Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Next up is Commuter rail, first is Seattle's Sounder. I sat 3 seats back from the loco in this video, and my favorite is the horn, I want it for my car.
Now we can return to our normally scheduled programming..........whatever that is.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has selected the Metropolitan Transit System as the most Outstanding Transit System of the year for all agencies in North America carrying more than 30 million passengers annually. This is one of the most prestigious awards in the transportation industry.
Presenting the award to MTS on July 30 was APTA President Bill Millar.
“This award means that MTS is the best of the best,” Millar said. “Not only that, but they are the best of the largest systems in North America.”
APTA judges systems based on more than a dozen quantitative measures over the last three years and MTS posted positive gains in most, including:
Ridership: Up 12.3 percent
Preventable accidents: Down 14 percent in MTS Bus
Driver-related complaints: Down 26.8 percent
Costs per revenue hour: Down 7 percent
Passengers per revenue hour: Up 200 percent on some routes where MTS reallocated resources from low-productive to high-productive areas
On-time performance: Up 6 percent
Fare revenue: Up 12 percent
Subsidy per passenger: Down 14.1 percent
Fleet replacement: MTS has replaced 224 of its vehicles over the last three years, 88 of which are with environmentally-friendly engines, which are either compressed natural gas or gasoline-electric hybrids.
These positive results have been achieved in a very difficult operating environment. Revenues have been diminished by the elimination of State Transit Assistance funding and by reduced consumer spending. About half of MTS revenues depend on sales taxes.
“This award is the result of a lot of hard work on behalf of our employees, by the people who work for our private sector partners and for the community at large who support public transportation,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “Our goal is always to maintain the highest level of service even when our funding is getting slashed. I think our performance numbers show that we have become a very efficient and well-run agency.”
Other factors also helped MTS earn the award. Over the last three years it has consolidated internal operations, redesigned its bus network of services, renegotiated union contracts, and consolidated several of its bus service contracts. These efforts have saved the agency millions of dollars and allowed MTS to keep service levels high despite reduced revenues.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Article I found about stimulus funds, Note Eugene to invest in Hybrid Technology, while TriMet continues to fight making diesel buses efficient. The link to the whole article which includes what other states are doing with the money is at the end.
The U.S. DOT announced today that 43 local transit agencies from more than two dozen states would share the $100 million in competitive clean-transport grants included in this winter's $787 billion economic stimulus law.The big winners in the bid for extra transit stimulus money were Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Oakland, and the state of Connecticut, all of which won more than $4 million in federal aid to modernize and upgrade their transit systems.
Atlanta's metro transit authority will use its $10.8 million grant to erect the state's largest solar-panel installation, while Los Angeles won $4.5 million for a plan to store and re-utilize the energy produced by braking subway trains.
Today's show of federal support for transit may be just a prelude, however; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is currently evaluating a flood of bids for the stimulus law's $1.5 billion in competitive TIGER grants, which are open to all modes of transportation. Winners of money from the TIGER program -- its full name is Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery -- could be announced as soon as this fall.
After the jump, check out the full list of the transit agencies that won federal grants, along with their proposed projects, as released today by the U.S. DOT.
Oregon: Lane Transit District (Eugene), $3,000,000. Hybrid Transit Buses Incremental Costs: For the incremental cost of hybrid-electric propulsion on 40-foot replacement buses. The buses to be replaced are diesel propulsion and have been in service since 1994.
Oregon: Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Portland), $750,000. Diesel Bus Efficiency Improvements with Bus Cooling System Retrofits: Replace the existing hydraulically-powered engine cooling system with a more efficient electrically powered system. This technology has been shown at TriMet to improve fuel mileage by over 5 percent.
Entire Article here.
3,000 Hybrid Buses: Daimler Buses North America Reaches Sales Milestone Oriskany, USA
Sep 07, 2009
Oriskany, USA - Last week, Daimler Buses North America announced that sales for the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus had surpassed 3,000 units. In other words, Daimler Buses has sold more hybrid drives than any other manufacturer in the world. The announcement was made in Oriskany, where the Orion VII hybrid buses are manufactured. Over 2,200 of the Orion VII hybrid buses are already in service, with an additional 850 firm orders on the books from cities such as New York City, Seattle, Houston, and Ottawa, as well as from Puerto Rico.
"Daimler remains committed to leading the hybrid bus market worldwide, and our subsequent orders in North America is evidence of the confidence our customers have in our buses and coaches with alternative drives," said Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses. "Being the leader is a responsibility that we take seriously and remain committed to delivering leading edge and reliable products for our customers."
The transport company Houston Metro is placing an additional order for 80 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses for delivery in 2010. This year, another 40 buses will be delivered.
Another long-term customer of Daimler Buses North America is the mass transit authority of Puerto Rico, which is extending its existing fleet of conventional Orion diesel transit buses to include hybrid buses. The authority ordered 40 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses, which will be produced and delivered in 2010.
"We are obviously pleased to be the first manufacturer of hybrid buses to reach the 3,000 unit mark, but we will not rest on our laurels," said Dr. Andreas Strecker, president and CEO of Daimler Buses North America. "The technology is advancing quickly, and it is very important for Daimler Buses to remain ahead of the curve in this industry."
Orion began development and production of hybrid buses in the mid-1990s with pilot vehicles first deployed in New York City. While the Orion VII hybrid bus can be seen across North America, New York City is where you'll find the most units in operation. There are already over 1,250 Orion VII hybrids in the New York metropolitan area. What's more, another 425 units are to be delivered over the next nine months, making New York City Transit the largest hybrid fleet in the world.
Series production of the Orion VII began in the early 2000s, and Daimler Buses has since grown to become the world leader for hybrid buses. With the introduction of lithium-ion energy storage technology for buses in volume production in 2008, Orion further underlined its reputation for innovation. This development has reduced the weight of the overall bus and thereby further improving fuel economy. Daimler Buses is currently developing and testing further refinements to the hybrid system that will be introduced in 2010. These technological advancements will offer even greater benefits to our customers and passengers.
The heart of the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus is the HybriDrive propulsion system manufactured by BAE Systems of Johnson City, NY. The bus is powered by a 6.7-liter diesel engine from Cummins, a generator, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion energy storage system. The components are arranged in series and were optimized and configured especially for the Orion VII. The diesel engine, for example, is optimized to run at relatively constant speeds. Acceleration and deceleration are accomplished by varying the speed of the electric motor rather than the diesel engine. This results in maximum efficiency, fuel economy, and clean operation.
Another feature of the Orion VII hybrid is the regenerative braking system that uses the electric drive motor to slow the bus, effectively turning the motor into a powerful generator to help recharge the bus batteries. This feature saves energy and significantly reduces brake wear. The series hybrid design also eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, which means no transmission overhauls - a major maintenance item for conventional buses.
More than 100 million carried in first decade
Saturday, Sept. 19 marks the tenth anniversary of Sound Transit's passenger service. The agency served its first passengers on that day in 1999, rolling out the first ST Express regional buses linking communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Over the last decade Sound Transit's blue and white wave has spread across the region. Service expansions have included more ST Express routes, new transit centers and direct access HOV ramps, Sounder commuter trains between Tacoma and Seattle as well as Everett and Seattle, Tacoma Link light rail, and Central Link light rail service that got underway in July.
As Sound Transit has added more and more services over the past 10 years, the riders have followed. The agency saw a little more than 1 million boardings in 1999; last year more than 16 million riders chose Sound Transit to get where they needed to go.
"We've done a lot in our first decade, and more is on the way," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.
ST Express was the first service Sound Transit launched after work began in 1997 to implement the Sound Move ballot measure. Since then, ST Express buses have carried more than 82 million riders to their destinations via limited-stop express routes.
Today the ST Express fleet includes 243 buses that make 1,382 weekday trips on 26 routes. The fleet includes 40- and 60-foot diesel buses, 60-foot hybrid buses, 40-foot natural gas buses, 45-foot over-the-road coaches and one 40-foot hybrid bus. Sound Transit contracts with Community Transit, King County Metro and Pierce Transit to operate and maintain ST Express buses.
So far, Sound Transit has invested more than $800 million in new transit centers, park-and-ride lots, direct-access freeway ramps and other capital projects supporting the ST Express network and other bus service around the region.
Sound Transit's popular Sounder commuter rail service carried its first passengers on Sept. 18, 2000, with two round trip trains each weekday between Tacoma and Seattle with stops in Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, and Tukwila. Today, nine Sounder round trips operate on that corridor, and in November 2008 voters approved expanding service by 65 percent with longer trains and four more round trips. Everett-Seattle Sounder service got underway in 2002 and now includes four daily round trips, with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds.
Tacoma Link light rail service began in August 2003 and surpassed its 2010 ridership projection in the first year of operations. Central Link light rail opened on July 18, 2009 between downtown Seattle and Tukwila, and direct service to the airport is on schedule to start this December. University Link light rail is under construction and scheduled to open in 2016. The 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure approved 36 additional miles of light rail to form a 55-mile regional system.
Here's a look at Sound Transit's first decade of service by the numbers:
- 26 routes
- 21 corridors served
- 243 buses in the ST fleet
- 5 million hours of service over 10 years
- 106 million miles run over 10 years (a trip to Mars and back)
- 12.5 million ST Express passengers carried in 2008
- $800 million building new transit centers, HOV direct access ramps and park-and-ride lots
- 9,400 average weekday boardings
- 11 locomotives
- 58 passenger cars
- 2.7 million Sounder passengers carried in 2008
- 3,100 average weekday boardings
- 930,000 riders carried in 2008
- 20,500 Tacoma Link boardings during the Tall Ships Festival, July 4-6, 2008
- 3 vehicles
- 92,000 boardings on opening weekend, July 18-19, 2009
- 14,400 estimated average boardings on weekdays in August
- 35 vehicles
- 7-1/2 minute service frequency during peak hours
- 20 hours of service each weekday
- 400-person capacity on a two-car train, with ability to expand to four car trains
Friday, September 18, 2009
Just minutes later I get an email on my phone from TriMet service Updates: