Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Matthew Simmons again

Matthew Simmons comments at Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's Energy Conference 2005

Turns out the SUV isn’t the problem. It’s large trucks moving goods thousands of miles, getting three to five miles per gallon and clogging up our highways.


It'd be nice if he'd do a little research. I'm disappointed in my new truck (2006 Freightliner FLC 120 w/ 445 14L Detroit) , it only gets 7.5 MPG. On the same run a 2000 Freightliner FLC 112 w/ 370 11L Cummins got 8.5, and a 2000 Volvo VL w/ 270 11L got 9.2. I run light loads but have to run about 16% idle (liftgate) and hilly terrain.
Back in the bad old days before electronic engine controls 3-5 MPG was common, but anything in the last 10 years spec'd and driven properly will beat that. Cats run in the high 5s to low 6s, Cummins 6s to high 7s, and Detroits 6s to low 8s. If speeds are lowered those numbers will improve.
And as to which type of vehicle burns the most fuel a picture (or in this case a graph) is worth a thousand words (keep in mind that Distillates used in transportation encompasses diesel for trains as well as trucks [and diesel pickups and passenger vehicles, but those are a small share)


Graphic from EIA report on demand

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ooops

Detroit News: Patent Office Again Rejects Caterpillar Patent

A Georgia inventor has won the second round in his fight with the giant Caterpillar Corp. over rights to technology behind a new diesel engine that has brought the company billions of dollars in sales.

On Thursday, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiner declared for the second time that most of the claims for which Caterpillar was awarded a patent last year were not patentable because Clyde Bryant of Alpharetta, now 78, had already invented them.

At stake in the patent fight are the rights to an idea that Caterpillar has used to sell more than 200,000 of its award-winning "ACERT" diesel engines.

Bryant, a retired Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chemist, last October challenged a 2004 patent awarded to two Caterpillar engineers for a system of injecting a charge of cooled air into a diesel engine at a critical point in the combustion cycle. He claimed the patent was a restatement of a system that he patented in 2001.

Both Bryant's patent and the one awarded to two Caterpillar engineers last year claim the technique results in sharply improved engine efficiency, reducing both pollution and fuel use.


Hopefully they get it sorted out soon. The back royalties could get pretty large.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pet Peeve

Petroleum News:Interview with Matthew Simmons

To cope with the coming oil shock and much higher oil prices, Simmons told Financial Sense Newshour, the world, led by the United States, will have to become drastically energy efficient virtually overnight. A series of changes, including transporting all goods that currently travel by truck, by rail or water, could cut oil consumption 20-40 percent, he said.

“So by getting trucks off our highway system we have a major impact on removing traffic congestion. And traffic congestion is public enemy number 1 through 5 on passenger car fuel efficiency. So it’s a real win, win, win,” he observed.


Of course 98% of all Americans would rather Others rode mass transit (Satire)

But Seriously, the congestion benefits of intermodalism are overblown. A "normal" truckload shipment goes directly from shipper to consignee (most often, at least one is in a suburb of a major metro area). An intermodal shipment has to go from the shipper to a railyard and be loaded then at the other end be picked up from another railyard and taken to the consignee. So you have a truck at both ends going into a city (where congestion and its impacts are far worse) and of course if the rail hubs aren't in the same cities as the origin and destination the truck will be on surface streets in four cities.

The Ontario truck association writes: (PDF)

Expansion of intermodal operations for moving freight is another popular concept, almost a panacea for relieving congestion. Certainly intermodal shipping can have benefits for relieving overall congestion on the highway system. However, intermodal shipping will do little or nothing to relieve urban congestion as the freight must still begin and end its movement on a truck. It helps the provincial system but the impact of truck traffic on local roads is not reduced by intermodal shipping. Most intermodal facilities are located far outside urban areas. The freight is brought to the facility by rail but then trucks still have to take the freight to its final destination.

In fact, the recently completed Ontario Surface Freight Transportation study from Transport Canada, found that in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area], even if the railways were able to achieve their hoped for market share of intermodal traffic, the impact on highway capacity would be “pretty small.” The study concludes that “in the busiest stretches of Highway 401, (the passenger-car equivalent of shifting
trucks off the road) is less than 0.5% of the traffic volume.”


Also 80% of American communities only get freight by truck. I sure hope the other 20% don't mind all the freight moving through their towns.

Not to mention rail is more expensive for the most common freight moves. Intermodal Freight works best as large point to point unit trains for trips over 500 miles and the minimum size and length of haul requirements are going up, not down Ontario Truck Association: Truck/Rail Cooperation Trains Magazine:Europe’s hub-and-spoke intermodal services stumbles. . The Average length of haul for trucking was 485 miles in 2002 according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The FMCSA has a breakdown by commodity type available in another report..

And there is the small matter of how to convince shippers to use rail.
A 1990 study, commissioned by Transport Canada, from the Institute of Guided Ground Transport at Queen's University found that:

Based on average rail length of haul of 700 km [434 mi], the current level of highway user charges for trucks would virtually need to more than triple before any significant modal shift to the railways would occur for most commodities; and, Virtually all short-haul (under 500 km [310 mi]) freight traffic would stay with truck, regardless of the level of user charges. The study suggests that 70 per cent of truck traffic is short-haul. (In fact, about 90 per cent of all truck traffic moves less that 600 km [372 mi], and probably 95 per cent less than 700 km.)

Raising truck taxes is not a solution to the railway sector's problems.

-Ontario Truck Association: Truck/Rail Cooperation (link above).

One more detail, the rails are loaded heavily the same places trucks are. It would take several years of national effort to expand their capacity sufficiently to take a significant portion of truck freight. Short Sea shipping has promise as well as shipping more goods by sea from Asia to the East coast of the US.


Truck Traffic Flows (Volume)


Rail Traffic Flows (Tons)


Waterborne Freight Traffic Flows (Tons)

Peugeot chief: Gas hybrids don't make sense

PSA Chairman: Mainly Looking to Diesels and Diesel Hybrids for the Fuel-Efficient Future



Each time a gasoline engine is replaced by a diesel engine, consumption at equivalent performance is reduced by 20%.

******
I feel we should be clear that hybridization is interesting from a technological perspective, but it is and will remain very expensive, so its environmental benefits need to be studied closely.

If hybridization involves combining a gasoline and an electric engine, the benefits are comparable to those provided by substituting diesel engines for gasoline engines, except that one of these solutions is much less costly than the other. That’s why I believe there is no real advantage in developing hybrid gasoline engines in those parts of the world where diesel engines are well established. Only a hybrid diesel engine is attractive because it offers both benefits.

-Jean-Martin Folz, Chairman of PSA Peugeot Citro├źn

Gas hybrids have had very disappointing economy results (to be fair most of them have been tuned more to improve acceleration than to improve economy). Diesels are proven technology. Diesel Hybrids are are an ideal combination. Diesels love to run at a steady speed (such as in highway driving) and electrics are at their best in start and stop in town settings. The hybrid combination reduces NOx over a diesel (NOx emissions are at their worst during acceleration) and Carbon Dioxide over a standard Gas hybrid. Daimler Chrysler reported a $7500 Cost premium for their ESX3 Diesel Electric hybrid. How much are they paying per unit to move their SUVs?

Many hope to jump to the "Hydrogen Economy". Of course the only way to get Hydrogen is to split it from something else, which takes lots of energy and we have no infrastructure and its energy density is very low. We have a diesel Distribution network now. One more happy thought:

Combining the power of diesel engines with the efficiency of hybrid technologies can have terrific payoffs. Last year, MIT's Laboratory for Energy and the Environment produced a study (PDF) comparing total lifecycle energy efficiency and greenhouse emissions (including use, production, fuel production, and eventual disposal) of idealized advanced internal combustion, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. Diesel hybrids turned out to be much better than gasoline/gasoline-hybrid cars, and highly competitive with the best hydrogen fuel cell systems (even assuming optimistic fuel cell vehicle development). But the best hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will require entirely new hydrogen production, storage, and fueling facilities; reformed-gasoline fuel cells (which are more likely to be used, as they would not require the wholesale replacement of fueling stations) fared much worse.


World Changing:Diesel Electric Hybrids Now

Conspiracy Nuts Dig in

Thomas Lifson: Misunderestimated Again: Bush and Recovery from Katrina

If Democrat-voting minorities do not return to New Orleans in massive numbers, there is every indication that Louisiana will become a GOP stronghold, just like its neighbors in the South. It is New Orleans votes that have sufficed to elect governors and senators of the Democrat persuasion, making Louisiana the anomalous Southern Democrat stronghold it has remained since the end of Reconstruction. An enhanced GOP majority in the Senate will be helpful in further re-population of the federal judiciary with those who believe the Constitution means what it says.


Did he even think about how that sounds? And I wouldn't hold my breath on Louisiana. There were/are a lot of mad non-minorities down there. The rest of America may forget, but they'll remember it for a good while. And (speaking of President Bush)"Enemies and allies alike are once again failing to understand that a highly-trained strategist is at work....". Um, take a look at his impressive business management resume and then we'll talk. I voted for him because he seems like a decent enough guy and the alternatives were a lot worse, not because he was a "Harvard trained strategist".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And the Screw goes a little tighter

The Big Picture: The Disconnect and Economic Classes

"Median income fell most sharply in the Midwest, where it dropped 2.8% to $44,700, though it remains $300 higher than the national average. The drop -- accompanied by a rise in poverty in the Midwest -- partly reflects the disappearance of high-wage manufacturing jobs.

Across the country, the Census Bureau said, median earnings for full-time workers employed year-round dropped significantly last year. Men's earnings declined by 2.3% to $40,798 and women's 1.0% to $31,223. The data, which don't reflect employer-provided health benefits, measure pretax income.

The fraction of Americans living below the official poverty line -- $19,307 for a family of four last year -- rose for the fourth consecutive year to 12.7% in 2004 from 12.5% the year before, the bureau said. Last year, 37 million Americans were living in poverty, about 1 million more than the year before and 5.4 million more than in 2000 when poverty bottomed out as the economy peaked.

The poverty rate rose for non-Hispanic whites -- to 8.6% from 8.2% the year before -- while falling among Asians to 9.8% in 2003 from 11.8%. Among blacks and Hispanics, there wasn't any significant change, the Census Bureau said. The biggest increase was among people between the ages of 18 and 64, rising to 11.3% from 10.8%. Among those 65 and over, the poverty rate fell to 9.8% from 10.2%. The Census Bureau poverty data don't reflect noncash government benefits, such as health insurance or food stamps.

The Census Bureau also said that the percentage of Americans without health insurance remained stable at 15.7% in 2004. The number lacking insurance increased by 800,000 to 45.8 million while the number with public or private health insurance increased by two million to 245.3 million."


Union Weakness lets Firms seek big concessions(subscription)

Last week, an ATT Holding Co.'s Ames True Temper Inc. shovel-making factory in Parkersburg, W.Va., was padlocked after the union rejected a 58% cut in pay and benefits, which would take pay from $17 an hour to $6.22 an hour, and set a $10,000 deductible for family health insurance coverage.


via Bacon and Eggs

The hyper wealthy are doing well carving up the gains workers had made in the last century.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh the choices...

Bradford Plumer:Has Conservatism died?
This entire debate about whether or not "conservatism" has advanced or declined under big-spenders like George W. Bush and Tom DeLay seems muddled to me. Here's another possible way of looking at it, which may or may not be right. Bush-style "conservatism" over the past decade, I think, has basically taken up the same aims as DLC-style "liberalism" (or even, in a sense, Lyndon Johnson-style liberalism): you have technocratic elites commandeering the resources of the administrative state to enact their preferred social policies and to steer taxpayer money towards their favored constituents. Obviously, the two sides have somewhat different constituents: Bush favors the capitalist class, the DLC favors the educated professional class. Or whatever. But there you go.
............

So yes, we'll get Bush-style conservatism vs. DLC liberalism for eons to come, thanks to the sort of state Bush and DeLay have helped reify—though they hardly created it. Over the long haul, neither side will gain an absolute edge: the Republicans have a rural-state advantage in the Senate, while the Democrats have popular opinion on cultural and many policy issues on their side. Nevertheless, we're looking forward to two patronage parties, frozen in power until the next major economic crisis hits and knocks over the whole damn chessboard. Obviously I wouldn't equate the two sides: the Republicans are doing real damage and need to be kicked out as soon as possible, and the Democrats can still do a great deal of good, but I'm afraid "conservatism" isn't in any more of a crisis, fundamentally, than "liberalism." Limited government (along with a return to 1950s social conservatism) on the right and social democracy on the left have both been throttled. Whether that's okay with people or not is another question.


Basically the Left and the Right are stuck in their current awkward positions. But it's always fun to choose sides in the Battle between rich well connected Democrats and rich well connected Republicans.

Those who do not learn from the past....

Chavez Land Seizures Slammed
Ideology and corporate concerns do not enter the conversation of the campesinos sitting on overturned buckets shucking fresh corn to be ground in a hand-cranked mill and made into corn pancakes called "cachapas."
    For these families, ignored for generations by previous governments and pushed to the edge of survival, Mr. Chavez's revolutionary plans appear as their ticket to a new life. They reject the idea that they are squatters or that they have invaded someone else's land.
    "We are Venezuelans; we have the right to the soil. This is our earth, so we are not invaders," said Lisa Gramos, 55, before cooking the pancakes on a hot griddle in the one-room hut that serves as kitchen and bedroom for four adults and a number of small children.
    Much of the rancor comes from Venezuela's history of the wealthy few owning most of the land, and the failure of successive governments to bring the poor into national development.
    It is a situation that Mr. Branger, speaking over a long dinner in Caracas, recognizes.
    "We deserved it. We became a very complacent society, and we forgot our social responsibility, and we forgot the communities. We were not giving back to the communities. We deserved a bit of what is going on -- but unfortunately, we got a lot," he said.


Of course the state seizure of land is going to end badly. Outside corporations will stop investing, like Wal-Mart bailed on Russia after Yukos was seized. Other multinationals and folks who think they might be next will head for the exits. Those who stay will demand a premium for the extra risk to their investment. But the other point to be made is in a democracy, Oligarchy cannot be sustained. Sooner or later, if people feel they are getting a raw deal they will use the ballot box to strike back—no matter how many "Harry and Louise" spots you run. But thinking about that would require our beloved Robber Barons to think beyond the next quarter.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Trucking Strikes

Caught a blog claiming a trucker's strike is afoot for the end of October. When I drove over the road you'd hear rumors every week or two that on such and such a date there would be a trucker's strike. A Border Crossing in Canada was slowed for several days this week in a labor action by drivers and Port of Miami drivers held a one day protest recently.

Why are there murmuring of a strike? Owner drivers are in an unprofitable Capital Intensive business. Refrigerated Transport: Driver Shortage limits carrier capacity

Another approach to reduce the driver shortage is to get more owner-operators. However, the number of owner-operators has been shrinking.

“I don't see anything that is going to change that,” Albrecht said. “The reason is simple economics. Owner-operators at fleets that pay per mile are generally making 88-91 cents per mile. The cost per mile for fleets is about $1.30. Even with fuel surcharges of 15-20 cents per mile, how can owner-operators make it at $1.10 per mile?


Diesel is at record levels (a 66% increase versus 53% for gas over the last 2 years) and the forecast is for Distillates (the group of fuels Diesel is part of, along with Heating Oil and Jet Fuel) to rise about 30% this Winter...assuming there are no more supply disruptionsEIA:Short Term Energy Outlook Sept 7, 2005 In addition the industry is hurting from a 3-10% loss in fuel economy due to the EPA regulations that took effect in October 2002.

I still do not believe we will see a massive strike (the vast majority of trucks in the market are owned by large nonunion carriers), but small work actions will be possible as the market gets tougher,

Even if truckers do not strike, the destruction of Truck Supply due to small operators failing may tighten the freight market further.
Truck Repossessions increased by 45% the first Quarter this year over the same period in 2004
And a 38% increase year over year in the 2nd Quarter this year.
And this is in an industry already shrunk by more than a decade of reduced margins followed by a record wave of bankruptcies in 2001-2002 link.

Sad but true

Firehouse: Louisiana Firefighters describe Mutual Aid efforts

Minden Firefighters

Just getting into New Orleans proved to be quite a feat for the team of Minden firefighters, including Benny Gray, Lonnie Gray and John Tucker. But due to Tucker’s quick thinking, the group was able to talk their way through four checkpoints to get into the city.

The firemen left out the night of Tuesday, August 30, and once south ran into a series of checkpoints.

“At the first, a deputy was turning all the boats around, saying it was too dangerous,” Tucker said. “They were all turning around, so I went right instead of left.”

At the next two checkpoints, Tucker had authorities believing the group was supposed to be a staging area in New Orleans.

“They said it was too dangerous, but we’re too ignorant for that,” Tucker said. “We were wanting to help, and I didn’t want to be turned around by some goof with a walkie talkie.”

To get through the last checkpoint, Tucker closely followed a bus that was on its way to pick up a load of prisoners.

“They weren’t letting anybody by, and we knew there were people there waiting on the roofs,” Tucker said. “We stayed with the prison bus, and once we were in New Orleans, we never saw any cops.”[emphasis added]

********

By day’s end, the group had rescued more than 200 people, including lots of children.

“These were good people. We should have gotten them out before,” Gray said. “It gave me a different outlook.”

Cotton Valley Fire Department

********

Capt. Hurley said his team worked most of the time without a security detachment.

“Our security detachment, unfortunately, left us and it was basically like running a gauntlet by the Super Dome,” said Capt. Hurley. “There were thousands of people lining the interstate, trying to take everything (supplies) out of the trucks.”

Capt. Hurley said the people who were being rescued had been told that once they got to the Super Dome or to higher ground, that there would be resources available. He said the most difficult part of the rescue operation was leaving the people on the interstate with no food, water or medical assistance.

“Basically, what the people were saying were, they had been told that once we pulled them out of the water, they would have resources to move them and hydrate them and feed them and those resources never showed up,” said Capt. Hurley. “We all have trained for years for, under the assumption that, the state would be there to do their job and FEMA would come in and do their job and unfortunately, that did not happen for whatever reason. It’s hard to go out and rescue people and not have the resources to take care of them.”

One of the memorable events of the firefighter’s trip was the night their crew helped feed evacuees.

“We had a lot of food left over - jambalaya,” said Stacie Hurley, who was the only female member of the task force. “We went down to the hotels, gas stations, parking lots to feed the people who came from New Orleans and had no food, nowhere to go. We handed out between 300 to 350 plates. That was a good feeling. They were thanking you, hugging you and crying. That was the first warm meal they had had since they left (New Orleans).”

*********

Capt. Hurley said lack of communication posed the most difficulty in regards to rescue operations and procedures.

“There was no communications - radios or cell phones,” said Capt. Hurley. “A great emphasis had been placed, after 9-11, to standardize communications. We received 14 radios through a grant from Homeland Security as well as other departments in Webster Parish and those radios did not function - we could not talk back and forth between even the departments from Webster Parish on a simplex channel, which is radio to radio without a repeater.”


Sadly Law Enforcement and the Local, State, and Federal Governments were not up to the task

Inexcusable

SF Gate: Police made their storm misery worse

"They told us that there would be no Superdomes in their city,'' the couple wrote. "These were code words that if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River -- and you weren't getting out of New Orleans.''


After the "law enforcement officers" are hopefully shipped to Gitmo for an indefinite stay, the next thing that needs to happen is Lake Gretna. We finally made a down payment on ending this crap in the South in the Sixties, and now would be a good time to pay a bit more of that debt down.

2 Quotes I love

Tech Central Station: The Anti Ideologues, what Bush and Rehnquist have in common

Conservatives have long believed that human nature disposes us to arrogance, that we're not as smart and not nearly as farsighted as we think we are. The world is a terribly complicated place. If I think I've figured it out, I'm bound to be wrong, maybe disastrously so.


A Geek For God: Being Poor Sucks

I suspect that John Scalzi and I differ widely in our political opinions on certain subjects. But I believe we agree on the goals, we just disagree on the best means to get there.

On that subject, I’m rapidly getting sick and tired of people accusing their political opponents of being evil. Both Democrats and Republicans tend to do it, although it seems to be more highly concentrated in whatever party is currently out of power. I just wish people would wake up and realize that those on the “other side” are also people of good will.


That's why I like to listen to as many sides as possible.

Is it Paranoia?

Up and Out: Chapter 7: How Did we Get here?
....Then after WWI, there was a sudden explosion of unmarried sex. That was the "Roaring Twenties." It was a lot like the explosion of the hippies and their sexual revolution in the 1960s, but with one big difference. The hippies continued their sexual revulotion into the present. But the Roaring Twenties, and its sexual revolution, were stopped cold in less than a decade, by the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The Great Depression took the wind out of everyone's sails. Suddenly, in the great troubles of that time, the 'Twenties' generation rediscovered the bedrock values. Family and home gained a new respect and new meaning. A whole nation celebrated the joys of home and family. The huge change can easily be seen by comparing movies from the 20s with those of the 30s.

To most people, the 1930s was a period of severe poverty. That is true: it was. But it did not seem so to the children growing up then. Their parents may have missed what had been lost, but that did not affect the children much. Since almost everyone was poor, they were poor together, so it seemed normal.


Read this and I had one of those "grew up Pentecostal paranoia moments"TM, kind of like when I read that most of Europe will be majority Muslim at the same time that CERA says oil production will peak, was the Great Depression a divine warning shot against immorality? Of course, it could also be the discarding of sexual norms was one of many cavalier rule changes at the time, and some of the reckless decisions were made with nations and fortunes.

Just when you hoped it was dead

Brother's Judd:The Day the Sympathy Died

The Hurricane stopped being helpful to Democrats when they made it a racial issue. The more folks find out about New Orleans, its politics, and its people the less they care about what happened there--except for wanting it rebuilt enough that they stay there


They? I guess "they" aren't Americans like the rest of us. And this is in Reference to an article about sex offenders among evacuees to Massachusetts. Maybe they could title it instead: "Lock up your White women, the African-Americans are off the Reservation!" Race Baiting is disgusting whether it's in the 1950s or the 2000s.

Department of "Huh?"

Castaways and Cuts
There is, of course, more to fighting poverty than anti-poverty spending. Work and wages are crucial. And throughout four years of lousy labor-market performance, touted consistently by the right as some kind of boom, wages have stagnated and the poverty rate has risen in each and every year. Having attracted praise in 2000 for attacking congressional GOP efforts to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) -- a key program helping the working poor -- Bush proceeded to do the same thing by stealth. The IRS has redirected its efforts away from catching rich people who cheat on their taxes to denying on technicalities EITC benefits for poor workers who have trouble navigating the complicated thicket of paperwork the program requires.


I like to read Matthew Yglesias, yes he's full of vitriol but he has interesting things to say (too many of the Pundits on both sides have the former and not the later). I was reading this article when I hit this paragraph. Now I am resolutely boring (still married to the wife of my youth and all) but I have prepared my own taxes most years and have never had an issue with the EIC paperwork. Sadly, my first career as a starving college student meant we qualified every year until this one. The schedule for the EIC and directions fit one double sided 8 1/2x11 page. It's not that hard. Now I hope the IRS is catching rich scofflaws rather than giving semi-literate folks dutch rubs for poorly following instructions, but come on.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

CAFE

CAFE Society

Myself I think CAFE is sort of a mixed bag. On the plus side, a lot more fuel efficient cars are made available at a low price to the market. If car makers were constrained only by the market demand on fuel economy there probably would not be nearly so many fuel efficient cars on the road. The auto makers have invested where the market was not in order to move high economy cars that would offset their profitable vehicles (in the PT Cruiser's case, trucks). They have added tech and features and cut prices to move the necessary number of economy cars. So many folks bought a smaller car than they would have had the automakers not been selling CAFE offset cars at a loss.

On the downside, this flood of cheap iron into the economy segment has associated small with cheap in the American mindset. Ford's will not bring their new Focus design to the US because it is too costly. Many European makers cannot sell their compact cars at a price the market will pay. Unfortunately the domestic iron has suffered terribly in quality as well. The Dodge Neon and Ford Focus were both very nicely designed cars with horrible quality issues at first. I think in part this is due to cost cutting (hard to justify spending more on a car you are going to lose money on).

Monday, September 05, 2005

Smart, Very Smart




At least one of the school busses was put to good use Bet most of em have automatics. There are some extra issues with Air Brakes, but nothing that would take more than a half hour chalkboard talk to cover adequately for a single road trip. Put one trusted driver and one cop on each one and form a convoy. It wouldn't have fixed everything, but the busses and the people on 'em would be in a lot better shape now.