Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bus Spoilers

Facilitating bus identification through netting.
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Buses. If they were transparent, we’d be able to see the number on the front of the bus behind. But they aren’t, so we can’t. Were it not for the fact that buses often come in lines, each successive bus tailgaiting like billy-o, this wouldn’t be a problem. But they do, which is a problem.

To help potential bus travellers to identify if one of the approaching buses is “theirs” before it speeds by, “bus spoilers” should be retrofitted to existing buses. These spoilers will be attached to rear of each bus and will look rather like a volleyball/badminton net with an LED attached to each intersection of the fine mesh. The fully-programmable array of LEDs shall display (primarily but not exclusively) the number of the bus. Proximity sensors on the front of the bus will detect when a similarly large vehicle is in front. If such a vehicle is detected, the “spoiler” will hinge from the flat-on-the-roof position to the vertical-and-lit-up position, allowing potential passengers to ascertain if the bus is going their way.
my face your, Nov 27 2002

(?) Hot Rod Bus http://www.busexplo...WayneChevHotRod.jpg
[thumbwax, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       Can't we come up with a more modern solution to this problem? Why not a "Request" button on the bus stop? Either lights up an indicator up by the bus stop sign (that the bus driver can see), or signals a heads-up display on the bus itself.   

       [I note this is a problem more in London than New York, where the buses tend to stop willy-nilly if there are people or other buses at the stop.]
DrCurry, Nov 27 2002
  

       Request stops wouldn't work. From a multi-bus stop, I can usually use one of several different routes to get to my destination. I just get on the first suitable one that turns up (30 or 73 runs from Kings X to Angel).   

       If I pressed the "30" button and the "73" button while waiting for a bus at Kings X and then a 30 turned up, I would get on it. The next 73 would then stop because it's light is still lit. A waste of time for the 73.   

       Even if the system had a button to turn off the 73 light, I still wouldn't use it because that would entail talking to the other waiting passengers, to see if any of them want the 73 (nobody in London talks to each other - if you don't undertsand, I can't explain it to you). Also mischievous children could press the "off" buttons just as the bus approaches, causing the bus to zoom pass the twirly who is actually waiting for it.   

       In my experience, most bus drivers in central london will always stop if there is anybody at the bus stop.
Mayfly, Nov 27 2002
  

       I think Mayfly has answered RodsTiger's & DrCurry's suggestion about request stops except for one point - vandalism. Where I stay, there is a subspecies of disagreeable adolescent - "neds" - who vandalise things in a semi-professional manner. Bus stops are a favourite target. They'd have a field day with buttons. If a mechanism is On The Buses, then it's harder to vandalise.   

       [egnor], if I wrote it like that, I wouldn't be the idea as I imagined it.   

       //why not put a sign on the side of the bus as well? Like most buses seem to have?// Because by the time you see the sign on the side, the bus is passing you. The idea is that you know which buses to "hail" (I don't know how you catch buses in other parts of the world but in Scotland you stick out your hand as the bus approaches) before they get to the stop i.e. before it's too late.
my face your, Nov 27 2002
  

       You could simply hail every bus that passes. If it's not the one you want, you innocently ask the driver "Are you going to Milngavie?" even though you know that he's not.
angel, Nov 28 2002
  

       I live in australia and we have that although i dont catch the bus often it wolud help alot and its an inexpensive great idea for the public so u should get some of ure mates to sign a patiton and take it to the american transport agency or somthing and try to get it and the best of luck cheers. : )
murray-cod, Nov 28 2002
  

       What are buses ? (I live in a rural area).
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002
  

       What's a patiton? Anything like punctuation?
angel, Nov 28 2002
  

       Buses shouldn't stop at all. They should pick up passengers in the same way that Special Forces units pick up divers...by using a big hoop attached to the side of the vehicle. Just stick your arm in it as the bus zooms by and whoosh! Off you go. The hoops could be colour-coded so that you know that it's the right bus that's ripping your arm out of it's socket.
DrBob, Nov 28 2002
  

       [DrBob], I totally agree. I've spent many odd minutes sitting on buses thinking this. Trains too.
Mayfly, Nov 28 2002
  

       Like the way that the Royal Mail travelling Post Offices used to collect mailbags from gibbet-like gantries at the lineside, with a big net on the side of the carriage ? Cool ......
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002
  

       <memories...>I used to have a Hornby train set with mail coaches and the trackside mail drop-off/pick-up of which you speak</memories...>
hippo, Nov 28 2002
  

       [Hippo] Still got mine .....
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002
  

       I wanna bake [DrBob]'s proposal.
kaz, Nov 28 2002
  

       I think DrBob should halfbake it, at least.
my face your, Nov 28 2002
  

       I think he just did.
skinflaps, Nov 28 2002
  

       For "halfbake it" read: post it as an individual idea.
my face your, Nov 28 2002
  

       I thought this was going to be about making a bus look more like a hot rod.
thumbwax, Nov 28 2002
  

       Calum, kaz: Nah! You know it's here, I know it's here. Tell your friends about it if you feel the urge.

hippo, 8th: I used to live just behind the Fleischmann workshop where they made all that stuff.
DrBob, Nov 29 2002
  

       where i live busses stop automatically at each transfer station; whether or not there are people waiting. also eliminates the need to race the other passengers trying to pull the chime cord.
scrappy, Dec 09 2003
  

       Wouldn't the original idea make buses alot taller when the spoiler is in the upward position? This could be a problem when navigating tunnels/bridges.
Cunninglinguist, Apr 19 2004
  

       //make buses a lot taller... ?//
Nope, the spoiler is hinged and spends most of its time in //the flat-on-the-roof position//.
calum, Apr 19 2004
  
      
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