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The Bus (Honolulu, HI)


busfreak99
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  • 4 weeks later...

Is there any new information about Oahu’s battery electric buses? The first few were to have been delivered to OTS in 2019, with a larger order expected this year. Then came COVID, layoffs at Gillig and manufacturing slowdowns for social distancing. The Altoona website still does not indicate that Gillig 40-footers have passed the tests there. Is our infrastructure ready? I’m sure they will be fine buses once they are built, but it’s distressing to see so many electric buses from other manufacturers operating in cities across the country. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/14/2020 at 11:56 AM, Williamv said:

Is there any new information about Oahu’s battery electric buses? The first few were to have been delivered to OTS in 2019, with a larger order expected this year. Then came COVID, layoffs at Gillig and manufacturing slowdowns for social distancing. The Altoona website still does not indicate that Gillig 40-footers have passed the tests there. Is our infrastructure ready? I’m sure they will be fine buses once they are built, but it’s distressing to see so many electric buses from other manufacturers operating in cities across the country. 

Here’s a update: the battery/electric Gilligs (new paint scheme and numbered 4001-xxxx) will arrive in December 2020.

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Looks like buses 20-23 have moved back to Pearl City. Bus 23 is in service on rotes 414 and 416 today (12/2).

Also, just 11 more days to ride on route 19 before it goes away. 

“Route 19 will be discontinued and existing service will be combined with the Route 20 schedule.  Service to Hickam will be replaced by new Route 303 Hickam – Kalihi Transit Center.”

 

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On 12/2/2020 at 8:56 AM, Williamv said:


Looks like buses 20-23 have moved back to Pearl City. Bus 23 is in service on rotes 414 and 416 today (12/2).

Also, just 11 more days to ride on route 19 before it goes away. 

“Route 19 will be discontinued and existing service will be combined with the Route 20 schedule.  Service to Hickam will be replaced by new Route 303 Hickam – Kalihi Transit Center.”

 

They’re also rerouting 11, 43, 51, 52, 53, and 54 from Hotel Street to King Street when the changes goes into effect. 20 will start rerouting to South Street in order to serve Alapai Transit Center, thus ending service on Alakea.

Also making changes are Route 8. Service along Piikoi Street, Atkinson Drive, Ala Moana Boulevard, Kalia Road, Saratoga Road, and Olohana/Kalaimoku Streets have been discontinued. It’ll now service Kona Street, Kapiolani Boulevard, Kalakaua Avenue, and then continue on Kuhio Avenue.

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On 11/27/2020 at 2:12 PM, Only1Moore said:

Here’s a update: the battery/electric Gilligs (new paint scheme and numbered 4001-xxxx) will arrive in December 2020.

Any clues on what the livery will look like or how many will be in this order? Is this new livery just for the electric buses or is it a new paint scheme for all future bus deliveries?

On 12/4/2020 at 6:54 PM, Only1Moore said:

They’re also rerouting 11, 43, 51, 52, 53, and 54 from Hotel Street to King Street when the changes goes into effect. 20 will start rerouting to South Street in order to serve Alapai Transit Center, thus ending service on Alakea.

Also making changes are Route 8. Service along Piikoi Street, Atkinson Drive, Ala Moana Boulevard, Kalia Road, Saratoga Road, and Olohana/Kalaimoku Streets have been discontinued. It’ll now service Kona Street, Kapiolani Boulevard, Kalakaua Avenue, and then continue on Kuhio Avenue.

Wow so no service to Ilikai, Prince Waikiki, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hale Koa, or Beachwalk hotels like Trump Tower and Halekulani? This seems like it must be a temporary change for the Tourist Express (Route 8)...

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“Charging the buses will prove difficult at least for the next few months; the city currently has just one working charger, and a large charging bank for up to 32 electric buses won’t be built until the spring.”

As the city was awarded the funds to purchase electric buses in 2017, I wonder why this was not taken care of some time in the last 3 years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Honolulu continues to buy new diesel buses. That makes sense because electric buses are new technology. Reliability and costs are still question marks. But if the bus fleet Is going to be 100% renewable energy by 2035, as reported, the fossil fuel buses coming in 2021 will be only 14 years old. Will we really be willing to retire them that early? Current buses are running for 21 or 22 years.

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20 hours ago, Williamv said:

Honolulu continues to buy new diesel buses. That makes sense because electric buses are new technology. Reliability and costs are still question marks. But if the bus fleet Is going to be 100% renewable energy by 2035, as reported, the fossil fuel buses coming in 2021 will be only 14 years old. Will we really be willing to retire them that early? Current buses are running for 21 or 22 years.

Yeah this seems to be a nationwide issue - the technology just isn't where it needs to be in terms of mass producing, and when transit agencies are hesitant to go with the electric only manufacturers (which I am glad that TheBus has been) it leaves Gillig and New Flyer scrambling to make electric buses en masse, which can lead to technical failures and other quality lapses. My best guess is that any delay gets blamed on COVID, or they can take the TriMet approach and look at CCW electrification mid-life (also not a huge fan of).

Have there been any confirmed 2021 orders? With the 800's reaching their end of life we should see TheBus finally reaching an all low-floor fleet - they may take the award for the last U.S. agency to do so. And credit has to go to the maintenance team for keeping those Phantoms running reliably for all these years - I am sure even they will be sad to see those buses retire.

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On 12/28/2020 at 9:14 AM, Jared Kam said:

Have there been any confirmed 2021 orders? With the 800's reaching their end of life we should see TheBus finally reaching an all low-floor fleet - they may take the award for the last U.S. agency to do so. And credit has to go to the maintenance team for keeping those Phantoms running reliably for all these years - I am sure even they will be sad to see those buses retire.

According to the city’s Division of Purchasing website, the following orders for new buses have been placed for 2021:

Furnish and Deliver Forty (40) Foot Heavy Duty Low Floor Clean Diesel Buses; RFP-DTS-1361320

Furnish and Deliver Forty (40) Foot Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses; RFP-DTS-1362224

Furnish and Deliver 29' to 35' Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses RFP-DTS-1295305

Furnish and Deliver 60-foot Articulating Diesel Bus, RFP-DTS-1360709

As usual, no numbers or manufacturers are specified. We can assume New Flyer will build the 60-foot buses and the rest will be Gilligs. News reports indicate 17 battery electric buses will be delivered. Should we guess they will all be 40-footers and the small vehicles will be a separate order?

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On 12/28/2020 at 8:14 PM, Jared Kam said:

Yeah this seems to be a nationwide issue - the technology just isn't where it needs to be in terms of mass producing, and when transit agencies are hesitant to go with the electric only manufacturers (which I am glad that TheBus has been) it leaves Gillig and New Flyer scrambling to make electric buses en masse, which can lead to technical failures and other quality lapses. My best guess is that any delay gets blamed on COVID, or they can take the TriMet approach and look at CCW electrification mid-life (also not a huge fan of).

Have there been any confirmed 2021 orders? With the 800's reaching their end of life we should see TheBus finally reaching an all low-floor fleet - they may take the award for the last U.S. agency to do so. And credit has to go to the maintenance team for keeping those Phantoms running reliably for all these years - I am sure even they will be sad to see those buses retire.

Actually the technology is ready and the technical knowledge exists. In The Netherlands we have fleets as large as 250 electric buses running around.

This is because we have to do it, because we are in a concession style system where companies must bid on operating a region, we have to meet the demands of the authorities (RFP). By 2030 all public transport must be zero emissions and from 2025 new public transport vehicles must be zero emissions.

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On 12/29/2020 at 7:42 PM, Williamv said:

According to the city’s Division of Purchasing website, the following orders for new buses have been placed for 2021:

Furnish and Deliver Forty (40) Foot Heavy Duty Low Floor Clean Diesel Buses; RFP-DTS-1361320

Furnish and Deliver Forty (40) Foot Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses; RFP-DTS-1362224

Furnish and Deliver 29' to 35' Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses RFP-DTS-1295305

Furnish and Deliver 60-foot Articulating Diesel Bus, RFP-DTS-1360709

As usual, no numbers or manufacturers are specified. We can assume New Flyer will build the 60-foot buses and the rest will be Gilligs. News reports indicate 17 battery electric buses will be delivered. Should we guess they will all be 40-footers and the small vehicles will be a separate order?

If they do assign numbers, they’ll probably be 4-digits like the battery/electric Gilligs. Don’t see TheBus going back to 3-digits, plus the new scheme they introduced could be the replacement for the tiger stripes across the fleet. I agree that they’ll go to Gillig for the 29/35/40 footers and New Flyer for the 60 footers.

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On 12/31/2020 at 3:57 PM, ieko said:

Actually the technology is ready and the technical knowledge exists. In The Netherlands we have fleets as large as 250 electric buses running around.

This is because we have to do it, because we are in a concession style system where companies must bid on operating a region, we have to meet the demands of the authorities (RFP). By 2030 all public transport must be zero emissions and from 2025 new public transport vehicles must be zero emissions.

American heavy duty transit bus manufacturers are scrambling to catch up to European and Asian scale of electric bus manufacturing. After visiting The Netherlands I would say it is clear that they continue to raise the bar of what transit could and probably should look like in many cities around the world.

Because of Buy America requirements here any international bus purchases would not receive federal funding, which funds the majority of bus procurement here in the states. From what I have seen there have not been any real success stories with that approach (thinking AC Transit in Oakland as an example) and especially now it would be a pretty controversial decision to purchase from overseas.

As a result, I do not believe that there are any agencies that are receiving electric buses in that quantity anywhere in the nation. And because TheBus and others have preferred to purchase electrified standard heavy duty buses (Gillig and New Flyer, for example) vs. electric only bus manufacturers (i.e. Proterra and BYD) the waiting list for these buses is quite long.

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On 1/5/2021 at 6:13 PM, Jared Kam said:

American heavy duty transit bus manufacturers are scrambling to catch up to European and Asian scale of electric bus manufacturing. After visiting The Netherlands I would say it is clear that they continue to raise the bar of what transit could and probably should look like in many cities around the world.

Because of Buy America requirements here any international bus purchases would not receive federal funding, which funds the majority of bus procurement here in the states. From what I have seen there have not been any real success stories with that approach (thinking AC Transit in Oakland as an example) and especially now it would be a pretty controversial decision to purchase from overseas.

As a result, I do not believe that there are any agencies that are receiving electric buses in that quantity anywhere in the nation. And because TheBus and others have preferred to purchase electrified standard heavy duty buses (Gillig and New Flyer, for example) vs. electric only bus manufacturers (i.e. Proterra and BYD) the waiting list for these buses is quite long.

It's not about buses actually, it's about scheduling. Also proterra is actually ahead of European and Asian manufacturers in the most important part of a battery electric bus, the battery.

North America lacks the incentives to be better at the logistics of scheduling. The better you are at this, the easier it is to implement electric buses.

Later this year (think end of 2021) I'll take real schedules from Honolulu, and show that it can be done.

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On 1/12/2021 at 5:08 AM, ieko said:

It's not about buses actually, it's about scheduling. Also proterra is actually ahead of European and Asian manufacturers in the most important part of a battery electric bus, the battery.

North America lacks the incentives to be better at the logistics of scheduling. The better you are at this, the easier it is to implement electric buses.

Ah yes. As with so many things in transit, it all comes down to scheduling.

I am a professional transit scheduler in North America. I am curious how we can improve our craft? In most cases, it's less a question of incentives and more a question of constraints. Facilities (both operating bases and on-street), vehicle counts, staffing availability, traffic, etc.

To keep in on topic, TheBus/OTS uses HASTUS for scheduling - which has specific functionality for electric buses. I'm sure they'll use the feature at some point.

 

 

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On 1/15/2021 at 2:20 AM, Border City Transit said:

Ah yes. As with so many things in transit, it all comes down to scheduling.

I am a professional transit scheduler in North America. I am curious how we can improve our craft? In most cases, it's less a question of incentives and more a question of constraints. Facilities (both operating bases and on-street), vehicle counts, staffing availability, traffic, etc.

To keep in on topic, TheBus/OTS uses HASTUS for scheduling - which has specific functionality for electric buses. I'm sure they'll use the feature at some point.

 

 

I say incentives in regards to policy, the policy realities govern what constraints you're willing to work with. For example, in NL our policy is that by 2030 every public transport vehicle just be zero emissions. From 2025, no public transport vehicle can be purchased that is not zero emissions. Additionally, we have concessions, so anyone wishing to win these concessions must have an aggressive plan to meet those policy goals or risk losing the concession bid to another vendor. Vendors also generally buy the vehicles, so there is an incentive for them to make the most efficient plan possible.

In the USA, the agencies are mostly a public entity that will exist whether or not a policy goal is met. So there's no forces pushing for improvement. Especially logistically. For example, much of the conversation in the USA about electric buses is about the wish they'd have the same range as a diesel bus. There is no effort here to consider that the way driver and bus interact in their duties might need to change in order to make the range (opportunity charging) work for a full-time shift.

It is true that OTS has Hastus, but just because you have the keys to a Ferrari doesn't mean you can drive it!  if you take some time to look at the timetables for TheBus, you'll see they're all over the place. There's a policy failure here to coordinate service, and perhaps skill as well. 

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