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King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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Won't be much longer for D40LFs at Ryerson (or serving trolley routes on weekends).  Only 13 have been in service recently and a couple of Orions a week have been arriving from South.

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D40LF Retirement Watch

Ryerson appears to be down to 12 operational coaches, operating trippers and the occasional day base work on the 24/33/124 and the 48.

North is somewhere around 32 operational coaches, still operating in normal service, but XDE40s have been moving up fast from South, and there are now 27 of them at North.

Hard to tell exactly but it looks like around 40 coaches have been retired for good.  The balance are sitting at bases, either awaiting retirement or as a contingency fleet.

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D40LF Retirement Update

Ryerson's still got its 12 coaches, operating mostly trippers and the occasional Atlantic run on the weekends.  Ryerson hasn't received any new Orions in a while.

The focus now appears to be on retiring them from North, where they do mostly day base work.  North is now down to about 22 operational D40LFs (and up to 35 XDE40s).

Some coaches are still parked at bases but it looks like around 55-60 have been decommissioned.

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5 hours ago, jay8g said:

As part of a recent bid for a new bus ad contractor, Metro recently posted a more updated fleet plan than I've seen previously. I don't think there are any massive new developments here, but still interesting to see.

1126-19-exhibit6.pdf 308.32 kB · 5 downloads

The only thing I notice was that there is a bus 2599.

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Technologically super-ambitious timeline for battery buses, with some generous outs in case of timetable slippage.  They have most DE60LFRs, Orions, and even XDE60s retiring after 12-13 years, with only a few staying longer.  All of those fleets can be extended a few more years if battery buses aren't ready yet.

I expect they're going to need those few extra years and if I were in Metro management I would spend the money to maintain those hybrid fleets well.

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On 12/23/2019 at 2:52 PM, David L said:

Technologically super-ambitious timeline for battery buses, with some generous outs in case of timetable slippage.  They have most DE60LFRs, Orions, and even XDE60s retiring after 12-13 years, with only a few staying longer.  All of those fleets can be extended a few more years if battery buses aren't ready yet.

I expect they're going to need those few extra years and if I were in Metro management I would spend the money to maintain those hybrid fleets well.

They can probably just replace the ICEs in the XDE60s with larger battery packs. BAE marketed the ability to have various energy sources for their system. Main energy store just gets a bigger size to replace diesel tank and engine.

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For those who aren't following Dan Ryan over on STB, Metro is accelerating the goal for the transition to fully electric from 2040 to 2035 but considers it a goal and not a requirement.  Is Los Angeles still using 2030 as their projection?

January 21:  County considers fully electric bus fleet by 2035 despite warnings of service cuts

January 22:  Battery bus amendment sets 2035 goal, not requirement

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As of today, there are only ten new Gillig Low-Floors (7430-7494) (HERE*) remaining to be activated.  There are approximately 20 D40LF coaches (HERE*) still in service yet to be retired.  Therefore, I'm guessing that the new Gillig LF coaches will not quite replace the 3600s one-for-one  ...about ten short of doing that?  

Does that mean that they will have to keep at least ten 3600 coaches in service indefinitely?  

And let's not forget about the four 1100 coaches (HERE*) still in service that should have been gone by now  --so that's another four coaches that the new Gilligs will not replace on a one-for-one, direct or indirect basis.  

The incoming Proterras may allow the complete retirement of the 3600s and 1100s as they are eventually added to the fleet so it may be awhile before the D40LF and 30-foot Phantoms are completely retired.

Any other 40-footers on order?  I don't have any inside info so please update wiki if you have any knowledge as to what's exactly on order and/or waiting to be put in service.  

 


* I'm doing my best in attempting to see that  the following wiki pages are updated on a daily basis if needed:  1100, 3600, 7200, 7300-7400 and when time permits, the 3700 and 2600 series.  I'm ignoring the rest of the fleet as it's impossible to do everything myself so if any other editors out there want to pitch in, I'm sure we'd all appreciate it.

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It looks like South Base currently has more coaches than they need to run their 40' service with a normal spare ratio, so I think we will see the remaining ~20 XDE40s go to North and a few more Orions to Ryerson for complete 3600 replacement.

As for the four 1100s, I think they're still there only because Metro hasn't yet moved the route 200 terminal out of Swedish Issaquah. When that terminal moves to Issaquah Highlands P&R, the 200 will be able to use 40-foot coaches every day.  With all the Proterras back in service for a few months now, there are plenty of Gilligs to operate everything else at Bellevue Base.

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While the Swedish Issaquah terminal might make sense, it's still not a completely logical reason they're still hanging on to the 1100s.

The reason I say this is that occasionally, we'll see 3700s on the 200 and 40-footers on the 236/238.  Therefore, if they were to completely retire the remaining four 1100s, they could use 3700s on the 200 and 7300s as needed on the 236/238.

 

 

eta:  I just looked at the Swedish Hospital loop on Google SV and I don't see the reason it would prohibit using a 40-footer (I don't think they'd want to use a 40-footer on it regularly anyway, however).  Is that routing flagged somewhere as a hazard where they do not want a 40-footer in that loop? 

And, there was once talk of the route 200 being privatized --perhaps Hopelink or similar.  Since it's heavily subsidized by city of Issaquah, I know at one time the city was considering contracting with a service that would cost less than using Metro.

 

 

A bit of history:  When the 200 was first started in the mid 90's, it used very small cutaway vans that were painted white ...smaller than the Champions that would be used later.  It was mostly funded by the developer of the Issaquah Commons and ran from the Park and Ride to the Issaquah Senior Center by the way of the Commons, down Gilman, up Front Street to the old location of the Senior Center at Memorial Field.  

I remember it more for the controversy that involved the union and Metro at the time.  The Issaquah shuttle was the first Metro route where vans were used.  It was negotiated that Metro was to pay the drivers of vans at a lower rate of pay in exchange for paying a premium for driving artics (it was referred to as artic premium).  Metro at the time wanted to use more vans and the Union wanted to prevent Metro from privatizing that proposed expansion they were planning involving more van routes.  So I remember there was a lot of controversial negotiations going on at that time but it was eventually agreed that our own represented drivers would be paid less for driving vans but paid a bit more for driving artics and mass privatizing was able to be delayed.  Of course, as drivers, we were very much opposed to privatizing where a private company would be contracted that would use non-union workers.  

That pay structure didn't last long, however.  In fact, the way I remember it, it was only in effect for a very short period of time.  Being paid less for driving vans was first to go and then, later, artic premium was dropped.  As drivers, we never understood "artic premium" as generally, it's actually easier to drive an artic than it is a 40-footer.  But the pay structure was based purely on "premium pay for hauling more people and less pay for driving a vehicle that potentially carries fewer people." 

It was really a strange time for awhile during that period.  As usual, my memory isn't always accurate so this is just a little of what I remember and if anybody can add or correct any of my recollections, please feel free to do so.

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On 1/24/2020 at 10:07 PM, roamer said:

A bit of history:  When the 200 was first started in the mid 90's, it used very small cutaway vans that were painted white ...smaller than the Champions that would be used later.  It was mostly funded by the developer of the Issaquah Commons and ran from the Park and Ride to the Issaquah Senior Center by the way of the Commons, down Gilman, up Front Street to the old location of the Senior Center at Memorial Field.  

I remember it more for the controversy that involved the union and Metro at the time.  The Issaquah shuttle was the first Metro route where vans were used.  It was negotiated that Metro was to pay the drivers of vans at a lower rate of pay in exchange for paying a premium for driving artics (it was referred to as artic premium).  Metro at the time wanted to use more vans and the Union wanted to prevent Metro from privatizing that proposed expansion they were planning involving more van routes.  So I remember there was a lot of controversial negotiations going on at that time but it was eventually agreed that our own represented drivers would be paid less for driving vans but paid a bit more for driving artics and mass privatizing was able to be delayed.  Of course, as drivers, we were very much opposed to privatizing where a private company would be contracted that would use non-union workers.  

That pay structure didn't last long, however.  In fact, the way I remember it, it was only in effect for a very short period of time.  Being paid less for driving vans was first to go and then, later, artic premium was dropped.  As drivers, we never understood "artic premium" as generally, it's actually easier to drive an artic than it is a 40-footer.  But the pay structure was based purely on "premium pay for hauling more people and less pay for driving a vehicle that potentially carries fewer people." 

It was really a strange time for awhile during that period.  As usual, my memory isn't always accurate so this is just a little of what I remember and if anybody can add or correct any of my recollections, please feel free to do so.

The white cutaways must have been the 5500-series vans. These were purchased for the Ballard LINC project in 1994 (?) and afterwards Metro kept them and used them as part of the regular fleet for a while, until the larger order of 5600-series vans arrived. They had dashcard holders on the hood for the destination signs ... a couple of them eventually made their way into the ACCESS fleet and you could spot them because of those dashcard holders. 

Keep in mind that Metro had many subcontracted / private van routes in the early 1990s. As part of the contract negotiation with lower pay for van drivers, these routes came back in house (everything but the DART routes). Additionally, as part of the "six year plan" service changes in the mid-1990s, there was a push to cover many of these outlying areas / coverage routes with smaller vehicles that were cheaper to operate. One of two things generally happened to these routes - either they were total losers and carried virtually no one (the 310 Bothell circulator, anyone?) and were whacked after I-695 in 2000, or they were pretty successful and quickly outgrew the vans. 

The overall service plan from that period, though, continues to live on throughout the county and laid the groundwork for today's Metro network. 

One other quirk about "less pay for driving a van" was that each base also had a "Van Base." So if you picked a van, you had to pick a van every day of the week, and there were also "Van extra board" operators. If the van based was tapped out, a regular operator would drive the van route - presumably at full pay as they hadn't picked the "van base." Scheduling also had a "van base scheduler" who did all the van routes, regardless of where they were. 

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As usual, I'm just amazed at the content of your recollections, northwesterner  ...while at the same time surprised at how much detail that I fail to remember.

It seemed to me that the initiation of the Ballard shuttle was after the start of the 200.  It is burned in my recollection that the 200 was the very first time Metro drivers ever drove a van and accepted lower pay by doing so. But as I say, and all here know, I've been wrong so many times before.  The initial shake-up of the 200 preceded the van-base-concept is what I remember as it seemed before they got the van base concept robustly underway, the 200 had been running for at least one shake up.  That's what I seem to remember, at any rate.  

You're right about contracted service, though.  Now that I think on it a bit more, I do seem to remember the "Access" service preceding the 200 but never paid that much attention to it as it was specialized and not fixed route.  

And the detail of your description of the "van base" concept is, again, amazing.  I don't recall a separate van extra board but that doesn't mean that there wasn't one.  I think I was working report at the time and recall that anytime driving a van, it was paid at full-pay.  When artic premium first started, we had to manually submit a request but after the initial shake-up, I seem to remember that artic premium was integrated into the TOPS sheets so that was seamlessly paid.  No matter, it was a bookkeeping nightmare for payroll purposes  ...things like putting in for overtime had to be figured at different pay rates, etc.

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On 1/27/2020 at 4:24 PM, roamer said:

As usual, I'm just amazed at the content of your recollections, northwesterner  ...while at the same time surprised at how much detail that I fail to remember.

It seemed to me that the initiation of the Ballard shuttle was after the start of the 200.  It is burned in my recollection that the 200 was the very first time Metro drivers ever drove a van and accepted lower pay by doing so. But as I say, and all here know, I've been wrong so many times before.  The initial shake-up of the 200 preceded the van-base-concept is what I remember as it seemed before they got the van base concept robustly underway, the 200 had been running for at least one shake up.  That's what I seem to remember, at any rate.  

You're right about contracted service, though.  Now that I think on it a bit more, I do seem to remember the "Access" service preceding the 200 but never paid that much attention to it as it was specialized and not fixed route.  

And the detail of your description of the "van base" concept is, again, amazing.  I don't recall a separate van extra board but that doesn't mean that there wasn't one.  I think I was working report at the time and recall that anytime driving a van, it was paid at full-pay.  When artic premium first started, we had to manually submit a request but after the initial shake-up, I seem to remember that artic premium was integrated into the TOPS sheets so that was seamlessly paid.  No matter, it was a bookkeeping nightmare for payroll purposes  ...things like putting in for overtime had to be figured at different pay rates, etc.

The Ballard van shuttle didn't last long ... just one summer as demonstration. I suspect the 200 started shortly afterwards. 

I can remember a discussion with an operator who was either van extra board or van base report. I can't remember which. I also vaguely recall that there was one but not the other - either a picked reportman but no extra board, or extra board but no report ops - which ever one didn't exist came solely from the regular bus operators at the same base - at full pay. 

Thinking about some of the contracted van sized fixed routes that came back in house - what were the two Carnation routes? 922/929? Those two existed long before the 5600s and the van pay contract, but came in house when the ATU agreed to those terms. 

The contract also helped restructure changes like the establishment of the all day 209 between Issaquah and North Bend and getting rid of running full size coaches on the 210/211 all the way to North Bend - including some artics that were needed for the busy Downtown to Eastgate segments. Can you imagine driving an artic around North Bend and Snoqualmie at noon on a weekday with four people onboard because you needed the capacity for a trip leaving Eastgate at 8:15 AM? 

That's the crazy service planning stuff that the van contract helped fix.

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On 1/31/2020 at 12:53 AM, Atomic Taco said:

With just over a year of testing, they appear to like the New Flyer BEx0s

 

Have the results of the trials been published anywhere? 

Just found this which gives some technical details.  Batteries on both 40ft and 60ft versions are 466 kWh.  The range between charges for the articulated bus is quoted at about 140 miles. Although executives are no doubt preening themselves about this new order, as it is another move towards a greener fleet, it has to said that a range of only 140 miles is not sufficient for a full days work on most routes, so the buses will probably need to have some midday charging.

https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/news/release/2020/January/30-metro-battery-electric-bus-order.aspx

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New Flyer Rep says these buses will be able to stay on-route for up to 18 hours without recharging.

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2020/01/31/king-countys-130m-electric-bus-purchase-called.html

Key words are "up to". Thats probably the max under ideal conditions, say a light load and 70 degree temps and if there is an elevation change you get to go back down and recuperate energy to the batteries by going downhill.

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1 hour ago, MAX BRT said:

New Flyer Rep says these buses will be able to stay on-route for up to 18 hours without recharging.

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2020/01/31/king-countys-130m-electric-bus-purchase-called.html

Key words are "up to". Thats probably the max under ideal conditions, say a light load and 70 degree temps and if there is an elevation change you get to go back down and recuperate energy to the batteries by going downhill.

Well you can do the math as well as me. Maximum range 140 miles over 18 hours is less than 8 mph. Not a speed that KC Metro is going to aspire to.

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