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Border City Transit

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  1. Sigh. There's nothing wrong with this system. It's perfectly valid logic. I wonder, though, for a mid-size system like Transit Windsor, does this overthink the task at hand? And could it backfire? Sure, a transit geek could see 315 and determine: OK, that's a local route that travels primarily north-south. But a potential transit customer (i.e. -not- a geek!) could quickly be turned off by such big, bewildering route numbers. Unlike "our" reaction, they may conclude: Route numbers like 105 and 230 and 518X? In this little city? Wow -- transit is awfully confusing. Better stay away... At some point, it's easier to lean on handful of routes with "easy" numbers (1, 2, 3, etc) instead of hoping that everyone will learn an elaborate coding syntax. Especially when the code contains such technical distinctions as "semi-express" vs "expressway"... "secondary" vs "local". Eh. Why is this a priority? Every transit system is different -- and the audience is local residents/businesses/visitors, not industry insiders. Transit systems can certainly borrow best practices from each other. Still, transit routes are not a one-size-fits-all product. Also... which other systems use this "standard"? I can think of only one that kind of comes close: Durham Region Transit. Besides that, transit systems use route numbers that fit their local context. There's work to be done to clean up Transit Windsor's routes and numbers (like, I always thought it was silly how 1A and 1C both use "1" when they're drastically different routes). This new structure, though? Unclear who Windsor thinks they're impressing... Thanks for sharing, in any case.
  2. My money is on mid/late December. Still 2022... and enough time to smooth things out. Anyone who thinks that will happen in one month or even two... isn't being realistic. The December date also aligns with normal Metro system service changes. Although in this case, the bulk of bus service changes will affect Fairfax Connector. Will be nice to start building positive momentum for Metro again...
  3. Ooooh, these are the kinds of super-specific, in-the-weeds questions that make this board so great. Rollsigns still show up regularly on small buses and cutaways. Even some medium-duty buses that run airport shuttles, national parks, etc use rollsigns. At least in the US, the last large system to spec rollsigns on new buses was San Francisco Muni. Their New Flyer E60 trolleys arrived brand new in 1994-1995 with rollsigns; most of them retained the rollsigns until they retired. Muni went through a bus-buying drought, of sorts, in the mid 90s. During that time, they retrofitted a few random older buses with flipdot signs (the 9100-series D60s were particular targets). I also vividly remember one-line, slow-scrolling flipdot retrofits on a handul of hammerhead Orion I 30-footers. After the E60s, no more new buses came in until 1998-1999 -- when NABIs, Neoplans and ETI trolleys showed up fresh with TwinVision LED/flipdot signs. In any case, Muni's late adoption kept rollsigns alive in SF long after they had disappeared from other cities. By the mid 80s, most major systems had firmly committed to flipdots... so rollsigns became rare by the mid 90s. Here is a rollsign-equipped E60 some time around 2011: Just across the Bridge... Golden Gate Transit (a much smaller system, of course) was ordering rollsign-equipped RTSes and MCIs into the late 90s... maybe even early 00s.
  4. Great pics!! I love the simple, tasteful, crisp "Metro Transit" logo. Those New Flyers are night-and-day compared to Gilligs. Glad that Madison upgraded to first-class equipment... after their last D40LFs retired unceremoniously. Will be cheering Madison on as New Flyers gradually replace Gilligs. I've always found Madison Metro's service structure to be unduly confusing. I appreciate the many commuter-oriented point-to-point routes. Those make sense, given Madison's geography and circulation patterns. However, I wish they'd simplify the all-day local service. If they ever do, I wonder if it'd lead to artics? I think they could develop a handful of frequent, all-day, simple routes that could easily justify artics...
  5. You did pretty good! I don't know Metrobus garage culture inside out... but Western seems like a nice place to land. Always strikes me as a tight-knit crew... an all-hands-on-deck team effort to power some big, high-profile routes out of a small, low-profile facility. Right -- and you'll have "access" to the 52-54 while Northern is closed. I should know this but I don't: Do you pick a full week's worth of work -- including days off? (i.e. "rostering") Or are you able to pick individual runs on individual days - plus days off - based on what's available? (i.e. cafeteria) Also... looking forward to your reports on the G2 specifically. I never understand why that's not a bigger route. Metro needs to promote it more and increase service. It connects some very high-demand destinations. Pre-Covid, it did have 10-minute service toward Georgetown in the AM peak. Will be curious to see how that starts to recover...
  6. Wow. It's been a crazy year (or two... or three?), but that picture reminds me of why I love cities and why I love transit. Thanks for sharing. A welcome treat. An indisputable reminder that, current challenges notwithstanding, cities and transit have a bright future. On Sunday, was 4556 the lone unit running? Or was the entire 36 equipped with trolleys?
  7. Yep, hard not to notice that. Like, how'd this Denver bus get lost in -Wisconsin-? Two things: 1. It could be a piggyback. To get buses faster, smaller systems can "latch on" to an order from a larger system. Like, hey Gillig, you already have 150 buses on the line for RTD... can you scale that build up to 155, and we'll buy the additional five units? There's a lot of different ways that can play out. Sometimes, a smaller system will actively seek out piggyback opportunities. Other times, a builder will respond to an RFP -- specifically noting that a piggyback is possible. It can enable the builder to submit a lower price, too. A piggyback order usually mirrors all the major specs of the base order (powertrain, window/door config, etc). If the piggyback occurs late, other items (paint?) may also reflect the base order. What's funny here... is that Wausau's bus looks like a 35-foot unit. I don't know RTD to have any 35-foot Gilligs. It'd be unusual (though I suppose not impossible?) to piggyback an order of 35-footers onto a base order of 40-footers. Hmm... 2. A more likely scenario... far too many transit systems -- especially small ones -- are wildly inconsistent, uninspired and uncreative about their identity. Many of these systems don't even design their own paint schemes. They ask they manufacturer for some sketches, then they pick one that's "good enough". It's like going to a downmarket haircut place in 1989 (Fantasic Sams, Bo Rics?)... where you chose your haircut from a limited catalog. By intention, the stylists weren't trained to be custom or creative. You'd get your template haircut, then go wash it down with template fast food from Taco Bell. Pair that with the wildly uninspired and uncreative mindset at Gillig. Um, ok Wausau, we just applied this paint scheme on another order. Look good to you? We sure don't want to put any thought into it. And voilĂ , you have buses that aren't unique or interesting or compelling or inviting or happy. They're just utility trucks. . . . . . Pardon my cynicism. To me, this instance hits on two major pitfalls of transit circa 2022: sad, dreary vehicles and sad, dreary identities. There is good news, though: both things are within our control to fix. Which transit systems will invest the strategy, foresight and mental energy to overcome these self-inflicted deficiencies? Hint: the barrier isn't money -- the barrier is willingness.
  8. Ugh. I really wish they stopped doing stuff like this. Lay down the routes and run them the same All. The. Time. No one has the attention span for all these little patterns and nuances and ifs/ands/buts. Slowly, Metrobus has been moving away from ridiculously complex service configurations. Then we see steps backwards like this 'ish'. Anyone notice how poorly used these off-hour "extensions" are? I'm thinking of oddities like the 10N, A11, 63 on Saturday mornings... other bygone patterns that no one used and no one misses. I will say this: pulling the 70 back to Archives M was a mistake. That route needs to connect both side of The Mall at all times. With so much growth in Southwest, I'd advocate extending it to Navy Yard M area. That could also enable cleaning up some of the other weird service on M St SW/SE. Then, keep the 79 running only the Georgia Av part.
  9. I had a co-worker who said it best: at the end of your run, you're always ready to go home. But when you show up for your next run, you're always excited to get started again. Amen, friend. Amen. Not to get all corny or whatever, but this is the true spirit of a public servant. Amid all the slights and disses and frustrations and general frowning upon public employees, these rare moments of gratitude really stick with you. I earned a few of those myself -- many years ago now -- and they still make me feel good. Stick with it! This is misunderstood, important work that we do. You missed out! Haha. Do whatever you can to get to a museum fleet and drive a Flx. I never worked for WMATA directly, but I drove for a system with a comparable (though much smaller) fleet of late 80s/early 90s Flxibles. Absolute joys to drive. Quirky "af" as they aged -- yet always solid and reliable. So many small, attention-to-detail design features that made them comfortable for operators and riders alike. Such... presence. Here I go being sappy again... you really felt proud to be behind the wheel. Great memories -- I'm about to cry! By now, I've exhausted most of my photos of WMATA Flxibles. Here's 8916 departing Silver Spring some time in 2004. Well past retirement age -- and still looking classy and capable.
  10. 110% agree with every single thing said above. It is a very nice paint scheme. A few nitpicks, because that's what we do! The rigid light gray skirt is incongruous with the swoop design. Also kind of annoying that it's a different shade than the aqua-gray part of the swoop. I really like the use of white as an actual color. Usually, white is the very symbol of a boring, tired, uninspired paint scheme. Here, it really looks sharp in the company of other colors that are equally prominent. Not sure why so many systems insist on the 1980s-ish black window trim. This would look a lot brighter if colors cut clear between the windows (but of course, not over the actual glass!) I like where they placed the NFTA-METRO logo. Good use of that space. And not a nitpick, but does anyone else see a striking similarity to WMATA's scheme? Almost like NFTA showed New Flyer a pic of a Metrobus and said, "here, do something like this." Yes, in any case, this is a step forward!
  11. Thanks for these updates! To this day, being a bus operator is the best job I've ever had. Will keep the CDL forever. Also, thank you for the window into the training and professionalism behind it. The internet is crawling with critics who knock transit or oversimplify it or think they know everything about it -- while very, very few of these people see the blood, sweat and tears behind the operation. Glad that you're able to learn from such a good crew. A lot of heart there. And -- within the bounds of safety and good judgment -- it's always nice to read little snippets from "life on the inside". Enjoy! Only regret on your behalf... is that you're a Metrobus operator who never got to drive a Flxible Yes, the 26A still baffles me as Metrobus route. Like they're trying to punk Fairfax Connector or something. But I'd say Cinder Bed makes a good home for it. Also a logical choice for 11C or 11Y or whatever it turns into. As Cinder Bed becomes a regular part of the WMATA operation, I can see them swapping routes in and out for the next few years while they find the right mix. See you out there!
  12. Greetings from Grand Rapids -- where The Rapid has decisively made the leap from a mid-size system to a large system (though, of course, the smaller end of large - if that makes sense!) First, on the way in, these recent retirees were hanging out at a truck lot in Holland. Surprising to see so many decals still visible -- these could easily be mistaken for in-service rolling stock: Then, an 18-month old bus that looks nearly identical to the 15 year old bus that it retired. Thanks, Gillig (%$#@). At least it's a nice photo -- 2009 finishes an inbound trip on Route 7: At least Grand Rapids can make Gilligs look decent from the outside. Here is 7527, owned by the City and operated by The Rapid for DASH service: Over on the Silver Line, 1092 starts its trip down Division. Yet again, a nice paint scheme on a not-so-nice vehicle: Ahhh, a first-rate transit vehicle offers signs of hope. On the Medical Mile, 6016 approaches the end of the Laker Line. These are beauties -- the difference is most noticeable on the inside. Compared to the sad, dreary interior of a Gillig -- where every seat has an obstructed view and the lighting is prison-like -- these New Flyers feel like frolicking through a field of sunflowers on a bright spring morning. Enormous windows and happy lighting to complement a ride that is smooth, quiet, spacious and comfortable: I learned that Laker Line buses come from a second operating facility! It's a little over a mile away from the main base on Wealthy. It's purpose-built for CNG artics. The fleet currently contains 16 such vehicles. Does this suggest that more artics are in the cards? Maybe to replace the inadequate Gilligs on the Silver Line? My respect for The Rapid is ever increasing. They have a few small-time features to outgrow (Gilligs, downtown transit center, etc). Those aside, they're starting to exhibit signs of a first-tier transit system.
  13. I love that bus for being so ugly. Ugly fab... if ya know what I mean. 1. I will -never- understand why PHX saw the need for that "forward" rear door. How did (nearly) -every- other system with D40LFs make it work with the regular position? Yet somehow Valley Metro just couldn't figure that out. 2. I miss the green/purple colors -- but they weren't the same without the mid 90s "Big V". 6560 looks extra-ugly fab with the "economy version" of the old Valley Metro paint scheme -- also shown by 6437 here. A side-by-side comparison, with OG D40LF (4005?) wearing the full version: And really, who are we kidding: the Big V was clearly designed for -- and looked best on -- an RTS. Even a somewhat tired-looking 4427 can turn heads: The Big V was ahead of its time. Happy, bold, original -- and a landmark of circa 1999 Phoenix. The new/current scheme is nice enough -- but hard to claim it exudes half as much charisma as the Big V...
  14. Classic WMATA. Trying soooo hard to be sleek and "on it" -- but missing the critical details. Thus triggering a facepalm from anyone who knows what they're looking at. And, in the DMV, a large share of onlookers do know the critical details of the transit system. Amazing things would happen if Metro's marketing department had -any- understanding of the system (particularly the bus system...)
  15. This post is a tribute to triumph amid tragedy. Despite the bridge collapse, no one was seriously injured -- even 3309 herself emerged looking strong while dangling from that crane. Here she is circa 2014, treating happy customers to a smooth, reliable ride on the 61D: 3309 probably won't see service again -- this is something to remember her by as she settles into an early retirement. And as we thank the heavens that no human life was lost!
  16. I am coming to terms with the fact that some of those routes are, indeed, gone forever. Some will return -- though my list is somewhat less extensive than yours. J4 isn't returning. The Purple Line was already slated to take its place. Z11 and company... this will be a real test for Bus Rapid Transit. FLASH is fine -- but Z11-Z13 etc were really express routes. Even with its 'upgraded' features, FLASH may fall short of the speed afforded by the Metrobus routes. Sounds like a Briggs Chaney showdown in the making -- and a potential reality check for BRT proponents. H1 kills me -- I love(d) that route. But, with the 42/43 now serving the western part of Downtown DC, there is less need for the H1. H3 meh. I appreciate the time savings, but WMATA is learning the value of a simpler route structure -- even if it means a couple extra minutes on a few trips a day. If anything, I can even see them picking the H2 -or- H4 routing and ditching the other. Or spinning it off into a separate, less frequent route. K9 is mediocre. Demote it to a few trips a day just to serve the FDA campus. Or better yet, kick that function to Ride On. I'd much rather have 10-minute Metrobus service on the no-nonsense K6. In Virginia, the whole mess of Burke/Springfield area routes... they're already cleaning those up. As service recovers, I can imagine a totally revised network that doesn't much resemble the old routes. Though I am glad to have Metro operating in this area, it's the largest swath of Fairfax County that hasn't "gone Connector". Can't quite figure out why that is... I like the 4A... and am surprised (pleasantly) that WMATA hasn't turned it (and the 4B) over to ART. 4A feels like a real early 90s era route -- like, the glory days of Metrobus-to-Metrorail service. I almost expect to see GM New Looks and Flxibles running on it! 7C/7P... iffy. Demand may generate, but Metro seems perfectly happy to let ART and DASH do the heavy lifting in this corridor. Then again, not sure how many more commuter routes those systems want. For that reason alone, we may see 7C and/or 7P again. Otherwise... good riddance to the 34. They de facto ditched that one along with the 30N/30S. It's impossible to overstate what a pleasure it was to take those off the map. There is no shortage of other frequent, high-quality service in the area. I don't see the 37, 39 or A9 returning... while I'd say slightly above .500 chance for the D1, D5 and L1. One to watch will be the S1. That was a heavily used route pre-pandemic -- those 5-minute headways in the morning were epic. I look to the S1 as a bellwether of commuter service within the District. I expect S1 will operate again at some level. Its success may influence the future of other commuter-oriented routes. On the positive side, while some -routes- may be gone, the -service- is not. Honestly, some obscure, part-time, low-ridership routes... those resources are more valuable to strengthen frequencies on high-ridership corridors. Like, 12-minute headways -- seven days a week -- on the T18 and 28A and H2... would not have happened with the Z11 and 10N and A9 running at "full" strength. This is how transit is evolving. It will be an adjustment -- but I am convinced it will be a long-term positive. And, once we clear the current uncertainly, I can see some new/improved peak-hour services taking shape.
  17. Can someone explain how Metro possibly has a bus shortage right now? Consider: New buses have been steadily arriving for the past 2-3 years -- CNGs, diesels, artics... While older vehicles are gradually retiring, the majority of 12+ year old subfleets (DE42LFAs, mainly) are still largely intact No part of the bus fleet is sidelined for a long-term defect or recall (though you can never be too sure with the NABI 42-BRTs...) Finally... with scores of peak-hour routes still suspended, requirements are down by like 200 buses compared to 2019 How does that add up to a shortage?
  18. Omg did they seriously mess up the color of the decals again? By design, the paint scheme involves three shades of green. The darkest green was always intended for the DDOT "paper clip" logo and the vehicle number. The 1900s missed it completely. They use "middle" green for all decals and they're all very hard to see. Inadequate contrast. The 2000s got it right -- dark green in both places. They used the right font for the numerals, too. Maybe it's just the angle of the photo -- but it looks like 2205 is wearing proper fleet number decals, but they somehow reverted to the middle green paper clip. Ugggggggh. I know the 1000-series D40LFs are due for retirement -- but I am hoping the end is near for the miserable, soul-crushing Gilligs. Mercifully, the one and only order that DDOT had (well, a set of diesels and a set of hybrids in the same year...) Thanks for the intel. I wasn't even sure there would -be- 2200s. Any idea how many? Any more artics on deck?
  19. Ugh. PULSE desperately needs artics. It's such a good service -- with strong ridership -- and those cramped, cheerless Gilligs are not cutting it. Last time I was in RVA, PULSE was still ~a year away. Do I recall that the stations aren't big enough to accommodate artics? I hope that's not the case... Would be a terrible lapse of foresight. Any info?
  20. Wow -- seeing the routes shown like that... reminds me of absorbing the 1995 System Map. There was no single, ordered list of routes. So you had to peck around the map to 'discover' routes in their natural habitats. As I recall, each route wore numbers all along its thin red line. Then, once per route (usually near a subway station), you were treated to the full number -and- name. I had concluded that 2 ANGLESEY and 4 ANNETTE were the lowest-numbered routes. Then, without even looking, I stumbled on 3 ANCASTER PARK (-heads explode-) That had me -convinced- that a Route 1 was hiding somewhere on the map. Alas, through the lens of the internet, I can now see that my search was useless -- the 1 ARMOUR HEIGHTS had been eliminated by then. The good news is, that search caused me to inspect every corner of the map -- which helped me learn the system! Ahh... nothing compares to a paper map.
  21. They are! This pics exhibits a valuable secondary feature of full-color, bottom-to-top paint schemes: they hide dirt. Not that buses "should" ever be dirty. But it's inevitable in four-season climates. So... design for it! Mostly white buses (i.e. the majority of buses in the US ) make routine road dirt highly visible. Here, it gets lost against the red and silver. Just don't forget to drive that beauty through the wash rack when she returns to Cinder Bed!
  22. Thanks for calling that out. Thought I was the only one who paid attention to such things. I don't get it. Here is an expensive, high-profile piece of equipment with hundreds of complex systems and parts -- and -that's- the detail they miss? It's like an insult to the whole vehicle. We've painstakingly built this beautiful machine -- but we can't be bothered with a small-but-visible feature that would cost like 50 cents to get right. Translink's "brand" font is consistent -- though it's not custom. It's FF Meta -- either the Medium or Bold weight, with some hand-applied kerning. I know some buses use Helvetica for fleet number decals. That's not great either but I can overlook it -- Helvetica has earned status as the "de facto" font for things like fleet numbers. But Arial?! That just looks cheap. These are the kinds of things that customers notice without noticing. Every cut corner subtly makes the system appear less "together". Good news is, it's easy to replace these limp Arial decals with Meta! Heck, I'll even shell out a fat $100 so CMBC can retrofit the whole set of 21400s!
  23. There's a lot of thought behind your ideas , which I appreciate. I happen to think that, when it comes to one enormous transit system, the cons far outweigh the pros. I will present some angles which I hope you'll find worthy of consideration. First, the One Giant Transit Agency concept (let's call it 'OGTA') greatly overestimates how many people attempt long, cross-regional trips on a regular basis. If you live in Oshawa, you don't likely spend too much time in Milton. If you're in Guelph, you probably don't make daily trips to Newmarket. If you -do- make these trips occasionally, you might expect some difference in transit service. You're going to a completely different area. You shouldn't be shocked if you have to learn a thing or two about that place. Plus, it's not like the Durham Region Transit system is completely illegible to someone from Hamilton or vice versa. All systems follow the same basic idea of routes and schedules. If you can navigate your local system, you can approach a new system with minimal effort -- that is, when/if you even need to. Second, OGTA greatly underestimates the reach and effectiveness of GO Transit. The overwhelming majority of key destinations -already- enjoy fast, frequent, longer-distance access. And I can't think of a single instance where GO Transit fails to connect with local transit systems. I think GTA people forget how incredible GO Transit is. There is nothing else like it in North America (with the possible exception of New Jersey Transit). On the wishlist of regional connections throughout the GTA, GO already covers 90%+ of them. These kinds of things look great on paper -- but they don't acknowledge changes in demand along a corridor. Take Lakeshore, for instance. In Mississauga, it's kind of a forgettable, average-density street. In Oakville, it's a key feature of the downtown. These areas have very different demands and play very different roles in their cities. Though they're "linear", there isn't tremendous demand to travel between them. What would be a good frequency for this super-route? If half the buses short-turn due to varying demand, did we really gain that much from "integrating" the routes to begin with? There are also operational concerns. Once a route becomes several hours in each direction, it sprouts its own set of challenges. And the solutions are expensive (extra buses to fill gaps, long layovers to pad long trips, extreme deadheads/travel times, ripple effect of distant detours/delays, etc). At that point, we've lost any theoretical savings from integrating the routes. Just because a route -could- be super-long doesn't necessarily mean that it -should- be super-long. Fair point. There aren't too many examples of this in the GTA, however. In the few cases of "near misses", I'd suggest a GO Transit intervention: either in the form of a GO-operated route, or potential GO funding for the local systems to bridge any gaps. Again, though -- those few gaps hardly justify obliterating all local transit systems. Also, keep in mind the sheer size. Vancouver area is big -- but it's a fraction of the size of the GTA. Translink in its entirely is smaller than TTC -- never mind the ~2,000 additional vehicles that round out the full GTA transit network. Another fair point. Throughout the whole GTA, though, there's only a handful of "Burnhamthorpes". Turning these corridors over to neighbouring providers would free up maybe a dozen TTC buses total. And keep in mind the impact to subway-bound customers from further afield -- now, their fast-ish ride to the subway is doing double-duty as a local bus in Toronto. Could add 10+ minutes to each trip. Maintaining frequency on these routes would require additional buses on the part of Mississauga Transit. Yet again, any potential savings have now been offset. I disagree on several accounts. From a workload standpoint, more service in more places means more administrators. It'd take the same basic complement of schedulers and planners to put OGTA on the road. To do their jobs effectively, they'd need to be scattered throughout the service area. This would -not- be some magical crew of high-capacity super-planners, working in perfect harmony under the golden dome of OGTA. That's just not how transit works. Then, the "one set of planners" idea disregards the local, community-driven component of planning. I can see where centralized planning works for major projects of regional significance. But for short, local bus routes? Come on. Could OGTA planners be responsive to very real -- but very local -- needs? If there's a small new development in Brampton, would OGTA have the agility -- or the interest -- to coordinate with every local stakeholder? Would the centralized OGTA planner know how to pronounce "Chinguacousy"? This level of local engagement is extremely important for transit. It would suffer greatly under OGTA -- and transit would devolve from a valuable community asset into a distant bureaucratic nuisance. Yes. True. And that's the inconvenient reality of delivering large public projects. I admit, the current cast of characters in GTA and Ontario are putting the difficulty on full display. Still, I have yet to see -any- credible case that total provincial control would make things better. It could easily make things -worse-: if OGTA sets policy and service levels and operational practices for local transit, how will pro-transit communities be able to maintain/enhance transit? What if local priorities don't match Queen's Park priorities? Look at the Harris years. The Province obliterated transit funding. Thought it was painful for TTC, it could have been far more severe. At least Toronto was able to backfill some of the service with local dollars. How would this have looked if there weren't a TTC? It's just too easy to blame unions. They have skin in the game, to be sure. But union issues are one of about a million complexities of merging several dozen transit systems. Plus, would the union(s) not have a valid, legally sound point? If I am a bus operator for OGTA, shouldn't I be paid the same as all other bus operators for OGTA? I'd venture to say that, right now, Burlington Transit posts lower costs than TTC. In that sense, we're likely -saving- money with multiple operators that can adjust to their local labour markets. In theory, OGTA could set up different divisions to pay at different rates. But, operationally, that's no meaningful improvement over the current set-up. Some people dream of an OGTA that would contract out all service to private vendors. OK. So now, a nimble, responsive, cost-efficient local operation like Burlington Transit... gets traded in for a centralized procurement bureaucracy and an even -more- distant corporate operating bureaucracy. It might save a few crumbs in the short run, but ultimately end up costing more -- all while disengaging the community from its transit service. Again, I must ask, what has anyone gained in this situation? Bottom line: different communities have different needs, which is why they have different transit systems. I don't see it as entirely bad thing -- and never quite understand why so many onlookers do. I fully agree with you here. There is major need to smooth fares -- or at least fare collection methods. Somewhere here, there's a map showing a simplified "all-GTA" fare zone system. That is a very good proposal. Here's where the province could incentivize local providers to participate. That, I believe, would be a much more useful way for the Province to intervene. It also seems a lot more achievable than the Province taking control of all operations. In any case, I am glad we can trade ideas here. We might not necessarily agree -- but I certainly value other viewpoints. Glad I could pick up some interesting ideas from your concept -- I hope you can see some validity in mine! Cheers.
  24. Respectfully disagree. All-door boarding dramatically speeds up service. It might not be necessary on every route. Like, the R12 isn't going to save much time from all-door boarding -- with 2 or 3 people boarding at a time max. On the other hand, think about the S2 during busy times. Buses can drop a full minute at every stop as people line up single-file to make individual contact with the farebox. Terrible. Slow. Outdated. And, to a new rider, kind of intimidating. Yes, all-door boarding introduces potential (or likelihood) for fare evasion. But, the bus operator is not a practical "fare enforcement officer" to begin with. As we speak, without all-door boarding, plenty of people blithely walk past the farebox -- casting a flippant air of "F.U." to the driver, because they know the driver can't/won't/shouldn't do anything about it. It results in a palpable tension between the fare evader and everyone else on the bus (i.e. the operator and fare-paying customers). Transit systems need to rethink how they handle fare collection/enforcement. Implemented properly, all-door boarding is a big step in the right direction. Faster and easier for everyone. In New York, MTA badly missed the mark with their ridiculous "receipts" on SBS. Hopefully as they phase in OMNY, that awkward step will go away. Like, if you have a valid fare -- an unlimited-ride MetroCard, for instance -- get on and go. Don't worry about fighting the TVM for a receipt as your M15-SBS gets ready to pull away. I'd say Seattle does it best. RapidRide uses all-door boarding -- with regular, roving inspectors who've been trained to address fare evasion in a respectful, humane manner. As for WMATA? They have a chance to learn lessons from other systems. Here's hoping they avoid the pitfalls and go full-speed with best practices.
  25. Fair question. Las Vegas has very high transit ridership. While the Strip routes carry plenty of tourists, the regular fixed routes carry large numbers of locals who are traveling to/from service sector jobs or other unremarkable daily errands. Yes, far away from the Strip, volumes on streets like Nellis and Tropicana and North LV Blvd -do- justify higher-capacity buses -- whether double-deckers or artics. LV is a surprisingly interesting town for transit. If you get a chance to visit, explore the outer reaches of the transit system -- you may be surprised at the high usage, especially in a lower-density, largely suburban environment.
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