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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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Moderators - please delete this post as it's irrelevant to the discussion.  Thank you  --roamer

I'm just taking a wild guess here:  could 7247 possibly assigned to Eric Stark?  

The reason I ask is that I know that there have been occasions through the years where drivers who have been involved in traumatic accidents involving death or severe injuries  (...but not being their fault) or traumatic incidences (such as something that Mr. Stark went through), have been assigned different equipment to drive upon returning to work to make the transition easier.  Sometimes it's difficult to start driving the same type of bus that was being driven at the time of the traumatic incident/accident.

Does anybody know if this is the case?  It's not the same route but, again, I'm sure he was offered a different route to drive on his transition back to work had he picked the route 75 again.  


eta:  he evidently did not return to work on the 75 but says he doesn't have any hesitation working the route again.  Does anybody know if he by chance picked or is driving the 65/67 (where I see 7247 assigned most often)??  

Hero bus driver returns to work in Seattle

 

 

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Looked through the history of some Metro vehicles for the first time in a while this morning and realized two things are happening:

1) 3600 retirement is in full swing from Ryerson

2) A whole bunch of ex-South Orions have gone to Ryerson

Wiki editors should probably have a look at those two fleets.

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On 9/16/2019 at 12:06 PM, David L said:

Looked through the history of some Metro vehicles for the first time in a while this morning and realized two things are happening:

1) 3600 retirement is in full swing from Ryerson

2) A whole bunch of ex-South Orions have gone to Ryerson

Wiki editors should probably have a look at those two fleets.

Yes, with the arrival of the new Gillig LF coaches, there is some shuffling going on.  The majority of the XDE40 coaches that were at Bellevue are being or have been moved to South and in turn or to make room, it appears as if some of the Orions at South are being moved to Ryerson.  

As of today, I believe Bellevue only has 8 XDE40 coaches left, the others are now at South with one at North.  I'm guessing as more Gillig LF coaches are prepared for service, North will eventually acquire additional XDE40s, I am thinking from South?, to replace their 3600s  ...I'm just guessing that is the case.  I no longer have any inside knowledge of what is going on at KCM.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inspired mostly by this thread, I spent my evening updating the vehicle pages at Pantograph to show vehicle movement between bases. Uses data from trips over the last 30 days.

Looks like a lot of those XDE40s moved at the end of August: 

Quote
  • September 03: 7234: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 29: 7233: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 23: 7224: Bellevue or North ➡️ South
  • August 23: 7211: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 23: 7222: Bellevue or East ➡️ South
  • August 22: 7227: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 22: 7221: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 22: 7214: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 21: 7208: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 21: 7201: Bellevue ➡️ South
  • August 20: 7206: Bellevue ➡️ South

 

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The first batch of Gillig LF coaches --7300 through 7429-- have now all been observed activated as of today when 7399 became active at South Base. 

The second series --7430 through 7494-- are now slowly being activated for service.  7431 became active yesterday and 7432 today at South Base  --in addition to 7440 which has been active at Bellevue for quite awhile now. 

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7217 and 7219 both operated trippers out of Bellevue this morning. Surprised that they didn't swap two more new Gilligs for those to get the types consolidated for shakeup.

Looks like Rob gets (?) to keep driving 3430 a while longer.

Also I didn't know until now that the 128 went back to South for this shakeup.

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I could have sworn I saw those remaining Bellevue 7200s at South over the weekend on the tracker.   My mistake.  I'll go back and correct the wiki.  (eta:  7217 and 7219 are the ones I observed in error  ...7226, 7228, 7229, 7232, 7335, and 7236, all Bellevue coaches last week, appear to be operating South Base routes today). 

I was under the impression that Bellevue's entire fleet would eventually consist of exclusively Gillig LF and Proterra coaches which would mean that even their 3700s would be moved.   You'd think that a new shake-up would be the time to do the move but evidently not.  I notice that Bellevue is still retaining their four 1100s and continue to use them on the 200 and one on the 236/238.   I still don't understand why the one on the 236  ...anybody know why?

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15 hours ago, Jaykob Walson said:

Well, folks, the end of an era has come. The last Gillig Phantom 40', 3430, is still in service. I have no idea when it will retire, but 3374 is still standing for MEHVA tours.

Hi Jaykob.  I'm actually waiting for the five Gillig Phantoms that are still in service to announce the true "end of an era."  3430, 1104, 1114, 1127, and 1187 are still in service.  3430 has been the only 40-foot Phantom operating for the last few months  ...for "Rob" and is on the road today  --so nothing has really changed from last shake-up pertaining to the Phantoms, yet. 

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3 hours ago, Rob's Transport Hub said:

The 74 is now at Central Base

But that's not an equivalent swap of labor hours.

5 hours ago, roamer said:

I was under the impression that Bellevue's entire fleet would eventually consist of exclusively Gillig LF and Proterra coaches which would mean that even their 3700s would be moved.   You'd think that a new shake-up would be the time to do the move but evidently not.  I notice that Bellevue is still retaining their four 1100s and continue to use them on the 200 and one on the 236/238.   I still don't understand why the one on the 236  ...anybody know why?

The 3700s will stay at Bellevue to handle the routes that were previously 1100s... 

6 hours ago, David L said:

Looks like Rob gets (?) to keep driving 3430 a while longer.

There's nothing quite like having the same coach, every day... I still can't believe they're letting him keep it and did say - hey we know it was your choice but sorry, it's gotta go. 

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The 3700s will stay at Bellevue to handle the routes that were previously 1100s

But where are 1100/3700s needed other than the 200 Issaquah shuttle?  ...and weren't there rumors of the 200 being privatized / contracted at some point?

The only Bellevue route that's using 3700s is the 236/238.   That route, like the 208, 246, 249 etc. that used to use 1100s, can use 40-footers too as 40-footers are now used on trippers on the 236/238. 

IMO, they could very easily do without the 3700s at Bellevue and by doing so, would eliminate the need to keep parts for just the few XDE coaches (in addition to the 3700s, it looks as if they are keeping two 40-foot XDE coaches at Bellevue  ...doesn't make much sense to me).

 

Quote

There's nothing quite like having the same coach, every day... I still can't believe they're letting him keep it and did say - hey we know it was your choice but sorry, it's gotta go.

I tend to agree at this point.   Isn't the next Operator(s) of the Year chosen in September?  Has the new one or ones been chosen yet?  At that point, I suppose last year's Operators of the Year will have to give up their chosen coaches. 

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Don't forget that the 236/238 will go away next shakeup, to be replaced by hopefully more useful and higher-performing service.

Perhaps the 3700s will stick around Bellevue until then, or maybe they'll stick around longer and get shifted to service like the 246 or 249 that won't ever strain their capacity.

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The 3700s will stay at Bellevue to handle the routes that were previously 1100s

Quote

But where are 1100/3700s needed other than the 200 Issaquah shuttle?  ...and weren't there rumors of the 200 being privatized / contracted at some point?

The only Bellevue route that's using 3700s is the 236/238.   That route, like the 208, 246, 249 etc. that used to use 1100s, can use 40-footers too as 40-footers are now used on trippers on the 236/238. 

IMO, they could very easily do without the 3700s at Bellevue and by doing so, would eliminate the need to keep parts for just the few XDE coaches (in addition to the 3700s, it looks as if they are keeping two 40-foot XDE coaches at Bellevue  ...doesn't make much sense to me).

Today, Tuesday morning, I'm observing a Gillig LF as one of the units on the route 200 and three Gillig LF coaches on the 236/238.

My question continues to be, why do they really need any 1100s or 3700s at Bellevue any longer??  ...or need to keep any of the 7200s.   In my opinion, those 3700s might be better used at North or South.  

They could go with the plan that one of the employees posted a few years ago that was to have Bellevue only operate Gillig LFs and Proterras.  Part of my argument is that they wouldn't have to keep any inventory of XDE parts if they did this.  It could also make operator qualifying easier  ...but this would be a pretty insignificant factor. 

 

 

 

eta:  as of Thursday, 09/26/2019, it now appears, as far as I can observe, that Bellevue and North each have only one 7200 each.  7217 at Bellevue, and 7247 at North.  The rest appear to me to all be at South.

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11 hours ago, northwesterner said:

With a new Operator of the Year announced, word on the street is that 3430 has turned its last wheel...

Thanks for the heads-up.  

Since what you say makes sense and it's something I've been personally monitoring for the past few months, I will now change the wiki back to reflect that the 40' Phantoms are now retired with the notation that 3430, after serving KCM for over 22 years, was last observed on the 269 route on Tuesday 09/24/2019.  The last trip it made according to my notes was the scheduled trip leaving Issaquah at 12:58 PM

Personally, it's sad as the 40' foot Phantoms represented the last "real bus" at KCM  ...a high-floor traditional-design 40-foot city transit bus.  Although Metro still operates two Sound Transit 40' Phantoms, it still is a milestone in KCM history to have their last 40' high-floor retired.  

For me, however, the "end of an era" will be when the last four 30' Phantoms are retired.  It will be interesting to me to see how much longer until they will finally be taken out of service.   At that time, there will be no more high-floor, a/c-less, and traditional rear-windowed buses (any other buses with rear windows other than coach 6000?). 

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This part of the standard coach transition is starting to feel very odd.  Surplus 40-foot coaches are piling up at South, while none of the three bases with coaches due for replacement (Ryerson, North, and Bellevue) have received any new coaches of any type since the date of the shakeup.  North has replaced a few broken D40LFs with other D40LFs that were surplus at Ryerson.  It makes me wonder what the ultimate plan is.

Does anyone know what type North will ultimately receive to replace their D40LFs?  The numbers could roughly work for them to receive any of Orions, XDE40s, or new Gilligs.

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3 hours ago, David L said:

This part of the standard coach transition is starting to feel very odd.  Surplus 40-foot coaches are piling up at South, while none of the three bases with coaches due for replacement (Ryerson, North, and Bellevue) have received any new coaches of any type since the date of the shakeup.  North has replaced a few broken D40LFs with other D40LFs that were surplus at Ryerson.  It makes me wonder what the ultimate plan is.

Does anyone know what type North will ultimately receive to replace their D40LFs?  The numbers could roughly work for them to receive any of Orions, XDE40s, or new Gilligs.

 

From what was mentioned in a Facebook group, most (if not all) of the XDE40s will end up at North Base.  IIRC, they were originally going to get Orion VIIs.

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Just had to wait a couple more days!

This seems like a good outcome.  North has quite high utilization of its 40-footers and it has always seemed perverse to me that it keeps getting stuck with the oldest coaches in the fleet.  The XDE40s are good buses that should do well in that environment.

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My post was really off topic for this forum ...moderators, please delete.  Thanks, roamer.

 

Bellevue had all the Phantoms for quite awhile which at the time were the oldest buses in the fleet.  In fact, when I retired, Bellevue had the oldest buses in the fleet.

But what you stated brings me back to reminiscing again.  I know I've posted this before but when I started at Metro in the mid-1970s,  "North Seattle Station" (5th and Mercer, later re-named "Mercer Base") was known as having all the "junk" equipment.  That was the first barn I worked at after "qualifying" and it had all the 100s, some 200s, a few 500s, the 800s or "Jersey Junkers" and a few miscellaneous odds and ends that Metro leased, borrowed, or "stole" to have enough equipment to run the "new and improved" Metro Transit (Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle) which was formed by the merger of Seattle Transit and Metropolitan Transit Lines (after Metropolitan and Overlake Transit merged).

I picked North Seattle for another shakeup or two after that first as I wanted to qualify on the monorail (Metro operated and maintained the monorail at that time even though the City of Seattle owned it) so I put up with driving those old rickety 100s, 800s, and the miscellaneous junkers they had.  Atlantic had all the 700s --the newest and most desired bus to drive among drivers-- and a few 500s and 200s.

But I later went on to spend a few shakeups at Dearborn (my favorite) and one at Jefferson before picking East Base when it opened in 1976.  

When East Base opened, the first half of that sign-up, they had all the new AMGs there (the newest buses at the time  ...they were being delivered as the base was opening (although North Seattle did get the first ones delivered before East opened) as they wanted to showcase the new base with new equipment.  But after a month or two, they started to move some of the 200s and junkers to East Base which the drivers complained about as East had most of the suburban routes and the 200s and some of the junkers were governed and gear restricted at 45 MPH.   We hated having to make the merge from 520 to I-5 to take the Stewart Street exit when some of them would only go 42-45 MPH.  In addition, they had these little round convex right mirrors where it was difficult to determine how fast traffic was coming when making those lane changes.  Might as well close your eyes, activate the right turn signal and hope for the best!

Since East Base had all the south county routes and Snohomish-to-King county routes (pre-Community Transit days or better put, Snohomish county was contracting with Metro to run Snohomish to King country routes while they were waiting for their new equipment to arrive and be prepared ...they were a new agency getting started at that time) in addition to all the eastside routes (exception was the 251 which was always run out of Atlantic*), imagine how frustrating deadheading on the freeway would be when going from the base to Auburn or to Edmonds when all you could go was 45 MPH if lucky.  

 

* from what I can remember, the rumor was one of the "big bosses" rode the bus from Redmond into Seattle and back so they ran the 251 out of Atlantic so he could ride on a 700  ...sounds hokey but they did things like that back then.  Even when East opened, they ran a new AMG on the 201 route (or that specific trip) when it initially had an 800 assigned when Chuck Collins became Transit Director as he rode that bus into work from Mercer Island.  

 

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On 10/10/2019 at 5:21 PM, David L said:

Just had to wait a couple more days!

This seems like a good outcome.  North has quite high utilization of its 40-footers and it has always seemed perverse to me that it keeps getting stuck with the oldest coaches in the fleet.  The XDE40s are good buses that should do well in that environment.

But the mileage they run, historically, has been relatively low at North Base compared to others. 

Many of the 40ft Gilligs, delivered new to North (3485-3529), and operated there without movement until about 2012, persisted in the last active fleets at Central and Bellevue ... and were seemingly overrepresented there. Meanwhile, the newer 1998 units, which ran a ton of miles at Central Base first, and then South Base, pretty much exited the fleet rather early.

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Metro has often made fleet decisions based on mileage, but I think service hours actually tell you more about how intensively a fleet has been used.

In any event utilization of 40-footers at North Base went up after the U-Link restructure, when North gained a bunch of new day base service that is mostly run with 40-footers.

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3 hours ago, David L said:

Metro has often made fleet decisions based on mileage, but I think service hours actually tell you more about how intensively a fleet has been used.

I agree ... but that's not a metric (to my knowledge) that is tracked by the maintenance department.

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