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One of the biggest problems that has faced M-D DTPW is that its entire fleet has become vastly outdated, with buses & trains consistently breaking down, causing customer frustration throughout the network.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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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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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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March, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

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


This month’s destination is New York City – but I’m not profiling the MTA this time. It’s time to give the PATH some limelight. I took the above photo during my 2017 New York City transit excursion.

The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway system originated from its predecessor – the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad – & was originally envisioned to be much larger than it is today, but budgetary, political, & other constraints stifled every possibility of the network realizing its full potential. Nonetheless, the PATH line are an integral part of the overall regional transit network in New York City & surrounding areas.

PATH service operates seven days a week with frequent service during the day on weekdays & less service on weekends & overnights. There are two service branches – the Newark/World Trade Center branch & the Newport/Hoboken/Midtown Manhattan branch. Service patterns vary between weekday daytime & weekday evening/weekends/holidays. The current service pattern, schedules, & service advisories are available on the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey website.


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February, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

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


This month’s destination is Salt Lake City, UT & its surrounding region – served by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). The UTA operates roughly 110 fixed bus routes [including bus rapid transit (BRT) service], several light rail lines, a modern streetcar line, & a commuter rail line. The agency also possesses over 400 transit buses (mostly Gilligs, but there are some Orion & New Flyer buses as well), roughly 164 paratransit & flex vans, roughly 114 light rail vehicles, 53 commuter rail cars, & 18 locomotives (as of 2017).

The Showcase photo for this month is bus # 13036, which is a 2013 40-foot Gillig Low Floor diesel with the BRT Plus styling. While most of UTA’s buses are diesel powered, there are some diesel-electric hybrid & compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses in the fleet as well.

UTA services operate throughout the week, with many bus routes operating at least every 30 minutes during the day – with some popular routes operating every 15 minutes. Bus & rail services can vary depending on the type of route or service, destinations, & day of the week. Services may be reduced during major holidays.


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January, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

To kick off the month of January, I decided to go into uncharted territory. Where exactly you ask?


Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority # 3014 on Route 12.

This month’s destination was Corpus Christi, TX – home of the Corpus Christi RTA. This agency has over 50 vehicles comprising of diesel and CNG-powered transit buses, as well as CNG-powered cutaway vans like the one pictured above. This particular van is a 2015 27′ Arboc Spirit of Mobility model, built on a Chevy G4500 chassis. Arboc specializes in manufacturing cutaway vehicles for a variety of operations & is a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Flyer Industries (NFI).

The CCRTA network encompasses over 30 routes & operates service 7-days-a-week. There is no transit service some major holidays, with Sunday-level service being operated on others. Please check the CCRTA website for details on schedules & maps. Oddly enough, this is one of the few transit agencies in the US that actually shuts down on Easter Sunday.

I want to thank Global Transit Guidebook Forum member Ray C. for contributing this month’s photo. If you’d like to contribute a photo for a future “Showcase” post, please reach out to me via the Contact Form, or join The Global Transit Guidebook Forum group on Facebook. Regular photo contests are held in the group throughout the course of the year.


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December, 2018 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

Can you believe that 2018 is almost over? I certainly can’t. For the December Showcase, I decided to post a collage of various transit vehicles that I photographed this year. I hope you will enjoy the selection, as I do this each December.


The 2018 Year-End Transit Photo Collage – Select the image for a closer look.
From top to bottom, left to right: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority # 18105, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit # 1717, Tampa International Airport SkyConnect # 02, Manatee County Area Transit # 59103, Jacksonville Transportation Authority # B014, Flagler County Public Transportation #99, Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (d.b.a. LYNX) # 141-313, SunRail locomotive # 105.

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November, 2018 Photo of the Month

Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) # 1807 on layover. Photo courtesy of Sean W.

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.

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