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American Rosters


MiExpress
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So over the past little while, while collecting rosters and VIN information, I have been trying to at least spruce up some of the American transit rosters. It just seems to me that some of the rosters are created by looking a delivery list or two or looking at pictures on websites and then just left to sit and collect dust. It's great that we have full rosters, or at least a detailed enough one for most agencies, however the smaller agencies really seem to have been forgotten. While I'm amazed at how much the wiki has evolved over the 3 years of existence due to the hard work of editors, I think it is now time to take a hard look at our American rosters now that we have well established our Canadian rosters. I feel we can document a lot more information than we currently have on the systems south of the border. Most of this information is easy to obtain, such as a google search. An example - Vallejo Transit in California. The current roster we have on the wiki is quite vague. I did a google search typing in 'Vallejo Transit Orion (as I knew they had Orions) and set my search to only include PDF files in the advance search as fleet inventories and such are usually in PDF format. First result was a document with a fleet listing from 2007. I'm not saying the roster has to be 100% complete, but we should have enough information to at least paint a clear picture of what the agency operated. Another great way to obtain information is by emailing agencies asking for rosters - maybe some members could draft a general email and send them to various agencies asking for roster information?

You can call me a prick for my next (minor) point, but I can't help but notice the amount of rosters that just have random data like "324, 328, 333" or "2xx" as fleet numbers. On the US rosters I've worked on, if I didn't know the fleet number range I would put "Numbered in 300 series" or "XX units" or something to that extent as seen in this roster. I don't know about anyone else but I just feel it's a little easier to digest and looks nicer, as well as making it a little more credible, especially since it's incomplete information.

Overall, CPTDB seems to be the only place that has an extensive roster collection kept and maintained, and I know people have given us countless praise for the wiki project, but I feel it's time to look beyond Canada, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, etc. rosters and really improve some of our US rosters because I know we can always do better.

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I agree that there are a lot of US system rosters which are lacking in information or ones that just have random pieces of info. I have added information that I know from generally reliable sources to the wiki when I can. For example I added the Rochester Bus, MVTA, Southwest Transit, and U of MN Campus Shuttle rosters because their all systems I'm fairly familiar with. I'm also planning on streamlining the Metro Transit roster to just Metro Transit and moving the rest of the opt-outs to their own page. I'm just not sure exactly how I want to do it yet and I still need some information.

A big part of the problem is many of these smaller systems don't have anyone based there to keep the roster updated so it's much harder to get as detailed when the only updates are from someone's one hour visit six months ago or a press release. At the same time I like having the rosters available when i'm planning on going somewhere. It's helpful to look and see that X Transit only appears to operate some GILLIG Low Floors and cutaways while Y Bus has 352, 356, 360, 438 NovaBus RTS', 450, 456 New Flyer D40HF and 500-505? New Flyer D30LF. That's better than nothing at least.

I agree though that having something like at least 5 units in the 500 series is nicer than a list of numbers. What would be good is to have the at least 5 units in the 500 series link to a page with the random numbers so someone else can add on to update and perhaps finish the number series.

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I agree that there are a lot of US system rosters which are lacking in information or ones that just have random pieces of info. I have added information that I know from generally reliable sources to the wiki when I can. For example I added the Rochester Bus, MVTA, Southwest Transit, and U of MN Campus Shuttle rosters because their all systems I'm fairly familiar with. I'm also planning on streamlining the Metro Transit roster to just Metro Transit and moving the rest of the opt-outs to their own page. I'm just not sure exactly how I want to do it yet and I still need some information.

A big part of the problem is many of these smaller systems don't have anyone based there to keep the roster updated so it's much harder to get as detailed when the only updates are from someone's one hour visit six months ago or a press release. At the same time I like having the rosters available when i'm planning on going somewhere. It's helpful to look and see that X Transit only appears to operate some GILLIG Low Floors and cutaways while Y Bus has 352, 356, 360, 438 NovaBus RTS', 450, 456 New Flyer D40HF and 500-505? New Flyer D30LF. That's better than nothing at least.

I agree though that having something like at least 5 units in the 500 series is nicer than a list of numbers. What would be good is to have the at least 5 units in the 500 series link to a page with the random numbers so someone else can add on to update and perhaps finish the number series.

I agree... Delivery lists are a great start point these days as there is very little activity in the bus resale business, but some builders deliveries are very poorly documented (such as Chance/Opus). In fact ALL builders are becoming very hard to get info on. So something is better than nothing. I happen to be in Chicago, so I know midwest fleets quite well, but not all details. I have been adding to Pace, CTA, and other Chicago rosters, and have more to add, especially historical data. But others need to add for other regions.

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So over the past little while, while collecting rosters and VIN information, I have been trying to at least spruce up some of the American transit rosters. It just seems to me that some of the rosters are created by looking a delivery list or two or looking at pictures on websites and then just left to sit and collect dust. It's great that we have full rosters, or at least a detailed enough one for most agencies, however the smaller agencies really seem to have been forgotten. While I'm amazed at how much the wiki has evolved over the 3 years of existence due to the hard work of editors, I think it is now time to take a hard look at our American rosters now that we have well established our Canadian rosters. I feel we can document a lot more information than we currently have on the systems south of the border. Most of this information is easy to obtain, such as a google search. An example - Vallejo Transit in California. The current roster we have on the wiki is quite vague. I did a google search typing in 'Vallejo Transit Orion (as I knew they had Orions) and set my search to only include PDF files in the advance search as fleet inventories and such are usually in PDF format. First result was a document with a fleet listing from 2007. I'm not saying the roster has to be 100% complete, but we should have enough information to at least paint a clear picture of what the agency operated. Another great way to obtain information is by emailing agencies asking for rosters - maybe some members could draft a general email and send them to various agencies asking for roster information?

Agreed. I'll try to come up in the next few weeks with a general email that can be used.

You can call me a prick for my next (minor) point, but I can't help but notice the amount of rosters that just have random data like "324, 328, 333" or "2xx" as fleet numbers. On the US rosters I've worked on, if I didn't know the fleet number range I would put "Numbered in 300 series" or "XX units" or something to that extent as seen in this roster. I don't know about anyone else but I just feel it's a little easier to digest and looks nicer, as well as making it a little more credible, especially since it's incomplete information.

I agree, it looks better that way.

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Agreed. I'll try to come up in the next few weeks with a general email that can be used.

I missed the one line about emailing providers on the original post, however I think it's a good idea.

Edited for going OT

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  • 2 weeks later...

I added Lake Xpress of Lake County, FL.

http://www.cptdb.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Lake_Xpress

One word of caution about emailing different TAs, when I had written to this agency about two weeks ago my request for fleet number info was apparently regarded as a county public records request, which meant their legal department handled it instead of someone at the agency simply forwarding the email to the head of fleet maintenance (or similar department). Had the legal department taken more than 15 minutes to find this information in the public records it would have cost me their hourly rate of $10. Luckily whoever was looking found it right away so there was no administrative fee. I've never had that happen before so I was a bit surprised when a paralegal wrote back saying: "We are gathering the information you requested and I will let you know how much it will cost you once it's compiled." Never had that happen before ;) Anyways it might be a good idea to avoid emailing too many systems at once just in case a couple of them want to bill for administrative fees.

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Interesting, how are they going to bill you for it though? You just wouldn't pay it. :o

More and more agencies are demanding a formal FOI request in order to get a fleet list. Basically a case of "making sure everyon's ass is covered" than anything else. Most will not charge you, but some will, mostly to discourage you. Best one I ever saw was PACE in suburban Chicago. For years they would not give up any fleet info, saying it is a "security issue". Even before, when they would give you anything, they would charge exorbitant "fees". Just didn't want to deal with bus fans, basically. Now that state made the FOI laws stronger recently, they can't play the "security" game. So they came up with another idea. Sure, we will give it to you. In person only. This is what they told a friend of mine from California, obviously thinking no way he could come in person. Didn't count on him sending a local "agent", namely me, to retrieve the envelope. Just goes to show you, some of these outfits are VERY hard to get anything from. But not impossible.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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