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DCAreaTransitFan

WMATA Washington

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Forgot to mention that I spotted a DASH Neoplan AN460 artic driving Not In Service in Springfield the other day. Bus #602.

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On 4/9/2019 at 5:08 PM, Chris.A said:

Really makes me question Cinder Bed's Maintenance (Transdev).

Yep, that's generally how outsourcing works.

The vendor observes how closely the client is paying attention. After the first year or so, the vendor discovers which corners they can cut in order to reduce their own costs.

If the client isn't on its game, the vendor's practices will continue to deteriorate. Only a little bit at a time, so there's no big, high-profile blow-ups.

If the client -is- paying attention, the vendor may shape up to save face. Then, they'll realize that they're not making enough money and things will go sour on other fronts: lawyer-led arguments about who's responsible for what, cost overruns, cancelled contracts, compromised performance, etc.

You see this a lot in the world of school bus contracting. Let's pick on First Student. There are "good" First Student sites and bad ones. The good ones... serve school districts that are well-funded and can manage the contract very tightly. To be sure, managing the contract is, itself, an enormous cost that the public entity must bear.

Then, plenty of poorly funded school districts contract with First Student. That's where First Student's "savings" become painfully obvious.

Meanwhile at Cinder Bed, it's probably too soon to write off Transdev's maintenance entirely. I don't even hate Transdev -- they do decent work in selected contexts. But, running a "real" bus system in a complex, expensive metropolitan area is a complex, expensive task.

Yeah fine, WMATA isn't perfect either -- but their overlords are learning the hard way: no amount of "private-sector innovation" will make transit operations a fundamentally easier or cheaper job.

 

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On 4/9/2019 at 5:08 PM, Chris.A said:

Forgot to mention that DE42LFA #6331 broke down yesterday on I-395 heading north to Pentagon yesterday. Really makes me question Cinder Bed's Maintenance (Transdev).

Believe me, those things breaking down is nothing new! I think its too early to judge whether the decision to outsource was a bad idea in this case (although I do remain sort of skeptical).

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Here is my take on Alexandria DASH.  Back in 2008-10, DASH was still a 100% 35ft. high-floor agency.  1999 Gillig Phantom bus 54 was the oldest bus I had pictured during either visit.  Meanwhile, bus 103 from 2007 had proved to be the final high-floor bus bought new by the agency and has surprisingly been retired already.  That batch of 4 buses were its only Phantoms fitted with LED headsigns.  It had gone roughly 4 years without getting any new buses, until they got their first low-floor buses in 2011.

DASH-AT08-54-1.JPGDASH-AT08-103-2.JPG

During its high-floor era, DASH has a knack to dual source its buses and has built up a sizable fleet of 35ft. Orion V's.  2000 Bus 61 belongs to the oldest batch, and that batch of 10 buses were the only Orion V's fitted with dot-matrix headsigns.  Meanwhile, bus 69 was the first of the 2002 batch of 8 buses and the first Orion V that were new with LED headsigns.  2004-05 buses 77 and 87 belonged to the largest batch of 14 buses, with the former being the first of the batch.  Finally, 2007 bus 95 belongs to the final batch of 9 buses.

DASH-AT02-61-4.JPGDASH-AT06-69.JPGDASH-AT08-77-1.JPGDASH-AT02-87.JPGDASH-AT01-95-1.JPG

All pictures (except bus 77 in March 2008) were taken in March 2010 at the King Street Metrorail (except bus 95 at the Van Dorn Street Metrorail),  Here is my Alexandria DASH gallery:

Alexandria DASH

A bumper post on WMATA's bus operations back in 2008 is coming up in due course!

 

Edited by Buzz2kb
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In terms of bus activities as of late, Bladensburg has up to #3230 currently in service. I suspect that FMR may no longer be in the running to get any 2019 XN40s. Instead, they will likely get back their 2016 batch of #2900's, plus the few 2900 units that were originally assigned to Bladensburg, (so in other words, future XN40 assignments Pre-2020 XN40s could be FMR: #2900-2993, #3100-3199. Bladensburg : #2830-2899, #3200-3274). In other news, West Ox just lost a few more buses. 5 DE42LFAs and another XDE40 (#6578-6582 to Sheppard's Parkway and #7168 to Western IIRC). Not sure why this depot keeps losing buses for they lost about 15 hybrids recently when Cinder Bed opened back in December. Personally, I'd give West Ox Northern's batch of 2016 XDE40s #7340-7359 to make up for their losses (plus Northern is slated to be closed down later this year anyway, West Ox can sure use some newer buses too since they haven't had anything close to factory new since 2012). Also at this time, no other Orion 5s or Orion 7 OG CNGs have been retired.

On 4/18/2019 at 12:15 PM, WMATAC40LF said:

Believe me, those things breaking down is nothing new! I think its too early to judge whether the decision to outsource was a bad idea in this case (although I do remain sort of skeptical).

I guess WMATA will find out for sure when it's time to transfer those buses to other depots.

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On 4/23/2019 at 6:49 PM, Chris.A said:

Also at this time, no other Orion 5s or Orion 7 OG CNGs have been retired.

Do you know what the future is for the 5s? They keep surviving all these replacements it's a little crazy (in a good way)... Are they holding on to them for the big WMATA rail shuttles this summer or are they just hanging around for now?

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11 hours ago, Orion6025 said:

Do you know what the future is for the 5s? They keep surviving all these replacements it's a little crazy (in a good way)... Are they holding on to them for the big WMATA rail shuttles this summer or are they just hanging around for now?

lol, those buses are like MTA's RTS's, immortal! But in all seriousness, it would not surprise me if they make it through atleast summer considering said Subway work (plus Orion VII OG CNG retirements).

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Drove by Four Mile Run today and saw that several new 2006 Orion VII OG CNGs got retired. #2632, #2634, #2663 and #2669 were among them.

Disregard #2663, I rode that bus about a week ago. It's back in service.

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Few notes on DASH:

  • The 2002 Orion Vs are still around but they're parked out back until the summer shuttle
  • The Neoplans don't have fareboxes and apparently won't be receiving them as they won't be entering revenue service, unless plans change. For now it;s just 3 months of service and then after that they'll either be scrapped or parked/stored should they be needed again
  • There are plenty of 2005 Orions around and they run in service, I'm not sure why it says "Status unknown" on the wiki... More may be parked as DASH receives additional New Flyers
  • There is one 2000 Orion V on property (Bus #68) but it's strictly for training purposes (Along with bus #97) and doesn't run in revenue service. It's not even in DASH paint anymore... It was also outfitted with an orange LED sign last year too...
  • 101 is the last Phantom in service right now. A few more are out back so they could be reactivated for the summer shuttle?
  • DASH is receiving 3 PRTC Gillig Phantom suburbans for the shuttle. 187 is on property but hasn't been wrapped yet
  • Confused 1

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WMATA has put 24 Orion VII CNGs up for sale at public auction (all are in scrap condition, with many parts missing).

 

IMG_2378.PNG

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On 4/28/2019 at 8:06 PM, Orion6025 said:

Few notes on DASH:

  • The 2002 Orion Vs are still around but they're parked out back until the summer shuttle
  • The Neoplans don't have fareboxes and apparently won't be receiving them as they won't be entering revenue service, unless plans change. For now it;s just 3 months of service and then after that they'll either be scrapped or parked/stored should they be needed again
  • There are plenty of 2005 Orions around and they run in service, I'm not sure why it says "Status unknown" on the wiki... More may be parked as DASH receives additional New Flyers
  • There is one 2000 Orion V on property (Bus #68) but it's strictly for training purposes (Along with bus #97) and doesn't run in revenue service. It's not even in DASH paint anymore... It was also outfitted with an orange LED sign last year too...
  • 101 is the last Phantom in service right now. A few more are out back so they could be reactivated for the summer shuttle?
  • DASH is receiving 3 PRTC Gillig Phantom suburbans for the shuttle. 187 is on property but hasn't been wrapped yet

You maybe on to something, because recently, it seemed as if Omniride was retiring those Phantoms, one of which was in all white. Also, shocker about Orion V #97, cause that's one of their newer Orion Vs.

On 4/28/2019 at 11:38 PM, WMATAC40LF said:

WMATA has put 24 Orion VII CNGs up for sale at public auction (all are in scrap condition, with many parts missing).

 

IMG_2378.PNG

I believe this is similar to what NICE bus is doing with their Orion V CNGs recently.

Still sucks though, WMATA could have easily gotten 2 more years out of the #2500s and #2600s.

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So, this past Weekend I fanned the blueline subway shuttle. DASH was providing the shuttle buses for the blue and WMATA sent their buses for the yellow ( Sheppard's Parkway, Northern, and Four Mile Run depots). Metro provided XDE40s, DE42LFAs, Orion VII OG CNGs, and XN40s. DASH provided XD35s, Gillig Advantage hybrids (both 35 and 40ft units), and Ex-Bee Lines Neoplan AN460 artics (of which, I rode #610).

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On 5/6/2019 at 10:23 PM, Chris.A said:

DASH provided XD35s, Gillig Advantage hybrids (both 35 and 40ft units), and Ex-Bee Lines Neoplan AN460 artics (of which, I rode #610).

Did any DASH (or wmata for that matter) Orion 5s make it out into regular service as a result?

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On 4/28/2019 at 11:38 PM, WMATAC40LF said:

WMATA has put 24 Orion VII CNGs up for sale at public auction (all are in scrap condition, with many parts missing).

 

IMG_2378.PNG

For the record, I requested from WMATA a list of VIN numbers. They quickly responded that they had already provided the info or would provide if it wasn't visible, but they never followed through before the auction listing ended. The reserve wasn't met, so the listing and the pictures are no longer visible on PublicSurplus' website. I was able to confirm from the picture that the following buses were included in that lot: 2526, 2536, 2537, 2542, 2543, 2552, 2563, 2569, 2602, 2614.

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12 hours ago, Orion6025 said:

Did any DASH (or wmata for that matter) Orion 5s make it out into regular service as a result?

Don't know about the Metro Orion Vs (I doubt it), but a few DASH bus Orion Vs were on regular routes like the AT2 and AT5.

5 hours ago, alexb320 said:

For the record, I requested from WMATA a list of VIN numbers. They quickly responded that they had already provided the info or would provide if it wasn't visible, but they never followed through before the auction listing ended. The reserve wasn't met, so the listing and the pictures are no longer visible on PublicSurplus' website. I was able to confirm from the picture that the following buses were included in that lot: 2526, 2536, 2537, 2542, 2543, 2552, 2563, 2569, 2602, 2614.

#2634 and #2635 are both still in service. On the 25B and 16A respectively. 

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#2623 is still active. Saw it working the 7A at Pentagon while waiting for the 22A (which was a no show btw) late Saturday afternoon. Forgot how lousy most bus routes are in Northern VA on Weekends.

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On 4/18/2019 at 8:41 AM, Border City Transit said:

Yep, that's generally how outsourcing works.

The vendor observes how closely the client is paying attention. After the first year or so, the vendor discovers which corners they can cut in order to reduce their own costs.

If the client isn't on its game, the vendor's practices will continue to deteriorate. Only a little bit at a time, so there's no big, high-profile blow-ups.

If the client -is- paying attention, the vendor may shape up to save face. Then, they'll realize that they're not making enough money and things will go sour on other fronts: lawyer-led arguments about who's responsible for what, cost overruns, cancelled contracts, compromised performance, etc.

You see this a lot in the world of school bus contracting. Let's pick on First Student. There are "good" First Student sites and bad ones. The good ones... serve school districts that are well-funded and can manage the contract very tightly. To be sure, managing the contract is, itself, an enormous cost that the public entity must bear.

Then, plenty of poorly funded school districts contract with First Student. That's where First Student's "savings" become painfully obvious.

Meanwhile at Cinder Bed, it's probably too soon to write off Transdev's maintenance entirely. I don't even hate Transdev -- they do decent work in selected contexts. But, running a "real" bus system in a complex, expensive metropolitan area is a complex, expensive task.

Yeah fine, WMATA isn't perfect either -- but their overlords are learning the hard way: no amount of "private-sector innovation" will make transit operations a fundamentally easier or cheaper job.

 

 

On 4/18/2019 at 12:15 PM, WMATAC40LF said:

Believe me, those things breaking down is nothing new! I think its too early to judge whether the decision to outsource was a bad idea in this case (although I do remain sort of skeptical).

 

On 4/20/2019 at 9:30 AM, Buzz2kb said:

Here is my take on Alexandria DASH.  Back in 2008-10, DASH was still a 100% 35ft. high-floor agency.  1999 Gillig Phantom bus 54 was the oldest bus I had pictured during either visit.  Meanwhile, bus 103 from 2007 had proved to be the final high-floor bus bought new by the agency and has surprisingly been retired already.  That batch of 4 buses were its only Phantoms fitted with LED headsigns.  It had gone roughly 4 years without getting any new buses, until they got their first low-floor buses in 2011.

DASH-AT08-54-1.JPGDASH-AT08-103-2.JPG

During its high-floor era, DASH has a knack to dual source its buses and has built up a sizable fleet of 35ft. Orion V's.  2000 Bus 61 belongs to the oldest batch, and that batch of 10 buses were the only Orion V's fitted with dot-matrix headsigns.  Meanwhile, bus 69 was the first of the 2002 batch of 8 buses and the first Orion V that were new with LED headsigns.  2004-05 buses 77 and 87 belonged to the largest batch of 14 buses, with the former being the first of the batch.  Finally, 2007 bus 95 belongs to the final batch of 9 buses.

DASH-AT02-61-4.JPGDASH-AT06-69.JPGDASH-AT08-77-1.JPGDASH-AT02-87.JPGDASH-AT01-95-1.JPG

All pictures (except bus 77 in March 2008) were taken in March 2010 at the King Street Metrorail (except bus 95 at the Van Dorn Street Metrorail),  Here is my Alexandria DASH gallery:

Alexandria DASH

A bumper post on WMATA's bus operations back in 2008 is coming up in due course!

 

I'm going to put this announcement here as well. Apparently, 

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17 hours ago, Chris.A said:

I'm going to put this announcement here as well. Apparently, 

Well don't keep us waiting!

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8 hours ago, Imgursdownvote4love said:

Well don't keep us waiting!

I was trying to bring this over from the Fairfax Connector page, but basically Transdev is going to be running the Connector service starting this summer. Who knows how that's all going to play out...

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Forgot to mention this, but #2959 Bladensburg depot< FMR. Spotted it on the 28A the other day while going to see "Endgame" (great movie btw).

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On 4/18/2019 at 12:15 PM, WMATAC40LF said:

Believe me, those things breaking down is nothing new! I think its too early to judge whether the decision to outsource was a bad idea in this case (although I do remain sort of skeptical).

Ok, this doesn't make any sense. West Ox just lost 10 more DE42LFAs (#6578-6587 are all now at Sheppard's Parkway depot). Why do they keep losing buses but are not getting anything in return? Right now, they lost (besides the 10 already mentioned) about 30 other DE42LFAs in the last 5 months and 2 XDE40s. How are they even making score right now, for they have less buses than even Cinder Bed depot (only 72 metrobuses left). I only hope they give us (Northern Virginia Metrobus division, particularly West Ox depot)  some 2000 Orion Vs (about 25) so that when these buses get retired in a few months, we end up getting the 25 new XD40s for the depot. WMATA always seems to take buses away from NOVA, and rarely give them anything in return (and when they do, it's peanuts). 

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 #2628, #2633, and #2665 (first blue WMATA bus besides the C40LFRs) are all still active on NOVA routes this morning. Meanwhile Orion V #2200 is still in service on the 80 and 2010 DE42LFA hybrids #6597 and #6599 are both working the 26A.

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A few Metrorail updates:

WMATA has pulled all 3000 Series trains (274 active cars) from service after a door opened on a moving Orange Line train. 

https://wamu.org/story/19/05/21/door-malfunction-prompts-metro-to-pull-3000-series-trains-from-service/ 

There are now about 650 7000s in service, and it looks like the rest will be delivered by the end of the year. 

The current three contenders for the 8000 Series contract appear to be Alstom, Hyundai Rotem, and CRRC. However, due to cybersecurity concerns, CRRC may be at a disadvantage (I for one hope they don't win). We'll see what happens...

https://wamu.org/story/19/04/15/senators-threaten-to-withhold-federal-funding-if-wmata-buys-chinese-railcars/ 

On 5/17/2019 at 5:01 PM, Chris.A said:

I only hope they give us (Northern Virginia Metrobus division, particularly West Ox depot)  some 2000 Orion Vs (about 25) so that when these buses get retired in a few months, we end up getting the 25 new XD40s for the depot.

I doubt the XD40s will end up in Virginia, but who knows...

WMATA is apparently planning to replace the 30 ft Orion VII CNGs with 40 ft buses (2020 NFI XN40s). Seems like they are moving away from shorter buses (like other large transit authorities). Then again, there are very few (if any) routes that cannot handle 40 ft buses.

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