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RailBus63

Centro (Central New York RTA)

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The RGRTA New Flyers Xcelsiors have arrived - at least five 1800-series buses.  They are being used on the Farrell Road and Willis Ave. park & ride shuttles alongside Centro buses. 

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2 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

The RGRTA New Flyers Xcelsiors have arrived - at least five 1800-series buses.  They are being used on the Farrell Road and Willis Ave. park & ride shuttles alongside Centro buses. 

Thanks for the update! I watched the traffic cam this morning and saw a couple of them. Just read there will be a total of 12 buses from RGRTA. Plus drivers from TCAT. The article wasn't clear if they're providing buses too.

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1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

Thanks for the update! I watched the traffic cam this morning and saw a couple of them. Just read there will be a total of 12 buses from RGRTA. Plus drivers from TCAT. The article wasn't clear if they're providing buses too.

TCAT probably won’t be supplying buses since they keep running out of buses to make service. But i guess anything’s possible. Might explain why they had to drop a few trips on the 30 this morning.

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1 hour ago, Orion6025 said:

Might explain why they had to drop a few trips on the 30 this morning.

That's unfortunate regular runs had to be cancelled in Ithaca. Outside of weekday peak periods, Centro basically runs Syracuse service every 30-60 mins. A cancelled run could mean a loooong wait. I don't think cancelled runs happen often in Syracuse. Since they're bringing in extra drivers from their Utica division and TCAT, I'm guessing Syracuse based drivers aren't taking on the extra work or they're maxing out on hours. They may legitimately be short drivers since SU's fall semester started this week and SU contracts with Centro for some pretty frequent, almost 24 hour service for their students.

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Centro definitely seems maxed out on the number of State Fair buses they can operate, likely due to driver availability.  They have reworked the park & ride network several times to try to get customers to park at closer lots and reduce the running times and buses required, although the 2016 plan to eliminate the long run to Shoppingtown Mall in Syracuse's eastern suburbs ran into opposition and was not carried out.  The route network was adjusted this year with the 912 Farrell Road shuttle fully replacing the former 907 Long Branch Park route.  The new shuttle locations opened in 2018 at the airport (operated by RGRTA buses) and East Syracuse (operated by NFTA buses) were also discontinued.  One interesting change was the re-designation of the Orange Lot parking shuttle route from route 900 to route 582, with the new Willis Ave. shuttle designated as 782 Willis Ave. Lot - this is continuation of using the '82' route suffix to designate routes operating to or in the fairgrounds area (since the main route serving this area is 82 Baldwinsville). 

I have not noticed any spike in cancelled runs but they are now hiring for full-time as well as part-time bus operators for the CNY Centro operation in Syracuse, which is a major change from past practice of starting all new hires as part-time. 

As in past years, State Fair time is when the oldest buses in the fleet have seen more frequent service.  Orion V 9977 has been in regular service as well as the four active D40LF's (2500, 2505-2507) which were parked all summer, and these were joined by contingency fleet buses 2519, 2523 and 2532.  The latter two are the first C40LF's I've spotted in service since last fall.   1996 MCI cruisers 669, 670 and 671 have also been spotted in State Fair service on the Cayuga division.   

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3 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

in past years, State Fair time is when the oldest buses in the fleet have seen more frequent service.

Do any of these older vehicles still come out on weekends, or is it just weekdays when they’re needed?

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4 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

Centro definitely seems maxed out on the number of State Fair buses they can operate, likely due to driver availability.  They have reworked the park & ride network several times to try to get customers to park at closer lots and reduce the running times and buses required, although the 2016 plan to eliminate the long run to Shoppingtown Mall in Syracuse's eastern suburbs ran into opposition and was not carried out. 

That was a tough sell. The general public doesn't understand how that change could actually provide them with better service.

4 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

One interesting change was the re-designation of the Orange Lot parking shuttle route from route 900 to route 582, with the new Willis Ave. shuttle designated as 782 Willis Ave. Lot - this is continuation of using the '82' route suffix to designate routes operating to or in the fairgrounds area (since the main route serving this area is 82 Baldwinsville).  

Centro's definitely staying true to self by numbering routes in a way that is more complicated than need be 🤣

Seriously though, I can understand this change. The Orange and Willis Ave. Lot are free shuttles. I read the Willis Ave shuttles are serving the new lot at Gate 10. Logically, they should serve the Main Gate just like the Orange Lot shuttles.

Now, the 900 series routes are solely Park-n-Ride routes with regular fares. 

4 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

I have not noticed any spike in cancelled runs but they are now hiring for full-time as well as part-time bus operators for the CNY Centro operation in Syracuse, which is a major change from past practice of starting all new hires as part-time.   

This is very interesting. I'm surprised the union contract allows for this. The union heads at my place of employment would literally have a heart attack.

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12 hours ago, orionbuslover said:

This is very interesting. I'm surprised the union contract allows for this. The union heads at my place of employment would literally have a heart attack.

I would think that the union would be ok with that if there are positions open. They probably have a quota of how many full time positions they have to have filled. Plus, the union collects union dues on those positions. The more positions filled the better.

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I'm sure it's spelled out in the contract. Usually with unionized positions, open full time positions are filled by part-timers in order of seniority. Either way, the only thing the union can most likely do is file a grievance/arbitration.

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Since they are hiring both full and part-time, I suspect that they have open F/T positions that existing P/T operators are not opting to fill.  I can't believe they would be skipping over their existing trained drivers to bring in people off the street.  

21 hours ago, Orion6025 said:

Do any of these older vehicles still come out on weekends, or is it just weekdays when they’re needed?

It's hit or miss - a few weekends this summer have found several New Flyers and/or Gillig hybrids out in service, while others have been newer buses (mostly Gillig CNG's with some Orion VII's).  I thought the old buses may have been out in force on State Fair weekends but that wasn't the case last weekend, and again today it's newer buses only so far. 

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I was in Syracuse last Friday and I picked up a May 2019 system map at the Centro Transit Hub.  I thought this was noteworthy because the Centro website still has the May 2018 system map on it, so I wasn't expecting an updated version.

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Today is the first big Syracuse University football game of the season, so older buses were out running today - 2903 was out all day and 2800, 2801, 2802 and 2900 came out to do the added Saturday service that starts at 2:40.  No New Flyers 2500's or Gillig hybrid 2700's were spotted, although I didn't venture up to the SU campus to see what was running on the parking lot shuttles.  I haven't seen any of those pre-2008 buses at all lately.

 

On 9/5/2019 at 2:13 PM, tomsbuspage said:

I was in Syracuse last Friday and I picked up a May 2019 system map at the Centro Transit Hub.  I thought this was noteworthy because the Centro website still has the May 2018 system map on it, so I wasn't expecting an updated version.

Thanks for the heads up!  I picked one up myself today - I didn't know they had been issued.   Very surprised the newer map isn't on the website. 

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9977 has been in operation this week on school runs.  Haven't seen any New Flyers recently.

The remaining eight 2007 Gillig hybrid buses (2700-2701, 2703-2708) have been put up for auction.

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New 35-foot Gilligs 1920 and 1921 have entered service on the Centro of Oneida division, so far spotted on Utica routes only. I haven't seen 2720 or 2721 on the tracker since the new buses entered service. 

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The CNYRTA board will vote on Friday 10/25 on a contract with Gillig for 15 new buses for 2021 delivery - the order will consist of seven 40-foot CNG buses, one 40-foot diesel bus, four 35-foot diesel buses and three 29-foot diesel buses.  These will replace the 2008 and 2009 Gilligs in the fleet. 

This will also be the final order from the Gillig five-year procurement contract awarded in 2015, with a future five-year bus contract set to be undertaken in 2020.  This contract should only be for 35-foot and 40-foot buses as there will not be a need for any more 29-foot buses until 2029 at the earliest, so New Flyer may have a good shot with this contract - I for one would love to see what an Xcelsior would look like in the Centro scheme!  This contract will cover the upcoming replacement of the 1000-series, 1100-series and 1200-series Orion VII's in the middle of the next decade so that will be a good-sized order.  

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4 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

The CNYRTA board will vote on Friday 10/25 on a contract with Gillig for 15 new buses for 2021 delivery - the order will consist of seven 40-foot CNG buses, one 40-foot diesel bus, four 35-foot diesel buses and three 29-foot diesel buses.  These will replace the 2008 and 2009 Gilligs in the fleet. 

This will also be the final order from the Gillig five-year procurement contract awarded in 2015, with a future five-year bus contract set to be undertaken in 2020.  This contract should only be for 35-foot and 40-foot buses as there will not be a need for any more 29-foot buses until 2029 at the earliest, so New Flyer may have a good shot with this contract - I for one would love to see what an Xcelsior would look like in the Centro scheme!  This contract will cover the upcoming replacement of the 1000-series, 1100-series and 1200-series Orion VII's in the middle of the next decade so that will be a good-sized order.  

I always have a soft spot for Gillig shorties, or any 35 foot or 29 foot bus. Rare buses all around!

Agree with you about Xcelsiors. I admire those buses.

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So I just read Centro's 2018/19 Year in Review report. The big change is that the destination signs now consistently show the route the bus is currently on and not the next route it'll operate after arriving downtown. All I can say is FINALLY. It was a huge disservice to new or potential customers. It was mind boggling to see a bus in Fairmount signed up for Shoppingtown. Or a bus on Midland Ave signed up for Court St.. This had to stem from when the buses had roll signs (well into the early 00's) and it was easier for operators to scroll through at the opposite end of the route instead of downtown. But this practice should've definitely went away with the arrival of electronic signs. In the report they said this is 'one of transit's great debates'. Um, no, it's not. It's a clear industry standard and I'm happy to see big blue catch up with the times.

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Anyone know what 9977’s been up to these days? I haven't tracked it on a school trip in a long time, but then again i’m not too diligent about tracking school trippers

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9 minutes ago, Orion6025 said:

Anyone know what 9977’s been up to these days? I haven't tracked it on a school trip in a long time, but then again i’m not too diligent about tracking school trippers

Could be retired. That is the last known Orion V CNG on the east coast...

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20 hours ago, Orion6025 said:

Anyone know what 9977’s been up to these days? I haven't tracked it on a school trip in a long time, but then again i’m not too diligent about tracking school trippers

I saw it on the tracker in late November or December on a school run.

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32 minutes ago, RailBus63 said:

I saw it on the tracker in late November or December on a school run.

Ah perfect it's still ran after the fair!

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I drove past the garage at 4:30 this afternoon and 9977 was out front, fired up with '872 TOWNSEND' on the destination sign, so I can confirm it is still alive!

Ex-Utica Gillig bus 2721 is parked off to the side - it is still plated but hasn't moved from its spot in at least a month.

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