Michelin Introduce First Range Specifically Designed for Ele...
Michelin has introduced its first range of electric bus tires that can also be adapted for use on traditional urban and suburban vehicles.
Social Distancing in Public Transport
A report on the need for social distancing for open-access operators, and how a seat reservation system could offer a short-term solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced huge challenges to the public transport industry, with the almost immediate and almost complete shutdown of the (international) public transport systems as the most striking short-term effect. As countries are gradually seeing the effects of their various measures in an attempt to “Flatten the curve”, governments and public transport authorities and operators are starting to consider the post-corona society and the effects that will carry on in the long term of these unprecedented events.
Social distancing is a critical element of our lives, at least until a vaccine against COVID-19 is widely available and people feel safe using public transport. This poses tremendous challenges to those public transport operators that follow a so-called “open access” model. Without upfront knowledge of the capacity and occupancy of train or bus services, ensuring a safe distance between passengers is an almost impossible task. While airlines and high speed rail operators may see ways to adjust their seating and reservation logic to ensure more distance, the challenge to achieve the same effect is a multitude larger for operators without the luxury of knowing in advance who will be on board.
Switching to some form of a reserved seating model seems unavoidable to avoid the public transport system from being overrun during rush hour while safety regulations in the new reality only allow usage of a portion of the physical seat capacity. But how to approach this, as an operator that has limited or even no experience at all with seat reservation on-board their services?
From an inventory management point of view, seat reservation as a concept does not necessarily imply that every individual passenger is assigned to a specific seat and is informed actively about the seat they can occupy during their journey.
Advanced inventory management systems approach this in several ways;
In the traditional “reserved seating model”, an individual passenger is assigned to a specific seat, and is informed in their ticket or boarding pass about the seat they have been assigned to. They are expected to occupy that seat, and that seat only: in a public transport system that also supports open access, the seat is often even labelled to indicate where and when it is expected to be occupied by a reservation.
In the “no seat assigned reservation model”, the physical train or bus floor plan drives the calculation of seat availability dynamically (and this availability is decremented automatically for every now booking), but the customer is never actively informed about which precise carriage and seat they should use during their journey. For efficiency reasons, the allocations in the background do actually target individual seats and carriages: they are just never communicated to the passenger intentionally. The reason why allocation to specific seats still happens is efficiency: with a service serving multiple stops (allowing for multiple Origin & Destination pairs to be booked), this model can capture and optimise seat-reusage, sometimes referred to as cabotage, as much as possible. The fact that the seat number is not exposed to the customer often reflects the operational challenges in actually directing passengers to the right seat during their trip.
In the “contingent based reservation model”, the capacity reserved for booking is detached from the actual rolling stock used and is configured entirely manually per departure, date, and physical inventory class. The simplicity of the configuration of this model is the obvious benefit, while it is at the same time also its primary drawback: when the rolling stock planning changes and a train is cut in half for operational reasons, the operator must carefully consider the new reservable capacity. In the previous models, the fact that this recalculation is triggered automatically can be considered a significant benefit.
Operators typically also mix these models; for some business-oriented products, a specific guaranteed seat is assigned on intercity trains. For other more affordable leisure products, no specific place is communicated to the passenger (even if it may be assigned in the background). And some commuter services only manage reservable capacity by number, using the contingent approach, without dealing with the individual seats at all.
Whatever the model: each requires a sophisticate inventory management system that is (at the very least) capable of dealing with the challenges of:
Operators that already have access to a modern inventory management system can consider themselves (relatively) lucky in the COVID-19 circumstances, as they can meet the social distancing challenges with updated configuration in their seating algorithm, blocked seats on their services, or reduced contingent sizes.
But for open access operators not in possession of such a system today, achieving the same effects threatens to be an operational nightmare involving large numbers of staff on-board and on platforms, and, even worse: a great number of disappointed passengers that are not allowed to board their originally planned departure due to (over)occupancy reasons that can only be observed by the time of departure.
The need for inventory management due to COVID-19 does not necessarily introduce a 180 degree change of course for open access operators. A seat reservation system can also be introduced besides the existing ticket sales, payment, and distribution systems. Of course, under more fortunate circumstances, an integrated ticket and seat reservation strategy simplifies the procedures, enhances customer experience, and leads to the highest gains at the lowest cost. But if the luxury of time is not on our side, and acting fast is required, solutions can still be achieved.
Even with a less integrated reservation system operators could make use of the solidarity of their passengers and the overall willingness to contribute to the health and safety of all, by registering the intention to travel on a specific service departure.
Even if that means the seat reservation is not directly related to the transportation ticket as “right to travel” : many operators in Europe traditionally, in fact, even come from the situation in which the ticket and the seat reservation were entirely separate entities. Some of the larger operators in Europe, in fact, still work like this.
In that approach, the information needed to configure a state of art reservation system is limited to:
In that perspective, integration of ticket validity rules, payment collection for transactions, or even the fulfilment of secure digital barcode tickets, suddenly become less relevant than they would otherwise be in a more integrated approach. As it turns out, one does not need so much to get a reservation system up and running!
Operators facing these challenging times, should ask themselves several strategic questions going forward. For example: when these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic lie behind us, would a reservation system still provide further added value in our business process? (Spoiler alert: yes, it does, in many ways!)
In the short term, in order to be able to at least use seat reservation as the solution to comply with social distancing requirements, the questions are more pragmatic and help to easily identify the scope of a potential system introduction:
The outcome to these questions may well vary over time: what is acceptable as a short term “emergency” solution, in these times of great citizen solidarity and willingness to cooperate with regulations and restrictions imposed for the public health and safety of all, may be less accepted by the customer base in the mid-term. For that reason, choosing a solution that provides maximum flexibility moving forward, is by definition recommended.
Sqills is a vendor of industry leading reservation and inventory management solutions focused entirely on the rail and bus industry and is currently actively working with a wide public transport operator community to face the challenges of this time. Key members of our community are SNCF with OUIGO and TER, Eurostar, Thalys with IZY, BlaBlaBus, Irish Rail, all UK train operators under the Rail Delivery Group, and more. For our existing customer base, our S3 Passenger product offers the toolset to manage this crisis by configuring relevant sales restrictions, reduced inventory capacity, and Sqills is actively working at this very moment on explicit “Social distancing” features that can be configured by the operators in their deployed S3 Passenger environment. These features will respect the required distance between separate bookings, while at the same time still allow a family to be seated together.
Based on today’s challenges introduced in this whitepaper for open access operators, Sqills extends an open invitation to all operators in the industry to join the S3 Passenger community and evaluate in a cooperative teaming mode with our internal subject matter experts as well as our industry partners and members, whether a ultra-fast deployment of an S3 Passenger instance for seat reservation can be a solution to help colleagues in the industry re-start their operations in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quick time to market is a key benefit of the S3 Passenger platform, both in terms of “rollout” of the system itself, as well as seeing configuration changes through towards all distribution channels. Under more fortunate circumstances, this benefit was often highlighted as a “Unique selling point” and makes the commercial business case of using S3 Passenger more attractive. It is our honest conviction that in these extraordinary circumstances in the industry, the quick time to market could be of critical importance to operators that need to find their way forward one way or another in the uncertain future of public transport. Please contact Sqills if you feel we can support you with that challenge.
Michelin has introduced its first range of electric bus tires that can also be adapted for use on traditional urban and suburban vehicles.
Keolis Sverige has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain an articulated fully electric bus fleet in north-eastern Gothenburg.
Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has unveiled the new luxury zero-emission, battery-electric J4500 CHARGE™ coach for the North American market.
Corona Testmobile: The New Public Test Center in the Industriepark Kassel It is now possible for all citizens to make use of a new free corona testing center...
Solaris has won a tender call for the delivery of 13 hydrogen-powered buses to In-der-City-Bus, public transport operator for Frankfurt.
Australian operator Transit Systems has purchased the first hydrogen buses to service public transport contracts in the country.
Nova Bus celebrates the operational launch of two forty foot, fully electric Nova Bus LFSe buses in Brampton, Canada.
Following 4 units in recent months, TEMSA has completed the delivery of a second-shipment of 22 LD SB PLUS model vehicles to OTW.
Hitachi Europe and Optibus have partnered to help cities and mass transport providers decarbonise their bus fleets.
BAE Systems is collaborating with Plug Power, to offer hydrogen-based electric propulsion systems for transit bus fleets.
Recently, a batch of Golden Dragon's electric STAR tour buses were put into service on Jiangmen’s second urban tour bus route.
Beijing IN-Power will integrate Loop Energy's proprietary eFlow® fuel cell modules into Skywell vehicles in Nanjing, China.
NJ TRANSIT is advancing the WRTC improvement project with the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design of a new facility.
Charlotte Area Transit System and eTransEnergy, will test the performance of battery electric bus (BEB) vehicles.
Having won a tender, Solaris will deliver 250 Solaris Urbino 12 buses fuelled with compressed natural gas to operator EMT in Madrid.
TSL-ESCHA’s door opening push button PK52 is now available for installation in glass doors of buses and trains.
Conduent has announced the implementation of a new passenger counting system in Bergamo, Italy, to monitor capacity on buses.
The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) has broken ground on the construction of a new maintenance facility.
Łódź, a city located in central Poland, will feature Camira StaySafe technology across its brand new fleet of 17 electric Volvo buses.
The Valeo UV Purifier, a system that uses UV rays to purify the air in buses, has been named as the year’s top innovation by the VDA.
NFI Group Inc. has announced that its electric vehicles have collectively travelled more than 40 million zero-emission miles.
Allison Transmission's electric hybrid propulsion solution eGen Flex will be put into revenue service at New York City Transit (NYCT) in May.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded approximately $10.5 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses.
ZF is preparing for volume production of OnGuardMAX - its most advanced autonomous emergency braking assistance system - in China.
ROCSYS, Grivix and VDL ETS,will work towards a robotic charging solution for heavy duty charging under the Eurostars project Autocharge.
The first eCitaro G fully-electric articulated buses from Mercedes-Benz have now been delivered to Hanover's transport operator, ÜSTRA.
The City of Lynn, MassDOT, and the MBTA have announced the completion of a series of quick-build multimodal road treatments in Lynn.
Siemens Smart Infrastructure will provide charging solutions for Dopravní podnik Ostrava, which will expand its fleet with 24 electric buses.
Valeo has received the busplaner Sustainability Award 2021, in the category 'Vehicle Equipment (Interior),' for its UV Purifier for buses.
Wrightbus is celebrating two landmark orders to produce a total of 45 buses for markets in the Far East from its factory in Malaysia.
Conduent Transportation and Hayden AI will deliver technologically advanced solutions that will enhance bus lane safety and efficiency.
The Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric won the “Sustainability Award 2021” handed out by German trade magazine busplaner.
Masabi, the Greater Dayton RTA and the Transit app today announced that riders are now able to travel using reusable smartcards.
Lightning eMotors has signed a new exclusive partnership with Soderholm Bus & Mobility to provide powertrains for commercial bus customers.
Residents of Juneau, Alaska, will begin to see Capital Transit’s first battery-electric bus in service and on the road from April 14.
Bridgestone has launched its new flagship tyre in the city bus segment, the Bridgestone U-AP 002, designed to lower fuel consumption.
Washington state officials chose BYD for a statewide purchase agreement giving transit agencies the ability to buy BYD vehicles.
Leclanché SA has developed a new, high energy 65 Ah lithium-ion pouch cell to meet the demands of bus manufacturers seeking increased range.
The Solaris electric buses for Szczecin will be equipped with Solaris High Power batteries boasting a capacity of over 120 kWh in total.
Bus and tram operator Blackpool Transport has renewed its contract with Passenger, the UK’s leading digital transport services provider.
Volvo Buses has received another major order for Volvo 7900 S-Charge electrified buses from Belgian transport operator OTW.
Public transport company Hermes is investing heavily in the quality of public transport with the order for new generation Citeas from VDL.
Recently, 31 Higer CNG buses were delivered to the capital of Israel and will be used to upgrade local public transportation.
150 units of Golden Dragon's BRT buses in KD forms have officially been shipped to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Auckland Transport (AT) has unveiled New Zealand’s first hydrogen fuel cell bus, as the organisation transitions to an emissions-free fleet.
The U.S. DoT's FTA has announced $187 million in federal funding will be allocated to four Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure projects.
BVG has exercised options for 198 ADL Enviro500 double deck buses, to be delivered to the German capital by the end of 2022.
Commuters in Balti, Moldova’s second-largest city, can now travel on 11 new trolleybuses funded by the EBRD and the E5P Fund.
For the third consecutive time, public transport company KVB Cologne has ordered electric VDL Citeas from VDL Bus & Coach.
The 3 autonomous shuttles from Navya run along a 1.6 km path on an open road, in complete interaction with other users.
HNTB Corporation will provide construction, engineering and inspection services for Miami's new South-Dade Transitway Corridor.
Forsee Power, the expert in smart battery systems for a sustainable electromobility, has announced the opening of an office in Japan.
Masabi and Jorudan have announced the launch of in-app mobile ticketing within Jorudan’s two MaaS apps in six new locations across Japan.
One million hand rail buttons sold is another milestone in the 35-year company history of TSL-ESCHA, of which the employees are very proud.
As the government continues to build back greener, up to £120 million is being made available through the ZEBRA scheme.
MAN Truck & Bus handed over the first fully-electric articulated bus for everyday use to the Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe at the end of March.
NJ TRANSIT has begun an extensive renovation and expansion project at the nearly 120-year-old Market Street Bus Garage in Paterson.
Scania has chosen BlackBerry QNX to provide the operating system and hypervisor within its next electrical architecture generation in buses.
First Bus have announced that over £59million will be invested in new fully electric, zero emission 'green transport' vehicles for Glasgow.
Spokane Transit Authority has unveiled its first 60-foot Xcelsior CHARGE™ City Line bus, as part of a contract that New Flyer won in 2020.
Daimler Buses and Mercedes-Benz do Brasil have launched the OF 1621 bus chassis on the Brazilian market.
Solaris has signed a deal with Ostrava public transport operator DPO for the supply of 24 electric buses and charging infrastructure.
BYD and ADL have confirmed that their EV partnership is adding operational flexibility with the introduction of additional charging options.
Webasto and IAV Agree on Technology Collaboration for Electric Commercial Vehicles Considering more and more strict emissions guidelines, manufacturers of co...
The ECO3 disinfection unit is one of the most effective ways to protect drivers and passengers against bacteria and viruses.
Exactly twenty-five years ago to the day Solaris produced its first low-floor city bus. Almost everything has changed since then.
Forsee Power, European leader in batteries for heavy vehicles, unveils the first extra-thin batteries of its new SLIM offer.
Busworld has cancelled Busworld Europe 2021 and annouced that smaller, alternative events may take place in October 2021.
First Bus has placed an order for five BYD ADL Enviro400EV electric double deck buses, to be used on Park & Ride services in West Yorkshire.
The ten eCitaro buses, will be the first fully electric city buses will be added to Normandie's fleet, expected Summer 2021.
These new e-buses have joined a fleet of 394 Solaris buses, some of which rolled out onto the streets of Kraków back in 2016.
BYD has announced that its all-new K8M zero-emission public transit bus, set a high scoring record in the FTA Model Bus Testing Program
The project is seeking to bring 20 hydrogen powered double decker buses and refuelling facilities to the Liverpool City Region.
Masabi and Jorudan add popular Meiko Bus tourist route to Japan’s biggest integrated mobile ticketing and journey planning platform.
Lion Electric Announces the Construction of Its Battery Manufacturing Plant and Innovation Center in Quebec Lion Electric (Lion), an innovative manufacturer ...
BYD recently unveiled Brazil’s first locally made pure electric articulated bus in São José dos Campos, in the state of São Paulo.
The first of the Solaris hydrogen vehicles has already been delivered and is being tested in the RVK branch in Wermelskirchen, Cologne,
Nova Bus is pleased to announce it was selected to supply 15 LFSe+ buses by the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS).
New Flyer has unveiled its next generation battery-electric, zero emission Xcelsior CHARGE NG™ heavy-duty transit bus.
Bus strategy to see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, reliable, easier to use and cheaper bus services.
After entering the Danish market in 2019, Yutong bus has again won the largest batch of full electric bus orders in Denmark.
A consortium of 14 companies from the fields of development, technology and science is part of “CoacHyfied”.
The all-new Sliding/Swing Door 029i from Masats brings the gentle movement, speed and safety of sliding doors to inward opening doors.
Ballard Power Systems has announced that it has received follow-on purchase orders from Wrightbus, for a total of 50 fuel cell modules.
Daimler Buses is launching its first Euro VI touring coach in the Taiwanese market, based on the Spanish-made Mercedes-Benz OC 500 chassis.
Heliox is happy to bring even more flexibility to the e-bus fleet, by introducing the DC outlet at Darmstadt.
The Geospatial Suite from Optibus, significantly improves transportation networks and transit equity through the use of data-driven planning.
HÜBNER has entered into an agreement for the distribution of the AIRDAL antiviral surface protection products in the mobility sector.
Smart Eye, leading developer of AI-based eye tracking technology, breaks new ground with the launch of the AIS.
$2.75 billion in funding from the Government will enhance public transit systems in Canada and switch them to cleaner electrical power.
Solaris has been awarded an order for 123 12-metre buses, destined for six locations across Romania in one of Europe's biggest e-bus tenders.
The Mercedes-Benz site will become a competence centre focusing on electric drive technology, including the production of lithium-ion cells.
TransLink is testing a technology called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) to sanitize the air and surfaces on board transit vehicles.
Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) is now the first public transportation authority in Ontario to use RNG, to transport customers via bus.
In November 2021, the the Ebusco 2.2 12-metre electric city buses will be delivered to operator Nobina in the capital Copenhagen.
The Thionville-Fensch urban public transport authority (SMiTU) has chosen Keolis to operate and maintain its Citéline transport network.
On Wednesday 3 March, Dublin Bus officially launched the historic Broadstone Depot, Phibsboro, following a significant investment of €15.2M.
MAN Lion’s City fully electric buses are impressing more and more people throughout Europe with range, sustainability, and reliability.
Passenger will be delivering 15 apps and six websites for Go-Ahead Group’s UK bus operations as part of a new five-year contract.
BYD has secured its first order from DB Regio Bus, division of one of Germany’s largest transport operators, Deutsche Bahn
Use the form opposite to get in touch with Sqills directly to discuss any requirements you might have.