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Border City Transit

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  1. Absolute end of an era. I don't know. It seems like, without anyone ever expecting it, Gillig Phantoms earned status as some of the best, most iconic buses that Metro ever had. At least to me, they were the face of "Seattle transit rising". Like, "hey everyone else, we have great transit here in the Emerald City -- largely bus-based -- and it looks like this." I recall when Metro ordered them in ~1996. It seemed unlikely -- how could these ever live up to the mighty Flyers? Read through my posts -- I am not a Gillig fan. But those Phantoms were phenomenal and I will miss them sorely.
  2. It just depends. Not every fleet will necessarily need repowering. The mid/late '80s diesel RTS orders (2000-2266, 2300-2402) had rock-solid 6V92TA engines -- no surprise that they made it 'til the end. By the time they retired, the 1992-1993 units were all over the map, engine-wise. I believe some of them did receive DD Series 50 diesel engines. Some may have gone Cummins (weird for an RTS, I know). Anyone have more insight on late-life engine configs of 1200-1502 RTSes? Last ~50 units were running through late 2011, maybe even crept into early 2012. By the end, you'd
  3. Here, all this talk of RTSes in LA is making me nostalgic (especially with the recent sunset of their cousins in NYC). Two pics of RTSes on the Westside, circa 2007. 1421 in the uninspired yellowjacket scheme, 1397 looking very sharp in the current Metro Local scheme: Both had been converted to diesel at that point; their engines sounded sumptuous and out-of-place in SoCal even 12 years ago. RTS in peace, boys.
  4. Orion V... no idea. Novabus RTS... I can't say for sure, but I'd guess 'no'. LACMTA and Novabus had bad blood regarding an older batch of RTS buses -- specifically, a 1992-1993 order manufactured by TMC. Unproven alternative fuels (and engines unfit for those fuels) hobbled those buses from Day One. Problems only worsened as the fleet aged (though, in true RTS fashion, plenty of 'em did rack up 18-19 years on the road... after being converted to diesel.) I don't recall all the details, but it went something like this: after TMC had gone out of business, MTA attempted some s
  5. Whoa! More on this, please! Which divisions will be absorbing Northern's service? I always thought Northern was the most underrated Metrobus division... just minding its own business, tucked in an easily overlooked corner of the District, serving two of the biggest routes in the system while not making much noise. My theory: the S2-S4 and 52-54 run fairly well because Northern isn't "overextended", either in route line-up or service area size. They can really concentrate on running their big routes properly. Something tells me the S2-S4 just won't feel the same when lumped in wi
  6. A crummy Flxible makes me smile more than a pristine Gillig ever will. Great memories. Thanks for sharing.
  7. Aw yeah! Though Miami is not traditionally a New Flyer town, those bad boys look very comfortable cruisin' Lincoln and Collins and the Causeway. Like the Miami-Date Transit x New Flyer connection was just waiting to happen... Either from customers, operators or maintenance, any early reaction on how the New Flyers stack up against the Gilligs? As for the dwindling NABI fleet, I can't say I'll miss them. They lasted a good long while -- but always felt kinda flimsy and second-rate to me.
  8. Ahh, if only that were so. Even by transit standards, DASH is a pretty complex organization. Behind the friendly, reasonably well respected DASH identity is a motley line-up of quasi-public entities, vague subsidiaries, shell corporations and distant private contractors. Check out this document -- especially Page 13: https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/tes/info/Chapter 1.pdf The short version: For all practical purposes, DASH is operated by First Transit. ... Wow. Personally, I always thought MV bit off more than they could chew with Fairfax Conne
  9. This routing - and this entire route! - are no longer in service. Glad I caught this dramatic turn while it was "a thing": ...and two more from the archives -- vastly different buses making vastly different turns in vastly different cities!
  10. Thanks -- can't wait to see the pics! Ski town transit systems are interesting indeed. Colorado is definitely the capital of ski town/resort town transit. You can find it elsewhere, too -- Utah, Wyoming and Idaho have their own examples. These systems tend to have some notable things in common: Free fare on some or all routes Absence of route numbers, they use route names exclusively Operators don't wear uniforms and many are part-time -- I'd guess they're non-union Directly operated by city or county governments -- almost none of this service is contracted
  11. Thanks! About five years ago, I was passing through Grand Junction and stopped to refuel on the west edge of Downtown. As I'm pumping gas, ~six GVT buses come rolling in and line up at a fuel island. I stuck around a few minutes to watch what was happening: each driver got out and fueled his own bus. At an open-to-the-public gas station! Among the stranger things I ever saw. Looks like they've come a long way since then -- the system is operated by Transdev these days (I think), and it may have been a smaller, rinky-dink private operator when I saw that fuel parade circa 2014.
  12. Good find. Great picture. Tragic bus. It's 2019... and that vehicle is what our industry has to offer. Kudos to RTS for a halfway decent paint scheme. Thumbs down to Gillig... for pretty much everything else. Does anyone see -any- kind of correlation between sagging transit ridership and buses that look outdated fresh from the factory? Certainly, other factors are also affecting ridership... but we're gonna have to do a lot better than that if we want to attract customers to our service...
  13. Congrats! Driving a bus is a very exciting, rewarding job. Just wish KCATA gave you better equipment than all Gilligs Question: does all KCATA-operated service run out of the one garage? That's a vast service area. I know their (your) route network isn't super-dense -- especially outside of KCMO proper -- but I wonder if there are any satellite lots/garages simply to cut down on deadheads? Keep us posted!
  14. Yep, that's generally how outsourcing works. The vendor observes how closely the client is paying attention. After the first year or so, the vendor discovers which corners they can cut in order to reduce their own costs. If the client isn't on its game, the vendor's practices will continue to deteriorate. Only a little bit at a time, so there's no big, high-profile blow-ups. If the client -is- paying attention, the vendor may shape up to save face. Then, they'll realize that they're not making enough money and things will go sour on other fronts: lawyer-led arguments about who's
  15. Aw man, those AN-440-A pics are fire! These are far-and-away the best pics I've ever seen of them. Those must be the most forgotten, under-documented alums of WMATA's bus fleet. Right up there with the tiny fleet of 30-foot Gillig Phantoms (5080-5099) that also served Anacostia and environs. I know those Neoplans had a troubled, abbreviated career -- but they sure looked good in the "Class of '83" Metrobus paint scheme. Perfect precursor to the hundreds of Flxible Metros that would start arriving a couple years later... Thanks for the link!
  16. Because it requires 40-foot Sound Transit buses... the only route at EB that does! Interesting! Help me pencil in some details, here. Does that mean at CT Kasch Park Base, First Transit only supplies the operators... and Community Transit employees perform vehicle maintenance?
  17. This is just conjecture (as in... anyone with better info, feel free to correct it!)... but for what it may be worth: Cost. Community Transit contracts our their share of Sound Transit service to First Transit. I'd have to imagine 540 will fall in to that package -- I don't see Community Transit operating it from Merrill Creek with their own employees. This is kind of a weird, underhanded way of outsourcing -- not sure if it's "intentional or accidental"... Equipment Consolidation. I'm a little rusty on 540 -- it was using 40-foot buses last I checked. If that's still the case, this
  18. Wow. Well, Metro/MTA sure did a good job hiding those problems to the riding public. Metro/MTA's various generations of Neoplans always appeared rock-solid to me, the unsuspecting rider. Even the original 3300s... while a bit dreary and faded toward the end, never felt like they were falling apart. The newer Neoplans... they bought hundreds in a mad frenzy during the Consent Decree period of the mid/late 90s. I was not aware they were so troublesome behind the scenes. In a time when other parts of the system were faltering, the newer Neoplans seemed like the "face of improvement". Th
  19. The same bus (or at least a similar one) made an appearance just "north" of the border ~2 years ago. Here she is, inside and out: DDOT had just put 10 New Flyer artics into service, so not sure if there was serious interest in Nova products. It's definitely SEPTA spec -- this same unit is likely the one now in Windsor. I know ridership on the 5 Dominion has surged, but I have trouble picturing an artic on that route. 1C Transway and 2 Crosstown, definitely -- especially if/when they simplify the western end of those routes. Keep us posted! Has Transit Windsor de
  20. Haha, understood! I'm not saying "is that a joke" to you -- I'm saying it to TriMet! They've been doing some cheeky things lately -- have you seen their officially produced "homage" rail maps? They've done the TriMet rail map in the style of other great rail systems. Like, imagine the TriMet rail system shown with the fonts, line weights, colors and styles of WMATA and BART. Pretty cool. Perhaps this weird bus paint scheme is part of that campaign??
  21. I'm sorry... is that a joke? April Fools isn't for another few weeks... Thanks for the pic, but I am shocked at TriMet. By the standards of any organization, TriMet normally deals in outstanding graphic design -- web, print, signage, vehicles, decals. Their materials are crisp, informative, useful and professional -- and they're consistent across different mediums. It's a huge part of why TriMet is so successful. This paint scheme... I just don't get it. The colors are fine, even if the diagonal stripes are straight outta 1987. Mostly, though, this is wildly inconsistent with th
  22. Bravo, bravo. Excellent documentation of a rare occurrence! The pic of 9171 is especially nice. That New Flyer exudes a quiet confidence in the snow. Don't worry, I got this. (Of course, a skilled operator always helps, too...) For some reason I can't see a Gillig projecting the same reassuring presence. Plus, Community Transit's colors look really nice to a winter backdrop! How many D40LFs is Community Transit still running? I know they're fast disappearing; these photos remind me that I'll miss 'em.
  23. Just a guess... that looks like an ex-Long Beach Transit unit. Clues: It sports the first-generation wide front door design. LBT was one of a handful of systems to order that model (CTA and SMART are the only others I can think of...) TMC launched the wide front door option circa 1989-1990; it was revised in 1993 and again by Novabus around 1996. Hard to tell, but it appears to be 96" wide rather than 102". Until the early/mid 90s, that's how LBT spec'ed their buses. The rear end "pork chop window" and distinctive AC fin are strongly reminiscent of cruising 1st Street
  24. Ooh, 14 Glencairn is one of my faves, too! The part on Chaplin Crescent always jumped out at me. I went out of my way to ride the whole route circa 1998, back when it was peak-only and I was always afraid it would be axed. I vividly remember that ride: it was a Fishbowl and it was very busy throughout the trip. It was almost "two trips for the price of one": heading eastbound/southbound in the morning, the bus picked up a good crowd until Glencairn subway and unloaded almost completely. Then, it started filling up again around Bathurst, and we had a second full load by the time
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