Basic Tools Needed for a Bus Conversion

Bus Conversion Concept

It’s common now to convert a charter bus into a school bus or vice versa. At Northwest Bus Sales, we provide new buses for sale and used buses for sale in the Northwest.

Before you start working on a bus conversion, you should understand the basic tools you need to get it done.

Here’s some of the basic tools that you’ll need to have on hand before starting a bus conversation:

A Good Hammer

You’ll likely be using a hammer a lot on your bus conversion. We recommend procuring a hammer that can take a beating — one that is durable, and right for the job.

A Sensible Tape Measure

Tape measures are great and all, but that’s only if you can understand them; some are labeled with fractions that may seem foreign, or proportions that are hard to understand. And the last thing you’ll want to do during a bus conversion is solve math equations. So get a tape measure that works for you.

A Top-Notch Angle Grinder

We don’t think there’s any tool that you’ll need more than an angle grinder—this will be your go-to when you’re sawing off rusted bolts, and if you’re doing a conversion of an older bus, then you’ll be doing a lot of that. So you’ll want an angle grinder that you know will get the job done.

A One Size Fits All Utility Knife

Because you’re going to be cutting a lot. Having a utility knife with a retractable blade is a must for any school conversion, as you’ll need to carry it with you along the process. Just make sure it can cut well!

Safety Equipment

This might not be considered a ‘tool,’ but it’s important to be prepared with the proper safety equipment to protect yourself. We suggest gloves, safety glasses, and earplugs.

With these tools in hand, you’ll be ready to get started on that conversion. Get your new bus going today! If you have any questions, reach out to us at Northwest Bus Sales.

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.

How to Make Your Bus Stop a Better Place

Group of People Waiting for Bus at Bus Stop

We here at Northwest Bus Sales talk a lot about buses: why they’re eco-friendly and efficient; why they’re getting more attention from cities and organizations alike; and why they’re great for any group travel occasion.

However, what largely goes under the radar is where you get on and off the bus itself: the bus stop! And how that bus stop looks, and feels, can largely impact your overall bus experience.

Luckily, there are several bus stop pioneers out there who are rethinking what a bus stop means to its local community and how to improve them.

Here are a few examples of what they did to improve this vital transit space:

Link the Bus Stop to Bikes

We need to see our bus network as connected to other transit systems, whether it’s subway or light rail (if that’s available), private cars, or, most importantly, bikes. Many commuters use their bikes for what’s called the “last mile” — that ride home from the nearest bus stop, that is faster by wheel than foot. So make your bus stop respond to that: try to encourage neighbors to get behind the installation of a bike rack, which can invite bike riders to use the stop more often. And if you’re really feeling creative, add a bike repair stall, with an air valve for refueling included.

Make the Bus Stop an Inviting Space

For this step, take your inspiration from local parks and public spaces: why do you like to spend there? Is it the benches? The tables? Or the general welcoming atmosphere? Whatever you think it is, add it to your bus stop. Maybe install a bench or table, so people can enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation as they wait for their bus. Or maybe more greenery, so it’s not a drab blight on the community and offer a sweet spot to sit.

Incorporate a Unique Feature

This is one of our favorite ideas: if you’re waiting for the buses, why not have a book you can read? Like a dentist’s office, it always helps to have reading material around to pass the time. A number of bus stops nationwide now feature free libraries, where people take a book, and leave a book. It can also be donation-based. (Because we all know that we have some extra books lying around.) Why not allow others to enjoy them?

Whatever your inspiration is, improving your bus stop is a great community-building project, that will allow you to meet your neighbors, work collaboratively, and create a space that you all love.

At Northwest Bus Sales, Inc., we love hearing the different approaches to bus travel out there which is why we offer a diverse inventory of models. Contact us today for any questions or concerns you may have!

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!

Seattle Leading the Way with Increase in Transit Ridership

Seattle Leading the Way with Increase in Transit Ridership

When it comes to public transit, the city of Seattle is in a good place.

Recent studies have shown that the citizens of the city are utilizing public transport in record numbers. In 2017 alone, the Metro bus system transported a record 122.2 million riders, the Sound Transit Link light rail system carried a record 23.2 million riders, and 9.6 million passengers chose the Metro-operated Sound Transit Express service.

When it comes to these popular forms of transport, the people have made their voices heard, and the city has listened.

Per King County Executive, Dow Constantine: “People wanted more bus and light rail options, and we delivered. More service means more riders. From operators to transit planners and engineers, we are focusing our energy and resources to meet the demand, and we will deploy more bus service and other innovations on the streets this year and beyond, including more connections to light rail as we further expand the regional network.”

The city’s transportation services can only improve from here, and officials look forward to continued expansion. The new budget going into 2018 will include $30 million that will be attached to any crowding, reliability and service expansion needs.

In addition, this money will go towards an increase of 300,000 annual hours of bus service while also improving weekday all-day service to 10-minutes or better. The funds will also go towards encouraging youngsters to take public transit with the Youth ORCA Program that ORCA cards to teens that are income-eligible.

As far as the various other forms of mass transit are concerned, the numbers speak for themselves with the RapidRide A-F lines seeing an increase of 4.2 percent, light rail ridership up 22 percent over 2016, and 75 percent of morning commuters reporting that they now use trains, buses, bikes, and vanpools as their chosen route of travel each and every day.

Here at Northwest Bus Sales, we have been emphasizing the importance of public transportation for the past 27 years. We sell new and used school, shuttle and trolley buses for the many tour and charter markets in Seattle. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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.

Pittsburgh Leads Nation in Transit Ridership Numbers

Pittsburgh Leads Nation in Transit Ridership Numbers

While many U.S. cities find their public transportation systems in decline, Pittsburgh is one of the few cities bucking the trend, according to a recent article in urbanist publication, CityMetric. The Steel City’s public transit system is the 26th largest in the nation, and boasts a usage rate that is a staggering 92 percent above the national average.

How has Pittsburgh been able to accomplish this? CityMetric describes a number of combined efforts by Pittsburgh’s local government and port authority to be proactive in addressing, then remedying issues. The article posits that other major cities could benefit by taking Pittsburgh’s lead.

Pittsburgh has been fortunate in that it has not been as adversely affected by ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft as many other U.S. cities. But, even in instances where ride-sharing has cut into public transit ridership, Pittsburgh’s Port Authority has made efforts to co-exist with them.

One simple example of this is the installation of luggage racks on buses whose routes carry passengers to and from Pittsburgh International Airport, in an effort to entice riders who preferred ride-sharing to public transportation because they previously found it inconvenient to carry and store luggage on a bus.

Additionally, Pittsburgh’s Port Authority has developed a “bus-to-bike” program to create a more economical option to ride-sharing. Through this program, bus riders can opt to get off at an earlier stop and take a bike from the city’s bike share program for the rest of their ride, for no additional charge.

Pittsburgh’s commitment to not only remain vigilant regarding issues with public transportation, but to take swift and effective action to address them, is why it has excelled while many other cities are failing. Its success is currently in jeopardy due to budget cuts to Pittsburgh’s Port Authority, but, as the article concludes, the city’s proven ability to adapt and find solutions is likely to serve it and its many daily riders well through the challenges that lie ahead.

Northwest Bus Sales is committed to helping you find a solution to your transportation problem. Call us at 1-800-231-7099 to find out more about our fleet of passenger buses.