Innovative bus technologies go green

Looking for a quick and inexpensive way to make a short day trip to New York, I came across a couple of new bus services from Boston – Megabus and BoltBus – both offering free internet connectivity on the ride down. Always a sucker for technology, I chose to take the Megabus to NYC. The ride was surprisingly pleasant, on-time with clean new buses and continuous Wifi enabled internet access throughout as advertised.

Curious, I decided to find out more about the company and the technology. Looks like the buses are most likely equipped with Moovera Mobile broadband gateways. They connect to a 3G network on one side and provide Wifi coverage in the bus on the other side. An additional benefit is the availability of real time GPS tracking of the vehicle, plus Ethernet based connectivity for on board instrumentation and telematic applications. It all sounded very cool and hi tech for a bus company. I think the new Wifi bus services between Boston and NYC are attracting a younger hipper traveler as evidenced by my co-passengers on the trip.

Digging further I found that Megabus is a subsidiary of a UK based corporation, the Stagecoach Group.  The company seems to be an innovator in the area bringing inexpensive modes of mass transportation to market, encouraging more commuters to take their buses, trains and hovercraft and reducing carbon as a result.

In addition the company has also introduced a number of innovative environmental initiatives. In the past they have been one of the first companies in UK to introduce biofuel buses. An interesting program that they have implemented gives passengers a discount in exchange for their used cooking oil. Argent Energy, which operates the UK’s first large-scale biodiesel plant, is supplying all the biodiesel. In April they introduced a carbon neutral bus service in Scotland where they are looking to offset their emissions in partnership with a Scottish charity Global Trees

One hopes they will try to replicate their biofuel model in the US.

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2 responses to “Innovative bus technologies go green

  1. I was pleased to read your posting on Innovative Bus Technologies.

    Have a look at our company’s website, http://www.acis.uk.com, where you will see the core systems which track over 9000 buses in the UK, EU, Middle East, and we are just starting in N America.

    The concept is to provide information to passengers in real time of when their bus, train, or tram will be at their stop. Using GPS technology we send this information to over 50,000 displays at bus stops, train stations, shopping malls, hospitals, etc. Also through public transport, travel, and journey planning websites, and by SMS messaging to over 7000 cell phones daily.

    It is the provision of reliable information which will increase the confidence of public transport users and in turn generate greater levels of modal shift.

    Of specific relation to your article, in the UK we work with both Stagecoach and Moovera on many of their systems in England, Wales, and Scotland.

    If you are interested in learning more, my contact details are :

    Bronson Fargo
    ACIS
    T +44.1223728700
    C +44.7919398176
    E Bronson.Fargo@acis-cam.uk.com

  2. Thank you for your comment below on my blog. As you might realize, my blog is primarily about social entrepreneurship and enterprises that help address issues in the developing world.

    The particular post I wrote yesterday is a bit off topic – I enjoyed the wifi enabled bus a lot and wanted to dig in and find out more about the company behind it. I realized that Stagecoach is a very progressive and innovative company that addresses end customer issues and also tries to do its bit in keeping the environment greener.

    That said, I don’t mind posting your comment – don’t know how many of my readers will be really interested in contacting you.

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