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Kevin

Up to 900 Articulated Hybrids

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Here's a fun one from the specs:

Anyone have any inside information about this assumption about behavior?

Details, details. If they start printing "Stolen From CTA" on the side of the bus then I would worry :lol: Maybe there are folks out there who collect stolen fire extinguishers? ;)

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If indeed as you predict, 100 miles of BRT is implemented wouldn't that just tax the CTA to the point of needing another garage?
You would think. Even if there were space to build a mega garage at 77th (a new one has been promised there for at least the last 10 years in CTA budgets, but has not come to fruition yet), I don't see how Archer (which CTA said 17 years ago was due for replacement) could take additional load, let alone how Kedzie and Chicago handle the loads they have now. As rmadison has previously said, in calculating capacity, an articulated has to count as 1-1/2 buses.

It would make sense that before awarding a contract on the buses, funding for garage capacity would have to be found. Again, I wonder if CTA is thinking that much ahead, or is still following the view that garage replacement is not a priority while capital funds are tight.

For that matter, given the current chaos on the state level, I really doubt that the RTA's statement in all of the budgets that a capital plan will be in place for 2010 has any credibility.

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And, until the contract is awarded, one can't be sure of what are the five years after that date.
I guess that the story on the front page takes care of that issue (although the official date is of the "Notice to Proceed"). However, it is surprising that there is no announcement from CTA yet.

post-14-1229181090_thumb.jpg

As for projected deadlines based on immediate notice to proceed:

Milestone			  Est. date	Quantity									 Up toPrototype			   5/12/2009	14010 buses				9/14/2009	Base order completed	1/7/2010			Exercise Option 1 by	4/17/2009	160Exercise Option 2 by	1/17/2010	100Exercise Option 3 by	1/2/2011	 250Exercise Option 4 by	12/18/2011   250		Total								900

P.S. I moved these to the better topic.

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jajuan is going in the right direction.

I downloaded the bid documents, and it is

  • Base order of 140

  • Option 1, 160 to be exercised within 125 days of notice to proceed or 75 days of acceptance of pilot bus
  • Option 2, 100 to be exercised within 400 days after notice to proceed (over a year).
  • Option 3, 250 to be exercised within 750 days (over 2 years).
  • Option 4, 250 to be exercised within 1100 days (about 3 years).

Also, interesting is that under the base order it says:

I guess we now know how the base order of Optimas was 50 and CTA received only 45.

Looking at Busjack's post on July 14th, and what he got from the bid documents, it looks like at least to me Option 1 is solely for BRT. The way it is worded suggests that these buses will be different than the current 140 coming in the base order. This might open the CTA to order these buses as the DE60LFR's, to make them look different than the other DE60LF's, so the passengers know what is a BRT bus, and what isn't. Perhaps even that Xcelsior model can be used for BRT, provided that it is available in 60' length, and it is available as a Diesel/Electric Hybrid.

I could be misreading this.... but the base order is for 140, which should include the pilot bus #4000. If I am, then why does Option 1 mention acceptance of a pilot bus?

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I could be misreading this....

Definitely. The NF announcement that was mentioned on the home page said that CTA had already ordered (implied, using options assigned by Seattle) 208 buses, and now had issued a contract for up to 900 more.

The largest of these orders is from Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") in Chicago, IL. The CTA Board of Directors has approved the order of up to 900 60-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses (total firm orders and options). CTA has previously ordered a total of 1,258 buses from New Flyer since 2002 including 1,050 40' diesel and hybrid and 208 60' hybrid buses. (emphasis added)

As for why the subsequent contract mentions a pilot bus, I'm not sure. It could either be because that is part of the standard spec., or because there were quibbles about differences in the specifications between the ones CTA is now receiving and those in the standard specs, as reflected in Proposer 1's comments to the RFP.

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You know, I have some real reservations about all of this. Again, CTA is

doing stuff without any real funding. Remember, in the past, all bus purchases

were made with federal grants involved. No mention of that here, which leads

me to believe we are getting into leasing again...which I again throw out the

possibliltiy that CTA is buying (leasing) and somehow paying for this within

the means of the annual budget. Where is the real "green".

I also am not on board with the BRT. I just can't see it really being all that

worth the effort involved as it is being outlined. Remember, we are still dealing

with city streets with real stop lights and real traffic and real snow that doesn't

get plowed. I have my reservations with all of this.

Why all the Artics ???? Other than the express routes and a few high density

routes such as 77, 49, 79, 151...are they really necessary? What I see here

is what amounts to severe service cuts. Anytime I hear that we can move the

same amout of people with less equipment to me means less service. Instead

of cramming 50 people on a bus that seats 39, we will now cram 90 people into

a bus that seats 60...and have longer intervals to boot. Sounds to me like a great

way to eliminate bus bunching....eliminate the buses !!!!!

And finally, storage issues. It was mentioned above about the possiblity of the

need for new facilities. There is that need now, without the added length of all

the buses on hand. I just wonder if this is not the geniuses at the top not being

able to see beyond the end of their noses and just going out and doing something

because it seems like a good idea or is politically correct without any regard

to the possible consequences to any of the decisions being made here.

I am really losing faith on the future of functional public transit in Chicago.

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So we will have 1050 40ft NF buses and 208 60ft NF buses and up to 900 more 60ft artics. I guess our garages will have to be expanded or even replaced. I know Archer has no room at all and at one time there was talk about putting Archer @ Pershing/Ashland but I think that land is gone. 77th and FG can be rebuilt on site. I think NP can be rebuilt there. Chicago, 103rd and 74th can be expanded but Kedzie is busting at the seams. Unless the can buy property along Jackson Homan and Van Buren to expand capacity, its going to be tight. All buses will need to keep inside to have those built in plugs to charge those buses. New Flyer has become the GM Fishbowls of this century. Hopefully a things to do list has been sent to President Elect Obama so we can have some solar technology built in these garages....maybe Chicago will have premiere facilities in the nation(wishful thinking) but we do have the most corrupt governor in the nation...lol

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Anytime I hear that we can move the same amount of people with less equipment to me means less service. Instead of cramming 50 people on a bus that seats 39, we will now cram 90 people into a bus that seats 60...and have longer intervals to boot. Sounds to me like a great way to eliminate bus bunching....eliminate the buses !!!!!
Actually, if you look at the service standards and press release, it is:

Instead of cramming 80 people on a bus that seats 39, we will now cram 125 people into a bus that seats 56...and have longer intervals to boot.

Except, they used the word "accomodate" instead of "cram."

As I previously mentioned, and we probably agree, doing this one a route like 79th makes sense, since the interval is not greatly affected. However, I wonder if it does systemwide.

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Hopefully a things to do list has been sent to President Elect Obama so we can have some solar technology built in these garages....maybe Chicago will have premiere facilities in the nation(wishful thinking) but we do have the most corrupt governor in the nation...lol
For all we know (and we do not), Daley mentioned giving a wish list to Obama, and maybe the buses and garages are on it. One thing I predicted elsewhere is that if Obama really wants to jump start the economy and infrastructure, the feds shouldn't insist on matching funds. And maybe jacksone is correct, and the options are backended in case the Olympics money comes through, and not exercised if it does not.

I was going to put the following link on the "thought for today" topic, but it goes along with the last thing you said: Broom Hilda.

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So we will have 1050 40ft NF buses and 208 60ft NF buses and up to 900 more 60ft artics. I guess our garages will have to be expanded or even replaced. I know Archer has no room at all and at one time there was talk about putting Archer @ Pershing/Ashland but I think that land is gone. 77th and FG can be rebuilt on site. I think NP can be rebuilt there. Chicago, 103rd and 74th can be expanded but Kedzie is busting at the seams. Unless the can buy property along Jackson Homan and Van Buren to expand capacity, its going to be tight. All buses will need to keep inside to have those built in plugs to charge those buses. New Flyer has become the GM Fishbowls of this century. Hopefully a things to do list has been sent to President Elect Obama so we can have some solar technology built in these garages....maybe Chicago will have premiere facilities in the nation(wishful thinking) but we do have the most corrupt governor in the nation...lol

No offense but the "things to do list" you state, CTA is always last in everything when it comes to leading technology. And I dont think our politicians will be much help.

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Definitely. The NF announcement that was mentioned on the home page said that CTA had already ordered (implied, using options assigned by Seattle) 208 buses, and now had issued a contract for up to 900 more.

As for why the subsequent contract mentions a pilot bus, I'm not sure. It could either be because that is part of the standard spec., or because there were quibbles about differences in the specifications between the ones CTA is now receiving and those in the standard specs, as reflected in Proposer 1's comments to the RFP.

The reason there's a pilot on these is because they are a new order. For all we know they may have the updated front Nf has been putting out in it's newer models. Even though NF won the bid, the specific model hasn't been established yet except that they are artic hybrids. I would think there may even be a pilot for the BRT's, the 58 that are coming because that was also a seperate order. (NF confirms in the newswire link above if you take it back to October's headlines.) As far as garage space, CTA wouldn't be so concerned with artics received if they are replacing 40 footers with them. You would think on the 3 to 4 ratio that fourth bus will now be missing giving you that space. Where it gets interesting is when the 58 get received and nothing gets retired. If you even out the order based on BRT locations, it gives you about 14 more BRT's to add to each garage. Can they find space for these in the garage? As mentioned before Kedzie is kind of tight now that they've acquired some of NP's routes. This would be the hardest space to fill. In the long term if Chicago gets the olympics there would be alot of transportation funding available and building or expanding an existing garage would be relatively easy.

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The reason there's a pilot on these is because they are a new order. For all we know they may have the updated front Nf has been putting out in it's newer models. Even though NF won the bid, the specific model hasn't been established yet except that they are artic hybrids. I would think there may even be a pilot for the BRT's, the 58 that are coming because that was also a seperate order. (NF confirms in the newswire link above if you take it back to October's headlines.) As far as garage space, CTA wouldn't be so concerned with artics received if they are replacing 40 footers with them. You would think on the 3 to 4 ratio that fourth bus will now be missing giving you that space. Where it gets interesting is when the 58 get received and nothing gets retired. If you even out the order based on BRT locations, it gives you about 14 more BRT's to add to each garage. Can they find space for these in the garage? As mentioned before Kedzie is kind of tight now that they've acquired some of NP's routes. This would be the hardest space to fill. In the long term if Chicago gets the olympics there would be alot of transportation funding available and building or expanding an existing garage would be relatively easy.

That's still a very big if. Plus I get why you keep mentioning the 3 to 4 ratio, but given how tight things are in the economy with more people still moving to public transit because of the expenses associated with owning a car and increasing hassle (the parking meter increases come to mind here among other issues with owning a car in Chicago), I still say it's going to be difficult to readjust so many schedules to eliminate a quarter of the buses from the schedule. CTA is at record passenger levels right now. If anything I see them moving to artics to handle the load not operate less buses. The 148 comes to mind for an example. For a good part of this year Kedzie was using a lot of 40 footers during both weekday service periods. Then almost immediately after Labor Day, they went back to artics for PM rush on this route. No runs were cut here. They just went for the bigger buses for the bigger loads. Also ever so slowly they started increasing the number of artics used in the AM rush. This morning looking at that final hour of service, the 148 had arctics outnumber the 1000s that were in service. Again, bigger buses and same number of runs. You can say they can tweak schedules here and there to increase intervals, but people are not that blind that they won't notice. Enough people are already fussy about current times are waiting for buses, and given the huge lashing they got on Doomsday, I'd say CTA should be leery of any move that translates to decreases in service for the foreseeable future. We're already going through the upcoming fare increase in part because they wanted to assure the public that the same level of current service will remain in effect.

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I'm sort of in the middle here. The justification for the leased buses was the 3 for 4 ratio. So far, they haven't been used in that manner. The apparent justification for the 58 buses is BRT, and except for Jeffery, that would be new service (since it was indicated that local service would still exist, and the overlay of X routes up to now has not affected the underlying local routes). The parking meter rate increase is, of course, the legal quid pro quo for the BRT grant.

Whether the up to 900 in the new contract are for expansion, 3 for 4 savings, more BRT, or the Olympics is probably beyond anyone's knowledge at the moment. However, given what would be available for replacement in the next 5 or so years, as BusHunter indicated, indicates to me that if much of those options are exercised, there would be a great need for more garage capacity throughout the system, and not just getting 77 and NP back to their former levels.

Finally, with regard to the 3 for 4 ratio, while CTA is saying that while it will be crushing 4 old buses for each 3 articulateds received, we have assumed that that meant a decrease in frequency. What might be the logical conclusion from jajuan's comment is that CTA is saying that the articulateds relieve it of the need to assign three more clunkers to 148, for example, to meet demand.

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If CTA does decide to build a new garage, will they take a step back and operate it similarly to the way Limits was run. That is, mostly extra runs for express/downtown routes and high volume routes- depending on location (i.e. #8 #9 #125 #151 etc.).

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I'm sort of in the middle here. The justification for the leased buses was the 3 for 4 ratio. So far, they haven't been used in that manner. The apparent justification for the 58 buses is BRT, and except for Jeffery, that would be new service (since it was indicated that local service would still exist, and the overlay of X routes up to now has not affected the underlying local routes). The parking meter rate increase is, of course, the legal quid pro quo for the BRT grant.

Whether the up to 900 in the new contract are for expansion, 3 for 4 savings, more BRT, or the Olympics is probably beyond anyone's knowledge at the moment. However, given what would be available for replacement in the next 5 or so years, as BusHunter indicated, indicates to me that if much of those options are exercised, there would be a great need for more garage capacity throughout the system, and not just getting 77 and NP back to their former levels.

Finally, with regard to the 3 for 4 ratio, while CTA is saying that while it will be crushing 4 old buses for each 3 articulateds received, we have assumed that that meant a decrease in frequency. What might be the logical conclusion from jajuan's comment is that CTA is saying that the articulateds relieve it of the need to assign three more clunkers to 148, for example, to meet demand.

Like the majority of us posters, all I can do is speculate. However, judging by the time frames and the size of the base order (as well as the options), it looks as if a fairly sizable fleet expansion is being proposed.

First of all, the base order of 140 would probably be more than enough to replace the remaining 6000s. But that doesn't factor in the recent authorization for an additional 58 artics (for BRT?). So maybe the roster of surviving 6000s would shrink even further (just maybe). Then again, maybe BusHunter is right in assuming that those last 58 will all be part of the expansion. (So much for the 3-for-4 replacement ratio).

In any event, once they're gone, retirement of the next oldest series, the Novas, couldn't begin until late 2012, according to FTA guidelines. That might be in sync with the delivery of the first Option 3 buses. Yet the Option 1 and 2 orders would be expected to arrive long before then.

So that leaves me kind of puzzled. Is it safe to assume that there's a fair amount of flexibility in those delivery schedules? If not, it seems to me we'd be looking at 260 artics (Options 1 & 2) --- the equivalent of 390 40-footers --- arriving BEFORE late 2012 with nothing ready to be retired. As BusHunter and Renardo were wondering, with storage space tight as it is, where would they be assigned?

Unless I'm missing something, this RFP just doesn't seem very realistic from the outset. I can't really imagine anything other than the base order actually being filled anytime soon. Also, as Trainman asked, (despite a likely increase in ridership), "Why all the artics?" As Jajuan stated, they might be essential for certain routes (such as the 148), but throughout most of the system, 40-footers should suffice.

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"Why all the artics?" As Jajuan stated, they might be essential for certain routes (such as the 148), but throughout most of the system, 40-footers should suffice.
To throw another shrimp on the barbie of speculation, the grant says artics for BRT, but, for the most part, when separate ridership statistics were reported, the X routes were of lower productivity than the locals (although X9 and X49 were getting to the base route's level). Again, maybe they are seeing something we aren't, but I doubt it.

Update: The September report has the X routes as separate routes, but does not outline productivity, just average riders. Obviously, something like the X4 or X20 that doesn't run all day will have a low average. Surprisingly, X28 is close to 28, for the month.

With regard to all day routes, X9 and X49 have half the average ridership of 9 and 49. However, one can't tell if the buses are half packed from that, or if that reflects lower frequency. The productivity numbers would have removed that variable.

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If CTA does decide to build a new garage, will they take a step back and operate it similarly to the way Limits was run. That is, mostly extra runs for express/downtown routes and high volume routes- depending on location (i.e. #8 #9 #125 #151 etc.).

Maybe Goose Island or south on Canal around the metra yard on 14th would be an ideal spot for a garage. kinda like Limts and the old 15th/state midday garage.

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Maybe Goose Island or south on Canal around the metra yard on 14th would be an ideal spot for a garage. kinda like Limts and the old 15th/state midday garage.

As a matterof fact, CTA has a facility on Division that could easily be used as a bus garage. I believe it houses maintenance trucks or something, but I always believed it could've been used for a garage for all of the downtown shuttle routes, 151 short turns and 156.

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Scanning the news stories on the home page, I noted the Chi Town Daily News (not one of the better known organs) on what might be in an Obama stimulus package. In part:

The extra federal funds would also buy 200 new hybrid CTA buses costing $160 million — compared to just $7 million for new buses in the current budget.

...

Pace would use its share of the funds to buy about 600 buses, vans and other transit vehicles.

A couple of quick observations:
  • The rail rebuilding initiative would provide jobs here. Buying buses provides jobs only in Minnesota, California, and Canada. But at least it provides the buses.
  • Was any of the RFP for up to 900 more based on hope for something like this?

Again, interesting, but obviously the bill, even if proposed, hasn't passed yet.

Some of the stuff mentioned in the article is wrong, such as needing funds to rebuild the Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line, which happened a couple of years ago. Maybe the north side portion was intended. Also, it is hard to see how Pace could buy 600 units of anything (the unconstrained budget says 90 buses instead of 37 under the constrained one).

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With the announcement today that the Olympics are going elsewhere, I guess New Flyer better find assignees for the 500 back end options, if they were for what we thought they were.

  • Upvote 1

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A decison probably wont be made until the mayor comes out of intensive care

I think it would be funny if CTA did come out with so many as 900 articulated hybrids. Real interesting.

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I think it would be funny if CTA did come out with so many as 900 articulated hybrids. Real interesting.

Again as stated in another thread, with the current financial mess going on that won't be happening anytime soon if ever.

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So is CTA planning on broadening their service area or just anticipating greater ridership numbers? BTW artics instead of 40 foot buses would make a lot of sense on some of the routes where riders are packed in like sardines.

I agree. There are some very busy bus routes that don't normally use articulated buses but could use the help of those to alleviate the problem.

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