Jump to content

Sound Transit


Recommended Posts

Interestingly, ST recently posted an RFP for private contractors to operate service directly. It mentions route 540 and 541 as the first ones to be moved over, with the 542 and 545 to be added to the contract at a later date. It will be interesting to see what comes of this...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

555 and 556 are still artic routes.  556 is going away soon; to be replaced by a bidirectional 555 and 554.

I don't think it's so much as a dictatorship as it is negotiations.  They're out to get the lowest rates possible but they're not going to be able to dictate, say, a $20/hour charge since there's no agency or private company that would be willing to work for that rate.  I don't think there's anything stopping ST from negotiating directly with a private agency, and there were certainly musings of that previously with First Transit, effectively cutting out CT as a middleman.  I don't know if FT is capable of doing the VM side of things, and since nothing has changed in almost 20 years I'd assume that's at least part of the reason for staying with CT.

All Metro-operated ST routes are out of East.  Was it route 560?  I know 577 was reassigned to PT around that time too but can't remember which came first.  I'm almost positive it's been discussed earlier in this thread :D

 

It's not just vehicle operations that PT has underbid Metro on.  When ST bought their first DE60LFRs they were assigned to Metro but PT did the vehicle acceptance.


Thanks for setting me straight.  That makes sense.   I now see how stupid ...and also ill informed what I am.  And I didn't remember all the discussion on the bidding of routes.  And I think you're right that the 577 may have been the first route but I believe that was a route initiated at PT.  However, the 560 was the one that rubbed me the wrong way because it used to be run by KCM out of East Base but then all of a sudden (to me), PT was running it.

What jay8g mentioned is interesting as that is what ST has been wanting to do for a long time.  I remember that being discussed even when I was working.  They wanted to use a private contractor to run their bus operations in King county.  Didn't they initially even want to construct their own facility in the county --back in the 90s--  and hire their own maintenance and operations personnel but realized that it would just not be cost effective to go that route?  I think that was discussed on this thread at one time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, roamer said:

I think you're right that the 577 may have been the first route but I believe that was a route that initiated at PT.

Actually, you were right, 560 was first.

You also correctly predicted that 540 would eventually leave Metro.

7 minutes ago, roamer said:

However, the 560 was the one that rubbed me the wrong way because it used to be run by KCM out of East Base but then all of a sudden (to me), PT was running it.

I can definitely understand where you're coming from.  Metro has been on a hiring spree as of late, so cutting routes probably isn't the worst thing in the world; at best it means there are free operators which would mean fewer cancelled trips.  It also possibly means less OT, which depending on your point of view, could be good or bad.  Though even in down times, there may be more operators than work, and if some work shifts to another agency it could mean open positions at that other agency.  And for someone living in North Pierce/South King, moving to another agency taking a $1/hr pay cut could be worth it if it means spending less time driving from home to Central Campus or East Base.

 

I should also note my previous mention of First Transit and vehicle maintenance was nothing more than an uneducated guess, continuing to read back in this thread:

On 5/8/2013 at 11:10 AM, busdude.com said:

Its my understanding that First Transit is also responsible for the maintenance of the coaches as well

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, again my apologies to all for always showing such ignorance.  Watching the tracker today, I now see where the 555/556 exclusively use artics.  I was just thinking back on 15+ years ago when they were running 40-footers on all those trips.  So I now see where the 540 is evidently  the only ST East Base route that uses 40-footers  ...hence the "misfit" moniker.  

So, once the 540 is gone from EB, and ichiro says that they will keep the 40-footers they have, what routes will they then be used on?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be answering my own question.  I noticed that there were two 40-footers on the 541 this evening.  I was able to capture one of them on the tracker.  So I guess the 40-footers could be inserted on any route and trip that doesn't need the capacity of an artic.  When I was working, 40-footers were even used on the 522.

541 6.20 pm  02-22.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought there was something in the ST contract with CT that essentially CT is just doing pass-through rates from First Transit.

In one of the earlier contracts, there was concern that CT was "marking up" their contract with FT. ST made a bunch of noise about just inviting FT to bid directly, and so CT reworked it so that it would be direct pass through rates. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I take a quick look at the tracker occasionally, I notice that the 40-footers are used on some trips on the 540, 541, and 542  ...and the 540 --to my surprise-- does actually use artics, especially in the morning.  So I guess it turns out that it may not be the "misfit" we first thought.  

Before I retired, I remember driving 40-footers on just about all routes (even the busier routes of the 522, 545 and 554)  with the exception of the 550.  In fact, I'm pretty sure when ST service first started, there were substantially more 40-footers than there were artics --almost the opposite of the ratio now.  

And I do agree, I never remember an artic being used on the 540  --but at that time, the 540 was a different/longer route and ran all day where now it's a truncated, peak-hour route .  The reason I seem to remember their never using artics was that that terminal parking in the U-district wasn't long enough.  I'm not sure where they layover now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, roamer said:

As I take a quick look at the tracker occasionally, I notice that the 40-footers are used on some trips on the 540, 541, and 542  ...and the 540 --to my surprise-- does actually use artics, especially in the morning.  So I guess it turns out that it may not be the "misfit" we first thought.

I'd be willing to bet most of those 540 artic trips are linked to something else.  If you can find them active in OBA you can click the headsign link and view the "Incoming" and "Continues as" at the top/bottom of the list of stops for that trip.

16 minutes ago, roamer said:

at that time, the 540 was a different/longer route and ran all day where now it's a truncated, peak-hour route .  The reason I seem to remember their never using artics was that that terminal parking in the U-district wasn't long enough.  I'm not sure where they layover now.

540's west side layover is at NE 47th St & 11th Ave NE; previously it was on Memorial Way (which is currently used by 48, 271, and many CT routes, most of which are artics).

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Taco, yes, I don't doubt what you're saying at all.  

I guess my point is that artics nonetheless are being used on the 540 one way or the other and kind of disproves Border City Transit's premise --which I did agree as that's the way I remember it too so no disrespect to him-- that the 540 "requires 40-foot Sound Transit buses... the only route at EB that does!  😎"

Interesting about where the 540 terminal is today.  That's where the 271 used to layover.

The 540 used to layover at University and Pacific (HERE  ...it is still marked for Metro use as of the Aug 2018 Google SV --have no idea what lays over there now) but it seems a lot longer than I remember it  --what's pictured can easily hold an artic or maybe even two(?).  The 540 at that time didn't go through the campus but just circled the block and picked up passengers at the zone at Campus Pkwy and UWay and then at the hospital stops. 

 

 

eta:  here's the 2008 Google SV that shows buses laying over on both sides of the street.  The one ST bus on the right, coach 9036 is how I remember the 540 terminal even though the middle bus on on the other side of the street is signed up 540.  2008 was still long after I had left Metro.

University Way NE southbound approaching NE Pacific ST  ...2008 Street View

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...

ST's 2020 SIP is out.  The usual fleet planning table is not out yet.  But feedback is being solicited on a few major changes:

  • Replace routes 540 and 541 (and to a lesser extent, 255) with 544, serving SLU <-> Overlake in the peak
  • Delete 577 weekend service and replace with 578.  Half of the 578 trips would only operate between Seattle and Auburn (and should be assigned a different route number, although that's not the plan)
  • Cease serving two barely-used 405 flyer stops on route 566
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Since KCM is no longer operating the 540 and 541, are there any 40-foot coaches still operating out of KCM's East Base?  I believe they had several Phantoms, several Gillig BRTs, and 9200.  Are those coaches still at East or is East now --in every sense of the word-- exclusively an artic base?

 

ETA:  I see 9200 on the 542 this afternoon so I've answered my own question.  I'll keep looking to see if I see any of the Gilligs operating out of East.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

Routes 542 and 566 still uses Phantoms and BRTs, and I wouldn't be surprised if they show up occasionally on 545 and 554.  9200 is running on route 542 right now.

Ah, I forgot about those routes too occasionally having 40-footers assigned mostly on trippers.  So far, the two Phantoms --9090 and 9091-- and the three BRTs --9124, 9125, and 9126-- were not signed out at East today as far as I can tell.  I wonder if they're being moved? 

 

eta:  Today, Tuesday, all five Gilligs and 9200 are operating routes out of East so no change as it pertains to the 40-footers assigned to East when comparing to last shake-up.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

So does anyone know what's going on with Sound Transit's bus fleet strategy these days? There was apparently a rumor that the 2001 Phantoms would come back into service with Pierce Transit (per the CPTDB Wiki at least), but that never happened and they've been auctioning them off over the last few weeks. (I have to wonder where they've been storing them all this time...) Seemingly in place of that, Pierce Transit has repainted some of their oldest buses into Sound Transit livery and is using them almost exclusively on ST routes. Meanwhile, Metro's set of ST 40-footers, including the 2015 Gilligs that are some of the newest buses in the ST fleet, are getting almost no use, with the three of them operating a combined 7 trips in the last month according to Pantograph. Maybe ST has more route moves in mind that would make this make more sense, but it seems quite odd at this point.

Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, jay8g said:

So does anyone know what's going on with Sound Transit's bus fleet strategy these days? There was apparently a rumor that the 2001 Phantoms would come back into service with Pierce Transit (per the CPTDB Wiki at least), but that never happened and they've been auctioning them off over the last few weeks. (I have to wonder where they've been storing them all this time...) Seemingly in place of that, Pierce Transit has repainted some of their oldest buses into Sound Transit livery and is using them almost exclusively on ST routes. Meanwhile, Metro's set of ST 40-footers, including the 2015 Gilligs that are some of the newest buses in the ST fleet, are getting almost no use, with the three of them operating a combined 7 trips in the last month according to Pantograph. Maybe ST has more route moves in mind that would make this make more sense, but it seems quite odd at this point.

In March 540 & 541 are being cancelled and being reorganized into 544.

540 and 541 are currently being operated by Pierce Transit. Not sure who is operating 544, it might be Metro, which is why the 5 40ft Gilligs are staying which Metro. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on the 2020 SIP (page 11), PT will be operating the 544 for the first 6 months, before it moves back to Metro. Seems weird that they'd be keeping the Gilligs at Metro for a whole year when they're getting such minimal use. Interestingly, it doesn't say anything about who will be operating the remaining 541 trips after the March service change, so maybe they'll be moving back to Metro at some point too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...