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northwesterner

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  1. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Spoke to a senior operator last night briefly... his recollection is after the 43 became a route (1978/79ish) the 30 turned back at 46th and Midvale (there is a triangle block there, just west of the former McDonalds at 45/Stone Way) during the day. Nights/weekends, it was a Laurelhurst shuttle. He believes the 30 was extended to SPU somewhere around 1990. He didn't remember the 47, but did mention the 77 which is on this map. We believe it was renumbered in the 1980s, at some point.
  2. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    After 1978, the 30 Ballard-Laurelhurst (Ballard-U) was reconfigured to no longer serve Ballard. By the 90s, at least, the western terminal became Seattle Pacific University, with select peak trips extended to Central Magnolia via Nickerson. Weekends and nights, the route terminated in the U District, becoming a Laurelhurst shuttle. Eliminated Sept 1998, I believe. The 47, I believe was a peak only Express between the U District and Beacon Hill??? via Columbian Way? It only ran a few trips and mostly duplicated the 48. Gone in Sept 96 or Feb 97, I think. The 62 was a long time low frequency route between Ballard and Northgate with a midday extension to Magnolia. Eliminated Sept 1998, replaced by an extended route 75. The Magnolia section was replaced by the 31. The 62 through routed to the 68 at Northgate and despite the low frequency of both routes, some trips had loads on them and artics were assigned.
  3. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Please don't tell the Vancouver section of cptdb we're talking about roof fairings on this thread...
  4. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Tree branches don't help...
  5. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I don't know if I would call plug doors an upgrade... Also a 29ft bus has a short wheelbase so it's not comparable to a 40ft bus.
  6. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    The 114 has in the past operated from East Base, South Base, and Ryerson Base. While Bellevue Base is a new home for the route, its not all that strange. Apparently they added a couple trips in the AM and PM peak, and figured the loads would spread out across the new schedule, and 40ft equipment could be used.
  7. The Deadly "Blind Spot" on Transit Buses

    I bought a new car recently (a Mazda). Like most new cars, it is way safer than anything I've ever owned before. It also comes with big, thick, A-pillars. In my close to 20 years of car ownership, I occasionally make a turn and find myself totally blinded (particularly to the right side) by the A-pillar and have to "bob and weave" my head to see around it as I make my turn. I never thought I'd be using bus driving techniques in my own car!
  8. Greyhound Spottings & Photos

    I agree with most of this, generally, though I'd like to point out that a transit agency like the TTC has zero profit motive, so I don't think that's a great comparison. A system like Greyhound is a network system, where the various routes have various levels of profitability given the need for people to depart from and arrive at a myriad of individual destinations. One of the best criticisms of Greyhound's cuts is that they are not doing enough to grow revenue. How can they attract new passengers? What is their niche? What make someone chose the 'Hound versus flying or driving? These things are hard to do when you're in a continuous cut mindset. But as I've pointed out here before, First Group has done a decent job of executing the very difficult "shrink to grow" strategy. Typically when a business does that, they shrink too much and never recover, because as you note, their customers no longer have any reason to use them and incrementally these individual customers make up enough lost revenue to continue pushing the company into a death spiral. So in a network system like Greyhound's, you'd ideally see lots of small time routes connecting with busier trunked corridors to help fill those buses. But how do you pull that off, especially in a country with as low population density as Canada? I know a little something about the financial aspects of motorcoach operations. Trust me when I say, when you lose a little money, its not long until you're losing a lot of money. The issue with having a network full of "loss-leader" routes that feed into the big profitable trunk routes is that the revenues just aren't high enough on the trunk routes to overcome the losses on the feeders. The capital and operating costs of smaller "full size" motorcoaches like the TEMSAs we see running around aren't significantly less than a 45ft MCI or Prevost. The labor costs are the same, the purchase price is a bit less, and the operating costs (fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc) are similar. You could get some Sprinter vans and put a trailer on the back to handle the luggage and freight. That's a reasonable solution, and one that Greyhound probably should have explored more fully for some of these routes before cancelling them. At least to service routes within a 5-6 hour R/T of Highway 1, they could still gather some incremental revenue from the passengers that need to go to and from those smaller towns. But will the union contract with the drivers allow them to pay someone on a lower classification of driver less to operate one of those vans (to cut the labor costs down)? I don't know. It's a tough situation from Greyhound to be in. I've driven the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse before; its sparsely populated, and if there is a mechanical failure, you're a long ways from help (also means recovering from said failure is extremely expensive). The costs of operating that service are very high, and the potential passenger catchment is very low. I don't know what the right thing to do is, but I don't think that just focusing on the "network effects" as the reason for cutting some far northern routes really encapsulates all the issues.
  9. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I don't understand why that feature wasn't included in the specifications from the factory. This is a known issue based on Metro's experience with the ST units, and it could have / should have been baked into the procurement contract. Yes, the 2300s operated in the tunnel in a pinch before the tunnel was closed for reconstruction. I believe in addition to all the other reasons noted, the lower roadway of the post-LRV tunnel may interfere with lift operation. But the primary reason for this complicated dance, I believe, is the radio system issue. Secondary would be lift clearance issues on the higher curb in the tunnel. Tertiary would be anything to do with noise & pollution. This is an excellent post. One of the major criticisms of ST, in particular, is their need to "go their own way." I've often said that Joni Earl's legacy should be that she stabilized a sinking agency, found a way through the political noise, and transformed the agency into one of the premier design and build transit agencies in the country. My suspicion, however, is that she will be remembered better for refusing to play nice with other agencies, which has led to transit centers and LINK stations with minimal transit integration, and costly systems duplication. The radio system issue, as outlined above is just another item that you can add to the list. And those decisions, once made, can't easily be undone. Have you ever ridden a D60 in the bus tunnel?
  10. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Atlantic had operated some runs on Central routes for a number of shakeups prior to the 120 moving. I believe the 120 came over when the 71-series went to North Base; essentially it replaced that work at Atlantic Base.
  11. Greyhound Spottings & Photos

    Do the answers to any of those questions matter in regards to what I have to say, and how I've said it? Because they shouldn't, especially when the information is presented in a straightforward, fact based manner. If you're saying that the only ones that should be able to comment regarding the situation with Greyhound Canada are those who: Work directly or indirectly for Greyhound Are Canadian Have knowledge of Greyhound before and after First Then that's an awfully small group. It also certainly diminishes the contributions of those here who either know the bus business really well or have strong interests in over the road transportation. And since you asked, here's my answers: Yes, a few years ago, but no, not currently No Yes, extensive. I'd generally say, that given the paucity of second sections I see operating, either in the US or Canada, they may have over cooked the yield management. But I also don't know how many are turned away because Greyhound won't put out a second section to walk-ups. For instance, given their IT upgrades, and the ability to purchase tickets on an app, how many chose not to travel on a certain schedule, or day, because they are now greeted with "Sold Out?" I don't know, you don't know, and Greyhound probably doesn't even know. What they do know is that if they have constant, repetitive sold out voyages, day over day, week over week, or month over month, they could consider increasing service. Right now, especially in Canada, it doesn't look like that's the case. But you do make a good point, which is that Greyhound, for so many years (really going back forever) was known as a place where you could find out when the bus is leaving, and literally walk up and get a ticket on the next bus out. And they'd usually find a way to accommodate you. Does going against the commonly known and expected practices harm your opinion with your customers? Yes, probably. But 15 years ago Greyhound accommodated everyone, and had a terrible reputation. At least now they're focused on what they need to do to attain profitability.
  12. Greyhound Spottings & Photos

    I know, why would you want any discussion rooted in reality on CPTDB....
  13. Greyhound Spottings & Photos

    In case you missed it in my above post... Greyhound Canada is operating a loss. The whole thing. Package Express revenues are fractional compared to the big picture. Agency profitability has absolutely zero to do with Greyhound Canada's package business being profitable. It's not, because the whole operation is not profitable. Obviously GCTC carries more freight per schedule than what GLI does in the US. That is why I went through the what if exercise above, where increased the percentage of total revenue to reflect what it could be. Even then that's only $33 million in revenue, to support a capital intensive, far flung transportation network. Regarding capping the schedules. Let's see what the annual report has to say about that: "With our pricing and yield management algorithms continuing to increase in scope and effectiveness, and assuming a somewhat less volatile oil price environment in the near term compared with the last three years, we are confident that Greyhound can return to growth in the year ahead." The reason the schedules are capped is due to their yield management systems that are now in place. Yield management can mean turning down potential customers if you can't fill a section. Yield management means that you know the optimal number of buses to have in the system to maximize revenue versus capital costs. I can remember traveling the US by Greyhound over a decade ago and seeing hundreds of coaches, parked, at outstations throughout the system. They were left where a second section "died" and the driver cushioned home. These buses would sit for weeks on end without turning a wheel, which is a nightmare if you're trying to actually generate revenue with your capital assets. With yield management in place, they no longer have the equipment to serve every customer, but they are able to keep maximize the total passengers transported by bus. Make no mistake, this is good management.
  14. Greyhound Spottings & Photos

    Let's unpack this answer a little bit: "Of course freight is profitable ... most agencies wouldn't be in business as its their bread and butter." Agency profitability has nothing to do with GCTC profitability. If the agencies are earning revenue based on a per parcel handled amount (or a commission on the freight fees or whatever), that's fine and good. But in an era where stand alone agencies are all but disappearing in favor of a counter inside a truck stop somewhere, understand that the revenue earned from the agency is just additional revenue contribution to the overall business profitability based around the core business. Earlier the statement was made "Back in 2011 when Greyhound eliminated passenger service on several routes in Alberta their freight business was maintained on all routes, But several routes had freight drop as much as 50%" followed up by "When passenger service disappeared so did alot of freight business partially due to the fact it went from 7 day a week to 5 day a week service and didnt run holidays...so it makes Gcx on those routes no more different than anyone else." These two statements do not present the same facts. If the freight business was so profitable, as part of the bus business, then they would have maintained freight service at the previous passenger service levels. They did not. Greyhound Package Express' core competitive advantage over UPS / FedEx and the other parcel handlers is their "next bus out service." One of the dirty little secrets about freight handling is that if you have someone who can handle the last mile on each end (ie can drop off and pick up the parcel at a terminal on each end). But this only matters if you know that you can get the parcel out on the next bus out. If there is no "next bus" for two days, then just let UPS pick up on your end, and drop it off at the destination, door to door. This, by the way, also applies to airfreight. It is shocking how inexpensively you can ship a parcel on Alaska Airlines (for instance) through their Gold Streak next flight service and how quickly it will be at its destination. Way cheaper and faster than FedEx, but you have to have someone do the last mile on both ends. In all of these cases, this business is additional contribution to revenue, but is not the core business. So ... "every major agency used to be Open 7 days a week for Freight....Now Most are Closed on Sundays including both Vancouver and Coquitlam. That should answer ur question!" This does answer my question. The cost of having an agent on hand 7 days a week to handle freight is not justified based on the profitability of the service. Thus, freight is marginally profitable, if at all. Let's add some more information and "facts" to this discussion. I took a look at the 2017 First Group Annual Report. As a multinational company based in the UK, this does not quite line up with a 10-K statement we are used to in the United States, but hey, I can pull some relevant information out if it. FWIW, keep in mind that it is based on the First Group's fiscal year, which appears to be April 1 2016 - March 31 2017. It can be found here. Greyhound is all lumped together... GLI, GCTC, BoltBus, Valley Transit and whatever other subsidiaries are still operating. This makes it a little difficult to figure out exact figures, but hey, we can make pretty good inferences. Here's a quote: "Our Canadian operations (15% of Greyhound revenue) have remained particularly challenging, with the lower oil price directly impacting on competitiveness compared with other modes but also affecting the health of the economy, particularly in western Canada. Despite considerable regulatory and structural constraints, we continue to take action including reducing mileage further but Greyhound Canada remained loss-making." Total revenue is $894,000,000 USD. This is down year over year for the third year in a row. Overall adjusted operating margin is 6.2% Package Express accounts for 8% of total revenue, or $71,520,000 USD. Because package express' costs are absorbed by the rest of the passenger carrying infrastructure, its not totally suspect to assume that the total operating profit on package express for both the US and Canada is $4,434,240 USD. That's not much profit. Given that the whole of Greyhound Canada is losing money, I'd have to assume, that all of this operating profit from package express is coming from GLI's network, and not GCTC. This number would presumably be higher, if Canada was not included in the reporting, because that net loss is being subtracted from the margin. Let's break it down further... the whole of GCTC is 15% of total revenue, or $134,100,000 USD. That's really not much revenue for all of GCTC, indicating how small the operation really is. Then say that the 8% of total revenue is constant between GLI and GCTC (I'd don't believe it is, could be more or less, but all we can do now is assume constant). $10,728,000 USD would be the total revenue earned by freight in Canada. Yikes. That's a pretty small number. And we know GCTC is not profitable, so there's no point in trying to figure out how much profit was earned off the less than a million USD in revenue freight earns. How about a what if exercise? What if GCTC's freight revenue is a much higher percentage of total revenue earned, reflecting the freight business and its past strength compared to that of GLI's? What if freight revenue was 25% of total GCTC revenue? It would be $33,525,000 USD. That's still not a lot of money. What if GCTC was profitable, at the same margin as GLI (it's not) and it earned 25% of its revenue off freight in Canada. That would be $2,078,550 USD in profit. A mere drop in the bucket. Conclusion, the freight service operated in Canada is not profitable, nor will it "pay for itself" because all of GCTC is losing money. Even if it were, the operating profits of the division are tiny relative to Greyhound's total revenue. This is not a core business, and is not self sustaining the network as passenger volumes fall. Freight is, as I suspected, additional revenue that can be earned with minimal additional fixed or variable costs (stations/agents are in place, and are there to service passengers - core business, can do the freight on the side). Thus, it is additional revenue to be contributed, and can push a marginal run or route into profitability. It is a difficult managerial accounting exercise to try to split out those costs given the annual report doesn't break them out. But understand that if the full fixed and variable costs had to be fully absorbed by the freight business alone, the business would look pretty bad.
  15. King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Something like this is nearly impossible to get a handle on, especially as the fleet has grown. Vehicles are purchased, either for replacement or expansion. How they are assigned depends on the inputs to the decision. Is there a certain set of routes they are needed on? Do they want to move a higher mileage fleet to a lower usage base? How do the schedules classify the subtypes of coaches at the base? Etc. So to simply answer your questions: When the 2600s were introduced, they replaced the Bredas on a one to one basis. Thus, they were distributed to South, East, North, and Central(Atlantic) base, in that order. Even when the tunnel closed for reconstruction, they primarily stayed on "tunnel" routes, except at Central Base where the scheduler swapped the coaches that would have been assigned to the 301 to day-base work on the 15/18 family of routes. As newer hybrid artics arrived over the years, they were deployed, first to south base, then to east base (which are higher mileage bases), displacing 2600s. This allowed a fleet of 2600s at Central (Atlantic) to grow, and the coaches were utilized on all of those routes. A small batch of DE60LFRs transferred to Ryerson Base in about 2013. They operated there for about two years, and another reshuffle happened, and those coaches were replaced with 2300s from North Base. Don't know why they went there in the first place, or why they were removed. Parts commonality is important, but Ryerson had both the 08-09 DE60LFs as well as some DE60LFRs, which was nonsensical to me, at the time. Please note that Central Base no longer has any tunnel routes assigned. None of that very large fleet of 2600s at the base are utilizing "hush mode" on a regular basis. The XDE60s were certainly assigned to Ryerson to simply allow the retirement of 2300s on a one to one basis.
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