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northwesterner

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  1. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    The mode change "stuff" on Bredas was cantankerous at best when they were in regular service. It has functioned as a trolley coach, on and off, over the years.
  2. northwesterner

    New Flyer D40LF Retirement / Storage watch

    I don't know if they are still actively repowering those units. Retirement is beckoning.
  3. northwesterner

    New Flyer D40LF Retirement / Storage watch

    Nope; there's not a lot of them out there but there are still C40LF, as well as 40ft and 45ft NABIs running around with S50G. In my first LA apartment two years my bedroom faced this arterial with fairly minor bus service (something stupid like a 48 minute headway). Anyways ... I never heard the bus go by unless it was a Series 50. In that case, my room vibrated. If anything else was assigned, I might as well have not been on a bus route.
  4. northwesterner

    Life After Greyhound

    This post is insane. Just a week or two ago, you were asking why some routes didn't have any applicants to operate, as there was potential on all of them. "Awesome ridership" ???? People said the same thing about STC, and then the real numbers came out and they were abysmal. Wrong. Airfare between the major cities is low and the bus rides are long and uncomfortable. Greyhound certainly didn't help themselves, but its hard to say, hey, for the same price you can ride the bus and it will only take 10 hours, versus 2 in a plane. What kind of value proposition is that for the customer? Meanwhile, Calgary to Vancouver is 971km (or around 600 miles). Let's say do a one way trip with one driver. At current diesel prices, this is going to cost about $600CAD in fuel. Add in another $330 for driver wages (assuming $20CAD per hour, 15 hour shift). $50CAD to clean the bus at the start of the trip. And a per mile overhead, depreciation, insurance, and maintenance cost (let's go with $0.50/mile CAD - this is hard to estimate and I've been out of the business long enough that I don't remember what we used to use), so that's another $300 CAD. Total cost to run a one way trip is around $1280/CAD. I'm probably underestimating all these costs. They're charging $150CAD for the one-way trip next Friday. You say you can't expect 10-15 people to ride right off everyday. At 10 people, they're barely covering my estimate of costs. For an extra $115CAD, I can buy a ticket right now for the same day on Air Canada. The flight time is 1hr and 35 minutes. If I plan my life a little better and buy now for Friday the 16th, Air Canada is $216CAD non-stop. If I really get organized and decide to go on Friday Dec 1, the flight on Air Canada is $95CAD ... substantially less than the bus ticket. So ... who are the customers for this service, given the competition? $20 that they cancel service before January 1st.
  5. northwesterner

    New Flyer D40LF Retirement / Storage watch

    The counterbalance shaft is the primary target of my comments. Many agencies had difficulty with them. The late busdude.com used to comment on how Pierce Transit was having them fail at high rates; Detroit warrantied them for x miles after a rebuild and they would rarely make it that far. PT was tracking the failures closely, and would regularly send in warranty claims. The charter company I worked at did a bunch of S50 repowers in the mid-00s on their two-stroke fleet. As you note, some of the EGR versions, which I had the pleasure of driving extensively, had issues, especially with power. And we did lots of counterbalance assembly (or off-set balance shaft) swap outs in our shop. We'd occasionally get a failure a long ways from home, stranding the bus/group until we could get a replacement bus out there.
  6. northwesterner

    New Flyer D40LF Retirement / Storage watch

    The Series 50 hasn't been offered in new built transit coaches for over 15 years. That is why many agencies are rapidly retiring their Series 50 coaches. They're old. The age issue is an additional reason why they're on the way out. It wasn't a good engine, even when new. As for S50Gs; down here in LA both LAMTA and Foothill Transit still have coaches operating with this engine.
  7. northwesterner

    New Flyer D40LF Retirement / Storage watch

    There's still OEM support for them.
  8. northwesterner

    2018 Standard 40' Bus Procurement

    The Nova hate around here is overwrought (from the same forum that considers the Series 50 D40LF the "best bus ever'). I've never driven a Nova, and as a one time bus driver, don't have a lot of desire to do so, due to the aforementioned "Nova Neck" ergonomic issues with the drivers station. I figure many of the members of this forum chat with their driver buddies, hear about how much they don't like driving Novas, and the opinion is passed on to the fans. I've ridden them over the years in a number of locations (Disneyworld, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, etc) but never ridden them regularly. But my impressions, including from a few rides in New York City last week on both 40ft and 60ft versions, is that they are good riding, well put together, low floor buses that are at least as good as, if not better than the competing products from Gillig and New Flyer. Some of the Vancouver issues listed above are Vancouver issues. The Hybrids could be reprogrammed to increase their acceleration rate. Where are the mid-level managers at CMBC pushing this issue to Desmond's desk? The transmissions issue is a transmission issue, you can spec a different one that operates better. And they're kind of ugly, though they look a little better today than twenty years ago. But overall, they're pretty good for the passenger. And that's what really counts.
  9. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    A couple corrections. The 15/18/21/22/56/57 interline pattern started with the Fall 1998 service change. This corresponded with the 15 & 18 each seeing a 20 minute headway weekdays, 10 minute combined. Previously each operated on a 30 minute headway, 15 minute combined on the common corridor. One of the 15 or 18 would through route on 1st Ave with the 22, while the other would layover at 2nd and Main. I believe that if you operated an inbound 18, became a 22, then the other way, you'd throughroute to a 15 in the northbound direction. But this interline pattern changed often. Pre Fall 1998, the 21 throughrouted with the 16, and as you noted, the 28 with the 56. Note that the 15 Night Shuttle operated through the mid-2000s, when it was finally eliminated. I'd have to look at a timetable (have some from this era, in storage in my parent's basement in Seattle so not accessible) but the 15 Night Shuttle interlined with the 18 on the very north end. It was some weird pattern that had been around forever... something like a northbound 18 would do the North Beach loop, then operate to via 85th Ave NW and lay s/b on 15th at 85th. It would then operate an inbound 15 shuttle to the Ballard Bridge. It then would pull around and hold for the outbound 18 at 15th and Leary, operate the 15 through the Blue Ridge loop, then, operate westbound on NW 85th Street and lay inbound at 24th and 85th. It would then operate an inbound 18 to Downtown Seattle. Also, post Fall 1998 the 22 did not terminate downtown on Sundays. I believe the pattern was 30-minute headways on the 21, and 60-minutes each on the 22 and 56, for a 15 minute headway on the common corridor. There were some cutbacks to the 22 after I-695, including an elimination of evening service.
  10. northwesterner

    Life After Greyhound

    The bureaucracy in this process is unreal.
  11. Correct. But Greyhound does minimal charter work in the US ... one city where they do quite a bit is Chicago (for whatever reason...) and they already have a fleet of non-lift coaches for that work. Last I looked, MCI was charging something like $80,000 to retrofit a lift into an E or J. Don't know what they'd charge for a D, but it would be similar. This retrofit done by MCI would bring it to OEM standards. I know some of the DL3s had lifts added by ABC as part of the refurb, but I can't believe that the cost per unit would be substantially less than what MCI is charging, especially if we're talking about less than 50 buses as opposed to the hundreds they did before. So yes, $80,000 is a fraction of the $800,000 or so a brand new coach with a lift would cost. But the capital investment analysis may show that the better choice is to retire the old, near end of life bus, in favor of purchasing a new one at the current market rate.
  12. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    This is all still accurate. I see "RB" as a suffix these days for Owl runs, not sure how long that has been in place.
  13. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    Typically the runs are based off of a route family, with a "parent route" as the "route"/"run." Thus back when the 15/18/21/22/56/57 were all interlined, all runs were 15/** where ** is the run number and 15 was the parent route. These days, we do see trippers, that are part of a parent route family, labeled with the route number of the tripper. I believe this is to make it easier to understand at a glance what the tripper is actually operating. You do see some routes that are part of a family but with a different characteristic with a different parent route ... for instance, the early AM diesel trippers on route 44 where historically assigned "44/XX" while the trolley coach 43 and 44 runs were all "43/XX." In other situations, they'll use high run numbers ... when the 7 Express was still operating with diesel service, the run numbers were in the 50s for AM trippers, and 60s for PM trippers. If you knew this run number structure, you could identify what it was at a glance. Metro had exterior facing run numbers going back to the 1940s until the mid-2000s when they were removed. Poor driver visibility on the Gilligs was the culprit - as delivered they had too tall mirrors (blind spots), overly tall fareboxes in relation to the drivers seat, dash sign holders & run number boxes that created blind spots to the right. All of these items were adjusted over time - new mirrors (three iterations on the left, three on the right), shorter farebox vaults, and finally clear dash sign holders and removal of run number boxes. I daresay the run number boxes would have survived if it hadn't been for all the other blind spot issues.
  14. northwesterner

    King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

    There was an article either in the old Seattle Transit employee newsletter or the early Metro version of it about the ancient, high-mileage 100s and their high seniority operators that loved driving them on the 39 Shuttle... If someone who lives in Seattle wants to hit up the stacks at the UW library and scan that article for us.... 😀
  15. northwesterner

    Life After Greyhound

    You keep talking about what is and isn't viable. The folks who know what is and isn't viable are the ones putting together business plans and trying to figure out if there is an opportunity. If they haven't applied for those routes, they probably aren't actually viable.
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