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Anthony Devera

What to Do With Surplus Artics

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I had been looking through the "More Bus Moves" topic, and there was a discussion about what to do about the surplus of articulated buses. CTA tried them on several local routes but saw that reliability got worse. I do not completely understand why artics work on some local routes, such as the 22 and 151, but not others, such as the 66 and 79. For a while the 4000 series DE60LF will be under rehab, so the surplus artics can fill in for those, but there should be something else to be done with the artics afterward. Below I have thought of a few possible solutions.

*This would require a garage re-assignment. Also, Ashland and Western now have TSP, and I am not sure if the artics are designed for that.

1. Continue testing the artics on other local routes and see which routes are not drastically affected. Possible routes: 8, 9*, 15, 36, 49*, 53, 124

2. Use the artics on peak-only express routes that currently do not use artics. Possible routes: 2, X9*, 28 (to Downtown), X49*, the Union/Ogilvie downtown expresses

3. Use the artics during times when the streets are less congested, such as on weekends and at night. However, during these times the ridership would probably be lower, so it would not make much sense for an articulated bus to have a load that a regular bus could easily take.

4. Use the artics on Pace routes, mainly the downtown expresses. The main problem with this is that Pace garages are not designed for artics, so Pace would have to borrow a CTA garage or upgrade its own facilities.

5. Sell all the non-hybrid artics (D60LFR)

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7 hours ago, Anthony Devera said:

I had been looking through the "More Bus Moves" topic, and there was a discussion about what to do about the surplus of articulated buses. CTA tried them on several local routes but saw that reliability got worse. I do not completely understand why artics work on some local routes, such as the 22 and 151, but not others, such as the 66 and 79. For a while the 4000 series DE60LF will be under rehab, so the surplus artics can fill in for those, but there should be something else to be done with the artics afterward. Below I have thought of a few possible solutions.

*This would require a garage re-assignment. Also, Ashland and Western now have TSP, and I am not sure if the artics are designed for that.

1. Continue testing the artics on other local routes and see which routes are not drastically affected. Possible routes: 8, 9*, 15, 36, 49*, 53, 124

2. Use the artics on peak-only express routes that currently do not use artics. Possible routes: 2, X9*, 28 (to Downtown), X49*, the Union/Ogilvie downtown expresses

3. Use the artics during times when the streets are less congested, such as on weekends and at night. However, during these times the ridership would probably be lower, so it would not make much sense for an articulated bus to have a load that a regular bus could easily take.

4. Use the artics on Pace routes, mainly the downtown expresses. The main problem with this is that Pace garages are not designed for artics, so Pace would have to borrow a CTA garage or upgrade its own facilities.

5. Sell all the non-hybrid artics (D60LFR)

Will try to respond in order.

1.  It's been previously discussed that the 9,X9, 49,and X49 do very well with the 40' busses  and do not need attics.  The 8 and 36 will encounter the same problems the 66 and 79 did. The ridership on the 15, 53, and 124 do not warrant artics.

2. The 2 and 28 don't  have aric worthy ridership.

3. You see this doesn't work. 

4.  CTA doesn't  runPace service.  If Pace needed attics, they would've  ordered some.

5. I dont know  if CTA can sell them and who would be in the market for 67 used artics though that has happened before.

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I previously advocated 5, but as @artthouwill and @andrethebusman  indicated, probably not much of a market. On the first 150, CTA would have to pay off leases. One could say to a third world country (like the trolley buses went to Mexico), but most of the rest of the world has much better bus manufacturing facilities than the U.S. does.

I still don't see the reason why posters here continually think that Pace wants to use CTA mistakes. The only downtown express routes Pace still has are on I-55 and it uses motor coaches, and if Pace wanted a bigger vehicle there, it would exercise its options under the existing contract for 45' motor coaches,including possibly the ones with the low floor vestibules MCI recently demonstrated to the Pace board. The only Pace route for which anyone here (including a Pace driver) has argued is 352, but it seems like Pace is operating the CNGs successfully.

Adding TSP is not such a big issue as that they 74th garage can't handle artics, and was not part of the lift upgrade. FG got the lift upgrade, but in the same positions as the preexisting lifts, so it can't handle them either.

I'll leave it to @jajuan and Art whether 40 ft. buses operate adequately on the routes they mentioned. I'm not sure artics work any better on 22 and 151, or that it is just that NP and K got stuck with them. I was surprised that NP got most of the diesel ones. Considering how narrow Clark St. is on most of its length and the odd intersections, I don't see how they (or any bus) actually works well.

Downtown shuttles may be an idea during peak periods, but given that the Loop Link platforms already accept J14s, one would have to ask whether they could take additional 124s, which are supposed to go electric, anyway. 120-121 used to be artic., but I don't think are now.

IMO, the only way to use the artics is if CDOT instituted essentially what Pace calls ART, definitely with defined stations every 1/4 to 1/2 mile with big enough loading zones to take care of the passenger load, and maybe even dedicated bus lanes. Besides the construction cost, the city would have to pay off the parking meter concessionaire for the loss of metered parking spaces. Emanuel tried to renegotiate the parking meter contract once and hasn't said he has the appetite to do it again. He apparently doesn't see the political capital in trying to do another Loop Link type project.

 

Maybe the solution is that CTA should get the message: You wasted state capital money on the Optimas, NABIs, and 4333 series artics. Don't do it again, especially while crying about the lack of a state capital program.

 

 

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3 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Will try to respond in order.

1.  It's been previously discussed that the 9,X9, 49,and X49 do very well with the 40' busses  and do not need attics.  The 8 and 36 will encounter the same problems the 66 and 79 did. The ridership on the 15, 53, and 124 do not warrant artics.

2. The 2 and 28 don't  have aric worthy ridership.

3. You see this doesn't work. 

4.  CTA doesn't  runPace service.  If Pace needed attics, they would've  ordered some.

5. I dont know  if CTA can sell them and who would be in the market for 67 used artics though that has happened before.

1. the 2 (via 60th street) is artic ridership worthy when ever i see a 2 its always completely packed however the 2 goes on 60th street which is very narrow so the buses might have a hard time navagating through there and passing eachother so the best option would be to send SB 2's west on 59th street

2. i'm not quite sure what the problem was with artics of the 66 and 79 so this analysis might be a bit poor but anyways these routes might do good with artics 2*,3*,4*,20*,52*,72*,74,76*,77,78*,80*,82,91,(135*,136* in the afternoon),(143*,148* In the morning)

*peak period or weekday only

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5 minutes ago, XE NewFlyer said:

If Pace needed attics, they would've  ordered some.

The 290 in rush hour could use artics.  It's always standing room only leaving Howard westbound in the PM rush & the same EB in the morning east of McCormick.

I'm sure there are a few other routes that have the same problems, but I doubt they would buy even a dozen artics to solve this problem.  After all, wasn't it Charles Yerkes who said that it was the standees on the streetcars who made him money?

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1 hour ago, strictures said:

but I doubt they would buy even a dozen artics to solve this problem. 

An indefinite antecedent. CTA isn't buying, and again I can't figure out the theory that Pace should pay for CTA's mistakes.

Also, despite any standees, the CTA standard for using an articulated bus is that there has to be more than 80 passengers per bus. A 40 ft bus would have to be packed to the extent that it is bypassing stops. Considering that the seated capacity of a current 40 foot bus is 37 or 38 and the rated capacity is about 80,* the TAs are using the Yerkes theory and certainly are not guaranteeing a seat on a local run.In the old days, Pace couldn't guarantee a seat on 355; now that bus doesn't even run downtown.

One also has to consider that CTA used to run 96 on both Lunt and Touhy, and determined a long time ago that it didn't want the business and let the preexisting 290 handle it. The current coordination project didn't change that (or anything else in Rogers Park).

__________

*See here for Xcelsior.

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5 hours ago, XE NewFlyer said:

i'm not quite sure what the problem was with artics of the 66 and 79

Essentially that the dwell time at stops was so long that they couldn't meet schedules.

Also, as I noted immediately above, the issue isn't standees, but whether the average load is over 80 per bus, and, of course, the other problem that C is the only garage with capacity that can service them.

Edit: Add 77th per Art below.

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2 hours ago, XE NewFlyer said:

1. the 2 (via 60th street) is artic ridership worthy when ever i see a 2 its always completely packed however the 2 goes on 60th street which is very narrow so the buses might have a hard time navagating through there and passing eachother so the best option would be to send SB 2's west on 59th street

2. i'm not quite sure what the problem was with artics of the 66 and 79 so this analysis might be a bit poor but anyways these routes might do good with artics 2*,3*,4*,20*,52*,72*,74,76*,77,78*,80*,82,91,(135*,136* in the afternoon),(143*,148* In the morning)

*peak period or weekday only

Out of the 7 garages, 5 are capable of  handling artics. Of which 2 (77th and C) seemingly couldn't or didn't find suitable routes for them.  Forest Glen and 74th don't have  lifts ro handle artics. Currently   the 77 is getting some supplementary artic service during rush hour.  Those buses are coming from Kedzie garage and only cover a small portion of the route.  

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From a customer perspective, a bigger bus  means more space/better chance at a seat so articulated buses could be used on a lot more routes. Especially at night and on weekends when you have the additional capacity to enhance rider's comfort level.

7 hours ago, Busjack said:

Essentially that the dwell time at stops was so long that they couldn't meet schedules.

There's so many known ways to decrease dwell times at stops that i don't know how to digest CTA/CDOT's apparent inertia on that front.

  • Upvote 1

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16 hours ago, orionbuslover said:

From a customer perspective, a bigger bus  means more space/better chance at a seat so articulated buses could be used on a lot more routes. Especially at night and on weekends when you have the additional capacity to enhance rider's comfort level.

...

Not when they get so off schedule that they bunch and you get a bus every 40 minutes.

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On 5/27/2018 at 8:57 AM, Busjack said:

I previously advocated 5, but as @artthouwill and @andrethebusman  indicated, probably not much of a market. On the first 150, CTA would have to pay off leases. One could say to a third world country (like the trolley buses went to Mexico), but most of the rest of the world has much better bus manufacturing facilities than the U.S. does.

I still don't see the reason why posters here continually think that Pace wants to use CTA mistakes. The only downtown express routes Pace still has are on I-55 and it uses motor coaches, and if Pace wanted a bigger vehicle there, it would exercise its options under the existing contract for 45' motor coaches,including possibly the ones with the low floor vestibules MCI recently demonstrated to the Pace board. The only Pace route for which anyone here (including a Pace driver) has argued is 352, but it seems like Pace is operating the CNGs successfully.

Adding TSP is not such a big issue as that they 74th garage can't handle artics, and was not part of the lift upgrade. FG got the lift upgrade, but in the same positions as the preexisting lifts, so it can't handle them either.

I'll leave it to @jajuan and Art whether 40 ft. buses operate adequately on the routes they mentioned. I'm not sure artics work any better on 22 and 151, or that it is just that NP and K got stuck with them. I was surprised that NP got most of the diesel ones. Considering how narrow Clark St. is on most of its length and the odd intersections, I don't see how they (or any bus) actually works well.

Downtown shuttles may be an idea during peak periods, but given that the Loop Link platforms already accept J14s, one would have to ask whether they could take additional 124s, which are supposed to go electric, anyway. 120-121 used to be artic., but I don't think are now.

IMO, the only way to use the artics is if CDOT instituted essentially what Pace calls ART, definitely with defined stations every 1/4 to 1/2 mile with big enough loading zones to take care of the passenger load, and maybe even dedicated bus lanes. Besides the construction cost, the city would have to pay off the parking meter concessionaire for the loss of metered parking spaces. Emanuel tried to renegotiate the parking meter contract once and hasn't said he has the appetite to do it again. He apparently doesn't see the political capital in trying to do another Loop Link type project.

 

Maybe the solution is that CTA should get the message: You wasted state capital money on the Optimas, NABIs, and 4333 series artics. Don't do it again, especially while crying about the lack of a state capital program.

 

 

Yes as noted by myself and others a number of times, 9/X9 and 49/X49 don't need artics even if 74th could accommodate them because the return of express service on Ashland and Western brought about bus deployment changes that thinned out the ridiculous crowds that were observed at the time that the locals were doing it alone, 

On 5/27/2018 at 10:57 AM, XE NewFlyer said:

1. the 2 (via 60th street) is artic ridership worthy when ever i see a 2 its always completely packed however the 2 goes on 60th street which is very narrow so the buses might have a hard time navagating through there and passing eachother so the best option would be to send SB 2's west on 59th street

2. i'm not quite sure what the problem was with artics of the 66 and 79 so this analysis might be a bit poor but anyways these routes might do good with artics 2*,3*,4*,20*,52*,72*,74,76*,77,78*,80*,82,91,(135*,136* in the afternoon),(143*,148* In the morning)

*peak period or weekday only

Good luck with these locals mentioned because Chicago and 77th couldn't seem to make artics work on local routes and as also mentioned a number of times, FG does not have the lifts necessary to facilitate artic maintenance as needed. 135 and 136 do get artics in the PM rush. Their deployments focus more on the trips and times that 40 foot buses if used alone would be jammed to the gills by the time they reach Wacker/Columbus. As for 143 and 148, the local segments north of their respective express zones are short enough in combination with trips getting scheduled frequently enough that artics in the morning wouldn't really make much sense. 

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22 hours ago, Busjack said:

Not when they get so off schedule that they bunch and you get a bus every 40 minutes.

Well they've never tested and done a trial - like an actual business would - so who knows really?

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47 minutes ago, orionbuslover said:

Well they've never tested and done a trial - like an actual business would - so who knows really?

They were run on 79 and 66 and the Clever Devices Computer Aided Dispatch reported their on time performance, and then were substituted with 40 foot buses, so what kind of test do you want?

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1 hour ago, Busjack said:

They were run on 79 and 66 and the Clever Devices Computer Aided Dispatch reported their on time performance, and then were substituted with 40 foot buses, so what kind of test do you want?

The computer records the bus's on time performance or the operator's? Artics were running on congested, urban streets all over the world decades before CAD ever existed. That said, there MAY be a need for more time when a local route is running all artics. But, I dont think that an artic needs significant more time to complete a trip in comparison to a 40 footer. Especially at nights and on weekends when many CTA routes are running 20 minute headways and congestion is minimal.

I mentioned a trial run as a way for CTA to gauge customer satisfaction and find out what local routes - if any - can succeed with artics. I dont think the relatively small group of Chicago & 77th operators who drove artics on local routes in recent years and complained VERY LOUDLY should run the show.

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1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

The computer records the bus's on time performance or the operator's?

Whar's the difference? It shows that Run 5620 (hypothetically) reached stop 15205 12 minutes late on a consistent basis, and if that isn't a block run (same driver 5 days a week), the route is not performing to schedule.

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

 But, I dont think that an artic needs significant more time to complete a trip in comparison to a 40 footer.

The transit authority doesn't care what you think. It now has the computer and the data.

 

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

Especially at nights and on weekends when many CTA routes are running 20 minute headways and congestion is minimal.

Then do you have the passenger traffic to meet the service standard of a minimum of 80 per bus? No.

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

I mentioned a trial run as a way for CTA to gauge customer satisfaction

It isn't an issue of customer satisfaction, but how efficiently the route can be run. I mentioned the passenger count standard. The gps also provides the boarding and departing passenger statistic for each stop (read the North Shore report). CTA is really supposed to do a survey on how many passengers want two seats to sleep on the bus?

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

. I dont think the relatively small group of Chicago & 77th operators

Again, it isn't the operators. It is the computer statistics.

I think you really don't get that.

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I'll add another point. While there was a waste of capital funds, it is still more efficient to run each about 2/3 of the time that it could have run than than to try to invent low capacity routes on which to run them and burn diesel fuel. The countervailing consideration is @BusHunter's that that results in leaving more junk on the road.

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Instead of long hauling Kedzie artics to run the 77, even partially, would it not make a little sense to move Belmont to North Park and

have Forest Glen take over 1 or 2 of the North Park Routes to offset the number of operators it would take to operate the route sufficiently.

Perhaps FG could run all of the Evanston Routes or 93, 96 or 97.

 

Just a thought

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2 hours ago, trainman8119 said:

Instead of long hauling Kedzie artics to run the 77, even partially,

As noted, these are just deadheads for runs that end at Belmont/Halsted that would otherwise go back to the garage empty. Nothing is being allocated to 77 per se.

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50 minutes ago, Busjack said:

As noted, these are just deadheads for runs that end at Belmont/Halsted that would otherwise go back to the garage empty. Nothing is being allocated to 77 per se.

I get it, but could you not do that move anyway, or would it be the same service case on Belmont as on Chicago ?

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3 hours ago, trainman8119 said:

I get it, but could you not do that move anyway, or would it be the same service case on Belmont as on Chicago ?

Undoubtedly the latter. 

Also with your proposal to switch garages, even if we assume enough buses are sitting at NP, one would have to come up with about 20 buses worth of work for FG, and Evanston* and 96 aren't that. Would also have to do something as uneconomic as turning over 155 to FG.

*Especially after the restructuring scheduled approximately in August.

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The 10 is another home. Kedzie has been running this one with almost nothing but artics since the route returned to service for the summer. The 130 was another as noted above, but after seeing primarily 74th assigned buses the past couple weeks, looks like the route is now more 74th's domain meaning no artics. What stragglers Kedzie has had out here and there on the 130 have been 40 foot NFs. 

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