Official Trackless Trolley Thread/Tracker

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Official Trackless Trolley Thread/Tracker

Postby CS » Sat Jul 03, 2004 8:22 pm

Last edited by CS on Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby jwhite07 » Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:21 pm

In the past week or so, the number of accepted Neoplan/Skoda trackless trolleys has jumped from 6 to 9... but only one Flyer trackless has been removed from service. Nice that they're hanging on to some of the old Flyers for a while instead of replacing them one-for-one (I assume that's because the idea is to draw off some new TTs at some point whenever the Transitway opens). Also very nice to be able to go from Harvard to Watertown in something that is air conditioned!! :P
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Postby octr202 » Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:26 am

I don't think that they'll ever totally replace the Flyers until the Silver Lie is all set -- they wouldn't want to fully convert the service to the new TT's, then have to pull a bunch back out a few months later. Although....

Commuters might actually like that. Sure, the Neoplans ride better, they have AC, and they're a lot cleaner, but, the lack of seats is probably going to annoy commuters in the long run. So far, I've taken 5 rush hour trips on Neoplans on the 71, and I've only gotten a seat once, and that was boarding at Harvard (I almost always get a seat on the Flyers, even at rush hour). Even late night runs are SRO now. Losing 13 seats per bus really hurts. At first I was eager to ride the new ones, but now I'd much rather see a Flyer coming down Mt. Auburn in the morning -- at least then I can sit down and read the paper. And, despite losing all those seats, there doesn't appear to be substantially more standing room in the buses. Its still a struggle to get to the front to exit (which you have to do on the outbound), which is compounded by the fact that there are stairs to negotiate (after all, if you sat, most of the seats are way in the back), plus an extra 10-15 standees that would have been sitting on the old Flyers.

Sadly, whateveer ability these buses have to offer nicer amenities (AC, ride quality, ASA), will probably be a net loss in the eyes of average commuters due to how poorly they handle crowds.

But they are taking over. This morning, my Flyer was behind 4116 on the 73 inbound, and 4117 and 4110 were o/b on the 71 and 73, respectively. There were at least 4 visible outside the Watertown carhouse Sunday night, but I coukdn't see numbers in the darkness. There were two in the busway area, one in front of the building, and one outback missing some rooftop components.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Postby jwhite07 » Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:12 pm

Commuters might actually like that. Sure, the Neoplans ride better, they have AC, and they're a lot cleaner, but, the lack of seats is probably going to annoy commuters in the long run.


I think that the seating arrangements and passenger flow in low-floor vehicles is awkward anyway. With 2-2 seating, there's not much standee room or space to move around standees in aisles, so about the only "good" place to stand is right in front of one of those rear doors. People will naturally congregate there. Also, not everybody likes climbing stairs on a moving vehicle, so even if there is a seat or two way back, people may still bunch up by the rear doors, preventing others from being able to make it all the way back to a seat (or preventing people back there from getting to the front for their stop).

The AN440 low-floor carbody has seating issues from the get-go anyway... Neoplan admits that at best, the AN440 can seat "up to 37". In the MBTA trackless version, the addition of a left-side door killed at least four more seats off, and there may have been a seat or two lost to space occupied by electrical equipment as well.
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Postby octr202 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:00 am

I think that the seating arrangements and passenger flow in low-floor vehicles is awkward anyway. With 2-2 seating, there's not much standee room or space to move around standees in aisles, so about the only "good" place to stand is right in front of one of those rear doors. People will naturally congregate there. Also, not everybody likes climbing stairs on a moving vehicle, so even if there is a seat or two way back, people may still bunch up by the rear doors, preventing others from being able to make it all the way back to a seat (or preventing people back there from getting to the front for their stop).


I was very surprised how little standing and circulating room there is on these buses. They feel huge inside, but you quickly realize there's no place to go to get out of the way. And the rear door areas are not as useful to stand in (at least inbound -- outbound they don't get opened after Harvard). When the door opens, it swings into the bus -- I saw several people get hit by this. Not a bright design for buses that are packed to the gills. A lot of riders are going to find that out the hard way!

Unfortunately, I've yet to see a new (except subway -- the 01800's are fine) vehicle from the T in the post-ADA era that doesn't signifigantly reduce passenger seating and complicate passenger flow. The new Type 8's, are, in my mind, lousy (although maybe that's just because I'd like to see some seats that allow you to see out the window -- downtown to Riverside is a long time to stare at the person across from you!). The only buses that seem to offer plenty of seating are the 60 footers -- and I'm starting to wonder if the tracklesses shouldn't have been 60'. I'm sure the argument would be made that the trackless routes only need a bus that big at rush hour, but, honestly, if your transit vehicle can't handle rush hour crowds, isn't that missing the point just a bit?

Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now...
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:21 am

Seems like all the new busses are running on the Wavelry sq route. When ever i ride 71 they are always out of service running behind another bus I herd the operator say that they are putting mileage on them.
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Postby octr202 » Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:47 am

Yes, they do their acceptance trials/break-in runs on Mt. Auburn, as they are housed/stored at the Watertown carhouse prior to being put in service. A couple weeks ago, I was often seeing an operator parking one of them in front of my apartment while on a break. Kind of odd to see a trackless trolley backed into a parking space (well, several).

They are running on the 71, and even the 72. Last night there was one on the 72 during the evening rush, and I caught 4108 on the 71 this morning. 4110 was also on the 71 this morning.

They are nice and fancy, but I'd still rather see a Flyer at rush hour -- I'll miss my seat when they're gone.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Wed Jul 28, 2004 9:30 am

I'm just glad we didn't have a real hot summer yet if we will you would burn up on those old things.
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Left-side signs

Postby RailBus63 » Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:08 pm

I finally saw one of the new Neoplan TT's in person last Saturday. I wasn't aware that they have a left-side destination sign - that's cool.
:D
Didn't get a chance to ride one yet - hopefully will on my next trip back to Boston.

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Postby octr202 » Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:03 pm

Yeah, the left side signs are nice when ou come running up to a waiting TT in Harvard. You don't have to go all the way to the front to see what route it is. However, like all MBTA electronic signs, they aren't always working. It seems that the more recently a bus goes into service, the moire likely that the sign isn't working. After a while, they start working.

Now, I think the TT drivers were used to not changing the rollsigns when going back and forth between Harvard and Waverly/Watertown. I've often noticed inbounds saying Waverley Sq or Watertown Sq. However, this morning, 4108 had "71 WATERTOWN SQ" on the sign, yet the ASA correctly announced that the bus was going to Harvard Station when the door opened. I guess the outside and inside of 4108 we're headed in the same direction!
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:57 am

From Railbus63:

Didn't get a chance to ride one yet - hopefully will on my next trip back to Boston.

Me neither, however, I'll have to take a "railfan ride" on one of those, and maybe even take pictures of them :-)

I heard that they are nicer than their previous class and that ADA riders can now have a chance of riding these new beasts, since the HP lift is right at the front, although the 4000-series were non-ADA compliant.
~Robert Paniagua
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Postby octr202 » Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:39 am

Last night in the rain, about 11:30, there were three at Mt. Auburn and Aberdeen -- 4103 on the 72, and one each on the 73 and the 71 (one of them was 4117, didn't catch the others). Off peak times (Saturday mornings and late evenings) are the best times -- the T has enough Neoplans in service to cover almost the entire assignment at these times.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
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Postby jwhite07 » Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:23 pm

4112 suffered a minor casualty this afternoon... it dewired turning from Mass Ave onto Garden Street at Dawes Island and broke off the pickup shoe from one of the poles. I noticed the retrievers automatically pull and hook both poles down in the event of a dewirement. An Inspector's truck came by and shoved 4112 into a space alongside Garden Street to let a stack of other TTs and traffic through.

Later, at South Station, as I went down the stairs to the outbound Red Line platform, I noticed the Transitway tunnel can be clearly seen. Overhead wire is up, and it looks like construction crews were getting started on putting up wall tile and other finish work in the station area. I also understand, according to NETransit, that the first dual-mode artic for the Transitway has been delivered to Watertown for testing.
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Postby octr202 » Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:40 am

Hmmm...perhaps, if they have some more delays on the Silver Line, we'll get a taste of the dual modes on the 71 and the 73. That would sure be nice at rush hour...
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Postby jwhite07 » Fri Jul 30, 2004 9:46 am

I was thinking maybe keep a few dual modes at North Cambridge... discontinue the 77A and run the 77 full time under wire as far as North Cambridge and then drop the poles for the rest of the way to Arlington Heights. :)
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