Conurbation Commuter Bus (TL8)
This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue.
Cities all across the Imperium often need to move thousands of commuters each day. One solution pre-grav technology is the omnibus. This example can carry up to 39 seated passengers with another 20 standing. There is usually a very limited space for luggage. Higher law level worlds may mandate seatbelts and/or disallow standing passengers; surveillance cameras may also be fitted. Alternative configurations can remove seats to allow space for wheelchairs, pushchairs or further standing passengers with luggage (for example on an airport or starport connection service). Some models may have a second set of doors part-way down the bus to allow speedier egress on busy routes although this is at the expense of seats. Seating is not overly comfortable although some buses, particularly on longer routes, may have higher backed coach style seats. The driver issues, or checks tickets as well as operating the vehicle and has a small two-way radio to keep in touch with controllers. At this tech level swipe ticketing from a machine beside the driver, or several devices throughout the bus, is also possible, in which case, rear doors can allow ingress as well as egress. It is rear engined such that the rear few seats are on a slightly higher level. Primitive climate control (heated or chilled air) is blown through the bus although often this is notably ineffective (or indeed broken so that it fails in weather where it is needed, or is ‘full on’ in weather where the opposite is needed.) Some models have a hydraulic system that allows the bus to lower itself at a stop for easier disabled access, some have a flipout ramp in the floor that can assist with this instead or in addition.
Depending on tradition or local law levels, the bus may simply pick up or set down passengers at any point on its route, or bus stops may be utilized. These might be anything from a post at the side of the road, painted markings on the road, or a full shelter perhaps with timetables and advertising. Bus stops may be ‘request’ stops where the bus only stops if a passenger signals (either waiting – most often by extending an arm – or onboard by use of a signal, perhaps a bell). Some stops may be wait points should the bus get ahead of its schedule.
Routing information and a route identifier number are usually displayed at the front of the bus, some models can display this information at the rear as well – particularly useful in densely crowded conurbations where there maybe some chance of catching a missed bus on foot if it happens to be stuck in traffic. At TL8 this routing information may be electronic, or older style ‘rolls’ of destinations may still be used which the driver has to wind to the correct position before beginning the route. It’s not unknown for an incorrect route number or a ‘not in service’ indication to be shown, confusing waiting travellers sufficiently that they allow the bus to pass with the driver blithely unaware the bus is empty due to this lack of attention. Typical dimensions: 10.4m × 2.5m × 3m (overall).
|Conurbation Commuter Bus (TL8)||Disp (m3)||Mass (kg)||Cost (Cr.)|
|Hull||78m3 (base 65m3) Box configuration, Light Alloys||-||5200.0||16,250|
|Hull: 16 Structure: 17||-||-||-|
|Drive system||Ground Wheels||6.50||650.0||6500|
|Power Plant||Internal Combustion-8
Power output: 144
Fuel Consumption: 16/hour
|Fuel||160 litres (10 hours operation)||0.16||160.0||-|
|Armour||Light Alloys 2||-||-||-|
|Sensors||Minimal (0.25, 0 DM)||0.25||0.5||100|
|Comm||Radio-20 (range 20km)||0.10||1.0||500|
|Crew||1 (1 driver)||-||-||-|
|Speed||Cruise: 84 kph Top: 112 kph||-||-||-|