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Is it just me... [Or: a discussion on bus design]

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17 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Would this be applicable to a regular highway motorcoach like a greyhound or trailways bus? I dont see how they are really accessible now without a traditional stair lift ramp. This could change the motorcoach industry, its that huge like nf started the low floor buses that changed the transit bus industry. 

How do Metra ramps work. I wonder if this same scenario wouldn't be applicable in a heavy rail transit vehicle. Stair lifts are old and unreliable. 

The commuter coaches are highway buses tailored for commuter service.  One of the main features is a more transit type doorway.  Generally these buses aren't  equipped with lavatories though they can come as an option.  ADA law required TAs to provide  accessible  buses. So motorcoach builders  incorporated a lift further into the coach since their design  really wasn't  conducive to a stairway lift.  MCI and Prevost lifts were built in the center of the coach while VanHool put theirs near the lavatory at the rear of the coach

Most of commuter type services are operated by motorcoach companies with many being under contract with a TA or some govt agency.   Unless a contract specifies exclusivity, most operators  will try to use those coaches (if they own them) for revenue charter  service when not operating the  contract service.  However more TAs are operating  commuter services themselves and MCIs new coach is a direct response to Prevost's entry into the commuter market as well as Eldoeado's Axxess Express buses.  Perhaps now that New Flyer owns  MCI, NF might add a transit bus option to compete with Eldorado.

Like I stated earlier, the new MCI D commuter coach could be more than just a  Monday through  Friday bus for Pace should they opt to get some.  They would be great for Cubs and Bears and White Sox Express service.

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8 hours ago, artthouwill said:

as well as Eldoeado's Axxess Express buses.  Perhaps now that New Flyer owns  MCI, NF might add a transit bus option to compete with Eldorado

There is nothing new about a "suburban" bus. GM had T and S series (TD8 and SD8, for instance) back to Old Look days; Hammond (Shore Line) used them for charter and Loop work. When I was in Rochester, NY, they used them consistently for Park and Ride service, including GM New Looks, MAN artics (supposedly unique), Gillig Phantoms, and Orion V CNGs. In effect, Pace Nova Classics were suburbans, except they had rear doors.

Clearly what was the trend in Pace territory was that the contractors used their own motor coaches, whether the rather crummy ones on 626 (when operated by Keeshin-O'Hare until 2120s were put on that route), to various ones on 855.

But since the Xcelsior is claimed to be good for anything, I'm sure it is no big deal to take out the rear door and add high back seats and overhead racks.   

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12 hours ago, Busjack said:

There is nothing new about a "suburban" bus. GM had T and S series (TD8 and SD8, for instance) back to Old Look days; Hammond (Shore Line) used them for charter and Loop work. When I was in Rochester, NY, they used them consistently for Park and Ride service, including GM New Looks, MAN artics (supposedly unique), Gillig Phantoms, and Orion V CNGs. In effect, Pace Nova Classics were suburbans, except they had rear doors.

Clearly what was the trend in Pace territory was that the contractors used their own motor coaches, whether the rather crummy ones on 626 (when operated by Keeshin-O'Hare until 2120s were put on that route), to various ones on 855.

But since the Xcelsior is claimed to be good for anything, I'm sure it is no big deal to take out the rear door and add high back seats and overhead racks.   

Clearly Suburbans aren't new.  The older ones you mentioned  were transit buses with no rear doors.  Nowadays the Suburbans are coming with more coachlike seats and interiors.  TAs could still use them in traditional transit service if need be more so than a motorcoach.  Motorcoach operators can reuse their commuter coaches in local charter ops to maximize revenue.  This goes to a point someone made a while back whether Pace should buy motorcoaches or Axxess buses in the future.

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1 hour ago, artthouwill said:

 Nowadays the Suburbans are coming with more coachlike seats and interiors.

No, as I mentioned, at least the more recent ones (such as in Rochester) had high back seats and overhead racks.

The only thing that seems more recent is that they could put overhead racks into a bus with rectangular windows, as the New Look transits had the green or amber horizontal windows that were not on the suburbans. Low floor suburbans are also a newer development, but reportedly Rochester also had them (see this picture of a suburban NABI; it's a suburban because the site says so, and also doesn't have a rear door and the wedge window is way to the front; it must be on a garage trip, as it has a local headsign but a suburban what we would call run number). That site also lists a similar series of Gillig suburban low floors.

The main determinant for Pace seems whether the route is long enough that it justifies a bus fitting of a $4.50 fare.

 

 

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1 hour ago, artthouwill said:

Clearly Suburbans aren't new.  The older ones you mentioned  were transit buses with no rear doors.  Nowadays the Suburbans are coming with more coachlike seats and interiors.  TAs could still use them in traditional transit service if need be more so than a motorcoach.  Motorcoach operators can reuse their commuter coaches in local charter ops to maximize revenue.  This goes to a point someone made a while back whether Pace should buy motorcoaches or Axxess buses in the future.

A 'suburban" in the 1960's was more than just a single-door transit. Normally included high-back seats (sometimes relining, sometimes not, but usually with legrests) mounted an slightly elevated platforms on either side of the aisle (about 6 inches usually) and luggage racks with individual reading lights.. Basically a highway coach interior without the expense of a highway coach. Most common on the east coast, especially for running into Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. Not too many suburbans were built after about 1987, though Cobb County Georgia did have RTS's with full coach interiors, and of course PACE had the Classics.

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3 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Clearly Suburbans aren't new.  The older ones you mentioned  were transit buses with no rear doors.  Nowadays the Suburbans are coming with more coachlike seats and interiors.  TAs could still use them in traditional transit service if need be more so than a motorcoach.  Motorcoach operators can reuse their commuter coaches in local charter ops to maximize revenue.  This goes to a point someone made a while back whether Pace should buy motorcoaches or Axxess buses in the future.

If they have a stair lift i'd probably shy away from a purchase. This ramp idea is a good marketing tool. It's going to get mci more sales. That's why I say it's a game changer. The question everyone needs to ask is what is in a highway eldo, for example, versus a motorcoach and what are costs in comparison?

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47 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

If they have a stair lift i'd probably shy away from a purchase. This ramp idea is a good marketing tool. It's going to get mci more sales. That's why I say it's a game changer. The question everyone needs to ask is what is in a highway eldo, for example, versus a motorcoach and what are costs in comparison?

I think that was a primary reason MCI designed the low center on the new D commuter coach.  Ramps are less expensive to maintain vs lifts and it is also easier to get a person off a bus using the ramp manually than a person off the bus with a malfunctioning lift.

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3 hours ago, Busjack said:

No, as I mentioned, at least the more recent ones (such as in Rochester) had high back seats and overhead racks.

The only thing that seems more recent is that they could put overhead racks into a bus with rectangular windows, as the New Look transits had the green or amber horizontal windows that were not on the suburbans. Low floor suburbans are also a newer development, but reportedly Rochester also had them (see this picture of a suburban NABI; it's a suburban because the site says so, and also doesn't have a rear door and the wedge window is way to the front; it must be on a garage trip, as it has a local headsign but a suburban what we would call run number). That site also lists a similar series of Gillig suburban low floors.

The main determinant for Pace seems whether the route is long enough that it justifies a bus fitting of a $4.50 fare.

 

 

Do you realize you are growing with me?  Overhead racks are a COACH amenity.   High seatbacks are a COACH amenity.  Reclining seats and footrests are COACH amenities.  Power outlets at every seat are COACH amenities that apparently are coming to transit suburbans. 

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20 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Do you realize you are growing with me?  Overhead racks are a COACH amenity.   High seatbacks are a COACH amenity.  Reclining seats and footrests are COACH amenities.  Power outlets at every seat are COACH amenities that apparently are coming to transit suburbans. 

The coach amenities were always suburban amenities to one degree or another. Maybe by living in Chicago (for instance, South Suburban Safeway ran transits into the Loop), you weren't aware of them. But as I noted, Shore Line ran suburbans in charter service. It did not run motor coaches. Nor did it run its 35 ft. transits in charter service.

See, for instance, this for an example of a GM suburban. An image of the Rochester one to which I referred is here.

The only new thing  is that the Pace spec I cited under New Eldorados said USB ports at all seats on all buses.

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3 hours ago, Busjack said:

The coach amenities were always suburban amenities to one degree or another. Maybe by living in Chicago (for instance, South Suburban Safeway ran transits into the Loop), you weren't aware of them. But as I noted, Shore Line ran suburbans in charter service. It did not run motor coaches. Nor did it run its 35 ft. transits in charter service.

See, for instance, this for an example of a GM suburban. An image of the Rochester one to which I referred is here.

The only new thing  is that the Pace spec I cited under New Eldorados said USB ports at all seats on all buses.

I 've seen  those before.  Your Shore Line example brings up why motorcoach companies complaining about govt funded  TAs competing in charter work

Cities like Houston, L.A., and Broward county  are using commuter coaches. Even though Pace is  running  them also, there were at least 2 Axxess suburbans running on routes 850 and/or 851 on a daily basis. Some currently on 877 and 888 for now. 

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7 hours ago, artthouwill said:

 Your Shore Line example brings up why motorcoach companies complaining about govt funded  TAs competing in charter work

At the time, Greyhound didn't want that business (I remember a youth group trying to get a Hound for a week in South Bend, but had to use the aforementioned Shore Line bus). The charter protection seems more for companies like Mid America or Aries.However, Coach USA is now in both businesses.Of course, at that time, the transit bus companies owned their own equipment.

7 hours ago, artthouwill said:

there were at least 2 Axxess suburbans running on routes 850 and/or 851

Those are on 856 Toyota Park out of SW (6386-6388). But those passengers still pay $4.50.

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Searching the web and I have yet to find any operator who is using or has purchased the MCI 4500 CRT LE coach.  I can't  find any operators with current multiyear contracts with MCI for D4500 Commuter Coaches that have altered their contracts  to purchase the newer model.  I am checking to see if any companies have any CRT LE buses as demonstrators.

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6 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

Searching the web and I have yet to find any operator who is using or has purchased the MCI 4500 CRT E coach.  I can't  find any operators with current multiyear contracts with MCI for D4500 Commuter Coaches that have altered their contracts  to purchase the newer model.  I am checking to see if any companies have any CRT E buses as demonstrators.

Considering it was just unveiled a couple of months ago (Oct 2017), that isn't surprising. As was noted earlier, it was somewhat surprising that MCI got a demonstrator the approximately 5 miles from its headquarters to Pace headquarters.

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Just now, Busjack said:

Considering it was just unveiled a couple of months ago, that isn't surprising. As was noted earlier, it was somewhat surprising that MCI got a demonstrator the approximately 5 miles from its headquarters to Pace headquarters.

Actually NYMTA had a demonstrator.  I found a video on YouTube posted June 18th.

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10 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

Actually NYMTA had a demonstrator.  I found a video on YouTube posted June 18th.

Which, since you brought up existing contracts with MCI, NYMTA may be too tied up with Prevost Car.

Only options MCI announced being exercised recently are CT, NJ, and Broward County.

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On 6/30/2018 at 9:59 AM, artthouwill said:

Searching the web and I have yet to find any operator who is using or has purchased the MCI 4500 CRT LE coach.  I can't  find any operators with current multiyear contracts with MCI for D4500 Commuter Coaches that have altered their contracts  to purchase the newer model.  I am checking to see if any companies have any CRT LE buses as demonstrators.

I helped my colleagues at AC Transit with their demonstrators in Late December. They may look into these to help replace the 6000 series (and add onto the Double Deckers). The suburban Gilligs are fine for some express trips (loads less than 40) and local trips, but for the larger crowds the CRT may do it  

Outside of lift capabilities, my biggest complaint was the headsign. 

Case in point 1

Case in point 2

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3 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

I helped my colleagues at AC Transit with their demonstrators in Late December. They may look into these to help replace the 6000 series (and add onto the Double Deckers). The suburban Gilligs are fine for some express trips (loads less than 40) and local trips, but for the larger crowds the CRT may do it  

Outside of lift capabilities, my biggest complaint was the headsign. 

Case in point 1

Case in point 2

Funny you mention the heading as that was a complaint with NYMTA as well.  I wonder if they have options for right windshield destination signs.

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7 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

I helped my colleagues at AC Transit with their demonstrators in Late December.

Was this a wrapped bus?

7 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

Outside of lift capabilities, my biggest complaint was the headsign. 

Looks like a standard Luminator sign.Problem is that if it isn't the size of one on an Orion VI, 2 lines don't work, and Pace gave up on 2 line readings. Maybe worse here because the bus is taller.

4 hours ago, artthouwill said:

 I wonder if they have options for right windshield destination signs.

Not if it is a commuter. Also there would probably the problem that were on Mid Americas on route 855 that they would have to scroll the sign horizontally.

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15 hours ago, Busjack said:

Was this a wrapped bus?

Looks like a standard Luminator sign.Problem is that if it isn't the size of one on an Orion VI, 2 lines don't work, and Pace gave up on 2 line readings. Maybe worse here because the bus is taller.

Not if it is a commuter. Also there would probably the problem that were on Mid Americas on route 855 that they would have to scroll the sign horizontally.

I want to say that it was wrapped. 

The one thing with ACT was that the newer models started going with Hanover. Perhaps this could change a thing or two moving forward, but I made it clear that ADA won’t know the route if needed

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7 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

I want to say that it was wrapped. 

The one thing with ACT was that the newer models started going with Hanover.

The reason I brought up both is that since you said this was a demonstrator, one assumes that it came as MCI built it, including the paint and the destination sign. If AC Transit bought it, then one would assume that those were to its specs.

8 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

but I made it clear that ADA won’t know the route if needed

I don't follow you here.

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1 hour ago, artthouwill said:

According to www.mcicoach.com  Southwest Transit of Eden Prairie, MN is the first company to order the new MCI CRT LE coaches.

Huh, not NYC/NYSDOT? Guess the writing was on the wall when they ordered X3-45s for the new HudsonLink service

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1 hour ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

Huh, not NYC/NYSDOT? Guess the writing was on the wall when they ordered X3-45s for the new HudsonLink service

I think NYSDOT ordered those buses last year (2017).  NYMTA and Prevost already have a proven track record.   Prevost X3s are also used by Greyhound and Bolt Bus. As noted earlier in the thread, NYMTA did demo the MCI CRT .

 

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4 hours ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

Huh, not NYC/NYSDOT? Guess the writing was on the wall when they ordered X3-45s for the new HudsonLink service

A  subsequent press release says they have 83 ordered with deliveries scheduled in 2019. Banff gets 4, so you can guess where the other 77 are going.

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