Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bus Rapid Transit - Here It Comes!

How many of you (us) saw the Artic "BRT" Bus at the Market Street Station today?

For all intents & purposes it's just a modern version of the current "9000" series Articulated buses we have in the Fleet.
Many of you recognized it.

Some of the differences:
Low Floor
Fewer Seats (Less Room for Passengers)
Ramp rather than Lift in front
Can be "Hybridized"

Basically a combination of the current 1400 (Blue Hybrids) & the 9000 (Accordions)

The one on display today was on its way to be delivered from the factory to San Antonio.
Nabi swung through Denver to show us what we could be getting.

The configuration we saw obviously won't do for us here in Denver.
We need the 60+ seat max, windows that open, more room in back for strollers & bikes, etc etc etc.

This version of the Artic is heavier, ranking in at close to 70,000lbs - 35 tons!
Same 60' length as our current Artics and has a 125 (150 optional) gasoline tank.

The Nabi Rep said that this bus being delivered to Texas, as displayed was $838,000...

Obviously that doesn't represent (only suggest) what RTD might be paying for our new buses.

Whatever we end up getting, we'll have more of them and they'll run more frequently that the Light Rail would have to Boulder.
All told, this BRT system will cost less and provide more service than the Light Rail would have.


Listening to Drivers talk about each of the model series of buses we have in The Fleet, you get to hear what they like and dislike about each model.
Drivers went ape when they were actually asked what they liked and disliked about the first of the new Mall Shuttles (1640) - freaking happier than pigs in mud that we get to have some input into a bus we'll actually drive.

But listening to Drivers about all the series of buses we have, the most common gripe/complaint is that it feels, seems and appears that the bus manufacturers don't have any actual Drivers in the Research & Design departments of their companies.

For the most part, the buses are neither intuitive nor convenient.
One or two things may be really well placed and really good ideas but those get offset by three or four things that seem to have been thrown in to frustrate and confuse.

So I asked the Nabi representative that all important question:
"Have you ever considered coming to Drivers while you're in the R&D phase of these new buses? Active Drivers, in the field, using the buses?"

This Rep up until this point was asking me questions, answering mine - up to and including the cost of the vehicle!
But as soon as I asked this, he turned and walked away.
Didn't even fake like he was turning to talk to another person.
Not even a grunt or pish.

Guess I hit a nerve...

Anywho, we got a glimpse of the new BRTs coming to Denver.
I hope you got your glimpse.
There will be a few more showings in Boulder & Brighton (I think?)

Call our info line at 303.299.6000 and ask them for more information.
They'll point you in the right direction.

As Always, "Welcome aboard, Smell that new bus smell, Find your seats - Let's Roll!"

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