Budapest evaluation to continue

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European Bus System of the Future – BKV extends its trial period to gain additional data

HUNGARY The aim of the 47 international members of EBSF (European Bus System of the Future project) is to provide technical improvements to help improve bus operations and to create an attractive alternative for public transport users.

BKV Zrt., the Hungarian operator partner in the European Union’s project, undertook the testing of the articulated five-door MAN in real operational conditions. It has been in service since March 23, 2011 on line 86. Closely monitored results of the experience will help manufacturers and operators.

The 18.75m MAN Lion’s City GL developed for EBSF operates in standard BKV livery. It features an impressive, air-conditioned interior design and special equipment.

Instead of the usual four doors, the five-door layout was found to improve passenger flow – aided by a   motion detector linked to the door opening/closing function- so far only used on trams. Passengers could also activate the doors.

The beginning of the testing period focused on the automatic door control system. The first day of operation indicated people could not stand in front of the door on the yellow-striped area in the crowded peak hours. The light-barrier would not let the doors close for safety reasons and interfered with door closing process. Consequently the bus was stuck at the bus stop for several minutes. The MAN technicians reacted swiftly and the next day the driver controlled the closing of the doors, so the problem was quickly fixed.

The on-board computer communicates with the operations centre independently: it transmits data about the vehicle’s position, the errors that might occur and the number of passengers. Every minute, the system records the GPS co-ordinates of the bus so its position can be followed on a map. The data of the infra-red laser 3D automatic passenger counting equipment, located above the doors, shows the utilisation rate of the bus. The system is able to differentiate human beings from objects with an accuracy of 96.9%.

Passengers expressed a liking for the translucent bellows, the number and positioning of handrails, the seating layout and standing places. They also liked the LED interior lighting, especially the row of coloured LED lights which can be set in different colours in the front and the back of the bus. Despite the presence of a warning light and information stickers, the folding seats activated by the driver were often forced by passengers and the fixing mechanism had to be repaired several times.

Passenger information equipment received a good reception. TFT screens placed before and after the bells allows passengers to see current stop information, the order of coming stops, the transfer options and the current time.

The bus had minimal maintenance requirement and has operated 98.5% of the time during the first six months.

The 320bhp six-cylinder MAN-diesel engine proved highly efficient. It moved the bus effortlessly, even under full load with a good fuel consumption rate. No problem was raised concerning the access to the control points, the placement of the engine, exhaust system, gear-box and auxiliary devices. 

The control of the bus also achieved an excellent score: the vehicle follows the smallest movements of the steering wheel and also completed the tightest turns without any problems. No problems  were experienced concerning the gearbox or the air-conditioning. It ran very quietly and provided a pleasant, comfortable passenger area. The automatic climate control system worked in cooling mode 80% of the operating hours and adapted in response to the outside temperatures to maintain 5-6 ?C cooler temperature inside. It was recognised, however, the cooling performance decreases on the vehicle in when in congested traffic conditions.

On bus line 86 some 400 passengers were questioned during the operational test, prior to commencement of the main testing period. On the basis of the received responses during the EBSF project, the service quality and the reliability of the bus improved; the passengers highlighted the cleanliness of the vehicle, the comfort and the adequate number of the seats but also found inner temperature and sound level better. On the new bus, 88% of the passengers rated the quality of the applied developments good or very good.

The EBSF test inBudapestis continuing for few weeks more to finalise results.