HART’s Gillig Low Floor Buses

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Page updated on 09/03/2017

Moved all photos of the 2002, 2003, & 2004 fleets from Active to Retired, as all three generations will be retired out by early 2018.

New photos are coming later this month! Stay tuned for further updates!

Welcome to the HART Gillig Low Floor page! Unlike my old website, where I had separate pages dedicated to each type of Gillig bus (i.e. 30 foot, 40 foot, 40 foot BRT, etc), everything regarding HART’s fleet of Gillig Low Floor buses will be housed on one page to make website navigation easier for my viewers. Currently, HART only operates Gillig Low Floor buses, which has been a staple of HART’s fleet since 2005. Gillig stopped producing its line of high-floor Phantom buses in 2009, and many transit districts have begun to phase out their older Gillig Phantom models in favor of more efficient, more accessible low-floor models. 2009 was also the same year that HART officially retired its own fleet of Gillig Phantom buses. The Phantoms, along with HART’s other retired buses, can be found on the Retired Fleet page.

The many photos that grace this page were taken by Shawn B. when he operated the original Tampa Bay Transit History website. He also wrote many of the captions that you’ll see associated with the photos he contributed to my website. I’ve arranged this page by model year of the bus. The oldest active fleet of Gillig buses that HART operates are from 2001 – there are three of these left in revenue service. Additionally, some 2002 buses were retired this year, based on the condition of the bus. The newest fleet of buses are powered by Compressed Natural Gas, which I describe in more detail in my Alternative Fuels page.

To note; all of HART’s Gillig buses pre-dating 2015 are powered with Cummins ISL engines, while the newest CNG-fueled buses are equipped with the Cummins Westport ISL G engine. The 2002 through 2004 series buses (excluding HART’s three hybrid buses) are equipped with Voith transmissions (which are most recognizable by the “whistling” noise they make as the bus slows down). The 3 hybrid buses, as well as the 2005 and newer series buses are equipped with Allison transmissions. As you’ll see throughout the photo galleries, each model bus has different options, such as opening side windows, different style of wheelchair lifts, and so on.


 

2005-series 40-foot Gillig Low Floor (Unit #s 2501 through 2512)

In 2005, HART ordered twelve sleek Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) styled Gillig Low Floors to help kick off the transition from the “HARTline” of the 1990s to the current livery and logo. Initially, these buses were almost exclusively used on express routes, which were re-branded as the “Commuter Express” at the time. The buses also initially had a purple, grey, and white color scheme, which allowed me to call them (and the 2006-series buses) the “Purple People Eaters”. In addition, these were the first HART buses to be equipped with an Allison transmission, rather than a Voith transmission of the older low floors. Many operators have told me that these buses are a pleasure to drive!

Although many transit districts posses the stylish BRT design of the Gillig Low Floor (including PSTA, MCAT, SCAT, and HRT), Gillig has made the BRT elements as an optional feature since 2010, so some transit districts nowadays choose not to go with the modern design, but rather just stay with the basics. Other districts still choose the streamlined windows and such, but not the BRT-styled front (i.e. HART MetroRapid).

In 2010, the 2005-series buses were repainted in the current blue and white livery.

Note: #2502 was involved in a serious accident on July 15, 2013 when the operator attempted to make a left turn from 56th St into the Net Park Business Complex (where HART’s Net Park Transfer Center is located) and collided with a sedan and one of the business park’s concrete signs. The incident caused substantial front-end damage to the bus (including a shattered windshield) and nine people were transported to area hospitals for treatment. During the month of March, 2014, HART awarded a contract to Coach Crafters Inc. out of Tavares, FL to rebuild #2502. Source: HART April, 2014 Board Meeting Packet – Page 65, under “Contracts Awarded”. Since, February of 2015, #2502 has been back in revenue service.


2006-series 40-foot Gillig Low Floor (Unit #s 2601 through 2612)

In 2006, HART ordered twelve standard 40-foot Gillig Low Floor buses that matched the same livery and very similar seating arrangement as the 2005-series buses. These buses were also repainted in the current blue and white livery in 2010.

YouTube Video of #2610 in South Tampa – By HARTride 2012 – September, 2009.


2007-series 30-foot Gillig Low Floor Replica Trolley (Unit #s 2701 through 2705)

In 2007, HART ordered five Gillig Low Floor Replica Trolleybuses for use along the In-Town Trolley (now known as the In-Towner) routes. These buses were aimed at replacing the older Optima American Heritage Streetcar-styled trolleybuses, but I’m not sure if more buses than the five currently in service were originally slated to be purchased. The reason being is by the time these Gillig buses began to hit the road, ridership along the In-Town Trolley routes had immensely declined. So much so, that the Hyde Park Line was eliminated and the current Downtown Line (formerly known as the Purple Line) has been cut to just weekday rush hours only. There was also a short-lived weekend line that was implemented not long after the elimination of the Hyde Park line, called the Green Line, which ran to downtown area hotels and the Channelside district.

The Gillig Low Floor Replica Trolleybus is offered through a collaboration between Gillig Corporation and Cable Car Classics. It effectively blends in the standard Gillig Low Floor bus with add-on features to create the appearance of an old-fashioned trolley. These trolleybuses actually run in a lot of districts throughout the US, including PSTA’s Central Ave and Suncoast Beach Trolleybus Lines, which run the 35-foot variant. Additionally, these trolleys are also manufactured with the hybrid drive option.

The exterior incorporates weatherproof, wood-looking trim and decals, along with a cosmetic cupola and a brass bell to convey the traditional trolley appearance. The interior includes solid oak seating, similar to a traditional streetcar. Yes, the bell even works!

Here's #2702 preparing for its journey. The fare for the In-Town Trolley is 25 cents. Photo Credit: Shawn B.
Here’s #2702 preparing for its journey. The fare for the In-Town Trolley is 25 cents. Photo Credit: Shawn B.
#2701 parked at the Marion Transit Center. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. October, 2009.
#2701 parked at the Marion Transit Center. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. October, 2009.
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The back of #2701. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. November, 2009.
Now occasionally, HART will slip a trolley bus on a route where they usually DON’T run, which would be every other HART bus route. But keep in mind that this does happen under rare circumstances, such as maintenance issues with other buses, as well as circumstances where dispatch makes a mistake and sends out the wrong bus. This is one such circumstance, #2704 operating as the now defunct South Tampa Connector, Route 89, on a Monday evening. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. December, 2009.
Now occasionally, HART will slip a trolley bus on a route where they usually DON’T run, which would be every other HART bus route. But keep in mind that this does happen under rare circumstances, such as maintenance issues with other buses, as well as circumstances where dispatch makes a mistake and sends out the wrong bus. This is one such circumstance, #2704 operating as the now defunct South Tampa Connector, Route 89, on a Monday evening. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. December, 2009.

During the summer of 2015, HART rebranded the trolley as the In-Towner and eliminated the line’s fare. These moves are aimed at expanding the trolley’s reach to Tampa residents, whether they live in downtown Tampa or not. HART is currently working with local businesses and groups to see if they can help fund trolley service that has been lost during the course of the last decade.

The new In-Towner branding comprises of the same style livery on the trolleys as the rest of HART’s bus fleet, but the colors are of a white, gray, and light blue scheme.

#2704 in Harbour Island.
#2704 in Harbour Island.
#2703 in Harbour Island.
#2703 in Harbour Island.
The interior of #2703.
The interior of #2703.
Some transit agencies opt for the seating on top of the wheel well. For HART's Gillig Low Floor buses, the trolleys are the only buses in their fleet to posses this option.
Some transit agencies opt for the seating on top of the wheel well. For HART’s Gillig Low Floor buses, the trolleys are the only buses in their fleet to posses this option.

The blues arrive! The 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013-series 40-foot Gillig Low Floors (Unit #s 2901 through 2930, 1001 through 1029, 1201 through 1216, and 1301 through 1312)

These are among the newest members of the HART fleet, comprised of seventy five 40-foot Gillig Low Floor buses. Thirty 2009-series buses began arriving in July 2009, and went into service beginning in August 2009, to replace the 1996 & 1997 Gillig Phantom models.

Twenty-nine 2010-series buses replaced the 2000 series buses, along with the temporary fleet of Champion T-300 buses beginning in February of 2010. The 2012-series buses began to roll in during the month of January, 2013 and are split between twelve MetroRapid buses and two standard service buses (sixteen buses total).

On September 9, 2013, the first of the twelve 2013-series buses arrived at the HART Operations Facility, with the final batch arriving at the end of September. These buses went into service during December, 2013 and January, 2014, replacing 2001-series buses that were in real bad shape.

These buses are very similar in nature to the 2006-series buses, but with some key differences, as you will see in the photos below.


 2009-series Gillig Low Floor (2901 – 2930)

YouTube Video of #2912 in South Tampa – By HARTride 2012 – September, 2009.


2010-series Gillig Low Floor (1001 – 1029)

Now, let’s turn to the 2010 series buses. I must thank Mr. Don Lewis for allowing me to post these photos of #1007 as it completed a test run in Hayward, CA, where Gillig Corp is located. Whenever a new fleet of buses are made, they must often make long journeys to their new homes. Notice how all of the decals are placed on the bus before delivery.

#1007 turns a corner... Photo Credit: Don Lewis.
#1007 turns a corner… Photo Credit: Don Lewis.
...and then another... Photo Credit: Don Lewis
…and then another… Photo Credit: Don Lewis.
...and finally, over the RXR crossing. Photo Credit: Don Lewis.
…and finally, over the RXR crossing. Photo Credit: Don Lewis.

Let’s see these Gilligs in action!


 

 2012-series Gillig Low Floor for MetroRapid (1201-1212)

2012’s order of Gillig Low Floor buses was a split order. Originally, plans called for fifteen transit buses for MetroRapid North-South to be ordered, but budgetary constraints forced the order to be revised. The first twelve buses would be designated for MetroRapid while the latter two would be regular service buses to replace #s 2005 and 2015.

#’s 1201 through #1212 are similar to the 2009 and 2010 series buses, but have a white/gray/lime green livery to match the MetroRapid logo. The interiors have a gray scheme with green and black seat cushions (almost like a jungle pattern). You will also notice the rear faring that is similar to the 2005-series buses. As of 2009, Gillig has made the BRT look an optional feature, so HART decided not to go with the BRT-style front for the MetroRapid North-South buses.

As of July 20, 2016, #1212 has been re-assigned as a regular service bus and has been repainted in golden yellow and sports a full bus ad wrap – photos are coming soon.


 2012-series Gillig Low Floor for Regular Service (1215-1216)

#1216 on the Route 6 at the Marion Transit Center. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
#1216 on the Route 6 at the Marion Transit Center. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
And later, #1216 winds up at the Yukon Transfer Center, Route 1.
And later on in the season, #1216 winds up at the Yukon Transfer Center, Route 1.

#s 1215 and 1216 are virtually identical to the 2010 bus fleet.


 2013-series Gillig Low Floor (1301-1312)

Now, for the 2013-series buses, which are also virtually identical to its blue predecessors. However, there is one key difference. The first row of seats (the ADA row) face sideways, rather than forward. From what I’ve heard, HART has learned that forward-facing seats with folding capability tend to break easily. That’s not a good thing when trying to accommodate the disabled. I also understand that ADA regulations mandate that the wheelchair position seats (often called “Priority Seats”) face sideways. No other changes to the seating configuration was made.


 Moving towards a sustainable future. The 2015-series Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered 40-foot Gillig Low Floor (Unit #s 1501 through 1522)

In 2011, Gillig began to produce Compressed Natural Gas powered buses, strengthening the company’s commitment to manufacturing cleaner fueled transit buses. Many agencies have invested in CNG-powered buses, whether being Gillig, New Flyer, or another manufacturer that produces CNG-powered buses. After several years of evaluating whether to purchase additional hybrid buses, or go with a different option for alternative fueled buses, HART made the choice in 2013/14 to purchase 20 CNG-powered Gillig Low Floor 40-foot buses. Two more buses were added onto the original order to specifically replace two older buses that had been involved in severe incidents which put them permanently out of service. #1522 was specifically added on to the order after #2416 caught fire while returning to the garage from an express run.

These buses are virtually identical to their predecessors from 2013, but of course the biggest difference is the CNG tank on the roof, along with corresponding systems. Interior-wise, these buses feature more ergonomic seating, which are now being featured in the newest Gillig buses, as well as newer competitor buses. Additionally, the ADA priority seating is now virtually identical to the 1999 and 2001 series Gilligs with a 4X3 parallel setup instead of a 2X2 setup seen in the 2013 buses.


The 2016-series Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered 40-foot Gillig Low Floor (Unit #s 1601 through 1613)

The newest batch of thirteen 40-foot Gillig Low Floor CNG-powered transit buses began arriving on August 18, 2016. These buses are virtually identical to their 2015 counterparts with exception to a few technological advances – such as new wheelchair seating securements and ADA seating. Also, the seat backs are gray instead of black.

I hope to have photos of these buses as they begin hitting the road!


More to come soon!

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