The November “Showcase” photo is of a relatively new bus this time, # 1807 from the Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) in Gainesville, FL. This is one of eleven 2018-series 40-foot Gillig Low Floor buses that the agency ordered to replace its oldest buses. The photo shown here was taken by Global Transit Guidebook Forum moderator Sean W.
The October, 2018 “Photo of the Month” features another member of the “dying breed” group of transit buses, and was once again chosen by members of my Facebook group – The Global Transit Enthusiast Lounge. The photo was taken by our photo contributor and assistant administrator Jake L.
This month’s showcase features Broward County Transit (BCT) #1336, which is a 2013 40-foot North American Bus Industries (NABI) Low Floor (or 40-LFW) transit bus operating on Route 36. NABI’s low floor buses were once powerhouses for both Broward and neighboring Miami-Dade County, and there were three model generations manufactured. Additionally, NABI produced a sleek Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) version of the LFW featuring a curved front. The BRT line of buses were produced in 40 and 60-foot (articulated) lengths, while the regular LFW models were produced in 30, 35, and 40-foot lengths. Options for diesel, diesel-electric hybrid, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) were available on both bus types.
BCT and Miami-Dade Transit (part of the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works) both have 1st and 2nd generation models – either diesel or hybrid, and each sporting mechanical and cosmetic differences. The 3rd generation model is based on the 2nd generation, but with various mechanical and cosmetic differences. The 2nd and 3rd generation models had the option for “frameless” exterior window panels.
NABI was acquired in 2015 by New Flyer and thus the former’s line of buses are no longer produced. BCT was originally due to get one the final batches of 40-LFW 3G models, but they wound up cancelling the order due to financial difficulties. Fifteen of the buses wound up being acquired by M-DT for service on their express routes that originate in Broward County, while the remaining buses went elsewhere.
A couple of years ago, I signed up with Paper.li to try out their customized “e-paper” based on specific topics that fancies one’s interest. While I’ve enjoyed being able to share various transit-related news through this platform, various changes that are beyond my control have forced me to re-evaluate whether to continue with the service for the time being or not. For the moment, I will continue to have my Transit Roundup “e-papers” published, but they will be done so on a weekly basis after Saturday, September 8, 2018. After this date, “e-papers” will be published every Saturday morning.
For the September, 2018 Photo of the Month, I decided to once again offer members in The Global Transit Enthusiast Lounge an opportunity to contribute their transit photos. Each contribution was then put up for a vote to see which one would grace the cover of my social media pages/groups and become the Showcase photo for September as well.
The winning photo was taken by our social media moderator Carlos A. and shows Trinity Metro (in Fort Worth, TX) bus #1105 on layover during its run on Route 67X, which operates Monday through Friday and connects the South and Southeast campuses of Tarrant Community College. Bus #1105 is a 2015 40′ Gillig Low Floor bus that is fueled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Many transit agencies in Texas have CNG-powered buses in their fleets in addition to diesel units.
Now this isn’t the first time that the 67X designation has come about, as there were two previous versions on the 67 that were eliminated. One of which was an ultra-express connecting Dallas with Fort Worth. I’m guessing that this incarnation was later replaced by the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail that opened in 1996. In addition to the TRE, Trinity Metro is also constructing the TEXRail Commuter Rail line that will connect Downtown Fort Worth directly with Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Have you noticed something different about some of my sections lately? Yep, you guessed it! It’s time for a major update of The Global Transit Guidebook.
Over the next few months, I’ll be updating information in the existing sections, adding new sections, and expanding my photo collection. In addition, I’ll be able to kick start my new Jacksonville, FL section due to a recent trip.
I know that everything looks very disorganized now, but as I work to make these much-needed improvements, you’ll see a much better guidebook materialize so that transit riders, enthusiasts, and advocates alike can enjoy a better experience.
~ HARTride 2012 & Staff
For the August, 2018 Photo of the Month, I decided to offer members in The Global Transit Enthusiast Lounge an opportunity to contribute their transit photos. Each contribution was then put up for a vote to see which one would grace the cover of my social media pages/groups and become the Showcase photo for August as well.
The winning photo was taken by group member Toby R. and depicts Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcar #4135 traveling to Neville Park on Line 501. The model train pictured is a 1980 or 1981 UTDC/Hawker Siddeley CLRV L-2. While the older stock has been well maintained, they are slowly being phased out in favor of newer LRVs manufactured by Bombardier. Because of various issues with Bombardier, the rollout of the new LRVs has been painstakingly slow, leaving many of the older trains to see another day in revenue service – at least through 2019.
The TTC streetcar system is among a handful of streetcar lines that still operate in North America – as many were torn apart during the course of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s in favor of buses and personal automobiles. The TTC at one point even considered giving up on its own streetcar lines because of the high cost of maintenance and restoration of crumbling infrastructure. However, public pressure led to the TTC keeping many of its streetcar segments running.
July is here! Meaning that we’re halfway through 2018, and Summer is well underway. As many of us prepare for the July 4th holiday here in the US, some may not be aware that Hillsborough Area Regional Transit enacts its summer, 2018 service changes today. Among those changes are new Routes 48 and 275LX, but also the discontinuation of Route 51LX and the In-Towner Trolley services.
The selection of July’s Photo of the Month could not be anymore perfect when it comes to paying homage to a trolleybus service that has been in existence in Downtown Tampa since its people mover line was dismantled in the early 2000s. The line was supposed to have been part of a larger system – like Miami’s MetroMover – but failed to gain any traction. Thus what was originally known as the Uptown-Downtown Connector was launched as a replacement service.
Over the years, HART has made various changes to how the trolleybus lines operate – from routing and scheduling, to fares and vehicles, to gauging who’s riding each day. Over time though, ridership was somewhat limited and by 2007, began to really falter. An evening and weekend segment through Hyde Park (Route 98) was axed, and then the Downtown Tampa loop (Route 96) was reduced to weekday peak-hour service only. Through it all, two iterations of a riverside service (Route 97) came and went.
As the overall transportation landscape in the urban Tampa core changes to host more on-demand services such as Uber and the Tampa Downtown Partnership-operated Downtowner shuttle, it remains to be seen as to whether the area will get a true, frequent circulator service. Some like myself argue that such a service is needed to quickly get people from Hyde Park and West Tampa into Downtown and Channelside, and thus supplement the future TECOline Streetcar extension towards Tampa Heights. Questions also remain as to whether HART will take over the Downtowner shuttle, which is currently being discussed.
The June “Photo of the Month” is Hillsborough Area Regional Transit bus #1720, which is one of ten 2017-series 40′ Gillig BRT Plus CNG transit buses that the agency received last year. This purchase was made possible thanks to a Federal Transit Administration grant that was awarded to the agency. From what I understand, the agency is trying to apply for the same grant this year to fund additional bus replacements for 2019. Such replacements will allow HART to phase out the aging 2005 and possibly 2006 transit buses – which were brand new when I began riding HART back in 2006. How time sure flies! I miss the new bus smell on the 2005 and 2006-series buses.
Each month, I post a photo to be showcased here on the website, as well as on my Social Media channels. Please feel free to contact me if there is a transit photo that you would like me to showcase as part of my “Photo of the Month” series.
May’s “Photo of the Month” showcase is New York City Transit #5618, which is either a 2002 or 2003 New Flyer D60HF articulated transit bus. These buses were originally designated as the D60 prior to the manufacturing of low floor buses and are also known by their nickname, the “Galaxy”. I got to ride one of these buses along the M79 “Crosstown” route in Manhattan prior to its conversion to Select Bus Service (BRT Lite). Upon the conversion, the D60HFs were immediately replaced by newer Nova LFS and New Flyer Xcelsior articulated models.
Like many older transit buses, the D60HF is no longer being manufactured, as New Flyer only produces its Xcelsior low floor line of transit buses. The remaining buses are being replaced by such newer buses, as well as newer model Nove LFS articulated units. It won’t be much longer before there’s only a handful of these buses left in service, so I know of many transit enthusiasts who are trying to get their final batches of photos, videos, and bus rides in before 2018 comes to a close. Like many retired bus fleets in the New York City metro region, I expect one or two (maybe three or four) units to be preserved by the New York Transit Museum and perhaps a few other units preserved by other transit museums.
Can you believe that it’s been 10 years since I began blogging about public transit? I sure can’t! It almost seems just like yesterday that I put together The Tampa Transit Utopia Discussion and began to express my feelings and thoughts about public transit in my region and beyond. So what exactly have I done in these past 10 years when it comes to blogging about transit? Well, let’s take a quick look.
Besides all of the blog posts and content pages that you’ve likely seen, I’ve taken a trip to Belgium & France, a trip to Norfolk & Virginia Beach, two trips to New York City, & several trips to Orlando. I’ve also been able to decrease my dependency on a car and take transit much more often than I used to, which allows me to take stress off my aging and increasingly unreliable car. In addition, I’ve been able to utilize a variety of transit modes – including local & express bus, shuttle & flex van, light rail, commuter rail, monorail, funicular, and subway.
You can see in the collage above just some of the buses and trains that I’ve had an opportunity to ride on or at least photograph. I’ve enjoyed many combined rides on board Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT), Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT), Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT), SunRail, LYNX, Votran, StarMetro, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), and many others.
So what is my favorite transit system? Well, that’s a tough one. I would say PSTA is my favorite, with the New York City MTA being a very close second. PSTA is my favorite not only because it’s my home system, but because they’ve been able to make a lot of improvements over the past 10 years – despite the failure of the 2014 Greenlight Pinellas sales tax referendum. The MTA is my second favorite because I was able to get to so many destinations in the New York City region without having to jump into a car – all despite the hardships that commuters face each day on the buses & subway trains.
While HART will always have a place in my heart, I feel that local government is neglecting transportation in Hillsborough County to a point where it’s almost unbearable to use transit there, & it’s really sad that it’s come to this point. When you have too many people who think that transit is only for the poor & disabled & thus don’t think it’s worth it to fund the system unless you’re able to leverage blowing tons of money into interstate highway widening with nonsense toll lanes, it’s really sickening to be honest. Transportation should not be a partisan political football – period, and for that reason, I’ve been able to gradually increase my transit advocacy – including through my No Tax For Tracks Truth Page Presents – Away with Tampa Bay Next Facebook Page.
So what will the next 10 years bring? Well, more transit photos, videos, stories, and other content, as well as more involvement in transit advocacy. I also hope to be able to embark on a few more travels – including round 2 in Europe, round 3 in Tallahassee, round 4 in New York City, as well as possible trips to Miami, Jacksonville, & San Francisco. I also fully intend to keep my site around for at least another 10 years & am trying my best to execute an expansion that I’ve been planning for the past several months. My day job has been quite busy as of late, so it hasn’t allowed me to do as much updating as I would like.
Before I close out this post, I want to say thank you to all of my visitors & group members, as well as all those who have provided support & contributions to my site over the past 10 years. I also want to thank the many members, moderators, & administrators at SkyScraperCity for giving me inspiration to launch what is now The Global Transit Guidebook, & for continuing to support my endeavors along the way! Without your support, I would not be able to do what I do today. Thank you!