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.

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.

Famous Buses Throughout History

Famous Buses Throughout History

They’ve been in films, on television, and have become a memorable part of the American fabric. Buses are, without question, fixtures of modern Americana. Here we describe a few of the most famous buses in American history.

The Freedom Riders’ Bus

In defiance of the Jim Crow laws, and at a time when courage was necessary to quell unjustifiable acts of discrimination, a group of 13 students of different races traveled together on Trailways and Greyhound buses headed to New Orleans in 1960. At the time the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of desegregation, and although the Freedom Riders, as this group of nonviolent protestors came to be called, was met by adversity for their counteracts, they inspired hundreds of southern passengers to join their fight for human rights.

The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus was an educational children’s series of the 90s. At the steering wheel was the zany but brainy travel extraordinaire Ms. Frizzle, a red-headed teacher who led her students on adventures in a bright yellow blinky-eyed bus capable of transforming into everything from a rocket ship to an underwater fish.

The Partridge Family Bus

The creators of The Partridge Family made a novel proposal when they suggested that the family’s bus be painted in the style of Piet Mondrian rather than the traditional yellow. The iconic tour bus became an iconic novelty of the 70s, and one of the most memorable tour buses of its time as fans of the show got to watch every week as the musical pop act learned to balance suburban family life with the ups and downs of show business.

Are you interested in purchasing a new or used passenger bus? At Northwest Bus Sales, our customers come first. Give us a call at 1-800-231-7099 today to set up an appointment with us.

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.

Riding in Style: Buses Designed like Trains

Riding in Style: Buses Designed like Trains

Here’s good news: the number of passengers who use Amtrak train services in the state of Nevada has increased 19.9 percent from 2015. Here’s even better news for our industry: public bus transportation is still reigning king, with a 48 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled between 2000 and 2015, the largest upsurge in the nation.

This statistic added to our thought pool of imponderables: would these numbers climb even more if buses were designed like trains?

The idea has been done before. In the 1990s, architect Doug Suisman took a dig at the social stigma surrounding public transportation by introducing the Metro Rapid 720 to Los Angeles County. He redesigned the conventional look of public buses, giving the Metro Rapid a sleek red coat of paint, broadened windows, and wheel covers, almost to resemble that of a passenger train. His theory was that if he could clean up the cold, often boorish-look of buses, more people could picture themselves riding around in them. It didn’t take long before the Metro Rapid 720 became the first rapid transit bus system in Los Angeles, and the trendy mode of travel spread to places like the San Fernando Valley.

Even still with this transportation breakthrough, buses are still perceived to be a choice of necessity and not much more. But there are those few who still see a buses’ inner beauty, like fashion designer Trina Turk, who was quoted saying she could envision herself in a futuristic spaceship flying down the highway, like a bullet train off in space.  So how do you make a bus look cool? You make it a choice of social influencers, who normally travel by way of train or airplane. Red is eye-catching, but what about black with graphite black flooring and all-black seating? How about a less cramped floor plan so passengers can stretch their legs?

With a new millennial class eagerly making grandiose car purchases (these leads to overcrowding of roads and highways which will eventually lead to an increase in train and plane travel), now is as good a time as ever to “bite the bullet” sort-of-speak and hop on the bus-train trend. See what we’re talking about at Northwest Bus Sales, where you can design your very own bus with the help of our trusted technicians, or browse our fleet of mighty passenger machines today!

The “Skoolie” Trend in Bus Conversion America

The “Skoolie” Trend in Bus Conversion America

Mobile adventurers are putting their spin on an antiquated version of the American dream; they’re opting to live by way of school bus. This “skoolie” trend lifestyle is making its rounds through America, with couples and families purchasing used buses and converting them into tiny homes.

The tiny home aficionados over at Midwest Wanderers may have topped any decked-out school bus we’ve seen up to this point. Purchased for the pocket change sum of $4,000, the couple transformed an old school bus into a mini utopia, equipping it with a four-burner stove, skylights, and two beds.

Another couple from Arkansas transformed their 2001 Thomas HDX school bus into a solar-powered dream. They remodeled their bus with a composting toilet and 24-volt solar panels for eco-friendly measure. After decking out their mobile paradise, they hit the road on a cross-country tour. Their journey lead them to the dusty trails of Yellowstone, through New Mexico, Colorado, and into the warm and rocky landscape of Arizona.

But school bus living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to the people over at The FrugalRVer. The couple was thwarted by hefty campground fees, eventually paying $700 per month to squat, in addition to the insurance costs for converting their big rig. Most people end up paying $20,000-$30,000 to convert old clunkers into the mobile homes of their dreams. For many, the decision is life altering and well worth the investment, and for others it remains a half-attempted pipe dream.

Living in a school bus full-time might be a bit of a stretch for you, but maybe a road trip isn’t out of the question. Cheap, sturdy, and powerful, these big rigs make for perfect camper homes, and Northwest Bus Sales invites you to explore some of their picks.

Five Accounts Bus Geeks Should Follow on Instagram

Five Accounts Bus Geeks Should Follow on Instagram

Buses are cool, just ask any social media influencer on Instagram; they have both nostalgic and new wave appeal, lending the savvy users of Instagram some creative inspiration. Check out our list of five must-follow Instagram accounts for the autobus-loving geeks of the world.

 

LA Metro (@metrolosangeles):

LA Metro links everything from trolley rides through Venice to bus routes toward Dodger Stadium. Each backdrop is beautifully tinged with the colors of a Californian sunset.

SEPTA (@septaphilly):

This is the official Instagram account of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and they pride themselves on providing a glimpse into the shared travels of others. You’ll also get a glimpse of some stunning architecture, too.

Hauntrod (@hauntrod):

Brian Morris takes bus conversion to an entirely new (and ghostly) level. From 1938 dated Ford jail buses to dilapidated campers, the mechanic digs up the hauntingly beautiful from an ugly and forgotten world.

Chanchita Bus (@chanchitabus):

Known as “The Faction Collective,” this group of three friends chronicles their ultimate skiing excursion to Argentina. Jumping on the “skoolie” trend, they live inside their 1966 remodeled Mercedes Benz school bus as they make their way south.

Felicien Michaut Photography (@frenchcartoys): 

From his IPhone4S, this artistic French photographer aims to teach as he takes his collection of foreign-brand miniature models and places them in natural scenes, exemplifying the historical French heritage behind each vehicle. His collection includes vintage Parisian buses from 1934 on a 1/43 scale.

Get creative with your own vision: build your dream bus today with Northwest Bus Sales!

King County Metro Is Boosting Bus Service Dramatically

King County Metro Is Boosting Bus Service Dramatically

Recently, King County Metro officials announced that they would implement a single system-wide bus fare to make the bus routes in and around Seattle easier to navigate. Beginning in July 2018, all of the bus routes maintained by King County Metro will switch to a standard fare of $2.75. Then, just a few weeks after this announcement, metro officials unveiled plans for a significant expansion of King County’s bus service as well.

As of Saturday, September 23, King County Metro has added “hundreds of daily bus trips on dozens of routes across Seattle and the region,” according to The Seattle Times. This expansion includes improved late-night service from midnight to 5 a.m. on 13 routes throughout the county. Altogether, King County Metro has added more than 200 new bus trips during weekdays, and more than 100 on Saturdays and Sundays.

The bus service expansion was funded in large part thanks to the passage of Proposition 1, a tax increase which voters approved in 2014. King County Metro also chipped in an additional $30 million in funding from its two-year budget. Two more bus-service expansion are slated to occur between now and the end of 2018.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) estimates that 85 percent of the bus routes in Seattle with see improvements as a result of Metro’s expanded service. The service expansion should also result in decreased wait times at bus stops throughout the county. On some routes, wait times will be effectively cut in half. For commuters who rely on Metro’s buses to get to and from work, the expanded service is sure to be a welcome improvement.

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.