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Express691

2018 Standard 40' Bus Procurement

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2 hours ago, Large Cat said:

-air conditioning, although it seems like a given at this point

It is, by order of the Workers' Compensation Board as a matter of safe working conditions for Operators.

2 hours ago, Large Cat said:

-keep using push bar rear doors

Buses for CMBC will have push-bars. Buses for West Van will have the capacitive touch bars that were tested on the 2012 order - they didn't work well in Richmond/Vancouver, but West Van liked them and has kept ordering them ever since. (No more CLASS touch-less doors for anyone! Yaaaaaaaay!)

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4 hours ago, Large Cat said:

Reviews from drivers on top of being worse for the environment -

How in the world would an operator be able to assess polution from a bus? That's a figurative question of course. Because they cannot. 

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1 hour ago, Dane said:

How in the world would an operator be able to assess polution from a bus? That's a figurative question of course. Because they cannot. 

Those were separate clauses.

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7 hours ago, Large Cat said:

Things I want to see in these buses:

-no more straight diesels, except for PTC-bound Burnaby Mountain artics if those are included. The XD40's have really bad reviews from drivers on top of being worse for the environment and louder than the XDE and XN's. Did they just buy the Richmond XD40's to try them out? If so, they have their answer for future orders.

-fast kneeler/ramp switches (no delays before lowering, etc)

-air conditioning, although it seems like a given at this point. 

-rapid mode controls for all of the 40 footers (and retrofit all the others! we need all door boarding ffs!)

-keep using push bar rear doors

-more control for the driver over the electric front door's involuntary 'reset' motions (a safety problem introduced with the Xcelsiors)

Other than that, I actually couldn't care less which company wins the bids. It would be cool in a way to still have a diversified fleet, although on the other hand I do sort of like the idea of a full set of different Xcelsior variants doing everything, but in the end it's not that important. The paint scheme we have is good enough to make the fleet look uniform and attractive once the older paint scheme buses are retired. (sorry, the Orions' paint scheme just looks hideous to me. And I won't cry when buses like B8010 are retired :)). 

 

The issue with the XD40s, or any Xcelsior in our fleet for that matter, is the transmission.  The ZF are great for being economic and low maintenance from what I've heard, but they aren't the smoothest for a bus.  The XN40s are jerky and can take an entire straight shift to finally get it right.  I havent had the opportunity to drive an XD40 yet, can be so much better if programmed right.  I'm sure the XD40s and other Xcelsiors will be much better with an Allison transmission.  The XDE60s are the best in my opinion because of how smooth they are.

The delay in the kneeler is just a software update so that's easy to resolve.  Some of the 16000s have the delay while other have none at all.  

Rapid mode would be great for every bus for sure!

Based on the RFP's, they are wanting straight diesel for the artics (XD60) with one equipped with a new Cummins engine, the X12 as a test.  For the 40 footers, they requested CNG and Hybrid.  Apparently they want a BAE hybrid system for future orders instead of the Allison system in use today.  The reason being that when it comes time for a midlife overhaul, they make them entirely electric if they wanted.  Can't do that with the Allison system.

3 hours ago, Dane said:

How in the world would an operator be able to assess polution from a bus? That's a figurative question of course. Because they cannot. 

It's not so much the operator's assessing the pollution from the bus, but rather the fuel type.  Straight diesel is the most polluting, better today than 20 years ago, but still the worst. Hybrids will create less diesel pollution due to the function of the engine system, the batteries start the initial acceleration then the engine takes over so there less fuel burnt as well.  CNG is just a cleaner fuel, at least that's how it's advertised.  Cheaper and easier maintenance from what I've heard.

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23 hours ago, Large Cat said:

Things I want to see in these buses:

-no more straight diesels, except for PTC-bound Burnaby Mountain artics if those are included. The XD40's have really bad reviews from drivers on top of being worse for the environment and louder than the XDE and XN's. Did they just buy the Richmond XD40's to try them out? If so, they have their answer for future orders.

-fast kneeler/ramp switches (no delays before lowering, etc)

-air conditioning, although it seems like a given at this point. 

-rapid mode controls for all of the 40 footers (and retrofit all the others! we need all door boarding ffs!)

-keep using push bar rear doors

-more control for the driver over the electric front door's involuntary 'reset' motions (a safety problem introduced with the Xcelsiors)

Other than that, I actually couldn't care less which company wins the bids. It would be cool in a way to still have a diversified fleet, although on the other hand I do sort of like the idea of a full set of different Xcelsior variants doing everything, but in the end it's not that important. The paint scheme we have is good enough to make the fleet look uniform and attractive once the older paint scheme buses are retired. (sorry, the Orions' paint scheme just looks hideous to me. And I won't cry when buses like B8010 are retired :)). 

 

I gotta disagree my friend, lol. I love the Orion paint job, and the Blue B-Line Paintjob, I think should've become the standard fleet livery

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I don't love the Orion/Suburban livery either, but when I mention it to friends who have no idea about transit other than it's a bus v. SkyTrain, they immediately know the "yellow bus" is an Orion with better seats. Something to be said for that and distinguishing different levels of service.

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On 7/20/2017 at 4:24 PM, Brando737 said:

The issue with the XD40s, or any Xcelsior in our fleet for that matter, is the transmission.  The ZF are great for being economic and low maintenance from what I've heard, but they aren't the smoothest for a bus.  The XN40s are jerky and can take an entire straight shift to finally get it right.  I havent had the opportunity to drive an XD40 yet, can be so much better if programmed right.  I'm sure the XD40s and other Xcelsiors will be much better with an Allison transmission.  The XDE60s are the best in my opinion because of how smooth they are.

The delay in the kneeler is just a software update so that's easy to resolve.  Some of the 16000s have the delay while other have none at all.  

Rapid mode would be great for every bus for sure!

Based on the RFP's, they are wanting straight diesel for the artics (XD60) with one equipped with a new Cummins engine, the X12 as a test.  For the 40 footers, they requested CNG and Hybrid.  Apparently they want a BAE hybrid system for future orders instead of the Allison system in use today.  The reason being that when it comes time for a midlife overhaul, they make them entirely electric if they wanted.  Can't do that with the Allison system.

It's not so much the operator's assessing the pollution from the bus, but rather the fuel type.  Straight diesel is the most polluting, better today than 20 years ago, but still the worst. Hybrids will create less diesel pollution due to the function of the engine system, the batteries start the initial acceleration then the engine takes over so there less fuel burnt as well.  CNG is just a cleaner fuel, at least that's how it's advertised.  Cheaper and easier maintenance from what I've heard.

Its interesting to see how difference agencies spec their coaches and what the results are. Its been apparent for a while that CMBC is looking to optimize fuel economy at the expense of everything else, from the pokey Nova Hybrids to the transmission programming on the XD40s and XN40s. I was quite surprised when I was in Vancouver recently how quickly the XN40s go through 1st and 2nd gear. I thought the shift was pretty premature, and certainly they could be reprogrammed to hold the gears longer (which would probably bring a little better performance off the line). 

If CMBC picked up Allison transmissions instead of ZF would they perform any better? I'd say - probably not as CMBC is specifying the existing performance on the ZFs. Regardless, when folks complain about coach performance, I often wonder, what is the baseline we're comparing against? Every successive model is not going to be faster off the line with a higher rate of acceleration through the speedometer to the governed top speed. Coaches should be able to meet a certain rate of acceleration that is considered acceptable, and if they exceed that, great. Obviously, some coaches, like the Nova Hybrids seem unable to meet a reasonable rate of acceleration, and in my book they would be below the benchmark. That's something that CMBC could, and should address.

These discussion remind me of the first few times I drove an MCI 102D3 with a Series 60 engine. It was kind of fun to have so much power and acceleration, but also a bit scary, too. There can be such a thing as too much power, and I often through those coaches were pushing that limit. 

 

Now to hybrids vs. diesel vs. CNG. We often talk about "pollution" levels and which buses are cleaner. I wish it was cut a dry, but it isn't. Today's modern clean diesels, with particulate traps and all that stuff, are a heck of a lot better for airborne particulates that lead to smog levels. I haven't looked at the numbers lately, but a few years ago clean diesels were coming awfully close to CNG performance in this area. 

But if we're talking about greenhouse gas and global warming levels, that's a different measurement. If a diesel-hybrid can achieve overall fuel economy greater than a straight diesel, then its going to have lower global warming effects (there is a direct relationship between fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions). It's a bit harder compare straight across with CNG (because the fuel is different, the emissions and their proportions are also different). In the past (again, I haven't looked at this stuff for a while) CNG was pretty good for this stuff, but there is a lot of controversy with the measure of GHG emissions with CNG vehicles. That's because there is a ton of methane leakage in the natural gas distribution systems, and if that is baked into the calculations, then we're better off with diesel (or hybrid) over CNG.

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7 hours ago, WillieTL said:

Does anyone know if future translink hybrid bus orders will be equipped with BAE hybridrive series-e hybrid system instead of the allison hybrids?

They will be BAE.  The reason being that they can easily convert them to be fully electric when its time for their midlife overhaul.  

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15 minutes ago, dover5949 said:

Has the 2018 bus order been awarded yet & if so what company won the contract?

All we have on the closed bids site is TBA. 

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It was mentioned at the last public meeting that they were almost done on closing the RFP's.  I figured something would have been mentioned by now as the first buses are supposed to arrive early next year.  However, there has been some mention of STC getting 54 XN40 next year and the last RFP's are finished.  While the general thought is Translink doesn't want more Novas, they are wanting a large number of buses and New Flyer has some big orders to fill as it is.  The artic's will most likely be XD60's with XN40's and the hybrids might end up being form Nova.  The other part to this is they want to order 4 electric buses, two from New Flyer and two from Nova to compare them which also leads me to believe the order could be split.

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Split order huh... interesting.

I personally don't mind if they order a bunch of NovaBuses... Others may disagree with me, but as long as they have air conditioning, push bars for the exit doors, and have durable seating, it's all good.

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43 minutes ago, Millennium2002 said:

Split order huh... interesting.

I personally don't mind if they order a bunch of NovaBuses... Others may disagree with me, but as long as they have air conditioning, push bars for the exit doors, and have durable seating, it's all good.

I tend to agree. Really the only legitimate reason I prefer the Xcelsiors right now is because of the air conditioning, the rest being a preference for the appearance, and minor things like the lower front door step height. It's also good to seriously consider buses from both companies, just to keep the other one on its toes to do better. Otherwise you might end up with a fiasco a la Toronto's Bombardier streetcars....

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21 minutes ago, Large Cat said:

It's also good to seriously consider buses from both companies, just to keep the other one on its toes to do better. Otherwise you might end up with a fiasco a la Toronto's Bombardier streetcars....

Off topic, but funny that you mention about Bombardier's streetcar situation in Toronto.... Vancouver has had much less problems sole-sourcing new SkyTrain cars from them even though both were probably ordered at around the same time... You'd think Vancouver would have been given the shaft instead, given the semi-proprietary LIM nature of our network and the small numbers of cars that we ordered.

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2 minutes ago, Millennium2002 said:

Off topic, but funny that you mention about Bombardier's streetcar situation in Toronto.... Vancouver has had much less problems sole-sourcing new SkyTrain cars from them even though both were probably ordered at around the same time... You'd think Vancouver would have been given the shaft instead, given the semi-proprietary LIM nature of our network and the small numbers of cars that we ordered.

Good point. That IS weird. Why has Bombardier been so awesome for us and not for TTC?

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20 minutes ago, Millennium2002 said:

Off topic, but funny that you mention about Bombardier's streetcar situation in Toronto.... Vancouver has had much less problems sole-sourcing new SkyTrain cars from them even though both were probably ordered at around the same time... You'd think Vancouver would have been given the shaft instead, given the semi-proprietary LIM nature of our network and the small numbers of cars that we ordered.

Semi proprietary yes, but you could still order cars from somewhere like Japan. They have very similar subway trains, running with LIM motors.

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7 hours ago, Millennium2002 said:

Off topic, but funny that you mention about Bombardier's streetcar situation in Toronto.... Vancouver has had much less problems sole-sourcing new SkyTrain cars from them even though both were probably ordered at around the same time... You'd think Vancouver would have been given the shaft instead, given the semi-proprietary LIM nature of our network and the small numbers of cars that we ordered.

Ours were (still are?) built by the New York factory. The TTC nightmare is from problems arising by sending production down to Mexico for finishing up in Thunder Bay.

Why ours are made in NY, not sure. Maybe that's where they do all LIM or specific Innovia stuff, but it doesn't seem to be having the same problems as Mexico/Thunder Bay.

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9 hours ago, Meraki said:

The TTC nightmare is from problems arising by sending production down to Mexico for finishing up in Thunder Bay.

More specifically, the TTC's nightmare is with the fact that the plant in México couldn't produce parts to specification, to the point where the guys at CanCar in Thunder Bay were in some cases reduced to literally bashing parts into place with hammers to get cars to fit together! It's only by their Herculean efforts that any cars shipped at all before BBD threw in the towel and moved more of the actual fabrication back to CanCar.

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5 hours ago, GORDOOM said:

More specifically, the TTC's nightmare is with the fact that the plant in México couldn't produce parts to specification, to the point where the guys at CanCar in Thunder Bay were in some cases reduced to literally bashing parts into place with hammers to get cars to fit together! It's only by their Herculean efforts that any cars shipped at all before BBD threw in the towel and moved more of the actual fabrication back to CanCar.

Someone told me while I was in Toronto last year that they were having some issues with the TTC gauge too.  Some bogies were coming in standard gauge instead, and the Thunder Bay plant had to fix them.

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59 minutes ago, Opal said:

Someone told me while I was in Toronto last year that they were having some issues with the TTC gauge too.  Some bogies were coming in standard gauge instead, and the Thunder Bay plant had to fix them.

How the hell do you screw that up? It's not as if these are standard LRT trucks to begin with!

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3 hours ago, Opal said:

Someone told me while I was in Toronto last year that they were having some issues with the TTC gauge too.  Some bogies were coming in standard gauge instead, and the Thunder Bay plant had to fix them.

Source? That seems basically impossible. It's not like there's a big bucket with multi width wheel sets. 

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4 hours ago, Dane said:

Source? That seems basically impossible. It's not like there's a big bucket with multi width wheel sets. 

Uh, my cousin who works there.  It's not impossible when they build them using the wrong template meant for another company's trains.

 

3 hours ago, Express691 said:

I suggest moving the ongoing streetcar discussion to the TTC Streetcar news page. Thanks! :)

 

I won't post about it anymore.  My comment is completely unrelated to that news page, so I won't be posting it there.  I was just answering the question from above.

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@Express691, you have to admit that this is more entertaining and thoughtful than talking about which routes the buses with air-conditioning and roof fairings should run all week... :P

Now surely, if this went on for too long, it'd distract from the actual bus order... but it has some relevance with regards to the potential for an order split between NovaBus and New Flyer. But anyway, we can pause the rumour / discussion mill here and wait for the actual awards, I guess.

 

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