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Disney Transport general discussion


Andru
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Well, as I said, I retired a year ago, so it's quite possible routes and dispatching have changed quite a bit.

At that time, the regular cast shuttles were DT routes.  Except for a few overnight shifts which are dedicated to cast shuttles, they come from the same pool of buses and drivers as all the other runs.

Yes, most buses are parked at the hubs overnight, so they're ready to go 1st thing in the a.m.  MK buses are parked at TTC. Disney Springs buses were parked in a nearby cast parking lot; I don't know where they are now after all the DS road & parking changes. Some buses spend the night behind the Car Care Center where the fueling and light maintenance is done, either because there's no room left at the hub or the refueling crew didn't have enough time & personnel to get them out to the hub.  The only buses parked at the heavy maintenance facility are ones waiting for maintenance.

All of the CP & Int'l housing is off property. Most of it is northeast, not far from the Vineland Premium Outlets.

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On 6/20/2017 at 0:55 PM, joelkfla said:

That's hard to say.

Disney Transport buses do not run on a traditional schedule.  They are dispatched ad hoc from the "hubs", which are the 4 theme parks + Disney Springs.

Morning routes are different from midday routes.  In the a.m., most routes run from a hub to a resort, sometimes pick up at additional resorts, then drop off at a different hub, then pick up at one or more nearby resorts, and finally back to the original hub.  In some cases, routes originating from 2 different hubs serve the same resort-to-hub combination. Midday, most routes run from a hub to one or more resorts and then back to the original hub.  At night, after fireworks or park closing, buses are just dispatched from the hub to one or more resorts as needed.  The number of resorts grouped together on a route can vary during the day, as can the order of pickup.  Also, some resorts contain multiple stops, and the grouping and order of those stops can change during the day.

In addition, there are various shuttles: to the waterparks, between theme parks, internal resort shuttles, and several backstage cast member shuttles.

Drivers have to be familiar with the entire property. Although they usually work out of a specific hub, they never know to which resort they will be dispatched.  And sometimes buses and drivers are "floated" to a different hub for a period of time during their shift.

I retired a year ago. At that time, they were moving towards more autonomous computer dispatch.  Up to that point, a model was prepared, I believe weekly, based on expected resort occupancy and park attendance.  That model served as a baseline for dispatchers, sort of a minimum schedule.  Dispatchers were responsible for meeting that baseline and adding or modifying runs to meet demand.

Transtar is an independent contractor.  I think they are associated with the same company that runs Star Taxi & limos in the area.  Their buses are 2nd- or 3rd-hand, and usually not in the best condition, from what I've heard.  They provide scheduled service between the college & international program housing complexes and WDW sites, only to CP & International cm's.  Lots of cm's now use Uber or Lyft at times when they don't want to deal with the Transtar buses.

For Transtar, the buses they got came from California, places like Santa Monica and so forth. As for their condition, some are spotty in terms of condition from what I've seen, but they did get some brand new buses (Gilligs) a few years ago. Mears' NABIs are also former California units (AC Transit). They were bought from ABC Companies, rather then the auction and they're in really good shape from what has been said.

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On 6/21/2017 at 5:08 PM, andrethebusman said:

Another question - which is older, the silver and red or white and red scheme? Or are the white and red ones former all-white ones with just the red trim added?

Now that I've looked into, this really is a good question. Haha

I thought the red and white was an older livery that was only used for older buses that Disney didn't want to invest in a full repaint. But looking through the pictures I've taken over the past few years, I've seen the 2013/2014 models in the silver and red and the 2015 models in white and red. Possibly was just a test year to see how the silver and red looked and held up?

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On 6/29/2017 at 2:11 PM, alexb320 said:

Now that I've looked into, this really is a good question. Haha

I thought the red and white was an older livery that was only used for older buses that Disney didn't want to invest in a full repaint. But looking through the pictures I've taken over the past few years, I've seen the 2013/2014 models in the silver and red and the 2015 models in white and red. Possibly was just a test year to see how the silver and red looked and held up?

The white and red is the current standard livery for all new deliveries and repaints. Only the 2013 deliveries are painted in silver and red, im not sure why this is but it was quickly discontinued. Personally I think the white based livery suits the vehicles better anyway.

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3 hours ago, Ma44hew94 said:

The white and red is the current standard livery for all new deliveries and repaints. Only the 2013 deliveries are painted in silver and red, im not sure why this is but it was quickly discontinued. Personally I think the white based livery suits the vehicles better anyway.

My memory was a bit foggy on this, but your response has jogged it a bit.

IIRC, a couple of older buses (Novas, I think) were painted white and red as a test. Then DT management announced to drivers the new order of Gilligs, and showed off the silver & red livery, touting it as a cleaner, more modern look. The red was also highly reflective for safety. I think a few older buses may also have repainted in that scheme.  Then the repainting scheme went to white and red, and soon new buses started coming in that way. I think the red also changed at some point from a dark carmine red to a brighter shade (or maybe that was just a difference between the refurbs and the new buses.)

Some drivers, including myself, though that the silver made the buses harder to see in twilight & foggy conditions; that may have been part of the reason for the switch.  It may also be that white overall is cheaper than silver; a lot of Disney decisions come down to cutting costs.

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  • 2 months later...

The originally repainted NOVAs for the new scheme were repainted in silver with the red reflective stripe.  The first images of Nova buses in this scheme are in silver when the new colors debuted in early 2013. I know I photographed 4841 in May 2013 which was one of the first buses to get the new colors and it was in silver. It was also the final time I photographed some RTS buses. This is right around when the 2013 Gilligs and all the articulated buses were ordered up. Those arrived in the silver with the red stripe. Over the course of 2014, Disney did not receive any new buses. During this time Disney is rumored to have noticed a few things:

1. Maintaining the silver buses was tougher than a white bus

2. Cost of repainting the buses in silver is more than the white.

Along with this I have seen a few other things popping up. Disney on all 2015 and newer buses has gone with Alcoa wheels. On my most recent trip I noticed a couple of older buses riding on Alcoas as well. Highest number I saw 5211-17, highest number I was able to photograph is 5209-17. 

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  • 10 months later...

Not much seems to have happened to the fleet this year yet, the highest number bus in service seems to be Gillig 5212-17, these buses are to the same specification as previous orders. It seems the past couple of years have been spent expanding the fleet, with most routes now having split service for all the All Stars resorts and Riverside / French Quarter which was not previously the case. It doesn’t seem like any of the original NovaBus LFS have been removed from the fleet yet.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, doglover44 said:

Have they got any new buses ?

No, nothing.  I ran into a buddy who still drives, and he said he hasn't heard anything about new orders.

Disney is building an aerial gondola lift connecting 3 of the largest hotels with 2 of the 4 parks.  Capacity should be at least equal to a full bus every 5 minutes, and it's planned to open sometime next year.  IMHO, they may be hoping it will allow them to defer expanding the bus fleet for a while.

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16 hours ago, joelkfla said:

No, nothing.  I ran into a buddy who still drives, and he said he hasn't heard anything about new orders.

Disney is building an aerial gondola lift connecting 3 of the largest hotels with 2 of the 4 parks.  Capacity should be at least equal to a full bus every 5 minutes, and it's planned to open sometime next year.  IMHO, they may be hoping it will allow them to defer expanding the bus fleet for a while.

So pretty much the old Novas will be sticking around for a while I presume. At least that's one less thing Disney has to worry about. They're concentrating on the gondola lift and purchasing new monorails to replace the Mark VIs, dubbed the duct tape fleet lol.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/30/2018 at 4:09 PM, ABQ RIDE said:

Speaking of the monorails, here are my votes for the new colors:

  • Red
  • Maroon (Replaces Coral)
  • Orange
  • Brown (Replaces Peach)
  • Gold
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Navy (Replaces Teal)
  • Magenta (Replaces Lime)
  • Black
  • Silver

I’m fine with all of these except magenta. No version of pink should ever be used in transit applications!

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Since my curiosity irked today and just for old times sake, I decided to check out Disney's bus depot via Google Maps. From what I can see, they still have several RTS buses parked there. Their numbers have been marked off and the Disney logos removed. What their physical and mechanical condition is I have no clue, but they're still there. Why they're still, only the drivers and Disney themselves know.

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1 hour ago, Big CJ said:

Since my curiosity irked today and just for old times sake, I decided to check out Disney's bus depot via Google Maps. From what I can see, they still have several RTS buses parked there. Their numbers have been marked off and the Disney logos removed. What their physical and mechanical condition is I have no clue, but they're still there. Why they're still, only the drivers and Disney themselves know.

The image on Google Maps is very old, but Google Earth's image is dated 1/3/18.  On the newer image, maintenance garage #2 has been extended into the former bus parking area, and a new parking area has been paved behind garage #1.

Disney Transport South Service area.jpg

Google Earth does not seem to include side views, and I am unable to distinguish RTS buses in a direct overhead view.

Just to illustrate the age of Google Earth's satellite images: they show the Orange Garage at Disney Springs in the earliest stages of construction.  The garage opened in November, 2014.

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6 hours ago, Big CJ said:

I took this in the 2D view for Google Maps.

efca464d-ec2b-4de0-be7a-15290500b3bb.thumb.png.ba176af892c90b06159b36730841608e.png

Yeah, that's the old "bone yard" area which is no longer there.  But I can't tell from Google Earth whether those same buses are in the new parking area.  I retired 2+ years ago.  I think I remember all the RTS's being gone from the maintenance area, but I'm not positive.

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On 9/7/2018 at 10:05 PM, joelkfla said:

Yeah, that's the old "bone yard" area which is no longer there.  But I can't tell from Google Earth whether those same buses are in the new parking area.  I retired 2+ years ago.  I think I remember all the RTS's being gone from the maintenance area, but I'm not positive.

I hope you're enjoying retirement and doing well for yourself. Disney hasn't placed an order for new buses for some time now, but as you know they have new monorails from Bombardier coming in. Everything else with other projects they're doing is happening.

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9 minutes ago, Big CJ said:

 

I hope you're enjoying retirement and doing well for yourself. Disney hasn't placed an order for new buses for some time now, but as you know they have new monorails from Bombardier coming in. Everything else with other projects they're doing is happening.

Thanks for the well wishes.

But I haven't heard anything about new monorails since Bob Gurr (I think) mentioned a few months ago that Disney was shopping for a contract.  Have you heard something more recent about Bombardier?

I'm can't wait for the Skyliner.  There's a lot of conflicting info and debate among the usual sources as to whether Disney will build more aerial lifts if the system is well-accepted, or try some other mode.

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8 minutes ago, The Neoplan Rider Studios said:

Are these Disney rts buses for sale or nearest offer in Orlando or Miami 

The Google Maps imagery is at least 3 years old.  Google Earth has newer imagery. I can't determine whether those RTS's are still there in the Google Earth imagery.

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  • 1 month later...

I wanted to bring this up as I was in Disney this past weekend. The new parking lot shuttle trams are now, at the very least, at 3 of the 4 parks. They are all in various colors. It looks like these are a modified version of airport Tug push-backs, but I honestly have no idea. These are very nice and are extremely smoother and quieter compared to the old models. Based on a few pictures I took this past weekend, they have at least 22 of these trams. I did see one old model still running at Epcot, so they are not all completely retired yet.

Heres an old picture I got of one back in December 2017:

Disney Tram

 

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  • 4 months later...

A driver told me an order of 80 new buses is supposed to start arriving in May.  He said they would be Gilligs.

Sorry, no verification, and no further info.

As some of you no doubt know, Doppelmayr has installed an aerial gondola lift, dubbed Disney Skyliner, to carry Guests between several on-site Disney hotels and the Epcot & DHS parks.  The system is complete and presently undergoing testing, but construction is ongoing on the station buildings and surrounding areas.  Disney had said it would open "by fall", but with the opening of most of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge expansion at DHS moved up from late fall to late August,  most followers are expecting Skyliner to open around the same time.  Everyone is expecting unprecedented crowds for SWGE, and the Skyliner will be essential in getting folks to the park.

So I was surprised to hear about the alleged new order, and the driver also said Disney is stepping up new driver hires.  I guess they're expecting even the addition of Skyliner won't be enough to handle the crowds.

BTW, there are still plenty of Novas running around WDW.  It doesn't look like they're actively retiring them, beyond natural attrition.  Maybe the new order will finally finish them off.

ETA: 65-70 new buses starting in May confirmed by a 2nd driver.

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