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DetSMART45

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About DetSMART45

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    detroit, mi

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  1. With all of the tales that some of you could tell about your buses (roach infestations, customer destruction, busted seats), here's one to think about: Friday night about 1:15 am, brand new bus picks me up 1 mile from south route terminal, on the 13-mile route journey. About 2 miles further, smell of diesel becomes stronger inside the bus. Only one other customer aboard, he gets off at mile 5. Operator shuts off the HVAC (Gillig sealed-windows "BRT" bus), so no air/heat circulation -- smell gets stronger. Bus operator stops at a light at midpoint of route and walks bus to check, says it's "hot diesel fumes", then said she noticed it starting about 1 hour before while halfway through her last run. Calls dispatch and tells them, I stood up by front door, and we got some sort of "fresh air" from her side window open as well as the nice breeze coming from under/sides of the front door. We get to the north terminal where I get off, tell her that they'll probably just tell her to do her last run and come back to the depot (since it's now 1:45, and she'd be back at the depot by 3:00) -- because it's that late. Caught her doing her Saturday runs on another route, she said they actually brought out another bus and mechanic was sorta surprised until he walked to the back of the bus (really strong fumes there). Mechanic actually told her she should call off Saturday just because of the possibility of some sort of carbon monoxide poisoning. Bus was under 2 weeks in service, and had relatively few revenue miles -- the majority of the vehicle's miles came from the cross-country trek from San Francisco to Detroit.
  2. Should be pretty simple, they finally came up with (and posted) actual schedules for MLK Day and Day after Thanksgiving for Express Buses. And since those are basically Sunday schedules (under the Sunday/holiday designation), why not just use those. If the LIRR can create separate timetables every time weekend work is done, NYCT/MTABus could certainly do the same.
  3. A lot of the errors could be avoided if there was proper "proofreading" before announcements go active. For example, one crosstown route (the 760) terminates weekdays at 13 Mile Rd/Telegraph Rd, and route 275--Telegraph reads off the transfer. On Saturdays, the 760 terminates two miles to the east, yet the 275 Saturday reads off the transfer. Simple boo-boo? Hardly -- the 760 has NEVER gone to Telegraph on Saturday in its long existence. Yet somehow this happens through two factors: a] The lack of appropriate "proofreading" when telling the system what to do, via b] People who DON'T USE the system to begin with. The SMART Clever system also allows operators to run a PSA "on demand" via the console. The most famous one being, "Please avoid loud cell phone conversations, and the use of obscene or abusive language." Had one operator push that THREE TIMES and finally had to do a "HEY! Young lady, quiet down!" -- and the offender (of about 23) was in the ADA seats behind the operator. But the entire bus knew her business.
  4. Tracing everything back, Bulova must have approached the MTA prior to when this surfaced in the Feb 2018 book. They must have been on solid ground that they were finally going to offload the facility to a new buyer -- Terreno Realty. This sale was announced as finalized at the beginning of February 2018 in Crain's New York (prior to the Feb Board meeting). So if Bulova got essentially green-lighted by someone at the MTA, I'm guessing that request was submitted somewhere around 2-3 months before (at least), so let's just say around Sept/Oct of 2017. In the Staff Summary for this, note that Bulova was supposed to make adjustments to the property to enable MTA buses to serve it. So, 2-3 months out, Bulova says to the MTA, "we'll change things (do Cap Ex) for your buses to access our property." MTA flies the proposal to all the different departments for their "studies", and within that time Bulova gets a serious offer. Bulova would disclose this to Terreno, and the two outcomes would be: (a) Bulova would do the Cap Ex and thus raise the price (or include the costs) of those improvements which Terreno would pay, or (b) Leave the price as-is, tell Terreno their proposal with the MTA is out there awaiting action, and let Terreno make their own decision of whether to spend their own money. My bet is on the latter. Terreno probably put the whole thing on hold, BUT presumably used the MTA proposal as a carrot in negotiating any future tenancy proposals. Amazon came along, and was reported to be a major tenant in October 2018, with them officially leasing as of Dec 1, 2018. During this period (Feb-Oct), Terreno could have told the MTA they couldn't have access to the property (while in talks with anyone including Amazon), but once things settle, THEY would decide when buses could come on-site. This whole scenario isn't really that uncommon, but Bulova was probably trying to sweeten any sale deal by being able to boast of "direct public transportation".
  5. This exact reasoning is being applied here in Detroit, and I don't think it's flying (no pun intended). Headways have not changed since inception (weekdays 30, Saturday 40, Sunday 60), service span only adjusted with one additional trip on Saturday late night. It even had to be brought up by a SMART Board member that there were no signs or basically any mention of their new FAST service at the airport itself THREE MONTHS after it started -- BOTH terminals. (Of course, a "conversation" was to be had with the Airport Authority over this.) Although I've caught SMART's FAST 261 only a couple of times (not going anywhere near the airport-portion of the route), both times there was plenty of air aboard -- and nobody with luggage or rolling carry-on with them. And in the times the service has been in-place, where I've driven friends to/from the airport and encountered the buses going in or out, looks like very few on board if not completely empty. Also you have to consider that around here, airport workers come from practically anywhere (even to the west around Ann Arbor) VIA CAR because any bus commute is going to be over 2 hours one way -- something not particularly an "option" in the Motor City mentality.
  6. So much for the grand Cuomo-scheme being maintained then ... don't think His Majesty is gonna be too pleased with that news. Especially with another of his famous tongue-lashings of the MTA over recent publicity of crap-strewn (literally) subway cars being taken out of service causing delays. (MTA: "Oh, people are just reporting these conditions more now. Nothing to see here.") DDOT, same as MaBSTOA, never had concern for DECADES over "cosmetic" appearance, and applied the same philosophy: If the bitch runs, that's all that matters. Except that school of thought went WELL beyond just cosmetics into mechanical upkeep. Until 2015, it was an extremely rare case that you could find a DDOT bus that did not have the 8/35 air conditioning (the bus version of hooptie 4/50 A/C--open the windows and drive 50). I've detailed some of the other occurrences of shoddy maintenance before, with seats off their moorings, gunshot windows, the RTS tooling around on a busted kneeler, and many more never told including an RTS with half the rear bumper gone, another RTS with a rear door that only one side opened (also meaning no lift), one of the Nova GM Classics with a very noticeable "dip"/sponginess in the rear door steps, and of course plenty of stanchions (floor-mount or seat-mount) that were anything but secure and able to take a good pull. Numerous layover locations with absolute puddles of oil on the pavement (some a good 4-5 feet in diameter), watching operators amusingly show off how much "play" they had in the steering wheel, and one of the D40HFs from the 90s that vibrated the floor significantly when making right turns. Even had one operator openly say he hoped the rain held off until the end of his runs because his right windshield wiper didn't work, and that another operator the day before wasn't so lucky. During all the years prior to 2015, the mechanics said they were overworked, even during the exodus years when population was dropping like a rock (2000s). When the service cuts were done before eventual City bankruptcy, the public began lashing out at operators, who were caught in the middle -- yet the mechanics kept saying they were "doing the best they could with those old buses." Yep--same mantra as the late 1970s until GM "gifted" the first RTS fleet off their Pontiac Truck and Bus assembly lines to the City. Post-bankruptcy brought a new mayor, who canned the previous DDOT director and brought in someone who COULD do the job--Dan Dirks. One of the first things was to get a handful of Xcelsiors that were originally going to Massachusetts, and to get a rush-order for more placed. Service was brought back to more normal levels, with 24-hour on the three main routes in mere months. Dan Dirks talked to all of the DDOT employees, from every level. He listened to the mechanics, told them he'd give them the hours/equipment they need -- BUT if MDBF did not improve, and in a BIG WAY, all bets were off. Operators were told the same: follow the rules, show up for work, run on-time, or find somewhere else to work. So in the end, it all starts with not caring about the "cosmetic" stuff, which leads to further not caring. The public notices it, and starts leaving the system because the main thing they're interested in -- SERVICE -- isn't being met. Only so much blame can be put back on the public for the clogged roads due to traffic, because the whole thing is cyclical. Then when the money isn't there, jobs will get cut. Trouble is, the MTA is such a huge monster of its own making that a DDOT-style turnaround isn't even possible. Cuomo can't do a Dan Dirks for the MTA. But his legacy will be for everyone to see daily through his buses on the street adorned with his livery.
  7. Outfront and/or the transit agencies must have changed the rate card, and ad customers are scaling back. SMART has been getting those applied (BJ's Wholesale Club [coming to Michigan], Shipt grocery delivery service, some health system) within the past two months, except they go into the headliner. So on your example, "ybrid Electric Bus" would get covered. Those ads in the past would more than likely have been a full side wrap, leading me to believe prices have gone up somewhat significantly. Haven't been out scoping the DDOT action in the City due to work scheduling, but on a few recent brief visits, it's looking like DDOT has relegated its 2004 D40LF fleet with Detroit Diesel DD50s to spare status. ALL of the Xcelsiors are out weekdays (2015-2018 with 19's on the way), the 2012 Gilligs and 2010 D40LFs also pounding the pavement. XD40s are out in force on weekends, even the most recent 17s/18s, something that wasn't done before (when the 15/16 XD40s came in, they were weekday only with maintenance on weekends). Maybe some of the DD50s are out on weekends, but on fill-in status only. Another era ends.
  8. This removing printed schedules from stops idea of the MTA's is hardly surprising. I think the whole "people can use their mobiles" to get schedules is the latest justification. They certainly could have done a more scattered approach under the guise that "service comes frequently (under 10 minutes) all day, people can just show up and wait and a bus will be there." Or just say, "we have printed schedules on the buses, they're accessible, people just have to take one and keep it with them." As I've said before, even with the proliferation of the smartphones, around here there are plenty of customers who walk up to the stop and look at the posted schedule -- with a good majority of them with said device feeding their earbuds. Even some who use the old-fashioned non-internet phones show up and use the posted schedule. Now, DDOT does not have ANY schedules posted across the City's thousands of bus stops, yet people make sure they know when they need to be at their points to get around. Someone needs to contact the "Accessibility Director" of the MTA, that Alex Elgudin (or whatever his name is), and alert him to the fact that ADA customers need those stop-side schedules -- especially those like him who need a "mobility device" to get around. A whole lot of ADA customers are reliant on the local/Express buses because they may not want to go through the hassles of Access-A-Ride. So, on the one hand, the MTA is spending oodles of cash on screens inside the buses for audio/visual compliance with ADA, but that ADA customer can't find out when the bus is actually supposed to be there to pick them up. Sounds legit.
  9. Just want to say, I've got no personal axe to grind with Mr. Man. Haven't watched his "videos" or really paid attention to his wandering babbling. But when @Cait Sith calls out a post hyped by Mr. Man that contains Shane's OWN work uncredited and no caveats are offered (even something like, "I'll get back to the creator because that's just not cool"), it says a lot by omission. Yeah, minor shit like that matters to me, reputation-wise.
  10. Surprised ... and not surprised ... @B35 via Church posted this. Anyone from 'round these parts really knows "B35" doesn't need to respond to something so petty. BUT, setting things straight has to be done, and B35 won't shirk from that. Let this be a serious lesson to you @Uncle Floyd Fan. Yeah, purposely bolded and underlined. You really walked over the line, take it as a lesson. Next time, your ass is grass and I'll be the one riding the lawnmower. And I know how to cut everything evenly -- no missed spots.
  11. Mr. Man already knows this stuff, obviously ............ Even while "surveying" the Montreal transit operations (and no doubt giving his invaluable input), he's got his finger on the pulse of NYCT and MTA Bus. I've got a finger for someone's pulse ... just sayin'
  12. Something that is obviously not grasped here: CMAQ grants are NOT that easy to be disqualified for, given that the MTA is pretty much in their "giveaway" zone. If you were in Podunk, Iowa and you got grant money via a CMAQ, you would almost certainly be grilled over every expenditure/action you take -- in NYC (or LA, San Fran, Boston) not so much (if at all). -- HELLO, Baltimore ...... but let's leave that one alone for now. One of the only other "grants" that have a bit of 'follow-up' attached to them is JARC outside of CMAQ. Pretty much, if you're at least somewhat on the ball as far as the paperwork, etc. is concerned, as well as if you've not been held up for ridicule (in 'administering' other grants, i.e. the Post doesn't do a feature on you), as a TA you don't have much to worry about. If you've gotten your hands on other similar grants, w/o (public) problems, you're basically a shoo-in. The MTA fits the bill in all of these. As far as bus stop jurisdiction, the MTA should be the owner (since they are are "public benefit corporation" of the city -- in effect), but they CHOOSE to shrug off responsibility to the NYCDOT. Simple to understand why: DOT does all the other signs and the MTA would be in "conflict" with them somewhere along the way. That simple weaseling allows the MTA significant latitude, especially when the "blame-game" comes along: DOT dictates the streets/structure/traffic, MTA just shrugs its shoulders and says, "Hey, they're the "experts", we just go along with that 'expert' opinion." Hand-washing is even more important in government than with someone serving you your chicken mcnuggets. Understand this: The MTA *could* under their state charter render any DOT opposition as moot -- because they are a public benefit corporation for their chartered areas. State supercedes local, even in this. Key is: the MTA CHOOSES not to, and pays the DOT to do what they're supposed to do when it comes to street-side operations.
  13. Yeah, but those California TAs got PLENTY of CMAQ grants for other projects of theirs, since those grants were practically born to tackle the problems of Air Quality in not only California but NYC. NYCT probably did claim to the Feds that improving bus stop signage would lead to better air quality by reducing dwell times (customers wouldn't get on the wrong bus and take up time asking the operator), for example. Besides it's not like the MTA is not going to try to get as much Fed funds as possible, especially given that they're the largest TA in the country. It is good to be #1, at least in that way.
  14. Don't fall for this recent focus on farebeating as a prominent reason for poor numbers. Before Byford came along, the numbers were going down and there was no mention of farebeating being a possible cause (go through the Committee Books from 2016 or 2017, nothing of substance there). Even when the subways were hitting their record numbers (and the MTA was just giddier than a bride after the first honeymoon night over them), the bus numbers were on their downward trajectory, and the same chin-scratching went on without nary a mention of farebeating being a possible factor. Their (now favorite) scapegoat of Uber/Lyft/Ride-share began to creep in, coincidentally when the Medallion community started their temper-tantrums and moaning. Speaking of farebeating: Haven't seen anything media-wise about how the new "crackdown" is going (and you just KNOW the media would love to capitalize on "hardship" cases), and likewise no stories being told around here. Hmmmmm. But it was front-and-center right up before these figures got released, and before the end of the fiscal year (July). And, of course, the redesign plans are moving full-steam ahead. Coincidences, eh?
  15. I thought that had happened, when there was reference to it in another discussion here. And the only real reason for the flip-flop was because a bunch of other states started implementing Clearview and pushed-back against the FHWA. Besides, if Clearview is somewhat more superior since being conceived in 2004, sure is odd that the Europeans and Australians haven't jumped on that bandwagon. It's right up their street to have an excuse to spend bundles of money in order to reduce traffic accidents, and do such a thing in the name of "safety" for the public (with little to no real effect in the end). CMAQ grants are pretty easy to come by, especially for places like NYC and LA. But it is interesting that the USDOT gave the NYCDOT money to actually come up with new signage, while (supposedly) the FHWA has a fit over the design not being compliant with their rules (Feds vs. Feds). The MTA's addiction to Fed money paid off in this case. Too bad the "transit peers in other cities" haven't copied (directly or indirectly) the same design. Those lollipops would do wonders around here to both better identify stops, as well as clarify where the route goes.

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