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Border City Transit

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  1. 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...
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 It was super 70s -- in a sad outdated way, not in a cool retro way.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.
  5. Border City Transit

    Detroit DOT

    Behold, the graphical components of the campaign:
  6. Border City Transit

    Gillig product discussion

    "My" Gilligs ranged... from model years 2000 to 2010. Our 2004 batch was noticeably smoother and better built than all the rest. One unit from that order, I actually enjoyed driving. But that was it: I probably took the wheel of 50 individual Gilligs... and I only 'bonded' with a single one. That may sound ridiculous, but other operators here will know what I mean. You learn the quirks of each bus; the better ones really do feel like your partner on the job. So, props to 3027... my "token Gillig friend". Yep. I didn't find the cockpit cramped per se, but just really awkward. When activating the turn signals, your left foot collided with the steering column and other ill-placed components on the floor. The position of the door handle could give you carpel tunnel. Even after the slight body redesign in 2002, the glare from interior lights is/was AWFUL. And on and on. The over-the-windshield indicator lights never especially bothered me. But all things equal, yes I definitely prefer them on the dash. It was bad enough driving Gilligs, but it's the rider ("passenger") experience that I find absolutely miserable. There's some kind of visibility obstruction in every seat. The ride quality is painful. The rattling can be so loud that it's hard to carry on a conversation. And, while I'm not a big texter to begin with (proud flip-phone holdout! ), I literally can't text or read while riding a Gillig -- regardless of model year -- without getting carsick. I do not experience this sensation on other types of buses. Whew. I'll cut myself off. I don't drive them anymore. And, mercifully, New Flyers are abundant where I use transit the most!
  7. Border City Transit

    Gillig product discussion

    I sure hope so. I mean, give Gillig credit for stepping into the big leagues. Gilligs aren't just for midsize cities anymore. And sure, their aftermarket/parts operation is, um, responsive. For the good of the transit industry, though, the Gillig design needs some serious updating. The bone-jarring, motion sickness-inducing experience of riding a Gillig is not acceptable. And their institutional exterior appearance does nothing to make transit more attractive. Our biz has enough challenges as it is -- you'd think we'd at least make the vehicles somewhat appealing. That's the most visible part of our product, after all. I have a whole other list of Gillig grievances from driving the blasted things. If Gillig is working on something new, let's cross our fingers that they'll pay more attention to the "human experience" this time around -- both for those who ride and drive them.
  8. Border City Transit

    RTC of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas)

    Nice. Las Vegas is a pretty fascinating place for transit. Despite a sprawling, suburban landscape laced with wide, high-speed roads, they've managed to create a heavily used bus system from almost nothing. As a robust transit corridor, Boulder Highway is especially unlikely (current BHX, former 107/407). As recently as, what, 1993... almost none of today's transit routes even existed! There are lessons here for other suburban-ish systems: invest in good coverage and decent frequency, and people will ride. In Las Vegas, neither coverage nor frequency is excellent... but both attributes are several cuts above comparable metro areas. Even distant suburban areas enjoy 20-30 minute headways, often with 24/7 span. Yeah... gotta love a fleet with all those artics and double-deckers. Just wish so many of their "specialty" buses weren't ad-wrapped! I'm not a great fan of contracting out service, but I'll hand it to the private operators (Kéolis and MV?): they do a decent job of maintaining the fleet in punishing conditions. Scorching hot weather, heavy loads and demanding schedules. Unlike 'regular' cities, peak hours in Las Vegas are basically 8:00am to midnight... seven days a week. That means buses are on the road for far longer hours than other cities. Peak pieces, where buses work 3-6 hours a weekday during rush hours only, are almost non-existent in Las Vegas. Other systems use such pieces to balance mileage and let each bus "relax" every few days. That's hardly an option in Las Vegas! Thanks for sharing!
  9. Border City Transit

    Gillig product discussion

    This comes up semi-regularly. Gillig's bread-and-butter is small and midsize transit agencies. Most of these agencies have little or no use for articulated buses. Considering the additional complexities of building artics -- and the fact that New Flyer and Nova already lead the market -- Gillig has little to gain by introducing an artic model. The sheer magnitude of an artic project at Gillig would distract from their daily business of selling two 35-foot buses at a time to Billings and Jefferson City and Muskegon. Larger systems that run Gillig and artics... aren't terribly set back by sourcing to New Flyer (usually) for artics. See Pittsburgh, Spokane, Minneapolis, Honolulu, San Jose... several others. Regardless of manufacturer, artics require different parts than non-artics -- so even if Gillig did offer an artic, the "advantage" (no pun intended) to larger operators wouldn't be all that dramatic.
  10. Border City Transit

    The Bus (Honolulu, HI)

    Uhhhh that pic of 721! I can hear the 6V92TA roaring through the JPG image! The 'regular' RTSs looked way more comfortable in Oahu, even though they were fewer in number than their flat-fronted cousins, the 200-series RTS-08s. I sure wish there had been more RTS-06s -- thankfully we have great photos like this to remember them by...
  11. Border City Transit

    Nashville MTA

    Wow. The Nashville MTA brand was definitely due for an update. I can deal with the name "WeGo" -- but the whole package feels incomplete and generic. The logo and typography make it hard to take seriously. Then again, Nashville publicly uses the name "BRT lite" for their, um, BRT lite service. Here is a system that has a LOT of potential and very high pent-up demand (despite their loss at the polls). I hope this will evolve into something more professional, more conducive to attracting/educating new customers. I don't love the initial WeGo paint scheme, but it's at least an upgrade from all white Gilligs. I'm rooting for you, Nashville. Can we call this a first step toward something more professional and more comprehensive?
  12. Amen! Extra kudos for the pic of 8232 on Route 95. I loved loved loved seeing 40-foot buses on the 95. Obviously, 95 is/was artic turf. But there was nothing more exciting than that PM rush "ramp-up" (say, 14:40 or so) -- to achieve 1-2 minute headways on 95, it seemed like every afternoon piece started with a loose trip of 95, then carried on to more "detailed" movements of peak-hour express routes. The whole arrangement really exposed the sheer complexity of transit scheduling and operations. Uh! I am getting (good) chills just thinking about it! 😁
  13. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Aww, too bad As the sun sets for the 2300s, what is/was the "general" consensus on these buses? What did Metro operators, mechanics, customers and fans think of them? Speaking only for myself, I'll miss them. I know they got slow and rickety toward the end. Still, I actively enjoyed D60HFs every single time one pulled up. Riding at the back was a particular treat -- something about the combination of the seating arrangement and the back window. Those babies handled city and freeway routes adeptly -- and they were landmarks of the fleet. I saw ~three units sitting on the ready line at Ryerson late last week. I'm hoping that one will be preserved -- as I certainly don't expect to see them alongside 8200s ever again. Thoughts? Memories?
  14. Border City Transit

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I'm hoping never
  15. Border City Transit

    Detroit DOT

    Downtown Detroit during a weekday rush hour. Try Larned & Woodward... Griswold & Congress... and you can get good views of buses turning at Griswold & Michigan. Plenty of representation from both DDOT and SMART. And Transit Windsor, too! Grand Circus Park (top edge of Downtown) is another photogenic location. That also puts you part way to Midtown, where there's decent transit action on Woodward, Cass, Mack/MLK and Warren. By the time you're Downtown, you can just follow your instinct up/down the major streets served by buses. As @160 Downriver mentioned, you'll only see non-FAST SMART buses in the City during Weekday rush hours. There's no consistent rhyme or reason to where SMART's ex-DDOT New Flyers show up -- but you'll have a good chance of seeing at least a few Downtown during rush hour. DDOT has ten New Flyer XD60 artics; you may see them Downtown on 34 Gratiot or 53 Woodward routes. They're a staple on the 17 Eight Mile route (which doesn't come close to Downtown). Also keep an eye out for DDOT's new XD40 Xcelsiors with the back window. Plenty of good buses in DDOT's fleet. Just a shame that their paint scheme is so dreary and outdated. Anyway... if you're looking for a pleasant experience, Downtown is your best bet. The outlying transit centers may offer decent "reference" shots of buses, but they're pretty depressing locations.