Monday, June 30, 2008

Smart Car

Its so tiny and cute, but is it safe? Does it save on fuel? Is it worth it?

According to the smart car website, the new technology is a crash box of sorts that creates a safety force field around the two passengers in the vehicle. It gives a feel of how" a nut is protected by its hard outside shell, the smart fortwo's occupants are protected by a steel housing that combines longitudinal and transverse members that displace impact forces over a large area of the car. So it's not about the amount of steel, but how that material will resist an impact. That's what the tridion safety cell is all about". The "shell" is made up from steel bars in the front and rear bumpers "that are bolted to the safety cell´s longitudinal beams via slip tubes" which help absorb any impact from minor parking lot bumps to major accidents.

With the push to own smaller cars with the ever so rising fuel costs, it does not appear that the smart car is better then a Honda or Toyota on gas mileage. The fuel efficiencies are relatively the same. The push for the smart car is safety. Te company did make a hybrid edition for the 2007 year models, but I believe that was a test of sorts to see if it would sell. No word if they will continue to make a hybrid series.

Maybe some day we will have one in the fleet?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Swearing in MD

Keep in mind while traveling through Rockville, Maryland, that the streets there are rated G. If you possess a PG-17 vocabulary, take the bypass. Swearing from a vehicle in Rockville is considered a misdemeanor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dont' Talk & Drive

Massachusetts is in the process of putting a law through to ban talking/texting on your cell phone while you drive. But, while you are using a fleet vehicle you MAY NOT talk and drive no matter what the law states. If you are caught talking/texting while driving a college vehicle, you will lose your driving privileges.

If you want to check out the individual laws that are in your state so you know what is going on while you are in your personal vehicle, check out Cellphone Laws.

Just keep in mind, even though it may not be a law in your hometown, it is a distraction to talk or text while driving your vehicle. It can be a hazardous condition for those around you while you take your eyes off the road for a second. You never know what you could come across while driving without a sufficient reaction time or even if your car drifts into the on-coming traffic for a second, it can be disastrous.

Friday, June 20, 2008

No Burn-Outs in Kansas

In Derby, Kansas, it is considered a misdemeanor to screech your tires while driving. This abominable act can cost you 30 days in jail.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


If you need to get to any of the other 5-Colleges, use the PVTA (the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority) bus line. You can check the website to see the routes and times for the bus. The bus does not run during the summer and for some breaks.

They also post regional route maps so if you choose to use the bus to get to MHC for work, check out the website for further information.

The base fares are-
  • Adult $1.00 (.90 if purchased at the Customer Service Center)
  • Transfer .25 (regular & children)
  • Elderly (with valid PVTA ID) .50, transfer .10 (To receive reduce-fare privileges you must have a valid PVTA photo ID or statewide Access Pass. This ID is process while you wait at the Customer Service Center at 1341 Main St. Springfield)
  • Children under 6 years of age ride the PVTA for free
  • Children 6-12 years of age pay .75
  • Passengers 13 years of age and up pay the adult fare.
The fixed route fare-

31-Consecutive Day Passes
  • Regular 31-day, monthly cost $36.00
  • Elderly & Disabled 31-day, monthly cost $18.00
  • Regular 7-day cost $10.00
  • Regular day pass, cost $3.00
Fares for ADA & Senior Van Service-

  • $2.00 within an adjacent community.
  • $2.50 outside a non-adjacent community.
  • $3.00 out of county/non-adjacent communities

When boarding the bus you must have the exact fare. Operators do not carry change and are not allowed to search purses, pockets or backpacks for customer's fare.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How can I drive a fleet vehicle?

If you have always wanted to become a fleet certified driver, there are a few things you need to do first before driving the wonderful fleet vehicles.


You must attend a fleet orientation class. These classes are set up when they are needed (for the summer, its only when requested, during the school year they are typically every two weeks). You must contact the fleet office (or coordinator) to sign up for a class. The classes usually run about an hour.

You must submit your driving history from your home state. You do not need this paperwork for the class, but if you already have it, you may become approved sooner. You can check with your home states website (or call) to see how to obtain the form.

Turn in all required paperwork for review.

When you have become approved, the Fleet Coordinator will send you an official email letting you know you are all set to drive.

Please keep in mind, annually all fleet drivers must submit a credential form to maintain the ability to drive. You will receive an email letting you know when this must be done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why not?

Keep in mind while in Connecticut, this odd law before you paint your car orange or camouflage deco!

  • No need to get your Lexus Sport Luxury Sedan painted blaze orange. Hunting from cars in Connecticut is illegal, even during deer season.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Alaska's Bizare Law

Today's bizarre law is from Alaska. My question for this one is, who did this to make it a law?!?!?!

  • Contrary to public opinion roof racks are not specifically designed for skis, snowboards and cocker spaniels. Or at least not in Alaska, where authorities have found it necessary to declare it illegal to tether a dog to the roof of a car.

Friday, June 13, 2008

California Bizare Driving Laws

Keep these is mind while you are in California!

  • No matter how luxuriously comfortable that divided highway may look, it is illegal in Eureka, California, to use a road as a bed.

  • In order to save money on having to crop dust their streets, officials in Chico, California, have made it illegal to plant rutabagas in roadways.

  • Officials in Glendale, California, no doubt, caved in to insurance lobbyists when they inexplicably decided to make it illegal to jump from a car at 65 mph.

  • Don’t expect to find any salt-rimmed curbs in Hermosa Beach, California. Officials there have made it illegal to spill your Margarita on any street.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Average Fuel Cost *OUCH*

If you want to follow the daily change of fuel prices in Massachusetts, check out Fuel Gauger Report. This will allow you to compare the current day fuel cost along with yesterdays, a month ago and even a year ago cost. *CAUTION* this website may cause you to become nauseous (with the way the fuel costs continue to rise).

You can also check on the national average of fuel & other state's average while you are visiting the sight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Fleet?

Its the new Harley Davidson division of the Fleet Office? What do you think? Naa, its just two of the Public Safety Officers showing off their bikes. Officer Wojcik is on the red bike & Officer Ayers is on the other. Nice bikes though!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hybrid Buses

Wow! Can you believe it? Larger cities like Honolulu are incorporating Hybrid buses into their fleets. It will be some time before MHC will be able to afford this type of vehicle, since the latest one that Honolulu mass transit purchased was over $200,000 back in 2004.

The buses are also 75-passenger capacity. Holy cow! I bet that would be wonderful for our bus trips to NYC and to see the Red Sox!

Along with fuel costs and larger seating capacity's, the hybrid buses are said to have better brake life, provide a smoother ride, are quieter and release less emissions into the environment. All great perks for a hybrid bus. It helps everyone on all aspects!

If you want to know how the hybrid works on a bus, check out the lovely diagram below!

Also, while visiting NYC in the past I have seen hybrid buses in their mass transit fleet as well. I'm sure there are other cities out there taking action too and its great! It good to know that the larger city's are taking the environmental issues we all face into consideration.

If you want to ready the entire article on hybrid buses in Honolulu, check out the Honolulu Adviser's article.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fuel Saving Tips

With the fuel prices out of control these days, everyone is looking into saving as much money as they can at the pump (or other places so they can purchase the fuel). I guess the easiest way would be not to drive your car and use the gas, but how many of us can do that? Not many at that and it doesn't matter if you are a student or employee, the cost of fuel effects us all in so many ways.

With that in mind, here are some fuel saving tips that can help get you that extra mile -

  1. Observe the speed limit - of course you should be doing this to begin with (definitely in a fleet car), but if you tend to have a slight lead food in your personal car, you may want to drive the speed limit to help conserve fuel. According to, "While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph".
  2. Remove Excess Weight - avoid storing heavy items in your vehicle for a long period of time, especially things over 100 pounds. The extra weight could reduce your MPG by 2%.
  3. Avoid Excessive Idling - this is especially in a fleet vehicle, but even in your personal vehicle try to avoid idling.
  4. Use Cruise Control - in many vehicles, this will assist with saving fuel since your foot isn't always pressed on the gas petal. Its also a bonus since you will remain at a constant speed so you don't go over the speed limit & now you are using two steps to conserve fuel.
  5. Keep your car in shape - the fleet vehicles are regularly checked by the college's mechanic but on your personal vehicle make sure your tires are properly inflated, your engine is properly tuned (not to a radio station mind you!), check your air filter regularly and use only recommended oil grades for your vehicle.
These are just a few simple steps to assist you & your wallet in these times of ever changing fuel prices. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Helpful Fleet Tip #5

Don't be late, for your very

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Helpful Fleet Tip #4

Make sure your belongings are taken out of the vehicle.