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Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

General Transport Discussion not specific to one state

Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Tim Williams » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:39 pm

There is a table below which is an extract from the current edition of the superb magazine "Classic Bus". I have shown 6 only of the largest corporation/council bus fleets as they were in 1966 and added the percentages. This particularly interests me as I spent the first 11 years (of my 21 years in the UK) in Birmingham and I migrated to Australia in 1966 as a 10 pound Pom with my family!!

Birmingham is the largest fleet, has reasonable peak use of buses at 86% of total fleet, but has the least use of off-peak buses at 24% - Walsall is adjacent to Birmingham, on the northen side and has a similar off-peak use. Birmingham was once the Detroit of the UK with good levlels of employment with a number of large Motor Car and Bike factories plus commercial vehicles and component suppliers and car ownership was accordingly high (by UK standards of the time). Glasgow, on the other hand was not doing so well and this shows in the off-peak fleet use of 50% - people in that city relied more on public transport for leisure use, than they obviously did in Birmingham.

The usual figure that was worked on for fleet spares at the time (and maybe still current) was 10% and only Leeds seems to be up there - Walsall had a relatively large trolleybus fleet in 1966 and with fleet spares of 22%, I wonder if that was a result declining patronage (all were affected by this) or the lack of reliability of an predominantly older trolleybus fleet.

It would be most interesting to know if anyone has similar current or historic date for the large urban operators in Australia!


UK Larger Corporation/Council Bus Fleets in 1966

Total Fleet Peak Requirement Off-Peak Requirement
Numbers Nos. % of Total Fleet Nos. % of Total Fleet
Birmingham 1,607 1,384 86% 387 24%
Glasgow 1,328 1,056 80% 662 50%
Manchester 1,343 1,134 84% 410 31%
Leeds 667 600 90% 289 43%
Cardiff 276 215 78% 114 41%
Walsall 274 214 78% 68 25%
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Tim Williams » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:41 pm

I will re-post the table again correctly formatted. The correct formatting disappeared from typing to submitting!!
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Tim Williams » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:55 pm

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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby eddy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:27 am

Just out of curiosity would you have any idea if the peak buses stayed in the cities in lay-byes or traveled nearly empty back to depots on the outskirts.
Parrahub, an extra option in the public transport menu https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/search ... hTab=model
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Tim Williams » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:02 pm

Just confining my reply to Birmingham, after the peaks, buses ran in service, mainly to the outer termini and then back to their local bus garages (as they were called) - there were 13 or 14 bus garages scattered around the city, so dead running was probably not an issue, but I cannot recall what loadings would have been on buses travelling from the city centre in to the outer termini in the mornings say - the last runs of which (by peak only buses) were more of positioning runs to get buses close to their home garage. Buses then, despite being far less complicated than current buses, were more maintenance intensive, particularly the smooth running Daimler engined Daimler DD's, which were great oil burners. So, the times in the garages between peaks was used for maintenance.
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby burrumbus » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:20 pm

Evening Tim.The average spare proportion in most current day large fleets sits in between the 5 to 10% area of total fleet size,from what I can figure.That proportion has increased in recent years with the move to contracting ,rather than direct operation of their own businesses.Operators need to increase fleet utilisation to increase revenue in what are pretty low margin contracts.The difference between fleet utilisation peak and off peak in most areas in Australia is still stark,with many large operators running by and large peak hour school components of their fleets with relatively low off peak utilisation.An example would be here in Albury with Martins having a fleet of around 35 school/route buses.4 work off peak route service and 30 work school and route in the school peak.Like most country towns there is no route service peak like those in the larger cities.Operators in the major cities tend to have a larger component of route service buses working in the off peak and peak.
What were your percentages in Broken Hill??
This compares favourably with the utilsation figures and spare fleet percentages in your table above.With those figures especially at peak it is no wonder all but one of those council owned companies failed to survive deregulation.Cardiff is the only one still in council ownership.
The vehicles in current times require less maintainence with extended service intervals.Presentation and livery/branding standards have dropped away conversely.
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Tim Williams » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:20 am

Thanks for your reply - Murtons was perhaps typical of small regional town operations in that there really was no peak hour (workers) demand for buses, most people traveled by car or other means. Broken Hill's population was about 17,000, down from a peak of 30,000 when the mines were booming.

Town Service Monday to Friday:
AM Peak 4 buses (2 of which were really school services)
Inter-Peak 2 buses and then down 1 bus.
PM Peak 2 buses
And no services after 5.30pm

Saturday Morning = 1 bus.
No services on Sundays or Public Holidays

(Minimum) Service frequencies were and still are determined by TfNSW, normally based on the town population - there is a little more to it than that, but that is the basis of it. And again, as is common in country towns the services ran in loops from the town centre.

There were also a number of TfNSW & Education Dept. school services + 2 longer distance daily runs from Medindee and Wilcannia to Broken Hill and return. The total fleet size was 12 buses.
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby MAN 16.242 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:32 am

burrumbus wrote:Evening Tim.The average spare proportion in most current day large fleets sits in between the 5 to 10% area of total fleet size,from what I can figure.

I say its more 5 to 15% or least in Victoria. Some operators who have less than 10% spare ratio i.e Transdev Melbourne struggle to cover everthying in peak with often running out of buses.
The differnce in number buses from peak vs off peak varies but Sunshine & Heatherton depots see up to 2/3 of their fleet needed in interpeak & Saturdays. Which is a higher off peak ratio than many other places.
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Re: Bus Fleets: Peak/Off-Peak Requirements and Fleet Spares

Postby Daniel » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:22 am

State Transit is based around 9%.
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