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Border City Transit

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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"
  12. 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
  13. 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-
  14. Suburban bus routes never had high ridership to begin with. It's especially pronounced in the Philly area -- where "transit in the suburbs" effectively means Regional Rail (or the Norristown line.) Aside from KOP routes (as you mention!) and long-established routes in Delaware County (113, a handful of others), I can't remember ever encountering a SEPTA bus in the suburbs more than half full. Suburban bus service is certainly worth running and sustaining and improving -- but it will be important to remember... it didn't have great ridership pre-Covid. So we can keep the expectat
  15. Immediately after Northern closed, Four Mile Run was handling odd pieces from a few DC routes. I don't think Four Mile Run has ever completely run a DC route... but they've definitely had a presence. Will be interesting to see if this happens again as service recovers...
  16. Yep. This has been years in the making. Of this list, the only one that really surprises me is the 3A. I've always sensed an unspoken agreement that Metro handles local service within the Beltway... then, further afield, Fairfax Connector can go crazy. And that's pretty slick of Metro: "Uh huh, Cinder Bed is going in-house"... then move a couple Cinder Bed routes "across the street" to Fairfax Connector. Still operated by Transdev... just under a different name. Meh. Interesting. I still don't see the case for three Metrobus garages in Virginia. But, if they'
  17. Totally agree. I don't know much about the Centro network -- other than that it's really complicated. Like, they seriously need to simplify the routes, variations and designations. To succeed, a system of this size must decide what it wants to be: a "small-leaning" system where everything is shoehorned into a pulse/line-up -- or a "large-leaning" system, where downtown transfers aren't the sole force driving everything else. I've seen systems that have clearly outgrown the small-town model, but haven't figured out how to evolve. Hope that Centro can evaluate the pros-and-co
  18. The big systems in Texas "wrote the book" on over-the-road coaches for commuter transit service*. Obviously it's huge in Houston... and Cap Metro has greatly increased its use of MCIs. Before TRE, Fort Worth even had 'em! Other than the reasons already stated, I'm not quite sure why DART went a different route. Frankly, though, I approve. The MCIs (or Eagles, or Vikings, or whatever) are nice -- but I always thought they were overkill. I really liked DART's NABI 416 suburbans. Absolutely perfect for the job. I have yet to ride a suburban XD40. I'd imagine low-floor could feel we
  19. No pics yet, but reports of ~8 XD60 units on site at Oakland. As of now: They are completely white with no paint scheme (they must be planning to wrap them rather than paint, as they've done with Gilligs for FAST) Only markings visible are small black vehicle number decals (they're numbered in the 4000s) Framed, black aluminum window sashes with no black trim paint between the windows Three doors -- the two back doors are extra-wide with full-height, one-piece window panels Rear window!! Rear destination sign (route number) High hopes for these
  20. Aw yeah Haven't even seen one in person, and those (and their artic counterparts) are already my favorite buses in the Metrobus fleet. Totally worthy successors to the D40LFRs. These are becoming the new Flxibles. After ~10 years of looking at that paint scheme, I'm only now realizing how sloppy the many logos look. Three different metrobus logos -- all different sizes and colors and positions -- plus the [M] square. Kind of haphazard. It's a solid paint scheme on the whole -- they'd do well to clean up the decals a little. I'm off to the DMV in a few weeks and can't wait
  21. Those are happy-looking buses! Long live the back window! Wonder if New Flyer has ever submitted a serious bid for 40 foot buses for Metro Transit? Would absolutely love to see similarly spec'ed 40-footers to balance all those cramped, sad, dreary Gilligs. The contrast is night and day. I don't get it.
  22. I sure hope they're strategic on how they use the artics. Honestly, I'd rather see all of them dedicated to the handful of lines that need them. In that scenario, the artics can make a meaningful operational difference. It could lead the way to other improvements (off-board fare collection, for instance. Now that fares are being collected again, all can see how p a i n f u l l y s l o w it is.) The artics won't make much of an impact if they're randomly mingled with the cramped, miserable Gilligs on major routes. Plus, what local routes even need artics? Wa
  23. 4800! With a number like that, seems like it's putting the trolleybuses "on notice"... Nice-looking bus, in any case. Glad to see Metro being both proactive and practical about EV roll-out. Other systems still seem caught up in the gimmickry and politics of it.
  24. Weren't 5401 and 5402 assigned to Four Mile Run for a brief time? It was meant to keep up with higher-than-expected ridership on the 5A. I suppose they could have run the 5A from Bladensburg... yet I recall those two buses being loaned to Four Mile Run specifically for this purpose. For whatever reason, WMATA seems set on keeping the artic fleet at 65-75 units. I've heard the excuse of "storage space", but I suspect the real explanation is "unwillingness". There are -many- routes that could make effective use of artics... but they're lucky to see irregular artic trips if any at all.
  25. Nice shots. Sure wish CTA didn't 86 the back window on later orders...
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