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About roamer

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    retired KCM operator and drove buses for over 30-years

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  1. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Ah, sorry, misinterpreted that entirely. Going back and reading your comments again, your question does make perfect sense. Wasn't there a discussion --not sure if it was in this thread or another-- pertaining to Metro now attempting to keep as close as possible to the FTA recommended 12-year life cycle? It seems studies have shown that once a transit bus exceeds twelve years in service, their maintenance costs rise substantially even as it relates to those properties that strictly adhere to the recommended preventative maintenance schedules. However, like Metro in the past, many agencies just can't afford the capital expenditure to replace all equipment after 12-years of being in service. With that said, I still wonder if it has anything to do with standard-floor buses being more durable and longer-lasting than their low floor counterparts. We've heard the arguments that low floors buses are not built to the same quality as the older high-floors but I question the validity that low floor coaches are inherently inferior pertaining to durability. I, like most others, seem to subjectively think that the low floor buses have more rattles, squeaks, etc. and just don't seem like they're made as well as the older buses but that may be attributable to simply poorer assembly, workmanship, and cost-cutting chassis characteristics nowadays ...??? To me, low floors just seem to have much poorer suspension characteristics so are jostled around more making things loosen and rattle a lot more than the older high-floor buses.
  2. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Hi Mr. Guy, I don't understand (of course I'm not understanding much nowadays so it may have to be explained to me, lol). What are the high-floor counterparts to the 2600-2800s? Wouldn't they be the 2300s? ...or at least to the 2870s (2870-2899) which, I assume, are exact counterparts. If so, the 2300s will all be completely retired (May 2018) before the 2600s begin to start being retired (June 2018) according to punkrawker. It is an interesting notion of high-floors being more durable than low-floors. Is this an arguable case? Of course, the 3200s have already started their retirement cycle and will continue as they are replaced by the 7300s so I'd assume that their completely-retired date will be shortly before if not the same of that of the 1100s (March 2019). March 2019 will be sad for me personally as it will be the time where the entire fleet will consist of buses that I never have driven. My "newest bus" driven was the 2600.
  3. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Yeah, I agree too. At first glance, I initially thought it wasn't even a low-floor. However, it appears to be an ARBOC Spirit of Liberty. If so, those are in fact, low-floors. Go HERE for description on their webpage. It's built on an FCCC (Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation) chassis and they are a division of Freightliner/Daimler that make the majority of motorhome chassis. So it's not sitting on a chassis that is quite as beefy as a normal transit bus but rather one between a van and a heavy-duty transit bus. Yes, those small wheels and short wheelbase are kind of a giveaway if compared to that of a 30 or 35-foot Gillig for example. Is that service still being contracted out and run by Hopelink? ...or is it being operated by another contractor now?
  4. Respectfully, MiWay, that's my whole point in starting this thread. No, it really isn't astounding. No, it isn't necessarily an example of careless and dangerous driving. No, it isn't regardless of the equipment as that's the ENTIRE point of my outrage ...IT IS THE EQUIPMENT!!!! I do think that in this particular accident, however, it's concerning that he didn't stop as even if he thought he hit a box, he should have stopped and investigated. You may have been reading and participating in this thread within the last page or two. If you go back and review my posts in this thread, the whole point in the message I'm trying to convey is that it IS in fact the left mirror housing and the thick A-pillar that are causing drivers to NOT SEE THE PEDESTRIAN. This can happen to the most careful driver. I had an exemplary safety record but still came within inches of mowing down a pedestrian in not only one but two incidences because I just didn't see the pedestrian as they were blocked by the left mirror and A-pillar. I was doing what all transit agencies tell their drivers to do by "rocking and rolling" or "bobbing and weaving" in the seat and STILL didn't see the pedestrians. As you will note in some of these left-turning-bus-pedestrians accidents, some of the drivers had many years behind the wheel and maintained excellent safety records. I was a very contentious driver and I still had two very close calls. It is just baffling to me why I noticed the pedestrian at the last second and was able to stop within inches of running them over when making a left turn and other drivers were not and killed or injured the innocent pedestrian. As I mentioned in several posts in the beginning of this thread, I can't stop saying that "there but for the grace of God go I." The point I'm making in this entire thread is that transit agencies are responsible for providing their drivers with safe equipment to drive. When they use large left mirror housings that are mounted at driver eye-height and order buses that have thick A-pillars, they are not providing a coach that's safe to drive. I do agree that in Europe, these types of accidents are less frequent. European buses typically use top-down mounted mirrors and their buses have thinner A-pillars. However, as we already discussed in this thread, many of us --including Brian Sherlock, mentioned below-- think that a very low-mounted left mirror may be just as good or better than a top-down mount. As I mention a few posts back, our agency didn't want top-down mounted left mirrors as they thought it would cause accidents in the yard as buses maneuvered through the parking lanes as the left mirror and the right mirror would be at the same height. Please read this article by Brian Sherlock of the Amalgamated Transit Union as it sums up the problem: Many buses have built-in blind spots that make driving them dangerous View these two videos and it will give you a better idea what I'm trying to stress: Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws ...and especially this one as it, again, sums up the problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=_zrnyW28Tw4 Edited to Add: After calming down, I realize my criticism of your post was in fact irrational. I'm sorry. It's just that I get unjustifiably defensive whenever I hear comments that puts blame on the driver for these types of accidents. That shines a really bad light on me and I'm sure I come across as being irrational. Your comments may very likely be relevant and true. That driver in all likelihood was careless. We can see that he was taking the turn probably too fast for the conditions. And to tell you the truth, I think he knew he hit a person and just panicked and kept going. We can see the bus actually rock slightly as the pedestrian was hit so in my mind, the driver had to know that he hit something other than just a box in the street. Even if he truly did believe it was a box, for it to shake the bus as it was hit, it had to be a substantial enough object to require him stopping to see what it was and if there was damage to the bus. However, I still think he had to know that it was a person he hit. Please accept my apologies. .
  5. A pedestrian is struck and killed by a left turning Fresno California FAX city bus Friday morning. Driver is charged with hit-and-run as he didn't stop. Pedestrian hit and killed by a Fresno FAX bus: http://abc30.com/pedestrian-hit-and-killed-by-a-fresno-fax-bus/2970326/ Watch the video in this article to view CCTV footage of the actual accident. This is typical of how these left-turning bus accidents happen. The bus was making a left turn as the pedestrian crossing the street is oncoming toward the bus. The pedestrian was probably completely hidden from view of the driver as both the bus and the pedestrian were moving. City bus didn’t stop after killing pedestrian. Now the driver is in custody
  6. Zack "Busdude" Willhoite

    Yeah, the guy I believe is Kevin Cartwright, owner of 374. Thank you Martin for this thread. I hope it's okay to post some articles here. If not or if you feel I'm posting anything inappropriate, let me know. We all know there were numbers of articles from last week about Zack and Jim. One in particular that I liked was from Neal McNamara of the Lakewood Patch that had Kevin describing Zack as "an angel." A photo a Zack sitting in the driver's seat of what appears to be Kevin's GM fishbowl 374 is included. Washington Amtrak Derailment Victim Remembered As 'An Angel' For those who may be interested and not aware, there is a GoFundMe account started by Zacks brother-in-law, Bret (brother of Taylor, Zack's widow) that appeared to be legitimate to me so I anonymously donated last week but will donate more later as I'm now pretty much assured that this is a legitimate gofundme page: For the Family of Zack Willhoite I was so revolted and felt so badly for Taylor as she frantically searched all day for her husband Zack and his friend on that fateful Monday as described in this article: Love of trains put these victims on Amtrak 501 I can't imagine the anguish she was experiencing that day and sheer horror she felt when she finally found out what happened to her husband and Jim. May God comfort Taylor and all of the members of both families during these difficult days.
  7. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    For those who may not be local to the area, I just posted these links over on the Amtrak thread. As I mentioned over there, I've been distraught all day over this ...Zack and I at one time had some banter in PMs and emails and we didn't always see eye-to-eye but I could just feel how passionate he was about buses and trains. I'm at a loss as to why this has hit me so hard after learning it was Zack who was one of the victims of this accident. May Zack and Jim rest in peace. Best friends who loved trains killed in catastrophic derailment Zack Willhoite: Lifelong rail, transit enthusiast killed in train derailment Pierce Transit employee, rail advocate identified as two Amtrak victims Rail enthusiasts killed in Amtrak derailment were excited for ride Duo killed in Amtrak train derailment were longtime rail advocates eager for trip Close friends who loved trains among those killed in Amtrak train derailment in Washington state
  8. Amtrak

    To follow up on two of the fatal casualties, specifically, our friend here on the forum, Zack (busdude.com) here are some articles and random photos of both Zack and his friend Jim from local media in the Seattle area for those interested: Best friends who loved trains killed in catastrophic derailment Zack Willhoite: Lifelong rail, transit enthusiast killed in train derailment Pierce Transit employee, rail advocate identified as two Amtrak victims Rail enthusiasts killed in Amtrak derailment were excited for ride Duo killed in Amtrak train derailment were longtime rail advocates eager for trip Close friends who loved trains among those killed in Amtrak train derailment in Washington state My heart is broken. I'm just devastated over this as Zack and I at one time had some banter in PMs and emails and didn't always see eye-to-eye but I could tell how passionate he was about buses and trains. My thoughts are with all of Zack's friends and family ...and Jim's too. Also, we now know that there was a trainee on board at the time of the accident along with the engineer, conductor, and two (?) dining car employees.
  9. A pedestrian in a crosswalk is hit by a left-turning StarTran transit bus in Lincoln NE yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, pedestrian survives. No photos or mention of type of bus or left mirror configuration. StarTran bus hits woman in crosswalk
  10. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Yes, when I saw that on the news this morning, I was stunned. It's just devastating news. Zack was truly a bus and train aficionado. I have always enjoyed his contributions here on the forum. I've spent hours examining his huge collection of photos and videos he has generously shared on online venues. His adventures with his Orion (PT427) always intrigued me. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, I know some of you here on the forum have spent time with him so I hope you'll share your memories of the good times spent. It's just heartbreaking news. My thoughts are with Zack's family.
  11. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    fatpotato, not only are the 8000 and 8100 the same width at 102" as OR Transit Fan has mentioned but so are the 6800s. Taking it further, all Metro's buses are 102" wide with the exception of the 30' Gillig Phantoms which are 96" wide. 102" is the maximum width for any vehicle per Federal regulations. Prior to 1976, 96" was the maximum width but transit agencies had exemptions so that their buses could be 102" wide. I recall the instructors telling us that several times when going through training ...that Metro, at that time, had permits that exempted them from the width restriction and allowed them to use 102" wide buses that exceeded the restrictions on local, state, and federal highways. In 1976, legislation was passed to allow buses to be 102" wide without special permits. By 1982 commercial trucks were allowed by law to be 102" wide.
  12. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    8150 and 8158 on the B-line this evening.
  13. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Yes, that's the way I remember the Green Lake trolley route as a kid growing up ...and would describe precisely why the Seattle Transit System's moniker of calling it "Green Lake." When I started working for Metro, the 6 and 16 still were referred to as "Green Lake" even though, as you described, they were no longer tied together physically (only tied together for purposes of run cuts) and by that time, yes, the 6 already, I believe, had been extended to 205th and the 16 to Northgate. I'm not sure where the 6 turned back between the time from 1963 to when Metro took over. Logically, as you point out, 145th would have been the logical place but I can't seem to remember where the terminal was around that location. The 16 did go to Northgate, however, once dieselization occurred as mentioned but for some reason, I just don't remember it ever going past Northgate although there may be some foggy recollection that it may have followed a 317-type routing going north for a short time but for some reason, I've always pictured it terminating at Northgate. When Metro took over, the 406(?) essentially duplicated much of what the route the 6 covered as it ran directly up Aurora making the same stops as the 6 to the county line and then continued up highway 99 through Snohomish county making all stops and Evergreen Way through Everett terminating at the Everett Greyhound Station. We didn't make any stops once crossing into Everett with the exception of the terminal at Greyhound as, of course, Everett Transit precluded Metro from doing that. That route actually was run out of East Base when the base first opened as well as all the Snohomish county routes were at that time. In fact, when Dearborn closed and East opened, most of the Dearborn routes were run out of East Base including the south end routes until South Base opened a year and a half or so after. I remember the 150 was one of the staples those of us on the board at East had to work along with that 406(?) and an array of peak-only routes both going into Snohomish county and south to Auburn, Kent, Dash Point, etc. The exception was the 174 that was temporarily run out of Atlantic during that time from what I can remember. Once South Base opened and North Seattle Station re-opened as Mercer Base, East Base could then finally be utilized for extensive east side route expansion. Pertaining to the 16 Blue Streak, I just can't seem to remember the routing. 65th make sense but I just don't have any recollection of that at all for some reason. What does stick in my mind is remembering riding my first 700 coach in the late 60s and that was on a 7 going through the U-district. Running up and down the Ave' were primarily 700s as all three northern extensions of the route 7 (15th NE, Lake City, and View Ridge) of course had 700s assigned so the Ave' was saturated with 700s. The route I remember enjoying when working the board at Atlantic was the Roosevelt line (22-Roosevelt) as it had 700s assigned and nice layovers.
  14. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Thank you! that's what I was looking for. The Blue Streak service didn't last that long. Once Metro took over, it was only a few years before they changed the structure of their express service. It seemed that there was a short time that Metro called their express service "Flyer" ...or at least on the eastside into town. I remember the annoucement that we were to refer to the stops along 520 as "flyer stops" e.g. especially Montlake and Evergreen. To this day, I personally still call it "the Montlake Flyer Stop." I also remember the Flyer dash signs we had. I seem to remember carrying Flyer dash signs on the 252 route for some reason even though it wasn't really an express route. The 252 was what morphed into the 271. The 252 went from the University District to Eastgate