning Department develops a service experiencing the overload situation. This ensures that the plan, specifically taking into account HC buses, and the overload trip is accommodated, but may provide excess Scheduling Department has the responsibility of imple- capacity for the rest of the block, and might be viewed as an menting the service plan. underutilization of the capacity of the HC bus. This may occur The scheduling system is used to efficiently block the because the agency does not have the internal scheduling majority of service. expertise or tools, or because it is easier to obtain "capital" An interline network is assembled with a variety of trips funding to acquire HC buses than the "operational" funding including express trips, school trips, counterflow trips, required to add trippers for individual overload situations. industrial park trips, etc. Each trip is assigned a vehicle option (40-ft low-floor The second approach would require working at the trip default, 60-ft, etc.). level, and might involve the use of interlining if minimizing An enhanced vehicle blocker module (Hastus Minibus) peak bus requirements was an agency objective. is used to optimize the interline network, based on a wide range of cost penalties, with the objective of min- OC Transpo in Ottawa is one agency that traditionally has imizing the number of buses required to deliver service had an aggressive objective of using the scheduling system to to the peak interline network. minimize peak bus requirements through the use of interlining, The module uses a variety of criteria (expressed as cost and this applies as well to their articulated buses (J. Koffman, penalties) as part of its optimization process; examples OC Transpo, personal communication, Feb. 11, 2007). Of OC include the total number of buses, vehicle-specific des- Transpo's approximately 160 articulated buses available on a ignation, layover requirement, and length of block. OC daily basis, about 85% (135) of these buses are required for Transpo also allows for trip shifting (i.e., varying the base service and are blocked for routes designed for articulated start and end time of a trip by a few minutes) to increase buses (i.e., transitway core routes and a small number of trunk the efficiency of the optimization. Applying cost penal- arterial routes). The remaining 25 or so articulated buses are ties controls the degree of shifting. available for interlining. The process is carried out iteratively, examining each solution proposed by Hastus Minibus, and involves The objective is to maximize the efficient use of the artic- continuous consultation with the Service Planning De- ulated buses by stringing together as many individual trips partment staff to arrive at the best possible compromise that have heavy demand, while minimizing the overall num- ber of peak buses required. Having extensive data is an im- However, as important as the sophistication of the sched- portant ingredient for schedule optimization. For example, uling process is, the day-to-day operational management OC Transpo has been using a very sophisticated APC system concerning bus assignments is critical to ensure that the for more than two decades. Its APC system provides them articulated buses actually end up on the designated runs. The with extensive data on passenger loads by trip (to determine best plan for articulated buses will only be as good as its where articulated buses would be valuable). It also measures execution. To this purpose, OC Transpo has automated the running times for in-service and deadhead trips (which is re- assignment process to assist the "bus starter" in assigning quired for trip-based scheduling and interline optimization). the right bus to the right run. However, because errors can

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53 happen, they manually check the assignments each day to see Fare Collection Issues how each garage performs. When performance begins to fall off, the Fleet Department is notified immediately. The ongo- Significant reduction in the dwell time of HC buses can be ing daily monitoring of the articulated assignments (and achieved through fare collection system initiatives. A first other bus type-specific assignments, such as low floor, bike level of effort is to encourage a higher proportion of passen- racks, APCs, etc.) is in the process of being automated so that gers to use pre-paid media. both the Planning and Fleet Departments can immediately identify weaknesses in the chain. Smart cards allow for more rapid boarding than cash fares or magnetic media: SouthWest Transit (Eden Such a process requires considerable access to data, so- Prairie, Minnesota) found the use of smart cards helped phisticated scheduling tools, staff expertise, and manage- to speed boarding on their 45-ft coaches. ment oversight, but enables an optimization process that Day passes sold by ticket vending machines at stops: makes best use of limited resources, such as HC buses and Las Vegas Regional Transportation Commission sells a operators, and results in higher efficiency and revenue-cost 24-h pass for $5.00. performance. Existence of a university pass program that enables the operator to open all doors at university stops: I-Card used at ChampaignUrban a MTD. Reducing Dwell Time A second approach is to vary the fare control point based The use of HC buses increases individual vehicle capacity, on passenger flows. which can be used to increase overall route capacity, ex- pressed in passengers per hour. However, the increased Outbound PM Express and Regional routes pay on number of passengers boarding and alighting will also exiting. increase dwell time at stops, which will increase overall Inbound pay on boarding and outbound pay on exiting running time, and therefore negates the route capacity in- (e.g., King County Metro Transit); this is sometimes as- crease provided by HC buses. Some agencies have there- sociated with a downtown fare-free zone. fore sought to reduce dwell time to maximize the benefit derived from the deployment of HC buses. Survey respon- The most efficient fare collection strategy reducing HC dents cited the following efforts to reduce boarding and bus dwell time is the use of proof of payment (POP) control. alighting times: In such systems, passengers are responsible for having or purchasing a valid fare title. Fare control is carried out on a Specify vehicles with three doors (e.g., Vancouver and random basis by roving fare inspectors. Although this has ChampaignUrbana MTD) and/or extra-wide doors (44 been in existence a long time on LRT, it has recently become in.) at ChampaignUrbana MTD. increasingly popular in conjunction with the recent interest Add and/or lengthen concrete pads at bus stops so that and deployment of BRT systems. Its advantage is that it al- all doors can be used to exit. lows operators of LRT or HC buses to open all doors, which Install variable message sign indicating departure time minimizes alighting and boarding times. of next bus for BRT routes [e.g., Los Angeles Metro Rapid and York Region Transit Viva (Richmond Hill, Two basic approaches have been identified through this Ontario, Canada)] or on heavy demand routes (e.g., research. ChampaignUrbana MTD); this encourages passengers to prepare themselves in advance of bus arrival at stop. The first approach is POP, with all-door access for pass Install better signage at stop to reduce questions to customers only. This has been used by OC Transpo since its operator. deployment of articulated buses on the transitway in 1983 Specify rear-facing wheelchair position to significantly (J. Koffman, OC Transpo, personal communication, Feb. 14, reduce time required by passenger in wheelchair to po- 2007). To achieve the maximum efficiency of the three-door sition and secure themselves (e.g., Victoria and York articulated buses being used on routes with high levels of off- Region Transit). and-on movement, a POP approach to fare control was insti- Move access of wheelchair to second (and wider) door tuted. Passengers with monthly or day passes can enter [e.g., AC Transit (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, through any door; passengers with tickets or cash need to California) and York Region Transit]. pass by the operator, deposit their payment into the farebox, Implement wheelchair strap program that enables and receive a transfer that serves as a POP receipt. It requires wheelchair passengers to secure straps more quickly no platform fare vending equipment and works well in an (e.g., AC Transit). environment where an extremely high proportion of passen- Include a second stairway for double-deck buses to gers use passes. It is used by OC Transpo on all routes with speed up boarding and alighting (e.g., Las Vegas). articulated buses, but the operator has the discretion of Address fare collection procedures. whether to open the back doors.