• Jun 2nd 2008 at 8:35PM
  • 12
In all the time I've been writing for AutoblogGreen I've driven a great many different cars and trucks. Whether it's for ABG, Autoblog or my day job at Green Fuels Forecast, I drive most of these different vehicles to review them on one or more of the sites. From time to time, schedules work out in such a way that I may not have a car available with which to get home from the office. Most of the time I hitch a ride with one of my co-workers. On a couple of occasions my wife or daughter has come to pick me up and drive me home. The one thing that I haven't done - even though I have recommended it to people on this site - is ride the bus.

Last November, the Ann Arbor Transit Authority acquired its first twelve hybrid buses as part of a plan to replace the entire fleet with hybrids over the next three years. The buses are equipped with GM's Two-mode hybrid system and the engines are running on B20 biodiesel. The bus stop is about a block away from my downtown Ann Arbor office and drops me off about 4 blocks from my house. Thanks to my EVDO card I was able to finish two blog posts and answer some email on the thirty minute ride home (that's about twice as long as it takes to drive). The hybrid buses run a lot quieter than the conventional diesel-only buses since the hybrid system can provide power for acceleration reducing the need to rev the engine as much. If I didn't 't have review cars to drive most of the time, I would definitely take this as an option instead of driving my own car to the office. For those times when I have a gap in the schedule like today, I'll definitely be riding the bus.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      What noone has mentioned yet is the fact that PT can save you time. I mostly take the tram to work where I live and rarely my car. Using the car cuts a 30minute trip into a 20minute one. So supposedly I save 10 minutes, actually I loose 20 minutes. The logic behind this is the morning tram is usefull time. I can continue my sleeping and thus get almost another 30 minutes of sleep. I can take out my laptop and do some actual work (at least if i get up a little early so I get a good seat). Or I can catch up on my surfing on ABG or read a good book. Hence all the time spent on the tram is used for something productive, while driving the car I have to concentrate on traffic and hence can't spend that time as I please. I also have a collegue that has a long train commute each day, and she got our employer to let her leave early in return for working on the train both ways, so a win-win.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I never take the bus because I can either bike for free or take the Corolla for cheap. Today I took my bike to the bank and got there faster than the bus, which would have cost me $2.50 + ten minutes waiting time each way probably.

      The only way I would consider using the bus is if it was free.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Public transport takes you in double the travel time, for double the price, to a place where you do not want to go. And if you have dealt with that ... they go on strike.

      It barely works for commutes to city centers. Some of us, don't work 9 to 5 office jobs in the city.
      For people to accept the shortcomings, fuel prices will have to go up quite a bit more. Or public travel must become fast and cheap.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I live in Granada, Spain and ride the bus or my bike - no car. Overall I like the bus, it helps that one comes along every 10 minutes, and it is about a 15 minute ride to the center of the city. Parking is impossible in the center of Granada, so it is much easier to use the bus. Sometimes we rent a car, but only to go on trips. Even if we have a car it is easier to go downtown on the bus! It's kind of noisy (the Spanish talk a lot), but generally not bad. Or, I take my bike, which is often faster than the bus. Here is my idea on how to electrify buses:

      • 7 Years Ago
      When did GM start using the two-mode hybrid in buses???? I knew they were using a serial hybrid bus design through their GM-Allison division, but my understanding is that two-mode hybrids were only going to be used on cars and light trucks. Without a doubt, this is interesting news because the two-mode hybrid is more efficient overall than serial hybrids.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I ride the bus about once a week, even though I have other faster options (drive my Prius or bike).
      The cost of the bus is about even to what the Prius costs in variable costs per mile (gas, maintenance, mileage depreciation) and slightly cheaper if you include fixed costs (insurance, tags, age depreciation). Even though the 8 mile trip takes 40min on the bus vs 20 min in the car (and 30min bike), I figure I get 20+ min on the bus where I can just read, relax, etc. so it's about break even in terms of time and money (and I'm saving some CO2).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Japan's public transportation system is by far the best and most convenient way to travel. I have a 50cc scooter, which, while perfect for around town, (the speed limit doesn't go over 50 kph) is a pain trying to go anywhere for any long distance because of the lorries (who all manage to get too close for comfort and spew black exhaust all over me anyway). So, I take either the bus (the city I'm in doesn't have a big subway network) or a train if I'm looking to do some distance travel.

      When I head home, I'll hit the bus because, not only is it convenient (goes everywhere I could possibly want to go, and there is always a bus stop within walking distance), but I get to ride for free because of my university's deal with the Port Authority (operator of the buses).

      I just wish that the US had a train network like Japan does... That would be bliss.
      • 7 Years Ago
      [quote]I would definitely take this as an option instead of driving my own car to the office.[/quote]

      when its cheaper to in terms of Liters consumed compared to the "expensive" bus ticket I have to pay to go on the bus (which is 2.25 which @ 1.35/L that's almost 2 L)

      with the prius 2L can net me easily over 40 km, sure I have to pay insurance and the car itself but if you got good rates and the car is paid off... the bus makes no economic sense.... for me anyways...

      espically when i have family on board, its retarded to pay a bus pass for every passenger when the prius can do it for less.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Radlib, GM has never used a series hybrid in buses unless you follow the Toyota nomenclature of calling the two-mode a series-parallel hybrid, but that's another story. The two-mode system was originally developed for buses and was then adapted to light duty vehicles. http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/11/14/autoblog-green-podcast-14/
      • 7 Years Ago
      although sooner or later society will have to adapt to public transport to sustain, since toronto has beginning to reconsider taking down their highway to expand the city into means with very little personal transport involved.


      a prime example, i can see b.c taking the same toll very soon.

      Everyday it gets harder to drive, roads aren't getting any bigger but the number of drivers will.

      • 7 Years Ago
      In Japan public transportation has become so efficient people get rid of their cars:
      • 7 Years Ago
      Now if only, Montreal improve its transportation system, I spotted a good rant about it at http://anhkhoi.blogspot.com/2008/05/when-public-transportation-actuallyi.html
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