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Border City Transit

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  1. This had me digging a bit more into WMATA's lone RTS order. Wow. From their debut in 1979 until their retirement in late 2000, they had many major components replaced: = Air conditioning... retrofitted to RTS-04 style, with squared back end = Rear doors... retrofitted from standard RTS plug/pantograph to New York-style flip-out = Windows... retrofitted from sealed single-piece acrylic to modern RTS-06 style thick-frame fully sliding windows = Engine... retrofitted from 6V71 to 6V92TA = Destination signs... retrofitted from rollsign to Gultan or Vultron. Not uncommon to find a
  2. That's an old pic! But a very informative one. They all had the slopeback when delivered. They were, after all, 1979 RTS-03s. The squared back didn't become "a thing" until the RTS-04 was introduced in mid/late 1980. Long story short, the original design (slopeback) crammed too many components into too small of a space -- particularly HVAC equipment. The squared-off design allowed the AC and the engine block more room to breathe. Like most systems that had the RTS-03, WMATA retrofitted them to the -04 design -- so they lost their slopebacks. A very small handful of -03 systems a
  3. That's a whole topic right there. In 1990 or so, there was an incident with a rear door springing open while the bus was in motion... I want to say while running the N-line through Westmoreland Circle. I don't have all the details -- but I believe this led to rear door retrofits, from the original plug/pantograph rear doors to the "New York spec" flat, simple hinge-flip doors. The rear door incident, plus their generally cramped interiors, got the entire RTS fleet ousted from the District. From the early 90s until they retired in 2000-2001, you'd see them regularly on rush-hour
  4. FWIW, I'd say that's an excellent photo! Rich color, multiple layers of depth -- each one in effective focus -- and it includes other "city stuff" that's often of interest to transit fans. Plus it shows the bus at a cool and unusual angle. I'd take a "true-to-life" photo any day over an artificially pristine shot. Would be happy to see more photos like this of buses in their natural habitat! If nothing else, it just inflames my disappointment that Calgary Transit discontinued the rear window after the first Novas.
  5. A lot of the now-DASH service in Parkfairfax area... I believe was the 6 line when it was Metrobus.
  6. Combed the archives for some pics. Here are 40-foot narrowbody Flxibles, one apiece from 1988 and 1990. In Silver Spring, years before the "transit center" cast its concrete gloom on the whole neighborhood, 9254 navigates out from the street-level bus loop: Here is 9428, taking the weekend off outside of Royal Street Division. Look close and you can almost see the same-width windshield panels -- telltale sign of a 96" wide Flx. The upright bridge between the windshield panels is centered directly above the four-slot vent -- whereas on a 102" Flx, the bridge sits off-center, awa
  7. Yep -- Flxible Metro 40096-6C-1, model year 1990... 9421-9463 They were scattered throughout the system. I remember seeing them in Montgomery territory. I vividly recall riding one on the 42 circa 1999. There was clearly no width constraint on that route, as my return trip was a 1992 Orion V -- effortlessly navigating Columbia Rd, Dupont Circle and points between at a generous width of 102". I believe your account that they operated from Four Mile Run, too. I can see where they'd be applicable on peak-hour NoVa routes (17s, 18s, 29s, etc) that, at the time, did not consistently use w
  8. Anyone see this? https://www.nola.com/news/politics/article_4829860c-a051-11ea-b4e3-bbc89b31fe44.html After years with Transdev -- in two or three different contractual configurations -- NORTA is taking its service in-house. I welcome the change. Transdev did decent work. But, as NOLA stabilizes and grows, this is a logical move to get the city on its own two feet. Fleet-wise, gotta wonder what their next buses will be. It was a fairly reliable Orion customer on-and-off since the mid 1990s. They've purchased New Flyer buses, but it always seemed kind of "last resort". Their
  9. I absolutely do not understand BCT's new paint scheme on their Gilligs. Looks straight out of 1990... like it started as TriMet's "new" scheme -- until an intern in Livermore spent 15 minutes 'adjusting' it for Fort Lauderdale. Then again, for a halfway decent transit system, BCT has never had a great paint scheme. My archives contain few photos of BCT vehicles... but I like this pic of 9730: Like most transit systems in the Sunshine State, BCT was a Flxible stronghold throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. They went through a "transition" phase in the mid/late 1990s after
  10. As promised... Here is a 2002-2003 Gillig LF 40'. I added thin yellow lines to demarcate the window zone; the rear axle falls directly under it: Then, this 2012 Gillig LF 40'. Yellow lines in the same place, but notice how the axle encroaches below the next window forward: (yes, the photos are taken at slightly different angles but that does not affect the evidence!) Hideous, awful, terrible buses no matter where they put the axle. If nothing else, makes me feel slightly good about getting use out of mediocre photos. I have closer-up photos of the Gillig models
  11. Wow that's a good spot. Wouldn't be the first time the rear axle has shifted (at least on the 40-foot version)... I'm not sure where the rear axle sat on the very first Gillig LFs -- those manufactured in 2001 and earlier. For 2002, they significantly altered the entire design: they ditched the "RV-style" front cap, they increased the size and slope of the windshield and they moved the rear door back several feet. From driving both versions, it also felt like the wheelbase got slightly longer but I'm not 100% on that. In the first release of "2002" design (which, aside from
  12. Well, here. While we're talking of New Flyers "moving on" from Community Transit, I stumbled across these photos of the 1995 D60 artics. These workhorses came and went -- not too much reminiscing about them. I believe this order also began a decade-long campaign to standardize the fleet. Well into the 90s, Community Transit's fleet was something of a hodge-podge. They had a lot of demos, small lots of artics from multiple manufacturers, along with other oddities and one-offs. The '95 artics represented a large order -- the Wiki tells me (and I believe it!) it comprised 24 units.
  13. Ha - it's brave to admit that! Not many kind words out there about the Invero. For all their flaws on the maintenance side, they actually were/are pretty nice buses to ride. New Flyer obviously missed the mark on many, many components of this product -- but I recall they placed unusually high emphasis on the rider experience. And it was noticeable. So, in that sense, I will miss them too! For Community Transit specifically, the Invero fleet got knocked around a lot. I recall they were detailed heavily to commuter service when they first arrived (i.e. First Transit at Kasch Park) -- a
  14. Outstanding information. Thank you -- because of your post, I have genuinely learned. For all the resources that we enjoy online, this kind of detail is hard to find in absence of first-hand materials (such as those you reference at the library) or first-hand experience of an actual human. Though it seems that RTB itself was a bit underwhelming, sounds like it was an important intermediate step. Had RTB not existed for ~10 years, today's transit landscape would likely be in rough shape. Do you happen to know if RTB had a public-facing presence? Or was it -- by design -- more of a beh
  15. I was wondering about that decal and what it means. It seems to show up on a lot of buses from that era. That's a helpful hint! Any more details on what "RTB" stood for and how the contract arrangement operated? Significantly different from the Met Council Regional Route system that we know today?
  16. Dang, great shots! Seeing those MAN artics makes me feel like a kid again -- all excited to ride the bus, taking in every little design detail, absorbing the vehicle's gravitas as a fixture of the big, bustling city. These photos really emphasize their black window frames -- pretty rare for MAN artics, which usually had silver frames. It all makes me want to know the PANTONE / CMYK color specs for MTC's solid red! Those UMN New Looks... are remarkably ugly. Usually, pics of GM New Looks make me wish I had had more time with them. Those units don't look so appealing... Thank
  17. Zing! Great pic! Nothing dates a photo quite like a cigarette ad -- surprised those were allowed as late as 1995! For all the MAN buses that ran for Metro Transit/MCTO, photos are few and far between. Especially the 40-foot MAN Americana units. They had, what, a few hundred of 'em from the early 80s through the mid 90s? Evidence is scarce. I always liked MAN Americana buses. They were unapologetic boxes-on-wheels -- yet still managed to sneak in some cool, subtle styling features. I never rode one in MSP, but I recall a smooth, spacious experience from brief rides I took in Chicago a
  18. Quick visit to Flag yielded ample sightings of the New Flyer artics. Still weird (and welcome!) to see artics at work for such a tiny system: Yep, it sure does articulate: A small city and a Gillig: a far more typical pairing. NAIPTA gets the most from theirs, with the sharp paint scheme, BRT enhancements and wide rear door: Will make it there to actually ride Mountain Line one of these days. Looks like a friendly, effective little operation!
  19. Ahh, VTA, you and your Gilligs. I'm no fan of the things, but I'm downright impressed how many 2001 "first-generation" Gilligs are still in full service. Here is 1039 departing the half-open Berryessa BART station on a quiet Saturday morning: Then, 1044 rubs elbows with Kinki-Sharyo LRVs in Mountain View: Meanwhile in DTSJ, 1031 enters the home stretch of its long trip from Gilroy on Route 68. Look directly into the souls of those tire treads! Up top, 2107 is one of a handful of 35-foot buses in the fleet. They're quite common on Route 59: After
  20. Well, look at that. Just when I thought I had photographed my last Neoplan in Pittsburgh, look at what turned up in San Francisco. Apparently, 8106 is one of only two or three Neoplans still rolling at Muni as of February 2020. Holding down the 25 Treasure Island, on a Sunday, no less. After snapping this pic, a customer using a wheelchair deboarded. The lift was in perfect working order; the bus was in very good condition generally. Happy customers disperse: A moment of peace before starting the next trip: ...then returning to SF after a quick loop to and from Treas
  21. Fair enough. No doubt there is ridership all up and down the 30N/30S. I should have clarified: I support eliminating these routes and replacing them with more service on simpler, less delay-prone routes. It makes more sense to run, say, the 31/33 every 8-10 minutes consistently... rather than running it at 15 minutes with occasional, weird and erratic trips of 30N/30S.
  22. Is there a cohesive list of which routes are operated by MV Transportation versus SamTrans? There's nothing clear on the Wiki; all I can find is scattered references. By all measures, SamTrans operates most service directly... but I feel like 80% of the time I come across a SamTrans bus, it's wearing MV decals. I can't discern any pattern. Info, anyone?
  23. It's never fun to see service cuts... but I'd say WMATA did a good job minimizing impact and cleaning up services that are way past their expiration date. I like the E6+M4 combo; it will act as a useful "far Northwest crosstown" rather than being limited to short-distance rail feeder service. I am also fully in favor of removing the ill-advised 30N / 30S routes. There is adequate service in these corridors without this holdover from another problematic route. Elsewhere, they're finally starting to simplify the service -- hopefully this makes the system more approachable for would-be users
  24. I have no doubt. That considered, it looks like the 'higher' door measurement didn't arrive until, what... 1996? Which allowed all of two years of Classic production with that option. There were plenty of lift-equipped Classics built with the original door height; as you suggest, they must have learned the hard way that it was a tight fit! I know Port Authority (Pittsburgh) went for the raised door height on their '96 Classics. If I'm not mistaken, the very first bus of that order (2600) had a regular-height front door while the others (2601-2770) has the raised clearance. Any i
  25. Trolleys add an interesting dimension to maximum block time/distance. In large urban systems, it's pretty common to keep a bus (i.e. block) out for 20-21 hours straight. Thanks to a street relief or two, a single bus can handily cover multiple runs. I have experience scheduling 24/7 service... where we had blocks that were 26+ hours long (for example, pull out Wednesday at 3:30a... pull in "Wednesday" at 5:30x [technically Thursday morning, but part of Wednesday's late-night schedule]). In these instances, we had to cut the block with a pull/pull at some point. We could schedule
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