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CMBC wants your thoughts on bus service for an international comparison survey

One of CMBC's many trolleys!

One of CMBC's many trolleys!

So Coast Mountain Bus Company, our subsidiary providing bus service in Metro Vancouver, is also a member of the prestigious International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG), a forum for medium and large bus organizations to share experiences and learn from each other.

Every year, IBBG asks its members to present an identical survey to its customers, so they can compare the results and see how the different agencies can improve.

If you’d like to participate, click here to go to CMBC’s website, and a popup will ask you to take the survey on bus service! The survey will be open from April 12 to May 9, and I’m told we will share the results of the CMBC survey once it is finished, although they can’t share the results from the other companies.

Here’s a bit of the survey’s opening message for some insight:

Coast Mountain Bus Company, which delivers all of the regular bus service in Metro Vancouver, would like to hear your thoughts about the service they provide.

Are the buses usually on time? Is it easy to find the best route for your journey, is it easy to buy a ticket for your journey? Are the buses clean, comfortable and well-driven?

Your opinions are important whether you use the buses frequently, occasionally, or even if you hardly ever use the bus service.

Eleven world cities are conducting this survey at the same time, so that they can find out what their passengers think of the service they provide. These cities will compare the results of the surveys, so that they can learn from each other and work towards giving you an even better service.

The results of website studies conducted in this manner represent the opinions of people who care enough about local bus service to take the survey.

If you’re curious, the IBBG consists of transit companies from Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London (UK), Madrid, New York City, Montreal, Paris, Milan and Sydney. It’s managed by the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre, a highly-regarded transport research centre at Imperial College London.


55 Comments

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    After answering all the questions of the survey is there a place where we can add additional comments about service?

  • By Andrew S, April 13, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    As far as I can see, feel free to put your comments here! :)

    Done the survey, but the question about buses being a quiet ride? Definitely not if you sit in the back… hahaha =P

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 13, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    You can feel free to put your comments here, but I will check with CMBC to see if they have an official place to send further feedback.

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 10:11 am

    Did the survey but the question about buses being well lit? Definitely not when riding at night or early in the morning when it is still dark. I ride the bus at 5 in the morning five days a week to go to school and request that the interior lights be turned on so I could study and the drivers say they can’t which I think doesn’t make sense, as I see lots of buses at night and early in the morning where all the interior lights are turned on.

    Why can’t the interior lights be turned on?

    What I don’t get is why are the interior lights in the buses turned on in the morning when they are not needed? (waste of energy, which also means more fuel consumpsion), and turned off at night when they are really needed?

  • By Bob Dobolina, April 13, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    Hey Ric….have you ever been in a well lit room at night, trying to see something outside? Has the interior reflection ever interfered with that? Well that’s what’s going on with buses not turning their lights on when it’s dark outside. If it’s dark out, and those crazy white lights are turned on, the bus driver can’t see out the front window. This is also why you see pointed, individually controlled lights on Greyhound buses; so they only light your book, and not the whole interior of the bus (thus making driving unsafe).

    Aren’t there some laws in some provinces that state that it is illegal to have the car’s interior light on while driving at night?

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 11:02 am

    Bob Dobolina, have you ever taken the bus at night? I sure do and buses that do have the interior lights turned on the interior lights are in fact BLUE and not white. Aren’t the lights blue for the problems you mentioned so that I drivers can turn them on without causing any problems?

    I have also been on lots of Grayhound and tour buses at night and the drivers do in fact turn on the interior lights at night.

    Yes, I have been in well lit rooms at night and tried to look outside. I can totally see outside clearly without any interference from the reflection.

    BC in fact does not state it is illegal to drive with the interior lights on at night for commercial vehicles. In BC, this law only only applies to passenger cars. Doesn’t a bus count as a commercial vehicle?

  • By zack, April 13, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    During my days in Toronto, whenever I rode at night, all of their buses were well lit. Here in Vancouver, not a single bus has lights on the front row except for the back. For security reasons I always go to the back of the bus, it feels much safer in the back. So it would be nice if the CMBC add lights on the front row off all buses. Low-energy bulbs wouldn’t be bad either. :)

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    Zack, The buses here do in fact have lights in the front row. They just are never turned on. Next time you ride the bus at night pay attention to the front and you will notice that the very first light in the front row turns on each time the front door opens and turns off once the door closes, just like the interior lights on a car. The lights are however, Blue which is why you probably don’t notice it because they are not very bright. The light at the very back is however, white which is probably why it is more noticeable because it is brighter.

    If I am not mistaken the lights at the back of the bus are what they call emergency lights and are on all the time for safety reasons, even if the bus is not running (ignition turned off, it is still on) The only time the lights at the back go off is if the battery is disconnected or if the bulb burns out.

    BTW, the buses are already using low energy lighting systems. All buses from the Flyer trollies on and up to and including 2006 have fluorescent lights. The 2009 Nova buses however, have LED lighting.

  • By zack, April 13, 2010 @ 11:40 am

    @Ric, Whooops!!! I realize that I just forgot to mention it in my post, can’t wait for the editing tool. :)

  • By zack, April 13, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    Edit: What I meant was would be nice if the lights on the front row were kept on.

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    Zack, if I remember correctly, all the lights on the orion highway coaches are always turned on at night.

  • By peter b, April 13, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    that was weird… did the survey — clicked [DONE], and a new browser window popped up asking me to take the survey (again)… using chrome browser.

  • By ben K, April 13, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    Peter B: I just did the survey, and I saw something similar (perhaps this is what you’re referring to). Once complete, the survey redirected me to coastmountainbus.com, which slapped up a request to take the survey (presumably without any knowledge that there is whence I just came). I suspect it’s a design oversight in the implementation.

    -b

  • By Andrew S, April 13, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    As for the lights, I noticed some buses don’t have any blue lights at all, and some have blue lights all the way of the lower floor section then changes to white at the rear section of the bus.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 13, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    Just a quick update: CMBC doesn’t have another outlet for further comments besides our Customer Relations form. You can feel free to post here if you have follow ups.

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

    Andrew, In terms of the blue lights on buses, all conventional buses have 5 lights on either side of the bus. The first 3 lights are blue while the 2 closer to the back are white. On articulated buses the lights are blue all the way up to just before the articulated joint, then changes to white starting at the articulated joint.

    In terms of buses that lack blue lights, the blue lights are created by blue cellophane wrap wrapped around the fluorescent tube and not by a lbue bulb. Over time, the heat eventually fades away the colour on the cellophane wrap and eventually the bulbs emits white light again. This is the reason why some of the blue lights are a darker blue than the others. The cellophane wrap is replaced each time the fluorescent tube is replaced. This is done to eliminate the colour loss problem, but the colour usually fades before the fluorescent tube burns out.

    However, the community shuttles and orion highway coaches do not have any blue lights at all. Community shuttles are the mini buses and have a “C” in the route number. Orion highway coaches are the yellow buses that have only one door.

  • By Sean (CMBC), April 13, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

    Re; Interior Lights… For the most part, the rear set of interior lights are always on, and then the driver can either add the lights about halfway back, or all of the lights… Many have half the lights on, say above the rear doors and also the ones at the back.. Most don’t drive with all on at night because of the glare… All lights are white, with many buses adding a blue plastic over the lights closer to the front… NOT ALL BUSES have this blue cover…
    The highway Orions are a little different… The individual reading lights should aways work… The main “dome” lights are almost always turned off because they are too bright… I’ve actually driven early morning trips with the lights on, and get asked numerous times to turn them off so that they can sleep!
    I don’t do alot of Highway work anymore, but when I do, as part of the pre-trip, I turn on all of those individual lights, and after doing one trip, discover 90% have been turned off because the majority of riders DON’T want them turned on!
    If it is dark AND raining, or foggy, the glare can be extra bad for the driver…
    If NONE of the interior lights are on, then you should make a note of the bus number and make a call or email the company…

  • By Ric, April 13, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

    Sean, why are the rear set of lights always on? I have noticed that the rear set of lights are on even if the operator shuts off the engine. When the engine is turned off all the interior lights, except for the rear set goes out and comes back on when the operator starts the engine again.

    Why do all the interior lights even the rear set goes out when the bus is backing up?

    I have noticed that the first set of interior lights turn on each time the front door opens and turns off once the door closes, I would assume this is for safety reasons, so passengers boarding can see where they are going. However, isn’t this a lot of work for the drivers to turn the lights on each time they open the door and off each time they close the door?

    One thing that I don’t understand, Why do the community shuttles have all the interior lights on at night?

    I have also been on highway orions at night numerous times where ALL the main “dome” lights were turned on. I have also been on a highway orion once where NONE of the individual reading lights worked.

    What should I do next time I see this?

    If NONE of the interior lights work what will making a note of the bus number and calling the company do?

  • By Sean (CMBC), April 13, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    Drivers do not control the individual reading lights, nor the lights that come on when the front door is open, and then turn off like 8 seconds after the door is closed… Those front row lights are programmed with the door control arm I guess… The driver is not turning them on and turning them off himself, just with the motion of using the door control arm…
    If any of those lights are NOT working, and you do want them to get fixed, then COMPLAIN to the company, and they should generate a report that will get sent to maintenance…
    I don’t know much about Community Shuttle…
    As for the lights turning OFF when backing up, I guess the bus is programmed to do just that..

  • By ;-), April 13, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    OK I too just completed the survey and got prompted to enter it again.

    With regards to interior lighting in the front…. I think the current arrangement is best, especially for older drivers to preserve their “night vision”. Vancouver roads are challenging enough and removing glare is a great safety strategy. If you want to read, go to the back of the bus…. leave the front empty for people who want to sleep. Besides those front seats are “courtesy seats” anyways.

    Personally, my pet peeve is accessibility…. that is trying to exit the bus by the rear doors when idiots think it’s their private area and stand there all day chatting with their backpacks. No wonder buses can’t stay on schedule as students block the exit ways for commuters who can’t get off the bus, especially for those who don’t want to go back to school. In Victoria, I notice they put safety straps to discourage people from standing by the doors. The McKay paddle would be great to stop the bus from leaving until the idiots move from there.

    I chuckled once when a guy got on the bus complaining of people standing at the exit way, then felt it was the best place for him to stay until he got to his destination.

    Finally I think the recorded “please move to the back of the bus” should be translated in the 7 most common languages. It’s amazing how many ethnic seniors stand by the narrow front wheels oblivious to the drivers requests.

  • By -.-, April 13, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    Something to be better might to have WiFi on the bus. It’s not very costly, but people would be very happy. I think the buses should be using LED lights as they don’t get hot and last a lot longer. It also wouldn’t be too bad to put some reading lights on other buses too.

  • By David M, April 13, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

    Lights on or off at night

    Newer buses have “night lighting” options, which provide one or two lights in a way not to interfere with the drivers vision.

    Keep in mind that most roads the buses are travelling on are not well lit, and any light inside the bus will make the driver’s vision worse. It needs to be dark near the front for the driver. Bad weather and rain make it even worse.

    If you ride a bus in a well lit city, like Edmonton, Toronto, Calgary and the City of Vancouver, the buses lights will be on.

    In Metro Vancouver, buses must have their interior lights on inside the Vancouver city limits, but the drivers can switch them off when leaving the City – hence the lights go off on Hwy 99 at Oak street Bridge, or on Marine Drive to UBC, etc. This old rule recognised the lack of lighting outside the City of Vancouver.

    The same occurs in greater Victoria. The double-deck buses there have reading lights. Other have a safety light near the rear doors. All have exit lights that operate when the doors open.

    In BC, transit buses operate on remote roads with no lights – something that does not happen in Edmonton, Calgary or many eastern cities. It’s a BC thing, but for a good reason – driver visibility and ultimately the safety of passengers.

  • By Cliff, April 13, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

    David brings up a good point. It’s important to see this from a bigger point of view. There should be several factors of varying importance that dictates how the lighting on a given bus is adjusted.

    1. Driver comfort level.

    Simply put, can the driver perform his/her job safely with the lights on? Dimmed? Off? The driver should always have an override switch to control the lighting to levels he feels is required to the continued safety of his passengers.

    2. Outside environment.

    Timing can be an issue. Lights are not needed during the day. In tunnels, they can certainly be useful. There’s only two places I can come up with where lighting might be desired during all times of the day. George Massey Tunnel and Lonsdale Quay.

    3. Passenger controls.

    Select buses have small directed lights for the comfort of passengers on long haul suburban bus routes. These don’t appear to affect the driver and are great for passenger comfort.

    4. Passenger safety

    Does indoor lighting promote a safer atmosphere or is it a matter of personal preference? Maybe both. In a dark secluded location, lights are imperative for addressing security concerns, but this is a bus. Is it needed? If it is, how can it be adjusted to please most?

    5. Location

    Location matters big time. You’re less likely to run into a security situation on Vancouver’s west side as you would be in Whalley. There’s exceptions, obviously, but statistics speak for themselves. In high risk areas, the lights probably should be kept on as much as possible with respect to the driver’s preferences.

  • By Brandon (CMBC), April 14, 2010 @ 12:03 am

    I try to keep as many lights on as I can for my passengers, but when they interfere with my vision at night, I turn them to the safest lowest setting (only the rear lights on). The light settings also depend on the type of bus. The trolleys are as is, meaning there is no option for the driver to modify the lighting. As far as I know, all other buses have various settings for the lights, including off which just leaves the rear lights on. There are times where I have no choice but to turn the lights to the lowest setting, like on Marine Drive out to UBC at night where there are no street lights between 41st and about Westbrook Mall.

    As for the glare issue, the windshields on our buses are mostly flat which seems to create more glare and when the floor is wet, the glare becomes much worse.

  • By Cliff, April 14, 2010 @ 11:34 am

    During a recent bus ride, someone became injured. When I asked the driver for a first aid kit, he told me he wasn’t allowed to carry them. (The injury (not mine) was relatively minor, but the supplies in a first aid kit would have allowed me to clean the person’s wound and reduce the swelling).

    If liability is a concern, the good Samaritan act protects those rendering assistance, even the bus driver! As far as I know, a driver does not even need to be trained just to have the kit on board. I can think of no good reason to not have these kits on buses. Just a basic level one kit would have been extremely useful at the time.

    I’d say based on what happened, that definitely has an effect on my perception of safety on the bus.

  • By ???, April 14, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

    The situation of liability is a sensitive one, but is the new reality.

    In one of my offices you can’t even find a band-aid for a paper cut. I bring my own and ointment in the desk. People today have all sorts of allergies, so any pain killers are a no-no, you can track some down at a grocery or gas station.

    If it’s serious, call 911 and get a professional. I hate to tie up their time, so I’m getting real good at tracking down neighbourhood clinics for the walking wounded.

  • By zack, April 14, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Cliff: I encountered the same experience yesterday. A lady just entered the 329 bus, when suddenly she slipped and fell very hard. The woman seemed to be in great pain, yet the driver continued on his journey.

    The bus I was riding on was an 06 New Flyer D40LFR, and most of the time these buses either go too fast or brake too hard. I myself nearly tripped and fell when I was on one of these buses. Will the CMBC check these buses for any possible defects?

  • By Cliff, April 14, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    *The incident in question took place on West Vancouver Blue Bus. I’m assuming that this policy extends to CMBC as well, though I could be wrong.*

    The good Samaritan act protects those rendering aid. It’s not rocket science. Liability is a non-issue. Short of abandoning anyone you decide to render aid to, you’d really have to be trying to activate the gross negligence clause of the act. Running and getting help (Paramedic, doctor, nurse, etc…) is not abandonment either!

    It seems like this is more a cost issue. First aid kits cost money. They cost money to maintain too. Liability can’t be the issue here. If it is, then West Vancouver Blue Bus must be badly misinformed.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 14, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    Popup woes:

    Yes, as Ben K suggested, you guys are seeing a popup because you get redirected to the CMBC site at the end of the survey, and the site doesn’t know that you’ve already taken the survey. So I’ve changed the link to point to CMBC’s site now, and you can access the survey through the popup. You shouldn’t see a popup afterwards now!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 14, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

    Cliff et al:
    I’ll pass your thoughts about the first aid kit/liability along to CMBC. I’ll see if there is a response for you!

  • By Andrew S, April 14, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

    It occurs to me that the buses with the new “Altro-Transfloor ‘sandpaper’ floor” seem to get very slippery when they are wet. This applies to all the 2005 and newer conventional, articulated, and trolley buses. Don’t know about the highway coaches =P. The older buses with the black rubber floors aren’t so slippery when they’re wet.

  • By ..., April 14, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

    i think Wifi installed in buses would be actually a good service improvement.

  • By Cliff, April 15, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

    I had another read at the rules for commercial vehicles after reading my pre-trip list for a company I drive for.

    Vehicles that have a carrying capacity of 10+ passengers are mandated by law to be carrying first aid kits.

    The fact that these buses don’t have first aid kits could very well open them up to liability as opposed to avoiding it should a passenger be injured and it can be proven that the lack of a first aid kit caused further harm.

    Something to think about.

  • By Ric, April 15, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    -.-: LED lights produce light that is too harsh. The 2009 Nova Hybrid buses do in fact have LED lights. All other buses in the fleet have fluorescent lights.

    Fluorescent lights don’t run hot only warm, which means it will make the bus warmer when it is cold out. It also means that the heat doesn’t need to be turned on as high as the lights are already helping to keep the bus warm.

    Under my own experience, LED lights in fact have the shortest life span. Incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes actually outlast LEDs. I tried the LED Christmas lights last year and over half of the bulbs burned out after one month of use (December-January). My older incandescent sets lasted about 3 to 4 times longer before even 1 bulb burned out.

  • By Noname, April 16, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    We need Air Condition installed just in case lol

  • By Cliff, April 17, 2010 @ 12:50 am

    Most of the buses have air conditioning for the driver only.

    I suppose you could sit near the front to mooch some of that oh so refreshing cold air….

  • By Ric, April 17, 2010 @ 1:37 am

    Cliff, all orion 5 highway coaches and community shuttles have air conditioning.

    I was riding the 410 route just after 9 from 22nd street station back into richmond tonight and only the rear set of interior lights were on. I asked the driver if they could turn the light on and they said no problem. When the driver turned them on they in fact turned all of them on, not just halfway.

    Does this me it depends on how the driver wants to turn on the interior lights (halfway or all) as well as either he or she wants them on?

    Why do the 2006 New Flyer D40LFR’S have 2 sets of rear lights that are always on where as on the older buses (D40LF’s and D40’s) only have one set is always on?

    I also notice that some of the interior lights are sometimes flickering. (Most commonly seen with the first set of lights that comes on when the front door opens and turns off like 10 seconds after the door closes.) What is causing this to happen?

  • By Andrew S, April 19, 2010 @ 10:08 am

    Doesn’t that mean the fluorescent tube is starting to burn out? On Friday, I was riding a Nova and the two lights at the back door (adjacent and opposite) turn on when the green light turns on. The tube that was opposite to the rear door was flickering and so I informed the bus driver about this.

  • By Ric, April 19, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    Andrew, the Nova buses have LED interior lighting and not fluorescent lighting with the exception of the small fixture at the back of the bus.

    When fluorescent tubes are starting to burn out they do not flicker. Fluorescent tubes burn out the same way as incandescent bulbs, they keep working normally until it eventually burns out. The only difference is incandescent bulbs burn out with a quick flash, where as fluorescents just burn out and one end of the fluorescent tube turns black.

  • By Andrew S, April 20, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    Ric, since the newest buses have an opaque cover over the lights, you can’t be so sure of which type they are. I’m pretttttty sure the fluorescent tubes flicker because they have trouble “starting up”, which is another sign that they’re starting to go bad.

    As I have found, “The end of life failure mode for fluorescent lamps varies depending how they are used and their control gear type. Often the light will turn pink, with black burns on the ends of the bulb, due to sputtering. The lamp may also flicker at a noticeable rate.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp#Flicker_problems for some more info =P

  • By Ric, April 30, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    Jhen, here are the questions about interior lights that I feel are still outstanding:

    1) Why do all the community shuttles have all the interior lights on at night?

    2) Why do some drivers turn on the interior lights at night and early in the morning when it is still dark and while others don’t?

    3) Why do all the interior lights even the rear set (which is suppose to be on all the time) go out when the bus is backing up?

    4) Why do the 2006 New Flyer D40LFR’S have 2 sets of rear lights that are always on where as on the older buses (D40LF’s and D40’s) only have one set is always on?

    5) I notice that some of the interior lights are sometimes flickering. (Most commonly seen with the first set of lights that comes on when the front door opens and turns off like 10 seconds after the door closes.) What is causing this to happen?

    6) Once I was riding the bus at 9PM and requested that the interior lights be turned on so I could read and the driver turned all of them on. Does this mean it depends on whether or not the driver wants to turn the lights on?

  • By Ric, April 30, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    Jhen, two more things that just came to my mind, I have noticed that on the trolley buses and articulated buses, all the interior lights are on all the time, and there are no other options available, meaning that there is no option for the drivers to turn them off.

    1) Why are they this way when other buses have different settings for interior lights?

    2) I have noticed that on the trolley buses, and the 2006 LFRs, if the interior lights are turned on, the front interior lights LED or fluorescent on the lower floor section of the bus brighten when the front door opens and dims rather than turning off when the door closes, (with the exception of the first set which turns off after a few seconds) why don’t the interior lights on the older buses do this?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 3, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    Ric:
    Here is the answer to your question from April 30 at 1:13 p.m., from our fleet management department.

    1) Good question. I haven’t been closely-enough involved with shuttles to know the answer, though.

    2) Drivers have the ability* to turn on/off the interior lights (*in almost all the buses; I think the trolleys don’t have that ability). At night, depending on the ambient light outside the bus, sometimes the interior lights will create a lot of reflections through the windshield of the bus. Those reflections can make it difficult to see through the windshield. It’s most significant in some of the less-densely-populated suburbs where there tends to be fewer streetlights. Glare and reflections in the window are the scariest on rainy nights– it’s hard enough to see when the bus is dark inside, let alone when there are reflections on the glass.

    3) This improves the ability of the driver to see through the back window of the bus, while backing up. Since buses rarely back up when carrying passengers, we don’t consider that to be a risk for passengers.

    4) I don’t know why– each order of bus is hand-built to a transit agency’s custom specifications. New Flyer may have taken a slightly different interpretation to our contract specifications for that build of buses.

    5) That’s an early sign that the fluorescent tube is about to fail. The first bank of lights gets the most work in this sense– a fluorescent tube’s life is substantially shortened by frequent on/off cycles.

    6) Yes. My personal opinion is that when it’s dark out, drivers should make a point of keeping the interior lights on as much as possible, for customer comfort. However, I recognize that sometimes it’s difficult to see, so when conditions are particularly poor, drivers should have the ability to use their judgment to determine when they need to turn the interior lights off.

  • By Ric, May 3, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the great answers to the questions in the first post Jhenifer. I am now going to patiently wait for the answer to the questions in the second post.

  • By Ric, May 4, 2010 @ 9:27 am

    I was on a New Flyer D40LFR earlier this morning that had LED interior lights. The LEDs on one of the lights that turns on when the front door opens was flickering. Does this mean that the LEDs are about to fail just like the case of the fluorescents?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    Ric: thanks for your patience. Again, that is much appreciated!

    Here is the answer to your question at 1:35 p.m. on April 30, from our fleet management department.

    1) For better or for worse, that’s the way we asked for them to be.

    2) The newer buses have newer technology in the fluorescent tube ballasts which allows them the ability to dim, rather than simply turn off. As time passes, things get better. Or at least we hope they do.

  • By Ric, May 5, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    I have noticed that not just the fluorescent lights dim when the front door closes, on buses with LED lights the LED lights dim too. What allows the LED lights to dim?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

    Ric, here is the answer from fleet management.

    Those LED lights were an early-generation demonstration light we received from a lighting manufacturer. If memory serves, the connectors on the end of the light tubes were hand-made, and didn’t make a very good contact with the connectors on the bus. Newer tubes have machine-moulded connectors which have much better contact, but the extra weight of the LED tube tended to strain the contacts a little, nonetheless.

    Most often, light emitting diodes get dim as they fail; if they’re
    flickering, it means either the electronics driving them are in poor
    condition, or there’s a poor electrical connection somewhere in the
    line.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 19, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    Ric: here’s the answer to your 11:05 a.m. comment from May 5.

    The LED driver simply reduces the voltage to the LEDs.

  • By Ric, May 19, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    Andrew, in terms of opaque light covers it is still easy to determine if a bus has LED or fluorescent lights. All the older buses had opaque covers over the lights but for some reason the 2000 and newer New Flyer D40LFs and D60LFs have clear light covers, and obviously have fluorescent lights as you can see the fluorescent tube behind the cover. For some strange reason, the 2006 and newer New Flyer D40LFRs and D60LFRs have opaque light covers as well as all the Nova buses.

    To tell if a bus has LED or fluorescent lights it is really easy. For buses that have fluorescent lights the lights are usually a yellowish/pinkish white colour or blue colour for the lights near the front. (Note: some buses may not have blue lights.)

    For buses that have LED lights the lights are a blueish white colour or dark blue colour for the lights near the front. (Note: some buses may not have blue lights.)

    On buses that have LED lights you will notice that the light covers have many dots under them, if the lights are turned on. Those dots are individual LEDs under the panel (each panel covers multiple LEDs), where as on a bus with fluorescent lights, they don’t have these dots as each panel covers one fluorescent tube.

  • By Ric, May 20, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    Jhen, in terms of the interior lights on the newer buses being able to dim, it was said that buses with LED lights, the LED driver simply reduces the voltage to the LEDs to dim the LEDs.

    On buses with fluorescent lights, it was said that the fluorescent lights on the newer buses can dim because the fluorescent tube ballasts have newer technology in them which allows them to dim, does the ballast just reduce the voltage going to the fluorescent tube to dim the fluorescent lights?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 4, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    Ric, here is the answer from our fleet management department.

    I actually don’t know the technical details of how a dimmable fluorescent tube works; Google is your friend!

    As far as how the bus connects up to the bulb, on the bus there are three wires leading to a dimmable fluorescent ballast (or to a dimmable LED tube). You’ve got +24V, 0V (ground), an Control. If there’s voltage on the Control wire, a dimmable fluorescent ballast will dim (or if it’s an extinguishable fluorescent ballast, it’ll shut the light off entirely), and the lamp will return to normal when the control signal goes to zero.

  • By ???, August 13, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    Fyi…. News1130 did a story on summer rider experiences…
    http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/88964–taking-the-bus-in-the-summer-can-be-stinky-business

    I don’t agree with expensive air conditioning for short rides. But it is interesting for a few months.

  • By Sky Norris, April 15, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    Please get WiFi on all buses and skytrain!

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