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Rear mounted bike racks were used for many years by Santa Cruz MTD on route 35 from Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek. They accommodated five bikes hanging by their front wheels across the back. I imagine there were more than a few thefts.

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Sounder 909 has new paint. Higher blue with a white number. I like the darker blue much better than the lighter blue.

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Amtrak #148 powering a northline trainset

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SeaTac rental car shuttle Gillig CNG Low Floor

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Sounder decals at the Jackson St station entrance

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The Seattle Rental car shuttle airport Gillig CNG were interesting to ride. They have Allison but I'm sure they were Cummins engine as I was unable to tell.

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Does anybody know where this could have come from? I found it in a gravel lot in Port Orchard. Kitsap Transit had some like this, but I'm not sure because of the colors.

14653925010_2405c8fa52_n.jpgLong retired bus in Port Orchard by zargoman, on Flickr


Funny I should ask that now...Somebody on Flickr just posted some awesome older pics from the area

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbernero/14792012126/in/photostream/

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WOW! I had no clue Grays Harbor had GM Fishbowl Suburbans until now! Check out other photos in that photo stream as well!

When were those photos taken? They were posted recently but I'd like to know the year when they were actually taken.

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When were those photos taken? They were posted recently but I'd like to know the year when they were actually taken.

It says on the descriptions on the last 4 digits.

These photos are also taken during the convention as well!

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Thank you, sir! It seems like the majority are from 1983 ...really enjoyed seeing those; not only the buses but the cars around them too.

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Those Bremerton shots bring back memories. I lived there in the 70's, and left just before Kitsap transit was formed. I think the Twin Coaches were the Shipyard buses when I lived there. All the buses on the regular routes I rode were 35' Flxibles. Rode with my 4th grade teacher who was a part time driver for Bremerton, and who later took over running the School districts buses.

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Ah, yes. Speaking of memories. Hidden in that photostream are some KCM photos from the mid-1970s. I've previously seen several of them floating around but have not seen the entire series which contain some real gems of a few of Metro's mish-mash of equipment back then which certainly does bring back some memories and caught me being quite emotional (even detected a tear on my cheek *gads, pathetic*). Thanks and appreciation go to the owner of that stream for those phenomenal shots some of which, as I say, had not been seen before and were "firsts" for me.

Most of you will want to ignore this post as it won't be too interesting for many but I'm always appreciative of this community for letting me chronicle some of my experiences during my bus driving days.

1975 was the year I started driving for Metro. The first route I worked the day after graduating from training was on the the 30 line which Seattle Transit System referred to as "Ballard-U" (S.T.S. internally designated all routes by name rather than by number). I think on one end, the terminal was in Ballard at NW 54th St & 32nd Ave NW where the 44 still lays over (?) and the other terminal was in the middle of Laurelhurst. It essentially was what the 44 combined with the 25 is today. The coach I drove that day for my inaugural run as a transit operator was a "100" (Fageol Twin, gas-engined --Fageol Twin being the precursor to Flxible) which I seem to recall had many of them assigned to the Ballard-U line that made a road relief at 45th and Stone Way.

So it was in 1975 when I "broke-in" as a brand new transit operator at North Seattle, the station where the 100 coaches (and the Ballard-U line) were based. North Seattle Station was a S.T.S. designation and late in 1976 or early '77, Metro started calling the former S.T.S. stations "bases" where North Seattle then became known as "Mercer Base" which is now the location of the Gates Foundation complex at 5th and Republican. The other stations at that time --Jefferson, Atlantic, and Dearborn were also subsequently called "bases." East Base opened around that time too, but South, Ryerson, Central, Bellevue, and North Bases did not yet exist.

On that first day on the job, I remember breaking down and since 100s did not have radios, I had to find a business that would let me use their phone to call in to the dispatcher. When calling the control room and reporting my location and problem, I mistakenly identified myself as "Ballard #3" and it confused the dispatcher as there was another route called "Ballard" ...the 18 (?). I just instinctively blurted that out as I was in Ballard on Market Street where the coach broke down. After several minutes of trying to figure out who I was, he finally said, "oh, you mean you're Ballad-U #3?" ...kind of questioning and reprimanding me at the same time. Embarrassing but, heck, it was my first day on the job.

(ETA: actually that was not my first day on the job. As I remember it, it was my second day and the first week-day working during the rush hour. My very first day on the job was a Sunday schedule working the "Octopus" where about a dozen lines were integrated together spidering out in different directions where you'd rarely go to the same terminal in the entire run. It was only done on Sundays and Holidays but was an internal scheduling thing where the public wasn't aware ...in other words, it was just internal Metro scheduling. 500s were usually run on the Octopus from what I remember and that was what I actually drove the very first day on the job.)

At any rate, getting back to those photos from 1975 ...again, they are fantastic. I especially liked the those that were taken on Republican Street with the buses facing west with the barn in the background . The only coach I wish had been included from that time-period was the "Decker" which was a GMC Buffalo (PD-4107) 4-speed manual stick (similar to this). I see no photo of that "special" coach that I was only able to drive once in service ..."special" as I remember everybody wanting to drive it. I think there were two of them that came from Metropolitan Transit (the agency that merged with S.T.S. to form Metro) but I believe there was only one actually in service in 1975. That one was painted in the new Metro colors (white with beige and brown striping) and based at Dearborn Station.

I'm glad there are some shots of the 4-speed stick shift "Travelers" PD-4104, (here, here, here, here, here, here) which were also run out of Dearborn and used on the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma runs (Greyhound station to Greyhound station to Greyhound station ...used the old Metropolitan Transit routing and terminals at the three city's Greyhound stations).

I'm glad to see a photo of one of the "Jersey Junkers" or the "800s" series coach as seen here on Republican Street with the North Seattle barn in the background. The 800s were the mainstay on the 48 route where we had to make road reliefs from the barn at 5th and Republican to Woodlawn and Ravenna. We had to catch the in-service Green Lake buses (route 16 that passed by the barn for the 48 and the #6 to 45th and Stone Way for reliefs on the 30-BalladU) to get back and forth from the relief point and, of course, didn't get paid for coming back to the barn from the relief point. (But as I said in another post, it was nice when making a relief on Green Lake (route 6/16) because we could make the relief either in front of the barn or across the street on 5th Ave.)

At North Seattle we had the 100, 200 (here, here, here, here, here, 500 (here, here, here, here), 800, and a mish-mash of other coaches at the time (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) ...and later, the AMGs (1100-1300 series coaches). Atlantic had all the S.T.S. 700 coaches (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) and some 200s and 500s. Jefferson had the trolley coaches (600 series, Twins and Pullmans ...I saved that Pullman photo from Paul Wayrich as I remember having a motorcycle run into the back of that exact coach, 649, as I was driving it on the Madrona line one winter night) and Dearborn had the Travelers, Decker, and miscellaneous mish-mash of stuff in older GMC and also new-look (aka: "picture-window" or "fishbowl") with both automatic transmissions and manuals (here, here, here, here, here, here, here).

With these latest photos and with the help from those of you here who have contributed photo streams of Metro buses, I now have a relatively complete collection of photos of each series coach I rememeber from my employment with Metro. From that 100 on my first day to the DE60LF that I drove on the day before I retired and everything in between, I now have just about every coach model I drove cataloged.

These photos I will definitely save as I never did take any myself back in the day. I will certainly treasure them. As a little kid, I was always fascinated with buses and even then could identify and categorize coaches by sight. I would ride buses and take notes just as some of you ride buses and take photos. I've always been sort of a bus nerd but never had the time nor intellectual capacity to follow buses in the meticulous manner that some of you here do ...I admire you folks that really KNOW buses inside and out.

I did not intend to be a transit operator but fell into it by chance. I did not enjoy every aspect of the job but it was a rewarding experience just because of my love of buses themselves. I always welcomed those who rode my bus just for the experience and who may have wanted to take photos or would want to “talk buses” with me. That I did enjoy.

Thanks again to those of you who contribute photos of buses. And as always, thank you all for letting me reminisce.

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In the process of moving and found a bunch of stuff I've collected over the years. I used Kitsap Transit to commute to/from high school and got the reduced fare monthly passes from them. The PugetPasses are from when I was commuting to Highline Community College, as are the Washington State Ferry passes. Also some random old Metro day passes

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This is something that's been on my mind a bit lately. I was hoping that some of you may be able to provide some insight into the situation. Sound transit and King County Metro have free parking garages and lots, which I think really helps to encourage people to use transit. Now, Washington State ferries has no such facilities. Every parking lot that is on the west side of Puget Sound is privately operated and charges daily rates of $8-15. At Edmunds all of the parking around the station for the sounder specifically states that no Washington State ferry passengers are to use it. I think that if Washington State ferries were to follow sound transit practices they could entice many more people to commute using the boats. I could ramble on and on about the topic, including how passengers pay more for a 30 min boat ride than they do for a 60 minute train and/or bus ride. With the exception of accepting ORCA cards, it seems WSF is entirely unwilling to promote increasing ridership...they could accept transfers with Orca Cards, they could connect much better with transit on the east side...lots of stuff. Maybe I should write a book and present it to the legislature.

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Here is a photo taken of Seattle Metro 340. Sorry it is in the shadow but it snuck up on me.

Mel Bernero

Thank you!!! I've been searching for a photo of that coach for a long time now. I only was able to drive it in service just one time. My recollection is that it was a fast shifter compared to the "Travelers" and I kept grinding the gears when trying to float it when shifting. I've always wanted a photo of it and now I can complete my files.

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Very rarely, I'll see a beat-up old GMC Scenicruiser driving around, but it always disappears before I can snap a picture. The Seattle Metro 340 pictured above has vintage King County Metro livery - is there a reason why details about those GMC commuter coaches are seldom mentioned in the Metro historical coach roster?

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Very rarely, I'll see a beat-up old GMC Scenicruiser driving around, but it always disappears before I can snap a picture. The Seattle Metro 340 pictured above has vintage King County Metro livery - is there a reason why details about those GMC commuter coaches are seldom mentioned in the Metro historical coach roster?

Which rosters are you referring to? Most accurate historical rosters I've seen have these coaches.

The hard buses to account for are the myriad of used coaches leased to cover service needs until the arrival of the 1976 AMG diesels.

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Too bad nobody built a wheelchair-accessible express coach back then.

The 1970's were an interesting time in the transit coach industry.

I really wonder why the AMG's weren't ordered with A/C, at least the first batch.

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Right, I've seen the two "deckers" listed on the historical rosters but I've rarely seen a photo. The times I did see a photo,I didn't save it and lost track of where it was that I viewed it. That's why I appreciated melbernero posting a photo of coach 340.

There were two deckers brought over from Metropolitan Transit during the merger so they were only used by Metro from 1973 to early 1976. It seemed coach 341 was retired fairly quick as from what I can recall, they had a lot of problems with that coach (ETA: ...or was it involved in an accident?? ...something took it out of service early. Anybody recall?).

All the stick shift coaches were maintenance nightmares as they had to replace a lot of clutches when Metro acquired them as many of the Seattle Transit drivers who picked Dearborn Station weren't as savvy driving the stick shift coaches. The Metropolitan guys had the experience but the Seattle Transit operators hadn't driven sticks for quite awhile if ever. I was a new driver at the time and even though I had experience driving non-synchro trannys in trucks, it still took some time to get used to the gearboxes in the buses. Like I say, I had my bouts of grinding the gears as no two coaches seemed to shift the same. I tried hard to use the clutch as little as possible by floating the gears but the clutches were primarily being worn out by operators burning them from a standing start ...which was often as they were used on some of the stop-and-go suburban routes like the Federal Way/Tacoma to Seattle or the Lynnwood/Everett to Seattle routes. I remember being reprimanded for floating the gears when getting a ride check as we were taught to double-clutch and it was hammered into us to double-clutch both when upshifting and downshifting.

As for why the AMGs didn't have a/c, i remember the drivers asking about that at the time and Metro's "official" response was that Seattle doesn't need air conditioned coaches as there are only a few days a year where temperatures would merit having air conditioning. Metro was concerned not only about the extra initial cost but the maintenance costs as well ...and they emphasized that. Also, back then, the a/c coaches were less efficient than they are today and would use considerably more fuel when the a/c was on. Most of the drivers didn't seem to care one way or the other as we all knew that air conditioned coaches (again, at the time) were slugs when using the a/c. We had a driver who had come from Los Angeles RTD who told us that drivers down there would use the a/c as little as possible because it zapped so much power from the engine. They had a difficult time keeping a schedule when using the a/c. The "having a rear window issue" (which I never did understand) didn't come into play with the AMGs as they could have an a/c unit and still have a rear window.

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Right, I've seen the two "deckers" listed on the historical rosters but I've rarely seen a photo. The times I did see a photo,I didn't save it and lost track of where it was that I viewed it. That's why I appreciated melbernero posting a photo of coach 340.

There were two deckers brought over from Metropolitan Transit during the merger so they were only used by Metro from 1973 to early 1976. It seemed coach 341 was retired fairly quick as from what I can recall, they had a lot of problems with that coach (ETA: ...or was it involved in an accident?? ...something took it out of service early. Anybody recall?).

All the stick shift coaches were maintenance nightmares as they had to replace a lot of clutches when Metro acquired them as many of the Seattle Transit drivers who picked Dearborn Station weren't as savvy driving the stick shift coaches. The Metropolitan guys had the experience but the Seattle Transit operators hadn't driven sticks for quite awhile if ever. I was a new driver at the time and even though I had experience driving non-synchro trannys in trucks, it still took some time to get used to the gearboxes in the buses. Like I say, I had my bouts of grinding the gears as no two coaches seemed to shift the same. I tried hard to use the clutch as little as possible by floating the gears but the clutches were primarily being worn out by operators burning them from a standing start ...which was often as they were used on some of the stop-and-go suburban routes like the Federal Way/Tacoma to Seattle or the Lynnwood/Everett to Seattle routes. I remember being reprimanded for floating the gears when getting a ride check as we were taught to double-clutch and it was hammered into us to double-clutch both when upshifting and downshifting.

As for why the AMGs didn't have a/c, i remember the drivers asking about that at the time and Metro's "official" response was that Seattle doesn't need air conditioned coaches as there are only a few days a year where temperatures would merit having air conditioning. Metro was concerned not only about the extra initial cost but the maintenance costs as well ...and they emphasized that. Also, back then, the a/c coaches were less efficient than they are today and would use considerably more fuel when the a/c was on. Most of the drivers didn't seem to care one way or the other as we all knew that air conditioned coaches (again, at the time) were slugs when using the a/c. We had a driver who had come from Los Angeles RTD who told us that drivers down there would use the a/c as little as possible because it zapped so much power from the engine. They had a difficult time keeping a schedule when using the a/c. The "having a rear window issue" (which I never did understand) didn't come into play with the AMGs as they could have an a/c unit and still have a rear window.

I don't know much about 341 and its early retirement... I mentioned this coach to a retired friend from this era earlier today after the picture popped up, he didn't remember why they were retired, just that in general the stick-shift coaches were not well treated by the drivers or mechanics.

Basically, one of the reasons why manual transmissions were phased out in the bus industry (whether in suburban transits or over the road coaches) was due to drivers moving from vehicle to vehicle daily. Over the road truckers pretty much drive the same truck every day. Thus, they get used to the clutch and transmission on their truck, which makes shifting a lot easier. Bus drivers move from bus to bus daily, which makes it difficult to get a feel for the one they are driving.

Now - I'm not saying it is impossible for bus drivers to be able to shift any bus they drive smoothly. About 15 years ago I was in Victoria and rode on a couple of Prevost XLs in charter service. The operators we had were absolutely smooth as silk over the three days I was there (different buses, same drivers, each day). But it takes a ton of practice and training to get operators to this point, and also requires active participation from the maintenance team.

Back to the ex-Metropolitan coaches at Metro... I've seen a couple at least one former Metropolitan driver (the last Metropolitan driver active at Metro? I will not mention his name here but he retired as #1 FT nearly 15 years ago, got bored at home, and has been driving PT ever since) complain that as soon as the merger occurred, what you described above happened. Metro greatly expanded suburban service and that meant that old Seattle Transit drivers were picking Dearborn, even though they'd never driven manuals (I would imagine the last manuals were retired when the 200s were delivered in 1955; there's a pre-war gas Twin that doesn't run in the historic fleet, it is a manual). The former Metropolitan driver claims that attempts and offers to train the Seattle Transit operators to reach proficiency with the manuals fell on deaf ears, and within a few months the fleet was in shambles.

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I enjoyed your comments, northwesterner. Yes, much of what you've said is what I too remember. I can recall the Metropolitan guys ribbing the Seattle Transit guys for ruining their equipment. <_< And yes, I do know exactly who you are referring to as he was "Mr. number 1" for quite awhile it seemed.

Yes, each of the Metropolitan guys I broke in with were skilled at shifting with one exception. I was impressed with how smooth two of them were at shifting gears. However, there was one guy who was from Seattle Transit (nicest guy you'd want to know) and had picked a run that had travelers. He was near retirement and spent his free time playing ping pong at North Seattle during the last days of his career (you may know who I'm referring to). Before picking North Seattle, he was at Dearborn and I qualified with him. I was surprised at how bad he was at shifting ...he was always grinding the gears. He wore a hearing aid and I'm wondering if he just couldn't hear the engine as most thought that crucial in helping with smooth shifting as I don't recall many coaches back then having tachometers.

I only worked Dearborn for one shake-up and was on the board so I was driving not only a different coach everyday but had to skip around from coaches with automatics to different types of the stick-shift buses sometimes in the same day. I never did get really used to any one type of stick shift coach because of that. Because of my preference for shifting gears manually, I’d give anything to go back to those days.

When going through training, stick shift class instructors that I had were both ex-Metropolitan guys. Again, I'm sure you know who I'm referring to ...after leaving the instruction department, one worked the morning window at South Base for awhile and the other worked the PM window at East Base and later, one of the PM eastside D-car shifts. Some of the women in my class had never even driven a stick shift car and DB was especially patient with them. I will always be impressed with how he treated students with such patience when the mentality in "Instruction" department at that time was the best way to teach a person how to drive a bus was yelling and screaming at them, banging wheel blocks against the metal panel adjacent to the front entry stairs to get their attention (which made some students almost jump the curb and run the bus into a tree) ...and generally treating students as they were in boot camp in the military.

(xx) once yelled and screamed at me during coach practice for what he thought was coming too close to knocking the right mirror off on a phone pole when making a left turn. He was screaming at me and getting red in the face about it when I knew what I was doing and knew I had the situation under control (he didn't know I had previous experience at driving heavy equipment). I kept quiet and let him scream but months later after graduating and getting to know him better, did ask him about his teaching techniques. He rhetorically asked me "well, I made you a better bus driver for it, right?" Yeah, right.

So anyway, I appreciate the rest of the forum members letting this conversation between northwesterner and I take place as I'm sure it's of no interest to most here. And this is not the place for reminiscing as this is a "picture thread" and should not have unnecessary conversations going on like this. Thank you all for your tolerance and allowing this post to stand.

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