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DJ MC

Low Floor Buses vs. High Floor Buses

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Do you guys think low floor buses are as reliable and durable as the high floor buses they are currently replacing nationwide? If you agree or disagree, explain why. 

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I'm bus retarded so, RTS's are high floors right?  And the new buses without the steps in front are the low floors?

 

If that's correct I don't like the low floors much because no one goes to the back to stand, they all crowd up by the back door only.  The RTS's, at least when the bus is packed and people know about the back of the bus, it's packed.  I can't stand the low floors only because of that though.

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I'm bus retarded so, RTS's are high floors right?  And the new buses without the steps in front are the low floors?

 

If that's correct I don't like the low floors much because no one goes to the back to stand, they all crowd up by the back door only.  The RTS's, at least when the bus is packed and people know about the back of the bus, it's packed.  I can't stand the low floors only because of that though.

 

You're absolutely correct peacemak3r and don't worry, it's cool if you don't know much about buses. Not everyone is interested in buses.

Edited by DJ MC

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I prefer high floor buses for many reasons, which I'll elaborate on below.

 

In regard to performance: Performance wise, high floor buses are substantially better than their low floor equivalents. I find this is partly due to a better ratio of weight distribution, and the fact that internal components are organized in a different mannerism. Structurally it is said that high floors are better as the much of the vehicle and most of it's components sit at a high level, which is more tolerant to wear and tear in many situations.

 

In regard to maintenance: Maintenance wise, it is much easier to be able to conduct scheduled maintenance and repairs, as components on a high floor are generally organized in a way to allow more efficient access in comparison to what is found in some low floor buses.

 

In regard to passenger benefit: Something that is also often overlooked are the benefits to high floor buses. Benefits include a raised passenger area which allows for a better ride quality, increases space for standees, and reduces protrusion due to wheel wells and a raised windshield as found on low floors, thus creating a better view and ultimately a better ride for passengers.

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Just curious - do you have information showing the higher performance and maintenance level of high-floor buses vs. low-floor buses?  I'd be interested to see this.

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Most people (including myself) would prefer a high floor over a low floor. High floors provide a better ride and better passenger space at the cost of customer accessibility. Some people have difficulty with stair climbing/descending and wheelchair lifts are usually more complex and sometimes difficult to work with if not designed correctly.

 

Low floors (or semi-low floors), are built with accessibility in mind, allowing riders to not have to climb steps to board the vehicle. However, that definitely comes at a loss of space and a bit of rider comfort now that the bus rides fairly low to the ground. The raised section serves as both to provide a better ride and accommodate the engine and drive train within. On a TRUE low floor the engine would have to be mounted on the bus' left or right side.

 

Pretty sure a low floor can handle its own but not quite as well as a standard high floor bus. In an accident that resembles anything like 1804 or 1808 out of NICE that's definitely not going to look pretty...

Edited by SoSpectacular

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Just curious - do you have information showing the higher performance and maintenance level of high-floor buses vs. low-floor buses?  I'd be interested to see this.

With all honesty I didn't use any field or comparative studies. I simply reached that conclusion after having dealt with transit buses for such a long period of time.

 

As always, take these opinions at your discretion. If you have any points to refute, you may also add them if you wish.

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When it comes to ride quality of buses down here, the Phantoms do better then the BRTs. A conversation I had with a driver and he told me that he prefers the Phantoms over the BRT when he drives the route that goes down I-Drive during the weekends. The Phantoms have better acceleration and have better ride quality compared to the BRTs that are slowly replacing them.

 

Plus that section of bricked road on the route, he could do the speed limit with the Phantom (which is 25-30mph). He's driven a BRT on that route before and he stated he could barely do the speed limit as he was only going 10mph and the bus was rattling significantly. The ZF powered ones are a bit faster then the ones with Voith, but most are slow when accelerating (despite having 330hp engines just like the Phantoms do). 

 

I also think low floors can hold their own, but as for durability...

 

 

Bus_21-300x168.png

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When it comes to ride quality of buses down here, the Phantoms do better then the BRTs. A conversation I had with a driver and he told me that he prefers the Phantoms over the BRT when he drives the route that goes down I-Drive during the weekends. The Phantoms have better acceleration and have better ride quality compared to the BRTs that are slowly replacing them.

 

Plus that section of bricked road on the route, he could do the speed limit with the Phantom (which is 25-30mph). He's driven a BRT on that route before and he stated he could barely do the speed limit as he was only going 10mph and the bus was rattling significantly. The ZF powered ones are a bit faster then the ones with Voith, but most are slow when accelerating (despite having 330hp engines just like the Phantoms do). 

 

Yeah, figures as that's a common complaint with operators preferring high floors, especially on highway runs.

 

Regarding the rattling, that's common, but that's unavoidable as the majority of the seats are mounted at near ground level. It's annoying, but what can you do?

 

 

And...

I also think low floors can hold their own, but as for durability...

 

 

Bus_21-300x168.png

If the operator survived without injury in this collision I'd be surprised. The pic alone is cringe worthy.

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In regard to maintenance: Maintenance wise, it is much easier to be able to conduct scheduled maintenance and repairs, as components on a high floor are generally organized in a way to allow more efficient access in comparison to what is found in some low floor buses.

 

Depends on the manufacturer. For example, we have buses from our own big bus builder in a lot of places here and they've made it so easy to conduct maintenance and repairs on their buses, a baby could do it. That may sound funny but it's that easy. But I do know types of low floor buses that are harder to maintain as well. It really depends on the manufacturer.

 

When it comes to ride quality of buses down here, the Phantoms do better then the BRTs. A conversation I had with a driver and he told me that he prefers the Phantoms over the BRT when he drives the route that goes down I-Drive during the weekends. The Phantoms have better acceleration and have better ride quality compared to the BRTs that are slowly replacing them.

 

Depends. We have VDL Citea's with 250hp motors here that are just as fast as your regular 2013 car. You should see 'em accelerate, it's crazy fast. I do admit that's no BRT vehicle though, just a regular bus. So it depends on the feature set of the bus, I guess.

Edited by Vistausss

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Depends on the manufacturer. For example, we have buses from our own big bus builder in a lot of places here and they've made it so easy to conduct maintenance and repairs on their buses, a baby could do it. That may sound funny but it's that easy. But I do know types of low floor buses that are harder to maintain as well. It really depends on the manufacturer.

Thanks for the feedback.

 

As you know North American transit buses differ much from their European counterparts, so it's a rough comparison to be honest.

 

Are you referring to any one manufacturer? I'd assume a Den Oudsten would be a bit more troublesome in comparison to a Van Hool.

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And...

If the operator survived without injury in this collision I'd be surprised. The pic alone is cringe worthy.

 

Yeah the driver survived.

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Yeah, figures as that's a common complaint with operators preferring high floors, especially on highway runs.

 

Regarding the rattling, that's common, but that's unavoidable as the majority of the seats are mounted at near ground level. It's annoying, but what can you do?

 

 

The rattling gets severe when the bus rolls over sections of road that are bricked instead of pavement. There are several areas around here where buses do operate through those types of roads and the whole coach rattles. It wasn't as bad on previous bus models, but your right about what you said. Just ride through the rattling is my answer. :D

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As you know North American transit buses differ much from their European counterparts, so it's a rough comparison to be honest.

 

This is maybe American transit buses are different of European ones but I don't understand the argument of the loss of space.
If I compare our old high floors buses (withdrew in 2011) with the low floors buses, there is no difference of space inside.

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As you know North American transit buses differ much from their European counterparts, so it's a rough comparison to be honest.

 

The only exceptions to that were buses manufactured by Ikarus, MAN, Scania, and Volvo during the 1980s, but other then that you are correct.

Edited by DJ MC

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Yeah the driver survived.

At least.

 

 

 

This is maybe American transit buses are different of European ones but I don't understand the argument of the loss of space.
If I compare our old high floors buses (withdrew in 2011) with the low floors buses, there is no difference of space inside.

 

The benefit is that in most European nations full low floor buses are the standard. Due to North American buses having a partial low floor, space is impacted by creating a step and a narrow rear section. It's hard to imagine, but when you deal with it every day it's easier to understand.

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Thanks for the feedback.

 

As you know North American transit buses differ much from their European counterparts, so it's a rough comparison to be honest.

 

Are you referring to any one manufacturer? I'd assume a Den Oudsten would be a bit more troublesome in comparison to a Van Hool.

 

Well, clearly you haven't read my post correctly. I was talking about one manufacturer in my country (VDL) but I also said that there are European manufacturers that don't make it so easy. It really depends on where one puts the focus. VDL makes low floor buses that can be maintained by babies but Mercedes, for example, makes buses that require highly trained technicians while their buses are more prone to breakdowns than VDL's buses.

 

And Den Oudsten is more troublesome than Van Hool but that's due to the fact that Den Oudsten is out of business for about 13 years now so parts are hard to get while Van Hool is still around. (btw, Van Hool is Belgian, Den Oudsten was Dutch and VDL which I was referring to as to making easy to maintain low floor buses is Dutch).

And even then it depends. Den Oudsten made both high floor buses and low floor buses but unfortanetly, there aren't many Den Oudsten around anymore since they're out of business since 1999.

 

And yes, I do know the difference b/w European manufacturers and American manufacturers. I'm sorry if it makes a rough comparison, I just thought to give you my 2 cents about it.

 

All in all, I do like both low floor buses and high floor buses. I don't really prefer either of 'em because they both have strong and weak areas.

 

At least.

 

 

The benefit is that in most European nations full low floor buses are the standard. Due to North American buses having a partial low floor, space is impacted by creating a step and a narrow rear section. It's hard to imagine, but when you deal with it every day it's easier to understand.

 

That's not true at all. In fact, there are only few bus models in Europe that have a fully low floor. Most of 'em are also partially low floor.

Edited by Vistausss

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Well, clearly you haven't read my post correctly. I was talking about one manufacturer in my country (VDL) but I also said that there are European manufacturers that don't make it so easy. It really depends on where one puts the focus. VDL makes low floor buses that can be maintained by babies but Mercedes, for example, makes buses that require highly trained technicians while their buses are more prone to breakdowns than VDL's buses.

 

And Den Oudsten is more troublesome than Van Hool but that's due to the fact that Den Oudsten is out of business for about 13 years now so parts are hard to get while Van Hool is still around. (btw, Van Hool is Belgian, Den Oudsten was Dutch and VDL which I was referring to as to making easy to maintain low floor buses is Dutch).

And even then it depends. Den Oudsten made both high floor buses and low floor buses but unfortanetly, there aren't many Den Oudsten around anymore since they're out of business since 1999.

 

And yes, I do know the difference b/w European manufacturers and American manufacturers. I'm sorry if it makes a rough comparison, I just thought to give you my 2 cents about it.

 

All in all, I do like both low floor buses and high floor buses. I don't really prefer either of 'em because they both have strong and weak areas.

My apologies then, but then again you could have mentioned VDL in the first place. No worries.

 

Anyway I once again give my thanks to you for providing me with a better perspective.

 

 

That's not true at all. In fact, there are only few bus models in Europe that have a fully low floor. Most of 'em are also partially low floor.

Well for the most part I'd always assumed full low floor buses were the standard. If that's not the case I retract my earlier statement.

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With all honesty I didn't use any field or comparative studies. I simply reached that conclusion after having dealt with transit buses for such a long period of time.

 

As always, take these opinions at your discretion. If you have any points to refute, you may also add them if you wish.

 

I wasn't disputing your opinions - I'm genuinely curious if there have been any studies done comparing the two types. 

 

In my opinion, the transit industry as a whole seems determined to switch to low-floor so I wouldn't be surprised if such a study was thought to be worthless (or maybe they were afraid of what they would find).

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I wasn't disputing your opinions - I'm genuinely curious if there have been any studies done comparing the two types. 

 

In my opinion, the transit industry as a whole seems determined to switch to low-floor so I wouldn't be surprised if such a study was thought to be worthless (or maybe they were afraid of what they would find).

All is well then.

 

Nevermind that such a study would be expensive to conduct, it would also be difficult to apply. There are many variables that differ in many types of environments across North America where transit buses operate. If the findings were generally in favor of high floors, then no doubt manufactures would have taken a huge blow.

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for starters I absolutely hate hearing the counter-argument that high floors cant be fuel efficient. In fact, most high floors weigh less than low floors, and have cooler designs(in my opinion). Look at the SEPTA 2001-2005 New Flyer Diesels, they weigh around 38,000 LBS, at 40 ft 6 inches. The NABIs we have from 1997 weigh around 31,000 LBS, at 40 ft exactly. This supports my argument of fuel efficiency because the NABIs have much better acceleration in both start up, and at high rpms.

 

I also think high floors are better because they can allow for much more space for standing loads, and seating capacity, because of that annoying front wheel well that cuts off about 6 possible seats.

 

I also think the frames on high floors are stronger than that of low floors, just compare for yourself. An extra two feet of steel and wood holding the bus together, versus two inch wide plates of steel, and a half inch wood frame inbetween for low floors.

 

somewhat off topic but...

 

how about a high floor bus, but a ramp is used to acess the bus instead of steps, that way, you would get the accessibility benefit of a low floor, with all the ride & maintanence qualities of a high floor. its just a thought, so like if you think it's good.

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