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Hamilton heads “back to the future” with HSR fleet fueled by natural gas

AM900 CHML | Hamilton News Sara Cain September 29, 2015

The City of Hamilton is taking a look into the past in order to move forward when it comes to fueling the HSR bus fleet.

Union Gas has announced the completion a new compressed natural gas station that will help fuel up to 120 buses.

The move marks a transition by the city from using natural gas for vehicles to diesel in 2004 and now back again.

Hamilton Mayor, Fred Eisenberger says the city is moving back to the future with a reliable choice given the challenge of the escarpment.

“We’re looking at an electrified system down in the lower city but it’s alot more difficult to achieve in the upper city” he said.

Adding that “compressed natural gas gives us that flexibility and ability to actually serve all of the residents in a cost effective and efficient way.”

The City of Hamilton expects to save approximately 40 million dollars with the switch, over the next 20 years.

During that same period, gas emissions are expected to drop by 25 per cent, the equivalent or removing over 18 thousand passenger vehicles from the roadway.

The City plans to replace about 18 buses annually with CNG until 2020.

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That's some very interesting news, so CNG will be the future for the HSR from here on out. Definitely wasnt expecting that one and to be honest I think having a mixed fleet of diesel and CNG (even if CNG buses made up 60-70% of the fleet) would work more to their advantage.

That little bite about having an "electrified system" is probably refering to LRT, because there is no way the HSR would be able to operate trolley buses sucessfully. Not in this lifetime, or the next one.

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That little bite about having an "electrified system" is probably refering to LRT, because there is no way the HSR would be able to operate trolley buses sucessfully. Not in this lifetime, or the next one.

Actually, I think that is referring to electric buses (not trolley coaches). Council committed to CNG until 2020 but HSR is hoping that the electric bus technology has really advanced by the year 2020. The ultimate goal would be to purchase electric buses (XE40 and similar) after that date but we will have to wait and see how the technology progresses.

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Just doing some research and became curious about something. I notice the Canada Coach Lines was sold of roughly the same time as Gray Coach Lines, likewise the both the trolley coach fleet. Was this a coincidence, or these decisions influenced in some way by Toronto's decisions?

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Hey all,

Just got my invitation to attend the STRADA testing on November 11th for HSR. Currently in the process for TTC and Bombardier but I think HSR would be my number one pick due to location and not as packed as Toronto.

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From the agenda of the November 16 Public Works Committee meeting.

Pre-approval of 2016 Conventional Bus Replacement

This report recommends Council’s pre-approval of 18 replacement, and 14 expansion, 40-foot, CNG powered, conventional transit buses for 2016 through the Metrolinx Procurement bid award (Metrolinx RFP-2013-TPI-008).
The most recent tender for the years 2014 to 2016 was issued by Metrolinx and awarded to the successful bidder, Nova Bus, Division of Volvo Group Canada Inc. Council has previously approved Hamilton’s participation in this joint procurement. The 18 replacement and 14 expansion buses for 2016 will be purchased under this agreement (City of Hamilton/Metrolinx Multi-Year Governance Agreement (PW13092)).These buses will begin arriving in late Q2/Q3 2016.

From Raise The Hammer

The November 16 Public Works Committee meeting includes a staff report (item 8.2) recommending a $19.2 million capital purchase of 32 new buses, to be paid out of the Transit Vehicle Reserve.

18 will be replacements for current buses going out of commission, and 14 will be new buses added to the fleet. This will bring the fleet total up to 245 buses in 2016.

The Ten-Year Local Transit Strategy that Council approved earlier this year called for ten straight years of purchases adding to the fleet, which was just 221 buses in 2014.

We are supposed to have 246 buses in operation by the end of 2016, which would also mark the timeframe in which the fleet would be large enough to have addressed all pre-existing system deficiencies.

Future purchases from 2017-2024 are intended to take the HSR into a ridership and system 'growth' phase for the first time in many decades. By 2024, the plan calls for a bus fleet of 347 buses in operation.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/2754/staff_recommend_purchasing_18_replacement_14_new_hsr_buses

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It is great to see the City sticking with its transit plan so far, despite some perplexing issues such as the A- and B-Line bus stop upgrades that were funded through the Metrolinx 'Quick Wins' program back in 2007 and still don't seem to have been implemented. Almost nine years later, I'm guessing this isn't quite what Metrolinx had in mind when they termed the program 'Quick Wins'.

Still waiting... though I guess a lot of it will be getting sent back to the drawing board or killed off since the B-Line LRT was funded last spring.

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From the agenda of the November 16 Public Works Committee meeting.

Pre-approval of 2016 Conventional Bus Replacement

From Raise The Hammer

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/2754/staff_recommend_purchasing_18_replacement_14_new_hsr_buses

If I recall, there was an earlier number of buses to be ordered in 2016 as 24. It looks here as if that the number was increased by 8. The Novas would definitely be really increasing in numbers in the next couple of years.

I'd imagine by next year that the majority of the C40LFs would be retired by that case.

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Good to hear that the HSR future looks bright! We are also expecting the 2015 Nova order of (24) buses this month. Is Nova behind or should we expect them by the end of this month?

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What the Hamilton Spectator is working on for tomorrows paper.

Matt Van Dongen reports that the HSR is averaging 27 collisions a month — which it deems not bad — but is looking to cut down on "preventable" crashes. HSR has as an average-poor commercial vehicle rating with the province — but still shines in comparison to our snowplows and garbage trucks. What kind of collisions are we talking about?

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I've been noticing some of the XN60's have the four way feature disabled. When the doors are open the 4-ways no longer come on. Is this a fairly new change? Are they going to be doing the XD40 as well?

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IIRC it's 900 hours probation. Which converts to approximately 6 months if doing 40hrs per week.

Awesome, thanks. I have my interview next month, nervous for the circuit style they do, I spoke to a guy at the STRADA testing and it was his 4th time applying. :unsure:

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I've been noticing some of the XN60's have the four way feature disabled. When the doors are open the 4-ways no longer come on. Is this a fairly new change? Are they going to be doing the XD40 as well?

This is indeed fairly recent. And they have already done this to some of the XN40s.

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Does the HSR have any rules or regulations on tattoos? I have a word in latin on my hand that I got when I was in the army (nothing offensive). Just wondering if that would be a deal breaker. Couldn't find anything online.

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Does the HSR have any rules or regulations on tattoos? I have a word in latin on my hand that I got when I was in the army (nothing offensive). Just wondering if that would be a deal breaker. Couldn't find anything online.

No. There are many operators with tattoos, piercings and so forth. HSR does not discriminate on that as there's no reason to.

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Does the HSR have any rules or regulations on tattoos? I have a word in latin on my hand that I got when I was in the army (nothing offensive). Just wondering if that would be a deal breaker. Couldn't find anything online.

Shouldn't be an issue. I've seen drivers with full sleeves of tattoos, both male and female. They don't discriminate :)

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Thanks for the responses guys. Did my job shadowing today and the operators were great. Sounds like if I got in I'd have to memorize ALL the routes. Not from Hamilton so should be interesting, lol.

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Thanks for the responses guys. Did my job shadowing today and the operators were great. Sounds like if I got in I'd have to memorize ALL the routes. Not from Hamilton so should be interesting, lol.

Everyone uses cheat sheets when they start. You can tell the new drivers; they're the ones with index cards on the transfer clip.

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Oh, I forgot to mention this. Bus 1013 has lost its Presto wrap. I saw it on Thursday after work at Stone Church/Upper Mount Albion, doing a route 21.

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