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King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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1 hour ago, anonymous guy said:

Coffee carts...now that's a throwback. 

If I recall correctly, there also was a customer service desk on the upper platform, long since unused. 

In Westlake Station, there are old customer service/ticket booths hastily covered up with cardboard boxes. They appear to be offices/rest areas for the transit security employees now. 

I've also wondered what's behind the covered up doors that used to lead to the (now gone) lower level of the Westlake Center mall. 

I don't recall a customer service desk at CPS, ever.

The Westlake customer service booths were disused by the time my memory starts in the mid to late 1990s. After Fredrick and Nelson's closed, that entry/exit would have been more lightly used. 

There was a period in the early 00's when the customer service booth on the south side of the Mezzanine was rehabbed, and they did use those ticket booths. Both before and after that, however, security has been stationed in there.

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20 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

I don't recall a customer service desk at CPS, ever.

Ah, I assumed that the little concrete box structure in the upper level with the "garage door" was a former customer service booth. It now has an Orca TVM stationed in front of it. 

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Thanks. Was surprised to see them, and a different paint job. Most of the 226/241 loop was using 4600s yesterday. Only saw 1, maybe 2 of the XDE35/XDE40 type. Wonder what the next routes to get the fast chargers will be?

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10 hours ago, EvergreenRailfan said:

I was  at Eastgate today, and saw 4604 and 4605 in service. How many  4600s have been delivered? Just wondering. 

Saw 4608 on Friday. Loving those new colors!

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6 hours ago, EvergreenRailfan said:

Thanks. Was surprised to see them, and a different paint job. Most of the 226/241 loop was using 4600s yesterday. Only saw 1, maybe 2 of the XDE35/XDE40 type. Wonder what the next routes to get the fast chargers will be?

Not sure what eastside route will be next to use the existing chargers but from that article that we all read from last Fall, the focus area for future experimentation and eventual deployment for the evolving use of battery buses --including the artics-- will be south county routes. 

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On 7/1/2018 at 9:40 AM, roamer said:

Not sure what eastside route will be next to use the existing chargers but from that article that we all read from last Fall, the focus area for future experimentation and eventual deployment for the evolving use of battery buses --including the artics-- will be south county routes. 

I found that article in the Times from KCM's GM Rob Gannon printed last Fall pertaining to future testing of battery buses planning to be done in the south county:

"We are continuing to test new models. By the middle of next year, riders in South King County will ride on six battery buses from three different manufacturers, all with an extended range of 140 miles. In addition, we will roll out four 60-foot articulated buses from two manufacturers. We’ve chosen South King County as a focus area for the first big wave of battery-bus deployment because we know these communities face disproportionate air pollution and health impacts, and so we want to bring the benefits of zero emissions buses there first."

With some all-electric buses, Metro Transit rides into the future

 

Does anybody know where they are in that planning process?  Are the charging stations already installed and at what locations?  Any idea of what routes are being planned for the testing?  From what Gannon was saying, I'm assuming that things should be almost ready to go as it pertains to testing process as he said "by the middle of next year" which is now.  

I don't keep up with all the other local transit blogs and forums so the reason for my ignorance on what's going on.  Thanks.

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I can't comment on the South King County proposals but maybe some people might be interested in the attached, which is the Federal Transit Administration [FTA] report on the one-year trial comparing the performance of the three Proterra battery-electric buses [bEBs] with three base fleets: diesel-hybrid, diesel only and trolley buses.

www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/research-innovation/115086/zero-emission-bus-evaluation-results-king-county-metro-battery-electric-buses-fta-report-no-0118.pdf

The report is generally positive about the results and this is obviously borne out by K C Metro’s subsequent order, which envisages up to 73 more BEBs from Proterra, with a further 8 coming this year.

The issues that the FTA highlighted were:

Charger availability is crucial. There was a period of charger downtime which immobilised the trial fleet.

Custom made driver training is needed, particularly for the operation of charger docking and monitoring the state of charge on the bus.

Scheduling and planning need to build in charging time in schedules and layovers cannot be shortened to catch up with the timetable after traffic delays.

Spare parts: now that the Proterra BEB has proved itself, spare parts will need to be held at the operating base.

In my view a number of issues will emerge as the BEB fleet and network expands:

1. The number and location of chargers is crucial. The fleet is increasing to 11 BEBs and a further fast charger is being added at Bellevue Base.  Time will tell whether this is a sufficient number of chargers. In some cities in Europe they go for a ratio of one fast charger for every three BEBs. If there are traffic delays, you could imagine a scenario where more that one bus needs a recharge at Eastgate at the same time. The second bus arriving would have to wait until the first bus (running late) had completed its recharge. This would have an aggravating effect on the schedule.

2. People think BEBs are totally flexible but of course that's not not totally true when you use opportunity charging. You may not be tied to overhead wires but you are tied to where you put your terminal chargers. You cannot just suddenly extend a route by, say, 2 miles. You would need to plan the extension and then install expensive new chargers at the new destination.  BEBs that work on an overnight charging basis avoid this problem but have other issues instead.

3. Another big issue is standardisation of charging systems. Proterra has its own design of fast charger. But other manufacturers may decide to adopt another form of connector. For example you could have a rail style pantograph on the bus. Then there is a different version which has a pantograph on the charging station which goes down onto the roof of the bus. Then there is a system called Schunk. etc.etc. So if KCM orders BEBs from, say, three different makers, It could end up with two or three different types of incompatible fast chargers. Bases and routes would end up tied  to particular manufacturers. Imagine: "My only available bus is an Xcelsior Charge but I can't send it out on the 226 because that's got Proterra charging stations".

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On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 10:32 AM, roamer said:

I found that article in the Times from KCM's GM Rob Gannon printed last Fall pertaining to future testing of battery buses planning to be done in the south county:

"We are continuing to test new models. By the middle of next year, riders in South King County will ride on six battery buses from three different manufacturers, all with an extended range of 140 miles. In addition, we will roll out four 60-foot articulated buses from two manufacturers. We’ve chosen South King County as a focus area for the first big wave of battery-bus deployment because we know these communities face disproportionate air pollution and health impacts, and so we want to bring the benefits of zero emissions buses there first."

With some all-electric buses, Metro Transit rides into the future
 

Does anybody know where they are in that planning process?  Are the charging stations already installed and at what locations?  Any idea of what routes are being planned for the testing?  From what Gannon was saying, I'm assuming that things should be almost ready to go as it pertains to testing process as he said "by the middle of next year" which is now.  

I don't keep up with all the other local transit blogs and forums so the reason for my ignorance on what's going on.  Thanks.

The only fast charging station is the one at Eastgate P&R.  What I have heard is that there are supposed to be two more installed at Eastgate P&R, the next route will be the 221, and that a charging station is coming to Redmond TC. 

No more than 4 Proterras are in service at any given time.  Because there isn't a working fast charger at Bellevue Base yet all coaches have to charge at Eastgate before returning to Bellevue Base.

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I said that one of the county documents I posted detailed the 1997 restructure in NE Seattle. I was wrong. This is the correct document: http://aqua.kingcounty.gov/council/clerk/OldOrdsMotions/Ordinance 12644.pdf

On 6/23/2018 at 5:15 PM, northwesterner said:

Thanks for the link. Looks like a ~1993 version of the book. It's been a long time since I've seen one from the mid-90s or earlier, but as I recall, all the route maps were up front, and all the other info (signage instructions, etc) was stuck in the back. 

All the maps were painstakingly drawn by a Metro legend, the late Wayne Hom.

Some route comments:

  • I don't know when Route 9 picked up again, but it was a trolley route through the 80s and 90s operating between Rose Street and the University District on a 30 minute headway. The stretch north of Aloha Street to the U District was scheduled to alternate with route 7, providing an "on paper" 15 minute headway. In reality, due to reliability issues this didn't happen often, and was one of the reasons for separating the routes. Runs often did both route 7 and 9, swapping routes in the U District. I do recall some 40ftrs on route 9; I think these were assigned to runs that didn't do any 7s.

According to Richard DeArmond (former SFU professor and trolleybus geek), the 9 was resurrected as of 6/15/1987 as a weekday only route, to combat overcrowding on the 7 between downtown Seattle and the Graham St loop. It only ran M-F until 8:30 pm (hourly) initially, but it was extended to 10:00 pm as of the Feb 1999 service change. I don't know when hourly headways on the 9 were increased to half hourly. Replaced by a diesel semi-express (still retained the routing through Cherry Hill) on 6/11/2005, the first Monday after the 7/49 split. I think it used 2300s and 2600s from Central. Did diesel 9s use 2000s (MAN SG-310), 3000s (Americana) or another kind of bus?

Thanks for the history on Wayne Hom. I think his art is the basis for Metro timetable maps to this day. I would have envied his patience.

On 6/23/2018 at 5:15 PM, northwesterner said:

I have mixed feelings as the sun has set on the 2300s. 

They arrived and were in service in early 1999, replacing both the 1400 and 2000 series MAN fleet. 

I remember operators, at the time, falling in love with them because for the first time Metro had a 60ft diesel that could perform in line with a 40ft motor coach. 

They were versatile coaches, at home both on the longest suburban commuter route and on the busiest urban corridor. 

But I felt, over the years, that some of the issues I identified when they were brand new just got more obnoxious as the years wore on.

As others have noted, the engine was ferociously loud. I don't know if NFI didn't properly engineer the sound insulation in the customer rear end body work to accommodate this engine, or what, but they were shockingly loud coaches from the first day and didn't get better with time. The Gillig Phantoms have the same engine, just with less horsepower, and were much quieter. 

For a high-floor artic, the ride was never as good as it should have been. I remember riding a 194 from Federal Way when they were fairly new (Spring 1999?) and the ride on I-5 was shockingly poor. It did soften up over time, but was never as good as the MANs that they replaced. The competitor artics on the market at the time (high floor NABIs and Neoplans, which would have had their own issues) generally rode better than the D60 did. 

The Maggie Fimia interior, revolutionary on the 3200s, was less suitable for this coach. With smaller side windows, the tinting kept the interior fairly dark even on the brightest day. The high back seats were inappropriate for the forward facing, over the center axle seats, as they effectively separated the bus into two separate sections. Many operators reported security incidents occurring in the back half of these coaches and they had limited visibility as to what was going on. For a rider in the back, you had no idea what was happening in the front of the bus. I never had this sensation on the MANs, or Bredas, which also had the elevated forward facing seats. 

By the time the 2600s rolled around, New Flyer had started to hit its stride as a manufacturer (mid-00s low floor NFIs, of both varieties, are far superior to those produced in the mid to late 1990s as NFI started to pull ahead of its competition). The 2600s had an upgraded suspension and actually rode better than the 2300s, while providing more power (particularly hill-climbing ability) through the hybrid drive.

What I liked about the 2300s was their imposing presence, their flip-dot signs, the small quirks like the notch at the back to fit the powerful Cummins M11 engine, that mighty roar that pnwelevator loves so much. But like you said, they were noisy, and the ride wasn't as bad as the Frankenbredas but still pretty rough.

By the way, is it known which routes regularly got the 2000s, which got the 3000s, which got the 1400s, and which got other types of buses? (1600s, 1100s, etc.) I'm not counting tunnel routes or trolley routes. Here's a list of urban routes that I am assuming were primarily assigned to either the SG-310s or the 40' Americanas, based partly on photos from Peter McLaughlin and the late Zack Willhoite:

2000s: 5/54/55, 358, 11/20 (125), 15/18/21/22/56/57X, 16, 26/42, 28/39, 36 diesel, 48, 120

3000s: 8, 17/130/132 (23), 24/136/137 (131/132), 25/27, 31/68, 33/37, 60, 66, 74 (30)

However, I've seen photos D60s/DE60LFs on the 17/23, as well as photos of 3200s on the 20 and 125, and 3200s/3600s on the 23, 26, 28, 131 (both pre and post RapidRide C era) and 132. I've seen a photo of a 3200 on a 136, and another photo of a 2600 on a 136. So I'm probably missing a whole lot of edge cases here. Furthermore, northwesterner, you told me that select trips on the 8 got ex-South 1850s (during the short time when the 35 footers displaced by 1100s were moved from South to Ryerson), and those Flyers ran on the 74 between UW-Sand Point before that. These are just more examples of edge cases that I don't know about.

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On 7/11/2018 at 4:37 PM, V3112 said:

I said that one of the county documents I posted detailed the 1997 restructure in NE Seattle. I was wrong. This is the correct document: http://aqua.kingcounty.gov/council/clerk/OldOrdsMotions/Ordinance 12644.pdf

According to Richard DeArmond (former SFU professor and trolleybus geek), the 9 was resurrected as of 6/15/1987 as a weekday only route, to combat overcrowding on the 7 between downtown Seattle and the Graham St loop. It only ran M-F until 8:30 pm (hourly) initially, but it was extended to 10:00 pm as of the Feb 1999 service change. I don't know when hourly headways on the 9 were increased to half hourly. Replaced by a diesel semi-express (still retained the routing through Cherry Hill) on 6/11/2005, the first Monday after the 7/49 split. I think it used 2300s and 2600s from Central. Did diesel 9s use 2000s (MAN SG-310), 3000s (Americana) or another kind of bus?

The 9 diesel from 2005 onwards has always been at Ryerson base - equipment has been everything Ryerson has operated since then, both 40 and 60 foot. The 2000 and 3000 series MANs were retired by the Summer 2005 service change.

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On 7/11/2018 at 4:37 PM, V3112 said:

By the way, is it known which routes regularly got the 2000s, which got the 3000s, which got the 1400s, and which got other types of buses? (1600s, 1100s, etc.) I'm not counting tunnel routes or trolley routes. Here's a list of urban routes that I am assuming were primarily assigned to either the SG-310s or the 40' Americanas, based partly on photos from Peter McLaughlin and the late Zack Willhoite:

2000s: 5/54/55, 358, 11/20 (125), 15/18/21/22/56/57X, 16, 26/42, 28/39, 36 diesel, 48, 120

3000s: 8, 17/130/132 (23), 24/136/137 (131/132), 25/27, 31/68, 33/37, 60, 66, 74 (30)

However, I've seen photos D60s/DE60LFs on the 17/23, as well as photos of 3200s on the 20 and 125, and 3200s/3600s on the 23, 26, 28, 131 (both pre and post RapidRide C era) and 132. I've seen a photo of a 3200 on a 136, and another photo of a 2600 on a 136. So I'm probably missing a whole lot of edge cases here. Furthermore, northwesterner, you told me that select trips on the 8 got ex-South 1850s (during the short time when the 35 footers displaced by 1100s were moved from South to Ryerson), and those Flyers ran on the 74 between UW-Sand Point before that. These are just more examples of edge cases that I don't know about.

Years ago, many routes would be a mix of equipment between 40ft and 60ft. If the route wasn't busy enough to justify artic equipment on all trips, then scheduling would make an effort to identify trips where a 40ft would be overloaded, and then assign a 60ft bus for the entire run. Thus, a day base run that was out for 20 hours, would see a 60ft bus just because it happened to do a 5:15PM outbound trip from downtown Seattle.

Obviously we're talking about long time windows here but I'll give this a stab...

The 2000s operated Central, Ryerson, East, South, and North Bases, and could be seen on the busy routes at those bases.

The 3000s were delivered to North Seattle, Central, and East. After a shakeup or two at East Base on primarily on the 340 in the mid-1980s, that fleet was swapped out to the city bases in exchange for more 1600-series Flyer coaches. They served out their life split between Ryerson and Central, until the Gilligs were delivered to Central Base (starting in Spring 1997). At one point, Ryerson had all 157 3000s assigned (basically from Summer 1997 until the 1100s were delivered). 

Other than some 3000s that found there way to Atlantic to help out during equipment shortages (similar to the role the 3200s played earlier this year at Atlantic), the 3000s served out their lives at Ryerson. At one point after the I-695 service cuts in Feb 00, only around 35 coaches were in service, with another 35 held as contingency. When headways started to pick up about a year later, the remaining 35 3000s were put back into service, and all 70ish coaches served at Ryerson until they were retired in 2004. 

There was about a year long period there where it was rare to see them on anything but a tripper, and you certainly didn't see them out on weekends. I had a senior operator that I rode with in the mornings on my way to high school who buttered up the hostlers and managed to get one assigned to his day base piece ... another senior operator (who passed away about a decade ago ...  captured in this Peter McLaughlin Photo operating his route 20 overtime tripper, in a 3000, of course) who was a regular on the 8 and 48 and would pick runs that pulled in and pulled out, and would also butter up the hostlers to get one assigned. It was rare to see him in a Gillig. Often these two operators would be the only two with a 3000 out on a day base piece of work during that period.

So from your list above .... 3000s did not operate on 31/68 or 66 as that was always North Base. The old, pre-1997 route 30 was Ryerson Base, and did see 3000s assigned. The 74 did not move from North to Ryerson until after the 3000s retired. 

Now on to your question about the 8 - The 8 started with 35ft Flyers (1850s) from Ryerson Base in the mid-1990s. After the 35ft Flyers were retired, it went to mostly 3000s, with the occasional 3200 (all 3200s on day base when we were in the limited 3000s in service period). Somewhere in there, after the 1100s were delivered, the 7 35ft Gilligs delivered to South were shifted to Ryerson and did all kinds of trippers, including some of the AM Peak Capitol Hill short turn 8 trippers. Later, those coaches moved to North Base and did a couple of years as a group operating exclusively on route 74, before the fleet was consolidated at Central Base.

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I don't remember the 3000s ever being at East Base and especially not on the 340.  Are you pretty sure about that? 

And it's a little foggy but I don't recall the 3000s going to North Seattle (Mercer) either as they were coming in just as the second incarnation of the "new" Ryerson was opening around 1986-87.

The original Ryerson was opened around 1979(?) and operated out of an old office of the Ryerson Steel building shortly after Metro acquired the property.  I'm not sure if I have the timeline quite correct --and I welcome any correction--  but it was then in the early 80s that the original Ryerson was closed while the new base was being constructed and the old North Seattle Station was put back into operation temporarily and re-named Mercer Base and operated until the new Ryerson Base was completed around 1987 (?).

 

 

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I for sure remember the 3000’s being on rt 340 and also select 255 night trips. Also seem to remember seeing them very rarely on rt 230. If that helps at all. 

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Hmm, okay, thanks.  My memory must be much worse than I thought.  I could have sworn that EB never had 3000s regularly assigned.  I worked out of there regularly and never remember having any 3000s except for a few that may have been there for a few weeks to fill in ...seem to faintly remember possibly that happening. 

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4 hours ago, roamer said:

Hmm, okay, thanks.  My memory must be much worse than I thought.  I could have sworn that EB never had 3000s regularly assigned.  I worked out of there regularly and never remember having any 3000s except for a few that may have been there for a few weeks to fill in ...seem to faintly remember possibly that happening. 

While these coaches were delivered more than thirty years ago that was beyond my time. I’m only passing along what I’ve heard over the years about their brief east base assignment. 

 

They did operate out out of Mercer Base for a shakeup or two before the base closed and was shifted to Ryerson. 

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I found out the other day that the Bombardier T1 operated by TTC makes sounds similar to the Breda coaches in electric mode.

After braking, the train makes that familiar "rumble" as it waits idle. As the train accelerates, you hear another familiar electric motor noise shared with the Breda: 

If the Breda used an electric propulsion system similar to the ones used on rail cars, it may explain why those coaches felt so powerful operating in electric mode. Makes sense since manufacturing rolling stock was the bread and butter of Breda. 

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5 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

King County Metro Transit Future Fleet Planning:

image.thumb.png.67361c6ef4e5eb9dc9e5453da8f628b4.png

PDF, page 12

Just to be clear (I know rickycourtney already told me this but It's nice to get a second opinion), most of these future procurement are going to the suburban bases?

That is:

Once the 7300s arrive at Bellevue Base, they'll displace XDE40s to South, which will displace most of South's Orions to Ryerson. Ryerson will then displace their D40LFs to North Base and retire some other coaches, leaving only a handful of 3600s left there. Therefore, the fleet at the city bases will be delineated by trolley (4300s/4500s @ Atlantic), 40' diesel (7000s Central, 7000s/3600s @ Ryerson), and 60' diesel (8000s/8200s @ Ryerson, 2600s/8200s @ Central), which will be the standard for years (decades?) to come. The 6200s+ and 1200s will go to Atlantic for RapidRide service, but neither the 7500s-7700s, nor the 8300s+ or any of the battery-charge procurement, will be headed to Central or Ryerson. Am I correct in this?

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On 7/12/2018 at 9:57 PM, northwesterner said:

The 3000s were delivered to North Seattle, Central, and East. After a shakeup or two at East Base on primarily on the 340 in the mid-1980s, that fleet was swapped out to the city bases in exchange for more 1600-series Flyer coaches. They served out their life split between Ryerson and Central, until the Gilligs were delivered to Central Base (starting in Spring 1997). At one point, Ryerson had all 157 3000s assigned (basically from Summer 1997 until the 1100s were delivered). 

Other than some 3000s that found there way to Atlantic to help out during equipment shortages (similar to the role the 3200s played earlier this year at Atlantic), the 3000s served out their lives at Ryerson. At one point after the I-695 service cuts in Feb 00, only around 35 coaches were in service, with another 35 held as contingency. When headways started to pick up about a year later, the remaining 35 3000s were put back into service, and all 70ish coaches served at Ryerson until they were retired in 2004. 

There was about a year long period there where it was rare to see them on anything but a tripper, and you certainly didn't see them out on weekends. I had a senior operator that I rode with in the mornings on my way to high school who buttered up the hostlers and managed to get one assigned to his day base piece ... another senior operator (who passed away about a decade ago ...  captured in this Peter McLaughlin Photo operating his route 20 overtime tripper, in a 3000, of course) who was a regular on the 8 and 48 and would pick runs that pulled in and pulled out, and would also butter up the hostlers to get one assigned. It was rare to see him in a Gillig. Often these two operators would be the only two with a 3000 out on a day base piece of work during that period.

So from your list above .... 3000s did not operate on 31/68 or 66 as that was always North Base. The old, pre-1997 route 30 was Ryerson Base, and did see 3000s assigned. The 74 did not move from North to Ryerson until after the 3000s retired. 

There were about 8 3000s assigned to East Base (I think the numbers were 3067 - 3074) for one or two shakeups in 1990 - 91.  I have a slide of 3073 dated 12/14/90 working the 230 with an unhappy operator--they were always late.  They couldn't hold East Base schedules, which were tailored to 1600s.  A full run on the 340 meant that one never got out of the seat.  In addition to their leisurely acceleration they topped out at 54 MPH.  

There were a handful assigned to South Base for an even shorter period at about the same time, perhaps one or two months, and they were chased out of there for the same reason--too slow.

One of my most miserable days as an operator was driving a 3000 on an AM 594 tripper from Tacoma.  This was just after Metro converted from biased-ply tires to radials but they had not adjusted the toe-in and caster.  I couldn't keep that coach in one lane--it followed every pavement seam out of its lane, at 54 MPH. 

The driver's seat didn't go back far enough, the seat bottom didn't tilt down to the rear at all and the dish steering wheel meant driving while doing splits.  They were not a coach for long-legged operators.

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On 6/13/2018 at 7:04 PM, Border City Transit said:

As the sun sets for the 2300s, what is/was the "general" consensus on these buses? What did Metro operators, mechanics, customers and fans think of them?

As a coordinator and from a mechanical standpoint the weak spots were hinge failure, suspension collapse, and engine faults.  Hinge failure (throttle loss due to anti-jackknife device issues) was a bigger problem in their early years; sometimes an extended shutdown while holding down the hinge fail reset switch solved the problem.  Sometimes one had to disable the door master switch to get the coach to move (30 MPH maximum) but the alarm that accompanied it was extremely obnoxious.  Sometimes they wouldn't move at all.

Suspension collapse was usually caused by leveling valves flipping over due to coaches hitting or driving over curbs (Metro's tendency to assign 2300s to routes such as the 27 which are too narrow and curvaceous didn't help).  Occasionally debris on the roadway would be thrown up and hit the valves which weren't well protected.

An engine fault light always meant the coach was done.

On 4/25/2018 at 9:54 AM, Jared Kam said:

What's the mileage like on those D60LF's?

390K to 460K. 

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On 4/26/2018 at 12:58 AM, anonymous guy said:

When they were introduced, they were to be used as test cases in live action to compare fuel economy vs the DE60LFs that were being phased into the fleet. We know how that one turned out, as apparently the low fuel economy and poor acceleration performance of the D60LF seems to be a pain point with that fleet.

As far as fuel economy goes, recall that Allison refused to enable 6th gear on any King County or Sound Transit (9537 - 9552) Caterpillar-engined coaches.  Early on I thought that it was a case of Metro stacking the deck in favor of their argument for hybrid coaches but I learned later from multiple sources in Maintenance that Maintenance wanted 6th gear and wasn't happy about it.  Engine wear increased significantly, too.

I have wondered whether Allison's refusal had any bearing on the decision to switch from E-drive to BAE hybrid drive for future purchases.  

I never heard from any operator that acceleration was an issue.  While they may not have accelerated as fast as a hybrid they appeared to be adequate and on par with the 2300s.

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2 hours ago, coordinator47 said:

 There were about 8 3000s assigned to East Base (I think the numbers were 3067 - 3074) for one or two shakeups in 1990 - 91.  I have a slide of 3073 dated 12/14/90 working the 230 with an unhappy operator--they were always late.  They couldn't hold East Base schedules, which were tailored to 1600s.  A full run on the 340 meant that one never got out of the seat.  In addition to their leisurely acceleration they topped out at 54 MPH.  

 There were a handful assigned to South Base for an even shorter period at about the same time, perhaps one or two months, and they were chased out of there for the same reason--too slow.

Whatever shakeup it was around two decades ago (!) when Bellevue Base reopened (Sept 98?) there weren't enough 40ft Gilligs to cover all weekend East Base assignments. Bellevue Base, with a yard full of 40ft Gilligs, was closed on weekends, and East had some 40ft Gilligs, 5600-series Vans, and an assortment of artics of three flavors. 

For the entire shakeup, all Saturday and Sunday service on the 340 was assigned 2000-series artics, which otherwise were unassigned on weekends out of East Base. Those poor operators couldn't keep the schedule either; same issue as when the 3000s were assigned. Coach was too slow for a schedule written for a Flyer/Gillig, and they crawled up Klickitat Drive between Southcenter and the airport. 

The next shakeup, they shifted some things around and East had enough 3200s to cover the 340.

2 hours ago, coordinator47 said:

 The driver's seat didn't go back far enough, the seat bottom didn't tilt down to the rear at all and the dish steering wheel meant driving while doing splits.  They were not a coach for long-legged operators.

The late operator in the Peter McLaughlin photo I noted in my response above placed a stick under the metal piece that stuck out sideways from the seat where the height adjustment valve was to get an extra inch or two of height. As such, you could see him coming because all you'd see was torso behind the windshield; his head was up in the tinting. 

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6 hours ago, coordinator47 said:

  There were a handful assigned to South Base for an even shorter period at about the same time, perhaps one or two months, and they were chased out of there for the same reason--too slow.

More 3000 memories ... 

  • Zack W used to comment that these coaches really were hamstrung by their three speed Renk transmission. After he mentioned it, I tended to agree. The engines often times had a hard time getting into the torque band, and they would shift into third at a surprisingly low speed. Some operators drove them on urban routes with "L" selected on the transmission control to keep them out of 3rd gear. This did seem to slightly improve their performance. At one point, I was commuting in the early 2000s and had one assigned to an AM tripper I rode daily (we maybe got a Gillig once a month). The part time operator was superb; you could set your watch to his ability to keep time points. Every single day as he went around the corner from Denny onto 2nd Ave, he would slow down before the turn then slightly accelerate through the less than 90 degree corner. Just as he'd come into the corner, the engine would lug badly, and then finally downshift into 1st gear with a bit of a lurch. Every single coach. Every single day. 
  • There were some routes that seemed pretty well suited to these coaches. The 48, despite the big hill on 24th Ave E that they struggled to climb, was otherwise a pretty good fit. The shorter wheelbase meant they just cruised around Green Lake and for the most part, the route was flat, the bus had lots of seats, wide aisles, and big doors to handle the UW crush loads. The contrast when the 3600s took over those runs on how crowded the buses felt was notable. 
  • With their low top speed, it was rare to see them on the freeway late in their career (with the exception of the 130/132 Express, which was a poor fit for the equipment). After the first batch of Gilligs were entirely delivered, and before Bellevue Base opened, Central Base kept a small fleet of about 20 3000s (I believe 3000-3009ish, plus the ex-methanol units 3150-3159). These ran primarily on trippers ... including the eastside trippers that Central operated at the time (250 & 268). When Bellevue opened, those routes went to the East campus, and the 24/39 moved from Central to Ryerson with the rest of the 3000s. I remember desiring to ride one on the freeway and catching a Ryerson operated 942 Express in the early 2000s. I still remember sitting in the back row as we went through the Mt. Baker tunnel, the engine screaming, cars whizzing by, and the bus bouncing like crazy with the short wheelbase. Another oddball route that they could be found on was the Ryerson operated 247 (pre-695 cutbacks). That was a lot of freeway miles for a bus that really wasn't meant for that work. 
  • As a kid, my parents would drop me off at the Boys and Girls club during the summer, and we'd frequently take Metro on trips around the city. It seemed like no matter where we went, a 3000 would show up. It was a treat when I'd get to ride a 1600-series Flyer on a Ryerson route, but that was rare. Even if we rode Ryerson routes (26 to Green Lake, for instance), it was always a 3000. I'll never forget how ferociously hot those coaches could be on a hot summer day. I'm not a fan of a/c in every transit bus ever made (as we're seeing today), but some coach designs stay ventilated better than others. The 3000s were always hot...
  • All that being said, they were a unique bus with gobs of character. I fondly remember the last two years or so after 695 when all 70+ remaining units were in service at Ryerson. They worked long day base pieces, and were all over the place on weekends. I rode them all over the city, on a commute, and on weekends getting around town. The 3600s were, in my opinion, a downgrade in many ways as a replacement. 
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