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Memphis Area Transit Authority bus operations


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I believe Des Moines Area Regional Transit (Des Moines, IA) also uses heavy duty buses for paratransit.

Nice photos by the way :lol:

According to Wikipedia, Cambus in Iowa City also uses a similar bus for paratransit duties, known as Bionic Bus with that agency. Can busfreak99 confirm or correct me on this count?

However, am I correct in saying that MATA has by far the nation's largest fleet of heavy-duty paratransit buses? Thanks!

Des Moines uses EDN Transmarks, and Optima Opus and some cut-aways for paratransit service. They have 2 30' Orion VII NG's on order for para transit as well.

Orion VII NG's for paratransit? That should be sweet! (And a first in the nation too!)

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  • 5 years later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi!  After residing near Memphis for almost 8 years, it's about time for me to sum up the bus operation there

MATA is one of the only 2 southern US customers for the 1st-Gen Nova Bus LFS  (The other is Charlotte CATS).  It operated 39 such 1997 buses (800-838) at one time, but all are retired by 2013.  Illustrated here are buses 800 and 831.  Coincidentally, both routes 20 and 58, where the buses were depicted as serving on are defunct as well.

It then purchased 90 more 2nd-Gen LFS in 3 batches (50 x 2000 buses 839-888, 20 each of 2001 and 2002 buses 889-908 and 909-928)  The 2000 batch is depicted by retired bus 876 and surviving bus 888 (1 of the up to 7 left among the 2000 batch).  Meanwhile, bus 907 illustrated here is the only bus from the 2001 batch that has been retired (Due to major accident damage).  Finally, bus 928 from the 2002 batch is the very last LFS MATA ever bought.

 MATA-r20-800.JPGMATA-r58-831.JPGMATA-r09-876.JPGMATA-r36-888-1.JPGMATA-r36-907.JPGMATA-r11-928.JPG

While the 1997 and 2000 buses starts with dot matrix destination signs, examples from both batches have been retrofitted with LED headsigns later in their lives, as shown in buses 831 and 876 depicted above.

MATA once also operated 7 Neoplan USA AN460LF artics of 2004 vintage (501-507), as illustrated by buses 503 and 504.  As they can no longer be tracked at the agency's Transloc, they seem to be history.  Notably, they are of 2-door configuration instead of 3 door more common among American artic buses. Of the routes I have spotted the artics running, only route 50 survives to this day.  Both routes 10 and 43 are combined to form parts of today's route 42.  Judging by MATA's financial situation and operational style, it is pretty unlikely for them to get any more artics for the foreseeable future.

MATA-r10-503.JPGMATA-r43-504-2.JPGMATA-r50-504-1.JPG

Now come to MATA's current staple bus, the Gillig Low Floor. They come with different lengths, power plants, liveries and even different purposes (fixed-route vs. paratransit buses).  By far the most numerous variant is the 40ft. diesel buses in standard livery, pioneered by 20 buses from 2004 (Depicted here by the very first example, bus 401; and retired buses 411, 415 and 419).  Interestingly, MATA seem to have retired the worst 2004 Gillig's ahead of older LFS buses

.MATA-r46-401-1.JPGMATA-r56-411.JPGMATA-r56-415.JPGMATA-r52S-419-1.JPG

For the next group of 40ft. diesels, buses 421-427 are EPA-2007 buses even though they are listed in the wiki page as 2010 buses like EPA-2010 buses 428-447.  These 2 groups of buses are appropriately depicted by the first and last examples among them, buses 421 and 447.  They are followed by 15(?) more EPA-2010 buses of 2015(?) vintage numbered 448-462, as illustrated by bus 461,

MATA-r38-421-1.JPGMATA-r56-447.JPGMATA-r69-461.JPG

Then in a big twist of numbering scheme, the latest 15 x 40ft. diesel buses do not begin with 463, but are numbered in the 217xx series, as illustrated by brand new bus 21703 pictured yesterday.

MATA-r53-21703-1.JPGMATA-r53-21703-2.JPG

Onto the 40ft. diesel-electric hybrids, MATA has 33 of them coming with 2 specifications and 3 different lifetime liveries,  Buses 4001-4004(?) belongs to the pioneering group.  They come with the 1st-Gen battery cover and EPA-2007 emission specification.  Bus 4001 is in the regular livery and the old slogan for the hybrids "Powered by Hybrid Electric Technology" in black on the battery cover. And bus 4003 is repainted into the dedicated green livery for hybrids (comes new with a later group of hybrids to be explained in a bit) with white motifs and revised slogans "MATA Hybrid Electric Technology" on the battery cover; and "Go Green, Ride Clean" on the roof and waistline, both in white.

The next group, buses 4004/5(?)-4018 are 2012/13(?) EPA-2010 buses and comes with a more streamlined battery cover.  Bus 4018 is the last hybrid bus delivered with the regular livery, while bus 4007 is a repaint to green.

The last 15 hybrids are delivered new in a plain green livery, and are initially assigned to trolley replacement bus duties, as illustrated by bus 4019. Meanwhile, bus 4032 carries the full set of slogans and motifs.

MATA-r36-4001.JPGMATA-r57-4003-1.JPGMATA-r57-4003-2.JPGMATA-r57S-4018-2.JPGMATA-r50-4007.JPGMATA-MSTB-4019-1.JPGMATA-r40-4032.JPG

Move to the non-40ft. Gillig buses, MATA has only five 35ft. buses, hybrids numbered 5001-5005.  They are EPA-2010 buses that comes with the older battery cover and regular livery, as illustrated by bus 5001.  They have bought a decent fleet of 29ft. baby buses- 7 hybrids and 22 diesels- intended chiefly for MATAPlus (MATA's paratransit service). All are EPA-2007 buses and the hybrids comes with the 1st-Gen battery cover. Diesel buses 3009 from the 2009 batch of 10 buses and 3020 from the 2010 batch of a dozen are pictured on their intended duties.   However, they have also been impressed into trolley replacement uses, as depicted by 2007 hybrid bus 2001 and 2010 diesel bus 3017,  Finally, 2009 hybrid bus 2007 is converted to fixed-route specification with bike rack added, and is currently the dedicated bus on the weekends-only leisure bus route serving Shelby Farms Park (A large urban park in East Memphis).  Seemingly, all baby Gillig buses are 1-door, except the 2007 hybrids which have 2.

MATA-r39-5001-2.JPGMATA-r39-5001-1.JPGMATA-3009-2.JPGMATA-3009-1.JPGMATA-3020-1.JPGMATA-MATB-3017-1.JPGMATA-MATB- 2001-1.JPGMATA-r47-2007-2.JPG

Finally, a couple of footnotes on MATA's bus fleet here.  They once operated up to a dozen Optima Opus 30ft. for MATAPlus duties like bus 1012. They seems to be retired though. They also operated 8 to 9 colorful but ugly trolley replicas as stop-gap trolley replacement buses as illustrated by 602, 606 and 608

,MATA-1012-2.JPGMATA-1012-3.JPGMATA-MSTB-602-3.JPGMATA-MSTB-606-1.JPGMATA-MSTB-608-2.JPG

My MATA bus gallery is available here. Sorry for the length of this thread, but MATA is the most pictured non-Florida transit agency due to its relative closeness to my current Mississippi home and its relative size.  Hope you'll enjoy my roundup on its bus operations.  My picture journal on the currently suspended trolley operations is up next!

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Great pictures!

Also, I spent a solid hour browsing your Flickr. Interesting to see pics/true-to-life snapshots of less-covered transit systems. Thanks for sharing!

If only we had mid 90s era variety of buses to go along with the wide coverage of systems. RTS in OKC, Flxibles in Tulsa, Neoplans in Little Rock... now it's pretty much Gillig, Gillig, Gillig, Gillig, Gillig, Gillig and more Gillig -- with the occasional appearance of a New Flyer if you're lucky!

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  • 2 months later...

Mata has recently put up the following buses for auction on publicsurplus.com:

829- 1997 Nova LFS

505- 2004 Neoplan AN460A

402- 2004 Gillig Lowfloor

And probably the best...

421, 423, & one other 2010 Gillig Lowfloor 40ft.

2010's! Are Matas operations really that bad that they can justify retiring buses that are 7 years old? They've also recently retired 3005, a 2010 Gillig Lowfloor 29'. I just don't get it. 

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On 7/17/2017 at 10:30 AM, alexb320 said:

Mata has recently put up the following buses for auction on publicsurplus.com:

829- 1997 Nova LFS

505- 2004 Neoplan AN460A

402- 2004 Gillig Lowfloor

And probably the best...

421, 423, & one other 2010 Gillig Lowfloor 40ft.

2010's! Are Matas operations really that bad that they can justify retiring buses that are 7 years old? They've also recently retired 3005, a 2010 Gillig Lowfloor 29'. I just don't get it. 

Mentions that the bus is not running and is missing parts.  The 2004 Gillig 29's that the NFTA is operating are not the most liked either. I'm assuming that the bus could have suffered some calamity that wasn't worth putting the money into.  I'm willing the NFTA may get rid of these sooner than the 2000 Nova LFS we have.  Probably the same for MATA.

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  • 3 months later...

A few more tidbits from this year's spottings:

MATA has implemented 2 more express routes in August.  Its express routes are numbered by adding a trailing 0 to the closest all-day route equivalent.  (The first express route there, route 400 Wolfchase Express is renumbered from the express trip of route 40 Wolfchase).  Illustrated here is 40ft. Gillig Low Floor hybrid 4011 on route 280 Airways Express pictured at the aptly-named Airways Transit Center in southern Memphis and 2010 diesel sister bus 422 on route 340 Walnut Grove Express pictured at Agricenter International in East Memphis.

MATA-X280-4011-1.JPGMATA-X340-422-1.JPG

The rest of this post covers various 29ft. Gillig Low Floor's that have started off as MATAplus (paratransit) buses and since moved on to fixed route use.  (Being of heavy-duty designs and equipped with destination signs have made their transition to fixed route buses much easier than typical paratransit vehicles, with or without addition of bike racks)

Hybrid bus 2007 new in 2009, a one-time route 47 Shelby Farms bus is pictured near the northern end of line of route 45 Appling Farms that is brand new in August 2017.

MATA-r45-2007-3.JPG

Meanwhile, I've finally pictured a green 29ft. hybrid in the form of bus 2004 new in 2007.  It is on route 47 Shelby Farms and pictured at Agricenter International.

MATA-r47-2004-1.JPGMATA-r47-2004-2.JPGMATA-r47-2004-4.JPGMATA-r47-2004-5.JPG

Finally, diesel bus 3007 new in 2009 is pictured at Midtown Memphis on pilot route 31 Firestone.  It is not retrofitted with a bike rack, and the route partially restores an eliminated section of the old route 31 Crosstown.

MATA-r31-3007-2.JPGMATA-r31-3007-3.JPGMATA-r31-3007-1.JPGMATA-r31-3007-4.JPG

Absent further new buses or new routes in horizon, this will be my final MATA post for a while, until at least the restart of the Trolley service.

 

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  • 4 months later...

Some really insane developments!

According to MATA's March Board of Commissioners Meeting Agenda, they are due to receive eighteen (18 ) 2012-2015 Gillig Low Floor 40ft. hybrid's from Antelope Valley Transit Authority (Lancaster-Palmdale, Los Angeles County) due to the latter agency's bid to go fully electric by the end of this year.  I wonder if they will keep their 43xx fleet numbers or renumbered into 4034 onward once in MATA service.

Meanwhile, according to the same agenda and this Facebook picture, they have nine (9) 2018 Gillig Low Floor diesel's with bonded windows delivered as well.  They are all-white for now pending a brand new livery.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The 21800-series of buses are here!  As expected, they are all-white except the fleet numbers and the MATA logo.  Attached here are buses 21801, 21803 and 21806.  Meanwhile, also attached are wrapped buses from the 21700-series like 21702, 21706 and 21713.  All pictures are taken at the American Way Transit Center in southern Memphis on the past Wednesday.

MATA-r30-21801-3.JPGMATA-r30-21806-1.JPGMATA-r30-21806-2.JPGMATA-r56-21803.JPGMATA-r37-21702.JPGMATA-r69-21706.JPGMATA-r09-21713.JPG

Memphis Area Transit Authority Bus

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  • 3 months later...
9 hours ago, SKWROM said:

Does anyone have an idea of the current roster. The wiki is pretty outdated at the moment.

Last time I did any updating on the wiki for MATA, it was late December, 2017.  Added quite a bit to it, as it was.

 

Let me see if I can get any newer information, and work on it in the near future.

Cheers.

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