Transit 101 – Episode 5 – Riding the bus

Learn how to ride the bus…

In this episode of Transit 101, I will explain how to get from A to B via bus. If you’re riding a public bus system for the first time, you may be intimidated. Don’t worry though, it’s not as hard as you may think. However, there’s a few key things you’ll want to follow before heading out to the bus stop.

  1. Have your origin & destination stops in mind. Or at least the closest landmarks or other points of interest that will help you get to where you need to go. Need to plan out your trip? Check out Episode 1.
  2. Allow enough time for departure & arrival. Ideally, you’ll want to get to your origin bus stop no later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. If your transit agency has a real-time transit tracker application, this can certainly help with knowing approximately what time your bus will arrive. Need help with understanding a transit schedule? Check out Episode 2.
  3. Have your fare ready – whether it be exact change (cash), a pre-purchased mag-swipe card, tap-and-go card, or mobile fare payment application. Having your fare ready prior to the bus arriving at your stop allows for faster boarding & reduces the chance of the bus operator running behind schedule. Need to know more about transit fares? Check out Episode 3.

Google Maps can help assist with locating your closest bus stop.

Heading to the origin bus stop

Once you’ve been able to locate your starting bus route & where the nearest bus stop for that route & direction are located, you’ll want to leave promptly when it is time to do so in order to allow enough time to catch the bus. While everyone has a different way of getting to & from their respective bus stops – including by bike, weather conditions & other unforseen circumstances may make your journey more difficult.

For example, let’s say you’re catching Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Route 52 northbound from the stop at 62nd Ave N & 49th St N in Pinellas Park, FL, but your residence is about a 20 minute walk from the west. You want to catch the bus that is predicted to arrive at about 10:24am. This means you’ll want to be at the respective bus stop no later than about 10:14am. So try to leave your residence no later than 9:45am in this case so that you have enough time to get to your stop. For me, I tend to walk faster than others, but if you’re not a generally fast walker, or have mobility issues, then you’ll want to allow additional time as it pertains to your normal pace of travel.

Bus stops can vary by transit agency and location.

Locating the bus stop

Locating your respective origin bus stop can sometimes be challenging, because not all stops look the same. Some stops can be distinguished by a simple concrete pad or a sidewalk with a designated bus stop sign (like the one above), while others will have the designated sign – along with a bench or even a covered shelter. It is very important though that you see the designated sign, as in most cases, the bus operator will only serve a bus stop with the designated sign posted at the location.

You sometimes may see stray benches on the side of the road with no bus stop sign to be found. Often times, this is the case because a bus route no longer travels through the area or stops have been moved or consolidated. The benches themselves may not belong to the transit agency, but rather a third party, and thus you should not solely rely on looking for the bench. Always look for the designated bus stop sign first.

Once you’ve found the bus stop sign, carefully look at which route it serves. You always want to make sure that you’re catching the correct route. Once you’ve confirmed that this is your stop, simply wait for the bus to arrive.

Note: If your transit agency has a real-time tracking application, you may have the ability to type in the designated bus stop ID number located on the bus stop sign. This will pinpoint your location in relation to the bus route & vehicle that you wish to catch.

You see a bus approaching your stop, is it yours?

Preparing to board

Be sure to stand next to the bus stop sign, close to the curb as your bus approaches.

As the bus approaches your stop, you’ll want to step close to the curb, next to the bus stop sign and be prepared to board (please have your fare ready at this point for payment). To ensure that you’re boarding the correct bus, pay close attention to the headsign above the windshield. Many transit agencies have electronic (LED) headsigns that digitally display the route number (typically on the left side of the sign) and the destination. Some smaller agencies may rely on placards to show this information & such may be displayed in the windshield or along the side of the vehicle.

If you see that this is the bus that you want, simply motion to the bus operator (I typically hold my right arm and hand up to signal to the operator) to stop.

When I want the bus to stop and pick me up, I raise my right hand like this.

Now of course, if the bus that is approaching isn’t the one you need to board, step away from the curb and signal to the bus operator to continue along the route (I typically use my left arm to motion left-to-right repeatedly to indicate to the operate that “you’re not the bus I want to catch, keep going please). See the video below for an example.

When I don’t want the bus to stop and pick me up, I motion my hand like so…

During early morning or late evening hours – when it is dark outside, it’s helpful to wear bright clothing, as well as to carry a flash light or use the screen lighting from your cell phone to signal to the operator that you wish to board. If you’re using a flash light, please be careful not to shine the light directly towards the operator.

Why did the bus pass me by? Credit: PSTA.

Once you’ve flagged down the bus that you need, just hop aboard…

Once on board, simply insert your fare into the farebox (circled in red). For those using tap-and-go cards or certain mobile fare payment apps, you’ll see a validator (example is circled in green) to tap your card against or scan your phone screen against for validation. Keep in mind that some mobile fare payment apps require that you show the operator the activated ticket on screen per app instructions.

Once on board the bus…

…you’ll first want to pay for your fare as instructed. For those using cash to pay for a one-way fare or purchase a day pass (mag-swipe card) on board the bus, simply insert your cash into the designated slots on the farebox. There will be a slot for dollar bills & a separate slot for coins. You’ll want to insert the bills first before inserting coins. If you’re purchasing a day pass, you’ll want to tell the bus operator that you’re doing so before inserting money so that he or she can enter the proper code on the farebox.

If you’re using a tap-and-go card (i.e. Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s STAR Card in Jacksonville, FL, or the Flamingo Fares Card in the Tampa Bay, FL Area), simply proceed to the on-board validator and tap your activated card against it. Once you see the screen acknowledge that your card is valid and the fare was deducted, then you’re good to go! For mobile fare payment apps, simply follow the on screen instructions. Some apps will work with a corresponding on-board validator for validating your fare, while other apps will require that you show the bus operator your activated ticket on screen.

Once you’ve paid your fare, find a seat, and relax. If you brought your bike on board the bus (see Episode 4), you’ll want to sit relatively close to the front of the bus so that you can see your bike on the bike rack. Please keep in mind that the seats closest to the bus operator may be designated as “Priority Seating”, meaning that those using mobility aids (including wheelchairs), the elderly, & expectant mothers will have seating priority. You’ll want to offer these seats to the elderly & expectant mothers. If someone using a mobility aid boards, you may be asked by the bus operator to vacate your seat if you are seated in the “Priority Seating” area.

State & Federal guidelines require that all individuals using mobility devices – such as a wheelchair or an electric scooter chair/power chair – be properly secured via a four-point harness system. This system uses special harnesses to secure the mobility device so that it does not shift while the bus is in motion.

Once you’re properly seated, simply enjoy the ride! Some transit agencies now provide amenities on board buses – such as USB charging ports & complimentary WiFi. If you decide to use your mobile device to listen to music or watch a video, please use headphones, as loud volume can disturb others on board. Below is a listing of other general rules to follow while on board.

  • Virtually all transit agencies forbid eating, drinking, & smoking on board the bus. Bottled water & infant formula are generally exceptions, but bottles must be closed when not in use.
  • Solicitation of any kind is also forbidden on board all transit vehicles.
  • Be courteous to your fellow riders & the bus operator by keeping conversations with other riders at a low volume. Please keep cell phone conversations at a low volume & to a minimum, & do not engage in unnecessary conversation with the bus operator – especially when the bus is in motion.
  • Weapons of any kind are not allowed – unless your particular country, state, or province has a law passed allowing for such.
  • Designated service animals are allowed on board to assist their respective owner. Some transit agencies may also allow small pets on board – given that they are properly secured in a carrier & not blocking aisles.
  • Strollers & carts should be folded & secured so as to not block aisles.
  • All customers should be properly dressed. Shirts, bottoms, & shoes are required.
  • Standees should hold firmly onto the handrails or overhead straps located on the bus.

Please make sure you’re seated properly while on board the bus & keep alert to when you need to get off.

Approaching your stop

Since transit buses cannot stop as fast as most personal vehicles, it is very important to signal to the bus operator when you need to get off. Most transit vehicles will be equipped with a stop request system that involves either pulling a cord or pressing a button to signal to the operator that you need to get off at the next stop.

Exiting the bus

If you’re able to, please try to exit the bus via the rear door – if there is one. If you need to retrieve your bike from the bike rack, please inform the operator & exit out the front door.

Never try to step in front of the bus unless you’re retrieving your bike, and never cross the street in front of or behind the bus. As much as possible, use designated crosswalks instead. If no crosswalk is available, wait for all traffic to clear before crossing – BUT BEWARE, some municipalities have strict jaywalking laws that by which you’ll be issued a hefty fine by law enforcement if they catch you, so once again…as much as possible, use designated crosswalks.

If exiting at a transit center or other transfer point by which buses pull up right behind another, parallel to the walkway/sidewalk, do not attempt to walk between buses, as the operator might not be able to see you. This is extremely dangerous!

HART July 4th Holiday Service & July Service Changes

Plus holiday schedules for other selected transit agencies

This combined post will cover special holiday service that Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be launching for the July 4th holiday, holiday schedules for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) & a few others, plus go over approved service changes for HART that will take place on Sunday, July 14, 2019.

So what exactly is HART doing for July 4?

Generally, HART has provided some form of extra transit service for the July 4th evening festivities – including extended streetcar service. However this year, they will be running two special complimentary shuttles in the downtown Tampa area to help shuttle people between points in downtown & the Marion Transit Center. This will make it convenient for those who don’t want to hassle with parking in downtown.

A map of the complimentary HART services during July 4th holiday festivities. Click on the image to view the full PDF file.

In addition to the above services, HART will operate its entire system FARE FREE that day. Just keep in mind that all routes will operate on a Sunday schedule & not all routes operate through 12-midnight. Below is a quick rundown of what times the last buses depart the Marion Transit Center.

  • Route 1 – Florida Ave Corridor: 10:05pm
  • Route 5 – 40th St Corridor: 10:00pm
  • Route 6 – 56th St Corridor: 11:00pm
  • Route 7 – West Tampa: 10:00pm
  • Route 9 – 15th/30th Streets: 10:00pm
  • Route 12 – 22nd St Corridor: 10:00pm
  • Route 19 – South Tampa: 10:00pm
  • Route 30 – Kennedy Blvd Corridor/TPA Airport: 12:05am
  • Route 60LX – TPA Airport: 10:00pm
  • MetroRapid Nebraska: 12:00am
  • Routes 8 & 275LX end prior to 9:30pm & thus aren’t listed here.

For schedule information, visit the HART website.
For information on the July 4th festivities – Boom by the Bay, visit the City of Tampa website.

July 4th holiday transit schedules elsewhere

Many transit agencies across the nation will operate limited to no service due to the holiday. Please be sure to plan accordingly if using transit.

  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), StarMetro, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), & Miami-Dade Transit will also operate a Sunday schedule.
  • Votran will operate on a special holiday schedule. Please view the website for details.
  • Many other agencies – such as Pasco County Public Transportation & Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will not operate. SunRail in Orlando will also not operate.

HART July Service Changes

Finally, I’d like to quickly highlight some of the system changes that HART will be rolling out on Sunday, July 14, 2019. These changes will mostly comprise of minor scheduling/time point changes, but three routes will be changed to help restore service lost during the Mission MAX system restructuring in 2017.

Schedules can be viewed on the HART website by selecting the menu button on the upper-right-hand corner, then selecting “Maps & Schedules”, then selecting “System Map & Schedules”, then selecting the routes drop-down box, & then scrolling down to the bottom listing within the drop-down that reads “HART Service Changes, Effective 7/14/19 – Coming Soon”.

  • Route 16 – Waters Ave: Will continue to serve the Rowlett Park loop on eastbound trips. However, buses will travel to the Yukon Transfer Center via Florida Ave after completing the loop & layover at the transfer facility. Buses will then travel straight to Northwest Transfer Center going westbound.
  • Route 30 – Kennedy Blvd/TPA Airport: Service in the WestShore Business District will be altered to restore fixed transit service to Cypress Point Park & the Social Security Administration offices off Cypress St. This area used to be served by Route 10 prior to its elimination during Mission MAX.
  • Route 39 – Busch Blvd: After completing the southbound/eastbound jog on Puritan Rd, 50th St, & Sligh Ave, buses will terminate at the NetPark Transfer Center. Westbound buses will not service 50th St & will continue directly to Northwest Transfer Center. Service to Yukon Transfer Center will NOT be restored at this time. It is unclear what HART may do in the future.
  • Routes 7, 8, 35, 37, and 38 will see minor scheduling changes during the weekdays, with Routes 14, 16, 30, 39, 45, and 46 seeing minor scheduling changes during the entire week.

I will begin updating my HART section here on the Global Transit Guidebook website soon. This will include a brand new route listing, an expanded transit vehicle photo gallery, & updated customer information.

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July, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our July Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Miami-Dade Transit (a.k.a. Miami-Dade Department of Transportation & Public Works – DTPW) # 19154 on Route 137.

This month, we head southeast to Miami, FL, where we have the largest transit system in all of Florida – Miami-Dade Transit. The above photo was taken by our South Florida regional moderator Carlos A.

Miami-Dade Transit was established in 1960 and oversees roughly 90 bus routes, 2 elevated rail lines, a people mover system, & paratransit services. The agency is currently planning to execute a major overhaul of its bus system & wishes to expand upon the current Metrorail elevated rail network. However, like many transit agencies across the globe – funding & political issues act as blockades at times when it comes to realizing the system’s full potential.

One of the biggest problems that has faced M-D DTPW is that its entire fleet has become vastly outdated, with buses & trains consistently breaking down, causing customer frustration throughout the network. Fortunately, this scene is being alleviated with new modern trains & buses, which are entering service throughout the remainder of 2019 & continuing through 2020. Once the fleet has been replenished, there could very well be a major expansion effort that follows.

Our South Florida regional moderator Carlos resides in the Miami area & regularly rides the M-D DTPW system. His photos also grace the Global Transit Guidebook website. Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing a dedicated section to the DTPW network – including a list of bus & rail routes, fleet page, & other information.

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Hurricane Season 2019

Now is the time to prepare for Hurricane Season

It’s that time again…June 1…the official start of Hurricane Season. Last year, we saw Hurricane Florence – which pummeled the Carolinas with catastrophic flooding, as well as Hurricane Michael – which devastated a portion of the Florida Panhandle. Michael was also the first Category 5 storm to strike the continental US since Andrew in 1992. With that said, the time to prepare for the next storm is NOW, as many weather experts predict that it will only be a matter of time before Tampa gets hit head-on with a major hurricane of category 4 or 5 status.

So what’s this year’s forecast?

This year is projected to be roughly an average season; with 13 named storms, 5 of those becoming hurricanes, and 2 of those exceeding Category 2 strength, as forecasted by Colorado State University. Other entities have predicted similar forecasts and when combined, there could be anywhere between 10 and 16 named storms, with 4 to 9 of them becoming hurricanes, and 2 to 4 of them reaching or surpassing category 3 status.

Get Prepared NOW!

Now, I don’t want to give out erroneous information regarding Hurricane preparation. So I’ve left that to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, where they have a website dedicated to disaster preparation called Ready.Gov. I strongly encourage you to visit the site and make preparations before it is way too late.

HART & PSTA Emergency Evacuation Services

For those of you who don’t have transportation and may not have friends/relatives that live in non-evacuation zones or out of town (in other words, this is an absolute LAST RESORT); HART and PSTA operate special services during evacuation periods to allow those who have limited evacuation options to be transported to a county-designated shelter.

Please be mindful that once a storm passes, normal bus service will not immediately resume. Emergency crews will need to first assess damage, clear roads, and restore power. Once it is safe enough to put transit vehicles back on the road, core routes will be gradually restored first. These are bus routes that serve major population centers and normally see 10 to 25-minute weekday frequency. Suburban routes will be gradually restored thereafter.

Stay off the roads once a storm begins

Should the Tampa Bay region be hit with a hurricane of any magnitude; once storm conditions begin to affect the area…you need to remain off the roads! High winds can send trees, tree limbs, power lines and poles, and other objects out into the roadways. Flooding becomes a major issue – especially along coastal areas. Vehicles are at great risk of being damaged by winds, flying objects, and flood waters. And above all – your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, could be placed at immense risk. It is simply NOT WORTH IT to be out on the roads once storm conditions have begun affecting the area.

All transit services will be suspended as soon as county officials deem that it is too dangerous to continue running buses.

Additionally, the Florida Highway Patrol has full authority to close down any, if not all five major bridge crossings in the Tampa Bay Area; the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Bayside Bridge, the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Gandy Bridge, and the Sunshine Skyway. On the Skyway specifically, whenever high winds (anything above 25mph, sustained) are present, the “High Winds” indicator lights will flash as you approach the bridge. FHP will begin shutting down bridges when sustained winds reach 40mph.

Local Hurricane Preparation Resources

Please check with your county/municipality for detailed information on shelters, picking up sandbags, evacuation maps, and more. I have included links for each of the county government websites in the Tampa Bay Area. NOTE: This list does not include individual municipalities. Some municipalities may have specific information for their own residents regarding sandbag pickup locations, etc.

NOTE: Proper identification/proof of residency (i.e. state-issued driver’s license, utility bills showing address) are required when picking up sandbags.

Be safe out there!

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June, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our June Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit # 1218 (ex-Sarasota County Area Transit # 1202X) at the Marion Transit Center in Tampa, FL.

This month, we come back to my original home transit system – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Tampa, FL – to showcase one of its newer additions to the fleet. No, it’s not the swanky new 2019 Gilligs, those will be profiled in a later post. Instead, I’m going to focus on the first batch of secondhand buses that HART has had during the past decade – the 2011 and 2012 40-foot suburban style Gilligs from Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). Before I jump into the buses themselves, let’s take a glance at the HART system as a whole.

HART began back in 1981 as a countywide replacement to privately-operated service Tampa City Lines – which was originally parented by National City Lines. The agency started with roughly 20 or so local routes and a small handful of “Downtowner” express routes that converged into downtown Tampa. Over time, the system gradually expanded to include major portions of Hillsborough County, including Plant City, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, & Ruskin.

In 2005 & 2017 respectively, the agency underwent significant service overhauls & optimizations to gradually shift away from the old hub-spoke system & towards a more gridded system that focuses on streetside transfers rather than formal hubs. With the possibility that a new funding source will finally be put to good use, the agency is gearing up for a major expansion over the next decade that would include doubling current bus service & possibly create new multimodal avenues throughout the county.

Currently, HART has roughly 200 buses in its fleet – but should have around 450 or so to effectively serve the needs of Hillsborough. As of May, 2019, 70 of those buses are powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), & there are plans to add battery electrics to the fleet in the coming years. In addition to the mainstay fleet, HART has acquired the 8 Gillig buses from Sarasota, as well as 6 Gillig buses from Orlando – marking the second time in 11 years that the agency has purchased secondhand buses.

So how are the ex-SCAT suburbans doing?

On November 13, 2018, #’s 1201X (now 1217) & 1202X (now 1218) were formally transferred to HART. Re-branding of the buses into the HART livery began shortly thereafter, followed by general preparation (installing the HART fareboxes, radios, etc.). 1218’s first day in revenue service with HART was March 5, 2019, with 1217 following suit on March 26, 2019. During the course of May 1 through 3, 2019 – after being delayed due to paperwork issues on SCAT’s end – #’s 1101X through 1106X (to be re-branded as simply 1101 through 1106) were transferred & are currently undergoing re-branding. I predict that these buses will be on the road by the beginning of September, though they could enter revenue service as early as mid August. All of the buses will primarily be assigned to Routes 60LX & 275LX – which serve Tampa International Airport. However, runs on Route 20X have happened & runs on the 360LX are not entirely out of the question either.

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May, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our May Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) # B028 on the First Coast Flyer Blue Line.

This month’s destination is Jacksonville, FL, known to many as River City, as the mouth of the St. Johns River is just east of the city center. Jacksonville is among a handful of cities that I know of by which are completely incorporated into the county by which they’re located in. This means that no matter what point you enter Duval County, you also simultaneously enter the Jacksonville city limits. This also means that some services – such as police – operate as a combined countywide entity, rather than having separate municipal and county departments.

In 1988, the residents of Duval passes a gas tax aimed at funding various transportation needs within the county without continuing to rely on tolls. This allowed tolling points along the various tolled bridges and expressways to be eliminated. This, along with other organizational changes over the years allowed the JTA to take on the scope of not just providing public transit services, but also county-level roadway improvements [though some projects involve coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)].

The JTA currently operates the Skyway monorail in Downtown Jacksonville, as well as 30 local bus routes, 7 shuttle bus routes, 4 express bus routes, and the First Coast Flyer BRT Lite network – comprising of 4 lines (one of which is currently under construction). The JTA also operates the St Johns River Ferry, the Clay Community Transportation flex van service, the Gameday Xpress football game shuttle during Jacksonville Jaguars home games, and Paratransit services (Connexion). Additionally, the JTA partners with other entities to provide Connexion Plus (private, same-day, door-to-door service), ReadiRide (on-demand ride-share style service), and the Nassau Express Select van service.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Jacksonville on several occasions during the past two decades, but more recently, I’ve been able to hop on a few of the JTA local routes, as well as the First Coast Flyer Green, Blue, and Red lines. The Purple Line remains under construction, with a projected opening for some time in 2020. The bus depicted in this month’s photo was on the Blue Line. The JTA’s bus fleet comprises of all Gillig Low Floor models, with some newer buses possessing the BRT Plus styling. While most of the fleet is diesel-powered, there are a few diesel-electric hybrid buses operating. In 2014, JTA began transitioning its fleet to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), with its first batch of buses becoming operational in 2015. There are a total of 94 CNG buses in operation (out of a total of roughly 200 buses), with 43 of them being specifically branded for the FCF system.

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Spring Hiatus

Sometimes, you need time to re-focus on more important matters.

As the title implies, I will be taking some time away from publishing new blog posts to re-focus on updating existing content & pages on The Global Transit Guidebook website. This hiatus will begin on Thursday, May 2, 2019 and will end on Friday, June 29, 2019. The only exception to the hiatus will be on Saturday, June 1, 2019, when I will automatically publish my June “Showcase” photo post. Other than that though, there will be no new blog posts during this time.

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WEATHER ADVISORY – Passing cold front brings continuous rain, strong winds

Please plan your commute accordingly today and tomorrow. It’s going to be a wet, blustery day.

Today & Friday (April 18, 2019 & April 19, 2019) are set to be very rough, rainy, & windy for much of the southeastern & east coastal US. Today, much of the southeast can expect heavy rain, gusty winds, & the possibility of hail & tornadoes. That threat moves to Florida & the east coast on Friday.

The very nasty weather is all thanks to a passing cold front that has been making its way through the US for the past week. As you get ready for your day, please secure all outdoor furniture & plan your commutes accordingly. Please do not travel unless it is necessary to do so, as there is a possibility of localized flooding, in addition to the above.

Spectrum Bay News 9 Klystron 9 Radar

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Vacation Time!

Time for a vacation…

I would like to take a few moments to inform my readers that I will be on vacation from of April 11, 2019 through 14, 2019. Additionally, I will be largely offline from April 8 through the 10 & also from April 15 through the 17. During this time; website activities will be temporarily suspended, and Social Media activities will be limited. My social media moderators John B. & Jake will be overseeing The Global Transit Guidebook Facebook Page & the Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group during my time away. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns.

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April, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our April Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) # 3437 on Route 39C in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This month’s destination is Toronto, the provincial capitol of Ontario in Canada, and its transit agency – the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The above photo was contributed by Global Transit Guidebook Forum member Toby R.

Now, if you’ve been following The Global Transit Guidebook for a while now, you’ll notice that this isn’t the first time that a TTC vehicle has appeared on the Showcase rolls. However, the streetcar got airtime last time, so now it’s time for the bus network to shine!

The TTC has been around since the 1920s & operates over 150 bus routes, 10 streetcar lines, & 4 bus routes. In focusing on the bus network this time around, I’ll briefly break down the various bus services that exist within the TTC system, as well as the agency’s bus fleet.

Like any transit agency, the TTC has a network of local bus routes that connect to various parts of the metro region. However, many routes operate in branches (noted by a suffix letter next to the route number) – so some branch routes may serve specific thoroughfares & destinations or have limited stop service, while others may only run limited trips during the day, or seasonal trips. Thus, it’s very important to check the respective route number, map, & schedule to ensure that you board the correct bus. Some routes & branches may operate frequent service – meaning departures are every 10 minutes or better during peak times.

In addition to the local network, the TTC operates a variety of express routes – many serving downtown Toronto, community shuttle routes, & night service routes – operating strategically when streetcar & subway service has ended for the night.

The TTC bus fleet comprises exclusively of either Orion or Nova vehicles – though Orion Bus Industries was later acquired by competitor New Flyer Industries. The agency will pick up new NFI battery electric vehicles later this year – along with a batch of Proterra & BYD battery electric vehicles.

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