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Gillig product discussion


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I used altoonabustest.com to compare the Xcelsior and the Gillig Low Floor. I used bus 1015 (XDE40 BAE Hybrid) vs. bus 1206-P (Gillig BAE Hybrid, Red Rose Transit 183). Both buses were tested in the last two years. Engines were identical (Cummins ISB 6.7 280 HP). Both had Alcoa wheels. Both had frameless windows. The Xcelsior had seating for 42 including the driver. The Gillig had seating for 40.

If you look at the weight data, the Xcelsior was 700 lbs lighter at the rear axle and 360 pounds lighter at the front axle.

On fuel economy, the Gillig had an overall average of 4.64 mpg vs. the Xcelsior with an overall average of 5.84 mpg.

Interesting. Perhaps the optional equipment on the Culver City XN40s was driving up the weight....

1000 pounds is relatively insignificant at this level -- there must have been some other difference to produce such a large difference in fuel mileage.

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What I indirectly was trying to show is that a lot of traits that are desirable or undesirable can simply be the result of how an agency specs their buses, and, even indeed how they purchase their bus

My job RideKC got their first electric bus a couple of weeks ago. Still not in service yet. 

Care to explain a bit more? I'm all for people having their own opinions, but, just simply saying that something sucks doesn't cut it. You say the suspension sucks. Why? How does it compare to other b

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Very interesting finding/scenario... That almost totally offsets the initial cost advantage of Gillig's bids vs New Flyer, and we know that most transit agencies go with Gillig on price and warranty points. (Although it's true that loyalty probably has something to do with it as well.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

According to a recent email discussion with another South Florida transit fan outside this board stemming from Broward County Transit's receipt of 3rd-Gen NABI 40-LFW's, the Giliig LF was deemed to be a medium-duty bus. Is this still true?

Also, I just wonder why Gillig LF's seemed to be the most maligned/disparaged current buses from the surviving four heavy-duty bus manufacturers, despite giving sterling services to a few hundred transit agencies in all but one of the Lower 48 for 15 years, loved by agencies and mechanics (albeit hated by some drivers and many transit fans)? Does any of its rivals build vastly superior buses? Thanks!

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In the transit industry, at least in North America, product development is driven by:

1. The going price of other manufacturers product and market success thereof.

2. The published RFP materials, particularly where the bidders request variances.

3. Major component research and development by suppliers (Powertrain, HVAC, Electrical).

4. Government's budgetary whims.

Redesign of the front and rear caps is a very cheap proposition compared to the "box". The Xcelsior came about after learning from the Invero (particularly OCTranspo's) and adapting the design for better rigidity, longevity, parts cost, etc.

As for Gillig and so-called rumors :blink: that's mostly a matter of personal preference and opinion. The Phantom and Low Floor (particularly post 2001 models) are very-well constructed pieces of equipment. The early Low Floors had some systemic structural issues and equipment compromises that limited their capabilities, which were remedied by the 2001-2 redesign. Similarly, the Phantom had issues early on which were gradually engineered out. Seattle was something of a testbed for Gillig. What I mean is, Seattle's specifications and Gillig's re-engineering of the Phantom to comply with those specifications produced a very good product, which gradually propagated to other systems that were keen to use Seattle's specification set. That doesn't mean that every Phantom that went down the line was built to Seattle's standards. Suffolk Transit's 5000 series for example, were built to a cheap-build standard which resulted in a poor quality product.

The Phantom was a spec/bespoke vehicle whose only rigid non-modifiable standard was the semi-monocoque shell and the general appearance of the front and rear caps. So if a transit agency wanted a very basic off-the-shelf bus, Gillig could provide a basic Phantom in 3 lengths and 2 widths. The Phantom could be ordered almost as easily as a GMC RTS could be back when GMC still built coaches. Conversely, a system like King County Metro could order an almost unrecognizable vehicle that had so many customizations that it'd be like the difference between a Cadillac CTS and the President's current high-security limousine.

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According to a recent email discussion with another South Florida transit fan outside this board stemming from Broward County Transit's receipt of 3rd-Gen NABI 40-LFW's, the Giliig LF was deemed to be a medium-duty bus. Is this still true?

The Gillig Low-Floor is considered to be a heavy-duty bus - as is any other bus which is eligible for FTA funding for the purchase of heavy-duty buses. Buses eligible for this funding must be engineered for a minimum service life of 12 years and approximately 500,000 miles.

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I passed one of Metro Transit's 7100 series Gillig hybrids yesterday, and noticed the paint was starting to peel/flake off around the hinges on the side rear engine compartment access panels. That makes me wonder, do modern transit buses in general need repainting every 5-6 years or so to avoid major paint loss on the body, or is this something that's related to Gillig using a cheaper paint or painting processs? I should note the 7100 series are now going on 5 years and can run in service during the whole day for the MT service span. (4 am-1 am or even 24/7 on a couple routes.) Plus MT does wash their buses as needed, maybe even twice a day during the winter. I haven't seen any chipping or peeling paint on the D60LFR units, but then the 2007 units have all been repainted anyways to update the livery.

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The parts where it's peeling are likely aluminum or stainless.

Paint typically peels from those materials first.

Blemishes start to appear around year 3, regardless of the manufacturer.

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Great article on Gillig, AC Transit, and US bus manufacturing. (Its not new, its from 2012)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/us/gillig-a-bus-maker-in-hayward-calif-wins-a-local-contract.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Excerpt:

"Gillig finally won a contract last week from its hometowntransportation agency when AC Transit agreed to buy 40 buses from the company for $16.4 million. With more than 100 buses rolling out of the Hayward plant every month, the order was relatively small, but it was a symbolic victory for Mr. Tejeda and other Gillig employees.

AC Transit had a change of heart after the Teamsters union, which represents most of Gillig’s 700 employees, flexed its political muscle in the down-ballot races for the agency’s board of directors. The Gillig order was also spurred by the public outcry over money that the cash-strapped agency spent to send its officials on regular trips to Europe, including the salary and expenses of a bus inspector who lived near the Van Hool plant in Belgium."

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On another thread, TheAverageJoe contributed the following:

"Gillig tends to stay away from orders that require a lot of buses delivered in one year. Muli year orders on the other hand they have been know to make."

I think thats a great point. Denver RTD recently ordered 125 Gilligs which I believe are to be delivered in only one year. Is this the largest single year order for Gillig that anyone can think of?

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On another thread, TheAverageJoe contributed the following:

"Gillig tends to stay away from orders that require a lot of buses delivered in one year. Muli year orders on the other hand they have been know to make."

I think thats a great point. Denver RTD recently ordered 125 Gilligs which I believe are to be delivered in only one year. Is this the largest single year order for Gillig that anyone can think of?

Didn't they deliver 142 or so Phantoms to AC Transit back in 1982? I know they delivered 134 Phantoms for AC Transit in 1984. Those 1984s included the 1400s and the 1500s.

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I think thats a great point. Denver RTD recently ordered 125 Gilligs which I believe are to be delivered in only one year. Is this the largest single year order for Gillig that anyone can think of?

Back in 2003 Port Authority of Allegheny County had a split order for sixty 35' Phantom's and a large amount 40' Low Floor's. The wiki says 166 buses, if that is true then that is 226 buses in one year. Unless it is a typo, then it may be 126 buses, still a larger order than most.

I agree with TheAverageJoe though. About two months ago, I had seen a guy with a Gillig hat on at McDonald's. He was in town working on the 1300's for the NFTA. So I got to talking with him, and he said what we already know, that Gillig does not cater to large TA's, and doesn't want to jam up the production line with those types of orders. One interesting thing he said, was Gillig has it's target customers. Of those target customers, they have between 80% and 90% of them, which he considered very good. He commented on MTA New York, saying their specs alone are a turn off as it is. He did say Gillig was very interested it the San Francisco MUNI order but couldn't get that one to work on the business end of things.

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Didn't they deliver 142 or so Phantoms to AC Transit back in 1982? I know they delivered 134 Phantoms for AC Transit in 1984. Those 1984s included the 1400s and the 1500s.

They delivered a large order to Seattle in the 90s. I believe it was over 300 in a year.

The 1982 AC Transit order was fewer than 100 (the 1300s).

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Back in 2003 Port Authority of Allegheny County had a split order for sixty 35' Phantom's and a large amount 40' Low Floor's. The wiki says 166 buses, if that is true then that is 226 buses in one year. Unless it is a typo, then it may be 126 buses, still a larger order than most.

I agree with TheAverageJoe though. About two months ago, I had seen a guy with a Gillig hat on at McDonald's. He was in town working on the 1300's for the NFTA. So I got to talking with him, and he said what we already know, that Gillig does not cater to large TA's, and doesn't want to jam up the production line with those types of orders. One interesting thing he said, was Gillig has it's target customers. Of those target customers, they have between 80% and 90% of them, which he considered very good. He commented on MTA New York, saying their specs alone are a turn off as it is. He did say Gillig was very interested it the San Francisco MUNI order but couldn't get that one to work on the business end of things.

Sounds like they have a target market and they are very successful with it. Thanks everyone.

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Back in 2003 Port Authority of Allegheny County had a split order for sixty 35' Phantom's and a large amount 40' Low Floor's. The wiki says 166 buses, if that is true then that is 226 buses in one year. Unless it is a typo, then it may be 126 buses, still a larger order than most.

I agree with TheAverageJoe though. About two months ago, I had seen a guy with a Gillig hat on at McDonald's. He was in town working on the 1300's for the NFTA. So I got to talking with him, and he said what we already know, that Gillig does not cater to large TA's, and doesn't want to jam up the production line with those types of orders. One interesting thing he said, was Gillig has it's target customers. Of those target customers, they have between 80% and 90% of them, which he considered very good. He commented on MTA New York, saying their specs alone are a turn off as it is. He did say Gillig was very interested it the San Francisco MUNI order but couldn't get that one to work on the business end of things.

Not to mentioned that Seattle requested to have a rear window during the 1996-98 order of the Phantoms, something Gillig don't normally do.

Without any AC Transit orders and some smaller California TA order, Gillig wouldn't survive!

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For that matter it also would've been interesting to see what would have happened had Gillig gotten Neoplan's model lineup when Neo left the US market, could Gillig have some freakish hybrid version of the BRT and an AN460LF? I just wonder considering the late 80's joint venture: http://busexplorer.com/PHP/MidPage.php?id=486

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For that matter it also would've been interesting to see what would have happened had Gillig gotten Neoplan's model lineup when Neo left the US market, could Gillig have some freakish hybrid version of the BRT and an AN460LF? I just wonder considering the late 80's joint venture: http://busexplorer.c...Page.php?id=486

If Henry Crown had bought out Gillig sooner, that would of probably happened.

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