Archive for Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Public checks out hybrid bus at Lawrence City Hall

Bus will be on the road in Lawrence Wednesday

January 26, 2010


The public is invited to climb aboard a hybrid bus, one just like the three expected to enter the city’s transit fleet in the middle of next year.

The electric-diesel bus will be available for viewing, boarding and inspection from 6 to 7 Tuesday night outside City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. The bus will be parked in the turnout lane just outside the city’s Riverfront parking garage.

The bus rolling in is on its way to Kansas City, Mo., to become part of that city’s transit fleet. The bus started its journey in San Francisco, where it was built by Gillig Corp.

Lawrence city commissioners will be expected to check out the bus before their weekly commission meeting, which begins at 6:35 p.m. An invitation-only tour Wednesday morning will give city officials, transit operators and others a chance to take a test drive around town.

“It’ll give everybody a chance to get a feel for it, to see how it rides and how it sounds compared to a traditional bus,” said Robert Nugent, the city’s transit administrator.

Last month the city of Lawrence agreed to buy three such vehicles — each to be 40 feet long and cost about $600,000. The city is using federal stimulus money for the purchases.

Once in the city’s fleet, each diesel bus likely will be used on Route 11, which is a coordinated bus route serving both the city of Lawrence and the Kansas University campus. Nugent said.


Richard Payton 7 years ago

Stimulus money rips future generations piggy bank!

ksrover 7 years ago

Add another big fat goose egg for jobs saved/created by using Federal "stimulus" money.

grimpeur 7 years ago

Blind freaking mice in here. Buses aren't sucking your money away. Rather, it's the 80,000 or so empty seats in the single-occupancy cars that drive into Lawrence every single day, and the 100,000 or so in the cars that drive out, their owners going right past the homes of their coworkers and the offices of their neighbors but preferring instead to drive alone alongside thousands of others going to and from the same places in the same corridors, pounding your streets into dust, clogging your roads, crashing into you and each other. And it's the ones driving two miles or less to KU, LHS, and FSHS, pretending that something or someone else is the problem and expense. It's not someone else. It's not the buses. It's not the city. It's not the potholes.

It's you, driver.

Find a carpool, walk, or bike. I know you love your car. I know your identity is tied to it. I know your car can make you feel like a manly man. I know you're probably upside down on the payments for the love of it. But if you're not willing to even try to find a ride to share, or if you're expecting someone to provide a parking spot for you just so you don't have to walk ten minutes, or if you think 15 blocks is just too far to walk or bike, then unless and until you come up with a solution for the problem of too many lazy recreational drivers, I suggest you keep your checkbook out.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

So does that mean the city will have to buy fewer carbon credits?

doc1 7 years ago

How many jobs has this created? Great use of stimulus money.

cowboy 7 years ago

might have well parked up at KU as they are the ones that are going to use it , at your expense I might add !

jumpin_catfish 7 years ago

Excuse me grimpeur but I'll drive what I want.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years ago

Waiting for ridiculous Merrill posting... However, Grimpeur might win for the "shut up and sit down, proles" post of the week.

Thats_messed_up 7 years ago

$600,000 dollars for ONE bus. Thanks Obama, Pelosi, Al Gore and Booger Highberger,

gccs14r 7 years ago

"No, not one of the single-occupancy cars are subsidized by me;"

Sure they are, unless you don't pay taxes. The roads are subsidized, fuel is subsidized, even vehicle manufacturing is subsidized. Then there's the environmental cost, plus law enforcement.

Jon McCleary 7 years ago

Hey grim and gccs, so 1.8 million sounds like a reasonable price to cart a few carless people around to their protest events. I wonder how much less a non hybrid bus costs? You know the regular busses that most people ride on...answer this. Why is it that our tax $ go toward low impact expenditures such as this and yet those of us who actually work for a living (evil corporations with great health insurance) and commute to joco have to endure the punishment of the eastern piece of K-10. I counted 88 bone jarring bumps from the end of the divided highway to the Haskell College. Why was the good piece of road repaved from Mass to Iowa? Is there any common sense in this town?

grimpeur 7 years ago

I've ridden the bus three times since it started operations. Just for kicks. It doesn't serve me for work. I've walked or ridden a bike to work every day save a dozen for the last 15 years, and still do in my (I wish) semi-retirement. I drive a car, a pickup truck, or one of three big trucks when work requires it, so I don't need the bus and I pay quite a bit more in vehicle taxes than the average bloke. So get off it.

What I need is to stop paying for the streets torn up by the recreational drivers who 1) think they have some "right" to drive and so they do, alone, long and short distances, whenever and wherever, and 2) don't think they're part of the problem. To them I say: you are most of the problem. Your access and mobility by car is a privilege widely abused in Lawrence. You have no idea what "rights" are, and cheapen the concept to fit your self-serving perversion of "rights." Lazy, simple-minded, self-absorbed bastids.

You want to drive everywhere just because? Fine. I say: you're paying. Problem is, because car and gas taxes from personal autos don't come close to paying for their costs, I'm paying, too. And I'm paying way more to subsidize you recreational drivers than I ever will for the buses. You waste my contribution to the tax base. Why? Because you want to. Fine again. Just don't come in here complaining about the damn bus.

Blind mice. Half-witted, gas-junkie, street-wrecking blind freaking mice.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"The electric-diesel bus"

Hey, that's great, now we can have empty buses powered by multiple means.

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"Sure they are, unless you don't pay taxes. The roads are subsidized, fuel is subsidized, even vehicle manufacturing is subsidized. Then there's the environmental cost, plus law enforcement."

Fuel is subsidized? Maybe on your planet. Here on earth we tax the bejeezis out of it.

The people who drive their cars pay for them. The people who ride the buses do not.

"grimpeur (Anonymous) says… "

"You want to drive everywhere just because? Fine. I say: you're paying. Problem is, because car and gas taxes from personal autos don't come close to paying for their costs, I'm paying, too. And I'm paying way more to subsidize you recreational drivers than I ever will for the buses."

Trying to lay off the pipe, grimpy? Pretty irritable of late.

The majority of road costs are paid for in usage fees - vehicle registration & drivers' license fees, motor fuels taxes, etc. The remainder, the portion that comes out of GR funds, is almost entirely paid by the owners of the 250,000,000 registered passenger vehicles, because they pay most of the income, property, sales, and other taxes. The tiny portion that's left is paid by people who benefit from, even use the roads, whether they drive or not (what do the buses - or your bicycle - travel on, grimpy?).

You want me to pay for driving my car, grimpy? I already do. How about those three or four people on the mT pay for that?

And by the way, keep your darned heavy trucks off my roads, they're tearing them up.

Randall Barnes 7 years ago


Jon McCleary 7 years ago

Grim has missed the point of the debate and is clearly on an island with his position.

1) the article was about theses "green" buses at 600k a pop. The Hybrid feature is what is being featured. Is this a good way to spend stimulus $. Seems like the Al Gore crowd believe that as long as a product has a green logo on it, cost is not a consideration.

2) is there a better use for these funds? Like fixing roads that most of the tax base use on a daily basis.

So grim what constitutes "recreational" driving? Is it driving as a hobby for the joy of being behind the wheel? I imagine Lawrence has a slug of these. You live in a fantasy land. I drive to get around, live in the country and would have a long walk to work in olathe. What advice could you provide to a blind mouse like me?

Jennifer Dropkin 7 years ago

Did_I_say_that says,

"No, not one of the single-occupancy cars are subsidized by me; however, buses are operated on money that was confiscated from tax payers."

That's not true. Every time you drive your car you are being subsidized by taxpayers: road construction, maintenance, signage and traffic lights, all so you can get in your car and go whenever you want no matter how much pollution you create and don't clean up, no matter how much wear-and-tear you place on the streets.

Did_I_say_that says, "If you want to ride a bus (at other people's expense) and walk several blocks to get to where you really wanted to go, that is your right. Others, who choose to be more self-reliant, drive their car, truck, or gas-guzzling SUV, that is their right."

You're not more self-reliant, you're self-justifying. See above.

Did_I_say_that says, "Tax payers would still have to keep their checkbooks out in order to pay for the lazy recreational riders of the buses."

The city has made using mass transit extremely difficult in this town, so most recreational rides are by students or mothers out with their children for visits to the library, swimming pool, and so on. The rest of the riders take it because they have to, often to jobs that pay no benefits and low wages. Before bus service started again in this town in 1999, there were people taking taxis to and from part-time work (cab service one-way in this town ranges from $8-$10 in city limits, and one usually waits 45 minutes for the cab to show up).

And how is using the bus "lazy"? Since most buses run at 40-minute intervals--with 20-minute stopovers downtown for transfers, it takes effort and committment to use the bus system. Unlike, say, you, who get into the car and go at any time you want. Who's the lazy one?

The real recreational riders are the single drivers in the 4-, 5-, 6-seat vehicles, making repeated short trips to and from or just cruising through town for fun, the ones bellyaching about the small amount of money the city spends on providing a basic public good (mass transit funds come from the federal and state governments, not just the city, and those funds are forfeited if the city cuts its funding), the very ones who complain about potholes and who will be screaming and looking for options like public transit when the price of gas starts skyrocketing again.

Our city council spends more money on the Chamber of Commerce, which benefits very few people in this town, than it spends on mass transit or on all other social services combined. Start paying attention and quit justifying your indulgent ways.

By the way, I take the bus to and from work five days a week, and I take the bus to go grocery shopping and to go to the doctor when I have an appointment. Hardly "recreational."

shawn1040 7 years ago

Why don't let the homeless people sleep on the bus? They are empty 99% of the time.

LogicMan 7 years ago

I think I was possibly driving behind this bus -- Iowa, then it turned east on 23rd. Really cloudy/stinky exhaust, at street level, as compared to the existing buses that I think exhaust upward.

LJW: post a picture of the bus? Thanks.

jafs 7 years ago

Real improvements to the bus system would include changing the system to a "grid" system, shortening wait times for transfers, and thus allow more citizens to use it without spending ridiculous amounts of time waiting for buses.

Without these, it will still be underutilized and not provide as much of an environmental plus as it would otherwise. Buses get around 3-6 mpg, so you have to remove a number of cars from the road just to break even (3 if the routes are equally efficient, 6 the way the routes are structured now).

And, although I love the idea of carpooling, it is not practical for many people. It is hard to find a group who have the same idea of responsibility/being on time, for example, and thus you have conflicts.

I find by simply being thoughtful about trips around town, we can use much less gas than most.

gccs14r 7 years ago

"Fuel is subsidized? Maybe on your planet. Here on earth we tax the bejeezis out of it."

Not really. If we taxed it enough to pay for its acquisition (gotta include the DoD budget in the cost of a barrel of oil) and to pay for the roads, it'd be in excess of $12 per gallon.

justforfun 7 years ago

I can't wait to ride the new bus!! NOT

supernik 7 years ago

I agree with jafs, if the bus system was more convenient and user friendly more people would use the bus, with two young children, transferring around from bus to bus, waiting on busy streets for the buses for 20 or more minutes is just not feasible.

mr_right_wing 7 years ago

Fancy big empty bus! Yaa hoo!

Just think how helpful this money could have been used on Lawrence Public Schools instead of this obscene waste. At least we know we don't have empty schools!! (vs. empty buses.)

Christine Anderson 7 years ago

Lazy recreational riders my fat behind!! There are many of us who ride the buses because that is the only transportation option available. Many of us make cholces about how to use what we do have. For ex., choosing to make sure our rent is paid, our kids have clothes and food, and keeping the utilities on, instead of saying to ourselves, "Well, I'm gonna get a car just because I want one", and pouring money into it. Some of you are just plain turds!

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years ago

Excuse me, my SUV is warming up outside. Gotta go.

EXks 7 years ago

........Regressive Evolution, Geriatric whiners in need of end of life counseling and Glen Beck tin foil hat syndrome......

bendover61 7 years ago

Couldn't they have bought a bigger bus? Perhaps one with a hinge or maybe a double decker, that would have attracted tourists. It does in London.

mr_right_wing 7 years ago

For the Lawrence Transit System one mini-cooper would suffice. (...and it would only be used occasionally.)

LogicMan 7 years ago

"I think I was possibly driving behind this bus — Iowa, then it turned east on 23rd. Really cloudy/stinky exhaust, at street level, as compared to the existing buses that I think exhaust upward.

LJW: post a picture of the bus? Thanks."

LJW: Thanks for the pic on the main page.

Yes -- that was it. Very stinky, and a fogging white exhaust cloud at street level, out the back left side. Will definitely generate complaints, and concerns about nonstandard emissions/health concerns.

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

Hey, before you ever criticize how this stimulus money is spend, as where is this bus made?

LogicMan 7 years ago

"...Lawrence. If you don't like it then please leave."

Most might! Talent/brawn drain is one of our problems. Any recent LHS/FSHS grad stats out there?

shepdog 7 years ago

If I can't drive around in my big empty SUV why do they have to drive around in big empty buses. I'm fine with getting a smaller effiecient car but why can't they get smaller energy efficient buses???

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