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A. Wong

SMART (Detroit)

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Detroit agency buys hybrid rapid transit buses

SMART entered into a piggy-back agreement with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority which had an existing bus buy contract with New Flyer enabling SMART to receive the buses approximately nine months sooner.

Read More/Source: http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/Story/2...nsit-buses.aspx

Wonder of all those DE60LFs are going to be wrapped.

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3001 and 3002 are already wrapped, and the wiki was already updated a week or so ago reflecting the purchase. Personally I'd rather the SMART livery over the wrap lol.

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Well that solves the mystery of where the "other" 2 New Flyer DE60LFs built using CTA's specs went. Baltimore MTA is acquiring the other two.

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What do they have to do with the CTA? lmao They were piggybacked off of Cincinnati. :P

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They may have been piggybacked off of Cincinnati but given the old front has been discontinued and there was the mystery of 14 DE60LFs where I mentioned 12 was already bought by my home agency, 2+2 would make me believe they were just outright bought and delivered, not built.

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According to articles that we got a hold of, they were supposed to be mainly on the mainlines like Gratiot and Woodward.

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I've decided to bump this topic to post some photos I've taken of various SMART buses throughout the years.

To start off, this post will cover buses operating route #125, which is the system's lowest-numbered route and has been since 2011 when route #112, which linked Wyandotte's Wilson Middle and Roosevelt High Schools via mostly Fort Street, Goddard Road, 6th Street, Emmons Boulevard, Biddle Avenue, Eureka Road, 18th Street (two blocks from my house) and Grove Street on school days, was discontinued during major cutbacks. It operates seven days a week between Detroit Metro Airport (where a (although you have to pay the full fare again) connection can be made to AATA) and downtown River Rouge, via Southland Center and Fort Street. 13 northbound and 12 southbound weekday rush/peak-hour trips continue on into downtown Detroit. This is a far cry from around 1981 (during the SEMTA years), where a total of three mainline routes operated on Fort Street north of Eureka Road alone.

All photos below were taken in a period beginning June 18, 2013 and ending June 24, 2013 and all were taken at Fort Street and Eureka Road (not far from my house), a stop major enough to be shown on the route's schedules. All buses (except the final one) were heading towards Detroit. The order below is chronological.

SMART22421.jpg

#22421 is a 2002 35-foot Gillig Low Floor and features a green flip-dot destination sign.

SMART22388.jpg

#22388 is a 2002 40-foot Gillig Low Floor and also features a green flip-dot destination sign..

SMART23356.jpg

SMART23308.jpg

#23308 and #23356 are 2003 40-foot Gillig Low Floors and feature orange LED destination signs. Notice how the letters on the destination sign on #23308 get cut off near the top...it's unknown if this error has been fixed as of March 2014.

SMART3006.jpg

#3006 is a 2013 40-foot hybrid Gillig Low Floor with a Gillig BRT front end option and also features an orange LED destination sign. It is one of SMART's three recently-received hybrid buses to supplement three 2011 hybrid Gillig Low Floors (also with the BRT front option). Both pairs are painted in the colors of three Michigan universities. #3006 is painted in the colors of Wayne State University and is one of two hybrid buses operating from the Wayne Terminal, the other is one of the 2011 buses, #3005, which is painted in the University of Michigan (including U-M Dearborn)'s colors. #3006's license plate is a Michigan 2007 Municipal series, 070x732.

The six hybrid Gillig Low Floor buses, as well as the two 2010 New Flyer DE60LF artics (whose deliveries were what, ironically enough, started this thread), were SMART's first new fixed-route buses since 2003, when the final current diesel Gillig Low Floors were delivered, though dozens of paratransit (known as "Connector" and "Community Transit") vehicles were delivered during that time. The eight buses are also the only SMART fixed-route buses that don't use the standard red/orange-stripe livery.

Edited by mattb816789

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Best article I've seen regarding SMART is in the Detroit Free Press this week:

http://www.freep.com...-authority-says

Metro Detroit’s suburban bus system is pushing to have a millage hike put before voters in August, saying that if it doesn’t get the tax increase, it will not be able to keep its aging bus fleet operating beyond next year.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) is seeking a property tax increase from the current 0.59 mill to 1 mill. The hike would have to be approved by voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

The 0.41-mill increase would generate an additional $28 million per year and an estimated $140.9 million during the next five years to fund capital needs, such as replacing buses, balancing operating budgets and possibly allowing for some increase in service, SMART officials said.

SMART General Manager John Hertel told Macomb County commissioners last week that if the millage is not increased, the deficit will be $5 million annually for the next three years.

“We would not be able to provide transit services beyond 2015,” he told the board. “I can’t think of anything that would be more devastating right now than if this system went down, in terms of southeast Michigan, particularly to the economy, not only that, but to our own reputation.”

Macomb, Oakland and Wayne county officials first must decide whether to put the measure before voters. The deadline to have a millage issue appear on the August ballot is April 29.

Hertel said he is to appear before Oakland County commissioners on Monday and that Wayne County transit officials are aware of the matter.

Hertel said costs have gone up while revenue has gone down in the last several years. He said millage revenue, which accounts for nearly 40% of the SMART budget, has decreased by $14.8 million in the last six years because of reduction in property values.

In his presentation to the Macomb board, Hertel said SMART has reduced administrative costs by more than $11 million during the last six years; implemented a fare increase in 2009; reduced its employee head count by more than 200 since 2010; negotiated with unions to save $6 million annually, and reduced bus service by 22% in 2012.

SMART serves all of Macomb County. There are communities in Wayne and Oakland counties that have opted out of the service. The last millage increase was in 2002.

Hertel said 98% of SMART buses are on the road daily. However, the authority must replace 146 40-foot buses in the next five years at a projected cost of $65.6 million, according to material given to Macomb commissioners.

Hertel told the board that 196 buses have more than 500,000 miles, 78 have more than 600,000 miles and six have more than 700,000 miles. He said the useful life of a bus is 500,000 miles, according to the Federal Transit Administration.

He said the maintenance department is “performing miracles” daily to keep the buses on the road.

“But we can’t do it much longer,” he told the Macomb board, adding that he struck a deal with Detroit for used buses and a joint grant of $7 million to fix them until SMART can get new buses, which he said cost about $500,000 each.

SMART provides 11 million rides annually, according to its website. It operates 234 fixed-route buses on 43 routes, seven days a week, 22 hours a day, as well as connector service for seniors and people with disabilities who can’t access the usual fixed-route service.

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It's time for a metro-area transit agency for Detroit.

Well, one does sort-of exist, which currently consists of SMART, DDOT (in Detroit proper) and AATA (Washtenaw County). Techinically, it is possible to ride on all three agencies...for example, if you wanted to take just transit buses from Detroit to Ann Arbor, you would just take DDOT route #25 to Fort Street and Outer Drive, then use your DDOT transfer when boarding SMART route #125 (or if you're lucky and ride during the weekday rush, then just board #125 in downtown Detroit), then ride that all the way to either Detroit Metro Airport terminal and finally, board the AATA's "Airride" service, pay the full fare for that service and ride that all the way to the Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor.

But, if this RTA wants to fully serve all of southeastern Michigan, then the People Mover, U-M's transit service, BWAT (Port Huron) and Lake Erie Transit in Monroe must also join in, plus, LET needs to launch at least one route to either Metro Airport or the Downriver suburb of Trenton (both of which already have SMART service), because, as of right now, it literally has no connection to any other transit system I mentioned.

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Matt, thanks for jumping in here. Its great to have a SMART expert on this board.

Railbus, legislation creating a four county RTA (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties) was passed!

BUT. . . the RTA has not been funded yet. Below is a great article on the setbacks as of January 2014

http://metrotimes.com/news/politics-and-prejudices/regional-transit-authority-loses-ceo-1.1620876

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Well, I want to show you something historical: via the Internet Archive, I found two old (and unofficial) SMART maps from circa late 2001/early 2002 that also show DDOT routes, as well as the Transit Windsor Tunnel Bus (in the downtown map).

https://web.archive.org/web/20060615170102/http://detroittransit.org/Regionalbussystem.asp

https://web.archive.org/web/20060615165853/http://detroittransit.org/Downtownbusmap.asp

Plus, through one of the links within those two links above, I also happened to come across what is probably an older version of the official SMART website (before it switched to the smartbus.org URL): https://web.archive.org/web/20020809063308/http://smart.focalhost.com/

EDIT: Actually, the Focalhost site was only an unofficial site, as it mentions (and links to) the official website being at the smartbus.org URL.

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Quite a while ago, SMART has removed all of the old backlit "stop requested" signs from all of their buses that were as old as the buses themselves (or at least the ones I've seen recently) and replaced them with new LED signs. Below is an image of one such LED sign inside #22316, as well as an article from the fall 2013 edition of SMART's newsletter referring to the new signs-which also include automated announcements:

New Automated Voice System

Have you noticed anything new on your bus lately? The newest feature of our system is the installation of the Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) system. The AVA not only lets you know the route as you are boarding but once on board, the announcements keep you informed along the way, announcing upcoming bus stops, transfer points, and other important information.

It's fully automated so that our bus operators can concentrate on driving you safely to your destination and other tasks that require their attention.


The voice announcements are also coordinated with LED signage inside the bus to help all of our riders travel with more convenience and greater independence. The AVA system helps create a more accessible bus system for the visually impaired and hearing challenged riders.

The same newsletter also mentions that SMART is launching a tracking site soon. The AATA already has one on their site and DDOT also has a mobile-only (unless I'm wrong) bus tracker.

Where's My Bus?

It's the question you probably ask most often, "Where's my bus?" And coming soon you will have the answer with a quick check on our website. The new system will allow you to know where your bus is by either looking on a map or through alerts received via email or text - available to you 24/7!

I can't wait to go on that tracking site and see where the hybrids are operating at the moment...

SMART_22316_automatedsign_part.jpg

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Quite a while ago, SMART has removed all of the old backlit "stop requested" signs from all of their buses that were as old as the buses themselves (or at least the ones I've seen recently) and replaced them with new LED signs. Below is an image of one such LED sign inside #22316, as well as an article from the fall 2013 edition of SMART's newsletter referring to the new signs-which also include automated announcements:

The same newsletter also mentions that SMART is launching a tracking site soon. The AATA already has one on their site and DDOT also has a mobile-only (unless I'm wrong) bus tracker.

I can't wait to go on that tracking site and see where the hybrids are operating at the moment...

That looks like the init ASA system. When the system announces a stop, does it say "Now Approaching..." or does it just say the stop name?

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That looks like the init ASA system. When the system announces a stop, does it say "Now Approaching..." or does it just say the stop name?

I don't know...I haven't been on SMART since before the automated announcements were added.

EDIT 5/28: I rode on SMART today and here's what I noticed relating to that: when the ropes along the sides are pulled, this triggers a "stop requested" announcement and "STOP REQUESTED" flashes on the sign, alternating between that and the current date and time-doesn't even announce the actual stop name.

However, when nearing an important stop, the stop name is announced, along with (if available) the routes that connect there-for example, when a bus on route #140 approaches Biddle Avenue and Eureka Road in Wyandotte, the sign flashes "EUREKA RD + BIDDLE" (not even showing the routes connecting!) and the following is announced: "Eureka Road (pause) and (pause) Biddle-(pause) transfer to route (pronounced "rowt") 160." A male voice is used for these, however, while riding, I also heard a female voice mention priority seating.

The video in this thread shows these preceeding examples.

Edited by mattb816789

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I don't know...I haven't been on SMART since before the automated announcements were added.

EDIT 5/28: I rode on SMART today and here's what I noticed relating to that: when the ropes along the sides are pulled, this triggers a "stop requested" announcement and "STOP REQUESTED" flashes on the sign, alternating between that and the current date and time-doesn't even announce the actual stop name.

However, when nearing an important stop, the stop name is announced, along with (if available) the routes that connect there-for example, when a bus on route #140 approaches Biddle Avenue and Eureka Road in Wyandotte, the sign flashes "EUREKA RD + BIDDLE" (not even showing the routes connecting!) and the following is announced: "Eureka Road (pause) and (pause) Biddle-(pause) transfer to route (pronounced "rowt") 160." A male voice is used for these, however, while riding, I also heard a female voice mention priority seating.

The video in this thread shows these preceeding examples.

I don't know...I haven't been on SMART since before the automated announcements were added.

EDIT 5/28: I rode on SMART today and here's what I noticed relating to that: when the ropes along the sides are pulled, this triggers a "stop requested" announcement and "STOP REQUESTED" flashes on the sign, alternating between that and the current date and time-doesn't even announce the actual stop name.

However, when nearing an important stop, the stop name is announced, along with (if available) the routes that connect there-for example, when a bus on route #140 approaches Biddle Avenue and Eureka Road in Wyandotte, the sign flashes "EUREKA RD + BIDDLE" (not even showing the routes connecting!) and the following is announced: "Eureka Road (pause) and (pause) Biddle-(pause) transfer to route (pronounced "rowt") 160." A male voice is used for these, however, while riding, I also heard a female voice mention priority seating.

The video in this thread shows these preceeding examples.

Yep, that's the init system.

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SMART usually doesn't run television ads, but I just saw this one inserted by my provider a few minutes ago on the Fox News Channel.

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There's also an ad featuring a SMART Connector user who has Down Syndrome:

(Yes, we get Detroit TV feeds here in Ottawa :))

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SMART usually doesn't run television ads, but I just saw this one inserted by my provider a few minutes ago on the Fox News Channel.

Sounds like a late advertising push in advance of the funding referendum, though it's a rather subtle ploy.

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Well, once again, this year's millage went pretty well and passed-so I can't wait to see what will happen in the future.

In other news, one of the 2011 hybrids, #3005, was seen on route #140 today, which is a bit unusual.

BhbEy1X.jpg

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