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Bustech v CB 80

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Bustech v CB 80

Postby Ray » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:10 pm

I notice that although STA's M depot has equal numbers of CB80 and Bustech Scanias, the Bustechs seem to get more of a run, especially on weekends.

Is this a deliberate decision to use these buses by management, or do the drivers prefer them?
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Daniel » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:34 pm

The general rule is to run the newest buses as hard as possible to expose faults early in the warranty period.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby deepthought2006 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:36 pm

This M driver prefers the Bustech Scanias and not just because they are newer, although that may well be contributing to my preference.

While there have been some teething problems with the Bustechs, it seems to me that the problems have been pretty much sorted on those buses at Willoughby.

The Bustechs seem to accelerate and generally drive better, their air-conditioning works much better than the a/c in the CC CB80 Scanias, they are much quieter in the saloon (no rattles - yet) and have a good kneeling arrangement to name just three improvements, but the the stupid passenger bell arrangement (buzzer sound plus blaringly loud three-tone klaxon) and the door chimes drive me crazy. A quick open and close of the doors leaves those door opening/door closing chimes still playing well after the doors have closed and the bus is on its way, with the tones also suppressing any other sounds that you want to hear like the blinker tick-tocks, so you start to think that the blinkers have stopped. A several steps forward, a couple of steps back.

Why is it that every time STA gets a new model of bus a whole raft of new problems are created because some decision-maker can't stick with a system used on older models that has been sorted and now works well?
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:21 am

Speaking on behalf of the actual usability of the bus (for actual passengers and service efficiency as opposed to driving pleasure :wink: ), it seems that Bustech has basically shot itself in the foot with the XDi and its high floor and stepped centre door. CC has kept to the low floor format as far as the last door (second in Single, third in artic).

At least, I think - most local manufacturers' websites have a wealth of no useful information at all (i.e. technical drawings, interior photos), so I'm assuming certain things.

So why is Sydney Buses, as a high-volume operator, buying XDis at all?

In any case, layout efficiency generally is not going to progress much until they transfer the wheelchair entry to the second door.

Cruising through the websites of the local builders/agents generally is pretty depressing as far as citybuses are concerned:

http://www.busaustralia.com/body.html

Irizar at least could source a 100% low floor citybus from Spain if they could get it in RHD.

Bustech and CC have images of seemingly Hess-inspired double-articulated low-floors on their websites, but is it my understanding that double-articulated buses are not yet allowed in Australia? Even though B double and triple trucks are, puzzlingly, no problem.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Mitch » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:22 am

I quite like the XDi. There's still ample room for those who aren't able or its not suitable to sit anywhere rear of the step. Surfers Paradise in QLD seems to cope well with both their VST and XDI models.

Certain states have certain rules regarding B3 trucks. I know that in Victoria, B3 trucks are banned from operating in most areas of Victoria except for on the Hume, as well as the route between the Ford plants in Geelong and Campbellfield that Ceva Logistics operate. I don't think Australian roads are suitable for double articulated buses.

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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:49 am

The solution for a stepless floor is to keep it down to door level so that there are no steps at the doors, not to raise it so that there are steps to the doors. That's a high-floor bus, not a low-floor bus. The low aisle should be trenched to the back of the bus - that gets rid of the steps in the aisle at the back.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby moa999 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:11 am

I also like the XDI.

It provides a decent number of stepless seats for those with real mobility problems, who should be using the front door anyway, as it can dip to the gutter, and so the driver has more visibility for these pax.

The slightly sloping floor means that more seats, particularly those on the wheel arch are more accessible for those of moderate mobility, for whom a single rear step shouldn't be a problem..

My only issues with the bus are the klaxon bell on next stop button, and that overall the cabin is very dark - with a lot of black, grey and blue surfaces
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Mr OC Benz » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:00 pm

Not particularly a fan of sitting sloped with your feet sliding and having to readjust your bum on the seat of a Bustech every few mins.

Also those new Bustech Scanias have some of the worst body vibration of a modern bus which can be unbearable, as well as the noise generated when the engine and aircon are both in full action.

STA buying Scanias with Bustech body with sloping floor would most likely be best value for money. And the fact the specification panel notes that a sloping floor may be used subject to approval doesn't help. Clearly going backwards with technology however.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Simes » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:51 pm

deepthought2006 wrote:This M driver prefers the Bustech Scanias and not just because they are newer, although that may well be contributing to my preference.

While there have been some teething problems with the Bustechs, it seems to me that the problems have been pretty much sorted on those buses at Willoughby.

The Bustechs seem to accelerate and generally drive better, their air-conditioning works much better than the a/c in the CC CB80 Scanias, they are much quieter in the saloon (no rattles - yet) and have a good kneeling arrangement to name just three improvements, but the the stupid passenger bell arrangement (buzzer sound plus blaringly loud three-tone klaxon) and the door chimes drive me crazy. A quick open and close of the doors leaves those door opening/door closing chimes still playing well after the doors have closed and the bus is on its way, with the tones also suppressing any other sounds that you want to hear like the blinker tick-tocks, so you start to think that the blinkers have stopped. A several steps forward, a couple of steps back.

Why is it that every time STA gets a new model of bus a whole raft of new problems are created because some decision-maker can't stick with a system used on older models that has been sorted and now works well?


The Kingsgrove ones are starting to develop rattles - rode 2616 home on Tuesday night and (I think it was) the duct access point up towards the front was starting to rattle

The STA bustechs seem to be alot less "noisy" in terms of the sounds the bus makes compared to bustechs of some of the private operators- take a ride on a transdev (they've been getting bustechs more or less since the start) one and you'll see what I mean, they start talking at you :P

tonyp wrote:Speaking on behalf of the actual usability of the bus (for actual passengers and service efficiency as opposed to driving pleasure :wink: ), it seems that Bustech has basically shot itself in the foot with the XDi and its high floor and stepped centre door. CC has kept to the low floor format as far as the last door (second in Single, third in artic).

At least, I think - most local manufacturers' websites have a wealth of no useful information at all (i.e. technical drawings, interior photos), so I'm assuming certain things.

So why is Sydney Buses, as a high-volume operator, buying XDis at all?

In any case, layout efficiency generally is not going to progress much until they transfer the wheelchair entry to the second door.

Cruising through the websites of the local builders/agents generally is pretty depressing as far as citybuses are concerned:

http://www.busaustralia.com/body.html

Irizar at least could source a 100% low floor citybus from Spain if they could get it in RHD.

Bustech and CC have images of seemingly Hess-inspired double-articulated low-floors on their websites, but is it my understanding that double-articulated buses are not yet allowed in Australia? Even though B double and triple trucks are, puzzlingly, no problem.


There were a number of issues with the 200 CB80's that they got - ranging from design problems (the interior ducting panels having not enough securing points leading to them coming undone and 'falling in') to quality issues that could be put down to what was going on at Customs at the time
Also when a company's longest customer (Busways) decides to go with something different, I think it would be short sighted of the STA not to notice that and see what made them change

So Bustech were given a go since Volgren was not much better (doors that stick closed etc)

That's from my point of view
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Stu » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:16 pm

I think that it would be a political issue, look at who the mp is in the area. There was most probably a direct order from TfNSW to have the newest buses out in operation, with a reduction of services on a weekend, it would appear to the travelling public that almost every service operated in the area (by M-depot) is a new bus.

There used to be political influence for low floors at Kingsgrove, particularly around the Rodkdake area.
When the Scania L113 CRL low floors where new, the small handful allocated to K-depot where allocated to the Rockdale area routes 477 & 478 and sometimes green lines servives.

Within a few years, more of the Scania L113 CRL low floors arrived to K-depot, second hand due to the newer M-B O405NH cng buses becoming a common sight amongst other depots. Now there could be more of the Scania low floors allocated to Rockdale routes and green lines and this was the way it was for a few years. Routes such as 412, 413, 492 & ex 499 were never allocated low floors buses despite having a high percentage of patronage being elderly or less mobile, instead, the route 477 was almost entirely operated by low floor buses followed by routes 476 & 478.
Brand new Volvo B12BLE Euro V's began to be allocated to Kingsgrove depot in November 2008, for a short number of years, the Volvos were allocated to operate Rockdale routes only due to a request from a certain mp who wanted the newest buses to operate within the designated electorate.

In 2008, for an unknown reason, there were four low floor services scheduled for the route 412: AM off peak 1 x trip in / 1 x trip out and early PM peak 1 x trip in / 1 x trip out. These trips were never published in an amended timetable, there must have been some serious strings pulled for this to happen.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Ray » Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:10 pm

A good discussion. Certainly this is a golden era for Willoughby depot - a very good allocation for the latest vehicles, perhaps only second to Kingsgrove in that respect.

Agree with everyone here (well most people) that the Bustechs are an excellent design, let down only perhaps by the passenger gong and the interior lighting at night. Time will tell about the rattles and how bad they get. The omission of the rear window is also a mistake, although this is common to all new designs.

But at the moment, from a passenger perspective, the best new design in 15 years (the Citaro was great too), and probably beats everything we had in the 1980s too except perhaps the Mk 5s.

Hi Stu - wasn't the absence of low floors on the 499s something to do with fuel capacity and the Mk 2s being the only K buses which could stay out all day on that run?
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Daniel » Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:52 pm

Ray wrote:Agree with everyone here (well most people) that the Bustechs are an excellent design, let down only perhaps by the passenger gong and the interior lighting at night.

The Bustech has a fully multiplexed electrical system and is quite capable of being set up to remove the door/buzzer chimes and to have the operation of the interior light system altered. Would just be a computer programming change essentially.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Stu » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:28 pm

Ray wrote:Hi Stu - wasn't the absence of low floors on the 499s something to do with fuel capacity and the Mk 2s being the only K buses which could stay out all day on that run?


Hi Ray,

You would be thinking of the cng Scanias that used to be at Kingsgrove, these buses were used on the 492 & 499 on selected servives during the early morning and late night and did not involve driver relief. The low floor Scanias are quite good with fuel consumption, they can last all day - as they do currently when operating 490, 491 & 492 services all day long. Even the gas Scanias had political influence, always operating green lines and Rockdale services and sometimes although the 412 & 413 were neglected city routes and mostly had Mk II, III & IV Mercs allocated. Operational scheduling changed in the older Mk II, III & IV Mercs were de-commissioned and Volvos were introduced and has changed again since the Scania cng buses were transferred out of Kingagrove.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:06 pm

Ray wrote:Agree with everyone here (well most people) that the Bustechs are an excellent design,

In this day and age, the use of steps at any bus door means it's not a citybus and Sydney Buses is essentially a citybus operator (or should be). It might have a role in their few lower-volume exclusively suburban routes.

Although they produce a good double-decker, Bustech otherwise seems to focus on the type of bus required by their associated Queensland operators. These are basically outer-suburban and rural type buses. For Sydney Buses it's a backward step (pardon the pun).
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby penguinapple » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:13 pm

As a passenger I find the CB80's a lot more comfortable, the CB80 feels very solid and sturdy. I find the doors on some Bustech's quite slow to open in comparison to the CC's, and the annoying door opening and closing chimes that some Bustech's make. The Bustech passenger seats are not as soft as the customs either.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby 08 XDi » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:29 pm

tonyp wrote:
Ray wrote:Agree with everyone here (well most people) that the Bustechs are an excellent design,

In this day and age, the use of steps at any bus door means it's not a citybus and Sydney Buses is essentially a citybus operator (or should be). It might have a role in their few lower-volume exclusively suburban routes.

Although they produce a good double-decker, Bustech otherwise seems to focus on the type of bus required by their associated Queensland operators. These are basically outer-suburban and rural type buses. For Sydney Buses it's a backward step (pardon the pun).


The basic design was said to be to suit Surfside operating requirements (which translates into cram as many seats in as possible, hence the sloping floor). Increasingly that isn't the case, especially seeing the basic layout of the VST and subsequent refinements is now 11 years old and predates integrated ticketing in SEQ, significant network reforms and more government oversight. When the VST came out, you could get a bus from Tweed Heads to Paradise Point, where today this would involve 2 transfers at minimum (with the second leg being a tram), so increasingly they will start realising the problem this design creates. It is particularly exacerbated since 2008 when they started speccing their buses with single leaf rear doors after a good 2-3 years of going with double-leaf (albeit with the step down).

I fully expect they will turn away from this design and ultimately that means Bustech will put out something more accessible, particularly when they realise they won't get work from the more switched on operations like the PTA. They have the skill and expertise to building something better, but ultimately their product is selling well at the moment and they are a business. We only have their double decker at all because TransLink contributed to funding the design.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Bovways » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:07 pm

08 XDi wrote:The basic design was said to be to suit Surfside operating requirements (which translates into cram as many seats in as possible, hence the sloping floor).


Yes, the sloping floor does allow more seats but it's not the only benefit. The sloping floor avoids the big (and dangerous) set of stairs into the rear part of the vehicle behind the centre door? Having one small step in the aisle plus one down to the door (and also a step up from the aisle to the plinth the seats is on) means a passenger on a moving bus has to only deal with one step at a time, rather then falling up and down the series of steps to/from the rear section on most Volgren and Customs bodies.

As an aside, the Busways CB80s are better than most Custom bodies, in that they have a couple of broad steps, each the depth of a seat row. Walking up and down these is a lot more natural in a moving vehicle than the usual narrow steps. The worst I have seen are in some of the 14.5 Volgrens at CDC, where there is a single step up into the rear but it is so tall that the step is only just below knee height! (admittedly I'm only 5ft8in!)

I do have to say that the Bustechs at STA have generated comments to me by non-gunzels friends about how they like the interior design and modern style, the good leg room, the lack of steps etc. No friends seemed to comment to me when the CB80s were new.

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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:36 pm

Arguably steps in the doorway are more a hazard and impediment to passenger flow than steps in the aisle. Ultimately for citybuses there's only one answer to this - 100% low floor. It's just a painful, drawn-out process getting there in Australia.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby 08 XDi » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:45 pm

It would be easier if the Europeans had any reason to design buses which could be more easily converted to right hand drive, but of course they don't.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Bovways » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:12 pm

tonyp wrote:Arguably steps in the doorway are more a hazard and impediment to passenger flow than steps in the aisle.


I completely disagree Tony when you think of the dynamics of what is involved; a "traditional" low floor build pax are moving up and down multiple steps in and out of the rear section whilst the bus is moving; in the Bustech design people are stepping down one single step onto a broad platform before exiting the door whilst the bus is stationary.

That does seem to be an extra benefit of the Bustech design - pax don't stand in the rear door area like they do with more conventional low floors.

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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:17 pm

I'm sure the prospect of a significant order would change the attitude of European manufacturers.

The European manufacturers probably write off the English-speaking operations as being too conservative to consider adapting innovations for them. I was watching a YouTube video taken by a couple in Bratislava with their child in a buggy boarding a low floor bus through the designated second door and settling into the pram space opposite, as is normal, and exiting through the same door. Too easy - except apparently for one Canadian in the comments who lectured them that in Vancouver they board through the front door and sit next to the driver (presumably blocking the entrance for anyone else) and that it was so much "better" etc. :roll:

With attitudes like that there's a long way to go as long as Australian operations take their cue from North America and the UK.

Bovways, a 100% low floor bus addresses all those issues. There are some here already - I can't understand why they aren't more widespread.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby Bovways » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:27 pm

tonyp wrote:Bovways, a 100% low floor bus addresses all those issues. There are some here already - I can't understand why they aren't more widespread.


I'm guessing there is some reluctance because of the tighter mechanical layout which results; earlier examples of the fully low floor (Agoraline, B10L etc) weren't known for their reliability when operating in Australian conditions!
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby tonyp » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:13 pm

Bovways wrote:
I'm guessing there is some reluctance because of the tighter mechanical layout which results; earlier examples of the fully low floor (Agoraline, B10L etc) weren't known for their reliability when operating in Australian conditions!

It would be good to have some analysis of that, because I don't see anything special about Australian conditions compared to European. If anything, they're less arduous. And the average very cost-conscious European operator would not be tolerant of any product that presented a significant maintenance issue.
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby 08 XDi » Sat Nov 08, 2014 3:45 pm

The main other reason would be protectionism (ie ADRs which disqualify many European marques because they are too wide or some other spurious reason so we only get the chassis and not the integrals).
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Re: Bustech v CB 80

Postby gld59 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:25 pm

tonyp wrote:because I don't see anything special about Australian conditions compared to European.

Heat?

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