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2 hours ago, kainoa3 said:

I always appreciate your insight and stories! Please keep them coming Roamer. 

With the largest agencies in the United States almost buying the RTS's exclusively in the late 70's/80's I just never understood why metro swouldn't have gotten in on the action. Now I know! Thanks again. 

Oh, well thanks, kionoa.  I know some on this board told me once that they didn't want to hear me ramble on about my own experiences but others don't seem to mind it.  It does me good and is therapeutic for me to reminisce as I'm getting up there in years, am in poor health, and having difficulty remembering things so sometimes it's good therapy for me to force myself to recall some of my earlier recollections about buses.  

Pertaining to the RTS and Seattle that I forgot to mention is that another thing the Metro insisted on (and it's been discussed on the Metro thread but to this day, I'm still not certain why they had this requirement) is they insisted that their buses have a rear window.  They finally did away with that "rule" with orders placed after the Gillig Phantoms and NFI D60s.  

Therefore, the RTS series-4 which were being produced in the 1980s would have not met the procurement guidelines on both 1) having the lift on the front door, and 2) not being able to order the coach with a rear window (that's what I understood as I seem to remember that the a/c unit was either standard or they charged extra to have it removed and even if removed, would not install a rear window ...somebody with more knowledge on that, please feel free to correct me on this).  And another quirky procurement requirement was they insisted that buses didn't need a/c as it would only be used for a few days a year in our climate and the maintenance costs are very high.  The first bus with a/c was the D40LF and that was probably only because it was a piggy back order  ...but it was around that time they came to their senses and started specifying a/c on future orders.

Metro instead ordered Flyer D900s and MAN Americanas for their 40-foot fleet instead of the RTS during the 1980s. The Americanas had a relatively short wheelbase and were actually a pretty good bus to maneuver in and out of traffic as they had a relatively short wheelbase for a 40-footer but not a real tight turning radius.  I really enjoyed both the Americanas and the MAN artics.  The 2100 series artics were actually the best handling bus I have ever driven.  Even though I loved driving our fishbowls (700 series coaches), the 2100 artics, to me, handled like a BMW in comparison to anything else  ...tight and precise steering with just a nice centered feeling.  To tell you the truth, I too wish Metro would have had a few RTS coaches as I thought they looked so much more modern and streamlined compared to the competition  ...especially the Americanas which everybody called breadboxes. 

Oh jeez, sorry, I'm really off topic.  This is a TriMet thread.  I'll quit rambling, lol

 

 

32 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

Good points here. I know KCM was strongly opposed to the rear door lift. Remember, in the early 1980s most agencies weren't even specifying lifts; Metro was a trailblazer in this regard and was one of the first big city agencies to go 100% accessible in 1999. If you didn't care about having a lift at all in the 1980s, the RTS was a good choice and if you liked the RTS you just bought more and put up with the rear door lift. 

As a sidebar - I lived in Phoenix for two years. As busdude.com often puts it, "the legacy of the RTS lives on" and they spec their low floor coaches with rear door wheelchair ramps. It's awful. It is so inefficient and slow, not to mention difficult for the operator to position the coach to clear obstructions. There's no reason for it other than its always been that way (in some cities, whose first coaches with lifts were RTSs). Awful. So glad I'm not dealing with that any more. 

Finally, regarding Fishbowls and turn radius. Yeah, the RTSs had a long wheelbase. I've never driven one, but can imagine they gave up a bit of turn radius. Fishbowls, even with manual steering, had a shockingly tight turn radius ... you just had to have enough strength to get the wheel around.

Spokane had a not-insignificant fleet of RTS coaches. 

Yes, you're so right about the lifts.  Metro was the trailblazer pertaining to accessibility.  Metro started training their drivers on the lift as soon as the D900s started to arrive on property and that was in the summer of 1980 I believe. 

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On 8/20/2017 at 8:16 PM, kainoa3 said:

What's interesting to me is the complete lack of interest by PNW transit agencies in the RTS buses. I never understood this as it was easily the most popular bus of the 80's and early 90's. 

I think community transit is the only PNW agency that even reordered the RTS's after an initial order.

I've read multiple places that Portland drivers hate those buses. 

The RTS bus was the most common type here in Salem. Drivers loved them, they were luxury back in the day!

1 hour ago, roamer said:

Oh, well thanks, kionoa.  I know some on this board told me once that they didn't want to hear me ramble on about my own experiences but others don't seem to mind it.  It does me good and is therapeutic for me to reminisce as I'm getting up there in years, am in poor health, and having difficulty remembering things so sometimes it's good therapy for me to force myself to recall some of my earlier recollections about buses.  

Pertaining to the RTS and Seattle that I forgot to mention is that another thing the Metro insisted on (and it's been discussed on the Metro thread but to this day, I'm still not certain why they had this requirement) is they insisted that their buses have a rear window.  They finally did away with that "rule" with orders placed after the Gillig Phantoms and NFI D60s.  

Therefore, the RTS series-4 which were being produced in the 1980s would have not met the procurement guidelines on both 1) having the lift on the front door, and 2) not being able to order the coach with a rear window (that's what I understood as I seem to remember that the a/c unit was either standard or they charged extra to have it removed and even if removed, would not install a rear window ...somebody with more knowledge on that, please feel free to correct me on this).  And another quirky procurement requirement was they insisted that buses didn't need a/c as it would only be used for a few days a year in our climate and the maintenance costs are very high.  The first bus with a/c was the D40LF and that was probably only because it was a piggy back order  ...but it was around that time they came to their senses and started specifying a/c on future orders.

Metro instead ordered Flyer D900s and MAN Americanas for their 40-foot fleet instead of the RTS during the 1980s. The Americanas had a relatively short wheelbase and were actually a pretty good bus to maneuver in and out of traffic as they had a relatively short wheelbase for a 40-footer but not a real tight turning radius.  I really enjoyed both the Americanas and the MAN artics.  The 2100 series artics were actually the best handling bus I have ever driven.  Even though I loved driving our fishbowls (700 series coaches), the 2100 artics, to me, handled like a BMW in comparison to anything else  ...tight and precise steering with just a nice centered feeling.  To tell you the truth, I too wish Metro would have had a few RTS coaches as I thought they looked so much more modern and streamlined compared to the competition  ...especially the Americanas which everybody called breadboxes. 

Oh jeez, sorry, I'm really off topic.  This is a TriMet thread.  I'll quit rambling, lol

 

 

Yes, you're so right about the lifts.  Metro was the trailblazer pertaining to accessibility.  Metro started training their drivers on the lift as soon as the D900s started to arrive on property and that was in the summer of 1980 I believe. 

You wouldn't happen to know which system Metro piggybacked the 3600's from, would you?

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17 hours ago, northwesterner said:

Good points here. I know KCM was strongly opposed to the rear door lift. Remember, in the early 1980s most agencies weren't even specifying lifts; Metro was a trailblazer in this regard and was one of the first big city agencies to go 100% accessible in 1999. If you didn't care about having a lift at all in the 1980s, the RTS was a good choice and if you liked the RTS you just bought more and put up with the rear door lift. 

As a sidebar - I lived in Phoenix for two years. As busdude.com often puts it, "the legacy of the RTS lives on" and they spec their low floor coaches with rear door wheelchair ramps. It's awful. It is so inefficient and slow, not to mention difficult for the operator to position the coach to clear obstructions. There's no reason for it other than its always been that way (in some cities, whose first coaches with lifts were RTSs). Awful. So glad I'm not dealing with that any more. 

Finally, regarding Fishbowls and turn radius. Yeah, the RTSs had a long wheelbase. I've never driven one, but can imagine they gave up a bit of turn radius. Fishbowls, even with manual steering, had a shockingly tight turn radius ... you just had to have enough strength to get the wheel around.

Spokane had a not-insignificant fleet of RTS coaches. 

Right. To the best of my knowledge the only WA agencies to have RTS were community, c-Tran, kitsap, and Spokane. 

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37 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

They weren't a piggyback.

lol  ...proves my point about my faulty memory when I continue to spew out inaccurate facts and erroneous information as if I know what I'm talking about :P 

Sorry about that.  I'll shut up for awhile.

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21 minutes ago, roamer said:

lol  ...proves my point about my faulty memory when I continue to spew out inaccurate facts and erroneous information as if I know what I'm talking about :P 

Sorry about that.  I'll shut up for awhile.

Hey it's alright. We all make mistakes ;)

1 hour ago, northwesterner said:

They weren't a piggyback.

Perhaps he mistook them for Grays Harbor Transit D40LF's that were piggybacked from Metro?

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On ‎8‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 9:48 PM, roamer said:

Yes, you're so right about the lifts.  Metro was the trailblazer pertaining to accessibility.  Metro started training their drivers on the lift as soon as the D900s started to arrive on property and that was in the summer of 1980 I believe. 

While not on topic, its interesting to note that metro was ahead of the curve, and in-between 1979 and 1985 when all the AMG Trolleys, flyers, and MANs were delivered metro became largely W/C Accessible, probably more so than other agencies at that point. A lot of newer buses built in the mid-late 70s that were delivered w/o lifts were quickly relegated to spend the rest of their days in tripper service at an early age. When the Breda's were purchased in 1990 it left very little non W/C accessible coaches left in service. With such a large fleet there were only 75 or so MAN SG220s which were retired in 1999, and a small number of Diesel AMGs all of which were gone by 1996. 

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On 8/22/2017 at 11:21 PM, busdude.com said:

While not on topic, its interesting to note that metro was ahead of the curve, and in-between 1979 and 1985 when all the AMG Trolleys, flyers, and MANs were delivered metro became largely W/C Accessible, probably more so than other agencies at that point. A lot of newer buses built in the mid-late 70s that were delivered w/o lifts were quickly relegated to spend the rest of their days in tripper service at an early age. When the Breda's were purchased in 1990 it left very little non W/C accessible coaches left in service. With such a large fleet there were only 75 or so MAN SG220s which were retired in 1999, and a small number of Diesel AMGs all of which were gone by 1996. 

All accurate. Metro's commitment to accessibility was so strong that a staff engineer designed the Lift-U lift that became industry standard in response to the terrible products on the market in the late 1970s.

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