Does drafting on the highway improve gas mileage?

July 23rd, 2012

First of all, we want to start off by telling you to always follow at a safe distance on the highway. Don’t start tailgating school buses and semi-trucks across Canada and the United States after reading this article! Through this blog post, we are merely sharing some proven tips that hypermilers and fuel economy enthusiasts have been using with some success. Does drafting large vehicles on the highway actually improve gas mileage? Yes it does. Read on.


paceline of drafting cyclists drafting cyclists

Photo Credit: Mathieu Thouvenin                           Photo Credit: Eleaf


First of all, what is drafting?

Drafting or slipstreaming is a technique where two vehicles or other moving objects are aligned in close formation, reducing the overall effect of drag. The leader of the pack pushes the air, creating a slipstream or a wake of air that acts to pull the followers traveling behind. By exploiting the lead object’s slipstream, those following can save energy which makes it easier to maintain speed. When high speeds are involved, as in auto racing and cycling, drafting can significantly reduce the amount of energy required to maintain speed.


drafting in NASCAR auto racing

Photo Credit: Michael Napoleon

drafting or slipstreaming in Formula1 race

Photo Credit: nick@


Drafting a Big Rig

Let’s take this concept to everyday applications like driving down the highway. Here are some Mythbusters segments that tackled the question of whether or not drafting actually works!


Small-scale test


They did a small scale wind tunnel test to study the aerodynamics of a big rig. They captured video of smoke travelling over a miniature big rig and verified the low pressure area behind. They then stuck a miniature car to a force gauge to study the difference with and without drafting. The results:

– 7 car lengths: 21% drag reduction

– simulated 10ft: 60%

– simulated 6ft: 80%

– simulated 2ft: 93%


Full-scale test


After the initial test concluded that drafting was very likely to reduce drag, Freightliner lent the MythBusters their most aerodynamic big rig on the market to replicate the initial test in real life. A test engineer hooked up a computer to the fuel injection system to accurately measure the fuel consumption going 55mpg at various distances behind the big rig. The result of the test:

– 55mph control: 32mpg 

– 100ft: 35.5mpg, 11% improvement

– 50ft: 38.5mpg, 20%

– 20ft: 40.5mpg, 27%

– 10ft: 44.5mpg, 39%

– 2ft: 41mpg, 29%


The fuel economy actually dropped at 2ft due to the nervous throttle foot of the driver trying to maintain that 2ft gap.


Bonus test drafting a big rig on a bicycle

Bike Drafting


So can you draft safely?

Vancouver School Bus regularly provides transportation for organized tour groups. We often travel on the Trans-Canada Highway as well as the Interstate 5, running down the West Coast towards Seattle. Our drivers follow the speed limits and they try to drive as smoothly as possible both for a comfortable ride as well as good overall fuel economy. Remember to follow the safety tips in this blog post and to always be aware of the dangers of tailgating. Remember to avoid driving in the blind spot of trucks and be aware that 150ft is the minimum recommended following distance at 55mph. We don't mind if you hitch a ride on our slipstream if you want to use drafting as a way to reduce needless fuel consumption. Another hidden benefit is that you’ll never get a speeding ticket if you follow behind our buses!

Looking for a Bus Tour from Vancouver to Victoria?

June 22nd, 2012

We do bus tours from Vancouver to Victoria too!


Yes that's right, in case you didn't know we often take international students on bus tours around various destinations in the West Coast of British Columbia and Washington State!


Just this past May, we toured with a group of students who came from all corners of the world including Brazil, Switzerland, Vietnam, Germany and Japan just to name a few. Vancouver School Bus worked in partnership with Rob Forman of the International Language School of Canada (ILSC) to showcase some popular sights on Vancouver Island.


Waves and Blenz in Hastings, Vancouver


The day started at 7am when the group led by Jeff, dropped by Blenz Coffee Downtown at Hastings and Richards for morning caffeine doses. After which the group was taken to Tsawwassen to access a ferry to Oak Bay.

View Larger Map

Map route to Tsawwassen

Interesting Facts: The suburb of Tsawwassen is made up mostly of residential communities situated on a peninsula of the southwest portion of the Delta, British Columbia. As the only road accessible to the US community of Point Roberts, travelers headed this way will have to pass through Tsawwassen. Don’t forget your passport as you’ll have to go through a US border crossing!


Tsawwassen Terminal aerial view

A famous landmark in its own right, the BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is a structure that was established in 1959 to provide vehicle and foot-passenger access between the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island’s southern part. This ferry terminal is the largest passenger terminal under BC Ferries and quite possibly the largest in North America of its kind. In the terminal, besides sightseeing, the students also took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping.


On board the ferry, the students wandered until reaching Oak Bay. Reputably known as a quaint and charming neighbourhood with a genteel British atmosphere, Oak Bay is a municipality situated on the southern end of Vancouver Island. It is a 10 minute walk east of Downtown Victoria, where people can relax a bit and enjoy green spaces, cafes and bistros.


Our group headed to Oak Bay Marina and fed fish to the seals. Complete with a spectacular view of Washington State’s Mount Baker, the Marina has a full-service ship-chandlery, fuel dock, gift shops and ship repair services that make the site a perfect destination for summer trips.


Feeding Oak Bay Seals Feeding Oak Bay Seals

Oak Bay seals splashingOak-Bay seals splashing


After Oak Bay Marina, the guests were treated to a scenic drive to the south of the island to Beacon Hill Park, a 200-acre park located along the shore of the Juan de Fuca Strait of Victoria. Beacon Hill Park has been under the possession of the City of Victoria since 1882. Originally, the park was called Meeacan by the First Nations people. This is Salish for ‘belly’, named for the park’s resemblance to the belly of a large man lying on his back. One of its landmarks is the Totem Pole, touted as the world’s tallest. For years, the park has served as a venue for several events held by the City of Victoria including the annual Victoria Luminara Community Lantern Festival. In our tour, we also visited the Mile Zero marker of the Trans-Canada Highway.


Victoria Mile Zero marker of the Trans-Canada HighwayPhoto Credit: Scazon


Soon after, the bunch were dropped off to the British Columbia Provincial Museum where they checked out some exhibits. By 3pm, the students were given the free time to explore the city. Some decided to take a walk to Downtown Victoria, while others decided to visit the Buchart Garden, the 3rd largest garden in North America. Since 1904, the garden has become one of the premier floral show gardens in the world. With over 55 acres of green and magnificent views, the garden is tagged as a National Historic Site that attracts more than a million visitors every year.


At 5pm, the bus began to gather everyone up before heading back to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to catch the 7 o’clock ferry. The group arrived at Tsawwassen at 8:35pm and the bus was able to drop off the all foreign students by 9:30pm.

school bus driver Don Minaker


A special thanks to Don Minaker, General Manager of Vancouver School Bus and one of our drivers!


Contact us if you’d like to talk to us about a custom bus tour for your group. We also do frequent trips to Seattle and Whistler!


Vancouver School Bus services IKEA for its Richmond grand opening

May 5th, 2012

The IKEA Megastore opened last April 25th to massive crowds that caused traffic jams in Richmond and nearby areas. Excited shoppers from Vancouver had to survive traffic all the way up 49th Street in Vancouver to the Knight Street off-ramp leading to the popular Swedish furniture store. Visitors coming from West Richmond had to wait in line for several hours just to be able to get inside the new store.


Police officers were stationed around the site to direct the huge increase in traffic at the entrances and exits. For safety reasons, the Richmond Fire-Rescue and the B.C. Ambulance Service were also present for a time. The new 31,000 square metre store is situated directly adjacent to the three-decade-old IKEA site on Bridgeport Road and Sweden Way.


[Photo Credit:]


View Larger Map


The first 1,000 IKEA-Richmond customers were given envelopes that had anything from a hot dog voucher to a $250 gift card. While the curious and eager shoppers couldn’t contain their excitement during the store's opening, the IKEA staff certainly had their hands full attending to everybody's needs. Vancouver School Bus was there to help out in our own little way.


The Vancouver School Bus and IKEA staff tag team


Vancouver School Bus services Ikea Richmond


During the week of the grand opening, staff members were asked to park off site in order to free up the regular parking lot for the general public. Vancouver School Bus was hired to perform continuous shuttle service to and from the satellite parking lot (the old Richmond Night Market site) to and from work as needed so that the public parking weren’t so congested.


We shuttled IKEA staff from 7:00am until 11:00pm for the week. Our General Manager, Don Minaker made the rounds and chatted with some of the staff to get a feel for the atmosphere and the mood. In addition to a local staff from other stores, there were IKEA staff members flown in from all over Canada, with the majority of them coming from Ontario.


By all accounts, the IKEA staff were delighted and appreciative that they had a safe place to park away from the throngs of happy patrons hauling their goods away. After all of the excitement inside, it was a welcome convenience to be able to drive away from a slightly calmer parking lot.




We were witness to how successful the event was and we were honored to be of service to IKEA during their important and well thought out grand opening event. Congratulations, for a job well done!


About IKEA

IKEA is the world's largest furniture retailer. Founded in 1943, IKEA is an international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture such as beds and desks, appliances and home accessories. The company is named as an acronym comprising the initials of the founder's name (Ingvar Kamprad), the farm where he grew up (Elmtaryd), and his hometown (Agunnaryd in Småland, South Sweden).* The first IKEA store in Canada first opened in Richmond in 1976.



Vancouver School Bus Twitter

March 20th, 2012

school bus with Twitter icon


Building our Twitter community

Vancouver School Bus has been around for over 2 years, providing private bus charters for clientele that includes wedding parties, event planners, conference planners, schools and colleges and larger corporate organizations with hundreds of employees.


As it appears, the need for social media in businesses is becoming a necessity. Social media is part of a company's brand. Most of our clients are on Twitter and are typically quite active. Marketing these days, has moved dramatically towards use of the Internet and away from traditional forms of media (print ads, radio or television commercials) which are both more costly and not as measurable.


Most micro businesses and start-ups operate under a strict marketing budget consideration so its imperative to find advertising channels with little to no cost. Today’s social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all free and offer promising ways to connect with our customers. Depending on the type of client we serve, individuals, small groups and big corporations can all be found in all or a combination of these social networks. Social media is more or less a prerequisite for doing business these days.


How we plan to use Twitter

It’s been suggested that we start by listening first, before jumping in.


Why start with Twitter? We are using Twitter as our starting point for the following reasons:


In 2011, it had around 300 million registered users. We’ve connect with some of our clients and spotted many more.


The short format of a tweet (140 characters at most) allows informal collaboration and quick information sharing which is more instant than blogging and email.


It allows us to reach large (and growing) groups of people with a single tweet. We can share information and converse with people outside of our current network.


We can gather real time intelligence and obtain valuable feedback almost immediately. For example, it is quite common to posted a tweet and get multiple responses from the people your Twitter community within minutes.


Using the third party application Hootsuite, we’ll be able to filter through the sea of information so that we can pick out what our clients are talking about in an organized way.


We hope to be able to answer customer inquiries and do customer service real-time as soon as we get the hang of it.


Please follow our Twitter account @coolschoolbus. We hope to stick to the following Twitter strategy:


1. Tweet regularly.

It is always important to be active in social media. But how much should we be tweeting for it to be useful? Some users are constantly tweeting, which can become irritating. Rather than tweeting just for the sake of flooding Twitter, we want to think more about the quality and helpfulness of what we’re tweeting about. It should either be informative or interesting enough to get people to notice.


We’ll be tweeting news on transportation and some interesting events happening in Vancouver. From time-to-time, we’ll also tweet random facts we find entertaining.


There is no magic number of tweets you should send each day to be successful (Just as there is no magic number of emails you should send each day). We’ll just be using it as another daily communications tool just like we use email.


2. Be responsive.

Once a business has signed up for Twitter, it should be ready for questions, comments and sometimes, complaints. It is crucial for any business to be responsive to the needs of its customers and be patient in handling queries from potential clients.


In the case of the Vancouver School Bus Charters, we see queries as customer service opportunities. It is even more crucial to handle complaints by listening and addressing the problems/concerns promptly.


3. Associate wisely.

One measure of a Twitter account’s popularity is the number of followers, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The most important thing in social media is having the right audience of responsive Twitter users in your chosen community. To begin, we’ll be sticking mainly to people and businesses in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on Vancouver.


After following people or businesses, we’ll organize them into Twitter lists so we can view certain lists at a time. Listing others is an online courtesy because it makes it easier for my followers to browse interesting people to connect with by looking through my lists. To learn how to create Twitter lists, click here.


4. Be genuine, friendly and open minded. 

People look at your last few tweets to see if you are worth following. To gain Twitter following, we’ll have to be genuine, friendly and conversational with our audience. If there are any negative rants about our service, we’ll try to stay positive and address the issues one at a time. Joining Twitter conversations is sort of like joining a conversation at a cocktail party. As the people who like to network know, you never know what might happen but the point is that you showed up to the party in the first place!


So go ahead and follow us on Twitter! @CoolSchoolBus

Cool Vancouver Dining Event: Eat the Street

January 17th, 2012

Collage of images of the Eat the Street Arts Performance


From January 25 to February 4, 2012, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is presenting a number of contemporary performances in various locations around Vancouver. The PuSh festival is an international performing arts festival that aims to push artistic boundaries. It's about "finding that line that some are afraid to cross, and crossing it anyway."

Vancouver School Bus is happy to be helping out with some of the transportation needs of one of the contemporary performances in particular: Eat the Street. In this series, children will be taking on the roles of food critiques in live, unscripted and spontaneous performances.


Following a culinary session with a professional chef, grades five and six students from Bridgeview Elementary in Surrey will make stops at nine restaurants in Gastown and its neighboring areas. Throughout the three week festival, they will be offering their brutally honest, uncensored opinions on the food, service, décor, washrooms and even the charm of the dishwasher.


Written notes on a white note pad


You are invited to the performance! For the cost of a meal, you'll get to sit by the kids table and enjoy a front-row view of the food judging. The public is encouraged to witness the refreshingly honest, uncensored critique of the food, service, decor, washrooms and even the dishwasher! All are welcome to stop by on these dates to watch an adolescent panel of foodies in training.


Eat the Street Restaurants and Dates.

(Just drop by and enjoy the shows!)

Irish Heather GastroPub – January 25, 6pm

210 Carrall Street


Calabash Bistro – January 26, 6pm

428 Carrall Street


Nuba @ The Waldorf – January 27, 6pm

1489 E Hastings Street


Subeez – January 28, 6pm

891 Homer Street


LaCasita – January 29, 6pm

101 West Cordova Street


Chambar – January 30, 6pm

562 Beatty Street


Chill Winston – January 31, 6pm

3 Alexander Street


Nicli Antica Pizzeria – February 1, 5pm

62 East Cordova Street


The Old Spaghetti Factory – February 2, 6pm

53 Water Street


Finale and Awards Ceremonies (FREE)

Join the panel of pre-adolescent adjudicators for an awards ceremony where awards are bestowed for everything from “Most Delicious” and "Coolest Chef" to "Least Graffiti in the Washroom."


February 4, 2pm at The Roundhouse, 181 Roundhouse Mews.


Eat the Street is produced by Mammalian Diving Reflex, a highly acclaimed Toronto-based research-art studio dedicated to investigating the social sphere. This project is based on a utopian prospect for the youth of our society — what the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called “a new social contract” wherein children are invited to be present as children, setting the tone and, in turn, triggering even higher levels of generosity between adults and children alike.


Portland Hotel Society and the Homeless World Cup 2011

October 12th, 2011

Vancouver School Bus provides transportation for clients that include schools, corporate organizations, non-profit organizations, bars and restaurants. From time to time, we work with organizations that are doing some pretty unique things to help improve peoples’ lives in Vancouver.


Portland Hotel Society LogoThe Portland Hotel Society (PHS Community Service)
One such organization doing some pretty great things is the Portland Hotel Society, a non-profit organization that provides permanent “no-eviction” housing for adults in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside facing challenges that include addiction, mental illness, homelessness, and poverty.

About the PHS Community Service
Created in 1993, the Portland Hotel Society was named after the US city Portland, Oregon, where Canadian activists were inspired by successful programs related to homelessness. It is funded by the British Columbia Housing and Mortgage Corporation and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

The PHS combines stable housing with professional support programs in order to help Downtown Eastside residents find the stability, dignity, and courage they need in order to turn their lives around.


The 2011 Homeless World Cup
The Homeless World Cup is a unique movement that uses soccer as a means to promote social inclusion of homeless and marginalised people. It’s less about the competition and more about teaching people discipline, teamwork and a stronger foundation of life skills needed to lift themselves out of homelessness. Spearheaded by Kailin See, the PHS assembled a team that participated in the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris.


Links related to the World Cup Team:
Video of Mayor Gregor Robertson honouring the Homeless World Cup Team
Vancouver Whitecaps showing their support
Street Soccer Canada’s Website


How soccer has helped to improve the lives of the team members?
Part of overcoming addiction or mental health issues is having a strong support network. Team members support one another and it keeps everybody focused and clean during their training period.


Beyond the physical and mental preparation that the players go through before the tournament, the real work begins once the players return to their lives from the annual tournament. The people shown in this picture are current and former members of the Portland FC team; real people that have come from dark places and conquered their demons to get to where they are today.



Today they are paid construction workers who are building the first regulation sized outdoor soccer field in Vancouver.


In addition to the soccer field, these troopers are also helping to build a community farm where members of the Downtown Eastside will be encouraged to get involved and contribute their time and efforts to help cultivate a sustainable source of food.


Would you like to help?
As the story above shows, these are people that are trying to make an honest effort at improving their lives despite having to deal with drug addiction or mental disorders or both.


Vancouver School Bus donated transportation services as a small contribution to the special individuals on the Portland FC team. These are people on a journey to improve their life however they can.


If you feel like helping out, please visit the PHS Community Service’s page on Every bit helps to run these grassroots programs.


How McDonald’s takes care of its employees

August 12th, 2011

Group picture of Vancouver McDonald's team members


McDonald’s would not be where it is today without its hard working employees. From top management right through to the front line staff, McDonald’s employees work hard to provide us all with the clockwork like service we have come to know and expect. So naturally, taking care of employees is a high priority that is embedded in the cultural of McDonald's.


McDonald's has achieved great success in many areas of their operations in the first half of 2011. The BC Region has led the way with some unprecedented successes. So how does McDonald's thank their employees for a job well done? The answer – employee appreciation days that include activities at various local venues around town! Vancouver School Bus Charters is proud to be providing transportation services to help make their events go smoothly.


August 16th, 2011 – Employee Appreciation with Beach Volleyball! Throughout the year, McDonald’s always makes an effort to reward everybody from the top managers to the new trainees. One of these appreciation days will be held on August 16, 2011 to thank managers of local restaurants in the Greater Vancouver Area.


Two bus loads of McDonald’s managers will be transported from the McDonald's Vancouver regional headquarters on Still Creek Drive to 6pack Indoor Beach Volleyball, the new 18,000 square-foot, indoor volleyball center on Mitchell Island beneath the Knight Street Bridge. One of the hottest new venues in town, this facility will be a great place for McDonald’s employees to have some drinks and snacks, play some volleyball and get to know colleagues from other restaurants.


Pictures of 6 Pack Indoor Beach Facility


As with any large company, it can be difficult to get to know peers so these employee appreciation days are a great way to get people out of the restaurants just to relax and have fun with others in a pressure free environment (unless of course the beach volleyball brings out some healthy competition).


After everybody has had a chance to build up a nice appetite, there is more planned! In the evening, the group will be taken to Mahoney & Sons Public House, the Irish Pub at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre for dinner.


Mahoney and Sons Irish pub entrance


Making employee feel safe and taken care of is priority One of the main goals of the appreciation day organizing committee is to make everybody feel completely taken care of during day so attendees can focus on enjoying themselves without worrying about transportation. Buses have been arranged and extra efforts will be made to ensure that everybody has a safe ride home at the end of the day.


After everybody has had their fill of Irish comfort food, Vancouver School Bus will do our part to transport patrons back to the Still Creek location where people can arrange rides, taxis or public transit to get home safely.


Thank you McDonalds! A chicken McNugget being held in someone's hand


We’re very pleased to be providing corporate transportation for McDonald's. Personally, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for inventing Chicken McNuggets. Remembering back to my childhood, there was always a familiar and comfortable feeling from having a boot shaped Chicken McNugget in one hand and a small container of sweet and sour sauce in the other.


Corporate Transportation: Lululemon Athletica

July 18th, 2011

lululemon sign from Toronto location
Photocredit: iStockphoto (in compliance with iStock’s editorial use policy)

Corporate Transportation for Lululemon Athletica

Vancouver School Bus has been fortunate enough to be able to provide corporate transportation services to a cool yoga apparel company like lululemon athletica! Back in the summer of 2010, we started working with lululemon by providing shuttle services for their employees after they experienced some growth as a company.


As the number of employees grew, so too did the demand for commuting options. For employees working at the lululemon distribution center and factory outlet in Burnaby, taking public transit was only a partial solution for getting to and from work because the nearest transit route was another 20 or 30 minute walk from their workplace! Even for the healthy and active people who worked at lululemon, it was quite a trek from the nearest Skytrain station or bus stop!


View Larger Map


Employees experimented with carpooling and taking van loads of people from the transit stations to the distribution center. It worked well enough, but eventually the logistics department contacted Vancouver School Bus to try and figure out a more structured way of scheduling pick ups and drop offs between the transit station and the distribution center.


Since then, we’ve worked out a regularly scheduled shuttle service to bridge the walking distance between the transit station and the distribution center. By making transit a more viable option, we’ve helped lululemon encourage its employees to take advantage of Vancouver’s awesome public transit system.


Corporate Transportation for Company Functions
Work life balance is respected and encouraged. Lululemon’s Fun Team plans corporate events for employees, partners and vendors throughout the year. Securing safe, organized and enjoyable corporate transportation from one place to another is one of their priority objectives. So then, in addition to helping employees get to and from work, we have a lot of fun moving bus loads of happy, positive, yoga practicing people to and from work functions and social events as well.


We provide private charter services to and from events like summer barbeques, company sports events and year end Christmas parties. Its nice for the employees not to have to think about carpool rides, taxis or which transit routes to take. If the corporate transportation is already arranged, they just have to show up, have a good time and get back to the bus when its time to leave!


Click here for more information and the history of lululemon athletica.


For Vancouver School Bus, it’s been a real pleasure getting to know people at lululemon and gleaning some of the positive energy that oozes from each of the employees we work with on a regular basis. A @coolschoolbus Twitter shout out goes out to @Leah_Burry, a part of the @lululemon Fun Team for being a pleasure to work with! Enjoy the rest of the summer!


A Quick Word on Sustainability in Business
School buses driving under a blue sky on an open road surrounded by grass
Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions here in Vancouver so we’re glad to be part of a solution that may help people choose more environmentally friendly modes of transportation rather than fighting rush hour traffic jams in their own cars. Remember, Vancouver is aiming to become the greenest city in the world by 2020 so let’s keep working at it!


Does your company need reliable corporate transportation?
If you work in a place that might have a need for corporate transportation services and you spot an opportunity to encourage the use of public transit like lululemon did, please contact us to talk about a regularly scheduled shuttle service.


Likewise, if your company has a function that may require corporate transportation in the form of a private shuttle or a full sized bus, please give us a chance to see if we can help out. We work quite frequently with corporate clients who want safe transportation to and from events where alcohol is served.


Book Vancouver School bus now

How to Drive for Better School Bus Fuel Economy

July 12th, 2011

View from the drivers seat of a school bus


Vancouver School Bus is part of the transport industry which creates a great deal of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia. According to the LiveSmart BC website, 36% of all greenhouse gases emissions in BC were from transportation industry and this number will only grow going forward. We can do our part by changing our everyday driving habits with a focus on school bus fuel economy.


The City of Vancouver has a goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by the year 2020. If we’re not part of the solution, then we’re part of the problem. Building a small business that employs principles of sustainability is good for both the environment and as well as the bottom line. So over the next few months, we’ll be making efforts to reduce the emissions created by our buses through better bus driving habits. Here are some of the driving habits we’ll be using:


1) Don’t accelerate and brake aggressively. Look ahead and coast when possible.
A fully loaded school bus can weight as much as 46,000 lbs. so accelerating requires a tremendous amount of fuel, not to mention the wear and tear on the brakes and tires. Drivers should learn to look ahead and anticipate when they will need to slow down or stop so they can avoid accelerating needlessly. This will use less fuel, reduce wear on the entire braking systems and provide a smoother and more comfortable ride for our passengers!


2) When accelerating, use the torque of the diesel engines.
Diesel engines are most efficient (they produce the most driving force per unit of fuel) at certain engine speeds. On our diesel engines, this range is from 1400rpm to 2500rpms. Drivers should smoothly accelerate from stops operating within these ranges, thereby ensuring that the engines are being run at their peak torque efficiency zone.


If drivers make a habit of shifting too early and operating the engine below the optimum range, this will lead to high carbon buildup in the engine over time which reduces overall efficiency. The result is higher fuel consumption, more emissions and unhealthy school buses.


3) Drive at or below the posted highway speed limits.
All vehicles consume more fuel if driven at highway speed because more energy is required to overcome wind resistance. School buses aren’t known for their aerodynamics so this is especially important for us. Besides being illegal, driving above the speed limit on the highway (approximately 80km/h – 100km/h) will affect the fuel economy of diesel engines more so than equivalent gas engines. As mentioned earlier, diesel engines have an optimum operating range for fuel economy and are even more sensitive than equivalent gasoline engine when operated outside of this range. Our drivers are aware of the critical effect that wind resistance has on our buses and will adjust their driving habits accordingly.


4) Minimize idling.
Although idling a vehicle to warm up the engine is common practice, it is actually wasteful and produces needless greenhouse gas emissions. Modern engines need just enough time to circulate the engine oil before you can drive away. On our buses, this should take about half a minute. Emissions can double in a cold engine, so idling on a cold winter day is like dumping unburnt fuel out the tail pipe and into the environment. The best way to warm the engine and all other components is to start driving, especially diesel engines which are designed to run at operating temperatures for long, sustained periods of time rather than idling at a standstill.


If you are stopped for more than 10 seconds (except in traffic), you’ll save fuel by turning off the vehicle and then restarting it when its time to drive again. This includes situations like loading and unloading passengers or stopping in viewing areas. If you know that you’re going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, turn off the engine rather than waiting it out. It’s bad for the environment, hard on fuel costs and it also emits loads of smelly diesel exhaust fumes. You can restart your vehicle knowing that your engine will still be sufficiently warm, the engine oil will be at the proper operating temperature and your catalytic converter will still be hot.


Besides the wasted fuel, idling can be really hard on the engine parts! If the engine idles while below peak operating temperatures, the fuel won’t undergo complete combustion. This leaves unburnt fuel residues that can contaminate engine oil and damage engine parts which are essential for optimum fuel mileage. Excessive idling can also let water condense in the exhaust system which will lead to corrosion and reduced life span.


Diesel Geeks Unite!
If you are a diesel geek like we are at Vancouver School Bus, please feel free to comment on these driving tips and share your own hypermiling experiences. In the future, we hope to share measurable improvements in both our fuel consumption and (fingers crossed) school bus maintenance costs.

Vancouver School Bus and the CAMRA Spring Expedition Trip

March 15th, 2011

This Saturday, March 19th, from 11:15am to 8pm, we’ll be providing transportation services for the the Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia (CAMRA) on their Spring Expedition!


About the CAMRA

CAMRA Vancouver is a non-profit organization in BC dedicated to the promotion and responsible consumption of natural, crafted beers. Membership across BC is made up of over 600 individual and corporate members consisting of microbreweries, pubs and taphouses, restaurants, and specialty liquor stores along with many skilled amateur brewers.


The Spring Expedition is an exclusive CAMRA Vancouver members only bus trip to The Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company and BrewHouse At Whistler!
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing CompanyBrewhouse at Whistler


The Details:
Date: Saturday, March 19th, 11:15am – 8pm
Ticket cost: $60* per person – Buy Tickets Online


Our classic Vancouver School Buses will be picking the group up at St. Augustine’s on Commercial Drive at 11:15am sharp and take you to the Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company in Squamish. Guests will be enjoying 6 – 5oz tasters of fine ales to go with a $10 lunch menu, consisting of a Pulled Pork Sandwich, Howe Sound Burger and Veggie Burger if your are interested.


At 2pm, our buses will fill up and get our beer  connoisseurs to the next stop, the Brewhouse at Whistler for a visit with head brewer, Derrick Franche. Members will receive another 6 – 5oz tasters, as well as some sharing platters to munch on during the visit. Pints will be available to purchase at “good guy” prices and growler fill ups will be $15 a pop.


As the night comes to a conclusion, we’ll safely transport our guests back to the pickup spot of St. Augustine’s on Commercial drive.


Are you interested in booking with Vancouver School Bus?
This is just an example of the many types of clients we work with to get a group of people from one place to another. If you or anybody you know is planning a trip that requires many people to be moved from one place to another in some very cool school buses, give us a call!


Book Vancouver School bus now


We’d love to take care of your care of your transportation needs at a low cost and a smile on our faces. Random acts of singing are encouraged.