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9 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

I also think if they actually would also start switching over to a Hybrid bus fleet, that would attract riders too. Or even CNG.

 

But trimet is too focused on rail that they refuse to address the issues with their bus service.

Last I had heard, adding a hybrid drive system adds roughly $200-250,000 to the purchase price of a coach. CNG also adds to the price as well, not quite as much but still does. and with CNG you also have to spend millions per garage installing a CNG fueling station (Compressors, Dryer, pressurized storage, new dispensers, methane detection and ventilation for indoor shop facilities, training for mechanics, etc.) for environmental impacts that honestly are somewhat debatable at this point with modern DEF/DPF technologies. One benefit is that fuel prices are lower, however that is compensated for additional higher cost for parts. The environmental impact of a particular model of bus does not generate or encourage ridership, the service, frequency, and span however do. As for a "focus" on rail, they have a lot invested in rail operations, and I would imagine that its also a significant portion of the ridership so it only makes sense that they focus on that. Plus politically it sounds good and if that's where most of your ridership is at that's what gets the attention. It does remind me of the "Bus Riders Union" case in LA where a disgruntled group of people, as I recall mostly minorities at the time successfully sued LACMTA under Title VI for discrimination as they were investing heavily in suburban rail service, at the neglect of bus service for minorities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_Riders_Union_(Los_Angeles)

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11 hours ago, M. Parsons said:

There's what, two manufacturers out there, Axion and Luminator? And an amber LED sign is pretty much industry standard. What's so wrong with what Trimet specs? The Bailos signs from the timeframe of the 2500's were problematic, but, that's not inherently Trimet's fault.

There's nothing wrong with the new British Hanover signs that they are getting now, but they really should have replaced the Balios signs on the 2500's.  They're replacing signs on the MAX trains to new digital signs, and I'd say that knowing where a bus is going is pretty important.  Heck, even replacing the Balios signs with Luminator signs from the 2200's they are retiring would be an improvement...

TriMet goes with the white LED headsign, and then go with amber for the rest of the bus.  What is the price difference?  When you see a bus with all white LED signs, I'd say it looks significantly more modern and sharp.  Just my opinion on that one though...

I definitely get that there is a certain level of marketing CNG and Hybrid as "clean" technology, though they also marketed the "bio-diesel" thing too...maybe they just have to market more on the clean diesel piece?  It is strange that in an area that prides itself on being "green" that we haven't seen more in terms of eco-conscious buses.  But yes, as I work in Salem seeing their struggles with CNG now is pretty sad.  Sadder yet that their staff couldn't get their ducks in a row to get new XD40's purchased this year.

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11 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

No need to get foul here...

TriMet has 8 hybrid buses. The maintenance knows how to maintain them. Thy are a proven technology, and electric buses aren't a solid technology yet.

Cherriots is very happy with CNG buses, and they do save a lot of money with them. The tanks are much much much cheaper to replace than to buy a new bus. CNG is also very proven. Don't know why you implied Cherriots having to "inspect and replace tanks"

Last time I heard, replacing all the CNG tanks on a 40 ft Transit was in the $30,000 range. That's a LOT of money to be spending on an old bus.. And as with any pressure vessel they do need to be inspected on a regular basis, although they shouldn't have to be replaced too often. Typical lifespan of the carbon fiber tanks these days is 18-20+ years. Early steel and aluminum tanks were only 15-18 years.

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1 hour ago, busdude.com said:

Last time I heard, replacing all the CNG tanks on a 40 ft Transit was in the $30,000 range. That's a LOT of money to be spending on an old bus.. And as with any pressure vessel they do need to be inspected on a regular basis, although they shouldn't have to be replaced too often. Typical lifespan of the carbon fiber tanks these days is 18-20+ years. Early steel and aluminum tanks were only 15-18 years.

30,000 is not a lot compared to a new bus. Cherriots has extremely good maintenance and I can see those buses lasting another 5-10 years easily. Heck, we had 30 year old RTS buses until 2012!

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17 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

30,000 is not a lot compared to a new bus. Cherriots has extremely good maintenance and I can see those buses lasting another 5-10 years easily. Heck, we had 30 year old RTS buses until 2012!

Your cost/benefit ratio starts to decline heavily when a bus reaches the end of its useful life. Sure $30,000 is change compared to the price of a new bus, but than when you factor in $20,000 to replace an engine, $15,000 for a transmission, now you're in it for $65,000 now add the additional downtime for the vehicle for these repairs as they crop up, having to explain to the FTA why your buses are out of service so much, possibly not making pull outs because of so many vehicles on the deadline - oh and this doesn't count all the other routine repairs that older vehicles need more and more of as things just break due to age and wear. A bus can last as long as parts are available and someone is willing to sink the money and time into it, it just gets to a point after about 15-18 years that its really just time to send it down the road, and if you have not planned a replacement, that $65k is going to come due fast if it hasn't already and you're still going to wind up replacing the bus after sinking all the money into it.

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23 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

I also think if they actually would also start switching over to a Hybrid bus fleet, that would attract riders too. Or even CNG.

Yeah... I'd really love to see a source for the claim that the propulsion system has any impact on ridership.

As anecdotal evidence, I've lived in cities with diesel buses, Los Angeles with CNG (America's Largest Fleet of CNG buses) and Seattle with hybrids (the pioneer of the technology). While I appreciate that the agencies are adopting technology to make the air cleaner... I choose to ride based on how fast and frequent the route is.

 

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44 minutes ago, rickycourtney said:

Yeah... I'd really love to see a source for the claim that the propulsion system has any impact on ridership.

As anecdotal evidence, I've lived in cities with diesel buses, Los Angeles with CNG (America's Largest Fleet of CNG buses) and Seattle with hybrids (the pioneer of the technology). While I appreciate that the agencies are adopting technology to make the air cleaner... I choose to ride based on how fast and frequent the route is.

 

Well, to be fair I didn't mean it would attract large amounts of riders. 

Not only do they reduce emissions, but Hybrids and CNG buses are also much quieter. Sure they may be a expensive to buy, but there is a pay back by running them.

Although Seattle is now getting different seats, the new ones aren't half bad. They're still comfortable compared to TriMet's hard plastic seats.

But you have to think, why did they put more expensive, padded, nicer seats on the Type 5's and not the buses? 

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9 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

Well, to be fair I didn't mean it would attract large amounts of riders. 

Not only do they reduce emissions, but Hybrids and CNG buses are also much quieter. Sure they may be a expensive to buy, but there is a pay back by running them.

Although Seattle is now getting different seats, the new ones aren't half bad. They're still comfortable compared to TriMet's hard plastic seats.

But you have to think, why did they put more expensive, padded, nicer seats on the Type 5's and not the buses? 

It could have something to do with federal regulations, or it could simply be the rail division fleet manager picking that, while the bus division fleet manager picked something else.

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  • 2 months later...
1 hour ago, OR Transit Fan said:

Thought I'd share these photos. Apparently TriMet sent down a bus with volunteers to testify at a hearing at the Oregon State Capitol here in Salem on June 6th and 7th. 

For what? So, called privatization of TriMet? 

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2 hours ago, Blue Bus Fan said:

For what? So, called privatization of TriMet? 

No, not for that, which isn't even true. So please don't spread that, it has been debunked already. 

What was going on were hearings for the proposed transportation package which unsurprisingly has funding for transit throughout the state.

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6 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

Thought I'd share these photos. Apparently TriMet sent down a bus with volunteers to testify at a hearing at the Oregon State Capitol here in Salem on June 6th and 7th. They sent 3507, which they parked at the downtown transit mall. 

TriMet In Salem-a.jpg

TriMet 3507-a.jpg

King County Metro's union does something like this once a year where they take a Metro bus down to Olympia for the day with off duty operators and staff so they can speak with their representatives.

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  • 1 month later...

TriMet's electric buses will debut in Beaverton

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/08/10/trimets-electric-buses-will-debut-in-beaverton.html

"TriMet will debut its mini-fleet of battery-electric buses in Beaverton beginning in the fall of 2018, the agency said Wednesday.

Five 40-foot electric buses will run on the 62-Murray Blvd line, a 13-mile route between the Sunset Transit Center and Washington Square Transit Center.

TriMet announced a year ago that it had received a $3.4 million federal grant to purchase four electric buses. The number was upped to five when Portland General Electric included up to $800,000 for charging infrastructure in its state-mandated transportation electrification plan.

The Beaverton route was selected as the best option near the agency's Southwest Merlo Road garage, the only TriMet operations facility that currently has "space available to install infrastructure for depot-based charging and maintenance of the five new vehicles," according to Public Information Officer Tommy Moore.

While in service, the buses will be charged at the Sunset Transit Center using an overhead fast charger that can provide 40 to 60 miles of range in 10 to 15 minutes, Moore said." (the rest of this story is available via the bizjournals link)

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11 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

Spotted Ex-Trimet 972 on streetview in Seattle, across from the place where Community Transit used to store commuter buses for the day.

https://goo.gl/maps/zv2BV7ePzkH2

https://goo.gl/maps/hHeonFtFCVR2

Good catch! Always wondered what agency that RTS came from. Never had the desire to exit off of I-5 and actually investigate. Def seen better days! 😳

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5 hours ago, kainoa3 said:

Good catch! Always wondered what agency that RTS came from. Never had the desire to exit off of I-5 and actually investigate. Def seen better days! 😳

That thing has been there for years, I think it may be gone now though. it was partially converted, they tried to sell it on Craigslist, and who knows what happened from there. 

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On 8/13/2017 at 11:33 AM, kainoa3 said:

Good catch! Always wondered what agency that RTS came from. Never had the desire to exit off of I-5 and actually investigate. Def seen better days! 😳

I wasn't too sure of the agency either. My first thought was Community Transit but then saw the red stripes over the driver's window.

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7 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

I wasn't too sure of the agency either. My first thought was Community Transit but then saw the red stripes over the driver's window.

Random thought but I was wondering if the C-Tran order of RTS's were piggybacked somehow to the Tri-Met order back in the 80's... 

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22 hours ago, kainoa3 said:

Random thought but I was wondering if the C-Tran order of RTS's were piggybacked somehow to the Tri-Met order back in the 80's... 

I have thought the same thing. It wouldn't surprise me if one of them piggybacked off of each other.

Then again, the C-Tran were the more common 96 inch wide models, whereas TriMet had 102 inch wide.

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On 8/16/2017 at 8:48 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

I have thought the same thing. It wouldn't surprise me if one of them piggybacked off of each other.

Then again, the C-Tran were the more common 96 inch wide models, whereas TriMet had 102 inch wide.

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. 

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3 hours ago, 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. 

Salem liked the RTS.    Lack of a front door lift until the WFD model was an issue for many operators.

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From my recollection, KCM in Seattle used that very excuse and rejected even considering ordering the RTS in the 70s and 80s  ...the lift issue.  They insisted the lift be on the front door (and I'm glad they did as a rear door lift is a pain in the ass for a driver).

Another reason in addition to the hassle a rear door wheelchair lift was that drivers everywhere tended to not like driving the RTS is that they had a significantly longer wheelbase as compared to buses of comparable overall length.  Therefore, they were more difficult to maneuver in tight situations and a lot more difficult making turns  ...especially right turns.  

As an example, many drivers were used to driving fishbowls.  Like TriMet, many agencies at that time still had at least a small fleet of fishbowls.  So when drivers had to switch back and forth from a fishbowl to an RTS, it was a lot more cumbersome to drive an RTS as they had over a foot longer wheelbase compared to a 40-foot fishbowl.  It may not seem like much but believe me, a wheelbase of over a foot longer makes a HUGE difference.  It may make the ride nicer along with the possible advantage of a shorter rear overhang but makes a bus significantly more unwieldy and awkward to drive.  A long wheelbase may be nice for OTR coaches but for a city transit bus, a shorter wheelbase makes a lot more sense. 

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10 hours ago, roamer said:

From my recollection, KCM in Seattle used that very excuse and rejected even considering ordering the RTS in the 70s and 80s  ...the lift issue.  They insisted the lift be on the front door (and I'm glad they did as a rear door lift is a pain in the ass for a driver).

Another reason in addition to the hassle a rear door wheelchair lift was that drivers everywhere tended to not like driving the RTS is that they had a significantly longer wheelbase as compared to buses of comparable overall length.  Therefore, they were more difficult to maneuver in tight situations and a lot more difficult making turns  ...especially right turns.  

As an example, many drivers were used to driving fishbowls.  Like TriMet, many agencies at that time still had at least a small fleet of fishbowls.  So when drivers had to switch back and forth from a fishbowl to an RTS, it was a lot more cumbersome to drive an RTS as they had over a foot longer wheelbase compared to a 40-foot fishbowl.  It may not seem like much but believe me, a wheelbase of over a foot longer makes a HUGE difference.  It may make the ride nicer along with the possible advantage of a shorter rear overhang but makes a bus significantly more unwieldy and awkward to drive.  A long wheelbase may be nice for OTR coaches but for a city transit bus, a shorter wheelbase makes a lot more sense. 

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 wouldn't have gotten in on the action. Now I know! Thanks again. 

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11 hours ago, roamer said:

From my recollection, KCM in Seattle used that very excuse and rejected even considering ordering the RTS in the 70s and 80s  ...the lift issue.  They insisted the lift be on the front door (and I'm glad they did as a rear door lift is a pain in the ass for a driver).

Another reason in addition to the hassle a rear door wheelchair lift was that drivers everywhere tended to not like driving the RTS is that they had a significantly longer wheelbase as compared to buses of comparable overall length.  Therefore, they were more difficult to maneuver in tight situations and a lot more difficult making turns  ...especially right turns.  

As an example, many drivers were used to driving fishbowls.  Like TriMet, many agencies at that time still had at least a small fleet of fishbowls.  So when drivers had to switch back and forth from a fishbowl to an RTS, it was a lot more cumbersome to drive an RTS as they had over a foot longer wheelbase compared to a 40-foot fishbowl.  It may not seem like much but believe me, a wheelbase of over a foot longer makes a HUGE difference.  It may make the ride nicer along with the possible advantage of a shorter rear overhang but makes a bus significantly more unwieldy and awkward to drive.  A long wheelbase may be nice for OTR coaches but for a city transit bus, a shorter wheelbase makes a lot more sense. 

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.

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.

Spokane had a not-insignificant fleet of RTS coaches. 

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