Archive for the ‘bus’ Category

DesignLine EcoSaver IV, a New Hybrid Electric Bus Model, Debuts in New York City

Friday, August 14th, 2009


This morning, the DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus made its passenger-carrying debut for New York City Transit.

DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus makes NYC debut

DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus makes NYC debut early this morning on the M42 route (42nd Street Crosstown)

The DesignLine EcoSaver IV bus is different from other hybrid buses already in the NYCT fleet because it is a series hybrid. That means that the engine, in this case a turbine, is only used to charge the batteries, and not to directly power the vehicle.

The turbine fills the role of “Auxiliary Power Unit” (APU). The batteries in turn power the electric motor, which makes the bus go. There are many advantages to a series hybrid, and for this bus overall, one of which is the fact that the bus can operate in pure electric mode, with the turbine off (producing no emissions), in some situations. In all other situations, the turbine is running at the most efficient speeds to keep the batteries at an optimal charge, totally independent of the bus’s immediate acceleration needs.

The story of how this bus design, which originated in New Zealand, came to be for sale to bus authorities in the US, is interesting, and worth the short read.

I came away from my ride on the bus’s maiden voyage pretty impressed with its quietness and performance. I have no doubt that the fancy hybrid driveline is well engineered and quite capable. My only reservations are over how well the not-so-glamorous parts of the bus will hold up in the severe service conditions experienced here in New York City. How will the plastic straphangers and the full length glass doors and the flooring, etc., hold up?  Until now, NYCT has generally only purchased proven, “heavy-duty” buses. I don’t know if the DesignLine EcoSaver IV hybrid electric bus can be considered “heavy-duty” in and of itself, but if it survives NYC’s streets and residents, leading to an expansion of the initial eight bus fleet to up to 80 with options, then it will certainly have proven itself worthy.

Here is a gallery of photos I took today of the bus’s grand debut: PHOTOS

Edit: As pointed out by Joe in his comment, the other hybrid buses in the NYCT fleet (Orion VII) are also series hybrids. So the DesignLine EcoSaver IV is not different in that regard.

SEPTA finally admits that photography is not prohibited or illegal

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I’m not sure when the following webpage went live, but it seems it was at least during or before March 2009. But no matter, SEPTA now has a webpage that clearly states that photography was not and still is not prohibited. Furthermore, this SEPTA Photography Guidelines webpage makes clear that amateur photography is not restricted in any way in terms of needing a permit or needing to call ahead.

From the webpage:

SEPTA welcomes photographers and artists. In return, we simply request they use common sense and courtesy to others in pursuit of their pictures. [Editor: I really don’t see SEPTA (employees and police) “welcoming” photographers. What a load of bull.]

While photography is permitted in clearly defined public areas of the SEPTA system, it obviously cannot be permitted in any manner that would interfere with the safe movement of people or operation of vehicles.

Photography is obviously prohibited in any area of the SEPTA system that is not accessible to the general public. [Editor: This is a pretty funny thing for them to say, considering that photography has OBVIOUSLY been legal this whole time, while up to now many photographers have been harassed and told otherwise by the police and employees.]

While the law permits photography of private citizens in public places, common courtesy would have photographers request permission of people before taking their pictures, especially close-ups. [Editor: This was a nice touch, since so many people are misinformed on this topic.]

Worldwide terrorist attacks against public transportation facilities in recent years has required a tightening of security procedures at all SEPTA facilities. Security experts consider photographing and sketching public transportation facilities as possible pre-indicators of terrorist activity. [Editor: UH, which security experts? Because plenty know that openly taking photographs with a large, visible camera is likely the LAST thing a terrorist would do.]

While this unfortunate reality has not resulted in a prohibition of photography, SEPTA Transit Police and other law enforcement are under orders to question anyone taking photographs or sketching transit facilities. [Editor: Here’s where they confirm that photography never was illegal.]

But as always, remain alert and stay safe when you’re out there photographing. It’s unlikely that the SEPTA police and employees who have been mistaken this whole time about the legality of photography are going to suddenly wake up and realize their error. Many probably know they are wrong and don’t care. They feel threatened by photography so they lie and harass instead of doing their jobs.

Those darn interns and their funny MTA SERVICE ALERT mistakes

Friday, June 19th, 2009

maximum LOLs to be had

This NYCT SERVICE ALERT appeared at Tuesday morning. Upon seeing it, I says to myself, I says: “Have trolley tracks been relaid in the Bronx and have the (B), (D), and (F) trains been diverted to run along them?!?!?”

In case you’re not getting the joke, look at the last paragraph.

MTA NYC Transit – 2008 Ridership by Subway Station

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

MTA NYC Transit has released 2008 subway ridership statistics by subway station for all 422 station complexes.

Here are the top 10 busiest New York City subway stations for 2008:

Station and subway lines Annual Ridership
1. Times Sq-42 St   / 42 St 60,880,668
2. Grand Central-42 St   44,600,738
3. 34 St-Herald Sq   39,040,943
4.  14 St-Union Sq    35,545,653
5.  34 St-Penn Station
6.  34 St-Penn Station
7.  Lexington Av-53 St    / 51 St
8.  59 St-Columbus Circle
9.  Lexington Av / 59 St
10.  Fulton St / Broadway-Nassau St

Additional information: Subway and Bus Ridership Statistics 2008

Source: BusChat

The Great Broadway Bus Rerouting of 2009

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Since NYC DOT is closing Broadway through Times Square in Manhattan and turning it into a pedestrian plaza, several bus routes are being rerouted off of Broadway and onto 7 Av. This happens May 25, 2009. And as a bonus, the M6 bus route will be totally eliminated!


The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 … is coming closer

Sunday, May 17th, 2009


June 12 is coming fast, and the proff is on the side of New York City buses!

I can’t wait to see this movie! I love the original!

Pull the cords on the buses

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
NYCT Bus Orion VII NG 3804 has bell cords!

NYCT Bus Orion VII NG 3804 has bell cords!

The New York Times City Room Blog has a piece today on the return of bell cords to New York City buses. It is specifically the new Orion VII Next Generation buses that have these bell cords.  While I think that these new buses are extremely ugly in general, the pull cords are a nice touch. Using the pull cord reminds me of the good times I’ve had riding the Vintage Bus Fleet in revenue service.

vintage New York City bus Flxible 7340 has pull cords - look for the black cord above the passengers' heads

vintage New York City bus Flxible 7340 has pull cords - look for the black cord above the passengers' heads

VIDEO: Bus driver texts and crashes

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

The driver of a bus carrying disabled passengers in Texas whipped out his cellphone in traffic while doing what looks like 40+ MPH and prompty smashed into several vehicles. Luckily it was all captured on tape.

Media reports on New York City’s old buses

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
This bus was delivered in 1994 or 1995, making it up to 15 years old.

This bus (#457), seen here in the Bronx earlier this year, was delivered in 1995/1996, making it up to 14 years old.

Today’s amNewYork newspaper contains an article about the state of New York City Transit’s bus fleet.

The MTA bus fleet isn’t aging gracefully.

Because demand is forcing more additional buses onto the street, more than one out of four in operation are at least 12 years old, the age when the vehicles are supposed to be retired.

Mechanics say they have increasingly found themselves tearing out engines and bus underbellies, while some drivers just blatantly refuse to get behind the wheel of the older models.

Expensive overhauls bring the old clunkers back to life, but it hasn’t transformed ugly ducklings into swans – meaning more breakdowns and delays for riders.

“Everyday the rails are cracking, the bulkheads are cracking,” said Bob Keith, a bus mechanic for 24 years who is running to become a union leader. “We are welding them all and putting them back into service. But that’s a temporary fix.”

I hate buses just as much as anyone, but I’m not so sure if things are really as bad as the article makes them out to be. Though I can say that some of the buses on my Bronx bus routes are up to 16 years old, and some of them rattle and shake like crazy. While I’d like new buses, I don’t want the new buses New York City Transit is purchasing (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post). So instead, I’d prefer to ride the “newer” buses from the existing fleet. That, or give me a 30+ year old vintage bus from the Transit Museum fleet 🙂

The article also included some stats:

Buses in the Big Apple
1,700: buses in the fleet are 12 years or older.
6,200: total buses in the fleet
3,950: average number of miles between bus breakdowns in January, up 20 percent from 2007

Humorous bus ad from Slovenia

Monday, March 30th, 2009

From Yahoo News:

A man sits on bus with an advert for a clothes store in Ljubljana March 2, 2009

A man sits on bus with an advert for a clothes store in Ljubljana March 2, 2009