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  1. Someone mentioned elsewhere (Facebook?) that the first batch had some issues which require parts to fix before they can enter service. The issues were corrected at the factory in the second batch, so the second batch can go straight into service after acceptance.
  2. HUSH mode is software, so it is relatively easily disabled/enabled. HUSH may have potential uses in noise or emissions-sensitive areas, such as residential areas in the late evening. Extended range BAE hybrids could serve a similar purpose. However if noise is that big a concern then the best thing to do is retire the 2600s (and 2004 ST 9600s) ASAP; new buses are far quieter and cleaner.
  3. Spotted 8257 heading west on I-90 near Preston yesterday. It was signed "To Terminal" for what its worth. I was going the other way and didn't get a picture (I was driving) or get a chance to read the license plate.
  4. The last bullet point in this interview with King County Metro's new GM directly addresses blind-spot issues. No details, but nevertheless good to see a focus on this issue. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/new-metro-transit-boss-says-safety-is-his-focus/
  5. In general, the ST2 capital budget is very constrained due to the economic downtown that hit in the early years of the ST2 program. This has long term ongoing effects on total revenues from the ST2 taxes and has had severe impacts on the ST2 capital program, the most notable being the truncation of the Federal Way light rail extension back to Kent/Des Moines Road. With the constrained ST2 capital program, it makes sense for the agency to save as much as possible on the capital side of things as they have perpetual and virtually unlimited authority for operating money, within the bounds of the total authorized taxes. This needs to be balanced against the capital program of course and ST3 would max the taxes out again, but for now the agency's problem is ensuring they have the money to build everything.
  6. Making the new fleet fully compatible would've added 20% to the cost, or ~$140 million. That's a steep price to pay for additional operational flexibility that isn't strictly necessary.
  7. 32 more double-deckers look to be coming for CT-operated service. http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/Motion M2016-66.pdf Turns out I was half-right about this: I got the coaches for replacement right, but just assumed ST would replace them one-for-one with artics. As the staff report for the motion describes, the 32 new double-deckers for CT would cause 32 artics to move to KCM. This would fully replace the 2004 D60LFs in KCM's fleet and provide more coaches for service expansion which has occurred or is coming.
  8. Sound Transit also maintains one or two "gap" trains ready in the yard (or potentially in the Stadium or Rainier Beach pocket tracks) to fill in in case something breaks down. Right now they (presumably) are two-car trains, but if they went to all three-car trains they would probably need to make the gap trains larger as well. This would put the peak vehicle requirement up to 54-57 LRVs. They apparently need to have a minimum of 10 LRVs out of service at any given time, yielding a maximum in-service fleet of 52 LRVs.
  9. http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/about/board/motions/2013/Motion_M2013-61.pdf http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/about/board/motions/2013/Motion_M2013-62.pdf The 2001 Phantoms are all on their way out, and have been for three years. The next coaches slated for replacement are the 2004 D60LFs, not the 2005 Phantoms. The 2005 Phantoms are intended to remain into 2018. If ST needs to keep coaches longer, they will. Most of ST's equipment is kept in good shape and generally runs easier highway miles instead of getting beat up on in-city routes. For 40-foot equipment, there's no particular reason for ST to buy New Flyer over Gillig or whoever; they'll buy whatever meets their requirements for the best price. As to powertrain/fuel, historically ST has been fairly price-sensitive and generally only buys hybrids when they get a grant to cover the cost difference (as in Gillig LF HEVs 9201-9222 and New Flyer XDE60s 9652-9659/61401-61407) or when necessary (KCM-operated DE60LF/Rs for service in the DSTT on the 550). They've been reasonably wiling to buy CNG buses for Pierce Transit-operated service, but again there's no particular reason to go with New Flyer XN40s over Gillig LFs over more MCI D4500s. P.S. Please type in complete sentences with punctuation and grammar. We can barely understand what you're trying to say.
  10. Assuming I broke the contract down properly last year, there are 46 EUs/23 buses remaining on the trolley contract with New Flyer, so they could acquire up to 23 more trolleys in any configuration (40 or 60 foot) via this contract. This is because SFMTA used a lot of the options. I imagine it wouldn't be much of an issue to change the specifications to accommodate Madison BRT as the SFMTA and KCM specs differ somewhat.
  11. 7253 was operating this piece of work earlier today, so it looks like they did a coach change sometime early in the afternoon.
  12. I've been told the Orions have very touchy brakes, for whatever reason. I remember drivers braking very abruptly when the Orions first hit the streets. It has gotten better since they have been in service for a while; drivers must be more used to how they brake. I don't think this is a BAE HybriDrive issue; the XDE35/40s brake quite smoothly.
  13. KCM sets up their hybrids to have pretty significant regenerative braking when you let off the throttle. This makes the coach slow quite a bit without touching the brakes, so you'll see many operators not get onto the brakes until they're already going pretty slowly. This makes it difficult to smoothly brake to a stop. This is a common problem with hybrid vehicles in general; many people complain about the transition from regenerative to friction brakes in Prius's and the like. Obviously this doesn't apply to the diesel coaches. As an aside, the operators I get on Bellevue Base routes tend to stop pretty smoothly; must be the training on the Gilligs!
  14. Here's an article in this morning's Seattle Times which talks about a new pedestrian warning system for drivers which uses cameras. It has limitations and it doesn't sound like ATU is too excited about it. The article also has some interesting info on ongoing ATU efforts in line with what roamer has previously posted about the A-pillar and mirrors. King County Metro GM Desmond is also quoted as wanting to reduce bus vs. pedestrian incidents, which average 24 per year for Metro. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/metro-buses-testing-system-to-improve-pedestrian-safety/
  15. I recall seeing a press release last year when KCM selected a contractor to provide replacement Li-Ion batteries for its Allison hybrids (which came stock with NiMH batteries). IIRC, the new batteries have 20 kilowatt-hour capacity, which is 2 or 3 times more than the old batteries. I also recall someone saying (either here or on Seattle Transit Blog) that the 2004 DE60LFs could run the tunnel solely on battery, but running northbound was marginal since it is uphill. The newer DE60LFs and LFRs have better systems and more margin (they could even run the A/C in HUSH mode). However doing this would have a large negative impact on battery longevity since it would more deeply discharge the batteries, hence why HUSH mode operates as it does. I suspect they could run solely on batteries with the new/replacement batteries if they wanted, but they're not in all the buses yet. In addition we're only talking about ~5 more years of joint ops, so I could easily imagine some of the thinking is that there's hardly a point in messing with things now.
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