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  1. Gillig product discussion

    For a couple of factors: 1. Artics are way more complex buses to build, and I don't believe Gillig has such expertise. 2. The market for artics among Gillig's core customer base of small to medium transit agencies are not really there. Those medium-large agencies buying Gillig for 40ft. buses tend to get New Flyers for artics (Like LYNX of Centrl Florida, Denver RTD, San Diego MTS and Port Authority Transit in Pittsburgh to name a few).
  2. September 16 Update (Likely to be my final September update): Added 15 photos to Memphis Area Transit Authority bus gallery. Highlights: 2 more 21700-series of 2017 Gillig Low Floor's pictured in service, including wrapped bus 21709. MATA is finally using 3-digit route numbers on its express routes, which are designated as Xyy0 in my gallery; where yy is the parent daytime route . For instance, route 340 Walnut Grove Express is derived from route 34 Walnut Grove, while route 400 Wolfchase Express is the route 40 Wolfchase express trip spun off to become its own route. However, route 280 Airways Express only vaguely follow the route 28 Holmes south of Airways Transit Center and shares the same southern end-of-line (IRS Service Center). Pictured all the weekdays only routes from the August 2017 service change, including pilot route 31 Firestone (segment of the old route 31 Crosstown). It is run with a 29ft. Gillig Low Floor diesel bus built to MATA Plus (paratransit) specification with no bike rack when I spotted the route yesterday. This is likely to be my last update on MATA's bus operations for a while unless further new routes come up in future service changes. Added 37 photos to Oxford University Transit (Oxford, Mississippi) gallery. Highlights: All secondhand heavy-duty buses I've spotted (including ex-Foothill Transit Gillig Low Floor's 2015-2016, ex-Charlotte NovaBus LFS's 2017-2018 and baby Gillig BRT 1529 from the same source) are now wrapped in navy blue. So the liveries from their former owners are apparently history there! (I did not see LFS bus 2019 yesterday). All dual-door Freightliner/Glaval Apollo medium-duty buses I've spotted are wrapped in navy blue as well (So formerly white 1420 and 1425 are now navy blue. I am unable to confirm the livery status of bus 1424, as I did not spot it in service yesterday) The new 40ft. Gillig Low Floor's are finally here, they are numbered 1730 and 1731. Both are deployed on the Bronze (formerly Brown) Park and Ride route from the old Oxford Mall. The campus circulator routes are there as well. They are called Rebel Red and Rebel Blue and use the Freightliner/Glaval Apollo's displaced from the Bronze route.
  3. Tiger Transit (Auburn University, Alabama)

    Nope! I visited on April 2015, during Auburn's term time. They've probably added a few more lines since then though.
  4. Omaha today.

    Hi! The only Xcelsior's Omaha has for now are XD35's!
  5. Rapid Transit System, operating as Rapid Ride is South Dakota's only other transit agency offering significant fixed route transit service. However, it is rather disappointing to see a city with a population of over 70,000 to subsist on cutaways for its daily service. By the way, I have missed the City View Trolley season by a couple days. As a result, I did not spot the trolley replica used on that service. IC Bus/Eldorado National Passport HD low floor cutaways with bonded windows are the mainstay at the agency, as illustrated by buses 116 and 713. At least 3 other similar buses exist (213, 216 and 313) However, GMC/Glaval high floor cutaway 209 with bonded windows is also spotted on fixed route use as well. Interestingly, its fixed routes are neither numbered, color-coded or named after the main street traveled/main destination but named after the 4 Presidents whose faces were carved onto Mount Rushmore nearby (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt) together with the sculptor behind the project, Gutzon Borglum. A sixth route was named after President Calvin Coolidge. (PS: Underlined names are used as the official route names). On the Tuesday of my return from Rapid City, a flight change allowed be to take the shot of bus 116 attached above and bus 81, an earlier GMC/Glaval cutaway with regular windows and no bike racks. It is used on a tripper route. Bonus pictures here are trolley replicas no. 151 and 155 operating in the tourist city of Deadwood, less than an hour away from Rapid City. Ironically, the trolley replica shuttle in Deadwood is the only transit service in the Dakotas to offer any Sunday or holiday service. Since this is a single-route service targeted towards tourists, there will be no dedicated album in my Flickr galley. This completes my photo chronicles of the transit agencies I've fanned in Nebraska and the Dakotas (plus an adjoining one in Iowa) Here is the link to my Rapid Ride gallery in Flickr: Rapid Ride (Rapid City, South Dakota)
  6. Sioux City Transit is the only fixed route transit agency in Iowa west of Fort Dodge (Council Bluffs is served by Omaha Metro), It is also the first Iowa transit agency I have fanned on. It's fleet is largely made up of Gillig Low Floor's dating from 2003-2010, but it also has a few second-hand 40ft. low floor buses used on trippers (More on that later). The oldest buses in its normal fixed-route fleet are 7 Gillig Low Floor 35ft. buses dating from 2003-2004. Bus 1097 attached here is believed to be the final of the four 2003 bus, while bus 1300 is thought to be the first of the three 2004 bus. It then bought a pair each of similar buses in 2006 and 2009, differing from the above buses only in the rear grille styling and exhaust treatment equipment. Bus 1330 is from 2006, while bus 1338 is from 2009. The agency's newest buses are 3 EPA-2010 Gillig Low Floor's: 35ft. buses 1339-1340 (The latter is attached here) and 40ft. bus 1341. As 1341 is not mentioned in the agency's CPTDB wiki page, I suspect it is the spring 2017 arrival of the 2 new buses mentioned in this news article. The agency is also known to run a number of school-oriented trippers operated with second-hand buses. Lately, that part of its operations has become 100% low-floor as well. Tripper buses carry a cardboard showing the tripper run number like "115", "160" and so on. Their destination signs also displays the regular fixed route such runs are mimicking. Attached here are New Flyer D40LF bus 1342. (I've also spotted but not pictured similar bus 1344), Gillig Low Floor 40ft. buses 1351 with the first generation front and 1354 with the current generation non-BRT front (I also have similar bus 1353 in my gallery). Can any reveal the sources of these buses? I speculate that they come from either California or Florida agencies that retire their buses right at or even before the 12-year life span of heavy-duty buses. All pictures are taken near the downtown Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery for this agency: Sioux City Transit (Sioux City, Iowa)
  7. Omaha today.

    The 19994 Flixible Metro 35ft. buses are still chugging on at a ripe old age of 23! On my August 24th visit, I've spotted 6 and pictured 5 of them in service. They are used in anything ranging from the Green line downtown circulator to commuter express routes! Bus 9424 is pictured at the Bergan Mercy Transit Center near a hospital of the same name. The best bet to catch one is on the Green line, but you'll have a decent chance to spot them on route 13 as well. Meanwhile, a good number of the 1998 Gillig Phantom 40ft. new to the then Metro Area Transit also remain in service, as illustrated by bus 9814 pictured in downtown Omaha. Apparently, the agency prioritized the replacement of the 1993 Flixible's and second-hand Phantoms with the 2013-14 XD35 order. However, their days may be numbered if it orders more Xcelsior's off the Grand Forks consortium. Meanwhile, not all of its 2000 Gillig Low Floor's are 40ft. buses. I've pictured 35ft. buses from 2001 up to 2018. Buses 2028 and the 2030's in my gallery are definitely 40ft. buses tough. Attached here are 35ft. bus 2013 and 40ft. bus 2036, both pictured at the Westroads Transit Center near a shopping mall of the same name. The agency then went on not buying any new buses until 2009, with the arrival of 8 Gillig Low Floor 40ft. buses. They are also the agency's only EPA-2007 buses, as its next Gillig Low Floor's are 24 EPA-2010 buses of the 1000 series, splitted between a dozen each of 35ft. (1013-1024) and 40ft. (1001-1012) examples. Attached here are 2009 bus 9002 at the intersections of Ames Avenue and North 30th Street in North Omaha, 2010 40ft. bus 1008 at the Bergan Mercy Transit Center and 2010 35ft. bus 1014 at the Westroads Transit Center. It then turned to New Flyer for new buses in 2011. Attached here is D35LFR 1104 (last of 4) in downtown Omaha and D40LFR 1105 (first of 5) at the aforementioned North Omaha intersection. The agency's newest buses are 17 New Flyer XD35's (8 2013's and 9 2014's). Attached here are 2013 bus 1301 (Its first Xcelsior) at the same North Omaha intersection, and 2014 bus 1406 at the Metropolitan Community College South Transit Center. As the agency has't bough any new fixed route buses for about 3 years, more new buses other than the promised CNG artics intended for the OBRT BRT line are overdue! As a side note, the Ames Avenue/North 30th Street intersection is used by all but 2 of the 10 routes(except routes 16 and 35) serving the North Omaha Transit Center, at which I declined to take pictures after surveying its surroundings. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery for Omaha Metro: Omaha Metro
  8. MATBUS (Fargo, ND & Moorhead, MN)

    Now to my photo chronicle! From the Fargo, North Dakota local route system, LinkFM-branded 2002 Gillig Low Floor 29ft. 1128 is spotted outside the GTC in Fargo, inside which sister bus 1126, 2007 D35LFR 1174, 2010 D35LFR 1195 and 2017 XD35 4172 are also pictured. Meanwhile, 2004 Gillig Low Floor 1142 and 2013 XDE40 1220 are pictured at the West Acres Mall. Finally, 2009 D35LFR 1187 is pictured at the NDSU transit hub. I am unable to see any 2012 DE35LFR's in service. For the NDSU shuttle system, 2009 D35LFR 1186 and 2013 XDE40 1222 are pictured at the NDSU transit hub, while 2010 D35LFR 1196 and 2015 XDE40 4152 are pictured outside Minard Hall of NDSU. At last, here are buses from the Moorhead, Minnesota system. 2005 Orion VII OG 30ft. 593 and 2016 XD35 2164 are pictured at the Dilworth, Minnesota Walmart. Meanwhile, 2015 XD35 2151 is pictured leaving the GTC in Fargo, North Dakota. Finally, 2017 XD35 2171 is pictured at the Mariott transfer site. I am unable to spot the Minnesota D35LFR in service on my visit. Here is the link to my MATBUS gallery on Flickr: MATBUS (Fargo, North Dakota/Moorhead, Minnesota)
  9. MATBUS (Fargo, ND & Moorhead, MN)

    Before presenting my photo chronicle on the agency, I am presenting an operational analysis on this agency, as it is consisted of 3 different sub-systems on weekdays during North Dakota State University (NDSU) term time. Fargo, North Dakota system: New Flyer D35LFR's are the backbone of this sub-system at 14 buses (4 X 2007 buses, 5 each of 2009 and 2010 buses), supplemented by 7 aging baby Gillig Low Floor's (3 X 2002 buses and 4 X 2004 buses), 2 X 2012 DE35LFR's (believed to be the only 35ft. LFR's carrying the Seattle-style roof fairings for hybrid buses), 5 New Flyer XDE40's (3 X 2013 and 2 X 2015 buses) and 2 X 2017 XD35's 4171-4172. Among these buses, only those dating from 2010 or later have rear route number signs (This means D35LFR's 1195-1199, the DE35LFR's and all of the Xcelsior's. However, I was unable to spot either DE35LFR's during my visit). Operationally, 2002 Gillig Low Floor 1128 is branded for the free LinkFM shuttle between the downtown's of Fargo and Moorhead, and is always deployed on that service. Otherwise, the baby Gillig's are most likely to be found on routes 16, 17/18 pairing, the West Acres/West Fargo routes 21/22 pairing and 24. One of these may also appear on route 14. The D35LFR's can be found on routes 11, 13, 13U, 14 and 15, but they can appear on any of the routes that normally see the baby Gillig Low Floor's. I believe the same applies for the DE35LFR's and XD35's. However, at least 4 D35LFR's (1186-88 and 1196) are wrapped with NDSU ad, and they are normally used on either the NDSU campus routes (More on that sub-system later); or the two local routes serving the core of NDSU campus, routes 13 and 13U. The XDE40's are only used on route 15 within this sub-system, as it is easily the busiest Fargo local route. 2013 buses 1220 and 1221 are prioritized for this purpose, as sister buses 1222-1223 and the 2015 buses 4151-4152 are wrapped with NDSU ad and normally used on NDSU campus routes. The peak vehicle requirement for this sub-system is 17 buses (4 on the routes 11/14 pairing, 4 on route 15, 2 each on route 13 and routes 17/18 pairing, 1 each on routes 13U, 16, 24, routes 21/22 pairing and the LinkFM) This sub-system has 2 hubs, the Ground Transportation Center(GTC) in downtown Fargo (served by all of the 10-series routes, LinkFM and Moorehead routes 1, 2 and 4) and the West Acres Mall mini-hub served by 3 different Fargo-West Acres connectors (routes 14-16) and 3 West Fargo/West Acres locals (routes 21, 22 and 24). Moorhead, Minnesota System: All five 2003 baby Orion VII OG's are now retired. The sub-system is now consisted of four similar 2005 buses, the solitary 2010 D35LFR 1020 and 7 XD35's (2015 bus 2151, 2016 buses 2161-2164 and 2017 buses 2171-2172). Unlike the North Dakota buses, all Minnesota buses carry rear route number signs. The peak vehicle requirement for this sub-system is 8 buses (2 each for the route 4, routes 1/3 and 2/5 pairings and 1 each for the routes 6/9 pairing and PM extra bus on route 2). This sub-system has 2 hubs as well, one just outside the Courtyard by Marriott hotel hosting routes 1, 2, 3 and 5 and the Walmart in Dilworth hosting routes 4, 6 and 9. NDSU shuttle system: As mentioned before, buses with NDSU wraps (D35LFR's 1186-88, 1196 and possibly more; and XDE40's 1222-1223, 4151-4152) are prioritized for this sub-system and routes 13/13U. The peak vehicle requirement for this subsystem is 7 buses ( 1 each on routes 31, 32E, 32W and 34 and 3 buses on route 33). The XDE40's are chiefly used on route 33, but can see occasional use on route 32E as well (I've spotted and pictured this occurrence). This sub-system has 2 hubs as well, the main NDSU transit hub hosting routes 13, 13U, 33 and 34 and the Minard Hall transfer site hosting routes 31, 32E, 32W and 34. There is also a evening route 35 that will see any 35ft. bus from the North Dakota fleet. Comment on the overall fleet: It seems that the agency has started a new numbering format for buses acquired from 2015 onward, assigning the 2xxx numbers to Minnesota buses and 4xxx numbers to North Dakota units. The 2 digits after the leading 2 or 4 seems to denote the year of acquisition for the bus, and the last digit stands for the sequence in the batch. For example, bus 2163 is the third out of 4 Minnesota XD35's new in 2016, while 4151 is the first of the two North Dakota XDE40's new in 2015. I've also noted that green has replaced grey as the skirt color starting with the 2017 XD35's, as I see both Minnesota bus 2171 and North Dakota bus 4172 spotting the green skirt. The newest buses spotting the grey skirt appears to be 2016 Minnesota XD35 2164. It seems the spare bus ratio for this agency is on the high side, as the combined Fargo and NDSU systems needs 24 buses out of 31 in the North Dakota fleet, while the Minnesota system needs 8 buses out of a fleet of 12. If one could disregard the funding source/ownership issue, I strongly recommend transferring the Minnesota D35LFR 1020 to North Dakota and renumber it 1194. Then the North Dakota fleet can retire the 15-years old Gillig 29ft. Low Floor's 1126-1128 right away, and re-brand a 2004 sister bus for the LinkFM, as none of the other routes that see baby Gillig Low Floor's/Orion VII OG's seems to be length-restricted (D35LFR's and XD35's can appear on them too. In fact, I've spotted 2017 North Dakota XD35 4172 on the routes 21/22 pairing out of West Acres Mall). In the long term, it can simply order more XD35's to see off the remaining 29/30ft. buses in both sub-systems, subject to the suitability test result on the LinkFM. Photo chronicle coming up next!
  10. StarTran (Lincoln, NE)

    Apparently, the green-liveried XN35's haven't materialized just yet, although this may change as a result of the Grand Forks bus consortium. By the way, during my visit, the city routes in Lincoln were totally in the hands of Gillig Low Floor's (35ft. buses dating from 2001, 2004 and 2006; plus the 29ft. buses from 2011), Illustrated here are 2001 bus 659, 2004 bus 670 and 2006 bus 691. This means the 35-footers are already between 11-16 years old. All three are taken at the S 11th Street/N Street transit mall in downtown Lincoln. Also attached here is bus 200, the first of the 2011 29ft. bus taken at the North 27th street Walmart. Apparently, outside the dedicated use on the Star Shuttle downtown circulator, the use of the 29ft. buses on other city routes is heaviest during the peaks, where some 35ft. buses are impressed into school-oriented booster/tripper routes. Meanwhile, StarTran also operates a sub-system for University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). While New Flyer XN35's buses 300-312 are the first choice buses for such duties, buses from the city fleet still appear on them as well. Illustrated here are XN35 bus 310 and 29ft. Gillig bus 203 at UNL's Innovation Campus, and 35ft. Gillig bus 678 at UNL's City Campus. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery for StarTran: StarTran (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  11. Cities Area Transit - Grand Forks, ND

    Looks like eastern North Dakota really loves 35ft. New Flyer's! By the way here comes my photo chronicle on Grand Fork's Cities Area Transit: During my brief stop in Grand Forks, neither DE35LFR was in service. On the other hand, both of the elderly baby Gillig Low Floor's were out and about. 13-years old bus 42 was spotted at Columbia Mall, while its 14-years old sister bus 31 was spotted at the downtown transfer center. Meanwhile, both D35LFR's, 105 and 106 were spotted at Columbia Mall and downtown respectively. I had also spotted 2009 Arboc bus 91 (which is slated to be replaced by one of the new buses) in both downtown and University of North Dakota campus (attached shot was taken at the latter location). While the dedicated East Grand Forks Arboc bus 114 was not spotted, sister bus 112 of the same vintage (new in 2011) was spotted on the routes 10/11 pairing serving East Grand Forks in downtown. Finally, it also operates a 2016 Ford/Starcraft cutaway 161 (spotted at Columbia Mall) for the routes 12/13 pairing. Operationally, routes 3 and 5 are operated on their own without interlining. These 2 routes and the routes 4/6 pairing tend to see the 35ft. New Flyers (except that baby Gillig bus 31 appeared on route 3 during my visit instead). Other than the aforementioned routes 10/11 and 12/13 pairings, the routes 1/2 pairing tend to see an Arboc bus, while the routes 8/9 pairing tend to see a baby Gillig. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery on Cities Area Transit: Cities Area Transit (Grand Forks, North Dakota)
  12. Minot Transit

    Here is my photo chronicle on Minot City Transit: In 2016, Minot City Transit simplified its route structure and abolished its once-numerous school trippers. Instead, it implemented extra school hour trips with 4 out of 6 restructured routes. It has also moved the main transfer hub to the City Auditorium, where all pictures in my gallery are taken. It has also added 2 Eldorado National EZ-Rider II BRT's to the fleet, numbered 1007 and 1008. Both buses are illustrated here, as are both earlier EZ-Rider II's 1005 and 1006. With these changes, the peak vehicle requirement at this agency is just 5 buses (3 buses working 3 pair of routes on normal schedule and 2 extra buses working the extra trips on 2 pairs of routes). This has essentially eliminated the AM Generals from daily use, as this requirement can be met by all 4 EZ-Rider's plus a school bus type vehicle, of which 1013 is illustrated here. Had they survived, the AM General's would have hit 40 years old this year. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery on this agency: Minot City Transit (Minot, North Dakota)
  13. Bismarck, North Dakota

    Here is my August-September photo chronicle on Bismarck's Capital Area Transit: The agency has recently simplified its route network and made the Front Ave/5th Street Shelter near the Bismarck Event Center as the main transfer for 5 out of its 6 routes. Fleet-wise, it is a 100% Gillig Low Floor agency consisting of 10 buses (3 X 2004 29ft. which are part of the agency's opening fleet, 2 X 2006 29ft., 3 X 2010 29ft. and 2 X 2015 35ft.). This results in a remarkably high spare ratio at 4 out of 10 buses, as all 6 services are 1-bus routes. Attached here are 2004 bus 401, 2010 bus 1002 and 2015 bus 1501. I did not see any 2006 buses on either day of my spotting, as I was there late on August 31st and all 1000's and 1500's plus 401 were out in service on the next day. Remarkably, 401 and the 1000's all have just 1 door, a recurring theme with ALL baby Gillig Low Floor's found throughout North Dakota. The two 1500's are the agency's first 35ft. buses (no doubt introduced to address the city's growth) and its only dual-door buses. Here is the link to my Flickr Gallery on this agency: Capital Area Transit (Bismarck, North Dakota)
  14. Sioux Area Metro (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

    Here my photo chronicle on Sioux Area Metro: On my late August visit, I spotted 2 9720-series of 2002 Gillig Low Floor 29ft. with the first generation front remaining in service. Attached here is bus 9720 carrying the previous fleet livery The shot on route 1 is taken at the interim Fawick Park transit center in the downtown area, while the one on route 2 is taken at the southwestern transfer hub near the Empire Mall. Numerically, the 2009 buses of the same length is the mainstay of the agency, as exemplified by buses 0911 and 0914 carrying the current fleet livery and spotted at the Fawick Park hub. Unlike all similar buses found in neighboring North Dakota, both the 9720's and the 0900's are dual-door buses. Finally, the 2015 buses are indeed 35ft. Gilllig Low Floor's and are believed to be the largest buses the agency has ever operated. I have spotted buses 1518, 1520, 1521 and 1522 (with the last 2 attached here here), so I wonder if they have a fifth bus 1519. A bonus picture is attached here for the currently disused downtown transfer hub known as The Bus Stop (TBS) to the agency. It is undergoing remodeling and is scheduled to re-open in October. Here is the link to my Flickr gallery on the agency: Sioux Area Metro (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
  15. Alexander Dennis

    Here's my assessment after Grand Forks announced the pick of Enviro 200's and New Flyer Xcelsior's: I think Bismarck and Minot will both back out of this consortium, as Bismarck will get more baby Gillig Low Floor's to replace the oldest sister buses and Minot will get more Eldorado National EZ-Rider II BRT's (possibly 35ft. versions) to keep their fleets simple and parts consistent. On the other hand, we may finally see green-liveried XN35's for city routes with Lincoln's StarTran. The high-floor bus era at Omaha Metro may finally be over with more Xcelsior's finally ousting the remaining 1994 Flixible Metro's and 1998 Gillig Phantom's. Either the 35ft. Enviro 200 or XD35 may replace Blue Bird Ultra LF's and/or Orion VII OG's at Macon.