As a regular NCAR shuttle rider, I am curious to know if there is a policy
regarding shuttle idling. Usually the shuttle arrives, the riders get on or
off, and the shuttle departs-all in a brief enough time interval that
leaving the motor running may be justified. However, the shuttle departing
Table Mesa/Broadway for the Mesa Lab at 6:55 a.m. apparently routinely
arrives at 6:40 or earlier, and the motor is left running for at least 15

A number of riders arrive well enough before 6:55 that sitting in the
shuttle may afford them some comfort, especially in cold weather. However,
this 15-minute idling also takes place on warm mornings. In my opinion it
would be better for the shuttle to arrive one minute before departure, like
the other shuttles. This would save gasoline and reduce carbon dioxide and
other emissions-which would seem appropriate for UCAR's overall mission.

This is in no way a complaint about the shuttle driver, who is very
courteous and punctual and in all other ways efficient.

Answered on July 02, 2001


Transportation does have a policy regarding shuttle van idling: We follow
the "one-minute rule." If a driver knows that he or she will be at a stop
for more than one minute, the engine is to be turned off. If the stop will
be less than a minute, the vehicle is left running because less fuel is
burned during this short period than if the engine were shut off and
restarted. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule (we don't
want anyone to pass out from heat stroke or develop frostbite, for
instance), but we try to follow the rule whenever possible.
All shuttle drivers have been reminded of this policy and will avoid
unnecessary idling. I encourage staff who observe idling infractions, or
any other shuttle-related issue, to contact me directly so that the problem
can be solved as quickly as possible.

-Jean Hancock, Transportation Supervisor, Safety and Site Services