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Now that Orion is going out of business DART will take delivery of 5 VII's in November, and 6 New Flyer buses 4 XDE35's and 2 XDE40's right arounf the same time..

!!

Some of the last Orions ever?

Another question: who else has XDE35 buses? I believe CT Transit for one.

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This order is happening. The XDE's were also supposed to be Orion VII hybrids but DART cancelled the order (Orion advised they would not build them) and went with New Flyer, there was no re-assigning involved here.

Perfect thanks for the info as their is way too many Orion rumors going around now.

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  • 2 months later...

New Flyer has confirmed what busfreak99 had already told us.

Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority ("DART") located in Iowa, has approved the purchase of four 35-foot and two 40-foot Xcelsior diesel-electric hybrid heavy-duty buses.

DART will purchase buses by exercising options from an umbrella contract with the procurement department of another US State. New Flyer entered into this umbrella contract, in January 2012. The contract is a 'standing offer' open to any US public transit agencies for up to 650 buses, and as a result, New Flyer does not record any firm orders or options as part of its total backlog.

"DART's last purchase with New Flyer was in 2001 for seven 60-foot diesel high-floor buses," said Paul Soubry, President and CEO of New Flyer.

The 40-foot buses are anticipated to be built and delivered late in December of 2012 and the 35-foot buses will likely start production and be completed in January 2013. All six buses will be completely manufactured by New Flyer of America at the St. Cloud, MN facility.

http://www.newflyer....es-moines-award

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  • 1 month later...

Cyride will introduce new accordion buses in February

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_f809f086-6a5b-11e2-bfa4-001a4bcf887a.html

These are two Nova artics whose delivery has been much delayed.

"According to Sheri Kyras, director of transit for CyRide, the buses were delayed for several reasons.

CyRide’s new buses are some of the first buses to feature Nova’s new interior design, and there was a delay in production because Nova had to work out some bugs with the new interior design.

The second reason for the delay had to do with new paint standards for buses. Kyras stated that there are only a few places in the United States that meet the new paint standards, therefore CyRide’s buses got stuck behind other companies during the painting process.

“We are frustrated; we would have loved to have them to begin the fall semester,” Kyras said. “On the other hand, we chose the manufacturer because of what they offer.”

The articulated buses measure 62 feet, which is currently 22 feet longer than CyRide’s largest bus. They seat 60 people but can, including standing room, hold a total of 120 people.

The buses have a stainless steel frame, which gives them an increased lifespan. They contain wider aisles for easier movement and comfort, backup cameras and three doors that allow for easier entering and exiting of passengers."

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

Some recent shots:

I was able to stop by the transfer points in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo before attending a ballgame with a buddy of mine:

I only saw Gilligs in Waterloo, but with it being Saturday service it would make sense:

9055294348_ef247fdd89_t.jpg 9053071121_9a00af266a_t.jpg 9055298602_4f975c96d7_t.jpg 9053075625_57240f1c23_t.jpg

In Cedar Rapids it was solid Gillig LF as well, and I'm guessing with a lot of shiny 24XX series units to be seen the RTS and any remaining SLF are gone:

9066812885_2b0ff5aff9_t.jpg 9066816039_cca150e38b_t.jpg 9066819159_654db24f3d_t.jpg 9069049418_ff28341d05_t.jpg 9066830303_2f477104ae_t.jpg

Later in the week, on the way back up from Omaha I had a little time so I swung by Des Moines to check out the new Central Station:

9079718804_8a89926827_t.jpg

And a few bus photos of course:

9077542041_2d60af55c6_t.jpg 9077538713_2178efa372_t.jpg 9079762492_3c128210c2_t.jpg 9077533523_c916f62bb7_t.jpg 9077530459_facc0412fa_t.jpg 9079748752_56d77fd4cd_t.jpg 9077519507_bf7dacf057_t.jpg

Also while in Des Moines I spotted a new looking Gillig LF 29' #77XX signed specifically for paratransit, no dest. sign, just PARATRANSIT decaled on the marquee, so I'm wondering if DART went with those to replace some of the older Eldorado units?

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Some recent shots:

I was able to stop by the transfer points in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo before attending a ballgame with a buddy of mine:

I only saw Gilligs in Waterloo, but with it being Saturday service it would make sense:

9055294348_ef247fdd89_t.jpg 9053071121_9a00af266a_t.jpg 9055298602_4f975c96d7_t.jpg 9053075625_57240f1c23_t.jpg

In Cedar Rapids it was solid Gillig LF as well, and I'm guessing with a lot of shiny 24XX series units to be seen the RTS and any remaining SLF are gone:

9066812885_2b0ff5aff9_t.jpg 9066816039_cca150e38b_t.jpg 9066819159_654db24f3d_t.jpg 9069049418_ff28341d05_t.jpg 9066830303_2f477104ae_t.jpg

Later in the week, on the way back up from Omaha I had a little time so I swung by Des Moines to check out the new Central Station:

9079718804_8a89926827_t.jpg

And a few bus photos of course:

9077542041_2d60af55c6_t.jpg 9077538713_2178efa372_t.jpg 9079762492_3c128210c2_t.jpg 9077533523_c916f62bb7_t.jpg 9077530459_facc0412fa_t.jpg 9079748752_56d77fd4cd_t.jpg 9077519507_bf7dacf057_t.jpg

Also while in Des Moines I spotted a new looking Gillig LF 29' #77XX signed specifically for paratransit, no dest. sign, just PARATRANSIT decaled on the marquee, so I'm wondering if DART went with those to replace some of the older Eldorado units?

I believe the 2002 Opus paratransits are up for replacement.Will have a fleet roster next week.

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  • 7 months later...

The following is an article from businessrecord.com

http://www.businessr...t/175/837/62076

D.M. area bus ridership up 15 percent

BY KYLE OPPENHUIZEN, Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:59 PM

Ridership on Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) buses was up 15 percent year-over-year in December, officials announced Tuesday.

December ridership totaled 347,213 passengers. The increase is significant because December is the first month for which year-over-year comparisons can be made after DART added or changed a number of routes in November 2012.

The fastest growing route has been the new Route 60 loop between Ingersoll Ave. and University Ave. that goes through downtown. It grew from 15,763 riders in December of 2012 to 26,354 riders in December of 2013, a 67 percent increase. DART would like to make that route into a bus rapid transit, or rail-like bus service line, in the future.

DART officials are keeping a close eye on ridership numbers now that there are direct year-over-year comparisons with the new and changed routes, a DART spokesman told the Business Record earlier this month.

In addition to the route changes, DART opened its $21 million Central Station in November of 2012; added frequency and later hours to some routes and has launched a beta version of a trip planner. Riders can now also search for public transit directions using Google Maps and Bing Maps.

"The region's investment in public transit is paying off," said Steve Van Oort, Polk County supervisor and chairman of the DART Commission.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Article from Iowa City regarding the state's buses

http://www.press-cit...showing-its-age

Iowa's transit fleet showing its age

Majority of local buses, paratransit vehicles - like fleets statewide - considered to be beyond their useful lives

56 percent of the state’s buses exceed the Federal Transit Administration’s useful life standards, be it in age or mileage.

Mark Little, president of the Iowa Public Transit Association and managing director of the Waterloo Metropolitan Transit Authority: “Today we still have the 47th oldest fleet in the nation, and it’s causing problems not only with an aging fleet, but maintaining such older equipment.”

The transit association is asking state lawmakers to set aside $5 million this year to help rejuvenate fleets with new vehicles and make up for the millions in federal earmarks that have gone by the wayside in recent years.

“We’re just so far behind I’m not sure we’ll ever catch up,” Little said. “We’re getting further and further behind.”

. . .

SEATS’ two dozen buses, on average, are 6.7 years old and have 152,000 miles on the odometer. The federal replacement threshold for the type of light-duty vehicles used by SEATS is four years or 120,000 miles. Just four years ago, SEATS buses, on average were 4.4 years old and had 103,400 miles.

For Brase and his SEATS staff during this particularity frigid winter, the older fleet has meant contending with engines that are harder to turn over, fuel gelling up, colder buses because of poor seals, and mechanical breakdowns.

“The older they get, the more wear and tear they have, the more maintenance costs,” Brase said. “A vehicle that’s about four years old or less costs about $2,500 a year to maintain, where the five years and older vehicles cost over $10,000 a year to maintain.”

Iowa City owns 29 heavy-duty buses, according to a report the Iowa DOT’s Office of Public Transit. Fifteen of the those city buses have exceeded useful life standards, which for transit vehicles of 35 feet or more, is 12 years and 350,000 miles.

“When you get that age past 12 years, whether it’s 15, 18, 20, which some people are running, your maintenance issues start to come up exponentially, as well,” said Chris O’Brien, Iowa City’s director of transportation services. “As those inefficiencies start to take place with your engines and other operating systems, your fuel costs are going to go up, as well. So all of that hits our operating budget, hits the bottom line.”

Until 2011, Iowa typically had received between $5 million and $10 million annually for its bus replacement needs via federal earmarks, Little said.

But that funding largely disappeared with a congressional earmarks ban three years ago, and Little said the state’s transit systems have been losing ground since then. Last year, for instance, the state’s Public Transportation Department received about $1 million in federal money, and the state allocated $3 million from its Iowa Capital Access Program for transit replacement.

Transit leaders are asking lawmakers to allocate additional $5 million this year, in addition to the $3 million in ICAP money, for replacement purchases, but Little isn’t optimistic.

Replacements costs are more often than not out of reach at the local level, Little said. A 40-foot heavy-duty bus runs almost $430,000, while a light duty bus, like the kind used by SEATS, can cost between $80,000 and $90,000.

“Some of the agencies will use their local funds to purchase buses, but most of them are not in that position because we’re spending so much money on operating costs,” Little said.

Instead, cities are trying to stretch out the lives of their old buses. For Iowa City’s transit mechanics, that means more frequent oil changes and staying ahead of maintenance schedules — ensuring heating and cooling systems are up and running well ahead of the necessary season, for instance.

“Obviously the better you maintain them early in their lives, the longer they’re going to last you later on,” said O’Brien, whose bus fleet includes 11 near 500,000 miles, and a dozen that are older than 15 years. “We know going in making a purchase that it’s a long-term investment to us.”

For passengers, older buses can result in rocky suspensions or draftier rides. And although newer buses have entryways and a ramp at ground level, older models often have steps and a mechanical lift.

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  • 4 months later...

Part of my trip prior to attending the Bus History Convention in Minneapolis took me through Iowa.

My day started in Iowa City. I went to the main transfer point where buses from Iowa City, Coralvile, and Cambus converge.

37.JPG50.JPG74g.JPG101f.JPG102c.JPG108d.JPG14c.JPG116b.JPG

I later went to Cedar Rapids, where I was given a tour of the garage. Their fleet consists of Gillig Low Floor buses, but they also operate 8 1992 TMC RTS buses and 5 Thomas SLF buses from 1999, 2000, & 2001. I was told they have 4 Gillig LF buses on order to arrive later this year, and these will replace their 4 "worst" vehicles.

801.JPG2922.JPG2132.JPG

Next, I went to Ames, Iowa. Had the opportunity to visit the garage here as well. Most of their vehicles are parked for the summer, however an Orion V and the 2 LFS Artics were in service. The LFS Artics have the offset interior roof-line (is that the SmartBus interior??) and are likely the first production units to feature this.

418.JPG661d.JPG742.JPG977b.JPG

My last stop was Des Moines, Iowa. Found out the hard way that the express buses don't stop at the downtown terminal.

1024.JPG1032c.JPG20384.JPG29462.JPG20506e.JPG26444.JPG28449.JPG

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My last stop was Des Moines, Iowa. Found out the hard way that the express buses don't stop at the downtown terminal.

That's rather unusual... Des Moines' new logo reminds me of the original logo used by DART First State (Delaware).

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  • 1 month later...

Nice photos CMC12!

Here are a few from some other systems, Waterloo MET, and Marshalltown:

Thankfully it was really overcast when I was in Waterloo so my photos all look blah <_<

Waterloo appears to have added a couple Gillig LF 29' this year, 114 and 214, which I assume makes the fleet all Gillig, except for perhaps the two 2007 Optimas:

14746233958_d5d469b764_t.jpg 14932843415_7f97071220_t.jpg 14746282667_3f24fb61f4_t.jpg 14929759501_034e35b07d_t.jpg 14932842795_4ce2a3aee3_t.jpg

Marshalltown is looking like its solid Gillig LF as well. I'm not sure how big their fleet is even, I think 5 buses or so would cover their service levels comfortably.

14787855158_8125a6bbcb_t.jpg 14787911507_f1695f9bdf_t.jpg 14971356861_b1957f0920_t.jpg 14787763819_f8e92bf67c_t.jpg 14787775040_b1d4bbfd1a_t.jpg

A few other random photos from ICT, Cambus, Coralville, and CR Transit. The CRT fleet was having a few issues when I visited, so every single active non-Gillig unit, except for two RTS, was out in service for the peak period routes. Also I'm curious about ICT 38, the wiki lists it as a 1989 Orion V, but I don't think that's correct, unless it has had some major bodywork done. I suppose it could be a 92 like 39 and 40, but it looked like a 96" wide, although I could be mistaken.

14932862545_aa2bd9f72d_t.jpg 14746306957_81dc9e04d5_t.jpg 14746211000_48a205fab4_t.jpg 14746294507_bf19370950_t.jpg 14932868495_9b5581f28d_t.jpg 14787787740_8ab3db0cf9_t.jpg 14787786980_0463bbc2f7_t.jpg 14787937167_64160d4379_t.jpg 14974478235_c1387688b2_t.jpg

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Marshalltown has an opus and 2 ex cyride orion 1's for school trippers, I believe they have an orion 2 as well. if you make it down there again let me know I can put you in contact with the general manager hes an awesome guy!

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  • 3 years later...

On the way home from the 2018 BHA convention I stopped in the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids. (All of the photos are from Tuesday June 12th)

Bettendorf Transit

  • I didn't even bother trying to get photos, all I spotted on the Red 1 at Moline Centre Station was a plain while Ford/Eldo cutaway. So I guess that planned order for MiDi didn't go through?

Davenport Citibus

  • Nothing too exciting here, just a few new Gillig LF 35' w/ BRT front, and they've also gotten at least one ex-DTA LF. Otherwise the same 2004 and 2011 LF 35'. The Orion V and 29' LF are retired I'm assuming. All of the 2004 and 2011 LF had wraps on, except the ex-DTA unit.
  • 41986343900_7e85530992_t.jpg 29924962788_79e7798a42_t.jpg 43747307182_f5ecc6b873_t.jpg 43795094751_2545637643_t.jpg

Cedar Rapids Transit

  • I had extra time coming back so decided to make a quick stop at the GTC, and got there just in time to catch the main pulse. The bulk of the service is all Gillig LF 35'. A couple newer 25xx ones were spotted. I think those are 2015 ones that replaced the SLF but they could be newer. I had thought the RTS were gone and they were simply running all Gilligs now, but heh, I guess 25 years of service isn't too much to expect from an RTS :)
  • 43081776934_c85e8f7ace_t.jpg 41989518220_3b3025e010_t.jpg 43081778514_920a7bd35d_t.jpg 28862258407_df2fee9169_t.jpg 41989522330_0636e9a345_t.jpg 43081780504_e802ffe5a9_t.jpg 43081781444_a457643e9a_t.jpg 41989524850_4b726edb39_t.jpg 43798395911_1b9bf94d16_t.jpg
  • I was told previously that Cedar Rapids is getting a few Xcelsiors eventually. So I assume if that is still the case they will be coming soon. However from checking the bus tracker just now there is/was an RTS still running a peak period trip.
  • Also to note, it was 10 years ago on the day I stopped by downtown Cedar Rapids, that the massive floods of 2008 devastated the downtown core. It took a while, but it looks like downtown is finally back on it's feet. Here's an overview photo of the GTC on June 12th, 2018: 43798416311_1099ea9fb1_t.jpg and if anyone is interested there's a fascinating video on YT by E. Hindman that was taken on the morning of June 12th, 2008 of the floodwaters in downtown CR:
    including a few views of the GTC area and a clip of an EAGL RTS running through floodwaters on the prison evac shuttle.
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  • 5 weeks later...

Due to the I-74 Bridge construction, Davenport is hanging on to the 5 29ft gillig buses. They purchased 2 35ft gillig from Duluth and are rehabbing the 6 2004 gilligs original to them. Through a joint venture with rock island metro they will be purchasing used buses to be rehabbed and used as the 1-74 express. More to come as details are released.

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On 9/2/2018 at 2:50 PM, busfreak99 said:

Due to the I-74 Bridge construction, Davenport is hanging on to the 5 29ft gillig buses. They purchased 2 35ft gillig from Duluth and are rehabbing the 6 2004 gilligs original to them. Through a joint venture with rock island metro they will be purchasing used buses to be rehabbed and used as the 1-74 express. More to come as details are released.

Thanks for the update! Any idea what the status of Bettendorf Transit is with new buses? I thought they were due to get a few MiDi units a couple years ago, but I only spotted a small cutaway. Granted I didn't check out the main transfer point of the system so they could of had something else running that day. I noticed they also cut the service back a lot compared to when I was there in 2011.

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