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Snowguy716

Electric Buses

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I spent the fall here in Salzburg and now I'm back again for spring to study at the University. Most cities in Europe have extensive public transportation systems and Salzburg is no different.

Aside from having a "lokalbahn" or local heavy rail that has around 6 or 7 stops in Salzburg (a city of 160,000), there is an extensive bus system. Most of the outlying lesser used routes are run on traditional buses, but the main lines (1-8) are "slinky" trolley buses that are run using electricity from lines above the streets.

Would you consider this to be an environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to building rail systems in neighborhoods and areas where land acquisition is hard to find? I've noticed here that it is very nice because the buses are quieter and there is no pollution produced by them... but they do clutter the area above the street. (Especially in Salzburg where they also string lights across for nighttime.)

Here's a few pictures:

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8114_30.jpg

8114_19.jpg

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In most cases, I would imagine it would be cheaper. But I don't know ablout always being better.

For eample, look at San Francisco, which has a huge network of trolley busses. NOt only dos it create a mess overhead, it limits space above the street. And in their case, their busses are not as nice and new as though usually found in Europe.

If it was done well, with clean, modern busses, withought getting too complicated, and designed so that it doesn't impact nor is heavily impacted by traffic, then I support them. But that is a lot to ask of such a system.

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There are newer hybrid buses now that run much like hybrid vehicles. They are efficient, cleaner and address many of the shortcomings of traditional buses.

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The environmental benefits depend in part on what is used to generate the electricity to run the lines. The direct impact on the streets these buses run is less deisel fumes and less noise pollution. Boston has Trackless Trolleys running on several routes out of Harvard Square (technically not Boston, but Cambridge, running into Belmont, Arlington, and Watertown). The Trackless Trolleys had a bad reputation because the fleet was quite old, new Trackless Trolleys have recently been purchased and the new Trackless Trolleys are getting better reviews from the public now. In the Boston case, the Trackless Trolleys are actually more expensive to purchase because the tunnel through which they run in Cambridge has left side boarding, requiring the addition of a door on the left side of the bus.

New Cambridge Trackless Trolley:

Trolleybus006.jpg

An old Trackless Trolley in the Harvard busway:

HarvardSquare011.jpg

You can see the left side boarding in the tunnel. You can also see that the driver has opened the front door creating a boarding free-for-all. Regular buses do come through this tunnel, and they do not have the left side boarding option.

Trackless Trolley outside in Cambridge:

Trackless005.jpg

In Boston proper, deisel/electric buses are running on the new Silver Line busway. The underground portions utilize overhead wires, when they go outside they switch to deisel.

Silver003.jpg

This is where the Silver Line switches modes:

SilverLineNewTunnel.jpg

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The system in Salzburg is extremely well laid out and well-used. If they can do it in Europe on its narrow streets, I don't see any problem running them along some main throroughfares in the U.S.

Like I said, they should be a cheaper alternative for busy areas where land acquisition or track placement is not feasible.

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For eample, look at San Francisco, which has a huge network of trolley busses. NOt only dos it create a mess overhead, it limits space above the street. And in their case, their busses are not as nice and new as though usually found in Europe.

Yes, the system in San Francisco is pretty ugly. The overhead wires just add to the clutter.

There are newer hybrid buses now that run much like hybrid vehicles. They are efficient, cleaner and address many of the shortcomings of traditional buses.

Indeed, indeed. I think we'll see a push too for more LNG and fuel-cell type buses. The Europeans are once again ahead of us on this I believe.

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I can tell you this Harvard Sq looks disastorous with all the overlaid power lines it's like a giant spider web. And as for the Silver Line it is basically a big joke. So my opinion on Trackless Trolleys/Electric Buses is only get them if the city can absolutley not afford a better mode of public transit.

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I'm a regular rider of the Cambridge trackless trolleys and I experienced the transition from the old to the new trolleys. The trolleys last much longer than deisel buses and even then the MBTA impressively kept them running long beyond their life expectancy. The new trolleys' rods were initially always losing contact with the wires so the driver would have to run to the back and guide the rods back onto the wires. This has somehow since been fixed and I haven't been on a trolley with these problems for some time.

The trolleys are quiet and don't stink up the road with fumes.

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There are newer hybrid buses now that run much like hybrid vehicles. They are efficient, cleaner and address many of the shortcomings of traditional buses.

ive seen thoose before and i like them, some can run on an electric motor for up to 2 hours(i think it is)

they obviously can be that expensive either, considering that my favorite little city in the world, Traverse City, Michigan , population 14,500 can afford them

hybridbus.jpg

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Very very interesting, although they are not purely trackless, they would need to be connected from above to run, or could they go off the wire grid in the sky for some trips and run on back up power it stored from that grid? Very interesting concept a kind of merging of bus and trolley.

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