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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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55 minutes ago, kona404 said:

According to the wiki, some routes are served by multiple bases—I haven't done a comprehensive comparison, but I can see some (expected) overlap at Atlantic/Central (and some at Ryerson), some at East and Bellevue bases, etc.. This somewhat makes sense as they're close to each other, but I'd like to get as specific as possible. The context here is that I want to start tracking which vehicles are at which base on my tracker.

Anyone have more insight on how this works? I suspect I'll need to settle for grouping the bases across from each other as "one base," but if there's more to it I'd love to know.

There are a few exceptions for oddball routes, but routes are assigned to and operate out of a single base.  The confusion may actually be around storage bases, which I believe is for (or at least predominantly for) peak trips.  For example, a route that operates out of North that terminates in the CBD: there's not much reason to deadhead back to North just so another operator can grab the bus and deadhead it back downtown later that day.  So they instead deadhead to Atlantic/Central (and maybe Ryerson; I'm not sure) and park there and operators hop on route 661 to get back home.

Check out past Route/Base Cross Reference Lists and I've attached the list for this shakeup.  Spoiler alert: the only changes were routes 125, C, D, and E.

Route-Base Cross Reference Spring 2018.pdf

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51 minutes ago, Atomic Taco said:

There are a few exceptions for oddball routes, but routes are assigned to and operate out of a single base.

Which is what I was expecting to find, but I found a few of those oddballs so quickly I assumed there may be quite a bit more, and decided to ask here before trying to identify every single one manually.

Thanks for that document, makes my job a lot easier. I'll note that C/D/E on there are listed as Atlantic only, while the wiki puts them under both Atlantic and Central. 

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3 hours ago, kona404 said:

Which is what I was expecting to find, but I found a few of those oddballs so quickly I assumed there may be quite a bit more, and decided to ask here before trying to identify every single one manually.

Thanks for that document, makes my job a lot easier. I'll note that C/D/E on there are listed as Atlantic only, while the wiki puts them under both Atlantic and Central. 

Before this shakeup, i believe C,D & E drivers mostly came from Central, but all the fleet RapidRide and most non-RapidRide replacements were Atlantic buses. I either read it here or on the facebook group page. 

43,44,48,124 I believe only the OWL trips are from Central

in the PM 167 the first few trips are out of NB, when they get to Renton they become 342 to head back north. I imagine it is the opposite in the morning. 

if a bus runs 167 and 342 it is from north, a 167 that only runs 167 is from Ryerson, a 342 that only runes 342 is from Bellevue

246 i believe only the school tripper is out of east

the other school routes i have no idea, but East is all artic, with a few ST gilligs. 

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Looks like Metro bought some Arboc Spirit of Liberty buses for Trailhead Direct service that may also run on shuttles during weekdays.  Along with some Chevy cutaways looks like they're in the 460-470 range.  I added stubs but need more information for the wiki if anyone has more info.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

Looks like Metro bought some Arboc Spirit of Liberty buses for Trailhead Direct service that may also run on shuttles during weekdays.  Along with some Chevy cutaways looks like they're in the 460-470 range.  I added stubs but need more information for the wiki if anyone has more info.

I think it's the opposite, 204 and 224 went DART and these were bought to run those "new" routes, and are used for Trailhead when not running community routes on the weekends.  

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52 minutes ago, aznichiro115 said:

I think it's the opposite, 204 and 224 went DART and these were bought to run those "new" routes, and are used for Trailhead when not running community routes on the weekends.  

I thought DART routes were operated by Hopelink?

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They've also been used on the "Community Shuttle" routes. In fact, the first one in the video (at 0:15) says it's from the Des Moines Community Shuttle (the second one, at 1:50, also says Community Shuttle but doesn't have a route listed).

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12 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

I thought DART routes were operated by Hopelink?

I believe DART, Community Shuttle, Community Ride, and Trailhead Direct are all operated by Hopelink. They use the same equipment. 

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6 hours ago, aznichiro115 said:

I believe DART, Community Shuttle, Community Ride, and Trailhead Direct are all operated by Hopelink. They use the same equipment. 

The DART vans used to have regular plates (or sometimes rideshare plates) so I assumed that to mean they were owned by Hopelink.  These ones have XMT/C plates, so they're county-owned.  I know I've seen route 630 and Trailhead direct on the tracker, so that also means they're reporting via the county-owned radio system.  I find it hard to believe that the county would allow non-county (and non-union) employees to operate them.

Might be time for me to make a trek down to South King County to see which lots each are parked in 🤔

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2 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

The DART vans used to have regular plates (or sometimes rideshare plates) so I assumed that to mean they were owned by Hopelink.  These ones have XMT/C plates, so they're county-owned.  I know I've seen route 630 and Trailhead direct on the tracker, so that also means they're reporting via the county-owned radio system.  I find it hard to believe that the county would allow non-county (and non-union) employees to operate them.

Might be time for me to make a trek down to South King County to see which lots each are parked in 🤔

But I don't think they actually show up on the tracker, at least I haven't seen them. Some of the Arboc Libertys have standard plates thou as seen on Trailhead and 630. 

36732366_10102656615518211_2958036833948 27368301_10208202014527691_4284632342019 26197960_560789854269585_762833403611190

I think some layover at 14812 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98007 during the day at least they used to. 

 

Hopelink Kent Base: 8011 S 222nd St, Kent, WA 98032. looked around on google maps might have better sightlines and see more from the back. 

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Speaking of Hopelink, Dart, etc. and contracted service, it was discussed previously that their drivers do not need a CDL (Commercial Driver License) because cutaway vans usually do not 1) exceed a 26,000 lb. GVWR weight rating and, 2) carry more than 16 passengers ("Types of vehicles that require a CDL" to drive from WA DOL

Therefore, we knew that the drivers they hired didn't require a CDL but also did not need any training as to the physical act of driving a "large" (26,000 lbs GVWR) vehicle that will usually have air brakes as their coaches were mostly cutaways until the acquisition of ARBOCs, or so I assume (?).

However, even though those ARBOC Liberty coaches are under a 26,000 lbs GVWR rating (just under, as I believe they are rated at 25,990 lb. GVWR), they are designed to carry more than 16 passengers.

So, do those drivers that Hopelink employs now have to have a CDL because they are driving a vehicle designed to carry over 16 passengers?  

I don't follow the "blog" (STB)  or any other local discussions on transit so don't know if it has been discussed somewhere else or not but for those who do follow other discussions, can you enlighten me as I'm kind of curious.  Thanks.

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Those vehicles, including the cutaways that seat more than 16 pax, require a Class C CDL and a medical card to operate.

A Class C is somewhat easier to acquire and quicker to train for than a Class A or B. 

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17 hours ago, northwesterner said:

Those vehicles, including the cutaways that seat more than 16 pax, require a Class C CDL and a medical card to operate.

A Class C is somewhat easier to acquire and quicker to train for than a Class A or B. 

Thank you for clarifying.  Had I more closely scrutinized that flow chart, the answer would have been obvious.   It's good to know that they at least now require a CDL of some type when initially, because their vans were smaller, there was no CDL necessary.   That didn't make sense to me at the time.

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I'm seeing that some of the new Gillig low-floors are now being used out of South Base. 

And a few of the 40' Phantoms are still in service at Bellevue.  I'm not sure how many are left but several are still showing up on the tracker here and there.

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On 6/3/2019 at 6:53 PM, roamer said:

And a few of the 40' Phantoms are still in service at Bellevue.  I'm not sure how many are left but several are still showing up on the tracker here and there.

3260 appears to be the only 1996 still in service. 3302 was as well, but I haven't logged it since May 16.

Of the 1997s, only 3430 and 3541 are running; 3485 was last seen on May 23.

1998s: 3560 was last seen on May 16.

17 of the 1999s are still running: 1100, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1125, 1127, 1129, 1131, 1135, 1139, 1143, 1156, and 1187.

Note that this based on my logs and only over the last 30 days.

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On 6/10/2019 at 3:08 PM, kona404 said:

3260 appears to be the only 1996 still in service. 3302 was as well, but I haven't logged it since May 16.

Of the 1997s, only 3430 and 3541 are running; 3485 was last seen on May 23.

1998s: 3560 was last seen on May 16.

17 of the 1999s are still running: 1100, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1125, 1127, 1129, 1131, 1135, 1139, 1143, 1156, and 1187.

Note that this based on my logs and only over the last 30 days.

I'm glad you have a tracking system in place.  I am just randomly using the Metro tracking and OBA when I have the chance to observe mostly during the peak hours. 

Please keep us posted on when you notice that the 40' Phantoms are no longer running.  I'm interested because it's a bit nostalgic to me.  '

I'm pretty sure that they'll keep the 35' Phantoms (1100s) running for awhile longer as they are serving a more specific purpose than the 40-footers.  The 1100s are not going to be replaced and there are not enough 35' XDE NFIs for a one-to-one replacement for the 1100s.   As was discussed before, 40-footers will be running on some routes and/or trips that normally do not need the capacity that are currently using 30 or 35 -footers once the entire change-over is complete.  

I actually thought that they'd retire all the 1100s at Bellevue before they started using the new Gillig 40' low-floors at South Base but I see more and more of them on South Base routes lately.   All the Phantoms were supposed to be retired by now  ...I think the schedule said by "April 2019" but evidently, the new Gillig LFs are coming in slower than anticipated (?).

Thanks again and I hope you'll keep us posted on the Phantom phase-out.  BTW,  the only 40-footers I've seen on the tracker lately are 3430 and 3541  ...they're both running this afternoon. 

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On 6/12/2019 at 4:53 PM, roamer said:

I'm glad you have a tracking system in place.  I am just randomly using the Metro tracking and OBA when I have the chance to observe mostly during the peak hours. 

Please keep us posted on when you notice that the 40' Phantoms are no longer running.  I'm interested because it's a bit nostalgic to me.  '

I'm pretty sure that they'll keep the 35' Phantoms (1100s) running for awhile longer as they are serving a more specific purpose than the 40-footers.  The 1100s are not going to be replaced and there are not enough 35' XDE NFIs for a one-to-one replacement for the 1100s.   As was discussed before, 40-footers will be running on some routes and/or trips that normally do not need the capacity that are currently using 30 or 35 -footers once the entire change-over is complete.  

Thanks again and I hope you'll keep us posted on the Phantom phase-out.  BTW,  the only 40-footers I've seen on the tracker lately are 3430 and 3541  ...they're both running this afternoon. 

I'm working on building an interface so everyone can see this information, but for now all I've got publicly available is a realtime map.

3260 was last in service on June 7. It's not unusual for vehicles to disappear for a week or two, so it could still come back...will be keeping an eye out for it.

 

Quote

I actually thought that they'd retire all the 1100s at Bellevue before they started using the new Gillig 40' low-floors at South Base but I see more and more of them on South Base routes lately.   All the Phantoms were supposed to be retired by now  ...I think the schedule said by "April 2019" but evidently, the new Gillig LFs are coming in slower than anticipated (?).

After the above conversation, I've decided to determine a vehicle's current base by the last route it served, and just acknowledge the ambiguity in the few cases of multiple bases serving a route. I haven't yet handled this case when checking the distribution of an entire series, but it seems about 8 of the 63 new Gilligs currently in service (defined as having served at least one trip in the last 30 days) are currently at South Base.

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Yeah, I just randomly check the list of the new Gillig low floors on the wiki page to see which coaches that are new to me, i.e. those I've observed for the first time on OBA.  I then update the wiki list to show that they are "active" and do so by observing what route they are operating when updating the base they are operating out of (Bellevue or South).  

Yes, the last seven or so to be put into service appear to be operating out of South Base.  I have noticed these going into service out of South Base in the past week or two:  7337, 7342, 7343, 7347, 7349, 7424, and 7427.  Aznichiro seems to have captured photos of most of these.

Like I mentioned, I just assumed that they'd replace or retire all the 40' and 30' Phantoms at Bellevue before putting any of the new Gillig LF Advantage coaches in service at South Base but it doesn't appear that they have done it in that manner.  There are still lots of new Gillig LFs to enter service so I suppose they want to distribute some of them to South Base before retiring all the Phantoms.  

Personally, I would have liked to see them order some 35' Gillig LFs in order to at least replace the 1100s on and one-to-one basis and to supplement the current fleet of NFI XDE 35-footers.  I think 35-footers are a nice universal size for routes/trips that don't quite need the capacity of a larger coach and can be used on a variety of routes out of any of the barns where either a higher passenger capacity is not needed or a physical aspect of the routing might dictate the use of a shorter wheelbase coach (or one where approach or departure angles play into the consideration)  where they would be easier to maneuver or be kept from bottoming out.

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On 11/21/2018 at 11:30 AM, anonymous guy said:

The coach involved was 2181. I looked at the pictures. My condolences to the family. From what I read, he sounded like a cool guy.

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14 hours ago, Peterbiltguy1989@gmail.com said:

The coach involved was 2181. I looked at the pictures. My condolences to the family. From what I read, he sounded like a cool guy.

Mark was a great guy.   

Black Friday has an alternate meaning to those of us who were driving Metro buses that day-after-Thanksgiving in 1998.  It is burned in our memories forever.  Even though I've been retired for years, each Black Friday weekend since, we spend it reflecting and thinking about Mark and his family members.  We used to shop and start unpacking some Christmas decorations on that weekend but it has been different ever since the horrific events of that Black Friday and we still stay home to this day.

 

 

 

 

On another note, when going back over my "haphazard logging," it shows that those two 40' Phantoms that have been showing up in service every now-and-then the past week or two (3430 and 3541), I'm thinking, may have been taken out of service over the weekend.  I'm guessing that as I believe that several more new Gillig LFs have been placed at Bellevue today  ...one being moved from being in service at South (7424 ) to now being shown today operating out of Bellevue. 

My hunch is that the 40' Phantoms may now be all retired.  Can anybody confirm?  I'll continue to scan the tracker this afternoon and over the next few days if I have the chance to see if I observe any of the 40' Phantoms still in service. 

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1 hour ago, roamer said:

 On another note, when going back over my "haphazard logging," it shows that those two 40' Phantoms that have been showing up in service every now-and-then the past week or two (3430 and 3541), I'm thinking, may have been taken out of service over the weekend.  I'm guessing that as I believe that several more new Gillig LFs have been placed at Bellevue today  ...one being moved from being in service at South (7424 ) to now being shown today operating out of Bellevue. 

My hunch is that the 40' Phantoms may now be all retired.  Can anybody confirm?  I'll continue to scan the tracker this afternoon and over the next few days if I have the chance to see if I observe any of the 40' Phantoms still in service. 

I'm also noticing today that some routes such as the 208, 246, and 249 that have used Champion vans in the past (back at the time I left employment), then later 1100s (or at times, 3700s), are today using 40-footers.   Perhaps this signifies what I was referring to in my post last week that the transition is starting where 40-footers are now being used on what normally been routes or trips that have been using 1100s.  

I'm assuming that we'll see more 1100s being retired in the next several weeks if today is any indication. 

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3 hours ago, roamer said:

On another note, when going back over my "haphazard logging," it shows that those two 40' Phantoms that have been showing up in service every now-and-then the past week or two (3430 and 3541), I'm thinking, may have been taken out of service over the weekend.  I'm guessing that as I believe that several more new Gillig LFs have been placed at Bellevue today  ...one being moved from being in service at South (7424 ) to now being shown today operating out of Bellevue. 

My hunch is that the 40' Phantoms may now be all retired.  Can anybody confirm?  I'll continue to scan the tracker this afternoon and over the next few days if I have the chance to see if I observe any of the 40' Phantoms still in service. 

I'd assume they're all gone by now, too. No real reason for them to still be operating.

 

However, the operator of the year selected 3260 as his assigned coach and that was supposed to run through August. 

I had my doubts Metro would keep maintaining (and parts stocked for) a single coach to honor his request. We will see.

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8 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I'd assume they're all gone by now, too. No real reason for them to still be operating.

 

However, the operator of the year selected 3260 as his assigned coach and that was supposed to run through August. 

I had my doubts Metro would keep maintaining (and parts stocked for) a single coach to honor his request. We will see.

Ah, that's why I see 3260 at odd times on odd routes (especially like on the weekends).  I actually had thought of that  ...that, "hmm, maybe the person driving 3260 has been granted permission to be assigned that coach, like a medical condition or maybe he/she is the Operator of the Year who specifically has asked for that coach?"

Although 3260 was not out today, 3430 was in revenue service for a short time today so they are not completely retired yet. 

What you say makes sense then  ...that maybe two or three will be in service until the end of August.  I'm thinking that the 1100s could be around too until  that time  ...unless they pick up the pace of introducing the Gillig LFs into service. 

(sorry for the initial freudian slip)

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On 6/14/2019 at 2:48 PM, roamer said:

Yeah, I just randomly check the list of the new Gillig low floors on the wiki page to see which coaches that are new to me, i.e. those I've observed for the first time on OBA.  I then update the wiki list to show that they are "active" and do so by observing what route they are operating when updating the base they are operating out of (Bellevue or South).  

Yes, the last seven or so to be put into service appear to be operating out of South Base.  I have noticed these going into service out of South Base in the past week or two:  7337, 7342, 7343, 7347, 7349, 7424, and 7427.  Aznichiro seems to have captured photos of most of these.

Like I mentioned, I just assumed that they'd replace or retire all the 40' and 30' Phantoms at Bellevue before putting any of the new Gillig LF Advantage coaches in service at South Base but it doesn't appear that they have done it in that manner.  There are still lots of new Gillig LFs to enter service so I suppose they want to distribute some of them to South Base before retiring all the Phantoms.  

Personally, I would have liked to see them order some 35' Gillig LFs in order to at least replace the 1100s on and one-to-one basis and to supplement the current fleet of NFI XDE 35-footers.  I think 35-footers are a nice universal size for routes/trips that don't quite need the capacity of a larger coach and can be used on a variety of routes out of any of the barns where either a higher passenger capacity is not needed or a physical aspect of the routing might dictate the use of a shorter wheelbase coach (or one where approach or departure angles play into the consideration)  where they would be easier to maneuver or be kept from bottoming out.

 

So, all those Gillig LFs that I observed operating out of South Base last week are now at Bellevue.  It looks as if the pattern is that the new ones first go into service at South for a a week or so and then are moved to Bellevue.  It's the first time I'm noticing 7344 and it's on a South Base route ...let's see if it too ends up at Bellevue eventually.

Pertaining to 3260, I'm wondering if the Operator of the Year has now chosen --forced or otherwise-- coach 3430 as that is the only 40' Phantom that I've seen operating recently.  I'll be watching this more closely this week as I find it interesting what they're doing as it pertains to these fleet assignments.  

Since those seven 40' Gillig LFs have moved from being in service at South to now operating out of Bellevue, as northwesterner says, it seems to me that on a one-for-one basis, all the 40' Phantoms have essentially now been replaced and there should be no need for  any of the 40' Phantoms to be signed out (if there are in fact any left other than coach 3430).  The 1100s I would suspect will be disappearing rapidly over the next few weeks or so.

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1 hour ago, roamer said:

3430 as that is the only 40' Phantom that I've seen operating recently

Absolute end of an era.

I don't know. It seems like, without anyone ever expecting it, Gillig Phantoms earned status as some of the best, most iconic buses that Metro ever had. At least to me, they were the face of "Seattle transit rising". Like, "hey everyone else, we have great transit here in the Emerald City -- largely bus-based -- and it looks like this."

I recall when Metro ordered them in ~1996. It seemed unlikely -- how could these ever live up to the mighty Flyers? Read through my posts -- I am not a Gillig fan. But those Phantoms were phenomenal and I will miss them sorely. I particularly appreciated their versatility. They always felt like the right bus for the job, whether on a city route, a suburban route, a freeway route, etc.

As they fade to memories at Metro, what is the general consensus on their ~22-year stint in the fleet?

Is there relief that they're "finally" gone? Or will others miss them, too?

 

 

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