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Border City Transit

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  1. I think they're just putting the deadheads in revenue service. In the morning, buses head inbound as a 3Y, then outbound as a 3F, then possibly one more 3Y inbound trip. Reverse for the afternoon peak. This isn't likely to require any additional buses or introduce other divisions into the mix. Whichever division runs the 3Y... will run the 3F. They used to do this a lot with the old 7 express line. I don't remember the exact details... but, for instance, 7P was the main, peak direction route, and 7H was a "glorified deadhead". Same thing with the 8 line. 8S is a glorified deadhead between Quaker Ln and Pentagon M -- reposition the buses for another peak period, peak direction trip on the 8W or 8Z or whatever. There must be -just- enough demand to make the 3F worth the effort. It certainly won't cost much. Not surprised. Earlier in this thread, I expressed a "meh" sentiment about the K9 returning. The regular local route (K6) is short and direct enough where a MetroExtra overlay doesn't make a huge difference in this corridor. I retain a cautious optimism about Metrobus. Circumstances are forcing them to shed old/bad service design -- and I think we'll end up with a stronger system for it.
  2. Any word how Nova units are doing at Ride On and especially MdMTA? I'd think their performance at nearby systems would offer some indication if WMATA would even entertain a bid from Nova... (Also, there's a handful of Novas at Hampton Roads Transit that fly well below the radar -- though HRT may be outside of WMATA's orbit...)
  3. You practically insisted! Ha! Actually looks decent, I confess. Take a ride on a Nova. Yes, they are very different from what Ann Arbor is used to. I encourage you to take note of their positive features.
  4. Couldn't resist... I haven't got around to drawing a newer Nova with the tailfin and revised driver's window... so here's the circa 2017 TheRide paint scheme on a circa 2017 Nova body. Gives a decent idea of how this would have felt. Wow -- I sure wish TheRide had gone this route! Maybe they'll consider 2017 "retro" and the next order of Novas will look something like this
  5. 1. I happen to agree -- a decent route connecting Lorton/South Fairfax County to Woodbridge or Dale City would be very useful. I also agree, the PRTC service here is lackluster and outdated. It's difficult to use, barely connects to anything and does not reflect the area's tremendous growth. 2. The comments above miss a key point about transit agencies. They rarely get territorial or jealous or litigious. It's a matter of what they're funded to do. Fairfax Connector is a function of Fairfax County Government. Can Fairfax leadership justify using their resources ($$$) to invest in Prince William County? Maybe they can -- the answer isn't necessarily "no". But you can see why it's not their top priority. A better question is, why -isn't- PRTC/Prince William County doing a better job with this need? 3. Say what you will about WMATA -- but this is why regional agencies exist. Think about all the places that Metro services effortlessly cross borders. A single trip on the Blue Line will take you through two states, one federal district, three counties, one town and one independent city. Politically, that's a miracle. All rail lines -- plus dozens of Metro bus routes -- behave similarly. It'd be a big, unanswered question of "who's responsible?" if left to local/county providers. I'm aware that Prince William County is not part of the WMATA compact. If WMATA had its act together, this would be a great "expansion" opportunity. Hey PW, you're growing fast. So plug in to the regional transit system -- and we'll connect you to Fairfax and the "inner" DMV. And while we're at it, we can help you clean up that wacky local service. I really hope WMATA can evolve into this role. Then, we'd no longer be disconnected because neither county cares to take the lead.
  6. Wish CATA got that memo! Agree! That change would go a long way. In the current version, the stripes lack definition and melt into each other. They should hire you right outta your armchair! Somewhere in this thread, a user posted an AAATA Board document showing different paint scheme options. A couple of them look somewhat like your idea. And, IMO, a few ticks better than the final result. I believe one presented a red "frosting" above the window line -- which was really sharp. Oh well. The scheme is kinda boring and dated -- but at least it's not outright ugly. If we're dealing in extremes, I'll take a clean, boring scheme over a gaudy, overwrought scheme. Look at the new Nova artics at Ride On. Great buses. But the paint scheme/wrap... yikes. Happy to! It still feels like a weird dream to see Novas in Southeast Michigan. The kind of good weird dream that you remember vividly, and contemplate well into the next day.
  7. The news release makes a pretty strong case for why the Tunnel Bus is not running right now. I cannot see a private operator investing in regularly scheduled tunnel service. There are many costs and complexities -- and, unfortunately, ridership just isn't that high. A private operator wouldn't last two months. Tunnel Bus will resume. It has weathered other crises -- and always stayed alive. At least on the Windsor side, it's a highly valued service.
  8. Nothing remarkable. 30-60 minutes. The area wasn't nearly as developed at the time -- Fairfax Connector service levels have grown with population and activity. That is so cool to think of National Airport as a legit Metrobus/Metrorail transfer station. I remember the last of the 13 routes... some of which served National Airport itself, but made no particular attempt to access the Metro station. 13F, 13G and finally 13Y. They acted as off-hours rail replacement routes -- so they didn't require a typical "feeder" interface with the rail system. What years were "peak 11"? I am aware that this is former Metrobus territory -- but I don't imagine the service was ever very strong. Maybe in parts. I think the 401/402 is mostly an "original creation" of Fairfax Connector. It's not directly traceable to any single ex-Metrobus line. Hmm, perhaps at some point in the future. Fairfax Connector has nearly 100 routes -- but only a handful are true, major, all-day high-ridership corridors. Even those... do a lot of turnover. I believe 401/402 is Connector's busiest route? It carries very little end-to-end ridership -- so 40-foot buses are almost always adequate.
  9. Finally caught up with the latest from TheRide. First, 521 sports the "circa 2017" paint scheme, which I rather like. That happy, distinctive light blue has solidified TheRide's brand. It makes even a Gillig look decent -- though they seem to have forgotten the rear end: And then... the Nova fleet is out and about. Yesssss! I need to spend more time capturing quality pics. Here's a sample in the meantime. On the final approach to Downtown Ypsilanti via Route 4, 2002 anchors a pleasant autumn scene: Here is 2002 moments later, turning onto Pearl St for the last stop of the trip. I've heard talk that TheRide is rebuilding the Ypsi Transit Center. Frankly, I am fond of the current arrangement. It blends seamlessly with the city. I hope they don't turn the place into an overengineered behemoth that casts a shadow on the neighborhood. In any case: Finally for today, 2003 begins a Route 4 trip westbound to Ann Arbor. Notice the rear window (!!!) and SEPTA-style rear route number display: Also spotted on this brief excursion was 2006 on Route 6. I have witnessed all eight units in service; 2000 has single-piece non-openable windows, whereas 2001-2007 have transom windows. On a previous visit, I took quick rides on two Novas. It felt like waking up from a nightmare and easing into a calm weekend morning. TheRide had been 100% Gillig for soooo long, I'd pretty much given up. I instantly associated TheRide with the sad, dreary, loud and severe experience of riding a Gillig. Stepping onto a Nova, I was reminded that riding the bus is happy and pleasant -- that is, when the vehicle is up to the job. These are night and day compared to the Gilligs. Quiet. Smooth. Spacious. Bright. It felt like a large, successful transit system rather a desperate, lowest-bidder environment. I cannot wait for these to replace as many Gilligs as possible. My only gripe is the paint scheme. As 521 exhibits, more color makes a splash. They missed the mark with that ill-advised "80s retro" scheme on the Novas. They're nice-looking buses already -- they'd be jaw-dropping with the light blue scheme. More soon. All of the sudden, TheRide territory is on my list again!
  10. Do you happen to know which New Flyer plant built the 3400s? NFI had serious quality control problems at the Anniston plant (former NABI) around the time the 3400s were in production. It's since improved -- but it cost New Flyer the confidence of many large, longtime customers (most notably, King County Metro in Seattle)... Regardless of plant, pre-Xcelsior New Flyers were, in many ways, more solid products. I am moderately favorable on the Xcelsior... but I see an awful lot of Gillig influence, unfortunately. New Flyer really lowered the standards on parts and assembly, plus a few key design features. I'd still take any New Flyer over any Gillig LF any day of the week. But New Flyer would do well to tighten up. What suggests that First Transit is any less stretched for staff? First Transit pays less and runs its people ragged -- how are they better positioned to attract operators than Metro Transit? I hesitate to believe First Transit would turn in a better performance on major, frequent, high-ridership routes. There's way too many corners they'd jump to cut. It's all about the $$$$$ with those guys. They can more-or-less handle "easy" routes with one or two buses apiece. Longer, less predictable routes requiring more resources? Forget it. It's certainly discouraging to see service cuts as a result of staffing shortages. At least Metro Transit is honest about the situation -- and there is evidence that they're working to fix it.
  11. Ah, the last of the OG hybrids. Good catch! I always wanted to see (or stage) a pic of 2812 and 6813 in the same place. Though the numbers aren't -technically- close, 6813 picked up the sequence where 2812 left off. I assume they did that to avoid interference with the straight diesel D60LFs -- 2870-2899. It sure caused a weird ripple effect in the larger fleet numbering scheme.
  12. Your screenshot... what tracker system is that from?
  13. I like the new route! Great to see a common-sense use of a freeway for transit service. I was expecting a limited, weekday-only schedule. Quite a surprise to see full, all-day, seven day service. Will be interesting to see what usage is on a Sunday morning... One question: how did they possibly arrive at the route designation "518X"? As best I can tell, that number has no relation to anything! Am I missing some esoteric Windsor / St Clair College reference, here?
  14. At long last, found at Nova in service on the tracker: Tue Aug 17 at 12:20pm. Notice that it's vehicle # 2007, whereas previous reports state that # 2000 is the only Nova on site. Does this mean that all eight of the "2020" units are now active? Hopefully will make it to A2 soon to see what's up...
  15. To me, one of the biggest mysteries is, between DASH and Metro, why so much additional service to Landmark Mall? I appreciate that Landmark is being redeveloped (supposedly). Is that any reason to detour five bus routes through there today when it may not be active for several years? As for the 25B... it (currently) has too many twists and turns near Landmark. For the new version, Southern Towers/Mark Center isn't a great anchor. I think the bulk of ridership is between Ballston and NVCC, so at least it connects those dots fairly well. I've already commented on the various other changes. Hope they can drum up some ridership with improved frequency. Problem is, many routes are just too hard to understand. While adding service, they need to subtract complexity. To their credit, they've started to clean up a bit. Look at the 7 line. Not so long ago, it was the 7A-7C-7D-7E-7F-7H-7M-7P-7W-7X-7Y. Now it's dramatically streamlined to the 7A... with the 7M operating separately. I, for one, love cracking into a good timetable to pick apart the difference between the 16A and 16C and 16E and 16G and 16H and 16Y. The average would-be customer, though, is immediately daunted. Baby steps...
  16. Maps for revised DASH service also show new Metrobus routing. In Alexandria, 28A changes between Alexandria Hospital area and King St-Old Town M. Going eastbound, takes Seminary Rd as far as Howard St, then takes Howard St and Jordan St south to Duke St, then into Old Town from there. Along with the 29K-29N, it means Duke St is the "Metrobus corridor" in and out of Alexandria from points west. There will be no more Metrobus service on King St in Alexandria. Of this, I approve. 28A is a long, important regional route -- the new routing is faster and more direct than the current routing. As for the Falls Church part, I can only see one (reasonable) way to serve both Metro stations: use Washington St to East Falls Church M, then Roosevelt/Sycamore/Wilson down to Seven Corners, then resume current routing. This, I still don't see the need for. They're abandoning a whole mile of E Broad St (Route 7) only to duplicate other coverage... while adding a whole lot of extra turns. We shall see!
  17. Slowly but surely, WMATA is inching toward a stronger, easier-to-understand Metrobus system. Many components of the September change are big steps in that direction. 90-92... easily one of my favorite Metrobus lines. And I like artics. Yet, I have trouble seeing artics here. Though it's a very busy line, it does a -lot- of turnover. I can't think of many places where a 40-foot bus can't handle capacity on this line. Hmm... 54 at Bladensburg! Wow... we are really missing Northern! 3Y welcome home. Always liked that route. Of all the peak routes from Virginia, I am (pleasantly) surprised to see this one restored sooner than some others. 28A ... I don't understand this change. I like 28A new routing in Alexandria, as it removes a lot of twists and turns. So why go add twists and turns in Falls Church? Only thing I can think of... is the benefit of higher-frequency Metro connections at East Falls Church M? If that's the case, they should just remove 28A from West Falls Church M -- which, after the Silver Line opened, became kind of a ghost town. 7A ... 100% in favor of connection to Van Dorn St M. It's such a good addition, they should run all the trips over the full route. Short-turns at Southern Towers... just seems so cheap and halfhearted. Also wish the routing between SoTo and Van Dorn St M was more direct. It does a lot of bobbing and weaving. Looking forward to yet more positive changes in the near future!
  18. For no reason in particular, here are some pics of late-life TriMet Flxibles. These snaps date to 2012 -- by then, TriMet had been trying to retire the Flxibles for years. At the time of these photos, I'd guess about 40 Flxs were still active, including a few 1900-series 30-foot units. My next visit to PDX was in 2014. On that trip, I spotted only one Flxible from a distance (could not get a photo). They were history not long after. A reference pic of 1838 as she prepares for an outbound trip: A few blocks over, 1837 positions for an outbound trip of its own. Though the sign says Center Garage, I believe the bus was on its way from the garage into service. Also, I remember hearing that Flxibles were only at Merlo at this point -- so the sign may or may not be relevant: Then, 1801 scurries through Downtown en route to its outbound trip. Plenty of evidence that these buses were detailed to shorter, peak-period pieces to/from Downtown -- as opposed to long, all-day blocks that, generally, were/are in revenue service when spotted Downtown: At 6th & Jefferson SW, 1749 shows us how it's done. This pose reminds me of happy moments driving Flxibles -- decisively "ripping away" from the curb was one of my favorite moves! An anonymous Flx picks up a customer Downtown, before setting off into the sunset -- literally and figuratively: Enjoy. These buses were troopers. Used heavily for the first 15 years of their life... and still in decent shape past age 20+. They faded slowly over time -- from the most dominant bus in the fleet, to a secondary role, to an occasional sighting, 'til there were only a few left, then finally, all gone. They seem pretty much forgotten by now -- imagine seeing one restored in a newer TriMet paint scheme!
  19. 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: I've caught a few rides on 4011. Very smooth and comfortable. The windows are so big and open, the interior is dramatically brighter than a typical SMART bus (i.e. Gillig). I haven't seen any other artics in service yet on Oakland routes. I've come across 4001 on Wayne routes. Have yet to see any artics in/from Macomb territory. Indeed, the FAST wrap is a wrap. Here is a naked 4012 on a training mission in Troy: They got a lot of specs right -- ups for the wide back doors, rear window, extra Luminators, etc. I hope they can apply a permanent paint scheme that's more professional. The FAST wrap makes these brand-new buses look rough and beat up. Finally, a bonus shot. DDOT artic 1962 making an unusual appearance on the 31 Mack route: It sure is nice to see Southeast Michigan transit systems gradually improve the make-up of their fleets. Enjoy!
  20. 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 around to them. Quite a few other agencies use this design. Translink in Vancouver, CATA in Lansing, etc.
  21. 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 complement/compete with newer, more convenient and nicer-looking services.
  22. 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 gradually ramping up, now that it's on the road again. = Need to see more details for the 7 line. I love the idea of extending it to Van Dorn St M, but can't quite discern how the 25B routing figures into it. What would become of the segment on Beauregard St south of Seminary Rd? Yikes -- don't %$#& up a potentially "easy" route by dragging it down 100 different minor streets. = Otherwise in Alexandria, will be interesting to see what happens with the "temporary" 21C mash-up plus a restored 8W. There's more work to do in this area... nonetheless, glad to see the "8" line stay alive. = Anxious about 28A. I can see a case to clean it up. Then again, hard to imagine it'd have such high ridership if it dodged Alexandria Hospital and NVCC. We shall see! = Eh, I could take or leave the K9. Because the K6 is pretty short, I don't consider New Hampshire Ave a critical corridor for limited-stop service. I think the current 10-minute headway on the K6 is more useful than two separate routes. = 80... totally endorse this. The Kennedy Center 'tail' slows the whole route down. It never made sense to serve west Downtown/Foggy Bottom area with a route from North Capitol St. The main part of the route is busy as is... and exhibits major growth potential. This change will let the route run more reliably. = 42-43... I am torn! I do like taking it to Potomac Park -- I assume it will use 18th and 19th? That is a growing employment area. But what about the current Downtown alignment? There is strong ridership. Can't picture McPherson Square/Franklin Square area without the 42-43. Hmm... This certainly is getting fun again!
  23. 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 certain batches of buses -- perhaps the 6100s can join the ranks!
  24. 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 destination sign. Meijer stores are enormous big boxes... almost always located in suburban areas. The idea of a trolleybus at a Meijer store is odd to even contemplate. Also, props to Meijer -- they're leaps and bounds more welcoming of transit than most other big box stores: Here is 2057 leaving the greater Downtown area, making a postcard turn in front of the art museum. A few blocks later, she'll lower her poles to navigate construction on Salem Ave: Finally, 1961 resumes its eastbound trip on Route 1 after dipping into Wright Stop Plaza: Enjoy! Taking these photos made me happy
  25. 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 make navigation even less intuitive. Whatever. Not that important... just kinda underwhelming.
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