Apr 28, 2007

Just Wondering… me too!

David Harrison on his blog has brought up the question of route signs on Durham Region Transit buses. I was going to leave my comment on his blog but I decided to turn it into a full fledge post.

First of all note that the photos show that only the Pickering routes display the route number.

The codes for the Luminator signs (electronic sign) are not easy to remember. In fact, they are so difficult that DRT west has to post a sheet with the codes in every bus. The same problem exists with the old roller destination signs. The drivers cannot
read the sign from the inside of the bus. They crank the sign until they see a number in the little peephole. The number has nothing to do with the route number. There has to be a sheet posted in the bus with the codes. If you are working the same runs every day, you get used to codes. Now, added to the confusion, bus number 8012, 8013, 8016, or 8017 (I hope I have these numbers right) have different set of codes for the Luminator. These buses have been around for a number of years and have an older type of program. That makes three different types of codes that have have to be remembered or in this case posted into the correct bus.

After reading David’s post on Friday I wanted to check the New Flyers. I was at Pickering base on that day and there is only one Flyer there. At the present time, in the afternoon it is used on the Ontario Power Generation Employees route. I looked at the code list and found that the Audley South route and the Audley North route were not listed on the sheet. It turns out that all New Flyers are the same. What gives?

If a driver has been assigned to one of theses buses they would assume without checking that the list is up to date and the Luminator is fully programmed. Maybe after driving the bus for a few hour there is switch to another route. The code sheet is checked for the number to punch in and oops it’s not on the list and the Luminator has not been programed. The operator then has to improvise.

When the TTC had only roller type destination signs in their buses the number that the driver had to crank in was the same as the route number. They were also in order. Then the TTC started to to install Luminator signs. They also went through the same problems that DRT has now. TTC started off with a complicated set off codes. The operator had to carry a sheet with all of the codes printed out. Someone suggested that the codes could be simplified by using codes that matched the route numbers. Problem solved.

These Luminators are easy to reprogram. A hand held device with all the route information is plugged into the bus and the information download to the memory of the Luminator. Simply eh!

Those who ignore history are condemned TO REPEAT IT!

Apr 16, 2007

Smoking is not a Go

Things were a hopping today at the Pickering Go Station. The Go transit enforcement officers were there. They were enforcing Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Apparently smoking is no longer allowed on any bus and train platforms or any other pedestrian areas. You may smoke in outdoor parking lots, including the kiss & ride lanes.

Apr 15, 2007

The Green Party and the backroom deals

This has nothing to do with transit. Or does it? I sent the following email message to the Green Party of Canada.

I was ready to vote for the Green Party in the next election. It did not matter who the candidate would be. After reading about the election deal that has been made with Stéphane Dion, I now see that your party can stoop and descend as low as the other jerks. What a disappointment.

I just had my to have my say.

Apr 11, 2007

The Hamilton Street Railway Articulated Hybrid Bus

The following are some photos I grabbed off the internet. It's the New Flyer articulated bus that is now in operation in the City Of Hamilton Ontario. Read the full report here.

New Flyer HSR articulated hybrid bus
Front view
More interior

Apr 1, 2007

Kingston Transit is going green

The following press release appeared on the Kingston Transit web page. I wish I had some photos of the green bus to display.

Starting this week, the City of Kingston began a trial program designed to test whether using smaller buses on select routes will save money and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Three new "small" buses have been purchased, the first of which was introduced last week on Route 1A, the Belle Park "park and ride" route.

The new buses, manufactured by El Dorado National, are smaller than those already familiar to Kingston Transit riders, with the capacity to carry approximately 20 seated passengers rather than the traditional 40.

These diesel fuel-powered buses cost $90,000 as opposed to $400,000 for a traditional bus and are expected to be more environmentally friendly due to the lower volume of fuel consumed - approximately one-half of that of its larger counterpart.

Kingston Transit expects this pilot program will reveal whether fuel savings are available with long-term use, as well as having a positive long-term impact on the environment without affecting customer service. By reducing fuel consumption from buses the City hopes to cut costs and reduce exhaust emissions that contribute to climate change and smog.

The new buses are also being introduced on Route 7, which currently travels between the Cataraqui Town Centre, RIO-CAN Centre, Gardiners Town Centre and Reddendale Plaza.

"Kingston Transit selected Route 7 to initiate the smaller buses as it has the fewest riders and travels through a residential area," says Paula Nichols, manager of Kingston Transit. "Smaller buses are more economical for routes with fewer passengers, as they are less expensive to purchase and use less fuel."

If the pilot is successful, Kingston Transit plans to add smaller buses to other routes across the city later this year, in particular as additional residential feeder routes. Eight more buses are anticipated to be implemented on three additional routes over the next couple of years if the pilot program proves successful.