Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mcfarlane talks about the new buses


always roaming said...

I have a question that I'm sure has been discussed on this blog somewhere in the past but I've not been able to find it. Watching Erik Halstead’s video yesterday as well as others in the past, I see riders routinely standing on Trimet buses so it prompts me to ask about this.

What is the reason that Trimet is not buying new articulated buses? It can't simply be because of the bad experience they had with those Crown-Ikarus artics in the 1980s. Has that experience left such a bad taste in their mouth that they refuse to get with the times? I have to believe that technological advances have made articulated coaches much more reliable than they were three decades ago, correct?

Being one of the first operators to drive an articulated bus when Seattle started running M.A.N. coaches in 1978, I firmly believe in their efficiency. Metro in Seattle hasn't looked back from those early years. They were the first public transit agency in the country to run artics and continue to lead the way in having one of, if not, the largest feet of such coaches in the country.

I've talked to many riders in the Seattle area who have told me that if they had to continually ride jammed packed standing-room-only buses, that they would opt to just drive. However, in King County, many routes have the passenger volume to justify shorter headways even with articulated coaches. But obviously, most passengers prefer to have a seat on long commutes so shorter headways and articulated buses make people want to take the bus as it makes for a pleasant commute if they don’t have to stand.

I think Trimet should be thinking like a grown-up transit system and get some articulated coaches on those higher volume lines where jammed packed buses seem common. I would think that a transit agency serving an area the size of Portland should be using multiple BRT lines to supplement MAX or at least put higher capacity vehicles on their busier bus lines. Get with it Trimet!

Al M said...

You see that question asked all over the internet.

My understanding in the past was they 'didn't fit into the transit mall stops properly' but that doesn't make much sense in reality.

Being always suspicious of Trimet motives, sometimes it appears they want the bus service to fail to highlight the need for MAX which is what management really wants.

always roaming said...

Ah, okay. I didn't do some Googling on this yet but I will now since you are saying it has been discussed a lot. It definitely does sound logical that riders and residents in the PDX area had to be asking about this.

Yeah, not fitting into transit malls is definitely a poor excuse.

Your suspicion does make sense and obviously Trimet can't come out and actually disclose that as being the reason.

I guess I keep trying to compare Trimet to Seattle but in reality, not only is Trimet much smaller than Metro in Seattle but it appears that their managers are for more inept than those of the transit agencies that have much larger fleets.

Al M said...

Agreed. There is no doubt that Trimet has focused on rail over the last 14 years.
Rail keeps growing bus service keeps shrinking so the bias is obvious although trimet officials deny it (part of their disinformation campaign)

Unknown said...

They forgot to mention the injuries associated with these busses 30, 31 series.

Erik H. said...

My understanding in the past was they 'didn't fit into the transit mall stops properly' but that doesn't make much sense in reality.

That makes no sense at all, given that the Transit Mall stops were historically straight-curb (now there are some angled-curb stops) and Seattle, which has articulated buses, has straight-curb stops too.

Even if you factor in Portland's smaller-than-normal block face length of 200 feet, that's still more than adequate for THREE articulated buses, back to back, in one block, with 20 feet to spare. And that's without blocking crosswalks or installing bulbouts (which was required for MAX).

My understanding is that TriMet did in fact have a very rotten taste of the Crown-Ikaruses, but H.H. is right - the technology has improved, there are better designs, and the newer buses are tested and proven. The only real issue found in Seattle is in snow/ice conditions on steep hills, which is not nearly as bad of a problem in Portland, on the very rare days that it is an issue. (Then again, TriMet never ever seems to learn from snow/ice conditions, from chaining up buses unnecessarily, to ignoring its own published timetables and running express buses when they shouldn't).

Jason McHuff said...

Two issues TriMet in the past has identified with articulated buses are garage set-up and the need to lengthen bus stops to reach the back door.

installing bulbouts (which was required for MAX)

Where are there bulbouts at a MAX station?

chaining up buses unnecessarily

Would you rather TriMet not chain up buses and then have them get stuck? Unfortunately, the weather isn't predictable enough that TriMet can always make the correct decision the night before, and chaining up buses in the field when the weather does change is complex, time-consuming and costly.

And what about the fact that they have purchased drop-down chains that eliminates the issue?

ignoring its own published timetables

Well, when vehicles are limited in speed, that's kind of required.

running express buses when they shouldn't

It's possible that operators, not wanting to have their shift go even longer or not realizing that things are supposed to be different, are making the decision, or that the change gets lost among all the other issues that come up.

Jason McHuff said...

Per a Bus Distribution Report, the 1700s and 1800s are the ones that will be replaced