Saturday, November 24, 2007

NEW HYBRID BUSES

I've been driving the new hybrid buses lately. Overall, I like them. They have a couple drawbacks but the good features override the bad.

My first complaint was that there was no "peanut seat". That is the seat next to the front door where the people that like to sit and chat with the driver always sit. There is a big wheel well there now because they are low floor buses...no steps to walk up to get on. I was feeling sorry for myself one day because I really had no one to chat with all day. Then on my last trip a guy got on on my layover. He was really annoying. To me, the layover is a chance to have a few minutes to myself and I sometimes need that. This guy got on, dressed like a nut, and I tried to read the paper and ignore him. He kept babbling about stupid stuff and expected a response. I was getting irritated because I wanted to read a couple articles before it was time to go. He went on and on so I gave up and spoke with him. After I got on my route, he just kept going. Babbling on from the area behind the wheel well which is a good 5-6 feet away. I greeted passengers and called my streets as I tried to ignore him. Then I realized... God was showing his sense of humor.
Here I was mentally whining to myself all day about not having someone to talk to and he sent this guy for me to see how that could be a GOOD thing!

I am predicting a double digit increase in fall down accidents on these new hybrids. When you put your foot on the gas... it actually takes off. It's quite a bit faster than the old buses. This can actually slow you down as you wait for the older or less mobile people to get a seat before you take off.

The back door is my other pet peeve. It seems to take twice as long to close. If you take your foot off the brake before the door closes, you have to reapply the brake and release it for the bus to go. It's something to get used to.

My last gripe, OK actually there are two. We need the little round convex mirror put onto the drivers side mirror...easy enough. The not-so-easy fix is the lack of room for stuff by the drivers left elbow on the ledge. It is full of switches and stuff. In the old buses, you can string a couple rubber bands around and make a space to hold things. I have a zippered pouch that I keep things I may need quickly...pens,Kleenex, forms for someone that overpays, papers that explain the stroller policy and the papers that state that proper ID is REQUIRED for mobility fares ( I use that one quite a bit). I'm still figuring out a fix for that one.

On the good side, they have 90% ...that's NINETY PERCENT!!!....less emissions. They are quieter. The passenger side mirror is electric. They are new, so they still smell good. They have the flat cushion graffiti resistant seats. I like the flat cushions so kids can't cut them open and mess with the stuffing. The passengers prefer the cushioned seats but the flat ones are just more cost effective...less damage to fix. It does kind of make me laugh that they consider them graffiti resistant. True, the seats have a wild design on them that makes kids less likely to put their tag on them, but if you stand in the back of the bus and look forward you see all the backs of the seats that are plain grey...perfect for graffiti. Guess you can't win them all.

The hybrids also have more and better cameras. There are 5 cameras and they are digital. They cover areas of the bus the others didn't. That should be very helpful.

Another bonus is the fold out lift for wheelchairs, walkers or whoever needs it. It is quicker and if it breaks, you can fold it out manually. That's a big plus. No more waiting for mechanics to fix your lift while some poor soul is stuck on it or in the bus.

The ride is much smoother and the buses are neat looking. There are less seats, but that is usually only a problem during rush hour...at least on the routes I drive.

For those of you that are local, check them out! Park your car and do yourself and the environment a favor... GO HYBRID!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hybrid bus is a joke.
The lighting and seating is poor.


Cheers,

Red

8:03 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

The lighting is done like that on purpose. In the dark, the row of aisle lights on the curb side is not lit in order to avoid the reflection in the windshield. That makes it easier for the driver to see people waiting for the bus and not get into accidents. Personally, I think it is very helpful, but I think they could leave the light from mid-bus to the back on. These don't reflect in the windshield anyway.

There is less seating, but that only seems to be a problem during rush hour. That's a small price to pay to save from our relying on other countries for fuel and to cut back on the emissions into the environment by 90%.

Thanks for your thoughts.

1:18 PM  
Blogger AmityF said...

Quick question (found your blog via bustales--love it)

How much less seating is there. I tried counting, but couldn't quite tell).

9:24 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

I'd have to count...I don't remember off hand. If I had to guess, I'd guess it would be in the area of 6 fewer seats on a hybrid. Now you got ME wondering. I'll have to check it out and get back to you.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again!

12:24 PM  

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