Safer, more efficient buses through EMBARQ India’s training
As India’s public bus companies work to stay afloat amidst rising gas prices and shrinking budgets, EMBARQ India is helping. From June 7th-10th, EMBARQ India conducted a series of two-day workshops, one for BEST (Mumbai’s City Bus Service Provider) and one for NMMT (Navi Mumbai Bus Service Provider), aimed at teaching bus drivers how to drive more safely and more efficiently. By working together, EMBARQ India and Mumbai’s bus companies are improving both the safety of bus operations and the fuel efficiency of the vehicles.
More than 90 participants attended the workshops, including head trainers, driving inspectors, driver trainers and drivers. Held under the Mentoring Transit initiative, the workshop emphasized the importance of good driving practice for both safety and fuel efficiency, as well as the need for performance monitoring in order to develop high quality urban bus services.
Three experts from EMBARQ India, Haneef Mohammad, Pawan Mulukutla and Priyanka Vasudevan, conducted and organized the workshop, which was welcomed by the bus companies, who are eager to focus on safe driving habits as well as fuel efficient ones.
Some of the techniques highlighted in the workshop included best practices for accelerating and tips for switching gears. It was emphasized that gears should be switched in sequence, and that they can be used to control the bus’s speed as well as power. In addition, a unique technique known as "power point" was introduced to all the participants. The technique involves removing one’s foot from the accelerator a little bit to achieve the power point – that moment when the engine sound becomes smooth but the vehicle has not significantly slowed down- to improve the miles per gallon.
All the participants practiced the “power point” technique during field training. The experiment resulted in doubling the miles per gallon at both training sites. Many of the participants were surprised by this result, and realized that smart and safe driving can result in higher fuel efficiency.
It should be noted that a systematic performance monitoring and evaluation process has yet to be implemented. In order to realize the full benefit of these driving practices, the link between safe driving habits and improved fuel efficiency will need more focus and attention from governmental agencies.