Eco-Friendly Vehicle Options Aplenty at BusCon 2011

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

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Risk Management
Drivers are most apt to get into an accident on the way home when they are taking risks because there aren't any passengers, according to Lancer Insurance's Bob Crescenzo, who presented a "Top Tips for Risk Management" session during BusCon's educational program. Operations should make a risk management list, which includes identifying hazards; assessing risks; analyzing controls; implementation; and reviewing and supervising, he said.

"Identify the demands on your operators. Your entire risk management program should be reviewed. Who else would identify risks for your operation?" said Crescenzo.

Driver hiring is often the greatest risk you have to deal with, he said. "These people are basically working unsupervised with your customers and a half million dollar bus."

Driver retention is another key element of your risk assessment. "On average, drivers tend to stay less than two years, or, more than five. That's a cost for you in time and money," said Crescenzo.

Operators are holding onto vehicles longer, he explained, so regular maintenance is a response to that challenge. Extending service intervals can be more costly in the long run, said Crescenzo.         

"One client we had pushed their service interval from every 10,000 miles to ultimately every 15,000 miles," he said. "The number of maintenance related crashes increased astronomically after that. They brought it back to 8,500 miles between service intervals."

Greening fleets
Margo Melendez, with the National Renewable Energy Lab delivered the keynote address, "How Clean Cities Can Help Fleets Tap into Alternative Fuels." Melendez talked about how through outreach and education, the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities program is working to help fleets reduce their petroleum consumption. "It's really about saving money now," she said. Program goals include using alternative fuels, making vehicles more fuel efficient, using public transportation and telecommuting.

Melendez talked about various information and tools that are available to fleet operators and discussed how to get projects funded. An annual grant process, which includes $8 to $10 million in funding, is targeted for real deployment of projects — buying vehicles and installing infrastructure. Program coordinators are available to assist in executing projects, and various tools and resources are available on the Clean Cities website, including a Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool and Fueling Station Locator.
Since its inception, Clean Cities projects have displaced 2.4 billion gallons of gasoline and 6,000 alternative fuel filling stations have been installed, she said.

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