Since the motor bus evolved from the automobile as a public transit vehicle the design has tended toward larger, more efficient, more productive and thus less costly buses. This trend was suspended in the 1960’s and reversed in the 1970’s by new model introductions that heavily stressed passenger amenities and the aesthetic value of the bus. These buses were the result of not only a perceived market change but Federal Government regulation and involvement in bus design. Procurement and operating costs increased on these buses while availability and productivity decreased. The inherent cost increase and inefficiencies of these vehicles were amplified by the extraordinary inflation and fuel price increases of the 1970’s.
The Government is now freeing the transit industry of many regulatory burdens and reducing monetary subsidies at a time when the competition in the manufacturing industry is reaching an unparalleled level. These conditions will require and allow transit operators to procure less costly, more fuel efficient, more productive vehicles.
Productivity of the driver and bus will be improved by reconfiguration of the vehicle to increase passenger capacity and the speed of transit. The fuel efficiency of buses will improve by elimination of many passenger amenities as standard equipment, a substantial reduction of vehicle weight and use of more efficient power plants. Production and operating costs reductions will be attained by increased use of proven truck systems and improved reliability and access of components.