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Portland TriMet


Nabinut
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Was able to ride a 40-foot Flxible (#1780) on the #54 IINM, 1907 on the #50, and a CRC and an RDC on the WES line...Rode all 4 types of LRVs in the Tri-Met system, including Type 1 #101 and Type 4 #401. Rode several streetcars on the CL line and one on the NS line...I did find the streetcar with the "MADE IN USA" wrap, shot it over by OMSI. Did not get a chance to go by Powell, Central, or Merlo, but I did see the rail yard by Ruby Junction. Rode the 4, 6, 50, and 54 lines while there. Overall, a great city, loved the rail lines, not so much the bus lines, but still planning to visit again early next year. Thanks for your help!

--Dr. C

P.S., got my first ride on the Talgos on the Amtrak Cascades...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey, for anyone who might be interested...

As of this past Monday TriMet has placed some of its 25 test buses on the road with the new INIT radio and AVL/ASA systems. They are actually pretty sweet as the voice readouts are actually understandable and the touch screen interface is a HUGE improvement from the previous BDS system. They also announce in downtown Portland, which the previous system was unable to accomplish. In order for these new radios to be functional, two temporary antennas on large trucks had to be made available as GE found some dead spots in downtown Portland where the radios were not working - they are currently working to install permanent antennas to supplement the system.

These 25 buses are running out of the Merlo garage - I know that 2648 and 2801 have them installed and are running routes from Merlo. I'm sure that these Center garage buses will be returned to them once more buses get the new systems installed and deployed. Merlo will be the first garage to have these buses deployed until Powell garage deploys the next new buses.

Today I saw 2648 on Line 33, with the run number of "3305" on it which indicates this bus is now back at Center Garage.

~Ben

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  • 2 weeks later...

Question for Jared Kam: what is TriMet's current fleet roster as of October 2012 (that was when TM began to put their 55 newest buses in service)?

Why do I ask now? Because, on my trips that involve going on SE 82nd Ave., I haven't been seeing any of the 1600s from the Powell garage (1631-1643, the 1991 model Gillig Phantoms) on Line 29 anymore, nor on Lines 152, 155 or 156.

Center Garage, meanwhile, still has its 1600s (mostly the 1990 units numbered 1601-1630) on Line 34.

According to TriMet's FY2013 budget mission statement, its plans are to retire more of the 1990 Gillig Phantoms and 1992 Flxible Metros when the 3100 series Gillig Advantages come into play.

Thank you,

Ben

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Question for Jared Kam: what is TriMet's current fleet roster as of October 2012 (that was when TM began to put their 55 newest buses in service)?

Why do I ask now? Because, on my trips that involve going on SE 82nd Ave., I haven't been seeing any of the 1600s from the Powell garage (1631-1643, the 1991 model Gillig Phantoms) on Line 29 anymore, nor on Lines 152, 155 or 156.

Center Garage, meanwhile, still has its 1600s (mostly the 1990 units numbered 1601-1630) on Line 34.

According to TriMet's FY2013 budget mission statement, its plans are to retire more of the 1990 Gillig Phantoms and 1992 Flxible Metros when the 3100 series Gillig Advantages come into play.

Thank you,

Ben

Ben,

I am honestly not quite sure how they are retiring buses - TriMet has an odd practice of retiring buses one at a time rather than a series at a time. I can tell you with 100% certaininty that the original hybrid buses are retired (2561 and 2562) due to major repair work that TriMet was not interested in investing in. I also know with the BDS installation taking up a number of buses at a time we don't yet have a full estimate of how many buses are remaining.

If you take some time on a weekday and check out the Interactive System Map you'll find a number of 1400-series Gilligs as well as 3000-series buses scattered across many lines throughout the system, including the 155 and the 30. I thought that the release of the 3000's meant the end of the 1400's as we knew it, but clearly I was wrong on that. TriMet still runs the 1400's on express and peak service (though their number is much reduced) and has started the new Gilligs only on the weekdays (perhaps due to the fact that there are more mechanics available who can service the buses as the bugs are being worked out).

So whether or not your buses are fully retired or just getting new radios installed is yet to be seen. Hopefully you have been on one of the 1400's or 1600's with the new Init BDS in - to me it still seems so odd to install brand new radios along with PA equipment and external annunciators for the remaining year or so these 1400's and 1600's will be on the road, But it is quite cool to see these old buses with current technology - it's like they got another lease on life. I just hope that it doesn't mean that the next series of buses will be installed with used radio equipment.

Oddly enough, I ran into Neil McFarlane just the other day in my workplace and he reported that the next order of buses will have a total of 70 buses, up from the 64 or so that they were originally planned to receive. When asked if we would see any shorter buses, he seemed to insinuate that this next order of new buses will be all 40 footers.

Oh, and word on the street is that the new hybrids (3052-3055) have also been spotted out on the road, though I have yet to see one. Let me know if you have rode one of the new Gilligs - I'm curious to hear some opinions on the new buses. So far, I've heard pretty positive driver feedback and overall pretty negative rider feedback...

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(snipped)

Oh, and word on the street is that the new hybrids (3052-3055) have also been spotted out on the road, though I have yet to see one. Let me know if you have rode one of the new Gilligs - I'm curious to hear some opinions on the new buses. So far, I've heard pretty positive driver feedback and overall pretty negative rider feedback...

What specifically are people saying?

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Ben,

I am honestly not quite sure how they are retiring buses - TriMet has an odd practice of retiring buses one at a time rather than a series at a time. I can tell you with 100% certaininty that the original hybrid buses are retired (2561 and 2562) due to major repair work that TriMet was not interested in investing in. I also know with the BDS installation taking up a number of buses at a time we don't yet have a full estimate of how many buses are remaining.

If you take some time on a weekday and check out the Interactive System Map you'll find a number of 1400-series Gilligs as well as 3000-series buses scattered across many lines throughout the system, including the 155 and the 30. I thought that the release of the 3000's meant the end of the 1400's as we knew it, but clearly I was wrong on that. TriMet still runs the 1400's on express and peak service (though their number is much reduced) and has started the new Gilligs only on the weekdays (perhaps due to the fact that there are more mechanics available who can service the buses as the bugs are being worked out).

So whether or not your buses are fully retired or just getting new radios installed is yet to be seen. Hopefully you have been on one of the 1400's or 1600's with the new Init BDS in - to me it still seems so odd to install brand new radios along with PA equipment and external annunciators for the remaining year or so these 1400's and 1600's will be on the road, But it is quite cool to see these old buses with current technology - it's like they got another lease on life. I just hope that it doesn't mean that the next series of buses will be installed with used radio equipment.

Oddly enough, I ran into Neil McFarlane just the other day in my workplace and he reported that the next order of buses will have a total of 70 buses, up from the 64 or so that they were originally planned to receive. When asked if we would see any shorter buses, he seemed to insinuate that this next order of new buses will be all 40 footers.

Oh, and word on the street is that the new hybrids (3052-3055) have also been spotted out on the road, though I have yet to see one. Let me know if you have rode one of the new Gilligs - I'm curious to hear some opinions on the new buses. So far, I've heard pretty positive driver feedback and overall pretty negative rider feedback...

Jared,

Interesting. First they said they would have 54 new buses to be delivered in 2013, and then later they said 68, and now 70? I guess two more Flxible Metros can be added to the cut list that year.

~Ben

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

They are BAE Super Hybrids (meaning they can operate with the engine off).

Very interesting. Just like Metro Transit 7290 and 7291 (test units)

These new hybrids are for the Line 72 route between Clackamas Town Center and Swan Island. Is that a route with frequent stops? I imagine it is, which will give the battery lots of opportunity for charging via braking.

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The N-S portion (82nd) starts out as a wide boulevard around 40mph, then becomes a 4 lane with a 30mph limit. Bus stops are about every 6 Portland blocks or so (Portland is somewhat unique in having 300ft blocks instead of the standard 600ft). So it's not stop and go except during periods of congestion. The main reason they would assign it to the 72 (which is out of Powell Garage) is to appease political connections in North and Northeast Portland who complain about transit equality issues.

It is also one of TriMet's longest routes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting fleet, I wonder if Tri-Met loves their Flxible so much. But what makes me wonder the most, since their State has no tax, I wonder if they rely on Federal funding only, which is why their buses are replacing slowly unlike the rest of the State.

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Interesting fleet, I wonder if Tri-Met loves their Flxible so much. But what makes me wonder the most, since their State has no tax, I wonder if they rely on Federal funding only, which is why their buses are replacing slowly unlike the rest of the State.

There are still gasoline taxes, income taxes, and property taxes in Oregon. I suspect that Trimet has been spending capital dollars on light rail extensions instead of bus replacements. They ran their 1982 RTSes nearly 20 years, and their 1973 35' Flxibles for 25 years.

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TriMet loves their Flxible buses because their mechanics know how to work on them, their drivers are used to them, and they are still relatively reliable. The garage with the most Flxible buses (Merlo Garage) even chooses to run them on Saturday and Sunday service even when they have ample low floor buses available. Granted, the alternative to the Flxibles for that particular garage is the 2900 series low floor fleet that is not only unreliable, but very slow...

AMG is correct in that TriMet as a whole invests more into the rail portion of the system while spending less on capital bus projects. However, the current GM Neil McFarlane is quick to admit that TriMet's bus fleet is way too old and is working to get new buses on the road. 2012 brought 55 new Gillig low floor buses and 2013 promises another 70, so in short order we should be kissing those Flxibles goodbye.

And in case anyone is wondering, those BAE Super Hybrid buses have been slowly seeing more and more time on the road - they are fairly quiet (though the A/C is louder than I was expecting) and drive very smoothly. Unfortunately, they are slower than their Voith/ISL counterparts (I presume this is due to the series hybrid design), and the battery packs appear to be scratched beyond repair since Portland's roads haven't seen any buses that are 11' tall...

Also, I don't think it has been mentioned yet - there has been a lot of media attention regarding the number of blind spots on these new Gillig buses, with the union claiming that TriMet purchased the BRT front end package to "make the buses look like trains". There truly is a bus vs. train mentality in the city, and this claim seems to illustrate that well - their claim is that this front end doubles the number of pillars that can obstruct the driver's view. It is yet to be seen if TriMet will do anything further with the driver's side mirror location, though they already have modified the driver's mirror by removing the convex section that sat above the mirror. I do know that buses in Honolulu, HI and Eugene, OR have moved the driver's mirror location to the top part of the window to enhance pedestrian safety and remove obstructions for operators.

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TriMet loves their Flxible buses because their mechanics know how to work on them, their drivers are used to them, and they are still relatively reliable. The garage with the most Flxible buses (Merlo Garage) even chooses to run them on Saturday and Sunday service even when they have ample low floor buses available. Granted, the alternative to the Flxibles for that particular garage is the 2900 series low floor fleet that is not only unreliable, but very slow...

Are the new Gilligs any quicker?

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  • 4 weeks later...

This past Thursday (3/21), as my parents were going to get Chinese takeout food, I saw two strange occurrences: on Line 34 (River Road), a 40-foot bus was used (a 1990 Gillig Phantom #1421), and on Line 79 (Oregon City/Clackamas Town Center), a 1998 New Flyer D40LF but with its destination signs reading "154" (Willamette line) both front and back.

Something really is going on here, which seems natural because TriMet is making that push to eradicate the remainder of its fleet of 1992 Flxible Metros (1701-1808, 1901-1910) and their 1994 equivalents (1817-1843) and, of course, their 1990-91 Gillig Phantoms (1401-1463, 1601-1630, 1631-1643).

~Ben

Edited by Benjamin
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