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Border City Transit

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  1. I'm straying off the specific topic of King County Metro, here... but you hit on something I've wondered about for a while: Tiny, Go-Kart Size Steering Wheels on Gillig LFs You seen 'em? It appears to be an option. I wanna say maybe Port of Seattle's Gilligs at SeaTac are so equipped? Not sure about other Gilligs in the area. The steering wheel looks no bigger than a typical automobile... it's anchored to the dashboard by a weird cassette sort of thing. I drove early 90s Flxibles with big, 20- or 22-inch steering wheels and felt firmly in control. I found smaller steer
  2. Thanks for posting these! I was once a daily Metrobus customer -- particularly on the S1, which often used Neoplan artics nearing retirement. Even those were nice to ride at their advanced age. These pics remind me how pleasant of an experience WMATA offers. Among large systems, they spec their buses quite nicely and they keep them very clean! Glad to see that they're committing to customer-friendly features: High-visibility destination signs Rear window Comfortable seats Effective cleaning regimen despite very heavy usage I'm in a minority with this o
  3. Ah yes. As with so many things in transit, it all comes down to scheduling. I am a professional transit scheduler in North America. I am curious how we can improve our craft? In most cases, it's less a question of incentives and more a question of constraints. Facilities (both operating bases and on-street), vehicle counts, staffing availability, traffic, etc. To keep in on topic, TheBus/OTS uses HASTUS for scheduling - which has specific functionality for electric buses. I'm sure they'll use the feature at some point.
  4. Between the two of you (among others!), we gain tremendous amounts of knowledge. Please keep posting! There's no substitute for first-hand experience -- even if memories are sometimes foggy. Speaking at least for myself, I never expect perfection from anyone's posts. This board is an excellent resource to trade and learn. If we end up relying on each other to fill in holes/details, it's a net plus for everyone and our shared love of transit. Do you know if all the Phantoms sported the deflector? I definitely recall seeing them -- but to my memory, they were only o
  5. Maybe? But unlikely. The highest ridership bus routes in NoVA all cross jurisdictional boundaries. I'm thinking the 7, 10, 16, 23, 28 lines mostly. To some extent the 1 and 2 also. Those are long, frequent, complex, resource-intensive lines. Operationally and geographically, they're not a good fit for the smaller local providers. They're also (generally) growing routes that will require more service in coming years. Also, pre-Covid, most of the growth in NoVA came from bus routes that went directly into DC (3Y, 7Y, 11Y, 16Y, 38B, etc). Crossing into DC adds a dimension that I do
  6. That already happened! The "old" 3 line (3A-3B-3E) was cut to the current Metrobus 3A... operating only between East Falls Church M/Seven Corners and Annandale. Then, the inner part in Arlington became the ART 55. The current 3A barely serves Arlington at all -- it doesn't come close to Rosslyn. This happened some time in the last five years or so. I didn't understand the change at first: why break one continuous route into two segments? It forces a transfer to continue. Then I realized, the Lee Hwy segment in Arlington is much busier than the Annandale Rd segment. So,
  7. Hmm, I can't speak for ICT or Coralville's Gillig low floors. Frankly, I stopped taking pictures because all the Gillig LFs were depressing me. I also find Iowa City Transit's buses exceedingly ugly -- where I love the Cambus paint scheme (and I'm not even a Hawkeye!) At least ICT and Coralville's Phantoms had the T-window configuration (gotta look close to see it -- my pics are so-so) : Pics of 70 & 74... circa October 2006. I believe the Cambus fleet was 100% Phantom at the time, maybe minus a few odd smaller buses.
  8. Great pics! Omaha and ORBT are on my shortlist for travel once things improve. My last time there, they were still running older Gilligs: At the time, they were practically alternating between Gillig and New Flyer with each order of new buses. The Xcelsiors look sharp -- I went hunting for a 40-footer but came up dry, so snapped this XD35 cruising Downtown: And I did manage to catch a FrankenFlx. Those made me sad. I miss Flxibles, but I don't miss those zombies. I saw one on my first visit to Omaha in 2006; pretty amazing that the, um, rehab nearly doubled the
  9. Ask and ye shall receive! Look close at the windows on 104. Notice the top third spans the whole window frame ("transom" window). Then, the bottom two-thirds is formed of sliding panels: Iowa City Transit and Coralville Transit use the same configuration. It dates to the Gillig Phantom era (look even closer!): That window arrangement is somewhat common on New Flyers and Novas. On Gilligs, it's nearly always transom, sliding or nothing. Transom only examples: Sliding only examples: Ther
  10. OMG, thank you for sharing that. This is proof that a "modern" body style can deftly wear an older paint scheme. Wish we had had more time to enjoy 411 & 412 before they went vanilla. Wow. About twice a year in the early/mid 90s, my grandparents would take me to Downtown Windsor. We'd head straight for Ouellette & Wyandotte on Saturday mornings. While they tended to my grandpa's army pension at Canada Trust, I'd plant myself outside watching bus after bus after bus after bus. I was absolutely captivated. Transit Windsor ran a typical Canadian fleet for the time: Cla
  11. Great updates - thanks! Yep, IC is surprisingly interesting for transit. Even with all those blasted Gilligs. The "T" window configuration on a Gillig is somewhat unique to Iowa City area. I can't think of other Gilligs that use it. Here's a fun pic from 2017. Buses from all three systems are visible -- and two of the three buses share the unit number 101. Enjoy!
  12. If a deep cut goes through, they may idle facilities and vehicles for a bit. With a handful of exceptions (i.e. routes that probably need to 'change' anyway), I don't think anyone is planning for a permanent gutting of service. WMATA is not going to abandon major capital assets that will be useful again in 18-24 months. The other providers have a different cost structure and different requirements. Their budgets aren't subject to direct federal oversight. Local providers may see -some- minor bumps from reductions at WMATA, but the economic fallout of Covid will catch u
  13. Even when new buses arrive, I expect customer response to be pretty underwhelming. From a purely customer standpoint, I'd say the "old" Nova fleet appears far brighter, happier and newer than any sad, dreary "new" Gillig -- even if it has the "BRT" exterior. I can see someone stepping on board a brand new Red Line bus and thinking... this is new? This is an upgrade? In the grand scheme of things, I do think it makes sense for Metro Transit to operate the Red Line (although their strategy sure could have used some work...) I wish they understood how important the actual vehicle i
  14. Not sure about that -- but they're about to get Xcelsiors of some sort. In a new paint scheme, no less: https://www.norta.com/New-Buses Those drawings all show 35-foot buses. It wouldn't be the first time NO buys 35-footers -- but it's kind of hard to see the reason. The system is poised to grow -- and with "social distancing" now a thing, I'd think they'd want more space, not less. I don't know of any NORTA routes that require shorter buses due to street size/turn radius limitations, though maybe that's a consideration?
  15. I don't think the full range of deep cuts will go through. They need to express it this way so people pay attention. There -will- be reductions, but I'd imagine something between the current service level and the "doomsday" scenario. Next 12-24 months will be tough -- but I'm already looking ahead to transit's great resurgence in 2022-2023. Through this crazy time, the larger public has seen just how critical transit is. Once we clear Covid, I fully expect transit to emerge stronger, better and more highly valued. Yep. WMATA has some of the most cramped bus garages of
  16. Nice! I love that they start at 5500 rather than 5501. WMATA is pretty inconsistent about that... And gotta throw some positive reinforcement for the back window! Who knows what will happen with the service cuts... but is the artic fleet finally expanding beyond its traditional complement of ~75 units? I've heard "excuses" about space constraints at the garages. Still, I've always thought WMATA could make much greater use of artics. Maybe things are heading that way.
  17. Hi. Forgive my ignorance... trying to learn! Are there standard tire sizes for leading heavy-duty transit buses? I recall in the US, when Gillig first introduced their low-floor bus, they made a big deal about it using "full-size" tires -- which I took to mean, the same size as non-low-floor buses. Now that low floors dominate, are tire sizes identical for, say, a New Flyer and a Nova (...and even an Orion)? With another larger tire size in use for Gillig LFs and non-low-floor buses/highway coaches? Here is a somewhat on-topic photo montage as I try to figure it out. Thanks
  18. Hmm, the D40s always seemed to "fly" below the radar. I don't recall many strong feelings about them, good or bad -- even among (New) Flyer devotées in Queensway territory. Obviously, others feel free to weigh in. Each order was slightly different and visibly so -- in my mind, that made it hard to think of all D40s as a single fleet. Each set of ~60-70 units felt like a "one-off". The last batch in 1990 (6560-6638) had Cummins engines and powerful A/C plants; those had a bit of a following. I found a few photos (ca 2007) in my archive: Here is 6454 on her way to the Expo grounds
  19. Hard to tell if there's any specific issue beyond COVID. I try to take a fair, levelheaded approach with labor disputes. In this case, being somewhat familiar with DDOT, I am inclined to side with the drivers 110%. Their pay is the lowest in the industry (starting rate of $12/hour, top rate under $19/hr?! Wtf?) and their working conditions are awful. Beyond that, the mayor actively treats the bus system like a joke. He is overtly disdainful toward those who run it. He'd rather chase capital dollars to build big shiny projects so he can attend more ribbon-cuttings. Get your head out o
  20. Any idea of when Novas are expected in Ann Arbor? No signs of 'em anywhere... like TheRide wants to pretend it's not happening and they'll be 100% Gillig forever and ever.
  21. Glad that Transit Windsor continues on a track of general growth -- my sense is that COVID is slowing it down, but not stopping it! Excited to see advancements with the new route network. Meanwhile, wtf happened to their fleet? I like their buses... but why are they ad wrapping so dang many? I never like wraps, but those showing up in Windsor are especially bad. They're all composed of low-res photos, amateur photo editing effects, overly detailed text that clashes with doors/window frames, etc. They're really, really poorly designed. They make the whole transit system look tacky. La
  22. Can't say I'll miss the 2600s. I never got excited when one pulled up. I suppose they performed fairly well over their 15-16 year lifespan -- although isn't that somewhat abbreviated by Metro standards? Otherwise, how is life now that service cuts have taken effect? Glad I went out of my way to ride the 47 when I did!
  23. Nice! It's funny how comfortable that bus looking rolling up into a Metro facility. Do I detect that the private owner has an affinity for OCTA? They had New Flyers with the "forward position" rear door numbered in the 5200s. Beyond the number itself, the number decal (font weight, position, color) is extremely reminiscent of OCTA spec. Coincidence?? Ugh. I never understood the reason for that awkwardly positioned rear door. Supposedly it had something to do with wheelchair access? I didn't buy that -- "regular" D40LFs were perfectly accessible without this unsightly adjustment.
  24. An interesting comparison is just up the road in Baltimore. Maryland MTA had a similarly spec'ed batch of RTS-03s (though with 8V71 motors) -- same approximate age as WMATA's, same approximate quantity (115 in DC vs 101 in B'more). While WMATA invested in theirs, MdMTA gave up pretty early. Baltimore's RTS fleet did receive the HVAC retrofit -- and maybe loose units were otherwise upgraded here and there -- but that's it. Baltimore was pretty much RTS-free by the early 90s, while they marched on for another ~decade at WMATA!
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