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roamer

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    retired KCM operator and drove buses for over 30-years

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  1. Thanks, captaintrolley, for reporting this one. It's sad there was a death involved and my thoughts are with the family members. I also feel for that driver as I'm going to guess that they aren't trained as extensively as the city transit bus drivers are pertaining to making left turns at busy intersections. I have to believe that they are making such left turns at those kinds of intersections with much less frequency than that of a city transit driver so may not be aware of the horrendous hazard that exists.
  2. Yeah! The federal funding that helped build your rail system in Atlanta was actually earmarked for Seattle had the voters approved the bonds associated with "Forward Thrust." The rapid transit part of the plan was voted down twice, first in 1968 and again in 1970. I think the feds would have contributed something in the range of $700 to $900 million (BIG money back then). Those funds eventually went to Atlanta to build MARTA when Seattle failed to pass the rapid transit portion of Forward Thrust. I was a young adult at that time and somewhat of a transit groupie --well. not exactly a groupie but maybe aficionado would be a better word-- and often wondered had Forward Thrust been passed, if it would have been all what I actually dreamed it might have been. It would have given King County essentially what MARTA started with and that was initially about 50 miles of rail and subway. In addition, it would have tremendously increased bus service with new routes and equipment. I really wanted to see a rail system in Seattle back in the 1970s and was disappointed when it didn't pass. It was "backward thinking" on the part of the citizens as far as I was concerned. But the region was going through the "Boeing Bust" and people generally were soured on spending anything as it was thought that Seattle was about to "do down the drain." Those of you old enough to remember that time, know what I'm talking about. Boeing was laying off workers in hordes --Boeing being the largest employer in the area back then-- and unemployment figures were hitting the roof. People were moving out of the area in large numbers. Anybody who is of the boomer-generation and was living in the Seattle area at that time will remember the billboard near the airport that stayed up for a couple of weeks and created quite the topic of discussion nationwide --"Will the last person leaving SEATTLE -- Turn out the lights." ...go HERE for an image. Had this new rapid transit plan not have been proposed during the Boeing Bust, I'd like to think that the Forward Thrust transit proposal would have passed. I've attached a map from 1970 I found several years ago of the proposed rail system associated with Forward Thrust. It's actually amusing to me that the map is from over 50 years ago!!
  3. Thanks for the pics! I'm a decrepit elderly guy so don't get out much any longer to actually see the buses on the road let alone ride on them (which I really have no desire to do any longer since I retired driving them). So I really enjoy it when somebody posts photos!! However, those Enviros are not part of Seattle's transit system proper i.e. not of King County Metro the public agency that provides bus service only to Seattle and King County. You have pics of both Community Transit and Sound Transit Enviros. Community Transit is Snohomish County's transportation agency (the county adjacent and immediately north of King County) and Sound Transit is a three-county agency that operates bus and rail in the three-county area that is defined by the U.S. census as the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue MSA or the three most populous counties in WA and the Puget Sound region --King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Community Transit also oversees operation of both their own-branded and Sound Transit's Enviros ...but, of course, will be seen operating in and out of downtown Seattle. You may want to post those pics in either the Sound Transit thread (and/or the Community Transit thread?) But thanks again! ...and absolutely enjoyable flickr feed! eta: ...and such a nice compliment as it pertains to the state of the Seattle area transit conditions. Yes, I agree. When I see and read about other city's transit systems, the three-county area around Seattle has progressed nicely in the past few decades. I've always said that it should have been done in back in the 70's and 80's (like a rail system and efficient BRT-type bus routes) but they've really done a nice job lately it seems. Thanks again.
  4. Woman pinned under bus after being struck in crosswalk, rescued by firefighters in Connecticut Very lucky
  5. Good to see that ...finally! And I'm glad to see that the charging infrastructure appears to be universal and will be able to apparently charge the Proterras or those from other manufacturers too. That was one thing I was kind of concerned about as it would seem a big drawback to have proprietary chargers depending on the bus manufacturer. Charged up and ready to go!... .
  6. The procurement process is really rather interesting but complicated at the same time as there are a lot of intricacies that the procurement team has to consider. Bidding/cost is a big part of it but it isn't as simple as just saying "we're not ordering from Gillig any longer" or "we like NFI so are only going to order from them." As for Bellevue Base or any base for that matter, fleet assignment is also a decision that's not made spontaneously with little thought. I know the scheduling department used to have a big input on base fleet assignments as they are the ones who determined what type of coach is assigned on any given route and specific run on that route. I do have to admit, however, there are many times that i have questioned the reasoning of the base fleet assignments. We've seen Bellevue and other bases have a complete change of fleet several times through the decades. Therefore, there's nothing preventing them moving all the Gillig Low Floor hybrids to another base or to a variety of bases and having an all EV fleet. In fact, I could logically see that happening since the Proterra infrastructure being there (...or is it still there?). Because of that, it may be a very logical move for them to have Bellevue become the first completely all electric base. I'm not saying that the Proterra infrastructure can be used with buses from other manufacturers but just that there may be some shared components there that might be used in the future for other equipment.
  7. Well, at least Seattle has done a complete retrofit of the left mirror. KCM once had awful mirrors and mounting position. After a pedestrian was killed in Fremont by a left turning Phantom, Local 587 was instrumental in putting pressure on KCM to do a complete retrofit. Therefore, I have to give a lot of credit to KCM as they spent the money to greatly reduce the number of potential left-turning accidents with pedestrians in the Seattle area. It's the reason I started this thread. I want other transit agencies in the U.S. and Canada to do the same or similar retrofit as KCM in Seattle did back in 2005. Go back and research (or scroll back through this thread) to see the type of mirror head Metro initially used on their Phantoms, D40's, and D60's. What is being used now, although not perfect, is so much better than what was used back then. If you scroll back in this thread, I have documented what Metro did and who at Local 587 was especially and specifically responsible to get the ball rolling at ATU to call attention to this problem. Transit agencies are aware of the problem but some refuse to spend the money to help save lives. They continue to blame it on the operator for not "rocking-and-rolling" in the seat and then call it a day. Yes, the operators will continue to get blamed and charged for these types of accidents as they are "at fault" but if not for the transit agencies' negligence to help alleviate the problem, more than half of these types of accidents would not be happening in the first place. At least some agencies have done work on it so we are not seeing as many of these types of accidents but if more would just lower the mounting position of the mirror, a substantial number of these accidents could be prevented.
  8. MBTA bus strikes, seriously injures elderly man This happened yesterday, February 9th, in Winthrop Massachusetts. An elderly man was hit by a left turning MBTA bus. Luckily he survived. However, what I want to point out is the size and mounting position of the left mirror on this NFI Xcelsior. I'm posting about this accident as it reminds me of of the general configuration (convex may be flipped, however) that Trimet in Portland Oregon used when in 2010, a left-turning bus there struck a group crossing the street killing two young ladies. I growing weary in my old age wanting so much for transit agencies to simply lower the left mirror mounting position. To see a transit agency refusing to do this is just so frustrating for me. Doing so would at least greatly reduce the chance of a left-turning-bus-hitting-pedestrian accident. Sure, it might not eliminate them completely but I know by first-hand experience that it makes the difference between night and day to be able to see much more when making a left turn in a bus if that mirror isn't blocking my vision.
  9. The last I heard was the charging station project for the IBE is a bit behind schedule. I too noted that Initially it was reported that the buses would start appearing in service in the late Fall of 2021 and into the first part of 2022. That schedule obviously isn't happening. Does anybody know what's happening at the IBE (Interim Base Electrification) project and with building infrastructure going on at South Base? Are remote charging stations also being built? ...and how much progress is being made with those? It was also reported that the NFI XE's would eventually be running out of all the bases. Are any other bases having that infrastructure built yet?
  10. I believe Route 91 was that shuttle that ran through the CBD to the International District when the tunnel first opened. It seemed that it was on the wire but somebody else would have to confirm. From what I can remember, it was started because during the construction of the tunnel, the trolley routes used 1st Avenue instead of 3rd Avenue. Therefore, frequency of service was very high at that time on 1st Avenue. When the tunnel opened, they thought that people were so used to having such frequent service on 1st Avenue that they wanted to continue to somewhat duplicate that tunnel-construction-period service. It seemed like not many rode it so that's why it didn't last long ...maybe a year or two after the tunnel opened?
  11. I started reminiscing again when I read "A lot has changed since the days of..." comment. I mostly remember the 7 during that interim period when it was not on the wire. I'm not sure exactly the dates but somewhere in the mid 1960s(?). I remember riding the 7 when the 700s were brand new in the late 60s when they were going up and down the "Ave" on the north legs of the 7 as it seemed to me that the 7 route was where the Seattle Transit System wanted to showcase the brand new 700s just before before getting split assigned to the 41 Blue Streak in 1970. I then remember the same 7 routing shortly after the Metro takeover and I started driving for them. They still ran primarily 700s on the 7 and it was a blast to be able to drive them as I was so enamored riding them as a passenger. The 7 as I recall, had three legs in the north end after running through the U-District on the "Ave." One leg was "7 - View Ridge" another was "7 - 15th Ave NE" (with the terminal being in the neighborhood just east of 15th Ave and south of 145th), and the other was "7 - Lake City" (the terminal being somewhere off of 145th east of Lake City Way). My recollection was that the "7 - 15th Ave NE - 50th St" was specifically the local serving Eastlake during the day base. And it seemed to me that anything else on the northern legs would be "blue streak" or express service leaving and entering the I-5 express lanes at NE 42nd. The turnback for the local was around the block at the old University Heights grade school at 50th and Brooklyn ...I think that is still used as a terminal for multiple routes currently, correct? On the Rainier end, I don't think much has changed since those days I'm remembering from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Prentice was the terminal and there were turnbacks at Rose and Graham. Of course, there were no artics yet during those years so I can remember having jammed packed loaded 40-footers frequently on both ends of the 7. I discussed before in this thread but the internal name for the route 7 as it pertained to Metro employees (stemming from the Seattle Transit System days) was simply "EASTLAKE" so that was the designation for the 7-route to drivers therefore a co-worker might inquire: "did you get forced to pick a relief-run on Eastlake next shakeup?" as that almost happened to me when I was a newer driver as night runs on Rainier were considered the worst you could be forced to work back then --even the trolley routes at night were more desirable. Again, if anybody can correct my recollections about routing, please feel free to do so. I'm getting up in years and can hardly remember anything anymore.
  12. Do you mean the shuttle that went around the Bothell loop? eta: that was what we used to call "the Bothell loop" and it was served by the 307 since the early days of Metro. From my recollection, they separated it in the late 90s(?) to run a van on it. I can't quite remember if that's correct or not but that's what I seem to remember.
  13. I'll volunteer to show the 2600s (2004 DE60LF series) retired on the wiki once it's determined that they are "officially" no longer in service if nobody else beats me to it. It appears there is some disagreement as to when they will be totally out of service but at this point I'll take the cue from caseyrs77 as I'm going to assume that as a current Metro employee, he may have the inside track on more accurate information than those of us who are just speculating. Therefore, I'm guessing that they all will be completely retired sometime before the end of the year. I'll monitor this thread as well as the Pantograph as the basis for making the decision to edit the wiki. I mentioned to another member in a PM that the retirement of 2600 series has a distinct significance to me personally as that series is the only one remaining that has buses that I actually drove before retiring in 2005. They were essentially brand new during my last year driving for Metro. So once the 2600s are out of service, it's a disappointment for me as when in the area, there's no longer the possibility to point to a bus in service and say "I drove that bus!" (hah!) It really creates a distinct disconnect from my 30 years as a bus driver at Metro so the retirement of this series will be a dramatic event and a sad turning point for me.
  14. Thank you captaintrolley. The video clip embedded in that news blurb shows an example of EXACTLY the kind of accident I'm so concerned about and why I started this thread. Yes, it says the driver was charged but I'm 100% positive that he/she just didn't see those pedestrians because the operator's vision was physically blocked by the left mirror! I personally know what that feels like being in the drivers' seat ...I just happened to be lucky and was able to stop before making contact with the pedestrian but the sensation and the sense of surprise will stay with me for the rest of my days.
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