The KuzuhaOtokoyama Loop-Route Community Bus (くずは・男山循環コミュニティバス)
The Kuzuha/Otokoyama Loop-Route Community Bus is the community oriented bus route, which started its operation by the Keihan Uji Transport Co. Ltd. with the public nickname of the service as 'Bus-be.'
Later, the Keihan Bus Co., Ltd. took over the management of the Keihan Uji Transport Co., Ltd. and succeeded the operation of this route.
The official name of this route is the "Kuzuha Route/Kuzuha Otokoyama Housing Complex Loop-Route" (this is the official name of the route after the takeover of the management by the Keihan Bus Co. Ltd.)
This route is currently managed by the Keihan Bus Otokoyama Management Office.
This is the oldest community bus in service since the establishment of the Keihan Bus Co. Ltd. (including the period of the former Keihan Uji Transport Co. Ltd.).
This bus route goes through areas with some narrow roads and streets; however, those areas are situated within 300m radius from the nearest bus stops, since those bus stops are distributed close enough each other to make the advanced age users accessible. This route was established as a real-world testing for conducting a research on the usage of a bus system by advanced age users. For the actual demonstration of this research, the "Bus-be Nursing Care Service Project" was also started at the same time. For setting up this project, not only those ideas and proposals suggested by a professor of the Osaka Institute of Technology, but also the comments of the local residents were taken into consideration.
One of the proposals to be carried out was 'to keep the distance of each bus stop as 100m within the housing complex area, considering the convenience and the accessibility by the advanced age residents of this area.'
According to this proposal, the distance of each bus stop placed between No. 318 Apartment Front and Otokoyama Shopping district West was set up in 100m intervals.
The route number of this bus service has been the No. 5 Route since the establishment of this route (the current official name is the Otokoyama No. 5 Route).
In the spring of 2003, the nickname of this bus service was changed from the "Bus-be" to the current name, the Kuzuha/Otokoyama Loop-Route Community Bus, and the route of the bus service was also revised at the same time, for the section of the route between No. 106 Apartment Front and Asahi bus stops (the original route of this section was running via "No. 106 Apartment Front - No. 101 Apartment Front - Shidehara - Park Front - Asahi.")
By the way, the official name of this bus route during the Keihan Uji Transport Co., Ltd. period was the 'Otokoyama Housing Complex Route Internal Bound.'
This bus route was named as 'the effective community bus route upon its introduction' by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in 2003, among those community buses operated throughout Japan (according to the reference documents).
Otokoyama No. 5 Route: Kuzuha Station - Shopping Mall - Asahi - Izumi - No. 318 Apartment Front - No. 306 Apartment Front - Otokoyama Central Shopping District Front - Otokoyama Shopping District West - Kanaburi Higashi (there is a "free get on and off section" between Kanaburi Higashi and the next stop) - No. 106 Apartment Front - Mendoricho 2nd district - Asahi 1st district - Asahi - Kuzuha
During the earlier days of the operation after the establishment of this bus route, two 'Rainbows' of Hino Motors, Co. Ltd. were assigned to the Keihan Bus Otokoyama Management Office and used as the "Bus-be," while one 'RN/EN' of Nissan Diesel Motors, Co. Ltd. was transferred from the Keihan Bus Uji Management Office and also used for the operation. Sometimes in rare occasions, the bus managed by the Kuzuha Hillside Community Bus ('Aero Midi MJ' of the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation) was allotted for this bus service for temporal usage.
Although this bus service used to keep an additional 'Rainbow RB' as a spare vehicle, it was handed over to the Community Bus Yawata Route, and currently it is maintained by the Community Bus Yawata as its spare vehicle.
However, those vehicles could not fulfill and meet the regulation of the Vehicle Emission Control of Osaka Prefecture, they were replaced by the new 'Poncho' of the Hino Motors in mid-December, 2008 (the vehicles share the same specification with the ones obtained by the Keihan Bus Town Kuru Route at the same time.)
After the launch of those new vehicles, all the vehicles were jointly managed and operated by the Kuzuha Otokoyama Loop-Route Bus and the Kuzuha Hillside Community Bus.
Adult: 210 yen/Child: 110 yen (Otokoyama area special route/one district)
Passengers can use the same pre-paid card of the other public bus routes, such as the 'KANSAI THRU PASS,' 'Keihan Group Common Bus Card,' 'Keihan Bus 1-day Ticket,' etc.. In addition, the PiTaPa IC card can be used for the ride from October 1, 2008.
The section of the route set up as the "free get on and off section," which is designated at the residential area of Kanaburi district, (more specifically the section of the route between Otokoyama Shopping District West bus stop and Kanaburi Nishi bus stop) is the service available only in this route among all the bus routes of the Keihan Bus Co. Ltd. Unlike those similar services found in the mountainous regions, where only a limited number of bus stop is allowed to set up because of their topographic conditions, this "free get on and off section" service was introduced in consideration to those people of advanced age, who have less accessibility to the bus stops away from their home. This is a simple service allowing to get on and off at any point within the designated section of the route, by notifying the bus driver by raising a hand to get on, or pressing a notification signal button to get off.
The previous nickname of the bus service, the "Bus-be," was used in various services and projects initiated by the Keihan Uji Transport Co. Ltd. as the company tried for diverse business management and operation, such as the "Bus-be Nursing Care Service" or the "Local Beer Bus-be" (the project produced Stout/ Altbier/ Pilsner type beers) (However, the principle management body the Keihan Uji Transportation Service Co. Ltd. was dismissed, and all the services provided by the company had been terminated.)
Those two 'Rainbow RB' buses once operated for this route were applied with a body design in yellow base color (this color is called the "Garden's Color" among those vehicle fans) and original character illustration. This design was applied for advertising the facility called "Gardens Amagase," because the facility was selling the "Local Beer Bus-be" (this facility is not in service as of today).