Snap o’ the day: Idling bus

As the sun begins to rise behind the Charlottesville Ice Park, a chartered empty UTS bus idles. Delegate David Toscano got a bill, HB 885, through both houses of the General Assembly this year that would allow localities to outlaw such seemingly polluting and wasteful practices.


HB885 WOULD DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO CHANGE THE PROBLEM has an exemption for the bus pictured above and for all of the hundreds of transit (CTS & UTS) buses and school buses in the area that actually cause the problems. The bus and all the transits and school buses will continue doing what they have always done. Keep the bus warm in the winter and cool in the summer for the passengers.

Arlington is a special situation because of the tour buses coming in from all over North America to visit DC and waiting off-site due to parking limitations in the Capital. They have a special need to address both parking and idling.

All this bill would do is to add another level of taxation on my family business - A Goff Transportation. We own 95% of the buses in Charlottesville & Albemarle County. If Delegate Toscano wants to reduce pollution he could support reducing taxes on charter bus operations because we are the "greenest" form of fossil fuel transportation.

JUST CONSIDER what the ABA says: When you go by motorcoach, you go green. Whether running on various blends of ultra-low sulfur or biodiesel fuel, motorcoaches are part of America's energy solution.

Today's motorcoach has become both fuel efficient and environmentally sound. On a per passenger basis, a modern motorcoach is among the cleanest modes of transportation in the world. Motorcoaches have superior passenger fuel efficiency compared to other transportation sectors.

Intercity bus service is the most energy-efficient transport mode as reported by the White House Conference on Global Climate Change. An intercity bus is twice as fuel efficient as Amtrak and other train services, three times as efficient as automobiles and mass transit, and four times as efficient as commercial aviation.

Adding to their already energy-efficient record, the EPA now requires that motorcoaches made in 2007 and beyond be equipped with emissions-lowering technology. All new motorcoches equipped with 2007 diesel engines are vastly greener than their predecessors. Designed to drastically reduce polluting particulate emissions by 90%, they run exclusively on Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel.

Efficiency Facts
Each motorcoach has the potential of removing 55 autos from the highway. That's millions of cars not driven annually, saving fuel, cutting emissions, reducing congestion, and maybe saving a penguin.

Motorcoaches currently provide 184 passenger miles per gallon (MPG), more than double the second most fuel-efficient sector, commuter rail at 86 passenger MPG. Transit buses achieve 32 passenger MPG, domestic air carriers achieve 42 passenger MPG, and single passenger automobiles achieve 28 passenger MPG.
Motorcoaches produce carbon emissions of only 56 grams per passenger, compared to 371 grams for a passenger car.
Motorcoaches use 946 BTUs per passenger mile, compared to 3,890 for planes and 2,134 for trains.

Motorcoaches emit the least carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger mile when compared to other vehicles. Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by an average of 85% per passenger mile for every person who chooses motorcoach travel instead of driving alone.

Please consider the implications of exempting the local transits and school buses while taxing ONLY MY COMPANY AND A FEW OTHERS. We already face illegal competition from entities like these that receive federal funds and still run charter operations in spite of Federal laws banning the practice.

For further information please feel free to contact me as follows:

Dan Goff, GM
A Goff Transportation & related companies
PO Box 7864
Charlottesville, VA 22911

HB885: Bus engine idling; allows all counties, cities, and towns power to adopt ordinances limiting.
(Proposed by the House Committee on Transportation
on February 7, 2008)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Toscano)
A BILL to amend and reenact Ã?â??§ 46.2-1224.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to local ordinances regulating parking of certain vehicles.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That Ã?â??§ 46.2-1224.1 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

Ã?â??§ 46.2-1224.1. Local ordinances regulating certain parking; penalty.

The governing body of any county having the county manager plan of government may by ordinance prohibit idling the engine of a bus for more than ten 10 minutes when the bus is parked, left unattended, or is stopped for other than traffic or maintenance reasons. The governing body of any other county, city, or town may by ordinance prohibit idling the engine of a bus for more than 15 minutes when the bus is parked, left unattended, or is stopped for any reason other than loading a wheelchair-bound passenger, traffic, or maintenance.

Violators of such ordinance shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed fifty dollars, the proceeds from which shall be paid into the county's locality's general fund.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to school buses or public transit buses.


Why pick on one kind of vehicle? I'd like to see the bill applied to these mega-fire trucks that respond on EMS calls when someone faints. They can idle those big rigs, along side the rescue squad and police cars, for forty-five minutes.

Why would the city care? The taxpayers are footing the bill for the fuel wasted in idling. If you watch Arlington Blvd you can always find a bus idling while the drivers go into McDonalds. Sooner or later somebody is going to steal one of them while the drivers leave them abandoned and idling.