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Jared Kam

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Everything posted by Jared Kam

  1. I do wish that they would go with a mix of hybrid and full battery electric options, just due to the timeline. I don't know how TheBus was able to get so many 40' battery electric Gilligs, but there is a huge wait list for those buses at this point. Choosing hybrid technology (with updated technology, like the start/stop functionality) would save the environment significantly as they would be able to more quickly retire EPA97 emissions buses. It cannot be emphasized enough that the EXCELLENT maintenance of these buses has prolonged the life of their fleet, because the salt air is particularly challenging to these buses despite the more favorable weather conditions. It amazes me that the air conditioning systems on the entire fleet function as well as they do, because I can tell you there are many other newer fleets in other places that cannot compete with the performance of TheBus' fleet. TheBus is one of the last agencies still running Phantoms, and they have a clear mission for their Phantoms due to the added capacity provided by the seating configuration in the front. They utilize these buses on routes that can reach full seated load and full standing load factors. However, with the COVID seating restrictions for the seats near the operator over the wheel wells that benefit is greatly reduced at the current time. With the 300's (I truly cannot believe these are still on the road doing daily service) and the 68 800's being the last of the high floor buses I would be curious if TheBus would choose to go with a 60' bus as a replacement option for these Phantoms. With the number of 40' buses running on the A CityExpress! and C CountryExpress! I always have thought that TheBus would put additional 60' buses to good use. I would not be surprised if TheBus looks to lesser used manufacturers to procure buses at a faster pace, including NovaBus, Proterra (yuck), or BYD (double yuck). They procure buses about as intelligently as any agency in the country so my hope would be that they ensure that they have strict performance guarantees with either Proterra or BYD if they do choose to purchase from them. They did so much work in securing the Gillig bid (with driver test drives, performance testing, etc.) that I would be surprised if they chose one of the electric-only manufacturers. Those manufacturers may have improved, but they still seem inferior.
  2. Believe this was a loaner coach from Novabus. TriMet used it for clearance testing and driver familiarization while they awaited their actual first production unit.
  3. Any bets on how much of this will fill in the rail shortfall?
  4. I do think they look better with frameless windows. Wonder if this is a permanent change...
  5. Any updates on the battery electric buses' performance? Have they found any to be particularly advantageous? I certainly have guesses on their thoughts but I think MUNI and KC Metro are the only two agencies that seem to be doing head to head comparisons.
  6. Just wait and see... As for the electric buses, I know there were delays on electric charging infrastructure at Kalihi - have the rest of the chargers been installed and are they all working? Gotta imagine that they have some diesel buses on order as well - the 300-series bus I rode last week (321 on the 81 Express) was in better shape than some of the 500-series buses I was on. That being said, hard to believe, but the 200-series buses are now actually in the ripe age to perform mid-life rehabs. And those 2004 NFI 60-foot buses need to be sent to pasture - they are the most rickety and rattley things that are on the road.
  7. Any updates related to the emergency service reduction that might be going into effect? Heard that the sign up is complete and they are just waiting for the effective date. Sad times for TheBus - with the amount of federal monies being given to transit agencies it's a mystery why operations needs to be cut.
  8. This is common among agencies to reduce glare on the windshield. Nice to see them trying some different things - with the seats being blue that lighting looks pretty nice!
  9. Funny that the selection literally is New Flyer vs. New Flyer (AD) vs. New Flyer (MCI). Hope that Gillig rep has some game, or they could get left in the dust with ACT. Does anyone know, how has ACT's experiences with both Gillig and New Flyer been? Seems like they are sticking to their original plan (Gillig 40' (outside of the green buses); New Flyer everything else). Seeing as they don't really spec anything too special with any of their buses (hill holder, electronic dashboard, vapor controls, etc.) I can't imagine that there are any specific features that operators would particularly love one over the other.
  10. If I was a betting man, I would guess that the white one that was replaced when CCW refurbished the bus either was damaged or failed, and what they had on hand were amber ones from either retired buses or backstock that was on hand when orange LED signs were the current option. Again, just a guess.
  11. Would seem like they are going to run out of fleet numbers if they go with this convention. That would leave a maximum of 99 vehicles in each length... I could see if they went with 4001 designating 40 foot buses, 3001 designating a 35 foot bus, 2001 designating a 29 foot bus, and 6001 designation a 60 foot articulated bus. I suppose the short buses won't ever exceed 99 vehicles, but it seems like an odd way to go given the possibility that they are starting this convention now. Since we are on the subject, I honestly thought that the 800 series articulated buses were going to drop the 8 once buses 70-99 were retired...
  12. What happened to frameless windows?
  13. I believe many of them are still on property, but not being run at all.
  14. The windows were the dead giveaway. Certainly a good effort on TriMet's part to keep the branding consistent.
  15. Hopefully they get some of the cool features that are found on Sound Transit...
  16. Looks like they had a big unveiling event: TriMet unveils new look coming with better bus service in the Division Street corridor - TriMet News Not seeing any camera hardware on the sides of the bus - I imagine they must exist somehow, somewhere. Bus looks good - might be the first NA agency to use the 80%/20% front door setup - TriMet will call this a "visibility" improvement.
  17. I'd tend to agree with this - they were the launch customer and its impact is still felt to this day with LF technology. The Flxible Metro was a workhorse for sure, but I am certainly glad they have moved on. The retirement of those buses meant that TriMet became (finally) 100% air conditioned.
  18. Now they need to repaint the 3800-series New Flyer battery electric buses to match the current livery of the rest of the fleet. I do like the prominent "stamped" decals on these new buses and hope they choose consistency on these vehicles over the coming months and years.
  19. Guess it makes sense that the "CAUTION" with the arrows is just a sign code when the ramp is deployed - and that with the new color LED signs that it's possible the code for that particular sign when the ramp is deployed is different on these new buses. Pretty nifty stuff.
  20. The pandemic has a lot of agencies rethinking the optics of plastic or vinyl vs. fabric. I'll take padded vinyl over the hard plastic any day, but that plastic seat salesman is seemingly doing a pretty good job.
  21. Weren't 137 and 141 previously the "Silver Bullets"? I thought that entire series was retired early? Those were Kalihi buses from what I remember. And it is certainly possible that artics were moved around with the last of the 890's arriving. Which I have to say are pretty nice artics. My understanding is that the 30's have seats above the curbside wheelwell similar to the Nova's. I also heard that those buses are particularly nice from a driver friend. They've hit a sweet spot in my opinion on specs for both Gillig and New Flyer - some of the nicest buses in the country off the factory line I would say. I just wish they took a little better care of them cosmetically. We will continue to wait and see what their next moves are with 40' and 60' RFP's out. Though I don't see TheBus straying from Gillig on 40' buses, if Nova puts in a competitive bid on artics we might see another fleet of Novabuses on the road. TheBus still feels that the 800 series Phantoms are best on particular missions, likening their capacity as in between 40' and 60' buses, meaning that they may stick around for a while longer. However, the last 300-series bus I saw on the road earlier this year looked real tired.
  22. With the new scheduling it appears that PC is covering some of the Route 1 trips. Super interesting to see PC drivers make sense of Kalihi's runs...
  23. Honestly I think it indicates a lack of current charging capability along with the inability to furnish the vehicles in the timeframe that replacement buses are required. 100-116 are 2002 (?) buses and will hit their 20 year mark next year - considering they retired 132-141 (the "silver bullets") years ago tells you that these buses are more than ready to be sent to pasture (or recycle). In a typical agency, the mid-life rehab of buses occurs around the 6-7 year mark - these were repainted in at least year 12 of their lives. TheBus has a big issue with the 300's being a 65 bus fleet, the 800's being a 68 bus fleet, and their replacement fleets being significantly less than that over the past few years. I am guessing that they will need a significant order to make up for some of that lost time. Just conjecture...but I can't say it's not without some at least relative data. I recently had a conversation with some people at DTS and they explained that New Flyer will not equip the hybrids with smaller engines than what they equip the clean diesel buses with (at least the 60' buses) so they have drifted away from the hybrid model as those buses offer limited cost savings over the lifetime of the bus. I believe that they will purchase buses based on grant $$ they receive, but will Hopefully this means that they will have the ability to purchase additional vehicles with the initial purchase price savings of clean diesel vs. hybrid. The contact also indicated (what has been heard anecdotally) that New Flyer is increasingly difficult to work with, leaving them with no choice but to reconsider Novabus for their 60' LFSA. I have to say, I have been super impressed with the latest New Flyer articulated buses in the fleet (silent kneeling - what innovation!) but I don't think the business is guaranteed for them. Regardless, I think this is more a "timing isn't ideal" situation for a full transition to electric vehicle procurement - TheBus is still in the beta phase. Word on the street is that the Gillig electric buses drive better than any other buses in the fleet, but it will take time (and money) - more than mainland agencies - to bring a full electric future to TheBus. I would say that TheBus will leverage all the "green" benefits of rail starting next Earth Day and beyond, while continuing to test the abilities of electric vehicles for a few years more. One last side note - rumor has it that there will be a rail circulator once they open all the way to Kalihi TC, and the plan is for that route to be fully electrified. Also noted - there are ambitions to make route 40 a fully electric route with charging capabilities at Alapai TC, which would enable TheBus to keep buses on the road without seeing the garage potentially for days on end. My guess is that these would be enabled by rooftop charging or ground induction charging, which are technologies that I am not aware of Gillig deploying with its Cummins propulsion system at this time.
  24. Hate to be that guy or open the can of worms, but are there any opinions related to these three options? I'd be excited to see the ECR Rapid return, but that's all that generally impacts my life
  25. Still coming - I believe the first bus in the order comes later this year with the rest to come in 2022. Exciting times for Portland - diversifying the fleet just when the D40LF's are being retired. They are calling the Desert Rose a "mid-life" rehab, which implies that TriMet will have a D60LF in their fleet for years to come. Maybe they will try to source additional units if this test goes well!
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