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Bus Build Quality.


C40LFR

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I thought it'd be interesting to see what you guys think about the build quality of the buses.

 

I know some of you have stated Nova builds the most solid bus, even better than the New Flyer.

 

All I know is that the NABI BRT models used here in LA are crap.

 

You can't ride an LACMTA NABI 60 BRT without something being wrong with it, whether it be a broken sign, the articulated joint making strange sounds, a broken interior panel exposing the insides of the bus, or lose, rattling seats. NABI's other models are actually pretty good(The Metro 45C specifically, or classic 40-LFW) but overall NABI has the worst build quality of all the manufacturers IMO. It could just be lack of maintenance, crappy road conditions, or combinations of both. I don't know.

 

Do buses in New York have these same issues? How is the condition of the NYC's fleet, specifically the older models?

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The Orion NGs are terrible when it comes to build quality. The entire bus shudders every time it hits a bump and depending where you're sitting or standing, if you hit a huge pothole you can end up flying.

 

I've been on buses that have bad suspension where the entire bus shakes and rattles and makes a loud "boom" noise when it rolls over a pothole. Otherwise I don't really have any issues with the bus manufacturers.

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The Orion NGs are terrible when it comes to build quality. The entire bus shudders every time it hits a bump and depending where you're sitting or standing, if you hit a huge pothole you can end up flying.

 

I've been on buses that have bad suspension where the entire bus shakes and rattles and makes a loud "boom" noise when it rolls over a pothole. Otherwise I don't really have any issues with the bus manufacturers.

 

I hate how those buses stop. They accelerate good but you always get jerked when they're stopping or starting. It's kind of like they stop but never quite come to a stop, like they're always trying to move. I know they dealt with the jerking problems a bit on those Orions, but they still are problematic. I have to hold on sometimes even when sitting down.

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Another issue with those hybrids is that they tend to roll backwards before moving forwards when going up an incline (when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal and places it on the acceleration pedal).

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IMHO, out of current in production buses... (The Big 5)

 

1.)NovaBus

2.)Orion

3.)New Flyer

4.)NABI

5.)Gillig

 

my list would be almost the same except i would replace NovaBus with Motor Coach Industries (MCI). And New Flyer and Orion would switch places. I can't really speak for the 40ft buses, but the build quality seems to have fallen off with the artics. the inside of the buses seems to be thrown together. it looks what happened was TA rejected the initial offering and Nova asked them, What can we do to make you want this bus. then they just added all that stuff to the bus. we have to tighten screws on hand rail everyday, theres buses coming up with soft spots in the floors already, and after seeing 0059 those framed windows are just ugly...

with MCI, i've never heard anything really bad about them other than there were 6 of them that had to be sent back to the factory b/c the floor supports were sagging.

new flyer makes good buses, but bad decisions. the artics had a problem where rain water was leaking into the engine compartment and soaking the ECM.

With orion, im sure that the O7 OG's and NG's would be perfect buses if they had proper diesel engines with retarders instead of hybrid drive systems. if that were so they wouldn't be blowing through breaks every 10,000 miles...plus i just don't like low floor buses b/c they lack the space of their high floor counterparts

it doesn't speak very highly of your company if the NYCTA, with over 6,200 buses in the fleet, doesn't have a single NABI or Gillig product running in revenue service. especially these days with these so called test fleets.

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Another issue with those hybrids is that they tend to roll backwards before moving forwards when going up an incline (when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal and places it on the acceleration pedal).

 

Especially on Staten Island... :P

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my list would be almost the same except i would replace NovaBus with Motor Coach Industries (MCI). And New Flyer and Orion would switch places. I can't really speak for the 40ft buses, but the build quality seems to have fallen off with the artics. the inside of the buses seems to be thrown together. it looks what happened was TA rejected the initial offering and Nova asked them, What can we do to make you want this bus. then they just added all that stuff to the bus. we have to tighten screws on hand rail everyday, theres buses coming up with soft spots in the floors already, and after seeing 0059 those framed windows are just ugly...

with MCI, i've never heard anything really bad about them other than there were 6 of them that had to be sent back to the factory b/c the floor supports were sagging.

new flyer makes good buses, but bad decisions. the artics had a problem where rain water was leaking into the engine compartment and soaking the ECM.

With orion, im sure that the O7 OG's and NG's would be perfect buses if they had proper diesel engines with retarders instead of hybrid drive systems. if that were so they wouldn't be blowing through breaks every 10,000 miles...plus i just don't like low floor buses b/c they lack the space of their high floor counterparts

it doesn't speak very highly of your company if the NYCTA, with over 6,200 buses in the fleet, doesn't have a single NABI or Gillig product running in revenue service. especially these days with these so called test fleets.

 

 

The think with me, is my rating scale can change quarterly. When I evaluate a bus for build quality, I evaluate customer input, maintenence, driver standpoint, and Altoona reports.

 

However. When I factor in the results of my current research, I can assure you that it will change this fall.

 

1.) Orion VII 3G - The best Orion to come off the line. Ever! That's a fact. Not an opinion. I have the evaluation data to support it. So I am very excited to see how the bus will handle the streets.

 

*2.) New Flyer - NY MTA's Flyers are the best. Definitely better in terms of build quality than some of their counterparts.

 

*2.) Nova - Overall great buses. The stainless structure is very reliable. It's an excellent bus. My only gripe is the configuration and looks. I love the LFSA, but that front end is not hot on the 40 footer. If they get rid of the sealed beam's for the LED's like the ones on 0059 I can deal with that front end.

 

3.) NABI

 

4.) Gillig

 

For #'s 3 and 4. My mother always told me if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

 

MCI is excellent, but they fell off for a minute there. They are in a class of their own as well.

 

Prevost buses are outstanding. I have nothing but praise for those beasts!

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MCI has the best built buses in the system. NovaBus is a close second. People may criticize the Orions but it comes down to maintenance at the end of the day. Many depots are lazy with maintenance and therefore run problematic buses.

 

Yep, the MCI is certainly my favorite bus... MCIs on the express bus lines for life. Those Prevosts will have to do a lot to convert me. :mad:

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Yeah... New York City actually has build standards that are very high, as the buses have to be built to withstand the heavy duty workloads on a daily basis.

 

From personal experience, Nova and New Flyer have delivered quite well, Orion isn't too far behind, not too fond of their low floors, MCI doesn't count because they're commuter coaches and they are specifically built for their purpose, I've been on lots of them, nothing can make those things rattle

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One thing I noticed while riding the Orange Line BRT through the San Fernando valley today-the NABI 60 BRTs are in prestine condition,(Everything was functional perfectly, no strange sounds, no rattle) yet these are oldest 60 BRTs in the system.(The 60 BRT debut on the orange line in 2005, the orders for the 60 BRTs used for Rapid and Local service came 1-2 years after)

 

But look at the orange line: It runs on it's own private busway that is kept up and is constantly repaved. So the while being the oldest, the orange line BRTs don't experience nearly as much torture as the ones that run on city streets.

 

I was riding a NABI 60-BRT on the Rapid 720 on Wilshire Bl, the pavement was so bad that the bar literally came out of the socket. The bus was literally falling apart before my eyes. Does this ever happen on NYC buses?

TransitPics01141-1.jpg

 

The BRT models give NABI a bad name though. Their Metro 45C "CompoBus" model is superb. It's frame is made of lighter, yet stronger, composite material. Even the first Compos from the original 2004 order are in fantastic condition,(have yet to see a compo in as bad condition as the newer crap 60 BRTs) and brand new ones used on the silver line are beautiful.

 

Photos: (Not mine)

http://www.cptdb.ca/index.php?showtopic=9948

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The Nova classics are still going in Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, though they will soon be phased out by...you guessed it....NABIs.:mad:

 

The New Flyers are the best built buses in So Cal. I have YET to see a rattling New Flyer in 20+ years of riding So Cal buses.

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One thing I noticed while riding the Orange Line BRT through the San Fernando valley today-the NABI 60 BRTs are in prestine condition,(Everything was functional perfectly, no strange sounds, no rattle) yet these are oldest 60 BRTs in the system.(The 60 BRT debut on the orange line in 2005, the orders for the 60 BRTs used for Rapid and Local service came 1-2 years after)

 

But look at the orange line: It runs on it's own private busway that is kept up and is constantly repaved. So the while being the oldest, the orange line BRTs don't experience nearly as much torture as the ones that run on city streets.

 

I was riding a NABI 60-BRT on the Rapid 720 on Wilshire Bl, the pavement was so bad that the bar literally came out of the socket. The bus was literally falling apart before my eyes. Does this ever happen on NYC buses?

TransitPics01141-1.jpg

 

The BRT models give NABI a bad name though. Their Metro 45C "CompoBus" model is superb. It's frame is made of lighter, yet stronger, composite material. Even the first Compos from the original 2004 order are in fantastic condition,(have yet to see a compo in as bad condition as the newer crap 60 BRTs) and brand new ones used on the silver line are beautiful.

 

Photos: (Not mine)

http://www.cptdb.ca/index.php?showtopic=9948

 

u gotta realize that Cali buses don't go through nearly as much torture as NYC buses mainly b/c of our roads being in such poor condition. ++NYCTA has a fleet of over 6200 buses. its hard to keep screws tightened on that many buses, especially if those screws pose no safety threat other than a minor annoyance to those that choose to ride without an ipod (nyc public transit essential)

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I hate how those buses stop. They accelerate good but you always get jerked when they're stopping or starting. It's kind of like they stop but never quite come to a stop, like they're always trying to move. I know they dealt with the jerking problems a bit on those Orions, but they still are problematic. I have to hold on sometimes even when sitting down.

 

The reason you get shook when the bus stops is cause of the driver, the driver stepped on the brakes too hard and then suddenly lets go...thats how it happens. And if a driver steps hard right on the peddle when starting oto accelerate, it kinda shakes you up, its usually NOT the bus.

About the bus moving backwards...its the driver. When my dad drives, it doesn't happen, hes been driving for more then a decade. When my sister drives, it happens cause she just got here license.

My bus NEVER moved backwards, well I ride CS NG's mostly and they mostly NEVER do that. That jerking when it stops happen on ALL BUSES, including RTS's. Well, thats when I ride it. I recently rode an LFS #8084 and it was jerking me like crazy....

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u gotta realize that Cali buses don't go through nearly as much torture as NYC buses mainly b/c of our roads being in such poor condition. ++NYCTA has a fleet of over 6200 buses. its hard to keep screws tightened on that many buses, especially if those screws pose no safety threat other than a minor annoyance to those that choose to ride without an ipod (nyc public transit essential)

 

I don't know, the road pavement out here is pretty bad. I doubt NYC is any worse. Look at the pic...that bar came loose just 30 seconds before I took that photo. Any road that is able beat the shit out of a bus like that must be pretty bad.

 

You got me on fleet size though. LACMTA is barely 2500-3000 strong...

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I don't know, the road pavement out here is pretty bad. I doubt NYC is any worse. Look at the pic...that bar came loose just 30 seconds before I took that photo. Any road that is able beat the shit out of a bus like that must be pretty bad.

 

You got me on fleet size though. LACMTA is barely 2500-3000 strong...

 

NYC roads are 10 times worse. So are the roads in the rest of the midwest and eastern states. Salt destroys our roads. That's a problem California doesn't really have.

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Another issue with those hybrids is that they tend to roll backwards before moving forwards when going up an incline (when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal and places it on the acceleration pedal).

 

That is actually a feature for those buses to prevent the B/Os from speeding off like crazy folk instantly. It's more like a safety precaution to prevent accidents.

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For what it's worth down here we use NF C30/35/40/40R and NABI 40 ft and the New Flyers are between1 and 10 years old and all run great and do not really rattle but the Nabis are around 2 yrs old and the interior lights on some units flicker when hitting bumps they rattle and the engines shut off smmetimes while moving and on some the transmission hits gears rather hard just my $0.02 on the NABIs And i think we have some 60 footers in our yard awaiting being put into service

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IMHO, out of current in production buses... (The Big 5)

 

1.)NovaBus

2.)Orion

3.)New Flyer

4.)NABI

5.)Gillig

 

From a rider's perspective - I would more or less agree with your top three. They're all heavy-duty buses that are well designed for big U.S. cities and the three builders have been focused on improving their products.

 

I would drop NABI below Gillig - they are a better-designed bus, but a poorer-manufactured one, IMO.

 

Just my $0.02 worth.

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Funny that I saw this topic---it came up while riding 0059 with Trevor earlier. I personally think that it has gone down, and to an extent, I think that it's the feds who have caused this, with manufacturers building buses to last less long than they did in the past.

 

If the feds decided to not pay for replacements for buses for 15-17 years, builders would build buses designed to last that long.

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