Ford Launches New Shuttle Bus Service App

Ford Launches New Shuttle Bus Service App

A trial of a Ford-operated, commuter ride-share service app was approved for launch in London this past January.

Chariot, the business providing the ride share services through the app, will allow passengers to pay a premium over a regular bus fare price for pre-booked trips running along four routes.

As shared mobility services reach all-time popularity levels, vehicle manufacturers such as Ford are turning away from a traditional industry platform and toward a more user-friendly model.

The ride-share service is part of an effort to ramp up what Ford calls their microtransit plan. The use of the Chariot app is intended to work in cooperation with London’s already established public transportation system in order to offer “in-app ride booking for first and last-mile commuting solutions, and the potential to reach underserved areas,” according to a spokesperson from Ford.

Chariot is Europe’s first commuter shuttle service, with 14 minibuses slated to operate in bus lanes which will run along designated routes. These routes will generally be located south of Thames and in areas without tube stations like Battersea.

Following the release of news, Transport for London has stated that they plan to work with other technology companies to provide missing transportation links in the English territory. Ford joins the ranks of other vehicle manufacturers who are hopping on the experimental bus servicing trend like BMW, who has sponsored the Drive Now car sharing program.

Ford is currently operating the Chariot app from San Francisco, New York, Austin, Seattle, and the newest city addition, Columbus, Ohio.

Northwest Bus Sales has been offering customers the greatest brands in the transportation industry for over 27 years. Regardless of whether you are interested in purchasing a trolley bus, shuttle bus, or highway coach, we can assure you that you will find a solution that works for you when you browse our selection of new or used buses for sale.

Trends in Public Transit across the Country for 2018

Former Tesla Employee Making Electric City Buses

2018 is the year of public transit’s revival, as cities nationwide increasingly look to limit congestion, cut back on car exhaust, and make their streets more enjoyable for everyone. With the push to go green, focusing new attention on public transit, especially in regards to buses, will be instrumental in future development.

The first major trend involves the experimentation of BRT, or what’s known as bus rapid transit. In Indianapolis, work will begin this year on a 13-mile rapid transit line which will run across the city. When done, buses are expected to pick up passengers from stops every ten minutes, providing an easy and reliable ride for thousands of people. Similar projects, including bus-only lanes, are popping up in cities nationwide, including Chicago and New York.

Next up is what everyone’s been talking about lately: self-driving cars. 2018 is expected to be the year when AVs (automated vehicles) make their splash onto the markets, and we finally start to see their potential impact on our daily lives take shape. In New York, GM will soon be piloting its Chevy Bolts on the city’s streets, with the hopes of launching a robo-taxi service soon. So it’s only a matter of time that cities start to experiment with self-driving buses.

The last trend to watch out in public transit for has to do with accessibility, and how we pay for our rides. Uber and other rideshares introduced us to paying with transportation by smartphone, and this is only the beginning of what’s possible with new technology. Many cities are looking into technology known as ‘Mobility as a Service’ technology (MaaS), or using your smartphone to pay for all public transit ride options available in an area. That means tickets will go by the wayside, and you’ll be able to use one app for everything—cab, bus, and even subway.

Convenience and innovation is what the future is all about, and Northwest Bus Sales plans to be there every step of the way. Take a look at our inventory of new and used buses for sale today.

Wi-Fi Improves Commute for Bus Riders

Wi-Fi Improves Commute for Bus Riders

Most people don’t enjoy riding the bus to work. Some people do it because they don’t have any other transportation options, while others do it because it’s the quickest way to get from point A to point B in the morning. But very few people actually enjoy waiting for the bus to arrive and then crowding into the bus once it gets there.

That could change in the very near future for many people, though, as public Wi-Fi is starting to be incorporated into more and more forms of public transportation. Public buses, in particular, are starting to be outfitted with Wi-Fi, and it’s already making commutes more pleasant for many people. New York City recently introduced Wi-Fi and charging ports on MTA buses in Brooklyn and Manhattan to lots of fanfare, and even buses in other countries are starting to get Wi-Fi, too. The Iranian city of Tehran, for example, now has buses capable of providing riders with internet connections. There are even some school districts in the U.S. that are experimenting with putting Wi-Fi in school buses.

The goal of all this is to keep people more connected than they already were. At the moment, most bus riders need to rely on their cellular service when using the internet on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This sometimes limits how often they can connect to the internet, based on cell service availability and individual data plans. But with the growth of public Wi-Fi on buses, many people will get the chance to use their various devices more often whenever they are on board.

In the coming years, there is likely going to be an uptick in the number of public buses and other forms of public transportation that have public Wi-Fi. Northwest Bus Sales is excited about this development and is looking forward to finding ways to help people get their hands on buses capable of providing Wi-Fi to passengers. Call us at 800-231-7099 today to hear about the buses we have in stock now and the services we can provide for those looking for them.

Tokyo Bus Rescues Delayed Party Goers

Tokyo Bus Rescues Delayed Party Goers

In Tokyo, the celebration of Bonenkai is lifting off as young professionals and university students rush after-hour cocktail parties, clubs, and bars to drink away their troubles. The holiday, whose name in Japanese literally means “forget the year gathering,” is celebrated month-long in December, and although a 2015 study determined that Japanese citizens are drinking less and less, Bonenkai is still expected to turn out crowds.

What better excuse does a transport company have for capitalizing on the waves of binge-drinking party goers who will be taking buses back to their apartments at the end of each night? The “Oversleeping Rescue Bus,” the brainchild of the Nishi Tokyo Bus Company, serves this very purpose.

The Tokyo-funded bus line runs from Takeo Station to Hachioji Station in downtown Tokyo and exists to aid hungover party goers who have accidentally fallen asleep on their way homes get back safely, and for the pocket change price of $5.95.

The bus was originally put to the test in 2014 as it began its run on Sunday mornings, scooping up people burned out from the weekend’s extracurricular activities. On a high traffic weekend, the bus rescues as many as 75 people over a three night party period. The bus will continue to make its runs on Sunday mornings for three weekends in December, reports Tokyo news outlets.

There are wildly fun times to be had in Sin City, but with that fun come risk. Has your party or tour group made safe travel arrangements yet? Northwest Bus Sales sells buses that are perfect for the occasion. We have delivered reliable transportation for over 27 years to companies in the Las Vegas area and beyond. Find out more.

Zonar App Helps School Buses Track Student Passengers

Zonar App Helps School Buses Track Student Passengers

The school year is starting up in districts all across the country, and many bus companies are implementing new measures to keep students safe as they travel to and from school. In densely-populated urban areas, it’s particularly important for school bus drivers to be able to accurately track students and make sure they reach their destinations safely.

That’s why Zonar, a Seattle-based fleet management company, is offering a new app that automatically counts students as they board and exit their school bus. In addition to helping bus drivers make sure all students are accounted for, the app also eliminates the need for paperwork to track students with special needs.

The app can also be integrated with Zonar’s Z Pass system. Z Pass uses RFID cards to track students and notify parents if their child fails to board their bus, or departs at the wrong stop. Parents and school administrators can also log into a secure online portal that allows them to monitor travel activity in real time. According to Zonar’s own estimates, roughly one third of the nation’s school buses are using its RFID technology to track students.

By offering both parents and administrators an extra measure of peace of mind, Zonar’s ridership tracking system is being embraced by school districts throughout the nation. Ultimately, this type of tracking system could become a standard feature on school buses in the future.

Looking for a great school bus to round out your fleet? You can find a variety of competitively-priced used options right here at Northwest bus sales. Browse our inventory online, or give us a call today to speak with a representative.

King County Bus Routes Will Soon Have One Standardized Fare

King County Bus Routes Will Soon Have One Standardized Fare

Are you a regular bus rider in King County? If so, you’ve probably have noticed that calculating your fare can be a little confusing sometimes. Currently, bus fares in and around Seattle vary depending on when you catch a bus and where you’re it, which can make it difficult to calculate your fare on the fly.

But according to The Seattle Times, King County Metro Transit is preparing to make things a whole lot easier in July 2018 by switching to a single all-day, all-zone fare of $2.75. It will be a welcomed change for many riders—four out of five people told the King County Metro Transit that they would prefer a single basic fare in a recent poll—and it will also benefit the agency. King County estimates the change will bring in an additional $2 million in extra revenue every year.

About 65 percent of people who currently ride the bus in King County will either see no change to their total fare, or a 50-cent savings when the change takes effect next summer. People who ride the bus during midday and late-night hours will see a 25-cent increase. That might leave some riders unhappy, but in the long run it should make it much easier to navigate King County by bus.

In addition to reducing confusion, the flat bus fare should improve bus service and help it to run more smoothly. It’s also expected to improve relations between customers and bus drivers. In the end, this change could prove to be a simple solution to a complex issue with a variety of benefits for both riders and bus drivers.

Proterra CEO Makes Bold Prediction About Electric Buses

Proterra CEO Makes Bold Prediction About Electric Buses

Since the company was founded 13 years ago in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, Proterra has become the most well-known electric bus manufacturer in North America—and possibly the world. Proterra’s fast-charging technology, which allows its buses to be recharged in as little as 10 minutes, has prompted many former skeptics to rethink the potential of electric bus transit.

Now, Proterra CEO Ryan Popple has made a remarkable prediction that highlights his optimism about the future of electric bus development: By 2020, one-third of all new transit buses will be electric. Furthermore, Popple expects electric buses to account for half of all fleet purchase by 2025, and that by 2030 every new transit bus will be electric.

Coming from anyone else, this prediction might seem a little suspect. But Popple, who has also served as the CEO of Tesla Motors, knows more about the electric vehicle market than just about anyone else in the world. Plus, he’s got the statistics to back up his claim.

Proterra’s electric buses have a low price point that’s already made them fierce contenders against diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) options. Lithium-ion battery prices are also expected to decline dramatically in the next five years, which could make electric buses even more affordable and appealing to transit companies. In this industry, a low price point can have a huge influence on the purchasing decisions of fleet operators.

If Popple’s predictions are correct, electric buses could soon become the new norm in major cities across the US. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Now Might Be a Great Time to Become a School Bus Driver

School bus companies all over the country are currently scrambling to make up for a driver shortage

Looking for a new driving gig? School bus companies all over the country are currently scrambling to make up for a driver shortage that has forced schools in some areas to delay class schedules and suspend bus routes. These bus companies are in immediate need of new drivers, and many of them are offering special incentives and referral bonuses in an attempt to attract qualified hires.

According to a recent survey in School Bus Fleet Magazine, twenty-two percent of the nation’s 50 largest school bus operators called the shortage “severe,” while 5 percent said they were “desperate” for new drivers. All of the companies surveyed said they were facing a shortage to some degree. With the new school year starting up, the shortage is already causing some serious headaches for parents, teachers and administrators.

In Muncie, Indiana, for example, schools closed for two consecutive days while the district worked to overcome transportation issues caused by the driver shortage. Meanwhile in Hawaii, the state has been consolidating and even suspending some bus routes in Maui until the driver shortage is resolved.

Now, bus companies are working overtime to recruit new talent and fill vacant driver positions. In places where the driver shortage has been particularly disruptive, these companies are also offering increased pay and benefits to new drivers. For drivers that already have their CDL, this is a great opportunity to make some extra money during the school year.

Stay tuned for more updates from your source for great new and used buses at competitive prices – Northwest Bus Sales.

Amazon Launches Dedicated Bus Service in Seattle

Amazon Launches Dedicated Bus Service in Seattle

The news that Amazon has launched a dedicated bus service may not be as exciting as rumors that they are testing drones for same-day delivery, but it’s certainly big news for commuters who work for the enormous company in Seattle.

 

Recently, Amazon began offering private shuttles to its employees that are scheduled to run six times in the morning and six times in the evening, with a bus arriving to pick up employees about every twenty minutes. The program is called “Amazon Ride,” and it will shuttle up to 26,000 passengers from Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue to Amazon’s two Seattle locations – the offices at South Lake Union Campus as well as the company headquarters, located in downtown Seattle.

The creation of this shuttle service is perhaps a reaction to the fact that Seattle was named the fourth most congested city in the United States by TomTom Traffic Index. Amazon could also be signaling an attempt to keep up with similar perks offered by major tech companies like Microsoft, which also offers an employee shuttle service.

Amazon released a statement, saying, “Our employees tell us that they love being in the heart of the city. In fact, more than 50% of our employees get to work without a car. We are continually looking for ways to build a more sustainable urban campus and this pilot is another opportunity to do so.”

Riders will have to reserve their spot on the bus ahead of time, though there’s a program for guaranteeing a ride home in the event that you have an emergency or need to work late. Good news for traffic in Seattle, and great news if you’re an Amazon employee—we’re curious to see how this endeavor will factor into the city’s public transportation sector as well.

For more information, or to check out any of the buses on our lot, contact us today at 1-800-231-7099.

Subway Shutdown in NYC Could Make Way for Bus Rapid Transit

Subway Shutdown in NYC Could Make Way for Bus Rapid Transit

It’s still a few years off, but many people in New York City are already preparing for the impending shut down of the L train. The L is one of many lines of the subway that carries people from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and vice versa, often during the peak of rush hour. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plans to shut down the only tunnel that carries the L train underneath the East River in January of 2019 for a year or more to repair serious damage that was caused by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.

During the hurricane, more than 7 million gallons of floodwater rushed into the L train’s tunnel, and according to the city’s officials, repairs are not optional. The city determined that a full shutdown for a short period of time was preferable to a partial shutdown for a longer period of time. Commuters and residents, however, may or may not agree.

While the repairs do indeed need to be made to the tunnel, the L train closure raises some serious public transportation issues for the 300,000 people in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas that use it daily. If they relied on the subway to get them where they needed to go before, what are they supposed to do when it shuts down?

The plan is to implement new bus rapid transit routes.

According to Wired, the city plans to increase bus availability to the residents of Brooklyn by adding new devoted bus lanes, putting more buses on the road, and figuring out a way to clear the cars and business delivery traffic out of the way to make room for the new bus traffic. If the city, residents, MTA, and bus drivers can all cooperate, this closure can be a success story, but for a city that relies heavily on underground transportation, the transition to buses may need a little bit of encouragement, perhaps from a city like Grand Rapids, MI.