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Photos from the transit fan trip on Saturday

The charter bus takes a photo with a friend! Photo by <a href=http://www.trans-continental.ca/vancouver/specialcollections/Orioncharter/IMG_5777.jpg.php>David Lam</a>

The charter bus takes a photo with a friend! Photo by David Lam

If anyone was wondering what happened on the transit fan trip this Saturday, David Lam has this photo gallery for you.

You can also read Cliff and Ric’s account of the trip in this past post too!


59 Comments

  • By Anonymous, March 23, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    This picture is one of my favourites: http://www.trans-continental.ca/vancouver/specialcollections/Orioncharter/IMG_5866.jpg.php

    It shows the Orion I seemingly just finished traversing the tiny roundabout in the background. There’s even a cul-de-sac sign in the right hand part of the picture.

  • By Jim, March 23, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

    Hey Jhenifer,

    I was wondering if possible I have a few request for future interesting post for the blog. 1) one posting on the people that clean sky train stations at night as well as possibly how often they clean things such as floors. 2) what happens after a bus or trolley has been marked for scrap what are the last days, hours, and minutes before these buses are turned into scrap also possibly where buses go to be scrapped is there a special place? Anyways just some things I would love to see in a future post and pictures would be awesome!

    Thanks for your time!

  • By David Lam, March 23, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    I can answer you second question: After a bus is marked for scrap, they are stored at Oakridge Transit Centre. All the reusable parts (such as farebox, or other parts that can be used on the same type of buses that are still in active revenue service) will be removed, before the bus is towed away from OTC to Richmond Steels Scrap Metal Recycling Centre located on Mitchell Island for scrap. In fact, I do have some photos of the MCI Classics ripped and torn apart at Richmond Steels:

    http://www.trans-vancouver.fotopic.net/p55822397.html

    If I remember correctly, back in the time when the older Flyer trollies were scrapped for metal, Translink was compensated $1200 per bus. As for the trollies that were sold to Mendoza, Argentina, Translink received $2000 per unit.

    I don’t know the exact procedures in terms of how are these buses scrapped and recycled into reusable metal. The security at Richmond Steels metal recycler is extremely strict, visitors were never welcomed which are probably attributed to two main reasons: highly specialized equipments which may pose severe physical risks leading to unnecessary legal liabilities, and perhaps along with certain trade secrets that they would rather keep the technology to their own monopoly.

    Hope that partially answers your question!

    Dave

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 24, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    Thanks for the suggestions Jim! I’ll see what I can do :)

  • By Jim, March 24, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    Dave you certainly answered my second suggestion those photos were awesome! I alway wondered cause I knew they didn’t use the kind that regular car scrapping scrap yards use cause of the obvious oversize volume that buses generally consume! Maybe Jhenifer can find out more about the trolleys there might be something in the deep catacombs that is translinks archives! : ) (Giggle)

  • By Ric, March 24, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

    When exactly were the MCI classics removed from service and started getting scrapped? I still remember when I rod these buses after school during my years at elementary school. If I am not mistaken I think I saw these buses in service just until the Novas start arriving. Am I right? It is actually pretty sad to see what happens to the bus once it is marked for scrap.

    BTW, did Trams get any of these MCI classic buses?

  • By David Lam, March 24, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

    @ Ric: The last MCI Classics were withdrawn from revenue service in July 2008, the last ones were based at Poco Transit Centre. The first Novabuses were assigned into revenue service in July 2007…..by the time the MCI Classics were retired, the 2008 Novabuses were being delivered and prepared for revenue service in North Vancouver.

    TRAMS managed to preserve a 1990 MCI Classic with suburban configurations (narrow rear exit, cushy seats instead of Otaco seats): S4276

    Dave

  • By Reva, March 25, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Hey Jim, here are a few photos of what Flyer D902s stripped & prepared for their journey to the scrapper in 2001 looked like. Also pics of a couple of them chopped up by fire/rescue trainees at the VFD training grounds: http://www.busdude.com/HTML/CMBC_flyer%20d902.htm

  • By Jim, March 25, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

    Hey Reva,

    Thanks for the link it was really cool and certainly what i was looking for. It is sort of sad yet completes my mental history of the very first trolley buses I ever got to ride. I remember when I was 3 and they were like giants and now that they are gone off the streets I am a bit sad but now the pics kind of brings back those memories. Thanx Reva!

  • By Andrew S, March 26, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    Most D40s had the regular stainless steel seats like the Mark 1 trains and E902 trolleys, but I’ve been on a couple where they had the cushy seats like D40LF and the aisle in the middle was really narrow because all the seats were pairs except the very front and each seat had individual reading lights.

    What’s going to happen when the bus coach numbering goes past 9999?

  • By Reva, March 26, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    @ Andrew S: I believe certain batches of the 1991 D40s had the “suburban commuter”-style interiors which included nicer upholstery, reading lights, etc. They originally ran on long intercity routes such as the 601, 351, 160, etc. where such creature comforts would benefit long-haul commuters who might have to spend up to 2 hours (or more!) trying to get to or from downtown Vancouver each day. With the introduction of the Orion 5 highway coaches those D40s were probably relegated to more mundane routes but changing out the seats & reading lights wasn’t worth it by that time.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 29, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    Jim:

    To add to what’s been said already, my colleague over at fleet management has sent over this description of bus replacements.

    Once we’ve decided when we’re going to replace a group of buses, we first order a group of replacement buses. Once the new buses arrive,
    the way it normally works is:
    -New bus arrives at the staging ground.
    -Old bus is pulled from service, and valuable components (Init radio system and information display and farebox) are pulled, and the farebox
    is shipped to the staging ground.
    -Farebox is installed in the new bus.
    -We give the new bus a quick QA inspection, and accept the bus.
    -New bus gets delivered to a transit centre.
    -Old bus has a lonely end of life, waiting for somebody to buy it, or for a disposal company to pick it up.
    -Most of the time, it gets scrapped– the disposal company picks it up, and tows it away (often they’re pulled from service when their safety inspection expires, or once a brake problem develops).
    -The disposal company removes the tires, and sends them back to us.
    -The disposal company does whatever they do with the rest of the bus.

    There’s not much to a bus’ end of life– a final tow trip, then it gets crushed…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 29, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Andrew S:

    Here’s the answer to your bus number question from fleet management.

    Numbering: we don’t know! Well, actually we’ve got an idea of what we’re going to do– most likely we’ll go to a 5-digit numbering system,
    with the first two digits representing the model year of the bus, and the remaining 3 digits being a series number. For example, a 2012 Nova
    bus might be “12-123”, or something along those lines. I’m not sure if the existing buses will be renumbered to match the new format, or if
    they’ll keep their old numbers.

  • By Andrew S, March 29, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    Ohhhh. The buses will still get their transit centre labels, right? (B, V, P, N, S, R, etc). The hybrid DE60LFR are Burnaby-based buses, right? They have no “B” prefix, though. (Btw, I noticed on some Novas, the “B” prefix is a larger size than the numbers and dark blue rather than black. And on the front of some Novas the “B” isn’t in front of the fleet number, it’s below it. =P) Oh, and the hybrid Novas also have no prefix… yet =D

    The C40 buses still have five more years in service, right?

    And just one more thing: Hasn’t the TransLink website changed to http://www.translink.ca? Even on the new buses, the old http://www.translink.bc.ca decal is applied instead =)

  • By Ric, March 29, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    Why are the tires from old buses sent back to Translink?

  • By Ric, March 29, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    Hit send too fast. To add to my last comment, can’t the fleet numbering just start from the beginning again once the numbering series reaches 9999, if buses marked in the those numbers have already been scrapped?

    I would also like to know that once a bus gets crushed by the disposal company what happens to it? Does it get sent to a metal recycling plant where it gets melted down and turned into new metal products?

  • By Ric, March 29, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

    One more thing, a regular diesel bus has about a 18-20 years of service before it is de-commissioned. What about the CNG buses that got converted into diesel buses. Will they have the same life span as a standard diesel bus?

  • By Andrew S, March 30, 2010 @ 1:07 am

    I think the tires are quite expensive, so they just reuse them? If the condition is good enough, I guess.

  • By Paul, March 30, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    Tires are very expensive. Each steer tire which has to be a virgin (not retread). Can cost at least $300 plus. Drive tires might be a bit cheaper. Virgin tires always cost more than non-virgin tires.

    Generally they will run a tire till a certain tread depth. What ever translink’s interval might be. Steers are pulled at a slightly higher tread depth before the drive tires. Once a tire reaches that tread depth. If it is a steer it goes back to the tire manufacture (someone like goodyear) or possibly translink has their own in house facility to do this. They will then remove the cap (which is the tread). They will then recap it with a new tread. Now you can never use a recapped steer tire. So a steer tire will always be recapped to become a drive tire. And a drive tire if it is a virgin or not will just be recapped to become a drive tire again.

    Of course if the side wall is damaged (ie you see the cords) Then the tire is scraped and sent to be recycled.

    Consider the fact that lets say translink has a policy to change the steer tire at a tread depth of 6/32 Most steers start at around 18-20/32. So if you are scrapping a bus that has a steer tires of about 12/32. You still have 50% of the life left in a tire. And if each tire costs $300 dollars. That is a saving of $150 per tire for $300 total. It might seem like a small amount but consider the amount of buses and it can add up very quickly.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    Andrew S:
    translink.ca is on most new vehicles I think — definitely the new SeaBus, for sure! But regardless, the translink.bc.ca URL redirects to translink.ca, so you’ll get to the right site either way.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    Andrew S:
    Here’s more on your questions from our fleet management department.

    Yes, the buses should still get a prefix letter designating which garage
    they belong to. The hybrid artics are all based out of Burnaby (they’re
    tough to move to other garages because the hybrid system requires
    specially-trained technicians and special tools & equipment).

    Prefixes that don’t match the rest of the numbers: sloppy. Prefixes
    below the numbers: might be due to the configuration of the front of the
    bus, but I’m not sure.

    Website mismatch: the website changed in the middle of 2009, but we
    ordered the decal package for the newest buses in October 2008, so the
    buses were built with that package.

    C40 buses: yes, they’ve got another 5 years.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 31, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    Ric:

    Here’s the answers to your questions about bus numbering, disposal, and CNG bus life expectancy, from our fleet management department.

    1. Yes, it could start from the beginning, but we’d much rather avoid re-using old bus numbers. There’s history in the database for some older buses, plus there are probably records sorted by bus number or bus series. It’s a more future-proof system to have a YY-## system.

    I don’t know what they do with the bus after it is disposed of. The disposal company could strip useful parts out of the bus and sell them piecemeal, or they can crush and melt it down. I suspect a lot of our buses have been turned into rebar for construction projects.

    2. The CNG conversions are a little bit unique—they’ve got very low mileage on the frames, but we’ll probably scrap them at 17-20 years anyway due to the challenge of getting spare parts as the bodies age.

  • By Ric, April 9, 2010 @ 10:03 am

    Jhen, what is the oldest model year of bus that is still in revenue service?

    I know that the seats on the orion 5 highway coaches are fabric, but what about on the other types of buses? (Novas, New flyer D40LFs (all models), hybrid buses and community shuttles) Are they leather, vinyl or some other type of material?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 9, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

    Hi Ric, here’s the answer from fleet management.

    Oldest bus in revenue service: some of the 1991 New Flyer D40’s may still be in service, if they haven’t all been pulled off the road for their retirement yet. Other than that, it’s probably the 1995 high-floor diesel buses (formerly powered by CNG).

    Seats: varies depending on the bus. The vast majority of our buses have vinyl seats. The Orion highway coaches are fabric. Most of the buses we bought in 2006 & 2007 had fabric. Since 2008, the buses have all had a 3D textured vinyl, mostly due to maintenance hassles with fabric seats.

    Seats were chosen by a “seat selection committee” that tested various models of seats and fabric types. The committee was made of TransLink personnel (including some representatives from the operating subsidiaries). We’ve also sent surveys out to customers asking what they prefer. Seats were evaluated based on comfort, price, durability, maintenance cost, and appearance.

  • By Ric, April 18, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    I thought all high floor buses were retired from revenue service, are they not?

    Which transit center are the 1995 high floor diesel buses based out off if they are still in revenue service?

    Why are buses no longer ordered from MCI?

    I remember the times when the MCI classics were still in service. They were the first diesel buses I ever got to ride in Greater vancouver.

    It was pretty sad to see that they all got scrapped at Richmond steel, with the exception of S4276 which was preserved by trams. Some operators even said they should have been restored as the could have lasted for many more years. My last time riding a MCI classic was on the 301 route, from Newton Exchange in Surrey into Richmond Center back in September 2007. It fact it was the one that trams managed to preserve.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 19, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

    Ric: here are the answers from our fleet management department.

    The 1995 high floor diesels (formerly CNG) are based at NTC.

    I don’t think MCI makes city transit buses anymore. Check out their product line here: http://www.mcicoach.com

    The reason the MCI buses seemed as good and reliable as they were is because of the long hours our tradespeople put into maintaining them. The MCIs were unibody buses, held together mostly by riveted panels rather than welded steel frames. Over time, there were severe fatigue problems around the transmission area, requiring massive rebuilding, and sometimes around the rear door area. Most of the buses were rebuilt, some had multiple rebuilds, but it’s wasn’t cost-effective; we’re better-off buying newer, more fuel-efficient buses than keeping old ones on the road.

  • By Ric, April 19, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

    A few more things, why do the buses no longer use the mylar film scroll type destination signs?

    These signs had less failures compared to the flip dot and LED destination signs. The only problems that I think they would have had would be the fluorescent tube for the back lighting burning out, and perhaps maybe the motor could burn out if they were motorized. With the flip dot and LED signs, lots more problems could develop (LEDs burning out, wiring problems, malfunctioning flip dots, controllers to decode the electronic signal dying, shorts in the wiring, corrosion, fuses blowing, and lots more). In fact there are to many problems to mention. Although, I would imagine that the scroll signs would have had problems when new routes were introduced as they couldn’t be reprogramed to introduce the new routes into them.

    I notice that the buses have more destination sign problems now than when the scroll signs were used. Now I constantly notice buses with malfunctioning destination signs. Back in the days when scroll signs were used, I only noticed a problem once. The problem was: The sign wasn’t lit at night, probably because the fluorescent tube had burnt out.

    What were the last buses that used these signs?

    Are there anymore buses in revenue service that are using these signs?

    Why did the 1991 New Flyer D40 high floor buses have electronic destination signs and the New Flyer D60 high floor buses have scroll signs? Didn’t the D40’s arrive before the D60’s?

    Why did the tradesperson put more time into maintaining the MCI buses then they do in maintaining the New Flyer and Nova buses? Not to mention that the Orion highway buses are really well maintained.

  • By Ric, April 19, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    one more thing, is Richmond Steel where all buses go to be scrapped?

  • By Sean (CMBC), April 21, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    Well… I saw 4 “retired” WV Orions yesterday being driven to Mitchell Island… And then another 4 today… I happen to be driving a bus that sits down at Marine & Knight a few times, and that’s where I saw then being driven westbound on Marine heading to the brisge access…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 26, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    Ric: here is the answer to your questions about destination signs from our fleet management department.

    A single replacement mylar roll for a destination sign used to be $1500. Do that a few times, and you’ve bought yourself an electronic destination sign system. It takes longer for drivers to adjust the destination signs when they’re mylar, and drivers are paid for that time. It may only be half a dozen minutes a day per driver, but it adds up over a bus’ lifetime. Mylar destination signs have motors that wear out, as well as gears that wear out, and the mylar can tear. The gears were our biggest problem, because replacements weren’t available, so we had to cannibalize old destination signs out of retired buses to keep the last of ours on the road. Mylar signs are also subject to wiring faults in the motor/fluorescent systems. Fluorescent tubes burn out roughly once a year.

    Electronic destination signs aren’t without their faults– flip-dot signs were unreliable. LED signs are still improving, and their costs are going down at the same time. Warranties on the signs are much better than they used to be. With the LED signs, they can have a minor problem for months that everybody just lives with, whereas a mylar sign is out-of-service as soon as anything goes wrong, and needs to be fixed that day– so LED gets a bit of a bad rap because they’re seen with minor problems more often.

    The last mylar-equipped buses, as far as I can remember, were the 1992 D60s. I don’t know why they were mylar when the D40s weren’t. All mylar-equipped buses have been retired.

    I’m not sure what the commenter’s getting at about putting more time into maintaining different brands of buses; I might be able to give an answer if Ric provides a little more detail on why he thinks some buses are better-maintained than others. Offhand, my comment is that the garages will assign sufficient labour to keep each series of bus appropriately maintained.

    Regarding scrapping: We’ve used Richmond Steel in the past. We sell the buses to whomever will pay us the most, or give us the most value. For the next 6 months, all our high-floor buses are for sale. Any ones unsold at the end of that period will be scrapped.

  • By Ric, April 26, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    Jhen, in regards to my question about some buses being maintained better than others this is what I mean.

    I notice that the Nova and New Flyer buses break down a lot. I have also noticed there are lots of problems that are not fixed for weeks or sometimes even months. Sometimes I even report the problems to customer relations. Here are some examples: broken/malfunctioning destination signs, burnt out lights (interior and exterior) faulty rear door alarms (alarm sounding for no reason), broken/vandalized seats, windows that wouldn’t open, buzzer not sounding when pulling the bell cord to request a stop, broken/malfunctioning fare boxes and other problems.

    However, with the MCIs and and Orion highway coaches, I notice that problems like the ones I mentioned are usually fixed faster. I have noticed that problems like the ones I mentioned don’t occur as often which to my understanding, it looks like the Orion highway coaches and MCIs were checked for problems everyday and any problems found were possibly fixed right away. I have also noticed that these buses broke down less often.

    I take the bus everyday and when I get a Nova/New Flyer bus, I get a bus breakdown at least once a month, and notice problems with the bus about twice a week. I get a lot of Highway Orions on some of the routes that I take, and NOT one Highway Orion that I got EVER broke down, and I only noticed a problem with the bus once.

    Back in the days when the MCI buses were in revenue service, NOT one MCI that I got EVER broke down.

    Does this give you more information to answer my question?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 29, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    Ric, here’s the response from our fleet management department.

    The buses are all subject to the same maintenance regime, with some exceptions. When we had the MCIs, they were under the same inspection regime as the Orions, New Flyer high/low floors, and Novas.

    It may well be that the drivers on the routes you rode MCIs or Orion coaches paid more attention to their buses and reported more
    deficiencies. At the end of the driving day, a driver writes down any deficiencies they’ve found on a card, and park the bus in a special
    location to be maintained overnight. Except for the oldest buses, used as “trippers”, which usually go back to the garage in the middle of the day, because they’re usually used only for the AM rush hour and the PM rush hour. When a tripper goes back to the garage in the middle of the day, if it’s got a problem, the shop will try to fix it before it goes out again in the afternoon.

    That’s all there is to it. If a destination sign has a problem and the driver didn’t notice it, then it probably won’t be written down to be
    addressed overnight. If I notice a problem on a bus I’m riding, I make a point to tell the driver so that they can write it down.

    Orion buses are unique– the routes they operate on are far less damaging to the bus than the urban routes serviced by the low-floor fleet. The highway routes have far less vibration and far fewer stops; both those factors hasten the failure of components on urban routes, and
    they don’t have rear doors, which are a major source of road calls.

    Orion buses are also subjected to far less vandalism by their passengers, and don’t have back doors, which are a major source of road
    calls in the fleet.

    As for the fareboxes, they are all the same brand/model, and we suffer an astounding number of breakdowns across the fleet.

    For a point of reference, my experience with New Flyer buses differs from yours: for two years I took the bus 28km to work and 28km back, 4
    days a week on average. The bus was almost always a 1996-1998 New Flyer low floor diesel from the Richmond Transit Centre. During those two years, I experienced two breakdowns (one was a wheelchair lift failure on a high-floor Flyer, with the other failure we kept driving until
    another bus met us halfway and we simply switched buses), and two times I was delayed because my bus didn’t show up (once because it broke down, the other time because a passenger puked in it), and that was it. So I’ve experienced three equipment failures in two years of commuting, and both times I was simply delayed until the next bus came.

    I’m not saying that your experience is wrong– just that yours is different than mine. Statistically they’ll all wash out somewhere.

    About 5 years ago, I did a little bit of analysis on “Road Calls”. That’s where a bus encounters a problem while it’s in service, and needs maintenance quickly– maybe it’s broken down on the side of the road, or maybe the driver can keep it going for another half hour until he gets to the end of the route.

    I don’t remember all the details, but a few things stick out:
    -Old MCIs and (then still nearly-new) Orions had the least-frequent road calls.
    -Old trolleys had the worst road calls.
    -New Flyer low floors were in the middle of the pack.
    -We didn’t have Nova buses or new trolleys yet.

    As I investigated why some buses had fewer road calls than others, there were a few factors that I discovered which were hard to quantify, but had a significant effect on the results:
    -Orions operate mostly on highway routes, which subjects them to less stop-and-go, less wear on the doors, and less vibration, all of which
    reduce the number of road calls.
    -The drivers also have a significant effect on whether or not there will be a road call. For different buses on similar routes, they tended to
    have a very similar overall number of problems reported, but their road call frequency was wildly different– some bus types would have more
    issues reported as “BO” and fewer road calls.
    -This distinction also varied among the same bus types at different garages– New Flyers at Burnaby might have a different road call profile
    than the same model-year of New Flyers at Richmond, even though they have the same total number of problems– leaving one factor: the
    driver’s decision of whether to park a bus or keep it going.

    On drivers and Orion buses:
    -Drivers seem to like the Orion buses, and I can understand why–they’re smooth, quiet, comfortable, and easy to drive. If a driver has a frustrating problem with an Orion bus, but the bus is still legally drivable, they have a choice: put up with the problem until the end of their shift, or park the bus and get the garage to send out another bus. If the only buses available at the garage are old “tripper” buses, there’s a risk that the replacement bus will be a rattly, breezy, noisy piece of junk that’ll be less pleasant to drive. The driver may be more inclined to put up with the frustrating problem on the Orion, than to risk changing the bus for an even worse tripper.

    To be clear: I’m not saying the drivers are doing anything wrong– just that as humans, and knowing the system, they make decisions, too.

  • By Ric, April 29, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    Jhen, perhaps I should start reporting problems that I notice on buses to the drivers too so that they will write it down on the card so that it will be fixed.

    Just last night I was on a bus where both of the rear interior lights that are suppose to be always on were not working so I reported it to the driver. It was a good thing that the other lights in the bus were on otherwise, it would have been totally dark in the bus.

    Should I report all problems that I notice to the drivers even if I think they are just small problems?

    This morning I was on a 480 bus that had a malfunctioning front destination sign where only the route number was displayed on the sign but there was no destination display. I reported this problem to the driver as I thought this is a major problem.

  • By Ric, April 29, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    Jhen, by the way if a destination sign is malfunctioning shouldn’t the driver know? All flip-dot and LED destination signs as far as I can see have a control panel where the drivers put in codes to change the display. Doesn’t the problem show up on the screen of the control panel too, if what the destination sign shows is also what the screen on the control panel shows?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 3, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    Ric, here is the answer to your first comment at 3:17 p.m., from our fleet management department.

    If there’s something I notice on a bus that’s a significant enough problem, I let the driver know. Any passenger can do the same, Ric included.

    Use your best judgment as to when to let the driver know– if he’s negotiating traffic and pedestrians on a busy downtown street, that
    might not be the best time to get his attention. At a stoplight, or in a quieter area might be better. If I’m taking a bus all the way to the end of its route, I’ll usually wait until the end to let the driver know.

    Use your best judgment as to how small of a problem to inform the driver– I’ve never bothered a driver about any vandalism issues in a bus– knifed seats and the like– I doubt that they’ll bother to write it down at the end of their run, if they didn’t write it down when they started. I’ve let drivers know about burnt out lights, flickering destination signs, malfunctioning PIDs (Passenger Information Displays, which display the next stop), and one time even a mechanical problem to drivers.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 3, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    Ric, here is the answer to your second comment at 3:24 p.m., from fleet management as well.

    I don’t think the driver’s control panel shows any diagnostic error codes.

    The drivers are supposed to check that the destination signs are working when they “pre-trip” the bus, first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s working then, and then a fault occurs en-route. Other times, it’ll work when the bus is cold, but something will malfunction as it heats up, so the driver thinks the sign’s working, but it’s not. Other times, the driver may not have checked, or didn’t pay close enough to the destination sign’s function when they started up in the morning.

  • By Ric, May 3, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

    I have noticed that the CNG buses and CNG buses that have been converted into diesel buses, have no back window.

    Why don’t they have a back window?

    Wouldn’t that cause problems when the bus is backing up, as the wouldn’t be able to see out the back?

    I have started to report problems that I notice on buses to the drivers. Just this morning, I was on a 403 bus that had a burnt out interior light which I reported to the driver at the end of the route before I got off, and saw the driver write it down on the maintenance card. Later in the day I was on another bus that had a malfunctioning PID unit which I also reported to the driver.

    Jhen, do you think the following problems are worth reporting to the driver:

    1) Broken bell cords
    2) A window that wouldn’t open
    3) A stop request buzzer that wouldn’t sound

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    Ric, here are the answers from fleet management.

    Due to the configuration of the engine and the equipment around it, New Flyer wasn’t able to offer us a CNG bus with a back window.

    The problems you list are reasonable to report to your driver.

  • By Ric, May 6, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    Jhen, I’ve reported burnt out exterior lights (ex brake lights, turn signal lights) to drivers but should I report burnt out interior lights to the driver?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    That would be reasonable also. As indicated in an earlier comment, use your best judgement to decide what you will report to the bus driver. Malfunctions or burnt out lights would be reasonable.

  • By Ric, May 9, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    I have noticed that not only do the CNG buses not have a back window, I have noticed that the newer New Flyer D60LFR buses don’t have a back window as well. Why is that?

    I also noticed a while back (but forgot to ask the question so here it is now) that the orion highway coaches don’t have a back window either. What is the reason for that?

    One more thing, if all the New Flyer high floor D40 and D60 buses have been retired with the exception of the 1995 high floor D40 buses which were previously CNG that are still in revenue service, has any New Flyer D40/D60 low floor buses been retired? What about the highway coaches?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 25, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    Ric: here is the answer from our fleet management department.

    No back window in the new artics: New Flyer wasn’t able to make them available, “due to the roof configuration,” whatever that means. I suspect they’ve had to add more steel structure at the back of the bus to handle the weight of the hybrid batteries and hybrid electronics on the roof, but I haven’t seen structural drawings for that series of bus.

    No back window in Orions: that space is taken up by air conditioning equipment.

    Artic bus 8054 was retired half a decade ago, because it burned to the ground on the SFU hill. I think Orion 9225 suffered a severe engine compartment fire as well. Aside from those two, I don’t think any D40LF or D40LF buses have been retired.

    Come to think of it, I remember one of the trolleys was seriously damaged on Halloween a few years ago, when some troubled youths beat the driver up and threw firecrackers.

  • By Ric, July 14, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

    If a rear turn signal bulb is only half working, (top half working and the bottom half burnt out) is the bulb considered burnt out?

    This morning I was transferring from the Canada line at Richmond-Brighouse onto the 410, one of the two rear left turn signal bulbs were only half working.

    I notified the driver that one of the rear left turn signal bulbs were burnt out upon boarding and the driver went out to take a look and said that they’re both working.

    Should I let the driver know that a brake light or turn signal light is burnt out if it is half working or are the bulbs not considered burnt out until they are completely burnt out?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 16, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Ric: here is the response from CMBC.

    The driver has several choices if the lights are only partly working. In this case the driver would have written the defect up on the daily trip report – then it would be fixed when the bus came back to the yard. I presume the driver used his professional judgment to see there was still enough turn signals working effectively to keep driving.

    Drivers do a thorough pre-trip inspection before they leave the yard, however things can happen on the road.

    In any case a passenger can and should alert the driver to defects on the bus, such as burn out lights. The driver can then review the defect and action accordingly.

  • By Ric, August 17, 2010 @ 12:38 am

    Thanks for the answer to my previous question. I will continue to report partly working lights to the driver. However, I mananged to board that exact bus 3 times after I reported the problem, and I noticed that the problem was not fixed until I boarded that bus again at the end of July.

    What happened there? Why did it take so long before the problem was fixed?

  • By Ric, August 17, 2010 @ 12:42 am

    Jhenifer, Hmm… Why didn’t my profile pic show up on my last comment and the big “G” showed up instead?

  • By Ric, August 22, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

    I noticed that there are some New Flyer C40LFR CNG buses in revenue service in the areas of Coquitlam and Po-Co.

    Why were the original New Flyer C40 and C40LF buses converted into diesel buses?

    How many years will these buses be in revenue service for before being retired/scrapped?

  • By Jimmy, September 15, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

    Ric
    The C40’s has been converted to diesel because CNG is probaly too expensive, but i dont know why the C40LF’s been converted to diesel and also one thing

    Did any one of the D40’s and D60’s preserved by TRAMS?

  • By Jimmy, September 16, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

    Do some #430 trips operate from Port Coquitlam Transit centre? because in this photo http://billlmf-yvr.fotopic.netp61726421.html there is a “P” prefix on this bus.

  • By Jimmy, September 16, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    oops! sorry theres a typo it was suppose to be http://billlmf-yvr.fotopic.net/p61726421.html

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 21, 2010 @ 10:09 am

    Jimmy: here’s the answer from CMBC.

    I can’t open the photo, but the answer to the question is no. Route #430 does not operate out of PoCo transit centre. What might have happened was that the vehicle was originally operated out of PoCo, but reallocated to Richmond Transit Centre. The prefix was not changed.

  • By Ric, September 22, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    Jimmy, the bus in the picture was a CNG bus that was converted to diesel. The CNG buses were operated out of PoCo transit center. When they were converted to diesel buses they were reallocated to Richmond Transit Center, but like Jhenifer has mentioned the prefix was not changed.

    However, you will see buses with the “R” prefix on the 49 route, since this route operates from Richmond Transit Center Monday-Friday. I asked this question on another blog post and it was answered by a CMBC operator.

  • By Greg, September 22, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    Did any D40’s or D60’s preserved by TRAMS?

  • By Greg, September 22, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Jhen
    one D40LF 7395 has been retired due to engine fire in 2008

  • By Jimmy, December 1, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

    Are the trolley fan trips public events or private events?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 2, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Jimmy: This trip was fan-organized and was open to the public as long as capacity could be accommodated, and as long as you could chip in for costs :)

  • By Thomas, September 10, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    Was just wondering if all the C40s were scrapped?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 3, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    Hi Thomas: here’s the answer to your question.

    They were converted to diesel power (and were running out of North Van), but have since been retired (scrapped/crushed this past spring).

  • By Thomas, October 28, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    Greg, the WV orion I’s were scrapped at Mitchell Island?

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