I would like to take a few moments to inform my readers that I will be on vacation during the week of May 7 through 13, 2017. During this time; website activities will be temporarily suspended, and Social Media activities will be limited. My South Florida and Northeast Regional moderators will be overseeing The Global Transit Guidebook Facebook Page during my time away. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns.
For the month of April, our “Photo of the Month” is Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority #16102 – one of seven new 2016-model 40-foot Gillig Low Floor BRT design Diesel-Electric Hybrid buses. These buses arrived on the PSTA premises back in December of 2016 and began entering revenue service during March of 2017 (though #’s 16101 and 16105 have not yet seen revenue service).
While these buses are virtually identical to their older BRT hybrid counterparts, they sport the latest in BAE HybriDrive technology, so the ride is much smoother and quieter. In fact, if the bus is traveling less than 20mph, the battery is in full control. Also, when the bus is idle, you may notice a slight vibration in the bus as if the engine is shutting off. This is not the case however, the bus is still running even though it is in idle. Operators had to receive special training on this so that they do not think something has gone wrong with the bus. Once the bus exceeds 20mph, or if the battery life drops below 60%, the diesel engine will kick on and recharge the battery. The diesel engine on these buses do not sound as loud as their older counterparts either.
Currently, you’ll find these buses mostly on Route 59, but they have appeared on Routes 18, 52, 74, and 300X from time to time.
The March, 2017 “Photo of the Month” is a preserved GM New Look transit bus, taken by photo contributor Dion M.. These buses were introduced by General Motors in 1959 and became a staple in public transit networks throughout the US and Canada through the 1970s and 80s. Many buses remain preserved thanks to various non-profit groups who have committed resources to keeping the history of these buses alive.
The Photo of the Month for February, 2017 was taken by my photo contributor Jake. He resides in Orange City, FL, which is just west-southwest of Daytona Beach, and has taken many photos of the transit buses in Volusia County, as well as neighboring Seminole and Orange Counties. The transit systems that he has photographed include Volusia County Transit (Votran), the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (d.b.a. LYNX), and SunRail. In addition, Jake often takes photos and videos of various First Responder vehicles. You can check out his YouTube Channel and Flickr Feed when you have a few moments.
The photograph shown here is of one of many LYNX transit buses. Over the past several years, the Gillig Low Floor BRT style transit bus has become the mainstay transit bus for the agency – with their one-piece windshields and sloping front and rear. LYNX has recently been ushering in CNG-powered transit buses, which means that the newer Gillig BRT+ style transit buses began making their debut in 2015. Making their debut in 2016 was a line of New Flyer Xcelsior CNG articulated buses, along with another batch of Gillig Low Floor BRT+ style CNG buses. LYNX also has several Nova LFS artics and two NABI BRT style artics in its fleet.
You may be reading the title of this post, but that’s not what I’m calling this story. In fact, right now, the story doesn’t have a name – not even a working title. However, I feel that I have put together enough details to be able to bring forth some basic information about the project to my readers.
What is this story about?
First and foremost, this is purely a work of fiction. While it does take place in a real life area, the characters, venues, and many other elements of the story are all fictional, and all of my own creation. There will be some references to present-day events, places, and public figures, but all are done so coincidentally.
The story takes place in the Tampa Bay Area, but primarily St. Petersburg – all set in the year 2066 (later going into 2067). There won’t be flying cars (I don’t see that we’ll be in the Jetsons age that quickly), but vehicles will be automated and a key roadway that many use today won’t be in existence. There will also be a vast bus and monorail system involved, as well as a built-out Brightline intercity rail system, and a wide array of areas for people to take a breath of fresh air at (also known as parks).
The story revolves around a young man named Nathan Tipton. He is a police officer in San Francisco who winds up moving to St. Petersburg with his mom and younger brother (the latter who is also a police officer). While trying to get adjusted to his new life in Florida, he runs into some old friends and adversaries while trying to make new friends and find his forever soulmate. Throughout the story, Nate also encounters a variety of situations with some being harder to deal with than others.
As I continue to put this story together, I will post subsequent updates regarding the characters, venues, and the overall area by which the story takes place in. I don’t want to reveal too much more about the plot so as to not spoil everything.
If you’d like to provide any suggestions for this project, please feel free to contact me through the Contact Form (link is below).
(Note: All links above have been updated to reflect the new website)
The Photo of the Month for December, 2016 was taken by my photo contributor and Social Media moderator Carlos. He resides in the Miami, FL area and frequents Miami-Dade Transit, as well as Broward County Transit, PalmTran, Tri-Rail, and from time to time – visits other transit systems in Florida and beyond. His most recent out-of-state trip was to New York City, where he got to visit the new 34th St/Hudson Yards subway station.
The bus photographed was the Optare Solo low floor shuttle bus, which was very short-lived in the United States due to a lack of demand and sales. Miami-Dade Transit purchased several of these buses during the course of 2003 with some having a rear door. During the time that this bus was being introduced in the US, Optare was owned by North American Bus Industries (NABI), which was recently bought out by New Flyer Industries. NABI sold Optare in 2005 and that contributed to the demise of the Solo bus in the US.
With the redesign of my website; I brought back the “Photo of the Month” section to showcase a particular transit photo that I took during the past month. For the month of November, and going forward however, I decided to include contributor photos into the mix. This allows me to showcase a broader range of transit vehicles and agencies – including agencies by which I currently do not cover in my website.
This month’s photo was taken by John, one of my photo contributors and social media moderators. He resides in the Bangor, ME area and has taken some pretty cool photos of the city’s “Community Connector” bus system. In addition; he has also taken photos of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority system in Boston, MA, as well as the Lowell Regional Transit Authority system – which serves Lowell, MA (just outside Boston) and the towns of Billerica, Burlington, Dracut, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford and Wilmington, MA.
Many of you may know by now that my website is undergoing a major revamp, which began with the implementation of a new theme. But now I have a new name for the site as well, and I think that most of you will be delighted to see the changes!
After careful consideration; I’ve decided to officially rename my site as “The Global Transit Guidebook by HARTride 2012”. I chose this name due to the global scope and reach that I want my site to have. I want to be able to profile multiple transit agencies from across the globe and be able to do so in a similar fashion to that of a magazine or travel guidebook. Thus I think the new name fits in with my intentions quite perfectly!
While you can still link to my site using the existing web address – hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com, I very happy to say that I have a domain name – globaltransitguidebook.com
The theme that I’ve chosen for my site was actually featured by WordPress back in 2014 – thus its name is Twenty Fourteen. Its sleek, modern, magazine-like design is perfect for what I want to convey to my readers – and it’s mobile friendly too! You’ll notice on the homepage that there is a scrolling section where I will post new and featured posts. The posts that you see on the scrolling section will change regularly so that you’re not seeing the same content week after week.
You will also notice the Showcase section on the right-hand side of most pages. This section will feature specific highlights from my transit travels and other snippets. In addition to the new Showcase section, the Photo of the Month module from a previous version of my site has returned. This module will be situated on the left-hand side of all pages, and members of The Global Transit Guidebook Forum (Facebook Group) will have the chance to vote on future selections.
There will be many other changes that you will begin seeing in the next several weeks – including new photos and graphics, as well as updates to my transit adventures and new episodes of Transit 101 and other focus posts (now called Spotlight Posts). I will also be adding new watermarks to my photos to help deter unauthorized usage.
With the upcoming website changes – one that you may already have noticed (which is a new theme that I’ll go over soon) – I will be uploading a ton of new photos, as well as photos that previously were not uploaded due to website sections being incomplete. I invite you to please stay tuned for the new photos, as you’ll like them a lot!
This fall, I plan on beginning a massive overhaul and relaunch of my website to provide a better experience for my readers. In order to build a better website; I have put together an online survey that will ask for your suggestions. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete, and your suggestions are greatly appreciated. During the survey, you will also have the chance to suggest a new name for the site.
What does the survey encompass?
What is the first impression when you visit my site?
I will ask you to rate my site overall, as well as 5 specific aspects: layout, functionality, attractiveness/design, content, and interactivity.
What do you want to see?
What existing content do you want to continue seeing on my site? What new content do you want to see? And is there anything that you no longer want to see?
Transit Agency Profiles
What transit agencies would you like me to profile in the future?
What’s in a Name?
You will have a chance to suggest a new name for site. While this section is completely optional, if you can think up a catchy name that relates to public transit and isn’t copyrighted, I might just choose your suggestion.
Suggest anything that I didn’t cover in the survey
Deadline to complete the survey
The survey will be open through September 24, 2016 – 11:55PM EDT.
After that, the link to the survey will be deleted and no further responses will be allowed. I will then spend the next week evaluating responses. I hope to be able to re-launch the site by December 3, 2016.
So without further delay…