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.
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.
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!
If you’ve been by Williams Park in Downtown St. Petersburg during the past week, you may have noticed something different.
That’s right, the various bus shelters that currently surround the park are slowly coming down as part of an effort by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) to discontinue using the park as a transfer hub. The park has been used as the city’s bus terminal since the 1950s, when PSTA’s predecessor agency, the St. Petersburg Municipal Transit System, was rising in popularity. The goal is to have virtually all PSTA bus routes out of Williams Park by Valentines Day, though there will be one or two routes that will still serve the park.
It’s been a while since I published a website update post, so let’s go through some of the changes that I’ve made thus far, as well as highlight what is to come for the remainder of 2015.
Currently, my website is beginning a full-blown expansion into Pinellas County. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see a dramatically more detailed Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) section with general system information, a bus fleet section, as well as dedicated sections for the trolleybus and Flex (Connector) routes. I am finally having a chance to complete this section because I now reside in St. Petersburg and am able to have opportunities to ride aboard the PSTA system. Please be sure to read up on my first PSTA bus adventure and stay tuned for Episode 2, which is coming real soon! In addition to the PSTA section expansion, please look for further updates on the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit section, as well as updates and expansion to the Hampton Roads Transit, Manatee County Area Transit, and Sarasota County Area Transit sections. Also be sure to look out for the completion of my Metro Orlando and Tallahassee sections as we approach the end of 2015.
Improvements made so far
You probably have noticed many improvements that have already been made to my website during the past few weeks. These improvements include:
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (Florida Transports)
Transit Routes – Gave the page a new look and updated route information.
MetroRapid – Updated “Future Corridors” and “Fleet” sections.
Current Bus Fleet – Gave the page a new look using photo mosaics for sections that have more than 3 to 4 photos, and added 38 new photos.
Bus Fleet Roster – While this page is still up, all future updates to the HART bus roster will be made via an Excel spreadsheet that is available through my Dropbox account.
Transit Routes – Gave the page a new look and updated route information.
Hampton Roads Transit (Virginia Transports)
Virginia Beach WAVE – Updated route information, as service is winding down for the year.
Intercity Services (New Page in the main Transports page) – This page will go through the intercity and mainline bus and rail services that are available in the United States and beyond.
Disclosures Page (Legal Stuff) – This page lists any contributions to non-profit and political advocacy groups.
Stamps being added to new photos
You’ll probably notice something different about my newest batch of photos. Photos that were taken in August, going forward, have been stamped to lessen the chance of my photos being used elsewhere without my permission. While I have not had any problems with unauthorized use of my photos, I have heard about other transit photographers having issues, so I’d rather be on the safe side going forward. The photo at the top of this post serves as an example of what you’ll see.
Please note that I will still post photos that will be designated for Public Domain.
That bar at the bottom of each post
Yes, another change is what you’ll see at the end of each post. My website’s URL, along with a link that goes directly to my Contact Form, links to my social media sites, and links to my Legal Stuff page, including Disclosures.
In the coming weeks, I will be putting together a post about the BYD (Build Your Dreams) Motors E-Bus. This battery electric bus has been in revenue service at a few transit agencies across the US and the company hopes to be able to expand further in the coming years. This week, the bus was in St. Petersburg and Tampa to showcase what they have to offer to both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. While both agencies remain skeptical about whether battery electric buses will work on their systems one thing remains clear, that as the upfront cost of these buses go down, and the better the battery technology gets – allowing for longer ranges of travel, the better the chances that more transit agencies will try these buses out, and perhaps even purchase them. My fellow transit blogger Zac – also known as Transit 509 – previously blogged about the BYD E-Bus while a previous model was doing trial runs in Spokane and in the Tri-Cities area of Washington (State).
It’s the end of an era for Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, and no…it’s not the St. Pete Pier.
The 1956 span of the Gandy Bridge, known since 1999 as the Friendship Trail Bridge, is coming down after sitting dormant and decaying for the past seven years. Despite efforts during the past several years to try and save the bridge from the wrecking ball, none were able to materialize.
Back in January of this year, a fiery tanker accident damaged a section of retaining wall (pictured above) that was being constructed in St. Petersburg, FL, placing its structural integrity into question. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is constructing the retaining wall as part of a decades-delayed freeway project along the median of Gandy Blvd. Because traffic will soon travel along the elevated roadway, the damaged section of wall must be replaced and the soil behind the wall strengthened, otherwise the wall could one day collapse…causing an even bigger mess.
Some commuters may wonder why its taken this long for the repair work to begin. Well, the reason is quite simple really…while work on other parts of the freeway has been allowed to continue, the insurance companies of the involved parties have had to determine who was at fault for the accident, which sometimes can take weeks to determine. Once the at-fault party was determined, that party’s insurance company had to communicate with FDOT as far as the severity of the damage to the roadway and how much the repairs could cost. After all the of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place so to speak, and the claim is resolved, then the funds are paid out so that the repairs can begin. The entire process of settling an insurance claim can often times be very time consuming (believe me…I know a few people who are auto insurance adjusters…it’s not fun at all).
Because of the damage, the entire freeway project has likely been set back somewhat. Hopefully though, the new roadway can still open sometime in 2017. Once it does open, several Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus routes will be able to flow more smoothly…along with the rest of the traffic in the area.