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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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Interestingly, I spotted 6208 (one of the XDE60 RapidRide coaches) on Pacific Highway near Angle Lake station. The signage said "to terminal" so it might have just been out doing testing, but it was strange to see one of these coaches away from Seattle/Shoreline city limits. 

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Due to the police closure of 3rd and Pike this evening, coaches were being heavily rerouted. Use of the emergency power packs on the Xcelsior trolley coaches were well utilized.

One could only imagine the amount of congestion if the trolleys were immobile from this closure.

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Before when D40LF's 3600s going to retired next year, are they going to move it to Bellevue or East Base, or are they going to stay at Ryerson and North?

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5 minutes ago, clarkwang96 said:

Before when D40LF's 3600s going to retired next year, are they going to move it to Bellevue or East Base, or are they going to stay at Ryerson and North?

Who said they were getting retired next year?

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1 minute ago, clarkwang96 said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_County_Metro_fleet look at this site. D40LFs said that schedule to be replaced by next year 2017 and 2020. which mean i doubt that they might retired.

If you trace that source, it's citing a STB post discussing proposed budget allocations.  Nothing indicates an order was placed, much less a contract signed.

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21 minutes ago, clarkwang96 said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_County_Metro_fleet look at this site. D40LFs said that schedule to be replaced by next year 2017 and 2020. which mean i doubt that they might retired.

Building on what Atomic Taco said... that's also based on the 2015-2016 budget. Things have changed since it passed two years ago, Metro is adding service. 

 

Since the 2017-2018 budget was passed today, we might soon get an update on the fleet plans. 

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I want to say time to delivery is usually 18 months from when the contract is signed, and I think we would hear about any contracts getting signed for more equipment. Plus I wouldn't put too much faith into it, at larger agencies coach replacement is never a 1:1 thing. And considering there is still older equipment out on the street, some 1100s (?), 3198-99 (which Wikipedia says are retired), a small number of 3200s, plus the 2300s. The fact the 1100s, 2300s, and 3200s are all nearly or have passed 17 years of age would indicate that the 3600s probably have several more years of useful life left in them and would only come up for replacement once the older rolling stock itself has been replaced.

 

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Does anyone know the reason why  ALL of the XDE40's are in bellevue base right now? it does not look as the 40 footers are distributed properly, as bellevue base has all of the 40 footer coaches, the gillig and the nfi xcelsior 40 footers.

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1 hour ago, dancingfatpotato said:

Does anyone know the reason why  ALL of the XDE40's are in bellevue base right now? it does not look as the 40 footers are distributed properly, as bellevue base has all of the 40 footer coaches, the gillig and the nfi xcelsior 40 footers.

Why does it matter? Seems to me as they a distributed pretty properly. Why would you split up the XDE40's? If so, then Bellevue would get some 3600's or 7000's to off set the loss and would unnecessarily have to start stocking parts, and training Bellevue operators and mechanics on those coaches. 

 Yes the 3700s are split up, but that's because three bases require smaller coaches. But in terms of 40 footers, keeping a particular fleet at a base makes sense.  In terms of stocking parts, training mechanics, training operators, etc.   South and Central are all 7000's, North is all 3600s, Ryerson has only a mix of 3600 & 7000s. Bellevue has all 7200s and the few leftover Gilligs. 

Speaking of Gilligs..... There's so few Gilligs left, why wouldn't you keep them all (1100's & 3200's) at one base. Keep all the parts at one base. There's so few Gilligs, that they don't even train new operators on them, unless the specifically picture a run out of Bellevue. 

There are reasons that the fleet of distributed the way it is. 

 

On 11/13/2016 at 9:10 PM, clarkwang96 said:

Before when D40LF's 3600s going to retired next year, are they going to move it to Bellevue or East Base, or are they going to stay at Ryerson and North?

Gilligs will be replaced before 3600's. No plan of retiring 3600's any time soon. 

On 11/14/2016 at 8:20 PM, busdude.com said:

I want to say time to delivery is usually 18 months from when the contract is signed, and I think we would hear about any contracts getting signed for more equipment. Plus I wouldn't put too much faith into it, at larger agencies coach replacement is never a 1:1 thing. And considering there is still older equipment out on the street, some 1100s (?), 3198-99 (which Wikipedia says are retired), a small number of 3200s, plus the 2300s. The fact the 1100s, 2300s, and 3200s are all nearly or have passed 17 years of age would indicate that the 3600s probably have several more years of useful life left in them and would only come up for replacement once the older rolling stock itself has been replaced.

 

Rumor has it, that KCM has placed an order for 100 40' Low Floor BAE powered Hybrid Gilligs. Not sure if they'll be ordered on the BRT or regular version. Plus 8 more Proterras. Heard this info from someone in procurement. 

They'll obviously replace the remaining 3200's. As for the 1100's, I'm not sure yet. It's possible with 108 extra 40' cosches, that they could be shifted to runs currently using 3700's, and 3700's could move over to runs using 1100's. There's only 35 1100's left to replace, so its would take much to make it work.  Again, that's just one theory. So who really knows. 

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If KCM is worried about parts availability and uniformity within the fleet, why would they pursue Gillig low floor coaches instead of XDE40s for their pre-existing 7200 fleet? I understand that orders may be obtained through the bidding process, however, it seems entirely counter intuitive if they are currently stocking Xcelsior parts for the 8000s, 3700s, 7200s, 6200s, 4300s and 4500s.

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The 2017-2018 budget gives us insight into whats happening with Metro's fleet over the next two years.

  • 40-Ft Hybrid Bus Replacement Program - $209,974,239 - This project funds the continuation of the replacement of King County Metro’s existing fleet of 40-ft diesel and hybrid buses. These new hybrid buses will feature all electric accessories. The first of the 181 new 40-ft Hybrid buses will be placed into service starting in mid-2018. The new fleet of 40-ft Hybrid buses will be low-floor buses with an FTA service life of 12 years. The buses will be purchased from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Consortium contract.
  • 60-Ft Hybrid Bus Replacement Program - $297,499,452 - This project funds the continuation of the replacement and a modest expansion of King County Metro’s existing fleet of 60-ft diesel and hybrid buses. These new hybrid buses will feature all electric accessories. The first of these 251 new 60-ft Hybrid buses will be placed into service starting in the Fall of 2018. The new fleet of 60-ft hybrid buses will be low-floor buses with an FTA service life of 12 years. The buses will be purchased from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Consortium contract.
  • 60-Ft Trolley Replacement Program - $21,481,596 - This project funds the full replacement and a modest expansion of King County Metro’s fleet of 59 60-ft electric trolley buses with 64 60-ft electric trolley buses. This budget request seeks new funding for 13 additional trolleybuses to serve the City of Seattle’s planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route for Madison Street scheduled to begin service in 2019. The addition of the Madison BRT trolleys brings the 60-ft. trolley fleet to 77 buses. All of the new fleet of 60- ft electric trolley buses will be low-floor buses with an FTA service life of 15 years and will feature a battery pack that provides the capability to travel off-wire for a limited range.
  • Battery Bus Budget Program - $9,182,978 - This project funds the expansion of King County Metro’s existing fleet of three 40-ft battery electric buses adding 8 more 40-ft battery electric buses. These new buses, like their predecessors, will use fast-charge technology providing the capacity to operate the buses for up to approximately 23 miles between charges and allow the bus to remain in service up to 24 hours a day. Batteries can charge in 10 minutes or less. The combination of these eight buses and the original three buses purchased in 2014 will allow King County Metro to fully electrify two bus routes with battery electric buses. The eight new buses should enter service in late 2017 or early 2018. The new fleet of 40-ft battery electric trolley buses will be low-floor buses with an FTA service life of 15 years. The buses will be purchased from an existing King County Metro contract No. EB 11-2 with Proterra, Inc.

For the record... the "Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Consortium contract" is the master contract maintained by the the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. It allows agencies to buy buses without issuing a request for bids, pick the bus model they want, buy only the features they need, at a pre-negotiated price.

According to County staff, Metro is nearly out of room at bases, so only about 100 coaches can be added to the fleet. According to the budget, the fleet expansion will be in the form of 60-foot hybrids, and 60-foot trolleybuses. King County reiterated in the budget that it wants Metro to have an "all hybrid and electric bus fleet by 2018" so it's reasonable to assume that these coaches will replace the remaining Phantoms, and the New Flyer D60HF, D40LF and D60LF coaches. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see Metro begin to retire some of the DE60LF coaches.

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51 minutes ago, anonymous guy said:

If KCM is worried about parts availability and uniformity within the fleet, why would they pursue Gillig low floor coaches instead of XDE40s for their pre-existing 7200 fleet? I understand that orders may be obtained through the bidding process, however, it seems entirely counter intuitive if they are currently stocking Xcelsior parts for the 8000s, 3700s, 7200s, 6200s, 4300s and 4500s.

What are these parts that are so vehicle-specific that they have to travel from base to base with the coaches? 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

What are these parts that are so vehicle-specific that they have to travel from base to base with the coaches? 

 

 

I'm thinking more in terms of external parts such as front/rear shells, LED fixtures, window frames, body panels etc. that are interchangeable across the Xcelsior line. It was stated that the 3200s and 1100s stay at Bellevue because they want to keep all the replacement parts in one base. If they purchase Gillig Low Floors, there's another line of replacement parts Metro has to stock.

Throughout Metro's business partnership with New Flyer, they have transitioned from the cancellation of the old New Flyer front/rear style, and the discontinuation of the LFRs to the Xcelsior brand line. I'd bet if Metro had their way, their orders would have been fulfilled using the old New Flyer styling so they wouldn't have to have inventory for the LFR and the Xcelsior line.

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7 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

I'm thinking more in terms of external parts such as front/rear shells, LED fixtures, window frames, body panels etc.

I don't think Bellevue Base is doing much body work these days

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10 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

I don't think Bellevue Base is doing much body work these days

I'm sure they do more than you realize... A lot of "minor" stuff probably gets handled at the base level (broken windshields, glass, lighting, minor accident), and all sorts of minor repairs. I think only major accident damage, paint work, major components (Engine, Transmission, Rear end) get sent to Unit Repair, and even some the major components may be done at base level (for example Unit repair ships a whole engine/transmission to the base, the base swings it and ships the dead one back). But I don't work in metro VM, so i'm not totally sure how they do it. But I do know, that each base has to stock parts for nearly everything to keep the fleet on the road, or they have to sideline a LOT of buses while they order parts. And it only makes sense to keep vehicle types that share similar parts stocks at the same base. This helps training operators, mechanics, keeps parts centralized instead of having 3 parts stashes across 3 bases for 1 type of bus. Sometimes the business need is such you cant help it, but if you can keep them in one spot...

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3 hours ago, busdude.com said:

I'm sure they do more than you realize... A lot of "minor" stuff probably gets handled at the base level (broken windshields, glass, lighting, minor accident), and all sorts of minor repairs. I think only major accident damage, paint work, major components (Engine, Transmission, Rear end) get sent to Unit Repair, and even some the major components may be done at base level (for example Unit repair ships a whole engine/transmission to the base, the base swings it and ships the dead one back). But I don't work in metro VM, so i'm not totally sure how they do it. But I do know, that each base has to stock parts for nearly everything to keep the fleet on the road, or they have to sideline a LOT of buses while they order parts. And it only makes sense to keep vehicle types that share similar parts stocks at the same base. This helps training operators, mechanics, keeps parts centralized instead of having 3 parts stashes across 3 bases for 1 type of bus. Sometimes the business need is such you cant help it, but if you can keep them in one spot...

Why do the parts have to move but the vehicles don't?  Seems like it's not just a parts issue but a staffing issue.  I doubt you can have all trades on all shifts all days of the week at all locations.  Instead you could have specialized staff and resources at certain locations.  The downside is that now you have to drag vehicles around the county to get them fixed if it's anything more than a simple repair.

The best approach is probably a combination of the two.  This is why as mentioned several times previously you want to keep like equipment with like equipment--but not just for parts sake.  Especially with the case of major mechanical systems there is a high degree of specialized knowledge that a mechanic couldn't simply "pick up" their first time doing a repair.

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7 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

Why do the parts have to move but the vehicles don't?  Seems like it's not just a parts issue but a staffing issue.  I doubt you can have all trades on all shifts all days of the week at all locations.  Instead you could have specialized staff and resources at certain locations.  The downside is that now you have to drag vehicles around the county to get them fixed if it's anything more than a simple repair.

The best approach is probably a combination of the two.  This is why as mentioned several times previously you want to keep like equipment with like equipment--but not just for parts sake.  Especially with the case of major mechanical systems there is a high degree of specialized knowledge that a mechanic couldn't simply "pick up" their first time doing a repair.

Usually a larger transit agency will have some kind of component rebuild shop that handles items such as Engines, Transmissions, Rear ends, Air compressors, Alternators, Blower motors, Door Motors, Wiper Motors, Hydraulic parts, etc. "out of frame". The operating base or on-site shop, has a stock of items that are freshly rebuilt, and when one comes in bad, the mechanics swap it out, send the dead one to scrap or back to component rebuild to be rebuilt if possible. From what I have seen, these are generally people who are Journey Level Mechanics, and usually the more senior of them who have many years in the industry, usually with transit (high seniority), who get the specialized training, who have all the right tools, hoists, cranes, etc. plus the engine and transmission run-in facilities to do this kind of work. In Metro's case this work used to be, and probably still is at South Base (I got a tour there when I was like in the 6th grade, and saw a freshly rebuilt 8v71 roar to life). Once you have a fresh engine/transmission, its nothing to load it on a truck and send it where it needs to go to be installed, or call the wrecker over, pick up the dead and tow it to unit repair. You can even send it to a contractor, but that generally does not happen much unless its under warranty. And even under warranty usually contractors come on-site with their shop trucks. I have seen them do just about everything from their shop truck on site. whatever works, all depends on the agency's preference, staffing, union, etc. But yes, many parts usually get rebuilt in a central shop and sent out to other facility's for use, with the "core" coming back for rebuild or scrap.

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3 hours ago, 118 Vashon via EXPRESS said:

Spotted 4401 and 4405 today on the 3 and/or 4.

Speaking of those I spotted 4400 yesterday but I couldn't tell what route it was on.

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