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northwesterner

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  1. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    While these coaches were delivered more than thirty years ago that was beyond my time. I’m only passing along what I’ve heard over the years about their brief east base assignment. They did operate out out of Mercer Base for a shakeup or two before the base closed and was shifted to Ryerson.
  2. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Years ago, many routes would be a mix of equipment between 40ft and 60ft. If the route wasn't busy enough to justify artic equipment on all trips, then scheduling would make an effort to identify trips where a 40ft would be overloaded, and then assign a 60ft bus for the entire run. Thus, a day base run that was out for 20 hours, would see a 60ft bus just because it happened to do a 5:15PM outbound trip from downtown Seattle. Obviously we're talking about long time windows here but I'll give this a stab... The 2000s operated Central, Ryerson, East, South, and North Bases, and could be seen on the busy routes at those bases. The 3000s were delivered to North Seattle, Central, and East. After a shakeup or two at East Base on primarily on the 340 in the mid-1980s, that fleet was swapped out to the city bases in exchange for more 1600-series Flyer coaches. They served out their life split between Ryerson and Central, until the Gilligs were delivered to Central Base (starting in Spring 1997). At one point, Ryerson had all 157 3000s assigned (basically from Summer 1997 until the 1100s were delivered). Other than some 3000s that found there way to Atlantic to help out during equipment shortages (similar to the role the 3200s played earlier this year at Atlantic), the 3000s served out their lives at Ryerson. At one point after the I-695 service cuts in Feb 00, only around 35 coaches were in service, with another 35 held as contingency. When headways started to pick up about a year later, the remaining 35 3000s were put back into service, and all 70ish coaches served at Ryerson until they were retired in 2004. There was about a year long period there where it was rare to see them on anything but a tripper, and you certainly didn't see them out on weekends. I had a senior operator that I rode with in the mornings on my way to high school who buttered up the hostlers and managed to get one assigned to his day base piece ... another senior operator (who passed away about a decade ago ... captured in this Peter McLaughlin Photo operating his route 20 overtime tripper, in a 3000, of course) who was a regular on the 8 and 48 and would pick runs that pulled in and pulled out, and would also butter up the hostlers to get one assigned. It was rare to see him in a Gillig. Often these two operators would be the only two with a 3000 out on a day base piece of work during that period. So from your list above .... 3000s did not operate on 31/68 or 66 as that was always North Base. The old, pre-1997 route 30 was Ryerson Base, and did see 3000s assigned. The 74 did not move from North to Ryerson until after the 3000s retired. Now on to your question about the 8 - The 8 started with 35ft Flyers (1850s) from Ryerson Base in the mid-1990s. After the 35ft Flyers were retired, it went to mostly 3000s, with the occasional 3200 (all 3200s on day base when we were in the limited 3000s in service period). Somewhere in there, after the 1100s were delivered, the 7 35ft Gilligs delivered to South were shifted to Ryerson and did all kinds of trippers, including some of the AM Peak Capitol Hill short turn 8 trippers. Later, those coaches moved to North Base and did a couple of years as a group operating exclusively on route 74, before the fleet was consolidated at Central Base.
  3. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    The 9 diesel from 2005 onwards has always been at Ryerson base - equipment has been everything Ryerson has operated since then, both 40 and 60 foot. The 2000 and 3000 series MANs were retired by the Summer 2005 service change.
  4. northwesterner

    Greyhound in the news

    As I've pointed out before, if Greyhound itself was not viable, than neither was GCX. Period. This isn't a "we will agree to disagree" item. It's just straight up accounting.
  5. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I don't recall a customer service desk at CPS, ever. The Westlake customer service booths were disused by the time my memory starts in the mid to late 1990s. After Fredrick and Nelson's closed, that entry/exit would have been more lightly used. There was a period in the early 00's when the customer service booth on the south side of the Mezzanine was rehabbed, and they did use those ticket booths. Both before and after that, however, security has been stationed in there.
  6. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    I don't know how much glory it ever had, but, yeah, the few times I've gotten out at CPS over the years since the tunnel reopened, it has certainly felt like the ugly step-child of the tunnel stations. In the old days, the only nice part of CPS was the coffee cart at the top of the steps to the southbound bays. The whole mezzanine level was oddly constructed and never felt welcoming, despite halfway decent landscaping. Yes.
  7. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Thanks for the link. Looks like a ~1993 version of the book. It's been a long time since I've seen one from the mid-90s or earlier, but as I recall, all the route maps were up front, and all the other info (signage instructions, etc) was stuck in the back. All the maps were painstakingly drawn by a Metro legend, the late Wayne Hom. Some route comments: Route 56 had two tails, Alki and Genesee Hill, with alternating service past West Seattle Junction on a 60 minute, each headway. Nights and Sundays, the bus only ran once and hour, went to Alki first, then back up the hill through Genesee Hill to West Seattle Junction to layover. In the 1998 service restructure, all day service through Genesee Hill was covered by the 51 circulator, a route that never gained any traction and should have been restructured years before it was outright cancelled. Route 62 and route 30 covered that section of Magnolia on a limited basis, with only the mid-day trips on the 62 extended past Ballard, and peak only, peak direction route 30 trips extended past SPU. The route 42 Skyway extension was a late night thing, I think the last two trips of the night serviced that terminal rather than Rainier View. That segment would have been covered by the old route 107 (serving Downtown) during the day. 26/28 on Westlake and 17 on Dexter was the historical pattern, dating back to the 1940s streetcar conversion. They were swapped in 1998. Route 6 didn't live loop, but had an actual layover terminal at Washington Street. For whatever reason, nights and weekends the route looped and had a layover at Union Street nights and Sundays. I don't know when Route 9 picked up again, but it was a trolley route through the 80s and 90s operating between Rose Street and the University District on a 30 minute headway. The stretch north of Aloha Street to the U District was scheduled to alternate with route 7, providing an "on paper" 15 minute headway. In reality, due to reliability issues this didn't happen often, and was one of the reasons for separating the routes. Runs often did both route 7 and 9, swapping routes in the U District. I do recall some 40ftrs on route 9; I think these were assigned to runs that didn't do any 7s. I have mixed feelings as the sun has set on the 2300s. They arrived and were in service in early 1999, replacing both the 1400 and 2000 series MAN fleet. I remember operators, at the time, falling in love with them because for the first time Metro had a 60ft diesel that could perform in line with a 40ft motor coach. They were versatile coaches, at home both on the longest suburban commuter route and on the busiest urban corridor. But I felt, over the years, that some of the issues I identified when they were brand new just got more obnoxious as the years wore on. As others have noted, the engine was ferociously loud. I don't know if NFI didn't properly engineer the sound insulation in the customer rear end body work to accommodate this engine, or what, but they were shockingly loud coaches from the first day and didn't get better with time. The Gillig Phantoms have the same engine, just with less horsepower, and were much quieter. For a high-floor artic, the ride was never as good as it should have been. I remember riding a 194 from Federal Way when they were fairly new (Spring 1999?) and the ride on I-5 was shockingly poor. It did soften up over time, but was never as good as the MANs that they replaced. The competitor artics on the market at the time (high floor NABIs and Neoplans, which would have had their own issues) generally rode better than the D60 did. The Maggie Fimia interior, revolutionary on the 3200s, was less suitable for this coach. With smaller side windows, the tinting kept the interior fairly dark even on the brightest day. The high back seats were inappropriate for the forward facing, over the center axle seats, as they effectively separated the bus into two separate sections. Many operators reported security incidents occurring in the back half of these coaches and they had limited visibility as to what was going on. For a rider in the back, you had no idea what was happening in the front of the bus. I never had this sensation on the MANs, or Bredas, which also had the elevated forward facing seats. By the time the 2600s rolled around, New Flyer had started to hit its stride as a manufacturer (mid-00s low floor NFIs, of both varieties, are far superior to those produced in the mid to late 1990s as NFI started to pull ahead of its competition). The 2600s had an upgraded suspension and actually rode better than the 2300s, while providing more power (particularly hill-climbing ability) through the hybrid drive. The one thing the 2300s had over the 2600s, especially as the last few years have come, is they've held up far better from a fit and finish perspective. Many of the 2600s (and the low 9600s) are awful on the inside. They rattle, the plastic has faded and yellowed, and they aren't as tight as they once were. When you look at these older fleets, the 2300s aren't any worse now than they were a decade ago while the 2600s are much worse. It's just that the 2300s were never as good as they should have been.
  8. northwesterner

    2018 Standard 40' Bus Procurement

    I'm sure the drivers will figure out that they should slow down a little more for that corner...
  9. northwesterner

    Valley Metro (Phoenix)

    If the CNG tanks are on the verge of expiring, the vehicles have virtually no value.
  10. northwesterner

    2018 Standard 40' Bus Procurement

    A phase that is years overdue...
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