Thursday, May 15, 2014

More and More New Buses

I must officially be a journalist because I wrote information I thought was accurate but really wasn't. I was close, and I assumed. Please see an updated article here.

The Vehicles app feed updated its list of vehicles with placeholder for the new buses, and it included a big surprise.

TriMet's developer tools page includes a few different feeds for apps. The newest of these feeds, "Vehicles," provides a list of all the vehicles in the system for bus and MAX. You can see this feed at Jason McHuff's (@rosecitytransit) SystemMapper here.

Just like last time (when the 3100s showed up), the placeholders for the new buses have been added to the feed ahead of the installation of the radio systems on these buses. And as expected, there are a lot of them. The new Gillig 40-foot buses include numbers 3201 through 3260.

But in a shocking turn of events, also present in the list are 3301 through 3330. What does this mean?
TriMet used to start a fleet number series and then include add-on orders if the buses were similar enough (i.e. 1701-1853 were all one series, although they were purchased over a period of three years). But when TriMet changed their color scheme a year after starting the 2500-series in 2001, they couldn't just keep the list going since the buses looked completely different. Hence, we have the 2600s being only one year younger than the 2500s. Last year's 3100s were nearly identical to the 3000s from the year before, but the number series changed, and the 3200s follow suit.

But what does it mean that there are two different number series coming this year? It means that the buses have to be different somehow. But how?

THE 3300s ARE NEW 30-FOOT BUSES. (No, no, no. The 3300s are 40-foot buses. The 3400s, coming early next year, are 30-foot buses. Just assume that we're talking about the 3400s and read on.)

The 1600s (25 years old) and the 1900s (22 years old) will finally be retired, along with all the remaining 1400s and 1700s (totaling 48 buses on the list, meaning some 2000s or 2100s might even be retired this year). (The TriMet adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2015 shows the number of buses from year to year is increasing. Therefore, I now assume that they are simply replacing 48 buses with 60.)

Riders of shorty-bus cursed lines 18, 34, 39, 50, 51, 63, 80, 81, 83 and 152 will rejoice as their old decrepit dinosaurs will be replaced with new clean low-floors with ramps instead of lifts.
Behold, the dark ages are coming to an end, and not a moment too soon.

Retired bus 1905, sitting in Merlo Garage.

Bus 1612 at Oregon City Transit Center

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