High speed pumps and improved data communications.

As well as being custodian of Britain’s most famous seaside tram set, Blackpool Transport Services Ltd (BTS) also runs a state-of-the-art bus service network with a fleet of 165 vehicles serving the town and surrounding Fylde coast area.
The company’s depot is located close to the seafront within sight of the iconic tower, an image of which has now been incorporated into the BTS’s latest livery style.

True to form, the BTS depot fuelling point also has a mix of classic and modern, with two of the latest Merridale high speed diesel dispensers, operating alongside two pumps from the original installation, which has now clocked up over ten years of continuous service.

[quote]By having a clear understanding of the vehicles’ economy (mpg) performance, we can make better informed decisions to help with the selection of new vehicles.[/quote]

The aging Merridale pumps are also due for replacement in a second phase of the update project. The monitoring system has also been updated with a more robust IT network communications link to the office computer.

Commenting on the upgrade, engineering director, David Hislop notes that the faster pumps have helped improve the efficiency of the nightly service operations.

When asked about other new ideas such as vehicle mounted devices for capturing vehicle mileage information, David Hislop was not convinced that these were necessary.

The Merridale system is designed to use the odometer reading (mileage) to authenticate the fuelling transaction. If the operator gets it wrong the system simply locks-out. There is no delay to fuelling because the operator can use a bypass number. However this situation will then show up as an anomaly on the daily reports. Any mistakes are easily identified and rectified  – so everything falls back into place.

Having an accurate mileage together with fuel usage is central to the application functionality for coach and bus applications. The reports are used for tyre management and preparation of submissions for the local authority grants.

Currently Blackpool Transport accounts for some 3.6 million litres of diesel a year so managing fuel economy and the consequent carbon footprint is a prime objective.

“By having a clear understanding of the vehicles’ economy (mpg) performance, we can make better informed decisions to help with the selection of new vehicles,” explains David Hislop.

“We operate a mix of different types of vehicles and in some cases such as the Solos, we have similar vehicles with different engines. The Merridale FuelFX software allows us to run a report for all the different types and engine size or styles of vehicles to compare fuel efficiencies.

[quote]The fuelling system is a fairly complex system involving hydraulics, electronics, communications and computer software, so it is inevitable that there will be some need for support. MIS takes full responsibility for every component and whenever we have had a problem, the service has always been very good.[/quote]

“For instance, this analysis has influenced our decision to buy larger vehicles, with bigger engines. As well as offering better service lives, these vehicles are fitted with a larger capacity air system used to power the brakes, door operation and kneeling the vehicle, for easier access.

“Basically this is stored energy which will impact on fuel efficiencies. Since the smaller vehicles used the same amount of air, for our service routes we found that it is more fuel-efficient to use larger vehicles with more air-power to drive these auxiliary services.”

David Hislop concludes our chat by paying tribute to the service support provided by MIS Fuel Monitoring.
“The fuelling system is a fairly complex system involving hydraulics, electronics, communications and computer software, so it is inevitable that there will be some need for support. MIS takes full responsibility for every component and whenever we have had a problem, the service has always been very good.”