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Chapel Hill Transit - Chapel Hill, NC

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The Chapel Hill Transit system is currently a fare free service providing fixed-route public transit to the town of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the University of North Carolina campus. The system has a wide array of routes, with about a half dozen transfer points scattered around the UNC campus.

Based on observations their fleet makeup is mainly the Gillig Low Floor. Batches seem to be from 2007 (xx07), 2009 (XX09), 2012 (12xx) and 2013 (13xx). The 13xx are Hybrid units. Also in the fleet are NovaBus RTS from 2001 and 2002, some Gillig Phantom 35' of unknown year, and of course the infamous NABI 60-BRT, 2007 + 2009.

Some photos of course:

16850340765_85b88894ac_t.jpg 16850341385_fb162eff86_t.jpg 16664219649_5d31304488_t.jpg 16664220369_2773cc4415_t.jpg 16230390783_acbc179854_t.jpg 16849305011_e7fb851601_t.jpg 16662759968_53362005e4_t.jpg 16601634367_054839f892_t.jpg 16807811771_d4f630e30b_t.jpg

Note, with 1209 that could possibly be either a 2012 in a 12xx batch, or unit 12 in the 2009 batch, I didn't notice any other 12xx units, so I assume it's 2009. A few more photos, mostly of the Gilligs, if interested.

Also noteworthy: Not directly operated by Chapel Hill Transit but by the UNC, P2P operates a service for UNC facility and students during evening hours when CHT service isn't running as frequently. The bulk of the P2P fleet is vans and modified vans with wheelchair lifts. However they also have three ElDorado National Transmark RE 33' units that run the shuttle routes. Here are photos of two taken in the lot which was ever so conveniently located next to the stop I happened to get off at:

16621538960_8c0b94e1c5_t.jpg 16601622157_d56c3ae09b_t.jpg

I didn't get a photo of the third as a van pulled in to park, and I didn't want to be in the way. I should note, these could also be the XHF model, I have no idea how/if one can tell the two types apart from outward appearance.

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Time for a big bump for this topic (Hope that's acceptable... I was tempted to create a new topic since this has been inactive for so long, but I bumping was a safer option...).

Anyway some updates for Chapel Hill Transit:

1. The RTSes (35 ft by 96 in) are still around. I reached out to a staff member at CHT and there are 8 RTSes running, with the fleet diminishing to 3 from August to January. Most seem to be parked for the summer but 1 of at least 3 buses (748, 802, 805) run daily on the HS route from my observations. When university was in session 2-3 would be out on average in the rush hour... It's ultimately impossible though to determine which units are active though, as a few 2019 Gilligs have assumed the fareboxes of retired 2001 RTSes and are tracking as them (For instance, 1901 appears as 734 on the tracker). 739 is another offender... FWIW all the Phantoms and 1998 RTSes are retired

2. There are a bunch of Gilligs (diesels and hybrids) they have that are not noted on the roster in the 7700, 9900, 1800, and 1900 series. I have no idea when the 7700 and 9900 series buses were built but 18s and 19s are self explanatory... The 18s and 19s are also all diesel IIRC

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A few updates for Chapel Hill Transit: As of December 2018 there were six new 40ft Gillig LowFloor buses delivered numbered 1801-1806. This info comes from an advertising document released by Chapel Hill Transit:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=13&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwizl62e5rrlAhVHb60KHSlQClIQFjAMegQIAxAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.townofchapelhill.org%2Fhome%2Fshowdocument%3Fid%3D41392&usg=AOvVaw0iyVG8wAZUeh1gLahbC2sP

Also, there is a picture of #1806 posted to Flickr by MJofLakeland1. Link

MJofLakeland1 on Flickr also posted some other pictures of some North Carolina buses that were taken in September of this year. I noticed that it seemed some of the Chapel Hill buses, including the Nabi artics were renumbered. Only one I know of for sure is that #1907 was renumbered to #7719. You can see his album of the North Carolina buses here: Link

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Four more Nova RTS' are up for surplus action on GovDeals. Based on my notes, that leaves only four remaining Novas left with Chapel Hill including two 2001s (746 & 748) and two 2002s (801 & 805).

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Per a posting from Chapel Hill Transit director Brian Litchfield on his Twitter account, five new Gillig 40-foot diesels have been received (numbered 2001-2005) and the Nova RTS's are retired.

 

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5 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

Nova RTS's are retired.

That's a damn shame... Those were the last 96 inch RTS in service I think

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18 hours ago, Orion6025 said:

That's a damn shame... Those were the last 96 inch RTS in service I think

Something else in the comments: They are awaiting arrival of three battery electric Gilligs to test and GoDurham is doing similar. An interesting choice given how everyone else in the Triangle is going with Proterra given their Carolina home.

I wonder about the fate of the 60-BRT's. They reach 12 years next year and the east coast - at least WMATA and the Massport shuttles in Boston - have not been kind to that model. Do you go for LSFA/LFXA hybrids or for XDE60's as a replacement?

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6 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

They are awaiting arrival of three battery electric Gilligs to test and GoDurham is doing similar.

Ew. Is it three a piece or are they trading them between each other?

6 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

everyone else in the Triangle is going with Proterra given their Carolina home.

Yeah, you would think that they would shop local... I guess the Gillig electrics came about due to with their extensive (and quite unfortunate) relationship with the California Box Factory...

6 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

I wonder about the fate of the 60-BRT's. They reach 12 years next year and the east coast - at least WMATA and the Massport shuttles in Boston - have not been kind to that model. Do you go for LSFA/LFXA hybrids or for XDE60's as a replacement?

AFAIK nowadays they only run when school is in session (That or they changed the numbers again and I haven't been tracking the right buses) so the mileage is probably low so they could last a while longer. Chapel Hill of course has a record of keeping stuff past the 12 year "best by" date. Technically the 2007 diesel NABI tics passed the 12 year mark already last year. Really there's no telling which way they could go for a replacement. In my opinion it would be smarter if they got LFS-A so they could tap into the Nova resource up the road that is Duke Uni.... That said, between Nova and NFI, I feel NFI is more likely to underbid and if Chapel Hill is one of those places where money talks.....

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Three for CHT, unknown for GoDurham. I think that coalacing around a common electric model would allow for the blurring of lines between agencies given the fleet commonalities though having CHT and the Go agencies (Cary's ElDorado's and cutaways and the remaining ex-PART O7's at Triangle aside) go fully Gillig hasn't done much on that front.

I honestly think Nova might be the one to underbid more, especially if it's for hybrid artics. The huge problem with Nova on the artic front going forward is the lack of CNG/electric options.

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