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Aero Star Large Route Bus Incorporating Latest Safety Technologies

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April 2011, the automatic transmission equipped Aero Star has demonstrated its unique performance on various road surfaces. The driving routes serviced by Hakone Tozan Bus cover approximately 25 kilometres of roadway between Odawara Station, Sengoku and Togendai, which include a mixture of urban areas, hills and approximately 60 bus stops. Many of the accidents that occur inside buses happen when passengers fall as a result of the force generated when a manual transmission bus takes off. The new Aero Stars operated by Hakone Tozan Bus are able to stop safely at the many bus stops located on hilly roads and also minimize the sudden jolting that usually occurs when manual vehicles begin accelerating from a stop.
Another benefit of the automatic transmission is that the driver can focus all his attention on driving without having to worry about complex gear shifting operations. This is especially helpful on Hakone’s hairpin curves and roads so narrow that there is little room to maneuver when passing oncoming vehicles. Safe, stable driving is a must in Hakone, and Hakone Tozan Bus’ new T310-equipped Aero Stars are the perfect solution.In addition to safety and stability, Allison automatic transmissions can reward Hakone Tozan Bus with cost-efficient fuel consumption comparable with a manual, especially when reduced maintenance costs are added to the equation.
According to Hakone Tozan Bus officials, the manual transmission buses operated by their company had fuel consumption of between 2.75 km and 2.87 km per litres of fuel; based on results to date, the new buses equipped with Allison automatic transmissions can travel 2.79 km on a litre of fuel. From a maintenance perspective, the costs to overhaul and replace parts on a manual transmission bus are expected to exceed the same costs for an automatic transmission bus.

Katsumi Minagi, Chief Mechanic at Hakone Tozan Bus, said, “With the manual transmission buses, the clutches had to be overhauled – replacing discs and bearings, etc. – about once every five years, and sometimes the transmission would fail and have to be replaced. In contrast, the only maintenance that has to be done on the automatic transmission buses is to periodically change the gear oil and filters and to conduct a single overhaul in the transmission’s 12-year life cycle. Also making the automatic transmission attractive is that we no longer need to spend time adjusting the clutch. We periodically replaced the gear oil of the manual transmission buses, but the buses equipped with Allison automatic transmissions feature a prognostic device that displays in advance when the transmission oil needs to be changed, so we are able to replace the oil at the proper time.”Teruhisa Nagata, Training Director and a driver at Hakone Tozan Bus, said of the new buses, “In recent years, many new drivers from a variety of backgrounds have joined the company, and we’ve seen a greater influx of new employees who aren’t familiar with the Large Vehicle Class 2 Driver’s License. The new automatic transmission buses are the ideal vehicle for these drivers because the buses provide excellent stability and a smooth drive even on bad roads. These new buses have even gained a good reputation among our veteran drivers because they are easier to drive and reduce driver fatigue.”

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