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Yeah, I forgot about the CNG's at South. (I forgot what's the status of that contract) That would mostly likely wipe out both the #6162's and #6600's, So we will be saying goodbye to the yellow and white livery in the next few years. I wonder if they can convert yet more buses to highway specs? These express buses to me look as capable as an MCI. They could then have an all low floor fleet. Who is using the lower compartment luggage storage anyway?

In that Pace, at the moment, seems a couple of buses short of the Express ones compared to needs, I'm sure changing the seats and the doors in the buses to be ordered is minimal. One might argue that in addition to these 91, South should get some CNG Express buses and 6379 to 6385 should be shipped to the I-90 project as it ramps up.

Pace has a binding contract with MCI for the 13 buses for the I-55 project. It appears that an MCI has a higher seating capacity, and then it depends whether those passengers stuck on the expressway are entitled to a toilet.

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In that Pace, at the moment, seems a couple of buses short of the Express ones compared to needs, I'm sure changing the seats and the doors in the buses to be ordered is minimal. One might argue that in addition to these 91, South should get some CNG Express buses and 6379 to 6385 should be shipped to the I-90 project as it ramps up.

Pace has a binding contract with MCI for the 13 buses for the I-55 project. It appears that an MCI has a higher seating capacity, and then it depends whether those passengers stuck on the expressway are entitled to a toilet.

That depends on when/if the south MCI's are due for replacement. Also I don't know if the South CNG's manufacturer has an express model. Also one might wonder in the future if all these River division Pace express' will carry the Pace express wrap, #895 does. They do sound like they are going with MCI for I-55 though.

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That depends on when/if the south MCI's are due for replacement. Also I don't know if the South CNG's manufacturer has an express model. Also one might wonder in the future if all these River division Pace express' will carry the Pace express wrap, #895 does. They do sound like they are going with MCI for I-55 though.

  • The MCIs South had (6900-6907) were shipped out to Heritage when the I-55 BOS project started. South was then running leased 6910-6919 until the Axess Express buses showed up. 6912 and 6919 still sporadically show up on WebWatch, although not in the last couple of days. In any event, South doesn't have any owned MCIs.
  • ElDorado National is manufacturing both the current diesel buses and the just awarded CNG buses. So, it isn't an issue whether ElDorado National can put express seats and doors on its bus, however it is powered.
  • The I-55 wraps were required by the Illinois State Police for bus on shoulder operation. Other than using wraps to disguise the paratransits and Downers Grove buses running on 895, the only issue would be whether tollway operations would be subject to similar police dictates, which probably will not occur until the Elgin to Rosemont portion is at least under construction.

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So all the buses are going to be CNG, I missed that.

No. All the buses, whether CNG (this contract) or diesel (2011 contract) are to be ElDorado National.

I suppose that past the two base orders (69 diesels already delivered and 91 firm CNGs), Pace can decide which options it wants to exercise from either contract. ElDorado builds either.

I made the statement about the same manufacturer only because you said "if South CNG's manufacturer has an express model." South's CNG manufacturer is the diesel manufacturer.

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So South is still getting the other CNG's, and this 250 bus order will be all CNG's as well. (so your saying 300 something CNG's are awarded and pending delivery, am I correct) Or is the other order, I believe for NABI CNG's, dead? Well that would basically make most of the nearby suburban areas environmentally friendly. I would think all the local garages would then be converted to CNG and half of Pace's fleet will be running on alternative fuels. That may help explain why River division got the last Axess diesels because that garage will not be CNG or any far off garages like Heritage or Aurora. Most likely they can send the West ones to those garages if need be, but they might still make North CNG, because 70 buses is not that much. Eventually all garages will most likely be CNG capable in the end.

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So South is still getting the other CNG's, and this 250 bus order will be all CNG's as well. (so your saying 300 something CNG's are awarded and pending delivery, am I correct) Or is the other order, I believe for NABI CNG's, dead? Well that would basically make most of the nearby suburban areas environmentally friendly. I would think all the local garages would then be converted to CNG and half of Pace's fleet will be running on alternative fuels. That may help explain why River division got the last Axess diesels because that garage will not be CNG or any far off garages like Heritage or Aurora. Most likely they can send the West ones to those garages if need be, but they might still make North CNG, because 70 buses is not that much. Eventually all garages will most likely be CNG capable in the end.

Actually the reason why River got the Suburban Axesseses was because of the I-90 project and Route 610.

As for the rest, it depends on how soon Northwest and South gets their garages with CNG capabilities. Then the moves will occur. Seems to be that there are still a shortage of buses, and this order should get them back to speed.

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So South is still getting the other CNG's, and this 250 bus order will be all CNG's as well. (so your saying 300 something CNG's are awarded and pending delivery, am I correct) Or is the other order, I believe for NABI CNG's, dead? Well that would basically make most of the nearby suburban areas environmentally friendly. I would think all the local garages would then be converted to CNG and half of Pace's fleet will be running on alternative fuels. That may help explain why River division got the last Axess diesels because that garage will not be CNG or any far off garages like Heritage or Aurora. Most likely they can send the West ones to those garages if need be, but they might still make North CNG, because 70 buses is not that much. Eventually all garages will most likely be CNG capable in the end.

I don't know how you got this confused. :angry::P

  • This contract is for 91 CNGs firm to restock South, with deliveries to start in June 2014, in line with other projects to convert South to CNG. For instance, the awards page includes an award for "Architectural/Engineering Services for Pace South Division Bus Garage Improvements including a CNG/Alternative Fueling System." Various minutes indicate that those two projects are interrelated.
  • After the firm order, there are 159 options in this contract for CNG buses, which I suppose Pace can exercise as it sees fit.
  • There wasn't any order for NABI CNGs. That only came up because (1) NABI and New Flyer made sales presentations to Pace, including NABI's dealing with CNG to the Pace Board, and (2) the joint application with the Tollway Authority for a grant for HOV lanes for the Tri-State Tollway said that Pace would use buses from the Los Angeles contract, but that grant was never awarded, and NABI got out of the Compobus business. The only thing that can be said is that those presentations paved the way for Pace to issue this competitive solicitation for bids, which ElDorado National won.
  • As I mentioned before, it isn't clear what the options are for, such as to convert another division. Maybe {note I said maybe} the rebuilding of Northwest Garage might be for CNG. But I also stated that it appears that Pace has to order buses for it to start replacing the Orion VIs, and the only logical candidate given the apparent time frame is the approximately 87 diesel buses that were in the 2012 budget above the 69 already delivered. Any CNG option buses wouldn't be seen until late 2015.

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Ok I understand, the only thing that is unclear to me is that first they have the up to 416 contract, now they have this. So this would seem to be part of the same contract, they just never specified that there would be so many CNG's. I didn't know Eldorado National made CNG Axess', with it being a new model, wouldn't this be the first model like this. if so, it sounds a little risky.

So if they receive the 250 buses, I would think that would still require at least a third CNG garage unless they are going 100 percent CNG at South and "maybe" NW. :) I don't believe they will go 100 percent anywhere because those buses have not been proven here, at least the CNG model.

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Ok I understand, the only thing that is unclear to me is that first they have the up to 416 contract, now they have this. So this would seem to be part of the same contract, they just never specified that there would be so many CNG's. I didn't know Eldorado National made CNG Axess', with it being a new model, wouldn't this be the first model like this. if so, it sounds a little risky.

So if they receive the 250 buses, I would think that would still require at least a third CNG garage unless they are going 100 percent CNG at South and "maybe" NW. :) I don't believe they will go 100 percent anywhere because those buses have not been proven here, at least the CNG model.

No they are not the same contract, they are two different contracts.

It isn't any different than CTA having one contract to buy 40 foot New Flyer buses and another contract to lease 60 foot New Flyer buses. Or now CTA having the potential to issue 3 contracts for respectively 40 foot, 60 foot, and 60 foot hybrid buses at approximately the same time (only one of which has been issued at this moment).

What may be confusing you is the concept of options. Pace is only obligated to take 69 buses under the diesel contract and 91 buses under the CNG contract. Whether it takes any of the 347 diesel buses by about 2016 or the 159 CNG buses by 2018 [depending on the contract date] is solely its choice. It could take all or none. As noted on the two CTA DE60LF and DE60LFR deals, CTA assumed options from King County. Similarly, I noted (in a sarcastic post) that New Flyer announced that King County had awarded a trolley bus contract with "firm order for 196 EUs and options for up to 514 EUs" with "A quantity of 240 options for 40’ Xcelsior™ electric-trolley buses and 93 options for 60’ Xcelsior™ electric-trolley buses are intended to be exercised by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“SFMTA” or “MUNI”) who were actively involved in the procurement." So, King County is more than willing to lock up more options than it needs, and then sell those optiions to others.

So long as Pace takes the base order,* it can decide to take no more, but whatever it orders ElDorado National must sell at the prices set in the contract. Those prices are established for the next five years.** Thus, Pace theoretically could say "we have the 91 buses, but now think we can get a better deal, so that's it and we'll rebid." Pace could, but since they got really good deals, won't.

What I said above is the more likely scenario is that Pace could say "we don't need 506 buses, but as certain routes develop, we need 425. Let's see, we need 70 buses in 2015, do we take some mix of diesels at $410,000 or CNGs at $485,000?"**

The other thing that may confuse you is that with regard to the 1000 series of buses and 5000 series of train cars, CTA announced at some point to the effect "we have to exercise the remaining options now, because otherwise the price if we have to rebid will be too high (train cars), or the price with inflation escalator will be too high (buses)." CTA didn't have to do that. In fact, CTA had options for up to 125 Optimas, and they certainly didn't exercise that.

As far as whether Pace is taking a chance, the Internet shows examples of CNG EZ Rider IIs, and Pace now has 296 of various ElDorado National buses, so they must be comfortable with the deal.

__________

*Compare this to the CTA requisition for 900 DE60LFs, where there apparently was never a notice to proceed, including for the 140 base order, so NF goofed when it started production, and could only peddle shells, as a final contract was never made.

** These two contracts are structured in the form of Base Order $______, Year One Options $_____, Year Two Options $____, ....Year 5 Options $____. I assumed the average price from the "not to exceed" total in the minutes, but also figure that each year it will go up a bit. Some CTA orders are based on a price index, while the proposal for the 7000s is in this form (but in terms of days). The 7000s proposal points out that CTA can skip a year without losing the subsequent options.

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I already know most of what you just told me, I was just confused as to whether they were seperate contracts or not. Now I know, Pace could take 91 CNG's and the 69 diesels and stop purchasing.

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Now I'll throw out a real speculative piece of bus chess. While we don't know the implications of 6323 being at NW (back on 270 today), I can foresee a scenario under which NW could become a predominantly NABI operation with transfers from South and West to North, and then a mostly CNG facility when rebuilt. That, however, would depend on whether the timing of 40 buses a year would be sufficient, or whether ElDorado National would agree to move it up (which I'm sure it would, as NF did with options 3 and 4 for CTA).

It would take 3 or 4 years to prove me right, and probably less than that to prove me wrong.

Stay tuned.

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I already know most of what you just told me, I was just confused as to whether they were seperate contracts or not. Now I know, Pace could take 91 CNG's and the 69 diesels and stop purchasing.

It just came to me that the original invitation for bids for the diesel buses was "a minimum quantity of 9 ... and will not exceed the maximum amount of 416."

So, technically speaking, 60 of the buses that were just delivered were options. So, I have to stand corrected on that point.

As far as pricing went, Year One was for up to 65 buses and Year Two for 95.

The similar minimum and maximum amounts on the IFB for the CNGs were 91 and 250, so I was correct there.

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Now I'll throw out a real speculative piece of bus chess. While we don't know the implications of 6323 being at NW (back on 270 today), I can foresee a scenario under which NW could become a predominantly NABI operation with transfers from South and West to North, and then a mostly CNG facility when rebuilt. That, however, would depend on whether the timing of 40 buses a year would be sufficient, or whether ElDorado National would agree to move it up (which I'm sure it would, as NF did with options 3 and 4 for CTA).

It would take 3 or 4 years to prove me right, and probably less than that to prove me wrong.

Stay tuned.

I don't see that happening. 6323 was at NW to test the handicapped restraint system or (something to that effect) Metroshadow, I believe told us that. Why it was done at NW and not at W tells me there's more to the story. NW will be getting Axess' it's just a matter of when or what version. As far as NABI's, I don't think Pace will go through the training of operators for a bus that will be gone in two to three years. Even though S may get Axess CNG's, it doesn't obligate NW to retire it's own Orions VI's in favor of newer buses. Pace will probably just swap out other Orions like from west and retire the worse off Orions from NW. That's an easy 40 buses and will buy them time. The NABI's will go to west. Then they might just hang on to the other Orions at NW or swap out a few Axess' from West to NW. If they can stack the options close together they could probably just float the extra 50 buses that's left and leave the West Axess' where they are now. Anyway that's what I would do.

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... Anyway that's what I would do.

As I noted it was wild speculation on my part, but otherwise I don't see what they will do with South's current fleet, in that it won't be eligible for retirement until 2015. It would have been a different story if the replacements were to replace the NABIs acquired in 1999, but they are gone, and Northwest has the oldest buses.

The alternative is that the 87 budgeted but not yet delivered or mentioned Axess diesels replace the 2000 Orion Is in place (which would clear out W but not NW or SW), but still the S NABIs would have to go somewhere between late 2014 and either 2015 (white ones) or 2017 (blue ones). In the meantime, there would still be 60 or so Orion Is to be replaced before any NABIs (although not 6156-6161).

As you note, maybe the blue NABIs or not so old white ones go back to West.

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If it really comes down to training operators with NABI's they could always train the Sw operators. It probably would make sense and you could then retire what's left of the Orion series out of NW. That would at least make more sense than to train hundreds of operators out of NW.

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If it really comes down to training operators with NABI's they could always train the Sw operators. It probably would make sense and you could then retire what's left of the Orion series out of NW. That would at least make more sense than to train hundreds of operators out of NW.

Again, I'm only wildly speculating, but theoretically SW (minus the EZ riders) could be converted to CNG with about one year's worth of options.

But, sort of like the anti Judy Barr Topinka commercials, I'm not sure what their thinking. :D

  • Upvote 1

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Here is my wild guess:

If Pace gets 87 diesels for the next option, approx. 12 will go for express for 600 and 610 service. The remaining 75 go to NW, with the first 40 retiring the oldest Orions there. Then starting with 6114 (?), those buses go to West to retire nearly 30 of their Orions. If they so chose, then five NW Orions in the upper 6100s could go to SW to replace the lowest numbered Orions at SW.

When Pace South starts getting deliveries of CNGs in late 2014, I see NABI's shifting back to West, with the best remaining Orions there shifting to SW to retire oldest and worst Orions at SW. Once all of the Orions are gone from West, we can start looking toward the retirement of the 2003 NABIs starting with the 6600s.

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Here is my wild guess:

If Pace gets 87 diesels for the next option, approx. 12 will go for express for 600 and 610 service. The remaining 75 go to NW, with the first 40 retiring the oldest Orions there. Then starting with 6114 (?), those buses go to West to retire nearly 30 of their Orions. If they so chose, then five NW Orions in the upper 6100s could go to SW to replace the lowest numbered Orions at SW.

When Pace South starts getting deliveries of CNGs in late 2014, I see NABI's shifting back to West, with the best remaining Orions there shifting to SW to retire oldest and worst Orions at SW. Once all of the Orions are gone from West, we can start looking toward the retirement of the 2003 NABIs starting with the 6600s.

Just ruminating:

  • In that buses seem (in recent history) to be assigned in blocks and do not directly replace anything, I would not slant bets in this direction. West didn't have buses to replace this time; S, N, and NS did, but 6324-6376 wasn't scattered among any of them.
  • While this time resulted in scattering of NABIs all over the place, they at least had a 3 to 5 year FTA service life left (and those scattered were at least 200 buses away from the scrapper). Scattering Orion VIs simply for about another 6 months (as a matter of policy, as opposed to replacing the occasional wreck) would be a waste.
  • There is, of course, the obvious question that NW and SW have remained NABI free, while garages other than W have remained Orion VI free (S since 2003). Up to now, W is too big to have only one type of big bus, but it does raise the question of why. Maintenance is sometimes mentioned, but BusHunter may have something on training.
  • On the training issue, nobody here said when River staffed up and got training, but, on the other hand, nobody knew where 6386-6391 were for about 2 months, either.

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NABI

Just ruminating:

  • In that buses seem (in recent history) to be assigned in blocks and do not directly replace anything, I would not slant bets in this direction. West didn't have buses to replace this time; S, N, and NS did, but 6324-6376 wasn't scattered among any of them.
  • While this time resulted in scattering of NABIs all over the place, they at least had a 3 to 5 year FTA service life left (and those scattered were at least 200 buses away from the scrapper). Scattering Orion VIs simply for about another 6 months (as a matter of policy, as opposed to replacing the occasional wreck) would be a waste.
  • There is, of course, the obvious question that NW and SW have remained NABI free, while garages other than W have remained Orion VI free (S since 2003). Up to now, W is too big to have only one type of big bus, but it does raise the question of why. Maintenance is sometimes mentioned, but BusHunter may have something on training.
  • On the training issue, nobody here said when River staffed up and got training, but, on the other hand, nobody knew where 6386-6391 were for about 2 months, either.

West Axxess buses "replaced" blue NABI buses which went to S to replace 1999 NABIs there.

Considering the oldest Orion VIs are eligible for retirement now, replacement has to be part of the equation. I understand that the Orions were delivered over a three year period (2001 - 2003) so that 6155 - 6161 are nearly as new as 6162, but all of those become retirement eligible upon the delivery of the CNG buses.

Pace SW has been nearly exclusively Orion VI for a while and it certainly wouldn't make much sense to send NABIs there (especially the white ones when they are close to retiring also). They (SW) would more likely be eligible for a new batch of Axxess buses. The question would be whether they would become a CNG garage or remain diesel.

I guess we won't know for sure until Pace starts execersing options.

I wonder if CTA would ever entertain the idea of having one of Pace's options assigned to them?

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NABI

West Axxess buses "replaced" blue NABI buses which went to S to replace 1999 NABIs there.

...

Also white buses that went to NS (roughly 6231, 6233-5) and N (roughly 6221, 6223-30, 6236, 6237), as well as some 6600s. The lowest number white NABI W has is 6241, and that row is basically intact only through 6249 (may be one or two more).

...

I wonder if CTA would ever entertain the idea of having one of Pace's options assigned to them?

Not until CTA is abolished. CTA has already stated its intent through when the 1000s would be eligible for replacement (i.e. through the contract for 300-450 Novas and the outstanding procurement for 50-150 articulated buses).

Besides, comparing the Pace Axess and CTA Nova deals, apparently there is something in the CTA specs that keeps companies like ElDorado National from bidding, and the Novas about $80K more each than the comparable Axess buses.

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This was recently discussed elsewhere, but today"s Moving Forward says "In 2014, Pace will continue its work to convert its South Division facility in Markham to operate compressed natural gas (CNG) buses by 2015." If this means initial operation, it has been delayed by 7 months.

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I wonder if the 2003 Nabis will begin the retirement process at South because of this? 2015 will make them 12 years old and some of them look weary already.

To get this back to where it belongs.

  • We don't know how many Axess buses are in the current order, but 6000-6155 of the Orion VIs are older than the NABIs, and thus should be replaced first.
  • South got a number of blue NABIs from West when West got the Axess buses, so if in fact Pace will be ordering 91 CNG buses as indicated in the solicitation, those won't be eligible for replacement until 2017.

On the we don't know part, if one assumes that the current order of Axess buses corresponds to the 2012 budget as amended, it would only replace the 2000 Orion VIs (roughly through 6087), still leaving the 2001-2002 ones (6088-6155) eligible for replacement at the time the CNGs show up, even though the indication from Moving Forward, which I noted in the above post, is that they will start showing up 7 months late.

Of course, based on what I just sent another member, I have to say that I am not Melinda Metzger.

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One thing of interest in the Feb. Minutes:

Director Marcucci moved, and Director Shepley seconded a motion to approve Ordinance SBD #14-08 requesting authority to purchase approximately 20.7 acres of real property (750-800 East Northwest Highway, Des Plaines, Illinois) for use as the new Pace Northwest Division garage.

I sort of had that feeling, after that land was cleared a couple of years ago.

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Whatever the time frame is on the NW garage, I'm suspecting 2015. They could probably go with a dual order of CNG's one for South and one for NW. Sounds like they may be completed together. One might wonder how many new diesels they would want to put into a future CNG garage? But NW has alot of buses to replace.

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