European Buses Experiment with Uber Characteristics

Woman Using Smart Phone Riding on Buss

Europe is combining six, 17-seat low-emission minibuses with the concept of Uber to create a new mode of transportation called PickMeUp, Oxford Bus Company’s new “Uber for buses” service.

The PickMeUp app and service officially launched in June 2018 as the new public way to travel in Oxford by bus.

Residents simply download the PickMeUp app and order a bus to a virtual stop on demand; they set up the pick-up and drop-off points within the app’s chosen zone and add extra passengers as applicable. Users can see their route and estimated time of arrival on the app.

The route covers 12.2 square miles, picking up passengers in east Oxford and covering stops including Oxford Station, Oxford Science Park, Oxford Business Park, hospitals, and Brookes University. Taking PickMeUp costs £2.50 (about $3.29) and the price doubles if you take a trip that could be made using an existing bus route.

Each minibus contains Wi-Fi, USB charging points, and wheelchair access. Although the service does not go door-to-door like Uber drivers do, it does promise to pick up passengers anywhere in the east of Oxford in under 10 minutes and includes 1,906 stops. Not tied to existing bus stops, these unique minibuses reach new parts of the city, offering a new alternative to driving to work. PickMeUp offers public transportation that is significantly quicker and cheaper than other forms of transports.

By encouraging people to use public transportation, PickMeUp offers the chance to lower traffic congestion and improve air quality, something cities across the U.S could benefit from. Will “Uber for buses” soon appear in a city near you?

While you wait for the PickMeUp system to find its way to the U.S., check out new and used buses for sale from Northwest Bus Sales, offering over 27 years of great quality buses perfect for those in the tour and charter market and for schools, churches, retirement homes, and more.

The Rare Reason More People are Buying Buses

Retro Bus Filled with People

There are several reasons why people are buying buses at record clips right now. As we mentioned previously on our blog, cities are looking to buses once again to expand their mass transit networks as urban centers rapidly grow.

In the era of rideshare, people are more often looking for cost-effective ways to transport large groups of people, even if they don’t know one another. Group travel is 2018’s transit trend, and we’re fully behind it. But there’s another reason why more people are buying buses that has recently arisen and it’s one that is so interesting and unique, it’s worth mentioning.

As it turns out, there’s a growing population of customers who are buying buses to live in them.

Stories from all over are flooding in about riders who are buying buses, and converting them into refurbished homes for travel and leisure. And the pictures are staggering: a man in Long Island, NY, took a school bus, and turned it into a beach-themed living space, while other people across America have turned them into aesthetic spectacles, with brand new wooden designs, housing installments, and other incredible ideas that have us stunned.

In an age of record travel and the newfound ability to work from anywhere, this trend has become such a force that there are now “how-to” guides for converting school buses into living spaces. And surprisingly enough, it doesn’t require too much work—which is probably why it’s become such an appealing option for people.

We almost can’t believe what we’ll see next. If you’re interested in this new trend, then Las Vegas Bus Sales has the resources for you. We offer a wide variety of buses fit for any occasion, and are happy to work with you to find a bus perfect for you. Contact us today!

Bus Travel Popularity Increases in Seattle

Bus Travel Popularity Increases in Seattle

When you think of Seattle, you probably think about coffee or the Space Needle, but these days, two other words might come to mind: public transportation.

Seattle is experiencing an influx of new citizens and they are all looking to the Metro systems to get them where they need to go.

If you are still unsure of how big bus travel really is in Seattle, then all you need to do is look towards the numbers. The fact of the matter is that Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country with nearly a quarter million new jobs and a population that has grown by over 15 percent since 2010.

Not only are there more people but they have also made their travel preferences known. Studies show that commuters opting to drive private vehicles in the downtown area has declined by 10 percent since 2010, and instead, King County Metro in Seattle has seen an 8 percent increase in bus riders.

Currently, there are approximately 250 buses traveling across some of the busiest corridors in the city during the busiest hours of rush hour which amounts to around two buses every minute. These buses carry approximately 52,000 passengers every day, meaning there is essentially a seat for everyone.

The increase in buses is just one piece of the puzzle that city officials are putting in place to decrease the amount of traffic that is caused by the astounding amount of people that are moving into the state every year.

Many of the most popular streets have been modified to give the advantage to bus travel and lighten the traffic caused by private vehicles. On Third Avenue, cars are banned from traveling on all four lanes during rush hour. Meanwhile, the southbound lanes of Second Avenue and the northbound lane of Fourth are also off limits during these times.

The fact of the matter is that Seattle officials have seen that the population is rising and they have been pulling out all of the stops to help these people get to the jobs that they treasure. The great thing is that the citizens are showing their appreciation and the ridership numbers are proof.

Here at Northwest Bus Sales, we are glad to do what we can to assist in Seattle’s transportation endeavors with our selection of coach buses, transit buses, and shuttle buses. We believe that bus travel is the best travel and we would love for you to come by the lot and see our selection.

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.