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Border City Transit

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  1. SMART's artics are now in service. Well, some of them, anyway. 4011 has been making the rounds on Woodward FAST routes. Here she is departing Ferndale en route to Detroit: ...and again laying over at the Detroit end of the route: While I am positively relieved to see New Flyers at SMART, the FAST wrap looks cheap. Compare to Gilligs, where the gaudy "FAST" decal at least fits smoothly over the frameless windows. Frameless windows are an option for New Flyers, but SMART went with framed sashes for some reason. It causes the FAST decal to look more like FA ST:
  2. Thanks for info. Bravo, TriMet, bravo! Service looks great. The NovaBus is about 1,000,000 times nicer than any Gillig. Whether they consciously notice it or not, customers will appreciate the larger windows, better visibility, lack of obstructions and general sense of brightness that is nowhere to be found on a Gillig. Imagine if this leads to 40-foot NovaBuses! In reality, it's a creative solution for a design flaw: with the 50/50 doors, the seam between the door panels perfectly blocks the driver's view. The 80/20 doors look kinda weird, but I've come arou
  3. Thanks for the pics. Gillig. Please. Spare us. I don't care if it's electric - that bus looks like a downmarket model from 1985, scraped together from surplus truck and RV parts. Enough already. Our efforts to electrify and improve transit are going nowhere if this is the public-facing image. Sad, dreary, soul-crushing boxes on wheels. Why can't Metro Transit see this? There's so many things they do right. Wish they'd take customer comfort and 'product appeal' more seriously. It's not a magic fix for the whole system -- but it's part of a toolkit to increase ridership and comple
  4. Thanks! Good stuff in here. It took a pandemic, but WMATA is finally getting serious about restructuring bus routes. There's a looooong way to go -- this is an encouraging start. Some thoughts: = 30N-30S... good riddance. = Yeah 3Y! Underrated little route -- happy to see baby steps toward building up "useful" commuter service. On that note, will keep a close eye on the 16Y. I remember when that route first started -- it ran like four trips a day in each direction. By the eve of Covid, it was carrying full loads at a 5-8 minute headway. I can see the service intensity gradu
  5. Maybe the D40LFRs are like the "new" Orion Vs? For like five whole years, we kept thinking we had seen the last of the Orion Vs -- only to watch 15-20 of them "reactivated" and end up in service... and not all that hard to find in the wild. With the 2100-2200 Orions, I feel like that happened ten times between ~2014 and 2020. D40LFRs are straight diesel buses, so they're relatively versatile and easy to maintain. I like these buses and would be happy to have them around -- even if only partially -- for a few more years. WMATA has quite the history of "prolonged retirement" for c
  6. Hot off the press from the Gem City! I visit Dayton semi-regularly, but usually end up seeing zero trolleys... and leaving town unfulfilled. Yesterday, Monday May 24, 2021, I was very heartened to see trolleys out in force. Too bad they're Gilligs. But, nonetheless, it's refreshing to see these vehicles holding in down in Dayton. Ridership is rebounding, too! Here is 1970... preparing to enter Wright Stop Plaza, while 2068 (off-wire in the background) noses onto Main St: Then, 1954 passes through Downtown. It's especially gratifying to see "to Meijer" on the dest
  7. Yawn. No one misses White Flint Mall... but the name White Flint itself is unique and distinctive. In addition to "unique" and "distinctive" being useful features for navigation, aren't they board-adopted policies for naming Metro stations? I appreciate that this is a rapidly redeveloping area. Why not reclaim the name White Flint? Or if not that, use a new name that is distinctive: Randolph... Montrose... The Pike... Marinelli. "North Bethesda" is just boring. It's also somewhat irritating that there'd be two stations between North Bethesda and "regular" Bethesda. This could ma
  8. I always noticed that too -- to the point where I started looking closely at all Orion Vs for this very detail. I never found any Vs other than OC's 9100s with the "flat" A/C design (and good -- because the "contoured" design looks way better!) Just a guess: Could it be that they were originally spec'ed without A/C... and it was a last-minute addition? Almost looks like an aftermarket vendor installed the A/C system... where the buses left the Orion plant with a rear window!
  9. Yes! To split hairs a bit, MCTS and LA Metro aren't technically run by the county. In the case of MCTS, it's a county-level system -- and operations are contracted out to a private non-profit company. In the case of LA Metro, it is an independent public agency. Its boundaries are the same as Los Angeles County, but it's its own agency -- and not a direct county function. Contrast to, say, Seattle (King County Metro) or Miami (Miami-Dade Transit)... where the transit systems actually are direct county functions, managed and operated by county employees. Yep.
  10. DDOT provides local service in Detroit city limits -- generally with tight coverage, extensive service spans (sometimes 24/7) and relatively frequent headways. SMART provides service in the suburbs -- at greatly reduced levels compared to DDOT. Sparse coverage, limited service hours, weak headways. With a handful of exceptions, SMART routes run hourly or worse. SMART also provides some "regional" service to link the city and the suburbs (FAST, commuter routes). City and suburbs have vastly different demands and landscapes for transit service. As of 2019, there is a unified
  11. Hmm, I think the biz is treating the D40LF/R and the Xcelsior pretty much the same. They're not dramatically different -- and, now that it's a mature model, the Xcelsior is cost-competitive with Gillig. New Flyer's shift to "all-Xcelsior" didn't change its stance in the market. If anything, they've made inroads with some smaller systems that once leaned Gillig (Lincoln, Knoxville, Des Moines, Waukesha, etc) It took me a while to warm up to the Xcelsior but I like them now. The larger windows (and narrower window pillars) brighten up the interior. And the ride is very smooth!
  12. Ride On's Silver Spring division is an especially good fit for electric buses. The routes are short, low-speed and, generally, have good space for layovers at both ends of the route -- whether a Metro station or Takoma Langley Crossroads. These are ideal conditions for electric buses. From here, all involved should gain a better feel for scaling up electric buses to other environments.
  13. You're not alone! I've passed through A2 area twice in the past month or so -- nothing but Gilligs. I also check the bus tracker at theride.org semi-regularly -- literally have not seen a single Nova in service (could it be that they're just not showing up on tracker? Sometimes happens with new buses of any type...) At this point, I pretty much think TheRide returned the buses to Nova and said, "um, can you make these Gilligs?" Also, TheRide is weirdly negative about these "replacement buses" in their public materials. Like, why are you referring to them "replacement buses"
  14. Agree 1,000%. It's going to be on transit systems themselves to prioritize a comfortable ride. A handful of systems understand how a more pleasant riding experience... will translate to higher ridership and happier customers. Which, in the long run, leads to stronger funding. Far more systems (especially in the US) consider cost, maintenance and literally nothing else. They may as well be running freight trucks. If I were writing a spec for transit buses, I'd require a certain passenger window height, rear window and option for roof-mounted HVAC. Right off that bat, th
  15. I've been daydreaming about those NABIs for the past few days. They sure were photogenic. Here's some pics from AM rush hour in Downtown Dallas, circa June 2014. NABIs finishing their inbound express trips were abundant: It wasn't too hard to find an RTS on that sunny morning -- but they were definitely in pre-retirement mode: This was a particularly satisfying 90 minutes of transit photography, and I realized why: not a Gillig in sight. DART's fleet of bright, happy, first-rate buses made this especially fun. I still like DART even post-
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