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High Capacity Buses

Melbourne / Victoria Transport Discussion

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High Capacity Buses

Postby revenue » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:48 am

I was just interested in views on high capacity buses - artics and double decker vehicles. We've got both running in Victoria and I was curious as to the thoughts that people have on them - both from an operator and a customer perspective. I understand that articulated buses are more expensive to maintain than double decker buses (the bendy bit requires more maintenance). Of course, double decker buses can normally use the bus stops we have now (in terms of length).

It's fascinating how articulated buses are used for a lot of school services (where buying one artic beats purchasing two standard buses) but not really used elsewhere apart from some Transdev services.

Just curious as to thoughts on this issue.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby MAN 16.242 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:23 pm

revenue wrote:
It's fascinating how articulated buses are used for a lot of school services (where buying one artic beats purchasing two standard buses) but not really used elsewhere apart from some Transdev services.
And then got Ventura 788 with 14.5m buses and now 1 Artic. Though 788 has loading problems it probably needs better frequency.

As for high capacity buses there our some bus routes that could find them useful at least in peak.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby Leyland B21 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:19 pm

I think personally route 788 should be double banked between Mcrae and Frankston in the peak. On the same token the loading on weekends are often full as well. Hardly a day goes by when my Twitter sends alerts that 788 is at capacity and not picking up until further notice.

Hence it needs urgently a frequency upgrade or a short working double bank

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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby Alstom 888M » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:51 pm

Both are more difficult to drive (in different ways) and require a higher class of license than a normal bus (MR vs HR) which can cause rostering issues. An operator with a high number of high capacity buses (such as Skybus) would possibly require all employees hold a HR license for employment. Transdev on the other hand has only 4 articulated buses all based at Doncaster which uses a permanent fixed roster anyway. How do other companies with a small number of articulated buses deal with this, especially where rotating rosters are used?
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby BroadGauge » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:42 pm

Artic/14.5m buses are a good match for route 788 being a long trunk route but it could definitely do with a more frequent service as well. Not surprising that a 45 to 75 minutely bus that's the only service at all for minimum 40,000 people on the southern peninsula gets overcrowded.

One nice place to ride an articulated bus in Melbourne is on the Sunbury town routes (specifically the 485, 486, 487, 488 & 489). There's two artics out doing rotations of the various runs in the afternoon peak and apart from the 15:55 trips which are full of school kids you'll rarely see a double digit number of passengers on those routes.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby revenue » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:52 am

It's an interesting problem - people see articulated buses running around with very few people on them during the day and think it's a waste of money - not realizing that if that bus was used on a really busy school run then the cost of an additional bus and driver has been saved during peak. It's an interesting problem to try and counter from a customer perception perspective.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby matthew » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:40 pm

revenue wrote:I was just interested in views on high capacity buses - artics and double decker vehicles. We've got both running in Victoria and I was curious as to the thoughts that people have on them - both from an operator and a customer perspective. I understand that articulated buses are more expensive to maintain than double decker buses (the bendy bit requires more maintenance). Of course, double decker buses can normally use the bus stops we have now (in terms of length).

It's fascinating how articulated buses are used for a lot of school services (where buying one artic beats purchasing two standard buses) but not really used elsewhere apart from some Transdev services.

Just curious as to thoughts on this issue.


Why not just google it? - http://publictransport.about.com/od/Tra ... decker.htm

As a customer point view-
Double decker
adavantaces

-Better view out side the bus
-If travel on 2nd level of the bus - do not have give up seat to anyone

-Disavantaces

-Longer times at bus stops (wating for people to get off at bus stops from 2nd level)
- Can't be use on bus routes that go under low bridges (For example Queens pde Clifton Hill)
- stairs
- cost of bus and (most likely bus route will have less frequent service other wise if just a normal bus)

articulated buses

adavantaces
- all seats on same level
- faster loading and unloading of bus passengers
- can travel where double decker buses can't travel

-Disavantaces

- Longer walk to get to a seat
- cost of bus and (most likely bus route will have less frequent service other wise if just a normal bus)

---Single Buses
adavantaces
- all seats on same level
- faster loading and unloading of bus passengers
- bus company can buy more buses - means better frequqnent services
-can travel to move places that Articulated Or Double-decker bus can't go

-Disavantaces

- less capactiy then Articulated Or Double-decker bus




-- Car travel
adavantaces

-No wating for a bus
- no need for timetables
- can go where you want to go and at any time.
- 100% chance of get a seat
- Have a goverment body that listern to the commuity feedback
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby BroadGauge » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:09 pm

matthew wrote:-Disavantaces

- Longer walk to get to a seat

If having to walk for 6 metres is an issue for you, then I think you need to get help! :lol:
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby tonyp » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:49 pm

Double deckers aren't high-capacity buses, their total carrying capacity is not much greater than a 12 metre rigid bus. They're high seating capacity buses good for longer suburban runs, as long as passenger turnover isn't too high along the route, then they are slowed down by their longer dwell times.

Articulated buses are high-capacity buses with good turnover capability provided they have enough doors - at least three. They have much more standing capacity and less seating capacity. Artics generally carry up to about 110-120 passengers in Australia and up to 150 or more in Europe. They've basically superceded the old 15 metre rigid trams (like the Melbourne A and Z) in capacity.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby Centralian » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:50 pm

revenue wrote:It's an interesting problem - people see articulated buses running around with very few people on them during the day and think it's a waste of money - not realizing that if that bus was used on a really busy school run then the cost of an additional bus and driver has been saved during peak. It's an interesting problem to try and counter from a customer perception perspective.


Stick AOA over the windows and no one outside will see the passenger load inside. :)
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby revenue » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:20 pm

There's plenty of stuff online, that's true. But it's always interesting to see the Melbourne perspective. This isn't a new question - but it is relatively new for Melbourne and seeing attitudes and perceptions to these higher capacity vehicles is really interesting. Melbourne's tram network has meant that there hasn't been as big a focus on high capacity buses here as there has been in other cities. Certainly, the entry into the market of larger operators who have experience with these buses in other cities seems to be one of the things that is driving experimentation with them. I hadn't fully appreciated that difference license requirements for drivers would be an issue - presumably in other states they just train all the drivers on the artics? (given they will have a lot more of them at some depots).
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby Frosty » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:42 pm

Thinking of High Capacity Buses. I would look into them once you get bus frequencies that are in the 5-10 min range then I would consider introducing HCBs. Or like one off type things such as school runs.

I'm thinking 14.5m buses can carry about 90 passengers. I find 14.5m buses are better for longer distances as it costs more to maintain 18m bendy for example servicing two AC units and the turntable unlike a 14.5m bus.

If we're talking about long distance routes like the 788. Of my knowledge I can think of similar routes in Sydney like the 190/L90 and 610/610X Rouse Hill buses. But the main difference is 788 has significantly less services.

There is an issue when having a such small fleet of 14.5m buses or 18m bendies in the case of Transdev and Ventura. Its not ideal for rostering also probably the operator would be reluctant to send those buses on weekends.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby krustyklo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:15 pm

This isn't a new question - but it is relatively new for Melbourne and seeing attitudes and perceptions to these higher capacity vehicles is really interesting.

It's not even that new for Melbourne - the Fuji articulated buses were around from around the mid 80s with both the Met, Grendas and other operators (Invicta, Davis and Sunbury all linked from this thread from 2009 : http://www.busaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=43938). The buses operated out of Doncaster, same as the newer artics do now, mostly on freeway routes.

As for pros and cons, I would speculate that as long as a bus turns up when the timetable says it should, then I don't know that intending passengers care if it is a standard low floor bus, a 14.5m low floor bus, or an articulated low floor bus, apart from the greater possibility of a seat at busy times of day. The double decker would be more interesting, but otherwise fairly restrictive from an operations point of view as noted above. I also wonder whether it would be more financially feasible to operate an extra bus despite the extra cost - would the extra bus be profitable over and above the extra cost of running it? In peak hour if there is latent demand from people losing interest in standing on a crowded bus, or not even being able to board at all and having to wait x minutes for the next one, and therefore finding other means of travel then maybe the answer is stop fiddling with a small fleet of odd bus sizes (that cost extra to maintain from being a non-standard fleet - an argument often used to justify running a near empty normal bus in lieu of providing smaller capacity buses) and provide the extra bus. Indeed, as noted elsewhere on the board at present, despite the higher capacity buses used on the 788 in peak hour, the buses are currently full and not picking up passengers. Frankly that is ludicrous given the poor frequency to start with, and higher capacity buses in that case are definitely not going to help compared to running extra services to cater for the demand, which may facilitate more patronage in itself from providing a better more usable service.

I used to love riding on the seats on the articulation on the Fuji as a novelty when much younger. Nowadays I'd just rather the bus came sooner from running more frequently to match the demand.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby revenue » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:30 am

I heard the other day that at one stage there was a bi-articulated bus that was trialed, tested or exhibited in Sydney at one stage. Does anyone know anything about that? I haven't been able to track down further information on it.

I know that some people have commented about the restrictions on double deck operations, but my understanding is that they're probably less restricted than articulated buses due to bus stop infrastructure on some routes. So there are pros/cons for each type depending on the route served and the length of the infrastructure on the route. Until seven years ago we didn't have a lot of experience keeping particularly vehicles on particular routes in Melbourne but with the 401, 601, etc. then that seems to have been overcome.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby tonyp » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:16 am

revenue wrote:I heard the other day that at one stage there was a bi-articulated bus that was trialed, tested or exhibited in Sydney at one stage. Does anyone know anything about that? I haven't been able to track down further information on it.

I know that some people have commented about the restrictions on double deck operations, but my understanding is that they're probably less restricted than articulated buses due to bus stop infrastructure on some routes. So there are pros/cons for each type depending on the route served and the length of the infrastructure on the route. Until seven years ago we didn't have a lot of experience keeping particularly vehicles on particular routes in Melbourne but with the 401, 601, etc. then that seems to have been overcome.

I don't think a demonstrator bi-artic ever came to Australia. The bus people in Sydney have been grappling with the capacity issue ever since they got rid of the trams and the bi-artic concept got a brief airing as part of some BRT fanatasy but I think the RMS (roads authority) hit it on the head for various legalistic reasons.

You already have about 180 (?) articulated "buses" in Melbourne. They're called Z and A class trams. (And then the capacity goes even higher through the Bs, Cs, Ds and Es.) As you said previously iirc, you have a tram system doing the heavy work which means you don't need nearly as many heavy-duty buses as other cities without trams. It would really only be for those corridors that don't have a rail or tram alternative.

Articulated buses are the heavy-duty vehicle of the bus world, suitable for all work but particularly for work with high passenger-turnover (involving stopping and passenger exchange) and where you need to carry a lot of standees. Double deckers are quite unsuited for this sort of work, they're better for long-distance work with less requirement to exchange passengers regularly. They're not a high-capacity bus, they just have lots of seats. They don't carry any more than a 14.5 metre and barely more than a properly designed 12 metre.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby krustyklo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:04 pm

Until seven years ago we didn't have a lot of experience keeping particularly vehicles on particular routes in Melbourne but with the 401, 601, etc. then that seems to have been overcome.

Sita excepted apparently. And didn't Tullamarine have a similar policy until relatively recently? I'd include Smartbus from 2002 (gosh has Smartbus been around for 15 years now!), but I'd guess they are the etc. At least until Transdev took over... :wink:
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby Hamish Curnow » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:42 am

revenue wrote: It's fascinating how articulated buses are used for a lot of school services (where buying one artic beats purchasing two standard buses) but not really used elsewhere apart from some Transdev services.

Just curious as to thoughts on this issue.


I know that there are definitely a few ventura artic buses running routes such as the 670 and the 679 around Ringwood. Have seen a lot of them on school buses like you said but have seen lots on these two routes. Mostly #730-735.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby DENAIR » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:40 pm

the one thing not mentioned so far is that Melbourne has too many low Bridges to run an efficient network of double deckers , and secondly if more artics were to be deployed then the infrastructure need to be in place for this to occur , eg Middle Brighton an artic often arrives when my 703 is in the stop and that bus cannot pull into the kerb to load and unload in a safe manner and this is indicative with nearly all the stops the artics use in Melbourne
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby BluDART » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:44 pm

There is a case for high capacity buses in Melbourne but applied to specific routes where the demand warrants(eg excessive loading levels or need to move large volumes) and can be used in both peak and inter-peak periods. Obviously routes need to be matched with the right type of vehicle(14.5m/artic/DD).

Looking at the uni express routes, both the 401 and 601 are more than viable to have artics introduced immediately to supplant/replace some or all of the existing rigids in service due to the large volumes particularly peak. Although there are probably depot space issues to think about for the 601. Artic buses for uni express probably need to be specified with less seating considering the short route lengths for both.

Route 906 would probably be the best candidate for the introduction of double deckers into a mainstream high capacity service( I do realise there is route 190 but that's a suburban route connector), as the route has a need for more seats than standing space. However there are impediments such as many over hanging trees along the route(particularly in the CBD) and height issues whereby the DD bus could strike Belford Rd whilst using the freeway bus/emerg. lanes or pedestrian overpasses and maybe even tram wires?.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby revenue » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:19 pm

It's interesting that Brisbane is moving to implement bi-articulated buses. While these will predominately be used for busway services, they may have potential in Melbourne for routes like 401 and 601, or eastern freeway express services where only a limited number of stops would be required to be modified.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby krustyklo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:32 pm

It's interesting that Brisbane is moving to implement bi-articulated buses. While these will predominately be used for busway services, they may have potential in Melbourne for routes like 401 and 601, or eastern freeway express services where only a limited number of stops would be required to be modified.

It seems a bit over the top TBH. I guess in the case of Brisbane, given the popularity of the busways, it may be worth moving from a standard bus to a very high capacity bus. However, I get the impression from the article and video that said bi-articulated buses will not leave the busway in route service. In which case, I gather the busway was designed and built to allow economically feasible conversion to a light rail - are they just trying to avoid this? For a billion dollars, one wonders whether it is ultimately a false economy to save the supposed $500 million with a unique vehicle that can't operate off the busway and may provide less capacity that may be used up in a short period of time anyway?

In the Melbourne case, I would suspect the issues with bi-articulated buses would be more significant than Brisbane given they would operate entirely on normal roads and need to be accredited as such with specially trained drivers. I also wonder what category such vehicles would fit into for licensing purposes, although I guess a Multi-Combination license may well be OK to include these sorts of vehicles. It should be noted MC vehicles operate on limited routes, although I'm not sure which of these categories a bi-articulated bus would fall: https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/business-and-industry/heavy-vehicle-industry/heavy-vehicle-map-networks-in-victoria. Assuming the least restrictive comparison with a B-double, the 601 would be fine with additional approval of the turn arounds at Huntingdale and Monash Uni, the 401 would require much more work for approval.

Also in the Melbourne case, would the 401 and 601 need to jump from a standard bus to a bi-articulated bus, or would it make more sense to run all services with articulated buses? I suspect double deckers would be ruled out from the point of view of loading and unloading being much less efficient, as per the London example where the articulated buses loaded and unloaded more efficiently than the New Routemasters, especially once the latter had the rear platform closed with the elimination of conductors (yet again).

As for the Eastern Freeway services, given articulated buses currently operate, would it make more sense to standardise on an articulated fleet given the current operations support for this mode of operation? I suspect that introducing yet another tier of bus capacity would be more expensive than either running more peak hour services as articulated buses, or merely adding more standard buses and increasing the frequency. The Eastern Freeway is not yet at Brisbane busway level of service intensity and it could be argued that it would be cheaper to introduce more of a currently operated and supported vehicle than yet another unique vehicle type with unique needs and costs. Transdev currently have 4 articulated vehicles, how many Fujis did Doncaster Depot operate back in the 80s? http://fleetlists.busaustralia.com/vic.php?search=MEA suggests 8, serving a smaller population. The other thing to consider is we are really only considering peak hour capacity, outside this there would be enough buses to increase off peak services within the existing fleet if needed.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby burrumbus » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:11 pm

8 Fuji artics is correct krustyklo.Some of our MMTB experts may know more about their utilsation,but generally ,I think one school run and one peak hour trip each AM and PM peak.
I think outside of peak hour standard buses can easily handle the Doncaster area services.The issue really is the extra expense involved in purchasing and maintaining an artic justified by the low utilisation of heavy demand on one ,maybe two peak hour trips each am and pm peak.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby MAN 16.242 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:24 pm

burrumbus wrote:I think outside of peak hour standard buses can easily handle the Doncaster area services.The issue really is the extra expense involved in purchasing and maintaining an artic justified by the low utilisation of heavy demand on one ,maybe two peak hour trips each am and pm peak.
The 4 Artics at Doncaster are now used on weekends too on 905/7/8. They help on 907 which gets heavy loads.
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby krustyklo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:26 pm

I'm certain I used Fuji artics on the 264 (Donvale via Freeway) outside peak hour. Otherwise, I suspect you are largely correct burrumbus. My concern in this discussion of using high capacity buses is they are a more expensive option than a couple of extra peak hour runs in a standard bus that at least has the flexibility to be used anywhere as a maintenance spare outside peak hour. Which for a certain bus company seemingly unable to provide enough buses due at least in part to maintenance issues may be a consideration...
(Not grumpy at cancelled route 293 services without notice at all... :evil: )
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Re: High Capacity Buses

Postby krustyklo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:28 pm

The 4 Artics at Doncaster are now used on weekends too on 905/7/8. They help on 907 which gets heavy loads.

Is this even allowing for the recent increases from 30 to 20 minutes on weekends? Good to hear if so, but not surprising given the increased housing density along the route.
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