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Minneapolis "t" Buses....


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I have it on video of an MVTA Gillig #1928 with the "415 Mendota Hts" displayed on the side sign. I spotted it at the MOA Transit Ctr.

I'm not doubting that MVTA 1928 had "415 Mendota Hts." on its sign. Its just interesting because to the best of my knowledge MVTA has never officially operated that route. It would be like seeing a Pace bus on "3 King Drive". Therefore I am guessing that since Metro Transit used to operate some of the MVTA buses they probably were using 1928 as a substitute. Also is there any chance you could put some of the video up on Youtube or someplace? I wouldn't mind seeing some of the older buses in action myself.

By the way heres a photo of 1927 at a park and ride.

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I know some of the MVTA Phantoms came from County Connection (Contra Costa, CA), and some came from Pierce Transit (Tacoma, WA). I have fleet numbers but I have to find them.

Thanks! I appreciate it. No rush on the fleet #'s but if you come across them I would like to know. I'm probably wrong but i'm going to take a guess that 7000 through 7080 used to be 700 through 708 if the original numbers were changed.

Do you know if the 2300's and 300's are going to be retired right away or if Metro Transit will keep them until after the State Fair and RNC? I don't want to buy one or anything but it would make sense to me to keep a few for driving the extra folks around with instead of borrowing from the opt-out agencies.

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Here is what I got for MVTA's Phantoms,

1984 models - #4070

1985 models - #4016, 7000, 7010, 7020, 7030, 7040, 7060, 7070, 7080, 7090

I don't know if there was ever a #7050.

I saw that most of the MVTA Phantoms were at the Snelling Garage (now a dirt lot), on the north side of I-94 at Snelling Avenue.

Metro Transit has a lot of buses in reserve for the State Fair. Mostly 2200's and 2300's. I don't think that many of the 300's are retired yet. Only 20 to 25 BRT's are here (from my observations). They also have 25 1994 New Flyer D60's reserved for the State Fair.

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Thanks Tcmetro. I also don't remember ever seeing a 7050 but I have ridden on 7000,10,20 and 30 and I saw 7080 on the 442 until around the Arrival of 4726 - 4734. The last time I was on the 84 I did see the MVTA phantoms. I also saw the rear of a RTS sticking out of the First Transit garage. The RTS still had an "M" on it so I wonder if it is a substitute. I remeber seeing some old NF artics at the Fair lot last year, one had no stripe at all just the red "T" circle were the stripe used to end.

Well I wasn't on the bus today, since I was taking a relative to an appointment, but I did see that there are still artics on the 54 as well as some BRT's on the 74. The artics were high and low floor and from what I could tell they were packed. (Nothing like a nice day and gas at $4.09 a gallon to get people on the bus ;) ) I did not catch the #'s on the BRT's. Also saw a 07 artic on the 16, it still had the now "old" blue stripe. It would make sense to run some artics on the 16 too.

Do you know if Metro Transit will be redoing the bus stop signs in the new yellow/blue color scheme? I know there are still some of the old red "T" signs on the 445 and at the end of 75E/F, so even if they do come up with a new design the blue ones will probably be around for a while. I'm guessing the signs on the 445 will be there even longer since replacing bus stop signs on a flag stop route is probably low on MVTA's list of priorities.

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I don't think they will redo the bus stop signs. If they did it would only be worth the investment if they put useful information on them. The signs that say 'Bus Stop' are the biggest joke I have ever seen.

I agree, yeah you kind of need signs to tell you where to wait on a route where the bus only stops at designated stops but I would really like it if they put some information on the signs. At least put the route number(s) on it like in Duluth or even better put information on where the bus goes. I think that is how they are in Chicago. What I dislike about MT's signs is that there is the exact same sign on a route that has service every 20 minutes as on a route that only has two trips a day :lol:. At least MT makes an effort sometimes with one of those display cases that has the route #'s and destinations inside. The "Hi Frequency" placards are also a step in the right direction I guess. If they ever do remake the signs they should just make stickers for covering the old ones. In my opinion MVTA just doing flag stops on their routes is smart. To bad that wouldn't work for some Metro Transit routes with low service frequencies too.

By the way it looks like artics are here for the summer on the 54 based on my observations.

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In Chicago some bus stops have a schedule and map on the sign. They also have system maps inside the bus shelters.

In Seattle artwork made by kids in local schools is displayed in bus shelters.

East Metro Garage is using its artics then. I see them on the 3, 16, and 50 all the time, and now the 54. The 5 used to run artics on nearly every trip last year, but after a few months they switched back to 40 ft. buses.

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4344 is MVTA 2003 Gillig Advantage 40 ft. I rode on it two weeks ago and it was running fine then so I assume that it was in for regular maintenance. I have no idea as to why 1122 was there, hopefully just something minor and not some lurking problem with the entire batch.

3200 - 3214 would explain why the D60LFR's don't start at 3200. I wonder if those were purchased for some sort of special park and ride express service.

By the way if you find a secret stash of MAN Americanas let me know :D .

I noticed at the airport NWA also has a shiny new Gillig BRT for their flight crew shuttle. I'm guessing it came in with the Metro transit group. I don't know if First Transit is still driving it or not. First did have a Blue Bird from the U, an older low floor Blue Bird and an old New Flyer D40LF for a while. I remember there used to be a red and silver low floor NWA bus that I think was NABI but I'm not positive.

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Where is the First lot?

I thought that you meant 4344 was in Maplewood.

Also NWA has a 1992 D40LF for it's employees. Sometimes I see it at the Airport Transit Center.

I wonder what happened to 4340 Gillig LF? I think it was the bus that was in the accident in Apple Valley on the 442 a couple of months ago.

EDIT: I saw some 300's and 2300's today. 312 was on #535, 322 was on #3, and 2364 was on #22. Also 737 was on #677 Mound Express, and it is repainted in the new scheme.

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Where is the First lot?

I thought that you meant 4344 was in Maplewood.

Also NWA has a 1992 D40LF for it's employees. Sometimes I see it at the Airport Transit Center.

4344 was in Maplewood/White Bear Lake it was parked in the lot for a repair place which had a Cummins sign. I was up there this morning to do a few errands by car. I don't think it is served by bus. The repair place was not specifically for bus repair but looked more for engine repair or tuning. There were also a few truck cabs and a Winnebago parked there as well.

I don't know the location of the First transit lot where the airport buses are parked and mantained but I know there is a garage off Snelling by the fairgrounds. When you head towards Roseville its on the right off the bridge as you start going up (or coming off, I can't remember which). you can look down and there is a lot of school buses and I saw the Blue Bird low floor once and another time I saw the rear of a RTS, with a M on the back, sticking out of a stall. I also saw a white NF D40LF being towed that way once on Snelling while I was on University. My guess is it was the NWA bus since thats the only one I know of in the area.

OK I looked in the phone book. The addresses for First Student (which I think is the same as First Transit since they are under the "First Group") on Snelling are: First Student Inc. 1102 Snelling Ave. N and First Student-U of M 1090 Snelling Ave N. I have no idea if those are the garage addresses or just the offices. Here is a link to First Transit's website

That NF was looking good for being 15 years old by the way.

Sorry about the confusion :)

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Just saw your edits. It was definitely 4340. It was on the 442 when it had its accident, luckily there were only 5 or 6 riders on board at the time. I have no idea what happened to it but my guess would be MVTA would repair it, especially if it was covered under insurance. One place they could have sent it would be CoachCrafters in NorthField. good to hear MT is getting some more miles out of the 300's/2300's. I was on 331 on 16 the other day. 331 seemed about ready to retire. I have been on some 2300's though that seem to run as well as the 1000's. Last winter I got a 2300 on the 54 that still had remnants of an MVTA paint job on the front.

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I guess i'll have to go get a look! The Plymouth Metrolink lot is on Como just past 29th in the indusrial area. The last time I rode the 3 there was D40LF's, Phantoms, and Blue Birds. They might have had some cutaways too. The other First lot/garage is in the industrial park north of E Hennepin Ave. That is where most of the buses are stored for contract services. First also has another lot somewhere in Blaine.

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In reply to the comments about high ridership on MVTA:

I ride the MVTA sometimes, and it seems like the 444 gets a lot more riders than the 445. The last time I rode the 445 it had a considerably higher ridership. In a recent MVTA newsletter, it was stated that weekend ridership is up by 20% or something (that probably equates to a couple hundered passengers, assuming 1,000 riders per weekend-day). I wonder about the 35 ft. buses too. The 444 and 445 have the highest ridership of the local MVTA routes, but I see 35 ft. buses on those routes during rush hour, but 40 ft. buses on 442 and 446. The 446 doesn't seem to have high ridership, so they should put minibuses or 35 ft. buses on that line. I wish MVTA would get some artics. That would be a cool sight on the 444 or 445, and maybe the Cedar BRT :).

MVTA probably has more riders from Rosemount, because the 420 runs all day now. I have to take a trip there :).

On the BE LINE 538/539 they use 30 ft. buses. On weekends the 539 is very one-sided, lot of riders to the MOA during the morning, reverse in the evening, and about equal during the day. 35 or 40 footers should be considered. Once I was on a standing room only 539 (it didn't help that the bus was 10 minutes late). The 540 uses minibuses. Metro Transit used to run this route with 40-footers, but ridership was too low and so the route was contracted. The ridership has steadily increased, and serves many high ridership areas, like the MOA, Southtown, and 77th Street. During rush hours these buses can get up to 20-25 passengers from all of the reverse commuters coming from the Edina Industrial Park and the Normandale Lake Towers. I remember 35-footers on the 540 on Weekends but all I see are cutaways.

The urban routes have had a lot more riders too. It can be hard to find a seat on the 5, 6, or 16 at all times of the day. Metro Transit has 155 artics, but mostly uses them for rush-hour only expresses. During middays these need to be used on locals. I don't know if they will ever make it to the 6 (due to narrow streets), but they are being used on the 16 more. The 5 used to have tons of artics, but MT changed that late last year.

The amount of reverse commuters is increasing on Public Transit. The 540, 612, 720, 721, 219 and some other routes have been improved. The increases were financed by federal grants, and those run out in a few years.

Plymouth and Maple Grove need to expand midday transit options. They have dial-a-rides, but those are increasingly full, and need to be booked a day in advance.

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In response to your comments Tcmetro,

I have actually seen 35ft buses lately on the 446. Its usually 1 35ft and 1 40ft in the morning. I remember for a while 446 had minibuses on it but then they switched back to NF's. I think part of the reason 444 ridership is higher is because the service during the day is every 1/2 hour except for 1 or 2 trips. Last time I was at the mall for shift change in the afternoon they had a 35ft bus on 445 and a Gillig 40ft bus on 444. This made a lot more sense since 20 people including me boarded 445 and I think about the same # boarded the 444. The difference between the routes seems to be that 445 does mostly drop off from the mall whereas 444 drops off and pickups as well. I have not checked lately but the 445 on sunday is usually minibuses. On saturday and in the evenings when 445 is run out of the Eagan garage it is usually 35ft buses as well. By the way that driver also said about 5 or 6 people a trip is about what he was getting on Sunday. I have not yet ridden on 442 or 440 or any Rosemount buses. but I think I will try to take a trip there this summer.

Artics for MVTA would be nice. I would like some Nova Bus artics for variety (unless they are junk then we'll stick with trusty New Flyer :) ). I know they used to have some older NF D60HF's until they were replaced by MCI coaches. As far as the BRT line my guess is they will be either New Flyer BRT or Gillig BRT since thats what they already have for brands. I know New Flyer brought their 40 ft BRT model around once for a Cedar Ave. open house. I wish I could have gone to that one. I wonder though if they even really need special buses for the BRT. Those NF D40LF's move pretty fast on 77 going or coming from the mall.

Do you know the year on the 30ft Gillig advantages they use for the Be-Line and other Met Council regional routes? They seem pretty new but I think they have been around since 05.

Also do you have any idea as to why Lorenz runs the 80 and some trips on the 62? Is it just easier to hire them to run a few lines then to buy more buses and hire more drivers?

I wish we could have a dial-a-ride bus for between Eagan and IGH/So. St. Paul that was open to the public just until MT or MVTA gets some east/west service going.

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Those old NFI D60 artics were owned by Metro Transit and used for MVTA service, I used to see them in MT service sometimes.

The BELINE 30' Gillig LF's are 2001 models, and some are 2004 or 2006. Met Council might get a few more for the new route #705 that starts next year. I am also trying to track down the 35' Gillig LF that used to run on the 540.

Lorenz operates the 62C trips to Shoreview. The 62 used to be known as #212 (and before that simply the Rice Street Bus), and has always been run by Lorenz. In 2001 MT wanted to combine the Saint Paul 12 into the 212, and create the 3 and 62. The 62 got a service boost, and I guess to be fair they let Lorenz keep running the trips they used to. The reason why MT has contractors like First and Lorenz is to save money. Smaller vehicles means less fuel and allows MT to have a standard fleet, a seperate garage means they don't have to worry about maintenence, and contracted drivers are generally paid less.

Lorenz operates the following routes: 25-Sat., 62C, 80, 225, 227, 255, 262, 275, 288, 786, and 860.

Some of Lorenz's fleet is Met Council-owned, and some is Lorenz-owned. The Lorenz fleet consists of new motorcoaches, and Gillig Phantoms from 1985-1991. The Met Council owned fleet consists of 2001 Phantoms, D40LF's, and MCI D4500's.

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An open house will be held for input on the Lakeville BRT station:

http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/CountyGovernmen...RTOpenHouse.htm

There will be open houses held every month in Apple Valley until December on the Cedar BRT.

http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/EnvironmentRoad...on/CedarAve.htm

Here is a public transit plan for Dakota County, and it mentions an Inver Grove Heights Transit Center to be built at Robert/Mendota in 2012.

http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/EnvironmentRoad...ion/Welcome.htm

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That makes sense with the Lorenz service. I just always wondered why MT had Lorenz on the 80 and not any other area routes. Also thanks for the links to the TLC and Cedar Ave. I actually have a copy of the Dakota County Transit Plan I printed up at school (not a good idea to leave me with a high volume printer and internet access eh,). One thing on the TLC fare sheet I don't get is they say the MT day pass is only good for 6 hours but the MT website daypass section says 24 hours. I wonder if someone goofed a little on that part. I will probably try to go to an open house eventually. Although probably not the one for Lakeville since it doesn't really concern me. I have already been to a couple of the Cedar Ave. open houses and each round of the Robert St. corridor ones.

One more question, do you have any idea how long MT has had the magnetic strip transfers? I would assume that a while back they still had paper ones. I hope MT just raises the fare 25 cents and doesn't mess with the 2.5 hour unlimited ride thing you get with a transfer now. I bet in the future transfers and cash bus fares will be nonexistent because everything will be the microchip cards. I wish you could use a GoTo card in on other cities systems too. That would be really convenient.

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That makes sense that they contracted the 80 out. The first time I saw the 80 back in 05 or 06 I saw the Lorenz buses on it and thought it seemed very strange. At first I thought maybe the city Of Maplewood funded the route but then later I saw a Lorenz bus in the Met Council livery.

The age of the Gillig Advantage 30fts fits with what I thought. I knew from seeing the interiors that there were at least two batches, since some have seats on top of the front wheels and some don't. It will be interesting to see if the contracted buses also get repainted in yellow/blue livery. I think for the Be-Line ones they should do them in yellow/black to look like a bee. By the way are the hybrid 7100's painted green or just in a wrap? I still haven't ridden on one yet, since when I tried to last time on the 18 I got a 2300 instead :lol: I have seen them in action however and they are sure quiet.

It will be interesting to see if MT ever goes to another brand of bus in the future. I know they are getting 5 more artics for a park-n-ride towards the end of the year, so I believe that automatically makes them NF's. For future MT purchases as I mentioned off topic in another column I wouldn't mind seeing some more Gillig Phantoms if they are still any good or some Orion V's. I know we are supposed to love low floors because there is a quicker boarding time but I still would like a few HF's for routes where the extra 5 or 6 seats are needed. After those I would like a group of New Flyer D40LF's. I know we were close to getting NF's instead of Gilligs but got Gilligs since NF didn't quite meet one of the contract provisions. Darn :(

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The 7100's are in a wrap.

I rode the 7100's twice. Once on the 17 for a short trip in downtown, and from SLP to Uptown. They are nice.

I'm impressed by the 1100's new digital 'Stop Request' signs. I can time how late the bus is :lol:.

I rode on the 16 last week and they need to get the 1100's off of that route <_<. The bus was packed halfway through downtown. I've seen the 3200's on the 16 and that is a proper fit. I haven't seen what is running on the 3, but the number of artics on the 3, 16, and 50 is probably down because the U is out.

At least Metro Transit hasn't decided to buy MCI coaches. Although it would be nice, you can't run a coach on any of the urban routes.

Before they had the Gillig LF's on the BE LINE they had these horrible looking GRAY minibuses. Simular buses were used for the Roseville Circulator routes, and in a restructuring study, Metro said that one of the possible reasons for low ridership was 'the gray utilitarian look of the buses' :lol:

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