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Stalliongrad

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About Stalliongrad

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  • Birthday 04/09/93

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    MLP, Star Wars, Star Trek,Video Games, being lazy

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  1. I love smartwatches. The Moto 360 was my first I loved it but gave it to a friend after the Gear S came out. I rocked the Gear S for 2 years with my Note 4. The only thing I hated about the Gear S was Tizen, wish it was an Android Wear device id still be wearing it to this day. Since I stopped wearing the Gear S I been looking for a new one. I got the gear S2 and I loved the Rotating bezel but it was just too small for me. I don't like circular smartwatches and they are nearly all round now. I just got the Moto 360 Sport and Its better with the silicone band. I've heard a few rumors that Google may ditch Android entirely for something completely new. So I'm considering going back to Apple for a bit. I wanna try the IPhone 6 S Plus with an Apple Watch for a bit. The S3 is pretty though, I'm just struggling with the price. But everyone who has it says its worth it.
  2. Often referred to as "Dragon Buses" or simply "Chinatown Buses are services offered by companies founded by Chinese American or Chinese Canadians which offer low cost no frills transportation from a Chinatown District in one city to another. (Boston Chinatown <---> NYC Chinatown <----> Washington DC Gallery Place Chinatown) Despite the efforts of larger companies like Greyhound (Bolt Bus) and Coach USA-Stagecoach Group (Megabus) to capture some of this market Chinatown buses remain a fixture of any major city on the East Coast. Here are the major players: Vacances Sinorama/Autocars Gaudreault MCI J4500 Vacances Sinorama: Perhaps the most organized and professional of all the Chinatown bus services Sinorama Bus operates out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Operating both charter service and 3 day guided tours Sinorama Bus caters largely to Canadians and Americans of Chinese descent by offering Tours of major East Coast Cities in Mandarin, French and English. Unique among this type of service, Sinorama Bus does not own its fleet but partners with established Coach and Charter Companies to provide the vehicles. A unique partnership that gives both companies steady business. Lucky Star Setra S13 Lucky Star Bus: Focusing on the Boston <-----> NYC Hub Lucky Star was a major player in the Chinatown bus scene until being ordered to halt operations after major safety defects were discovered among its fleet. In one instance a manhole cover was found to be wedged between the Chassis and body frame, that could only be missed due to a lack of a maintenance schedule. Its fleet was taken out of service by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration until it was brought up to standards. Lucky Star was recently given the All Clear by the FMCSA to begin operating again after passing inspection. Safeway Tours Prevost H3-45 Safeway Tours: Operating out of Canada, Another service on the more Professional side, Safeway Tours offers charter service in areas with high populations of Chinese descent. Its focus is primarily on the Casino Market. As Gambling laws in major Eastern Cities in both Canada and the United States become more relaxed buses are needed to take passengers back and forth to the new Casinos and Hotels that have been established following the trend. Safeway Tours operates a fleet with newer safer buses and caters to a higher clientele. Fung Wah Bus Van Hool C2045 Fung Wah Bus Transportation: Nearly everyone who has ever used a Chinatown Bus out of NYC has heard of Fung Wah (Chinese for Magnificent Wind). Fung Wah Bus was one of the first Chinatown bus companies to take off capturing a market which was largely ignored by Greyhound. The Boston Chinatown to NYC Chinatown business started with Fung Wah Bus and after its success prompted others to follow suit and imitate its clever business model. Fung Wah Bus sold tickets in Kiosks on the side walk in both Chinatown districts lowering overhead costs by not having much real estate. Buses did not use terminals which cost money but picked passengers up on the side walk. The business was very profitable however Fung Wah ignored all Federal and State (Massachusetts and New York) regulations with regard to bus travel and maintenance. It's fleet consisted of older model Van Hool coaches which if maintained properly would not have been an issue. Fung Wah Buses routinely broke down while on their route and there were several instances of the buses catching fire due to a lack of maintenance. Fung Wah Bus also had notoriously terrible safety record with accidents including serious roll overs on the highway and buses crashing into buildings and store fronts. Drivers at Fung Wah rarely spoke English and according to passengers would run red lights and drive very fast to get passengers to the destination early, disregarding traffic laws. Fung Wah was ordered to shut down by the FMCSA pending a review of its fleet. Fung Wah was given a deadline to get all of its buses up to proper inspection before being allowed to operate. Fung Wah Bus has since been permanently shut down by the FMCSA. It is rumored its buses have returned to service under a different Alias. YO! Bus MCI J4500 YO! Bus: Yo! Bus was an attempt by Greyhound to capture some of the Chinatown bus business after the smaller private companies had become successful. Greyhound took its oldest buses operating in the east coast and rebranded them with YO! Bus livery and began to offer a service similar to the other Chinatown bus companies. The company was projected to be successful as Greyhound's fleet of buses were well maintained and safety is a big concern to riders of Chinatown buses. YO! Bus offered trips to Philadelphia as well. However Greyhound was not able to lower prices enough to be competitive with the smaller companies. YO! Bus was replaced with Greyhound's BoltBus service and competes with both the Chinatown Buses and with Megabus for the NYC market. Apex Bus Van Hool C2045 Apex Bus: Starting a bit further south, Apex Bus Links Norfolk, Virginia with Washington DC and then from DC to either Philadelphia or NYC. Apex Bus much like Lucky Star was shut down due to maintenance concerns. The company temporarily rebranded itself while shut down by the FMCSA to stay in business. Its fleet was brought up to inspection but the company was fined for skirting regulations. Eastern Shuttle Van Hool C2045 Eastern Shuttle: Just before the Feds started their east coast bus inspection purge, Greyhound had been attempting to buy into one of the Chinatown operators to avoid spending money using its own fleet. This perked the interest of Coach USA as well and Coach USA invested in Eastern Shuttle taking the smaller company to a higher level with increasing business. Coach USA has since withdrawn from Eastern Shuttle and retained control over one of its two routes while retaining similar branding. Coach USA buses operating under the Eastern branding have pictures of Pandas painted on them and are much newer. Would you use a Chinatown Bus? Lucky Star and Eastern
  3. Nearly 400,000 people rely on Metro Transit in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area as its the largest transit network in the State of Minnesota. Metro Transit Gillig Advantage Type: Public Union Representation: Metro Transit employees are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 Fleet Size: 679 Low Floor Transit Buses, 169 Articulated Buses, 60 Highway Coaches, 86 Light Rail Vehicles, 6 Heavy Locomotives paired with 18 Rail Coaches Routes: 132 Bus Routes, 2 Light Rail Lines, 1 BRT Express Route, 1 Commuter Rail Line Manufacturer and Powerplant: The bulk of Metro Transit's fleet consists of the Gillig Advantage and older Gillig Phantom models. Metro Transit awarded a new contract to Gillig for its newer Gillig BRT units which will be used for Express bus service. High Volume routes demand use of articulated buses and Metro Transit makes use of the New Flyer D60LFR and New Flyer XD60 in those situations. The Fleet is mixed with older units being diesel powered and all new vehicles being ordered with Hybrid technologies. Metro Transit also placed an order with New Flyer for several New Flyer Xcelsior XDE units to replace the oldest buses in the fleet. Metro Transit purchased the Siemens S70 and Bombardier Flexity Swift Light Rail Vehicles to service its two lines. Metro Transit Bombardier Flexity Swift Light Rail Vehicle Metro Transit Go-To Card and Reader Fare Collection: The Contactless Card Payment System in the Twin Cities is known as Go-To Card. Metro Transit initially wanted the card payment system to be ready in 2003 after hiring Cubic Transportation Systems to install the network. Metro Transit suspended its contract with Cubic after delays forced the project to be put behind schedule. The Cards and readers were not made available until 2007 after many software issues. The System uses technology from Phillips and has variants for Students and Seniors. Metro Transit Gillig BRT Livery and Registration: In The 2000s the previous livery was the tradtional white backdrop and line pattern. The Bus and Light Rail Fleet have received an updated look with colorful patterns of Yellow, Red and White on a Blue backdrop. Light Rail Vehicles use Gray instead of White. Metro Transit Buses are issued license plates from the State of Minnesota however do not wear them for identification, a function served by the vehicle's fleet number. Metro Transit does sell the sides and front for advertising space. Metro Transit Gillig BRT Innovations: Despite harsh winter conditions faced yearly Metro Transit's safety record is nearly 5 times higher than the national average making it one of the safest systems in the Country. Metro Transit also uses the "T" symbol found on other Transportation systems in the Country and in Europe. The MBTA in Massachusetts and the Metro in Stockholm also use the "T" Symbol. The symbol was created to help people quickly identify public transit in dense urban downtown areas. During heavy traffic buses are allowed to use "Bus Only Shoulders" which allows them to bypass congestion however their speed is limited to 15 MPH in this situation. The system houses 28 major hubs to better distribute service across the area. Metro Transit On The Move
  4. Providing Transportation for the Mexican State of Baja California Transportes de Baja California Flxible Metro B Type: Public Union Representation: Not Unionized Fleet Size: Unknown, Approximately 250-300 Routes: Unknown, Service adapts as demand changes Manufacturer and Powerplant: The State of Baja California acquires used American transit buses and school buses to be used in its bus fleet as purchasing used vehicles is more cost effective than buying new units and as such the organization does not have much say in the vehicles engine or fuel types. The entire fleet consists of Diesel powered units from manufacturers ranging from the now defunct Flxible to GM, New Flyer and Orion. Domestically procured units come from the Mexican truck and bus manufacturer DINA. Transportes de Baja California Flxible Metro B Fare Collection: Fares are paid in cash and fluctuate with the rush hour traffic often found in cities such as Tijuana. There is no contactless card payment system in place in Baja California. One is planned to be implemented with the construction of a new BRT system in Tijuana and the purchase of new buses for the first time. Transportes de Baja California Flxible Metro B (35 Foot Variant) Livery and Registration: Buses in Tijuana are often referred to as "Azul Y Blancos" meaning Blue and Whites after their distinctive paint scheme. After the system acquires a new vehicle and its mechanically sound the buses are given a fresh blue and white paint scheme along with a fleet number which festoons the front and sides. Interestingly the tires are also given a whitewall paint job as well. The destinations of each bus are written on the windows due to the destination sign's computer software being uncommon and unsupported in Mexico. The Buses carry license plates issued by the State of Baja California. Azul Y Blancos do sell the sides for advertising space. Transportes de Baja California GM Fishbowl in service in the late 1990s Innovations: Despite infrequent service and a notably older fleet Transportes de Baja Calfornia is one of the more organized transit systems in Mexico outside of Mexico City which has the greatest amount of funding. The system will be receiving a $70 Million update to purchase newer buses and create a BRT system in the city of Tijuana which will link the smaller routes to the U.S. Border Crossing. Tijuana is popular destination for American bus fans because of the older fleet. Buses that are nearly 30-40 years out of date can still be found roaring down the streets picking up people as transit buses. Buses at work in Tijuana
  5. For over 20 Years rain or shine the LLV has kept the Mail moving and become a staple of American Suburbia USPS Grumman LLV Manufacturer Quick Facts: Founded: 1929 (Merged with Northrup in 1994 to form Northrup Grumman Corporation) Headquarters: Bethpage, New York Industry: Aerospace, Airplane Manufacturing, Electrical Equipment, Delivery Vehicles Notable Product: Apollo Lunar Module, Grumman F4F WIldcat, Grumman F6F Hellcat, Grumman F-14 Tomcat, LLV, Grumman Olsen UPS Package Car USPS Grumman LLV beginning a shift Model Quick Facts: Vehicle Length: 175.5 Inches Vehicle Width: 75 Inches Vehicle Height: 85 Inches Engine Options: General Motors Inline 4 Engine Transmission Options: 3 Speed Turbo-Hydromatic 180 Automatic Transmission Assembly: Montgomery, Pennsylvania, United States Production: 140,000 Units Produced Canada Post Grumman LLV Overview: In the 1980s the United States Postal Service began to look for a replacement for its aging fleet of Jeep Dispatcher (AM General Jeep DJ) mail delivery vehicles. At the end of WWII the large inventory of unused Military Jeeps became useful as mail delivery vehicles and AM General developed an newer model designed to expand on this new role. The Jeeps were manufactured with Right Hand Drive so that the Mail Carrier could deliver mail to the mail boxes without having to exit the truck, making delivery faster. By the 1980s these Jeeps had finally reached the end of their usable service life and the USPS began a search for its replacement. The Jeep Dispatcher however set the benchmark that the Post Office required the next mail truck to meet or exceed. The Post Office created a list of required features and opened up a bidding competition to any companies that could build a truck that would meet or exceed those demands. Three vehicles made it to the final round and were taken to Laredo, Texas where they were put through difficult testing trials. These trials were meant to replicate the conditions most postal carrier vehicles drive every day. The Trials Were: Drive 5,760 Miles on a Closed 5-Mile Loop paved road at 50-55 MPH Drive 11,520 Miles on a Gravel Road at 30-45 MPH Drive 2,880 Miles on a road with a shoulder, Stopping every 250 Feet and accelerating to 15 MPH in between each stop Drive 960 Miles over Cobblestones 3-4 Inches high at 10-14 MPH Drive 960 Miles over Potholes at 10-14 MPH Haul a 1 Ton Load during half of the road test Haul a man and a 400 pound load during half of the road test Drive over potholes ensuring each wheel hits a pothole 35,000 times Make 100 Consecutive stops from 15 MPH Other requirements for the vehicle were that it must be constructed from weather tight aluminum alloy. The Body of the vehicle had to be easy to enter and exit for letter carriers ranging from 4'11 to 6'2. The vehicles were also required to run at least 20 hours a day 7 days a week for an entire year as well as have a tight turning radius. At the end of the testing session the Grumman LLV (Long Life Vehicle) won the contract from USPS. The First LLV on display at the Smithsonian Postal Museum After over 20 years of service the "truck that lasts 20 years" is finally being replaced. The post office has since been replacing LLVs with standard cargo versions of minivans until a new replacement can be found. For its years of service and excellent design it seems fitting that the LLV makes it into the Hall of Transit Greats as well. LLV Testing Trials
  6. Depends on the company you work for, some are better than others but after 1 year you get a week of vacation time, then another week for each year so im at 3 years i have 3 weeks all then way up to 5 i believe. Plus your sick days and personal days. its not a bad gig.
  7. I've been through a few times recently, its an adventure each time.
  8. A traditional right of passage for nearly every bus driver who must enter New York City, The Lincoln Tunnel is the Gateway to the Big Apple The Lincoln Tunnel Type: Tunnel Management: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Construction-Completion-Cost: 1934-1937, Project cost $85 Million ($1.52 Billion 2017 Inflation Adjustment) Termini: Weehawken, New Jersey <-----> Manhattan, New York City Traverse: Hudson River Access: NJ Route 495 (Weehawken Helix), NY 495 Length: 8,000 ft Toll: $15.00 Cash, $12.00 E-Z Pass Driving Complexity: Medium Artist's Depiction of the Lincoln Tunnel Overview: Nearly every interstate bus driver in Northeast will eventually enter NYC and this usually means entering one of the most notorious landmarks on the east coast, the Lincoln Tunnel. The tunnel itself was completed in the Late 1930's with 2 additional tunnels completed in the 40's and 50's. The sheer age of the tunnel is what makes this landmark a point of great fear for new bus drivers and drivers who have never entered it. It was not constructed with 10 feet wide motorcoaches in mind. The first thing they usually notice is that the lanes are very narrow and the clearance is not very high. Most Motorcoaches stand at around 11 to 12 feet tall. The Clearance in the Lincoln Tunnel is 13 feet. For reference the tallest vehicles allowed to enter belong to Megabus, Its VanHool TD925 Double Deckers are exactly 13 feet tall, and feature air suspensions which can be lowered when nearing the tunnel. Lincoln Tunnel Toll Plaza Toll Plaza: The Lincoln Tunnel houses one of the most complex Toll Plaza arrangements on the east coast and drivers must pay very close attention on approach. Missing a turn or being in the incorrect lane can lead the wrong way. Buses and Trucks are forced to use only one of the three tubes after the toll. One sigh of relief for Interstate bus drivers at the toll plaza is the Port Authority Police. Drivers of intercity motorcoaches must supervise in 55 to 70 people alone for hours on end, and attacks on drivers are common. If any passengers on the bus become disruptive the driver can alert the Port Authority Police who will remove disruptive passengers and deal with any security threats. Security at the toll plaza has been increased since 9/11 and most crime entering and leaving NYC is often intercepted at the tunnel. Port Authority of NY and NJ Chevrolet Caprice PPV Driving Dynamics: Driving in the Lincoln Tunnel for the first time is intimidating because the lanes are not very wide and the clearance is low, however this is made easier due to the Tunnel's low speed limit of 35MPH maximum. Lane Changing is also forbidden after entering the Tunnel. The tunnel is has a fair amount of distance at a mile and a half long. It is recommended to switch drivers if one of the co drivers has a phobia of driving in tunnels or claustrophobia in general. One of the tunnels more interesting aspects is the XBL or Express Bus Lane. Buses entering NYC from New Jersey use a dedicated lane which takes buses from the tunnel straight to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. Drivers should be aware of other vehicles who do not obey the speed limit as high speed is the most common cause of accidents in the tunnel. Lincoln Tunnel Trip with Megabus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1YFWzNBfZ4
  9. One of the most successful privately owned bus enterprises, Peter Pan has been in the industry for 75 years Peter Pan Bus Lines MCI J4500 Type: Private Union Representation: Peter Pan Bus Drivers are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1512 Fleet Size: 132 Highway Motorcoaches in both Long and Medium Distance configurations Routes: 10 routes linking major cities in the Northeastern Corridor such as Boston, NYC, Washington DC and Baltimore Manufacturer and Powerplant: Peter Pan procures its fleet primarily from MCI and use traditional diesel power plants in both the MCI J4500 and D4500 models. Peter Pan has promised to replace its oldest vehicles with newer hybrid fuel efficient models as they become available for Motorcoaches. Peter Pan previously operated GMC RTS transit buses after acquiring a Coach USA affiliate in Massachusetts, those units have since been retired. Alliance: Formerly Trailways, ended affiliation in 2005. Currently in alliance with Greyhound for NYC bound routes USDOT Number: 55327 Peter Pan Bus Lines MCI J4500 Fare Collection: Peter Pan Bus Lines like most other interstate bus carriers now allow passengers to purchase tickets online instead of waiting until they arrive at the bus stop. Peter Pan also has its own App where passengers can buy tickets and make charter reservations making the boarding process for getting on the bus much faster with out the need to validate each passengers ticket. After purchasing the ticket online or via the app the passenger receives a confirmation number which allows them to board. Peter Pan Bus Lines App Livery and Registration: Peter Pan's Buses are known for their smart green and sliver paint schemes which are a likeness to the fairytale character Peter Pan. Older Liveries included themes of the fictional Neverland as well. As the company is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, Peter Pan's fleet carry Massachusetts license plates. Peter Pan Bus Lines MCI J4500 Innovations: Peter Pan Bus Lines was formed by the break up of 3 smaller independent New England based companies which combined assets to form Peter Pan Bus Lines. In the 1990's Peter Pan expanded its service area to include much of the Northeastern Corridor while in alliance with Trailways. At one point Peter Pan planned expansion as far south as Ocean City, Maryland but hasn't due to Greyhound's dominance of that market. After ending its alliance with Trailways, Peter Pan entered into an agreement with Greyhound to share the large In and Out of NYC bus travel market. Now some Greyhound bus terminals also sell Peter Pan tickets as well, sharing business with its biggest competitor. Peter Pan is also one of the few privately owned interstate bus companies which operate its own terminals. Peter Pan on the Move https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzffHBPFVho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg_i46ODCEw
  10. Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Bus Driver? Lets Find Out! NYCT/MTA New Flyer D60 Overview: Many people in the job market will come across job postings for the position of bus driver and consider doing it for a career. However most people are very unaware of the challenges this career path brings. I am always asked by my friends, family and even my passengers what the best way to get started is. I will get into that as well as what this job is actually like in great detail. After 3 years experience as a Fixed Route Transit Bus Driver in Washington DC I feel I can share what this job is actually like. Why You Should Consider It: Transportation is one of the few industries that is never going away. In the shortest explanation possible, Job Security. Year after year reports have proven younger people are not buying cars anymore, on top of that they have no interest in owning one as the costs of car ownership continue to rise. Millions of people require public transportation to get places and despite the rise of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, that isn't going to change for the foreseeable future. Before I obtained my Commercial Drivers License I was working what I dub "High School" jobs. I worked in restaurants and retail for minimum wage. I had already bankrupted myself attempting to go to school once and had no interest in trying again. Getting a CDL is a way to a new wage bracket. When I was 19 I remember reading on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website that Bus Drivers make around $40,000 to $60,000 a year. In Washington DC for a very long time it was not uncommon for bus drivers with 5 years at WMATA to make upwards of $100,000. People always need to get places and if the demand is there (which it always is) the overtime will always be there. Driving is a skill, not many people are capable of doing it well, bus driving will make you a master at driving before you know it. It can be a very enjoyable job, interacting with the public is not always daunting, you get to be outside instead of stuck in an office. Many people in the transportation industry are hitting the retirement age and positions are opening up in all types of driving jobs. Why It May Not Be For You: If you have a short fuse (and you know if you do) this is not the job for you. If I were to sum up what this job takes to do in one word, that word would be "patience". Patience to deal with the traffic, patience to deal with the public, patience to deal with Federal Regulations, Patience is something all bus drivers must have. At nearly every Transit Agency one of the first tests given is a behavioral assessment. This test is a very long series of questions which ask how you would react in any given situation, driving or otherwise. Road Rage kills people but road rage in a 40 foot 37,000 pound bus kills a lot of people. If you know you hate traffic, you hate when people cut you off this isn't for you. If you cant take random strangers calling you names this isn't for you. If you don't like sitting for long hours each and every day this isn't for you. You ever notice how when a bus driver does something unprofessional it makes front page news and becomes a viral internet sensation? (just google Bus Driver Uppercut) The reason why is because bus drivers are always assumed to have great vast amounts of patience. Those videos online of bus drivers losing their cool could be you if you cant check your anger. I have always had a strong interest in driving and vehicles in general, I love driving. But the fact is, driving is a chore, its something a lot of people don't want to do and don't like to do. If you hate driving why would you become a bus driver? If you are not a people person, perhaps a job where you have to interact with strangers everyday isn't the job for you. The public can be your greatest source of stress with this job. Being asked the same questions 900 times a day can make you snap. Getting into arguments with passengers or denying them service is a big no no with this field. One of my coworkers was just fired because it was discovered she was not allowing passengers with service animals ride, an obvious violation of the ADA Federal Law. Now my company is facing a lawsuit. Strongly consider how patient you are before taking the steps to be a bus driver, avoid wasting your time. Consider the lifestyle changes the job requires you to make. If you like to drink be aware that you will have to cut back your alcohol consumption greatly. If you enjoy marijuana this is not the job for you. Even if you live somewhere where Marijuana is legal, you have to remember it is still illegal at the Federal level and the Federal government has supreme authority in the matter. People enter this career all the time unaware that their personal lives and work lives fuse with this job. You cannot be a bus driver and an alcoholic. Random drug tests are an industry standard and required by Federal Law. This job will consume a great amount of your time. You will miss some holidays and birthdays. Every company is different but mine is perhaps the worst. The only calendar day of the year where we don't have to work is Christmas. The upside is we get paid extra to work Federal Holidays. If you are not familiar with a 10 hour work day then prepare yourself for them, because they are an industry standard. (some places have you work 10 hour days for 4 days with 3 days off). If you have children or plan to have them make long term arrangements for childcare well ahead of time. Your Office Awaits How To Get Started: If the above comments weren't enough to scare you away, congrats you are much closer to the drivers seat than you realize. Much of this job is having the right attitude. Here is how to get started. If you want to drive a bus you will need a Commercial Driver's License or CDL. If you are not 21 you can start by keeping your current driving record flawless. No Accidents, No DUI, No Tickets, No Points. Having a clean driving record is one of the most important parts of the interview process, the only thing that can be overlooked are non moving violations like Parking Tickets. But even they will come under scrutiny. Your driving record is not just a reflection of your ability to drive but of how responsible you are. Community College Path: Nearly all of the larger community colleges offer CDL Training as part of their Non Credit/Workforce Development courses. They offer training for both Class B and Class A licensure. They will spend anywhere between 3-6 weeks preparing you to pass the CDL Test which will be given to you by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The class will normally be taught by someone who is retired and has been in the field for a long time and is a certified instructor who knows the test in and out. The school will give you training in both the classroom and on the driving range. Most community colleges use old school buses meaning you will also receive training to receive your school bus endorsement. This is the most expensive way to get a CDL but it is often the most stress free. The classes can cost around $2000 or $3000 but the school will take care of everything required as far as scheduling your test date and the training is very slow paced allowing you the most time to learn. Employer Sponsored Path: Some companies will assist you with getting your CDL if you do not have one in exchange for signing a contract. The contract usually requires you to remain employed with the company for a pre determined amount of time usually 6 months to a year. The reason for this is that some companies which offer free CDL training have employees who leave after completing training. The training process costs the company money and by signing a contract they can ensure return on that investment. Professional Driving School Path: Large privately owned Driving Schools exist which teach all classes of CDL licensure from Class A Tractor Trailer Driving to Class C Limo Driving. These schools are located on large driving ranges often found in the south or midwest and can be expensive. The school will also have a dorm or a hotel where students who are training can stay because they are far away from home. NYCT/MTA New Flyer Xcelsior XD40 Why You May Love This Job: If you get satisfaction in helping others then you will love being a bus driver. You will see the same faces everyday as you take people to work, home or play. After seeing the same faces everyday you will make new friends fast. People will look up to you as a pillar of the community, especially in the big cities where people do not own cars and do not like using Taxi's or Uber. You will love being a bus driver if you enjoy doing the same thing everyday. Some people don't like the unexpected at work, for the most part being a bus driver you will perform the same tasks everyday and it can be rewarding because it does not take very long to get the hang of things. You will also enjoy performing detail oriented work, following rules etc. Some of us just simply enjoy driving and you will love this about this career. Not being crammed in a cubicle on the 15th floor of an office building everyday, you get to be down on the streets where the action is. If you want to make money then transportation is the industry for you. After 3 years of hard work i have made my way to earning $21/hr which is pretty nice over the minimum wage of only $7. People often wrongly assume bus drivers do not make much. If you live in rural areas of the country where the cost of living is lower it may be true, but in the big cities Bus Drivers make at least $12/hr starting out. Private companies sometimes pay less or more than working for the Government but offer less work benefits such as healthcare and time off. Get behind the wheel and become a public servant the people look up too.
  11. ​(Been Away Helping Family in Japan, Now Lets Start The Countdown to 200!) ​A perfect example of how a private entity should serve the people, Kokusai Kogyo is well known in Tokyo for its public transportation services. Kokusai Kogyo Isuzu Erga ​Type: ​Private ​Union Representation: ​Not Unionized ​Fleet Size: ​500 Isuzu Erga Low Floor buses, 150 Isuzu Gala Highway Coaches, 50 Toyota Century Limousines, 20 Subaru Legacy Sedans ​Routes: ​400, covering both Metropolitan Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture ​Manufacturer and Powerplant: ​Kokusai Kogyo makes exclusive use of the Isuzu Erga and make use of its V8 Diesel engines. Newer models use hybrid technologies. Kokusai Kogyo Isuzu Erga ​Fare Collection: ​The contactless card payment system in Tokyo is called Pasmo, it is often paired with the rail only Suica card. Pasmo cards can also be used to purchase goods at local shops as well as online. Pasmo and Suica Cards Livery: ​Kokusai Kogyo buses on fixed route service are painted green and black and feature "arrow" styling features, Buses used for Charter and Airport services are painted Blue and White and feature stripes. Kokusai Kogyo does sell the sides for advertising space. Kokusai Kogyo Isuzu Erga Innovations: ​Kokusai Kogyo Holdings Limited is a massive company which operates Public Transportation, An Airline and a Travel Agency which operates numerous Hotels. Its public transportation branch operates major routes in Tokyo on Fixed Route scheduled service. They also operate the airport shuttle as well. Charter Buses can be reserved for moving large groups point to point across the service area. The company also maintains a fleet of Limos for VIP services for professionals in need of a driver. And to top that large list of services off, they also operate the Machida Driving School the largest in North Tokyo using the Subaru Legacy. Kokusai Kogyo at work during the Cherry Blossom Bloom
  12. An iconic visonary of the modern era, Ken Block is often credited with making the sport of Rallying more popular among youth in North America and worldwide. Ken Block with the Team Hoonigan Ford Mustang "Hoonicorn" ​Driver Quick Facts: Name: ​Kenneth Block Birthday: ​November 21, 1967 Hometown: ​Long Beach, California, United States Series: ​World Rally Championship, FIA European Rallycross Team: ​Hoonigan Racing Division Sponsorship: ​Monster Energy, Subaru, Ford, GoPro, DC Shoes, Toyo Tires, Alpinestars Victories: ​23 Ken Block racing in the World Rally Championship at Rally Mexico ​Overview: ​Ken Block is an interesting case in the motorsports world because of how late his career started. Block did not begin racing full time until he was 38 years old. Many Scandinavian rally drivers begin competing at the age of 16. Ken Block is better known as the co founder of DC Shoes. Block himself is admittedly more of a designer and branding expert than racer. Ken Block's natural ability for rallying has attracted great interest in the amateur circuits. He began to enter junior league races with great success. He signed a sponsorship deal with Subaru and competed as part of Subaru Rally Team USA. Ken Block and the Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST preparing for Gymkhana 5 After competing with Subaru, Block obtained sponsorship with Monster Energy due to his high profile series of "Gymkhana" videos posted online. Gymkhana is a motorsport popular in Australia and New Zealand which takes place on an unmarked race track usually set in an industrial setting such as a warehouse or shipping yard, The goal being to complete the course in the shortest amount of time possible. The team was renamed to Hoonigan Racing Division while still maintaining Monster Energy sponsorship. The term "Hoon" is also of Australian origin. To "Hoon" is to drive recklessly and quickly in flamboyant style. Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Focus RS RX prepared for Rallycross Ken Block's goal behind the creation of DC Shoes was to create a brand that skateboarders could embrace and hang on too. With Hoonigan Racing Division he has done the same thing for those into the car scene. Hoonigan stickers are common in the car community and its because everyone in the car community can find something to like about Ken Block. His humble attitude and natural skill at the sport have earned him fans for life. ​Hoon Everything Ken Block's Gymkhana 9 Ken Block's Gymkhana 3
  13. I have always loved the auto show, it comes to Washington DC every year in January and I always miss it. This year I got my tickets early and made it. I thought it be interesting to share my thoughts on what I saw​. Noticeably absent this year were Volvo, Tesla and Mitsubishi Here are my top picks from this years auto show ​2018 Volkswagen Atlas Volkswagen: ​When Samsung was facing difficulties with its Galaxy Note 7 and issued a global recall it was largely assumed that Samsung would no longer be dominant in the cell phone manufacturing market. People still purchase Samsung devices and are eagerly awaiting its replacement. The same could be said for VW who took a very big hit during the Emissions Scandal. VW has new leadership and they are bringing a new vehicle to the U.S. as a sort of apology. Volkswagen has never produced a full size SUV with VW branding. The VW Touareg, is midsized, and the Tiguan is a small CUV. Americans overwhelmingly still purchase full size SUVs and that trend has not changed in nearly 15 years. The most prominent vehicle on display at Volkswagens vendor station was the Volkswagen Atlas, a full size SUV reminiscent of a scaled down version of the Audi Q7. The Atlas will be produced in the United States at VW's Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. 2017 Genesis G90 Genesis: Planting their feet firmly in the Global and North American Luxury Vehicle market, Hyundai has decided to follow the path of the Japanese competition by launching a separate brand called Genesis. Launching the brand are the G80 and G90 luxury sedans formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis and Hyundai Equus. Automotive experts agree this was the correct move as the Hyundai branding was too distracting for a $70,000 vehicle 2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatchback Chevrolet: ​GM has already offered the Hatchback version of the Cruze in Australia and Europe but now for the 2017 model year the Cruze comes to the U.S. in hatchback form. It is still unclear if the Cruze Hatchback will only be available at the RS trim level or if a base model will be offered but evidence seems to support the latter. No pre production models for the North American Cruze Hatchback have been seen as base models. Offered as an RS package the car comes with larger wheels, fog lights, touch screen infotainment system and more. Ford has a similar scheme with the Focus hatch in that the Focus Hatchback can only be purchased at the mid range SE Trim level. Also displayed was the new Bolt EV which although nice carries a high price tag of $47,000. Chevy claims its worth it due to the tax incentives for Electric vehicles ​2018 Toyota Camry XSE Toyota: There are many exiting new things coming from Toyota in the near future including the redesigned and more aggressive looking Camry, the Hydrogen powered Furai and for the first time in the North American market Toyota will offer a true Crossover the Toyota C-HR. Also exciting is with the new Camry is a new NASCAR Toyota Camry Sprint Cup Car which was also on display. Toyota has also updated the interiors on all of its Pickup trucks. Toyota's theme this year was "Made In America" Toyota has so many new vehicles built in the U.S. with American parts and Labor, Toyota's vendor station was on the "Domestic" level next to Chevrolet and Ford and not the Import level with Honda and Nissan. Toyota has plants in Kentucky, Indiana and California. For now the most exciting Toyota for me is the redesigned 86. Carried over from the now defunct Scion brand the Scion F-RS finally gets Toyota badging and the famed Hachiroku name. 2018 Ford Mustang Ford: ​The Ford Mustang was prominently displayed at Ford's vendor station redesigned for the 2018 model year. Many are still critical of the new design which now features new curves and a more aggressive front bumper. 2018 is going to be a big year for Ford. The vehicle many wanted to see was not yet ready. Ford announced in 2016 it would be bringing back the loved Ford Bronco and would be bringing the Ford Ranger back to the United States. Ford also hopes to have near perfectly functional autonomous vehicles ready to be sold in 2020. My favorite Ford at the Auto Show this year was the new F250 Super Duty. The interior is great and features a sun roof which covers the entire interior space. Ford was also proud to show off the recently released Focus RS. At the Lincoln vendor station a brand new Lincoln Navigator was displayed featuring full body length gullwing doors. It is expected to be released along with the next generation Ford Expedition. 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Fiat-Chrysler: ​Fiat which was also on the Domestic level had a much anticipated vehicle at the Fiat vendor station. The new 124 Spider was on display in both standard and Abarth versions. The vehicle is a badge engineered version of the Mazda MX-5 Miata with different interiors and performance. The 124 will also be produced along side the Miata in Japan. Fiat also had a special vendor station for Alfa Romeo which officially relaunches in the U.S. this year. The Alfa Romeo Giulia and 8C were on display ready for U.S. Sales. Chrysler displayed updated versions of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler Pacifica. A representative from Chrysler announced 2016 would be the final year of Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country production. Both vehicles are being replaced by the new Chrysler Pacifica which now is offered as an EV. 2017 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Subaru: In late 2016 Subaru revealed the new Impreza and Impreza hatchback which had more interest. The hatchback version of the Impreza has been turned into a crossover by raising its height and adding 4WD performance. The XV Crosstrek filled the slot for Subaru hatchbacks and fans were desperately waiting for a new one. The WRX receives a mild facelift leading some to believe a new one is in the works. Subaru representatives at the vendor station had no comment on a Hatchback WRX in the future. The BRZ has also been given a refresh. Subaru has been gauging interest at a possible performance version of the Forester called the Forester STI. 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Honda: ​At Honda's vendor station the Civic was displayed in all 3 of its forms. For years now the Civic has been a boring and bland cheap sedan. The Civic is now offered as a Sedan as a Coupe and as a Hatchback just like in the 90's which is great news for Honda fans. Honda representatives confirmed that a new Type R version is being planned for both the sedan and hatchback. Honda was also proud to display the Ridgeline the current North American Truck of the Year. Honda has also redesigned the Pilot and CRV which both feature styling similar to the Civic and Acura NSX. The Odyssey minivan remains unchanged but comes in nearly 5 trim levels to make it more accessible for different price points. At Honda's Acura vendor station the New NSX was displayed along the new Acura lineup which has been redesigned to mirror the NSX's new aggressive look. 2017 Cadillac CT6 ​Buick and Cadillac: ​General Motors has long had a difficult problem with these two brands being nearly identical to one another. Finally GM has decided on a path for both brands. Cadillac is now a high tier full fledged luxury manufacturer. Cadillac's entire lineup has been redesigned and renamed. Luxury vehicles always sell better when they have Alphanumeric nomenclature. This is the reason why luxury cars no longer have names. The core of the new Cadillac brand is the CT6 which also comes in a plug in hybrid version. Cadillac offers high quality now and that is reflected in the price of $70,000. Buick is now the entry level luxury brand being led by the redesigned LaCrosse which is far closer in price to its Chevy Impala cousin. Buick also now offers a convertible in the form of the Buick Cascada. Mercedes-Benz:​ The most anticipated Mercedes was not on display but people have been wondering if Mercedes would ever bring the X class concept pickup truck to the United States. Mercedes representatives passed on the same remarks of Daimler's CEO. Mercedes says they will sell the X Class in the U.S. if they find a way to lower the price point to be only slightly higher than other high end pickups for sale in the U.S. The reps did say they were strongly interested in bringing the truck to U.S. due to high sales of Mercedes Benz commercial vans. The X Class will be a badge engineered vehicle in joint cooperation with Nissan as the truck shares the same platform as the Nissan Frontier. Also displayed was the E Class Wagon which Mercedes say they will be supplying more to the U.S. dealers due to high sales of the wagon in the U.S. The new C Class was also displayed and it still retains its affordable $40,000 price point which is becoming a rarity in entry level luxury brands. The Smart car was on display at the Mercedes Benz vendor station humorously displayed next to the Mercedes GL SUV Land Rover: ​At Land Rover's vendor station, the new Evoque Convertible was displayed and gathered much interest. Land Rover reps say this is to fill the slot of the 2 door version of the Evoque which was not selling well. Land Rover also displayed the new Discovery which finally gets its name back after being called the LR4. The Range Rover gets a few new colors as well Honorable Mentions: The Kia Stinger which is Kia's first attempt at a Grand Touring Sedan which has shown promise due to its lap times at the Nurburgring BMW's new 7 series is massive and features a $90,000 price tag Porsche has given the Panamera and 911 a facelift and redesign Nissan continues to receive high marks for the sporty design of its entire range, and good sales of its commercial vans which were also on display. What New Vehicles Have Your Eye?
  14. Serving the largest city and the capital of Ireland, Dublin Bus provides 125 million rides a year. Dublin Bus Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Type: ​Public, Statutory Corporation owned by the Irish Government Union Representation:​ All Dublin Bus Operators and other employees are represented by the National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) Fleet Size: ​987 Low Floor Double Decker, Single Decker and Articulated Transit Buses Routes: ​136 Routes, 18 Night Bus Routes available for additional fare price ​Manufacturer and Powerplant: ​Dublin Bus procures from Alexander Dennis and Volvo. As it is the second largest operator of double deckers in the British Isles its buses are often compared to those in London with whom they share the same specifications. Dublin Bus recently took delivery of 90 new Double Deckers from Volvo which feature Hybrid technology. Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian Fare Collection:​ The Contactless Card Payment System in Dublin is Leap Card. Leap Card was launched in 2011. Paying cash can only be done using coins, bills are not accepted. Tickets are valid for several different lengths of time. Seniors and children ride free. Leap Cards can be customized for an additional fee which could include your picture to prove ownership. Leap Card. (Children's Cards are White) Livery: ​Dublin Bus features a tiered design in which yellow is always dominant following a shade of Turquoise, White and then a dark Navy Blue. Older Liveries consisted of Green of several shades. Uniquely, Dublin Bus offers buses for private hire and these units are painted entirely white to denote they do not operate revenue service, they can however be used for revenue. "Wedding Bus" service provides for hire service for weddings in the Dublin area. The white bus will also feature the names of the bride and groom on the side and say "Congratulations ​Bride Name ​and ​Groom Name ​From Dublin Bus!" Also Dublin Bus operates the official city tour, something usually chartered to private companies. The sightseeing buses are painted Irish Green and are converted to open top design. Dublin Bus Volvo B7TL in Private Hire Livery, Prepared for a wedding ​ Dublin Bus Leyland Olympian in Private Hire Livery at a Wedding ​Innovations: ​Dublin Bus operates more "radial" routes than most other major bus companies. Radial routes focus on connecting the suburbs to the city and vice versa rather than "Linear" routes which focus on service in the city center. The restructuring to this scheme in 2014 increased ridership and efficiency by 14%. ​Dublin Bus at Work
  15. So excited for the Washington Auto Show tomorrow. Cant wait