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Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in Oz

General Transport Discussion not specific to one state

Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in Oz

Postby Tim Williams » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:25 pm

Here is a little list of car ownership per 1,000 people for selected countries:
USA 910
New Zealand 774
Australia 740
UK 519
Estonia 476
Armenia 167
Singapore 149
Hong Kong 77
Kyrgyzstan 59
Uzbekistan 37

In the 700's and above shifting people away from their comfortable cars and the convenience they provide, is difficult - "strap hanging" really does not cut it - people expect seats!! The arguments about multi-door entries for fast loadings, high crush loads and therefore operational efficiency really counts for nothing - People will not move away from their cars to travel in cattle truck conditions.

A lot of people in countries with lower car ownership have little choice when it comes to travel, they do put up with crush loads, there is no alternative. Countries like Hong Kong and Singapore have road space limitations, but the wealth of those countries does allow high seat double decker buses where possible (and there is obviously a degree of economic dualism in both places - the wealthy and the not so...) - Trains carry huge numbers in both places, with a high percentage of standees. Hong Kong does not permit artics and Singapore is phasing them out.

London eliminated artics because of the high amount of fare evasion (due to multiple door loadings and road (space) problems including the death of several cyclists. the Mercs were only used shorter runs, in any event.

Australia has low public transport use, by world standards and to get people on to public transport the following has to happen:-
1. It must be reliable and regular.
2. It must be comfortable, which means mostly seats and good air conditioning.
3. The costs of travel must provide cost benefits over using the car or maybe over car owner.
4. It needs to be time efficient (bus lanes, where possible and transfers kept to a minimum).

I should also add that our major cities are far more spread out, than in the UK or Europe, so people do often travel longer journeys and therefore will not stand - and can you blame them!!

Reiterating a comment above, standing in high capacity artics will not tempt people out of their cars. Hence, if certain routes require double deckers to provide necessary seating capacity, then so be it and let us not get hung up on the increased dwell times of deckers, yes it is a fact but keep an eye on Singapore where tenders have been called for 100 3 x door, 2 x staircase deckers to eliminate that increased dwell time. I should add that with the high numbers of deckers in both Singapore and Hong Kong, passengers do get on and off very quickly - their smart card ticket systems well assist.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby TA3001 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:57 pm

Tim Williams wrote:4. It needs to be time efficient (bus lanes, where possible and transfers kept to a minimum).


With many routes in Adelaide, the overcautious DPTI tends to give buses a minimum of a minute per stop on many services, no matter how close they are. The timetables tend to include plenty of excess time to enable late running buses to make up lost time. So unless this changes quickly, with more realistic timetables that don't consist of schedules that include 37 minutes to cover the first 7 kilometres of a city route or 79 minutes on a public holiday for a route that goes through a 13km long 80 zone.

If you want to see how slow the services can be, just go to Paradise interchange at 4PM on a weekday and board a 178 to Adelaide that's leaving on time....
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 am

Your argument is completely negated, Tim, in Perth where over the last two decades a huge patronage growth has been attracted back to public transport out of one of the highest rates of car usage in the world - with trains and buses that are single deck with high standee capacity and relatively low seating capacity. The reasons include speed and frequency of service (including fast interchanges in a system based, European-style, on interchange) and excellent coverage. Really nothing to do with getting seats (or even single-seat journeys), the desirability of which is related not to distance but to journey time.

Double deck vehicles (bus or train) are a self-perpetuating problem because they're so slow, thus they artificially create a need for seats because of their protracted journey times. The faster the journey time, the less need for seats. People are wearing this now because in the larger, more congested cities, journey times by car have become so protracted (not to mention stressful) that people are preferring to stand in a public transport vehicle for a much faster journey rather than be stuck for much longer in gridlock in a car.

I also suggest that sleepy Adelaide is a rather poor perspective from which to view the issues that the major Australian cities have. By 2050 (probably earlier), Sydney and Melbourne will have 8 million people each. This calls for quite radical, high-volume, high efficiency public transport solutions. Melbourne has a big head-start through having preserved its tram system in which the minimum vehicle capacity is that of an articulated bus with all-door loading (the A and Z class trams) and the newer part of the fleet offering well beyond that. The Melbourne tram system moves more people per annum with 500 trams than the Sydney (now being contracted-out) government bus system with the same coverage with 2,000 buses. The inefficiency of low-capacity buses (particularly with one-door loading) is just appalling.

The double decker bus is the worst of all worlds - low-capacity, typically not much more than a 12 metre single-decker, slow to move along the road, slow to exchange passengers. It's just an awful "solution" for urban mass transit, it's only valid (at the cost of low-capacity) type of role being long-distance services like Sydney's northern beaches where passenger exchange along the route is low and people are remaining on the bus for long journeys to and from the suburbs. This type of traditional (in Australia) "single-seat" journey is collapsing under the significant patronage growth of the last couple of decades in the major cities (Sydney. Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth). You can see recently in Brisbane that the effort to maintain single-seat journeys along their busways has collapsed under the load and they are introducing a Gold Coast-type solution of a core corridor service with feeders connecting to it. Where does a double-decker fit into an interchange system like that - which we'll be seeing much more of as time goes on? It's too slow and inefficient to do the core corridor with its high turnover and it's unecessarily over-specified for the outer feeders that usually don't have a seating capacity problem. The double decker bus is a niche vehicle, which is fine by me, but the worry in Sydney at the moment is that some brainfart might occur in TfNSW that concludes that they're fine for wider application.

As for car-ownership rates and public transport usage, the correlation is sometimes complex. It can also be determined by how the city's landuse is planned, easy of parking and so on. The city of Prague, which has about the same population as Adelaide (but denser obviously), has car ownership over 500 vehicles per thousand population but moves over 1.1 billion people per annum by public transport, most of the vehicles (metro, tram, bus) with relatively low seating capacity. The bus system alone (which doesn't go into the city centre but interchanges to metro or tram) moves 350 million people per annum with less than 1,200 buses, over 40% of them artics (most of those with 5 doors, all-door entry). If the journey is quick, people are obviously happy to ride this way than drive. Perth demonstrates that the same increasingly applies in Australia due to increasing road congestion and difficulty of parking. It's also worth pointing out that seating capacity is only an issue in artics in peak. Off-peak, everybody is typically seated because they have more seats than a rigid bus. Even standing they are comfortable because of the long, spacious area of stepless low-floor extending from front to back.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Tim Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:00 am

An interesting, detailed and polite response Tony. I do not necessarily agree with a lot of the comments, but rather than provide a half-hearted negative reply, I will put some thought and detail into the response a little later - I have a number of commitments today.
I will say that I would have been disappointed if my somewhat provocative posting had been ignored (by you!!!)
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:02 am

Tim Williams wrote:An interesting, detailed and polite response Tony. I do not necessarily agree with a lot of the comments, but rather than provide a half-hearted negative reply, I will put some thought and detail into the response a little later - I have a number of commitments today.
I will say that I would have been disappointed if my somewhat provocative posting had been ignored (by you!!!)

I assumed that you were waving a red rag at me Tim and that I would have been rude to ignore it! :wink:
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Tim Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:11 am

Yes Tony, I was somewhat!!!! But I will provide a proper reply, once I have done the necessary research. I will say that the use of one type of vs. another certainly does interest me and probably a lot of others and is worthy of some good discussions.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Mr OC Benz » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:11 am

Tim Williams wrote:In the 700's and above shifting people away from their comfortable cars and the convenience they provide, is difficult - "strap hanging" really does not cut it - people expect seats!! The arguments about multi-door entries for fast loadings, high crush loads and therefore operational efficiency really counts for nothing - People will not move away from their cars to travel in cattle truck conditions.

I think you're taking too much of a view that the above applies everywhere, it doesn't and certainly within a single city, there are different views and needs that will exist depending on the area. You only have to look at the dense inner parts of Sydney, Brisbane's busway and even Perth's CAT network and some of their busiest routes to see that there is more to the picture. In these areas, car ownership is much lower than the outer suburban areas and bus journeys are not just for the non-discretionary or peak commute use, but for all kinds of discretionary travel too. These areas are usually situated very close to major activity or city centres where travel times are short and thus the emphasis on public transport provision is more focused on providing high frequency, high volume service to meet demand. It is also quite evident in these areas on the bus routes where the average travel time is short that the focus is less on providing enough seats and more on providing consistency (regular departures) and simplicity (easy to understand bus routes that come often everyday).

Certainly in peak periods on space constrained roads, it is inefficient and unrealistic to expect buses to always have seats available, especially when operating at such high frequencies. You only have to watch semi-busy services where people voluntarily stand while there are still plenty of seats available to see that it is not a deciding factor for many people. You end up with a situation that occurs in the smaller cities like Brisbane and Perth where the high number of buses on the road in the peak not actually carrying full loads is counter-intuitive and actually results in unnecessary "bus congestion".

Tim Williams wrote:A lot of people in countries with lower car ownership have little choice when it comes to travel, they do put up with crush loads, there is no alternative. Countries like Hong Kong and Singapore have road space limitations, but the wealth of those countries does allow high seat double decker buses where possible (and there is obviously a degree of economic dualism in both places - the wealthy and the not so...) - Trains carry huge numbers in both places, with a high percentage of standees. Hong Kong does not permit artics and Singapore is phasing them out.

Hong Kong and Singapore have challenges regarding not only limited road space, but also land space for stowage. In Singapore, you only have to head up north to places like Woodlands and Yishun to see that the artics work really well as high capacity feeder buses into the MRT. In these locations, road space is not so scarce for buses. Another thing going for these two cities (and in other cities) is that travel behaviour is conducive to making double deckers work as best as they can. Passengers are usually prepared to exit the bus well before it has come to a stop. The over-emphasis on safety in Sydney with B-Line for example has resulted in excessive announcements being regularly played to remind passengers to not stand on the staircase or upper deck while the bus is moving (in other words, people can't go downstairs to exit until the bus has stopped). This along with the already extra dwell time to load/unload a double decker exacerbates the issue and is a convincing reason in why I believe that the increase in double decker buses approaching Wynyard in Sydney has actually made congestion worse on the approach despite the massive improvements made to road layout which now effectively provide 3-4 bus lanes coming off the Harbour Bridge into Wynyard during the AM peak. In saying this, don't get me wrong, the work that these deckers are doing coming into Wynyard is completely appropriate for them (i.e. M2 runs, Northern Beaches etc), but it just shows the trade-off and issues that will arise if you try to implement this in other areas where travel times are short and people are already attracted to transit. Therefore, the focus in these scenarios should be on sufficient supply and efficient movement of people.

Tim Williams wrote:London eliminated artics because of the high amount of fare evasion (due to multiple door loadings and road (space) problems including the death of several cyclists. the Mercs were only used shorter runs, in any event.

But they were replaced by the New Routemaster which also has multi-door loading, albeit two staircases - which if you were to even consider using double deckers on short high volume routes, this along with a third door should be deemed essential. It's fair to say that the decision had far more political weighting than off the back of research. The amount of extra buses required to replace those artics and even to this day, the difficulty in serving routes where double deckers cannot be used (e.g. low bridges) is a challenge.

Tim Williams wrote:Australia has low public transport use, by world standards and to get people on to public transport the following has to happen:-
1. It must be reliable and regular.
2. It must be comfortable, which means mostly seats and good air conditioning.
3. The costs of travel must provide cost benefits over using the car or maybe over car owner.
4. It needs to be time efficient (bus lanes, where possible and transfers kept to a minimum).

Yes, this is the case for most of Australia, but for those dense inner areas where people are already attracted to transit for many types of journeys, then the focus must be more on efficiently catering for this demand rather than trying to provide everyone with an ideal world situation. In these areas, people are already won over by transit and are less susceptible to the issues that impact on lower density suburban areas where the emphasis is more on changing travel behaviour. I think what this shows is that there shouldn't be a "one size fits all" approach - although realistically I know that this is exactly what dictates things in many cases given the cost!

Tim Williams wrote:I should also add that our major cities are far more spread out, than in the UK or Europe, so people do often travel longer journeys and therefore will not stand - and can you blame them!!

Again, where these journeys are longer, I agree that it is not reasonable to expect people to stand. However, vice-versa applies in the areas where journey times are short and therefore people are more willing to stand. To an extent, even in parts of Sydney, people are quite accustomed to standing for long periods (such as M2 and Northern Beaches) but I agree that this shouldn't be the ideal situation and the increased use of double deckers and building of new infrastructure is appropriate for handling this dilemma. But this is not a single characteristic that you can apply across an entire city as I feel has been implied in your comments.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby system improver » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:48 pm

Australia is a car country for two reasons - its size and its wealth. Big countries in which most citizens are in the top 20% of the world's richest people will be car countries. Added to this, the running costs of cars are relatively low. For instance, if your household income is $60,000, then you can arrange your finances to afford the $10,000 pa that running a car costs. A household income of $100,000+ usually means two cars.

Australia has a population of about 25 million. We have almost 20 million vehilces. Of course, some people have none - generally the very young or the very old. Other than that, it's a rare matter of choice. So what prompts us to use public transport? When it's quicker, less stressful and cheaper, and those times when travelling time doesn't matter. For instance, we may use public transport to go into big cities because congestion and parking constraints means longer travel and higher cost by car. It is the same reason that many will use pt to go to sporting events. This also means that issues around alcohol and driving can be avoided (largely). If we are on holidays, or travelling on a weekend, we may use public transport because time is not so much an issue.

We might walk to the shops - if they are close, but generally Australians drive to shopping centres, swimming pools, gymnasiums, the beach, the hills, the country and to visit relatives. These journeys rarely have high frequency public transport and often involve cross city or cross town travel.

We will choose to change from cars to public transport in this order - train, tram and then bus. We will drive to the nearest station but we won't catch the bus, even if it stops outside our front door. Bus travel in those circumstances is for those without cars. We will walk to a tram stop but not a station, because one is around 5 minutes a way and the other is 10 minutes away. Buses often travel by circuitous routes in order to travel nearer to more houses. Ironically, it also makes bus travel less attractive because a 15 minute trip might take 5 if the route was straightened out.

Peak oil and climate change will have an effect on the use of cars, but it is far from certain that it will reduce the number of cars. Electric cars powered by renewables, built with renewable energy and resources, are already available. The rules adopted by large population countries, like China, Germany, etc., will be adopted here, even if there is some delay. We no longer have an automotive industry. If the rest of the world stops making internal combustion vehicles, there won't be any for us to buy either. City congestion rules (like in Singapore, Tokyo, London, etc) are more likely to affect the move from car to pt. Risk taking political leadership is required for that in a democracy. But like the banning of plastic bags in supermarkets - something that happened over 20 years ago in Europe without everyone getting the plague as predicted by Melbourne's village idiot - Andrew Bolt - city car bans might happen sooner rather than later.

The type and size of bus is problematical. Skybus uses dd buses - loading and unloading time is not that important, but available space at the terminus is. Artics do well on on long minimal stop largely express services into cities. Rigid buses cater for the rest and really should be a mix of lengths - horses for courses - or buses for road conditions, but operators often go for longer than needed buses to enable "flexibility" when one bus is unavailable and for resale value. If fleet owners could afford a 10% surplus to requirements fleet, then both need and flexibility could be met. But most can't. Only government operators have achieved this in the past.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:57 pm

I can't help thinking that Tim's comments are written from the point of view of the characteristic smaller, universally low density city of days of yore in Australia (and still the case in e.g. Adelaide and Hobart), but a number of Australian cities are no longer like that and it is true, as you say Mr OCB, that there are cities within cities and the requirements and public expectations differ, not only between cities, but across different parts within a city and a rigid one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate. My main fear with the apparent sudden new affection for double-deckers in TfNSW is that, while their use is appropriate on the long distance expresses like northern beaches and M2/Hills, somebody will decide that they're also a great solution for e.g. the intense Bondi Beach corridor which really cries out for four-door, all-door-loading artics (that is, de facto trams) at the bare minimum.

The biggest problem in Sydney (which doesn't exist in Melbourne because they kept their trams) is a yawning capacity gap between the buses and trains and that it's now financially prohibitive to quickly reinstate numbers of new tram lines or increase the density of train line coverage (which is what they're doing in Perth), so there's a great need for high-capacity buses that operate efficiently to fill this gap in the high-volume areas. Double deckers are not the right type because of their low operating efficiency in terms of speed of passenger processing, so that leaves artics.

What must be the most glaring example that contradicts Tim's assertion in Australia at the moment would be the NSW south coast rail service where there are double-deck trains with plenty of seats, but the demand is so high in peaks that people are standing for the whole 90 minute journey to and from Wollongong (only 80 km but very slow). Now, there is a motorway alongside that rail line all the way to the outskirts of Sydney, after which it does get congested and of course it is virtually impossible to park in the CBD - though it is possible to drive a distance and then get public transport for the final leg. This should be a classic example in which people would flee to their cars because of the loss of seated comfort, yet people are persisting with the train, standing for 90/180 minutes daily - not happily, but they're actually deliberately choosing to do it. How does that fit the argument? It doesn't and this will increasingly become the case as Sydney and Melbourne head towards 8 million people, by which time they will be extensively requiring metro trains, trams and articulated buses. Melbourne with its intact tram system is, luckily for them, a couple of steps ahead in preparedness for the imminent major climb up the capacity/efficiency ladder. One major advantage of the Liberal government in NSW (and in the Federal govt by way of financial support) is that it has had the wits to hit the red button to finally get the catch-up in motion quickly.

Another example that interests me, as a bye the bye, is that I understand that coach-standard double-deck buses were used for commuting on the Mandurah corridor in Perth before the train line was built. This is an example of high-seating-capacity double deckers actually being replaced by what are basically standee trains (though nobody would be standing for the whole length of a journey). The trains, as we know, resulted in an enormous surge in patronage and I suspect there wasn't any moaning about the loss of the double-deck buses. Ten minutes journey-time difference (50 vs 60 minutes) was apparently enough to win them over:

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/P ... rvice.aspx

As to having additional stairs to make a double-decker more efficient, this is self-defeating as it brings the seating capacity down in the direction of that of an artic. In addition, stairwells are lost floor-space. The best bus design should be aiming to get every last cubic centimetre of interior space dedicated to its passenger-carrying function. Improved loading practices would help a double-decker a little. Mr OCB has mentioned the terrible practices enforced by TfNSW in Sydney in which passengers are not allowed on the stairs while moving and drivers must stop people from boarding until every last passenger has exited (obviously to avoid internal crowd-movement conflict), on top of which everybody in NSW has to board a bus through the front door only, in spite of electronic ticketing. :roll: If these rules were lifted, I think one could get better productivity out of a double decker (with the stairs at the front in Australia) if upstairs was emptied through the front door while boarders simulataneously entered through the centre door (which would clear earlier because there are less people on the lower deck) and populate the lower deck, already tagged on and aboard, ready to move up the stairs when the last person had come down the stairs and the bus was moving off. I'm sure that this would shave a couple of minutes off the dwell.

Just a couple of thoughts.

I've used three generations of double deckers in Sydney: the first like the London RTs, dreadful (I also lived in London for a couple of years and hated riding these buses), then the Atlanteans which were a decent bus when in their proper use on longer routes, but the union sabotaged those and now the current ones in which I see none of the old issues have changed - slow-moving, yawning dwell times, no head room, cramped and sickening to ride with that centre-of-gravity lurch on bends. However, they obviously make sense on those longer semi-express routes where even I admit that seating is important because of the protracted journey times, though they're no capacity giants, even the northern beaches service shifting only 1,500 persons per hour per direction, which is peanuts and is already at the limit of their capacity. On this corridor they still require a lot of artics and rigid single deckers to support them, otherwise they'd never meet the demand.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:05 pm

system improver wrote:Artics do well on on long minimal stop largely express services into cities.

No!!!!! That's the job of the double-decker! Artics are a tram on tyres, used for high-volume, high-activity corridors with high turnover. There is an acute need for them, capacity-wise, in cities that have lost their tram systems and don't have a dense railway system to partly compensate, which is every Australian city except Melbourne.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Mr OC Benz » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:45 pm

One other thing to mention is that most of the comments here are related to human behaviour in terms of deciding whether to use public transport or not. That's well and good and is a critical factor for many parts of Australia, but what is increasingly becoming more important is the urban land use policies in place that guide a city's development and in turn has significantly more influence on a person's lifestyle and travel choices.

One reason why Sydney has a much higher public transport use per capita than other Australian cities is because it is significantly more dense with land a significantly scarce resource (density makes public transport easier to provide) and this in turn puts constraints on how much land can be provided for vehicles, how much parking can be provided for cars and how much users should be paying to either park their car, or to travel on a specific road. In many new developments, there are many apartments without a car bay and indeed, many people in these areas rely on public and active transport to get around for almost everything. Car share schemes exist in these areas for those rare occasions where someone does need a car. You only need to catch a bus around the inner suburbs on a weekend to see how much busier they are than during the weekday off-peak! People are not just travelling for work or study, but also for leisure, all of those things that have been mentioned where indeed, outside of these dense urban areas, would typically be undertaken by private car. But in these dense urban areas, many of these trips undertaken are in high volume (as density is high and key attractions are close) and with short travelling time - the ideal situation for maximising the efficient movement of people no matter the mode and where satisfaction metrics vary. On the contrary, there are areas not so dense, where essentially you are throwing a net over a wide expanse and bringing them all into one place (such as from the northern beaches to the city). In this situation, there are less people getting on and off (although even in this case in Sydney, there is still quite a high amount!) and with longer journey times, is ideal for maximising comfort and capacity in the form of double decker buses.

In a place like Perth, despite its major urban sprawl problem, there is no need for double decker buses and indeed, to introduce them would require significant modifications to infrastructure across the city. But they will never be needed because the city relies on its urban rail system to do the heavy lifting with buses primarily serving a feeder role and where buses do have to perform a more long distance task, these are often in lower density areas where the demand for public transport does not warrant an investment in such higher capacity vehicles or where rail lines are proposed to be constructed in the future when development does increase. Therefore, typical bus routes are much shorter and where routes do experience high demand, articulated buses are the ideal choice for handling this demand on shorter routes where journey time and reliability is the most important factor. There are no express bus routes and very few limited stop routes in Perth.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Merc1107 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:48 pm

tonyp wrote:Another example that interests me, as a bye the bye, is that I understand that coach-standard double-deck buses were used for commuting on the Mandurah corridor in Perth before the train line was built. This is an example of high-seating-capacity double deckers actually being replaced by what are basically standee trains (though nobody would be standing for the whole length of a journey). The trains, as we know, resulted in an enormous surge in patronage and I suspect there wasn't any moaning about the loss of the double-deck buses. Ten minutes journey-time difference (50 vs 60 minutes) was apparently enough to win them over

It's interesting you raise this point!
Articulated buses were also very common on these runs. Stories I've heard note services were often full and leaving passengers behind.

I feel the Mandurah line exceeding expectations within weeks of its opening relates to several factors:
The first being significantly reduced chance of being left behind; given the railcars have far greater seating (or standing!) capacity than any bus. Others being the train stopping en-route for pickups and set-downs, longer operating hours for train and buses services and more park and ride facilities.

Buses servicing the city were often limited-stops and/or pickup or set-down only, limiting ability for passengers to transfer to other services. The network seems to have been much more city-centric than it is now. The Southern Suburbs now have access to much vaster network of feeder buses (partly due to continued sprawl) that connect with city train services, in addition to mainline routes in some areas. The bus network has a far more predictable frequency, actually takes passengers where they need to go with relatively direct routes (as opposed to a spaghetti-tangle of indirect and ridiculously infrequent runs) and transferring to other services en-route or at interchanges is now feasible given the majority of areas now have at least hourly bus frequency or better.

The best way to summarise is the system is now reliable - it doesn't take the better part of forever to get nowhere in our suburbs.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Tim Williams » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:01 pm

[b]
Vehicle Size and Type – this is an article from the World Bank, from 2006.
This may be a few years old, but the principles naturally remain current.
[/b]
Road vehicles used for mass public transport range from small vehicles carrying about 10 passengers, to bi-articulated buses built to maximum permitted dimensions and weight, which may carry over 270. Each type of vehicle has a role to play, and to some extent all may be complementary to one another as part of the overall public transport system.
Vehicle size
Large buses are appropriate in certain circumstances, and small vehicles in others. It’s sometimes difficult to determine whether several small vehicles or one large one would meet the requirements of passengers and operators more efficiently in any given situation.
In broad terms, the appropriate vehicle size is influenced by:
• The volume of traffic (the number of people traveling between the same two points at the same time).
• The characteristics of the road system.
• The type of services that passengers are prepared to pay for.
Passenger flows achieved with different vehicle sizes vary considerably. A service operated exclusively by small buses with about 10 seats each can carry up to a maximum of about 3,000 passengers per hour in a single lane in one direction.
Bus capacities
Conventional buses, carrying up to 80 passengers each, can carry up to about 15,000 passengers per hour, unless there is severe traffic congestion, and more if there are exclusive bus lanes. Buses operating on busway systems can theoretically carry up to 30,000 per hour in each direction, but this figure is rarely achieved in practice.
Generally, where large numbers of passengers are to be carried so that vehicles can be filled to capacity, the most efficient and economic vehicle is the largest that can be operated legally, safely and practically within the constraints of the prevailing road conditions.
Full-sized buses can, if required, carry a high proportion of standing passengers in greater comfort than small buses, which often have very limited headroom.
Larger buses require less road space per passenger, and this can be particularly significant where road space is limited, as well as in depots, at bus stops and stations. Fewer large buses are required to carry the same number of passengers. This will normally result in lower levels of atmospheric pollution, and easier management and control, particularly of scheduling. The number of personnel required to transport a given number of passengers will also normally be lower.
Smaller vehicles are necessary on routes where road conditions inhibit the use of larger vehicles. This often applies when routes operate in high-density residential areas with very narrow streets. Other constraints on the operation of larger vehicles may include low or weak bridges, or terminals and depots with restricted access, as well as legislation restricting vehicle dimensions.
Smaller buses can provide a higher frequency of service for a given passenger flow, which can improve the convenience of the service. Passengers also often prefer small buses because they are faster and take less time to load.
Small vehicles also make it possible to offer a greater number of route variations, without adversely affecting service frequency.
Size and operating speed
The size of a vehicle can affect its operating speed in various ways. A small vehicle usually has better acceleration and maneuverability in traffic than a larger vehicle. Smaller size also means a smaller number of passengers boarding and alighting at each stop, so dwell times at stops will also be less.
Speed of operation has an effect on system capacity. A vehicle that can achieve a higher average speed will be able to provide more passenger-kilometers than a slower vehicle with the same capacity, although vehicle performance is obviously affected by prevailing traffic speeds.
Bus size and traffic congestion
Where passenger volumes are very high, the advantage of speed enjoyed by smaller vehicles is reduced or even negated by the congestion caused by large numbers of vehicles stopping simultaneously to pick up and set down passengers. In general, larger vehicles mean greater potential capacity for a transport system.
When there is a mixture of capacities on one route, different operating speeds for different vehicle sizes results in irregular service — even if buses are dispatched from terminals at regular intervals.
Except where by virtue of their numbers they are a direct cause of congestion, small buses can be advantageous in severely congested conditions. They are more maneuverable than larger buses and may cause less congestion per passenger in moving traffic than bigger buses, especially if bigger buses are not full. Similarly, where the level of traffic discipline, particularly lane discipline, is poor, smaller and more maneuverable vehicles have an advantage.
However, a very high service frequency may mean that there are often several vehicles running in convoy. This can create significant congestion compared with a single large vehicle carrying the same number of passengers.
When operated at very high frequencies small buses invariably cause more congestion at stops, by requiring more space. Small buses make wasteful use of road space. A 10-seat minibus occupies nearly three times as much road space per passenger as a full-sized bus.
Size and maintenance
Small vehicles are mass produced in greater volume than large buses, and therefore capital costs per seat or passenger-place can be significantly lower. Maintenance costs also, principally the cost of spare parts, are often lower for the same reason. Smaller vehicles are also generally easier to maintain. This makes them attractive to small private sector operators, particularly owner-drivers.
The life of a smaller vehicle is usually shorter than that of a larger vehicle, however, so depreciation costs per passenger may be relatively high. Since each bus requires a driver regardless of its size, labor costs per passenger may be higher for a small bus. But in most developing countries the difference is insignificant since wage rates are generally low. Smaller vehicles require less skill to drive, and therefore recruitment and training of drivers is easier.
Bus types
In addition to the wide range of sizes, there are various types of vehicle that may be operated on conventional bus services. Basic choices are between single and double deck vehicles, and between rigid and articulated vehicles. Within these categories there are many alternative configurations, including body and chassis layout, and mechanical specifications.
Different standards of passenger accommodation may be provided, although not normally on the same vehicle. These standards range from very basic, perhaps with the majority of passengers required to stand, to very high, with features such as air conditioning, reclining seats, video, toilets and refreshments.
It’s common, particularly on bus routes with high volumes of passenger traffic, to provide two or more standards of service, using vehicles with different specifications.

Single deck buses
Single deck buses range in length from about 5-to-12 meters. In some countries even longer buses are permissible, up to a maximum of about 15 meters, although such lengths are impractical except where operation is exclusively on roads that are relatively wide and straight. If buses longer than 12 meters are required it’s normally necessary to use articulated vehicles.
The shortest single-deckers, about 5-to-6 meters long and carrying between 10 and 20 passengers, are often referred to as minibuses, and sometimes as microbuses. They are usually designed for all passengers to be seated, although standing passengers are often carried in cramped conditions.
Buses between about 7 and 8 meters long, carrying 20-to-35 seated passengers, sometimes with accommodation for additional standing passengers, are often referred to as midibuses. Although in some countries these are also known as minibuses. Full-sized single-deck buses can carry between 60 and 120 passengers including those standing.

Double deck buses
Double deck buses, normally about 9 and 12 meters in length, but up to 15 meters in some countries and seating between 60 and 120 passengers, are operated on urban services in many countries.
Double-deck buses have a number of advantages. They are able to provide a high seating capacity within a limited space. They occupy less road, terminal and depot floor space per seated passenger. In congested traffic conditions and where space is limited this can be a major advantage.
However, the saving in space per passenger can be comparatively small depending on the proportion of standing to seated passengers that is acceptable. Where all passengers require seats, as in the case of heavily used premium-quality urban services, the double-decker offers a greater advantage than where a high proportion of standing passengers is acceptable.
Double-deckers have a number of disadvantages compared with single-deckers, including:
• Increased loading and unloading times.
• Additional costs from the more complex construction.
• A staircase is required.
• Greater headroom in depots is required.
• Low bridges and other overhead obstructions, such as utility cables, often restrict the routes where they can be used.

Articulated buses

Articulated (including bi-articulated) single deck buses, carrying up to 270 passengers and sometimes even more, are efficient movers of large numbers of passengers. They are more maneuverable than rigid buses of the same length. They can be much longer than rigid buses — up to 25 meters is possible, although the normal maximum length is approximately 18 to 20 meters.
Articulated buses can be very effective where labor is scarce or expensive, passenger volumes are high, roads are relatively wide and straight, and space is not severely restricted. With well-designed bus stop facilities and appropriate fare collection systems, they can load and unload very quickly despite their size. However, they require greater skill to drive, particularly when reversing. The number of routes that they may be used is often also limited. Specially designed depot facilities may also be required. Where congestion is severe and roads are narrow they may be impractical.
Their more complex construction makes them more expensive to purchase and maintain than rigid single-deckers or double-deckers (typically, 25% or 30% more than a double-decker), and reliability may be a problem where road conditions are poor.
Articulated buses must have good access to bus stops, with all doors accessible from the curb without obstruction from parked cars or street furniture. It’s particularly important to ensure that passenger shelters and safety barriers are positioned so that they do not obstruct any of the doors of buses using the stop.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Linto63 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:54 am

Comparing Sydney and Melbourne to Perth is a bit flawed. The latter was a big country town up until the 1950s, hence why it was able to build a much more thought out road network that is probably only second to Canberra. Likewise comparing to former Eastern Bloc countries where freedom of choice has until relatively recently not existed is a bit of an apples and oranges thing.

While the double decker was largely used in Commonwealth countries that did have buy British first policies, that Hong Kong and Singapore (countries that know a thing or two about moving lots of people), and to a lesser extent Malaysia and New Zealand, have continued to buy deckers long after cutting ties with the empire indicates they still have a place.

While fare evasion was a problem for Transport for London, the main reason they were eliminated was that passengers didn't like their low seating capacity. While the death of cyclists attracted attention, it was largely through their own stupidty of cutting up the inside.

Sydney's return to deckers may well have been influenced by Pommy management, they certainly are calling the shots at Sydney Trains, and hoodwinked Gladys when transport minister against the advice of respected local experts like Ron Christie. I guess when calico destination blinds return we will know for sure. :D

I think everybody acknowledges that a bendi will be able to turn over its load quicker than a decker, but it comes at a cost, less seats. At the end of the day its a bit of a horses for courses thing. For some people every second counts, they would prefer to stand to shave 10 minutes off their journey time while others will sacrifice the 10 minutes for a seat. Like at railway stations, there are those who will squeeze onto the first train at any cost and there are those who are more pragmatic and happily let the full train go, taking the punt that the following one will be less busy.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:26 am

Tim Williams wrote: this is an article from the World Bank, from 2006.

Certainly a survey that's globally averaged-out, with some ludicrous figures (from the standpoint of "western" countries) that have been skewed upwards because they include the unacceptable overcrowding that is common in some of these types of service in less developed South American and SE Asian countries. Some of those figures you would only get if the buses moved along a road nose to tail without stopping for passengers or traffic lights - they're a complete nonsense. The reason that tram lines are being built along corridors like George St in Sydney is that the conga line of buses fouled up in their own congestion and ground to a halt. The bus capacity figures in that World Bank survey are also often ludicrous. In reality in Australia we're looking at about 80 passengers for a 12 metre, about 100 for a decker and about 110-120 for an artic. In Europe, bi-artics typically have a capacity of up to 190 and even single artics are up to about 150, 3-4 door rigids to about 100.

Apart from the obvious issue of traffic lights/ intersections, dwell time at stops and passenger-exchange practices also have a major influence on how many buses per hour you can feed along a road. The northern beaches double decker service is at a maximum capacity of 4 minute headways/ 1,500 people per hour per direction because the stop dwells are so long that, if they were closer than 4 minutes, the buses behind would pile up on each other. Indeed in my observation, they already do from time to time, leading to the infamous bus convoy. If the buses were artics, they could readily achieve 2 minute headways even with front door loading (and exit through all 3 doors), which is some 3,300 passengers per hour. If they were typical European 4 to 5 door artics with all-door loading, they already achieve the dwell times of trams, typically in the 15 to 25 second range, which means some 6,600 passengers per hour. In reality, of course, traffic lights/ prioritisation comes into sway and that heavily influences the actual practical productivity.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:52 am

Linto63 wrote:Comparing Sydney and Melbourne to Perth is a bit flawed.

Perth is a city of 2 million people, big enough to be used as an exemplar for larger systems and it is in fact used as a model elsewhere. It's ironic that you mention Singapore because they have used the Perth operational model. Singapore and Hong Kong are also good at moving large numbers of people because their systems are based on metro. Australia used to have similar expertise in mass movement and still does to some extent - the Hong Kong light rail partly drew on Australian expertise.

I'm a great believer in using the home-grown expertise that we have and I think it is deeply flawed to import expertise in bulk (as opposed to talented individuals with experience with the best systems in the world) from a particularly ordinary jurisdiction overseas that, not only has little to offer us, but it's people aren't familiar with the nuances of the local environment, just as somebody from here would have a learning curve to mount overseas. The boldest direction being taken in Sydney at the moment, the metro, is the particular initiative of an Australian, Rodd Staples. Christie and others, while talented, were still on a mission to get the most out of the double-deck system which is, ultimately, an unwinnable exercise - partly due to the same issues with double-deckers as their bus counterparts, namely that they don't represent the best in mass transit that Sydney urgently needs in the coming decades.

A common thread of misunderstanding that some - including you - seem to have here is Sydney's gigantic capacity gap between what the bus system presently underproductively provides and what the train system does or can (post-metro) provide. A big capacity hole was left by the removal of the tram system and the bus system has completely failed to plug the gap, while at the same time, new rail lines have not been built that might have helped narrow the gap from above. This has now turned into a transit crisis that requires going for the max to address. That means high-capacity train systems (metro), trams and getting the highest capacity/efficiency out of the bus system.

As for this ongoing seats vs standing issue, yes it has validity, but what both you and Tim ignore is the fact mentioned by Mr OCB, the significant trend towards voluntary standing in buses (and trains and trams for that matter) - that is, people choosing to stand even when there are seats available. This is not only happening in Sydney, but I've seen it regularly in for example the Gong Shuttle in Wollongong and on the Perth CATs. Obviously for long distances, a seat is preferred, but for a growing number of shorter transport journeys, people are indicating that they are happy to stand for a distance. Unfortunately, bus design is lagging behind this trend in its slowness to adopt the stepless gangway (fully low floor). One of the great advantages of artics is that the provision for comfortable standing is excellent, plus they're far from being seatless, 57 or so still being a very generous number for an urban bus.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Linto63 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:23 pm

Perth really didn't kick off until post WW2, allowing it to learn from the benefits of urban planning. Sydney and Melbourne, or at least the inner parts, were already fully developed by the time their railways were electrified in the 1920s, Perth didn't do its until the early 1990s allowing it to factor in the lessons learned on other cities.

If the high-standing, multi-door artic was considered a viable solution, surely a demonstrator would have arrived by now to drum up some interest. So manufacturers seemingly don't see it as viable for Australia, or perhaps they fall foul of Australian Design Rules.

A Tangara was fitted with bench seating as a trial a few years ago, nothing seems to have come of it, so presumably its was deemed not successful.

While there are some traveling making journeys who elect to stand, some consider it a bridge too far and as Tim said at the beginning, the aim of the game is to increase public transport usage and treating them like cattle isn't go to achieve this.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:19 pm

Linto63 wrote:If the high-standing, multi-door artic was considered a viable solution, surely a demonstrator would have arrived by now to drum up some interest. So manufacturers seemingly don't see it as viable for Australia, or perhaps they fall foul of Australian Design Rules.

They're already here operating on a route near you somewhere! Volgren is churning them out and has reported a significant growth in demand for them. OK, I think you mean the four or five door low-floor versions in Europe.

The only thing that's preventing such models here is the current non-availability of RHD chassis that can be fitted with a stepless door behind the rear axle, but still, three doors is pretty good and there's a possibility of fitting three doors in the front unit in addition to the one in the back. In terms of capacity, in Europe a slightly longer chassis is permitted and I imagine the axle load standards may be a little different. So maybe we can't get 150-160 passengers on board a standard artic here, but we can still get 110-120 which again is pretty good and up with a Melbourne A or Z class tram, thus better-helping close the capacity gap between buses and trains from below.

Incidentally there was a Hungarian demonstrator artic here back in iirc the 1980s but in those days they didn't have an understanding locally of the need for all those doors as front-door loading was the local practice. However many doors there are (but minimum of three), all-door loading is the key to opening up the full potential of an artic.

As for those arguments about artics and narrow roads, I've been watching the new fleet of Volgren artics in Nowra for some months now and they thread their way through some pretty narrow spaces and around small roundabouts quite comfortably, without sparing the horses. If I'm following one in a car I have trouble keeping up with it, they go like a scalded cat! I believe the turning circle of an artic is the same as that for a 12 metre bus, so I don't see any reason that there's any argument against them on those grounds. Perhaps it simply boils down to having good experienced drivers, which is the case in Nowra where they have been driving artics for many years.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Tim Williams » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:52 pm

P7060364.jpg
P7060364.jpg (68.42 KiB) Viewed 2990 times
Hi Tonyp, you obviously like trams, as well as high capacity articulated buses, whereas my preference is for double decker buses. So here is the best compromise that should amuse - that is double deck trams!! It is interesting that the future of these iconic trams in Hong Kong was seriously under threat after the underground MTR route virtually under the route was built. Public pressure plus a good amount of patronage ensured the future of the trams. I could write lots of stuff about these trams, but so much has been written, so I will leave it alone.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:25 pm

Double deck trams are about the worst of both worlds, though in Hong Kong are an institutionalised feature. Sydney rejected them as long ago as the 1880s because of their dwell time and never considered them again. In the 1930s, the general manager of the London Transport tramways, T.E. Thomas declared in a paper that he "pined for" American single-deck saloon cars for London's tramways, so it seems that even some British transport professionals were not that fond of double deckers, the use of which was, I understand, enforced by those highly-erudite transport experts, the Metropolitan Police.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby moa999 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:45 pm

Linto63 wrote:A Tangara was fitted with bench seating as a trial a few years ago, nothing seems to have come of it, so presumably its was deemed not successful.


There was some press on it a while ago.
They'd installed bench seats (and cameras to monitor)

But didn't seemingly have any objectives on how to measure success or any appropriate methodology for measuring performance, so whatever report was produced ended up in a garbage pile.

Not sure whether the greater room encouraged more people to stand upstairs/downstairs but I suspect as always the stairs were an impediment.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Linto63 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:33 pm

Recently Tramways & Urban Transit, a UK magazine that covers all things globally on trams and light rail, published an article pondering the question of whether a double-deck tram would work. This resulted in someone (who possibly is a member of this parish :D) from the colonial outpost of Australia sending in a letter to the editor that was published in the August 2018 edition stating:

"...a reason that double deck commercial transport vehicles (whether bus or tram) have not taken off seriously around the world outside of their British homeland is dwell time."

Now a bit of a confession, as I get on in years the memory isn't perhaps what it once was, but I have pretty firm recollections that in Sydney we once had a large fleet of Atlanteans. And while it does pre-date my time, I'm sure that large numbers of AEC, Albion and Leyland deckers were purchased in the 1940s and 50s. Weren't most Sydney (and Adelaides) trolleybuses double-deckers? And didn't Hobart operate double-deckers trams?

While it has been a while since I have been to either, seem to recall that both Hong Kong and Singapore's fleets were made up pre-dominantly of deckers. Fairly sure I have read of route service (as opposed to open top tourist) deckers also going in reasonable numbers to Canada, Egypt, Ireland (Republic), Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa.

While no doubt far more single deck buses have been produced than deckers, does appear the suggestion that double-deckers have "not taken off seriously around the world" is a bit of a falsehood or am I missing something? :oops:
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Fleet Lists » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:45 pm

I could imagine who that would have been.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby tonyp » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:36 pm

The notion of "taking off seriously" directly implies permanent long-term continuity. In most of those jurisdictions, excepting mainly the UK as a whole and a handful of other cities, the decker has either been tried once or twice, dropped and never seen again, or is reintroduced in generational cycles as perceived operational needs arise, only to disappear, then return in another generation. Sydney is clearly in the latter category.

The single decker bus, on the other hand, both in rigid and articulated forms, has long since come to stay permanently and prolifically, with numbers ever-expanding. The reasons have been described many times now in these discussions and repeatedly include dwell time among them.

Hobart did indeed operate some double deck trams, but also single deckers in their very quiet operation. A couple of their double deckers fell over, which is another not-so-endearing characteristic of this type of vehicle which we haven't raised here.

Apart from Hobart, Australian tramway operators universally rejected them, basically for the reasons outlined in a 1935 engineering paper by the NSW Tramways chief designer, F.N. Maclean: capital cost, maintenance cost, reliabilty, quietness, service speed, acceleration, retardation, flexibility in service, ride qualities, appearance, standee capacity, internal passenger flow, speed of loading and unloading (dwell time), safety of passengers, safety of pedestrians, safety of other vehicles, conductor's work (in those days) and driver's work. The only advantages of double deckers were seen as: weight economy, power cost, number of seated passengers and street occupation. Any operator or manufacturer will tell you much the same things today. Double deckers have a specific niche role only.
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Re: Why high standing multi door artics will not succeed in

Postby Tim Williams » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:36 pm

Tonyp, I have just returned from a board meeting and noticed another anti-double decker/dwell time posting!

I think it is fair to say that, by now we all understand your views - anti DD and an obsession with their dwell time. By your comments, I do think that you seem to be and intelligent and articulate person, but you really are "stuck in a groove".
High capacity, low seating artics have a place, but on shorter intense running, where the population density is high and the road space/traffic density permits them. I will not reiterate the pluses of double deckers, as we have been over this a number of times.

Now lets talk about dwell times - in Singapore you are required to "tap on and tap off" with the local smart card, so all buses have four readers to speed up loading and unloading and on DD's (as someone else has previously said) people begin leaving their seats, moving down the stairs and "taping off" prior to their stop and as aresult their dwell times are pretty good. What happens in Sydney (apparently) is not good - their anal attitude to moving around while the bus is on the go, is a bit over the top. Additionally the buses have a poor seating and standing capacity due to our archaic axle weight allowances. In HK a DD has 59 seats up stairs and 31 down + 44 standing = 144, which is for 12 mtrs, not 12.3mtrs. I must admit that the seating is tight upstairs - 55 on the older buses is better. A Bustech CDI can seat up to 96 + 20 standing (and I am sure our restrictive axle weights are the reason for the low number of standees).

One of the major influences of dwell time is bus stop design - the increasing use of recessed bus bays, has a massive slowing down effect on all bus configurations - a lot of studies have been undertaken and are worth looking at.

When I get some time, I will gather some information on dwell times in Singapore - showing DD's, artics and SD rigids and you will be surprised at the numbers.
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