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  1. OC Transpo to crack down on idling buses to cut waste Read more: http://www.ottawacit...l#ixzz1vF9qXijJ . . .Diesel is the lifeblood of the transit system, though, and efforts to conserve it touch on practically everything OC Transpo does, from planning routes to maintaining buses to trying to manage the behaviour of drivers - with whom managers have had a difficult relationship. The transit service was $750,000 over its budget in the first quarter, with fuel accounting for $400,000 of that overrun. The situation is actually slightly worse than that: a report to the commission says consumption for the quarter was more like $500,000 over the $10.4-million diesel budget, but OC Transpo lucked out a bit with prices that were slightly lower than forecast. OC Transpo also has the advantage of a relatively new fleet of buses. "A new fleet generally means you're consuming at reasonable rates," Manconi told transit commissioners. The bad news is the situation is sure to get worse as the city's hundreds of recently purchased buses age. One thing to try is turning off buses when they're not in use. In cold weather, older diesel engines often needed to be left running - even overnight - in case they couldn't be started again, but that's less often the case now. It may even make sense to assign workers at night to turn off the engines of buses growling away in the dark of a night that's not as cold as forecast, Manconi said. Bus drivers also need to turn off buses if they have pauses between runs, Manconi said, unless there's a specific good reason to do otherwise. . . An additional challenge is trying to make the most of OC Transpo's hybrid buses, which have saved fuel but not nearly as much as they were supposed to. They're too often put on routes that don't take advantage of diesel-and-electric engines' strong point, which is dealing with a lot of stopping and starting. That's partly a consequence of tight "interlining" - the practice of having one bus change routes repeatedly in the course of a day, depending where it's needed. Manconi's predecessor Alain Mercier favoured it as a way of minimizing the number of buses (and expensive drivers) on the street, but interlining makes it hard to keep hybrids on hybrid-friendly routes. It also contributes to more "deadheading," when an empty, out-of-service bus gets driven from the end of one route to the start of another in a different place. Both are being reviewed by a joint committee of managers and union members, Manconi promised, whose mission is to improve service and conditions for drivers while sticking to OC Transpo's budget. ------ I wish OC Transpo success in this endeavor. I dislike waste. Anyone know of other TAs where this is being addressed? I'm also curious about the challenge of making best use of the hybrids (in this case Orion's with BAE 2nd generation propulsion, correct?)
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