Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

City officials get more details on buses that will be hitting Lawrence streets next year

A 40-foot hybrid bus parks near City Hall before Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting. This morning, city officials and transportation advocates will ride the vehicle. The city of Lawrence has already ordered three such vehicles, using $1.8 million in federal stimulus money. The buses will be assigned to the system’s Route 11, which operates in conjunction with KU Parking & Transit to serve both municipal and Kansas University riders.

A 40-foot hybrid bus parks near City Hall before Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting. This morning, city officials and transportation advocates will ride the vehicle. The city of Lawrence has already ordered three such vehicles, using $1.8 million in federal stimulus money. The buses will be assigned to the system’s Route 11, which operates in conjunction with KU Parking & Transit to serve both municipal and Kansas University riders.

January 27, 2010

Advertisement

Lawrence puts hybrid bus on display

A hybrid bus on its way to service in Kansas City, Mo., stopped in Lawrence so city officials could see what they’ll be getting next year. Enlarge video

A hybrid bus on its way to service in Kansas City, Mo., stopped in Lawrence so city officials could see what they’ll be getting next year, when the first of three such vehicles is delivered by Gillig Corp.

Some information about the bus — one described by transit administrator Robert Nugent as “like a giant Prius” — as disclosed by Joe Saldana, Gillig’s regional sales manager:

40 ... Length, in feet, of each hybrid bus the city is buying, or 10 feet longer than the longest bus in the T’s current fleet.

40 ... Percentage in noise reduction for a hybrid bus, when compared with conventional diesel.

“You can actually carry on a conversation,” said Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking & Transit. “I don’t have to yell at you.”

37... Seating capacity. Occupancy increases to 52, with people standing.

20 ... Percentage increase in fuel efficiency of a hybrid bus, when compared to a conventional diesel model.

“Some increase as high as 40 percent,” Saldana says.

8.9 ... Miles per gallon recorded by the bus during its trip from San Francisco to Lawrence. A typical diesel bus generally runs at 4 mpg.

1.8 ... Cost, in millions of dollars, for the package of three vehicles being purchased by the city, using federal stimulus money.

0 ... Amount of soot accumulated on the hybrid’s exhaust pipe, or elsewhere on the back of the bus.

“That’s even after over 2,000 miles,” Saldana says. “The air coming out is cleaner than the air going in,” both in terms of nitrous oxide and “particulate matter.”

Comments

gilly 4 years, 11 months ago

I've just come from the "public meeting" for proposed route and service changes that was held at the Visitor Center in North Lawrence. This meeting was held during regular work hours, therefore limiting public attendence to those who could arrange to get away from work. The one public meeting held in the Downtown area--the "hub" area for most transit changes--was held at 11 am.

No one gave a general introduction to the proposed changes. There were no chairs for people to sit on. When asked, the transit administrator said that the point of these meetings was to collect comments from the public about the proposed changes.

This "meeting" consisted of a table with maps of proposed changes placed on it with transit representative behind the tables. Another table had sheets of paper where people could write down their comments and contact information.

So here are the proposed changes: all the routes are changing, most of the routes will have service once every hour with some changes in frequency for some lines for "peak" hours, but the transit reps couldn't give anyone a proposed schedule for the buses, so no one can figure out if these proposed changes are workable.

If you want to go from Downtown to, say, Kasold and Bob Billings, you'll have to take two buses where right now you take one. Service to North Lawrence is being cut; if you need service from North Lawrence you call 24 hours ahead of time to get curb-to-Downtown Lawrence service, not "curb-to-curb" service, as stated in the LJW. If your business meeting runs late or you can't get Downtown for the scheduled "Downtown-to-curb" service, you're stuck. If a bus runs once an hour and you miss it, you're stuck.

But if you are a rider on a KU line, you can ride a new, shiny hybrid bus, which the administrator will talk about at length even as he talks about cutting service to the rest of the city.

Boeing 4 years, 11 months ago

Wait, so they ordered these buses without knowing capacity, size, MPG/fuel efficiency, and price????

gilly 4 years, 11 months ago

Did_I_say_that, if you give me the money to buy a car, I will buy one, even though I don't think I or anyone else should be adding to the the number of cars on the road.

Then you can buy cars for everyone else who depends on public transit to get to and from work and do their shopping and visit the doctor and take their kids to school.

gilly 4 years, 11 months ago

And more to the point, it's not public transit if the transit system is so difficult to use the public can't use it, and it's not public transit if the services are so infrequent the public can't use it. Then statistics become a self-fulfilling prophecy for cutting service.

Right not it looks like the city is turning the combined city-KU bus service into a glorified KU bus system, and the rest of city of Lawrence be damned. I would be happy to be proved wrong.

leeroy_johnson 4 years, 11 months ago

Wow. Can't this stimulus money go to the city riders? Glad to see that the money is going to the University Riders.

matchbox81 4 years, 11 months ago

I heard that the new buses will probably be used on Route 11. This is the route that like the old Route 8, connects downtown to the big boxes on 31st and Iowa through KU. Yes it serves both none-students and students, but it also runs on days and times that KU buses don't run.

matchbox81 4 years, 11 months ago

Gilly, I also went to one of the public meetings. Most city routes right now run once an hour - either every 40 minutes or every 80 minutes. This makes it tough for people to ride buses without carrying around schedules. Seems about half of the proposed routes shift to 60 minutes which will make it easier for riders to plan around, and the other half will remain at 40 minutes, with the route on 6 street running every 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon.

As for changing route 4 from a regular bus route to a, as you put it, "curbside-to-downtown" service, would you rather the North Lawrence service be cut all together? Yes, it's going to be even more inconvenient than now, especially with the call aheads, but the transit reps said people can call just one time and schedule a regular pick-up for trips that people make every day or every week.

cowboy 4 years, 11 months ago

North where , Lawrence , theres nothing in north Lawrence , how do you feel now North Lawrence ?

We got a 1.8 million dollar grant to provide 40 foot behemoths to the university.

The mismanagement of this city is becoming monumental . Seems every function is completely incompetent. where does the buck stop ? Fire the city manager and his assistants , and hire some competent staff to address the issues facing this once wonderful city.

gilly 4 years, 11 months ago

Did_I_say_that, the plan to cut service to North Lawrence isn't related to the construction. Tom Worker-Braddock, the representative from the consulting company working with Lawrence Transit, was talking about that approach at least half a year ago--but he didn't say anything about 24-hour reservations or "curb-to-Downtown" service; he said "curb-to-curb."

At the "meeting," nothing was addressed because there was no concerted discussion or information being handed out--just "look at these maps and let us know if you have any questions and hand-write your comments here." So there was no community dialogue since there was no structure for it.

matchbox81, you seem to think that there are only two options: cut service to North Lawrence or jump through restrictive service hoops. This is an instance where poor initial service compounded by construction and indifferent rerouting and rescheduling has resulted in the poor statistics offering this false dichotomy.

North Lawrence is a community of people who are every much a part of the public as anywhere else in Lawrence, yet the residents are being told that they will have less and more restrictive access to public transit than other parts of the city.

matchbox81, I hope you are right that the proposed routes will be workable with workable schedules. Since the T and the consulting company haven't offered even proposed schedules, I don't see any way to judge that.

Overall, Lawrence transit administrator and representatives aren't giving us enough information. Since we're being affected by the proposed changes, we need better than what they've given.

purplesage 4 years, 11 months ago

That's a cool paint job. I wonder if it will get anyone to ride the bus?

More government waste. I do have to admit that some of the existing city buses are getting really noisy. Sort of sound like junk a bout to fly apart. Don't get too close.

shawn1040 4 years, 11 months ago

Why do they order such large buses? This is NOT a huge city, they need something about 1/3 the size. What a waste of money!!

monkeyhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Let's flush out the covert progressives running this city. I thought we effectively got rid of them with the demise of the three amigos, yet it seems there is always some stinky deal popping up, one after another. I'm sure we are all so glad that we voted for that sales tax increase.

LogicMan 4 years, 11 months ago

Let's hope that the ones they get don't produce the vision-obscuring white fog and really stinky exhaust at vision/breathing level that I experienced firsthand yesterday following behind the test bus! Otherwise I predict some new liability exposure for the City and the operators.

I also hope they've planned for the expensive repairs that these three complex devices will require as they age.

FarneyMac 4 years, 11 months ago

Thank god for the increased size of the new buses. Overcrowding is such a huge problem on the wildly popular T.

Mariposa 4 years, 11 months ago

The number eleven does not take a bee line between campus and Walmart. It goes by the apartment complexes where a lot of students, including myself, live. At times the bus is so crowded it can't hold any more people. At other times, not so much. The bus does tend to empty out along the route as riders get off. I am looking forward to riding the new bus even though it will eliminate the interesting tidbits you can learn about your fellow riders as they yell at each other to be heard.

Prairielander 4 years, 11 months ago

It never made sense to operate two separate bus systems. I'm glad they have combined KU and the T. But the KU system has about 2.2 million rides annually while the T has less than 400,000 (2008 stats). I attended one of the public meetings and it looks like the LTS is trying to adjust routes to accomodate more service to KU and trim down under used routes. Given the number of riders (i.e. their clients), that only seems to make sense.

ralphralph 4 years, 11 months ago

We're talking about bus riders; the quote should have been:

"You can actually carry on a conversation with yourself."

Uhjh 4 years, 11 months ago

Getting more information?? How can they justify such a capital expense without all the facts and a legitimate financial analysis? Just blinded by the green frenzy. What a bunch of amateur personal.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.