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Border City Transit

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  1. Border City Transit

    Metro Transit

    This varies widely from place to place. In the case of MSP, contractor-operated routes are easily distinguishable from routes operated by Metro Transit. Services designated as "Metro Transit" are operated directly by Metro Transit. (100% of the time, I believe. Anyone?) Throughout the area, certain low-volume routes may be contracted out. The route then becomes a Metropolitan Council Regional Route -- and Metropolitan Council finds a private operator. Usually, these routes cover fringe suburban areas that don't have an "opt-out" transit system (MVTA, SW Transit, Maple Grove Transit, etc). In the case of 16 and 84, they will be "regional" routes in the core urban service area. Met Council Regional Routes use buses that "mostly" look like Metro Transit buses. Instead of a Metro Transit logo, they wear a Metropolitan Council logo. I think (?) they're also missing the yellow accents found on Metro Transit buses. Then, legal markings ("fine print decals") identify the contract operator. Met Council Regional Route buses form a separate fleet. It's a rag-tag mix of cutaways, small buses, the occasional retiree from Metro Transit. There are newer full-size heavy-duty units, too; they may share specs with Metro Transit. Information on Met Council Regional Routes (schedules, web, bus stop signs, etc) is available through Metro Transit channels... so there is some room for confusion. Printed materials are like the buses themselves: they don't advertise the routes as Metro Transit services. They include the Metropolitan Council logo and actually name the operator. It differs in suburban "opt-out" areas, where non-Metro Transit systems have their own distinctive identities. For example, SW Transit is a different system. The buses don't look anything like Metro Transit or Metropolitan Council, and there is a separate website. Clear as mud?
  2. Border City Transit

    WMATA Washington

    Yep. The document linked in @WMATAC40LF 's post shows the day-by-day breakdowns for the contractor. It appears that Cinder Bed will operate every day. Cinder Bed will be a Metrobus garage not operated by WMATA. It's contracted out to a private vendor... but it will "look" like Metrobus. Hm. Can't find the right emoji for that... This isn't the first time that WMATA has lost service to a private operator... but in the past, those services have visibly changed identity to the riding public. Like, many Fairfax Connector routes used to be WMATA. When WMATA ceased to operate them, they became part of a completely different system with a completely different brand. We'll see... I recognize the cost control issues at WMATA, but I happen to think they run a pretty solid bus operation. I can deal with contracted services on the fringes, but it could get ugly if low-bidders get their claws on major/core routes. The issues at Circulator make that case. The public entity responsible for the route... instead of arguing with unions, they're arguing with lawyers and procurement officers. Any way you slice it, running transit service isn't easy or cheap. And you tend to get what you pay for!
  3. Border City Transit

    OC Bus Spottings

    You know what... after thinking about it a bit further, it must have been on the 6 after all. I saw it on traveling on Dalhousie from about a block away. In my head, I was north of where the 6 turns onto Dalhousie from St Patrick -- so I instantly thought "9". Looking back on it, I was south of St Patrick. Hm, so that (likely) solves that! I'll research better before I post such "sightings" again! 🙄
  4. Border City Transit

    OC Bus Spottings

    Double-deckers spotted on the 6 and the 9 on Thanksgiving Day! I was too far away to get vehicle numbers, but that definitely caught me off-guard!
  5. Border City Transit

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    Hmm, I can't speak to the equipment or operational details... but the concept of better transit in this area is very worth discussing. I visited Humber Bay for the first time recently, and remain shocked at the weakness of transit service. Granted, the 501 is a strong line, but is an over-capacity service with long-term reliability issues -- by way of slow, congested streets -- really the best option for this development? The 66 is a decent little route, but after it branches, base service to Humber Bay is every 20 minutes. Though the route now has a very strong southern anchor, it's pretty much the same route it's always been. Service to Marine Parade is an afterthought at best. The 145 strikes me as very half-a$$. Designed to fail. Here is a major high-density residential development... where many residents commute Downtown daily. And the best TTC can do is 5-6 trips a day at 30-minute headways? Very disappointing. I know that TTC was dragged kicking and screaming into the 145... but why not set it up to succeed? If Brampton Transit can fill buses every 5-10 minutes on low-density suburban highways, how can't TTC manage to connect two extremely high-density areas in the city? Fully aware that there is Zero Percent chance of this, but I can only wonder how a "fully developed" 145 would perform. All-day service... start with 10-15 minute headways to give it a shot, and evolve from there. Yes, that would be a departure from the normal "Premium Express" model, but not every situation fits neatly into existing service types. Maybe think of it as a "Humber Bay Rocket" rather than a premium express.
  6. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I enjoy your thoughtful and informed posts and I hope you feel better! Interesting. I am involved with a system that, until very recently, followed the old STS method almost to a tee -- right down to not using route numbers. Only difference was, runs were numbered in order of time in rather than time out. It was a holdover from streetcar-era yard cycling and car storage practices. The old system became increasingly meaningless (and operationally problematic) with interlining, two-piece runs that covered multiple routes, etc. Just last month, after many, many decades, we switched to a new run numbering system. I can explain it in-depth upon request (maybe in another thread!), but it basically lumps all runs at each base into one big batch. Then they're all numbered in pull-out order. So far, so good. Back to Metro... if they're numbering runs based on route, how does that work on consistently interlined routes? Like, are there separately listed runs for Route 1 and Route 14 even though they're interlined? What about two-piece runs (combos?) that cover multiple runs? On a related note, I wish Metro buses displayed an exterior-facing run/block number in the windshield. Most large systems do and it's notable that Metro does not. I know it's not relevant for the general public... but it's fun for transit geeks and it must make things easier for road supervision. I won't hold my breath, though!
  7. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Haha all good! 👍 I meant to add to your observations -- not contest them! Before the Gilligs plowed onto this thread, I asked a few other Metro questions. Perhaps you or someone else could address? 1. Are there any "100% artic" bases? East? 2. Why is the 120 assigned to Atlantic rather than Central? Which is part of a larger question: does Atlantic have its own fleet of non-trolley buses? Thanks!
  8. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Wow -- that looks almost like a New Flyer! Amen. That is a huge problem with the Gillig design. In the transit biz, we're fighting to stay relevant in a field that's popping with "mobility innovation". If we're going to play in the same league as Uber and Lyft and Bird and Lime and Elon Musk... we're going to need to do a lot better than spartan, institutional boxes-on-wheels. The Gillig exterior is problematic enough -- the interior is even worse. At least KC Metro uses nice colors. That's shiny, happy paint on an ugly, dreary bus! Agree that heavy tint + frameless windows can look slick from the outside. However, FWIW, I lament the gradual phasing-out of abundant natural light on the interior of Seattle's buses. Think of the Gillig Phantoms, New Flyer D60s... heh, even the Bredas. Positvely drenched in natural light. Rear windows and enormous side windows with little or no tint. I thought it made for a very pleasant ride. Newer buses feel much darker and more closed in. It further compromises the transit experience. Are there any early reviews of the 7300s? I'm hoping the whole order is a hiccup and Metro goes to New Flyer (or Nova!) for the "7500s". In any case, thanks for all the photos, info and insight!
  9. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Thanks for the info! After browsing it, a few questions: Is any base "100% artic"? Looks like East is pretty close -- and that would make sense, especially if Bellevue is "artic-free"... I confess, I can't quite figure out the Atlantic vs Central distinction. Seeing 120 listed as an Atlantic route really threw me. Does Atlantic have its own set of diesel/hybrid buses? I thought (perhaps wrongly) that Atlantic drew its non-trolley fleet from Central -- particularly on weekends. If that's the case, why isn't 120 simply a Central route? Any clarification appreciated -- feel free to set me straight!
  10. Border City Transit

    CATA (Lansing, MI)

    Yesssss! That is the best news I've heard in a while! CATA is a New Flyer stronghold. I've always liked their New Flyer fleet -- I had the pleasure of driving D60LF #6003 on a demo run -- but this will bring some intriguing change. I was nervous that CATA -- as a mid-sized system -- would fall to Gillig. After all, except DDOT/Detroit Transit, every other system in Michigan is Gillig, Gillig, Gillig, Gillig, Gillig and more Gillig (plenty of other states where that's true, too...) The only other New Flyer system -- Flint MTA -- has settled for Gillig on recent orders. Gross. Beyond the fleet, CATA is far-above-average for a mid-sized system. Good coverage, big city frequency, professional employees and clean vehicles. The addition of Nova products will guarantee a first-rate transit experience for the next generation. I will watch this development closely and make a special trip to Lansing just to ride. Thanks for sharing! If you can dig up info on specs (new paint scheme, back window, etc) that would certainly be welcomed...
  11. Border City Transit

    Mountain Line (Flagstaff, Arizona)

    Great stuff! Wow -- that's gotta make Mountain Line/NAIPTA one of the smallest agencies to operate artics. They look really nice! Incidentally, good on them for using the name Mountain Line rather than their clunky official name, NAIPTA.
  12. Border City Transit

    Transit Windsor

    Hm. Good pic, but kinda disappointed to see a tacky wrap rather than a thoughtful paint scheme. In any case, glad that transit in La Salle is taking off. Will be curious to see how it evolves...
  13. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    To my knowledge, both MAN artic models were 102" wide (SG-220 and SG-310). Some early SG-220 models (CTA, Charlotte, maybe WMATA?) were 55' in length... rather than the eventual North American artic standard of 60'. In Seattle's case, I'm not sure exactly what set the SG-220 units apart from the SG-310 units... other than ~2 years of age and wheelchair lifts on the 310s. Both batches were 60' long. Maybe there were some mechanical/structural updates not visible to the streetside onlooker. Anyone? As for 96" wide artics, the only quantity order of those in North America was at SEPTA: their unusual Volvo B10M artics (circa 1984) were 60' x 96". They were replaced by 102" wide Neoplan artics circa 1999-2000.
  14. Border City Transit

    Sound Transit

    Hmm... I'm 90% sure that's just a 'standard' Luminator Horizon. The numbers are using the three-pixel font. It's pretty easy to program that using the software. It's a good look and easier to see -- I'm not sure why so few Luminator customers ever use that font.
  15. Border City Transit

    Detroit DOT

    Yeah, I appreciate the history -- but I won't miss the old logo. It was super 70s -- in a sad outdated way, not in a cool retro way. I could have lived with the standard "dt" glyph. But the "revised" version (ca 2007, see image) with the Microsoft Word "Detroit" dome over the "dt"... was a crime against graphic design. I'll be perfectly happy if I never see that atrocity again. I wish they had changed the name too... something like Detroit Transit. Part of the reason the old suite needed to go... was DDOT's undeserved horrible reputation. Yeah fine, the system had a lot of issues in the past. Today, though, it's actually pretty decent. Decades of baggage and negative attitudes are dragging DDOT down. It's not reaching its potential because few can move beyond the image of "old DDOT". We'll see how it goes. I am excited for the new route numbers. And ever thankful for those new buses -- New Flyers with rear windows! The photo represents multiple low points for DDOT: the awful logo, a dreary Gillig and the year 2012 -- when private management illegally slashed 30% of the service with almost zero notice to the public. Very happy to put that era in the past -- and looking forward to documenting transit's slow-but-steady rise in Detroit.
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