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CTA New Bus Order 2020

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5 hours ago, Anthony Devera said:

I see where you're coming from, but I was thinking less about the present moment and more about the time in a few months when more jobs reopen and ridership picks back up. When that happens, ridership will increase on the south and west side routes you mentioned (which currently have a few 40-footers), as well as the K and NP routes that lost artics. And before the pandemic, there were many 40-foot routes that consistently experienced crush loads and are not getting artics now (e.g. 55, 63, 77), so those routes might experience heavy loads again. With the current situation, CTA might want to avoid having those crush loads again. I'm not saying new artics are an absolute must, but I think CTA's priorities are very different now compared to before the pandemic, and it might be in their interest to order new artics.

There are many routes that do not currently have artics but are hitting red zones during many hours of the day, such as the 21, 29, 36, 66, and 82. Are these routes only crowded for short portions of the route, or are these routes hitting the bare minimum load for red zones while still not having enough ridership to justify artics?

Even then months from now in this hypothetical future that you're thinking too far in short term dynamics, CTA doesn't need to buy more artics. That issue you speak of can easily be solved by reassigning more of the artics CTA already has back to K and NP, and that's evidenced by the point I already made that the way artics were assigned before this current pick resulted in 100 artics parked daily during a normal pre-COVID weekday rush hour. The problem wasn't and still isn't that CTA didn't have enough artics. The problem has been that CTA wasn't efficiently assigning and using the ones it has at hand already. Some of the routes in question can be solved with improvements in headways and/or having more buses staged on standby. 21 for example runs on a 12-15 minute headway. If one bus is delayed due to traffic or any other reason, that's adding even more people at bus stops where people have been already waiting for a time period that allows a significant number to congregate at that stop. 55, 63 and 77 just aren't going to see artics because as has been mentioned numerous times over the years, maintenance bays at 74th and FG can't facilitate artics on top of the fact that FG's present layout doesn't leave room to store them properly. Also remember that red zone doesn't necessarily mean crowded in the traditional sense given that the current rule is max occupancy of a articulated bus should not be much more than 22 riders, but that it's more likely that riders for that route will run into more buses passing them up because they've reached their limit of allowed passengers and have to switch over to drop off service only until their passenger counts drop to allow any riders other than those already aboard. And yes, as CTA cautions that can be for only part of a route and not the entire way. 

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14 minutes ago, jajuan said:

Even then months from now in this hypothetical future that you're thinking too far in short term dynamics, CTA doesn't need to buy more artics. That issue you speak of can easily be solved by reassigning more of the artics CTA already has back to K and NP, and that's evidenced by the point I already made that the way artics were assigned before this current pick resulted in 100 artics parked daily during a normal pre-COVID weekday rush hour. The problem wasn't and still isn't that CTA didn't have enough artics. The problem has been that CTA wasn't efficiently assigning and using the ones it has at hand already. Some of the routes in question can be solved with improvements in headways and/or having more buses staged on standby. 21 for example runs on a 12-15 minute headway. If one bus is delayed due to traffic or any other reason, that's adding even more people at bus stops where people have been already waiting for a time period that allows a significant number to congregate at that stop. 55, 63 and 77 just aren't going to see artics because as has been mentioned numerous times over the years, maintenance bays at 74th and FG can't facilitate artics on top of the fact that FG's present layout doesn't leave room to store them properly. Also remember that red zone doesn't necessarily mean crowded in the traditional sense given that the current rule is max occupancy of a articulated bus should not be much more than 22 riders, but that it's more likely that riders for that route will run into more buses passing them up because they've reached their limit of allowed passengers and have to switch over to drop off service only until their passenger counts drop to allow any riders other than those already aboard. And yes, as CTA cautions that can be for only part of a route and not the entire way. 

I am aware that it will take a long time for ridership to return to pre-COVID levels, but I was thinking that social distancing would probably still be in place for a while, and there might be more instances of routes that regularly reach the 15 riders per 40ft bus limit. I'd definitely prefer increased frequency over increased artic use on these routes, but some routes are already operating at very frequent headways during rush hours. An example is the 66, which at times has 2-minute headways.

In order to increase peak frequency on crowded routes that currently have lower peak frequency, CTA would most likely either have to order a lot of new buses or keep some 6400s and early 1000s in service for longer. I wasn't sure if it would be cheaper to operate more 40-footers and pay the increased purchase and operation costs associated with the increased frequency, or purchase a smaller mix of 40-footers and artics while mostly keeping frequency as is. But looking at the chart, I notice many of these routes approach red zones during midday and on weekends, so increasing midday and weekend frequency for these routes could be a solution. In that case, there shouldn't be as much of a problem.

I am also aware that the maintenance bays at 74th and FG cannot facilitate 60ft artics, but I think some routes could be reassigned to nearby artic garages, such as moving the 63 to 77th. I can imagine at some point CTA might decide to renovate 74th and upgrade the lifts, but I don't see that happening anytime in the next decade, as CTA has been losing a lot of money lately.

I will leave it at that, since I don't think this discussion is going anywhere.

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It appears the bid opened today, as the date was never pushed back from July 6.

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5 minutes ago, Mr.NewFlyer1051 said:

so when will we know who got the order new flyer or nova

First there's the end date for bidding.  While the bud iss open, ,, manufacturers will submit various questions pertaining to the bid.  It may take 2 to 3 months after the closing date to award a contract,  assuming funds are secured.  If New Flyer wins, it will be the first time in years that Pace and CTA will have buses of the same model.  I suppose the same could be said it Eldorado won 

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10 minutes ago, Mr.NewFlyer1051 said:

so when will we know who got the order new flyer or nova

That I don't know, you'd have to ask someone else how long it usually takes for a winner to be chosen and announced.

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38 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

First there's the end date for bidding.  While the bud iss open, ,, manufacturers will submit various questions pertaining to the bid.  It may take 2 to 3 months after the closing date to award a contract,  assuming funds are secured.  If New Flyer wins, it will be the first time in years that Pace and CTA will have buses of the same model.  I suppose the same could be said it Eldorado won 

maybe some flyers like they have in LA? who knows will see

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Been seeing pictures of nf's having the ability to color code signs in other cities. I wonder if that is standard on the xcelsior? It's got me wondering you know how cta has the express pi signs with the red markings for express or for x service. (I think I saw that unless I'm nuts) could red destination signs come back for the #6 or #146 to represent express service. I think that would he cool. 

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8 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Been seeing pictures of nf's having the ability to color code signs in other cities. I wonder if that is standard on the xcelsior? It's got me wondering you know how cta has the express pi signs with the red markings for express or for x service. (I think I saw that unless I'm nuts) could red destination signs come back for the #6 or #146 to represent express service. I think that would he cool. 

I think it could easily be worked in as long as it doesn't confuse passnegers. 

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On 8/12/2020 at 10:19 AM, BusHunter said:

Been seeing pictures of nf's having the ability to color code signs in other cities. I wonder if that is standard on the xcelsior? It's got me wondering you know how cta has the express pi signs with the red markings for express or for x service. (I think I saw that unless I'm nuts) could red destination signs come back for the #6 or #146 to represent express service. I think that would he cool. 

You have to order the headsigns for them. Unless they call for color signs, the agency may opt for white or the standard amber. 

Both agencies should look into at least going with white signs. 

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2 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

You have to order the headsigns for them. Unless they call for color signs, the agency may opt for white or the standard amber. 

Both agencies should look into at least going with white signs. 

I could be wrong but I think white might be difficult to see in the sun from a distance.   

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On 8/12/2020 at 10:19 AM, BusHunter said:

Been seeing pictures of nf's having the ability to color code signs in other cities. I wonder if that is standard on the xcelsior? It's got me wondering you know how cta has the express pi signs with the red markings for express or for x service. (I think I saw that unless I'm nuts) could red destination signs come back for the #6 or #146 to represent express service. I think that would he cool.

Multicolor digital signs existed at least since 2001, when Sacramento CA got some.

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On 8/13/2020 at 9:59 PM, artthouwill said:

I could be wrong but I think white might be difficult to see in the sun from a distance.   

We have the white signs in Phoenix (a/k/a "The Valley of the Sun") and they are readable. 

I'd like to see CTA get Xcelsiors. they are handsome buses. To me, the Novas look dated. Honestly, wasn't a fan when they first came out.

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7 minutes ago, rvwnsd said:

We have the white signs in Phoenix (a/k/a "The Valley of the Sun") and they are readable. 

I'd like to see CTA get Xcelsiors. they are handsome buses. To me, the Novas look dated. Honestly, wasn't a fan when they first came out.

Me too. Pace has sure modernized with their fleet of them. The only thing I can say about the Xcelsiors that's bad is they seem to have alot of body roll from my experiences on them. It would be interesting to compare the body weight of both vehicles Nova and NF. Nova has some of the worst AC anyone can imagine. They would probably be better off with sliding windows with no AC at all. Novas in my opinion are true canadian buses in the sense that you don't need AC up there when the highest temp is in the 60's. 😜

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So it's been a few months, has anyone found any more info? Are we sure whether they've even awarded a contract?

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The bids must still be under evaluation. I believe staff will have to bring the contract to the board which is probably the next time we'll hear about it. My guess is that will be in the next few months, but who knows. 

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1 hour ago, Tcmetro said:

The bids must still be under evaluation. I believe staff will have to bring the contract to the board which is probably the next time we'll hear about it. My guess is that will be in the next few months, but who knows. 

With the ongoing Covid issues and numbers surging.... wouldn't surprise me for the bid to be tabled right now.... a factory full of workers right now is probably a super spreader event waiting to happen.

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On 8/24/2020 at 7:52 PM, rvwnsd said:

We have the white signs in Phoenix (a/k/a "The Valley of the Sun") and they are readable. 

I'd like to see CTA get Xcelsiors. they are handsome buses. To me, the Novas look dated. Honestly, wasn't a fan when they first came out.

You're right about the destination signs on the New Flyer Xcelsiors in Phoenix. I seen the newest additions to Phoenix Metro routes (40 ft. Xcelsiors) like 41 Indian School, 17 McDowell Road and a few on 44 44th Street/Tatum Rd. Yes, you can most definitely see those  "LED White" signs clearly even in bright sunlight.  But what ever CTA decides on respecting its purchase of new buses, I truly hope they DO NOT go with Gillig. For some reason, to me Gilligs just don't fit the "big-city image" of the likes of New York City or Chicago. I can't picture seeing a Gillig on the 151 Sheridan Road route or on 62 Archer or on, say 3 King Drive or 4 Cottage Grove, even in CTA livery!  And while I'm sure I'm being a bit prejudice here, I don't think they would provide the durability needed for Chicago use, especially given the city's rough winters.  

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4 hours ago, 4CottageGrove95th said:

You're right about the destination signs on the New Flyer Xcelsiors in Phoenix. I seen the newest additions to Phoenix Metro routes (40 ft. Xcelsiors) like 41 Indian School, 17 McDowell Road and a few on 44 44th Street/Tatum Rd. Yes, you can most definitely see those  "LED White" signs clearly even in bright sunlight.  But what ever CTA decides on respecting its purchase of new buses, I truly hope they DO NOT go with Gillig. For some reason, to me Gilligs just don't fit the "big-city image" of the likes of New York City or Chicago. I can't picture seeing a Gillig on the 151 Sheridan Road route or on 62 Archer or on, say 3 King Drive or 4 Cottage Grove, even in CTA livery!  And while I'm sure I'm being a bit prejudice here, I don't think they would provide the durability needed for Chicago use, especially given the city's rough winters.  

I agree with you on the Gilligs. However, Minneapolis has been using them for decades and they seem to hold up. One thing I'll say for te gilligs is in some liveries (like Phoenix) they remind me of the MAN Americana buses. I've ridden them a few times and they were decent. Our new Xcelsiors are beautiful buses - esp in the purple livery. (We have a couple of liveries, depending on which member city paid for the buses).

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16 hours ago, 4CottageGrove95th said:

You're right about the destination signs on the New Flyer Xcelsiors in Phoenix. I seen the newest additions to Phoenix Metro routes (40 ft. Xcelsiors) like 41 Indian School, 17 McDowell Road and a few on 44 44th Street/Tatum Rd. Yes, you can most definitely see those  "LED White" signs clearly even in bright sunlight.  But what ever CTA decides on respecting its purchase of new buses, I truly hope they DO NOT go with Gillig. For some reason, to me Gilligs just don't fit the "big-city image" of the likes of New York City or Chicago. I can't picture seeing a Gillig on the 151 Sheridan Road route or on 62 Archer or on, say 3 King Drive or 4 Cottage Grove, even in CTA livery!  And while I'm sure I'm being a bit prejudice here, I don't think they would provide the durability needed for Chicago use, especially given the city's rough winters.  

It's generally good to small to medium sized markets.   The Twin Cities are a haven for Gilligs and have been for decades.  They hold up well in their brutal winters and the extreme desert summer heat in Phoenix.  The low floors are boxy looking, but are solid.  I hated the Phantoms,  but they were almost exclusive in the Twin Cities when I was there, save for New Flyer artics.

I think the Xcelsiors are the odds on favorite to be the next CTA order. .

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Well, I stand corrected on the durability aspect of the Gilligs;  the ones that were purchased and received for the metro Phoenix area starting in 2016 have seemingly held up well in the extreme heat of southern Arizona. Tucson's transit operation seems to have done fairly well with them so far.  So I have to give them that.  But I still think that CTA would be better served by giving the contract to either  New Flyer (1st pick), Nova (2nd pick) or Eldorado (3rd pick). 

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1 hour ago, 4CottageGrove95th said:

Well, I stand corrected on the durability aspect of the Gilligs;  the ones that were purchased and received for the metro Phoenix area starting in 2016 have seemingly held up well in the extreme heat of southern Arizona. Tucson's transit operation seems to have done fairly well with them so far.  So I have to give them that.  But I still think that CTA would be better served by giving the contract to either  New Flyer (1st pick), Nova (2nd pick) or Eldorado (3rd pick). 

I would agree with the New Flyers first.  However, the 7900s soured me on the Novas. Aestheticially, they are an improvement on the 6409s, but the a/c is garbage and the Eldorados aren't much better.  For some reason, CTA has never picked Gillug to this point.  Other than the 7509s and 500s, CTA has been New Flyer or Nova since 2001.  We will see how the Proterras work out.

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3 hours ago, artthouwill said:

I would agree with the New Flyers first.  However, the 7900s soured me on the Novas. Aestheticially, they are an improvement on the 6409s, but the a/c is garbage and the Eldorados aren't much better.  For some reason, CTA has never picked Gillug to this point.  Other than the 7509s and 500s, CTA has been New Flyer or Nova since 2001.  We will see how the Proterras work out.

Not living in Chicago any longer, I have only had a few opportunities to ride the Novas (6400s or 7900s) or the newest PACE Eldorados.  As for the Proterras, they are all electric, aren't they?  And if my memory is correct, didn't CTA use a demonstrator Proterra on a few selected routes a couple of years ago??

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