Thursday, July 25, 2002
Monday, July 15, 2002
The new CARD system radio consoles are starting to be added to Allegheny's buses in addition to the many buses at Midvale which have been retrofit. There is a report that some buses at Callowhill are also getting the new radio system as well, but I have yet to see a Callowhill Neo or NABI with the new console.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
The two test DE40LF coaches that SEPTA is slated to receive in a few months are tentatively numbered 5601H and 5602H. I doubt that they will retain those numbers once the rest of the 100 D40LF coaches arrive next year.
More buses at Midvale - particularly the NABIs - are being retrofit with the newer sign control panels. According to one Midvale operator, the control panels being installed on the NABIs is more advanced than the ones on the Neoplan artic, ElDorado, and New Flyer fleets. The new panels are being installed as part of the communications system upgrade to the new Computer Aided Radio Dispatch (CARD) system that SEPTA has needed since the end of the first Bush administration.
The new system is part of the reason that SEPTA is going to a four-digit block system which began in February at most depots and in April at Frontier. The block number system, once it's in full effect, will display a four-digit block on all artics, ElDorados, and New Flyers; most of the artics and ElDorados at Midvale are starting to display a four digit block. The first digit represents the depot the bus is assigned to: 1xxx = Comly; 2xxx = Frankford; 3xxx = Midvale; 4xxx = Red Arrow; 5xxx = Allegheny; 6xxx = Frontier; 7xxx = Southern; 8xxx = Elmwood; 9xxx = Callowhill.
DART First State has successfully added a similar system on all of their buses within the past year, including the soon to be retired Flxibles. Ironically enough, some of the older DART radios have been installed on some of the Fords operating out of Frontier.
Speaking of DART, it appears that the new NABI standard floor and high floor buses have started to arrive in Wilmington. The high floors will be numbered 501-519 and are model 416.13; the low floors will be numbered 520-563. This means that the days of Flxibles ruling the road in New Castle County are numbered. DART has issued a press release about the new buses, but oddly enough, unlike a couple of years ago when they posted a picture of a Gillig low floor, there are no pictures of the new NABIs.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
A disabled westbound El train near 40 St station caused delays during the PM peak hour tonight. Some trains were delayed up to 15 minutes due to the incident, which occured at around 5:00pm.
The Neoplan demonstrator is now tentatively due to arrive on SEPTA property on Thursday, and will be put into service as early as Monday.
Friday, July 05, 2002
As the buses were staging at Spring Garden, several passengers waited at the Spring Garden El station for the 4:43pm 25 to Frankford to show up - it never did. Supervisors on site were far too busy preparing the buses which would later transport tourists out of the Parkway area after the fireworks to follow up on a missing 25 bus, which I'm sure is going to play very nicely along Aramingo Av. The 5:13pm 25 to Frankford did show up, however I'm sure that driver got an earful from passengers forced to wait in the opressive heat (though there was plenty of shade with the large El/I-95 overpass) at Spring Garden.
Incidentially, Broad St Subway, El and Subway-surface service ran on a regular Sunday schedule. If last year's fiascos at the 19 St, 22 St, and 30 St stations are any inidciation, then I would imagine that streetcars and El trains were ridiculously overcrowded. SEPTA needs to understand that extending service hours and adding extra service are two different things. There's no reason why El service couldn't operate every 5 minutes, nor any reason why 4 or 5 subway-surface cars couldn't operate between City Hall and 40 St Portal or 49 & Woodland.
Midvale 5193 - operating on the 47 (3306 block) was apparently retrofit with the newer sign control panels used on SEPTA's new buses starting with the Neoplan artics. The sign control panel on 5193 is in approximately the same position as they would be on the newer buses - over the operator's head and to the left. I would guess that the rest of the NABI fleet will follow suit.
The City of Philadelphia is testing a new Thomas/Dart SLF200 low floor bus on the Phlash Center City loop. The bus is CNG powered and has red and blue stripes instead of the purple livery on most Phlash vehicles. The destination sign is supposedly a TwinVision LED, however the word "Phlash" is labeled in the sign areas rather than using the signs themselves.
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
The dispute is over the use on non-union contractors working at Allegheny. No arrests were made during the protest, which began at 5:00am and was curtailed at around 11:30am, following an injunction by a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge. Service on the Allegheny routes slowly returned to normal by around 3:00pm.
The blockade by the Roofers Union may also raise controversy regarding pay status of Allegheny employees. There are high ranking people within SEPTA who are convinced that since Allegheny employees did not cross the picket lines, that may result in the forfeiture of pay. On the other hand, even if the operators crossed the picket line, the blockade would've made it impossible for buses to leave the depot anyway. It's one of those Catch-22 situations. Yet, it couldn't have happened at a worse time, considering it's a holiday week and the heat was very oppressive.
Yet, this isn't the first time there's been controversy over roof repairs at Allegheny. According to one Allegheny operator, SEPTA used a non-union contractor to repair the roof at Allegheny about 5-6 years ago, causing a similar protest by Local 30. How interesting that the roof has been such a problem at Allegheny for so long, considering the depot was re-built in the mid to late 1980s.
Service on several routes in the suburbs - particularly in Delaware County - will be subject to detours and delays tomorrow. This is a listing of trouble spots in Delaware County that SEPTA never bothered to mention:
- Routes 55 and 77 may be detoued in and around Jenkintown due to a parade
- Route 97 will be detoured off of Fayette St in Conshohocken due to the annual Soap Box Derby
- Route 101 may be subject to delays due to Springfield's parade, particluarly near the Leamy Av and Springfield Rd stations
- Route 102 may be subject to delays in Clifton Heights and Aldan due to a parade
- Route 104 service will be delayed about 20-30 minutes due to the Marple-Newtown parade between PA 252 and Malin Rd (Broomall Fire Company)
- Route 109 will be detoured in Clifton Heights along Baltimore Pike between Marple Av and Church Lane due to a parade
- Route 112 may be delayed along Darby Road due to the Llanerch 4th of July parade
- Route 113 service will be detoured off of MacDade Blvd in Collingdale between Clifton and Staley Avenues due to a parade; service will most likely operate via Chester Pike; the 113 may also be delayed in Glenolden near Ashland Av due to that borough's parade
- Buses operating through the west side of the City of Chester, including the Chester Transportation Center (37, 109, 113, 114, and 117) may be subject to delays near the Chester YMCA at 7 & Sproul due to the annual Chester Walk/Run
- Route L service along Germantown Pike between the Barren Hill Fire Company (Church Rd) and Miles Park (Joshua Rd) in Whitemarsh Twp, Montgomery County, will be affected due to a parade, service would probably be detoured via Ridge Pike
Yesterday, 3234 was spotted on S High St in West Chester, training operators for the new 104 extension to West Chester Univesity.
The Neoplan cruiser being leased from Pittsburgh is now tenatively slated to arrive on Thursday, July 11.
The Bucks County TMA is also participating in the Code Red Ozone Alert days, which will allow riders of the Doylestown DART and the Pennridge, Quakertown, and Warminster RUSH services to ride free when the Ozone Alert reaches "Code Red" stages.
DART First State will once again offer free rides until 12 noon on an Ozone Alert "Code Red" weekday.
Although it appears that the 5600s may be needed sooner rather than later, the official scheduled delivery date for the last of the original 300 low floor buses will not arrive until April.
On a side note, all 8600/8700/8800 Neoplans are now officially off the roster and will no longer see revenue service. These buses were removed from service at the end of June.This is contributing to what will hopefully be a temporary bus shortage at Callowhill, where some ElDorados onto the 52 during peak hours, as was the case on Monday with 4580. It's also not helping that some Callowhill buses are being used on the 36 shuttle between Woodland Shops and Penrose Plaza.
Monday, July 01, 2002
As a result of the El delays, the 5:33pm 104 to West Chester departed with a standing load, with a couple of unfortunate passengers forced to sit in the rear stairwell. And, yes, it ran local, arriving in West Chester about 5 minutes late.
Expect major delays on Thursday, July 4 on the 104 in Broomall and Newtown Square due to the annual Marple-Newtown 4th of July parade. The parade will occur in the westbound lanes, forcing eastbound and westbound traffic into the eastbound lanes. Delays of up to 20-30 minutes can be expected, mainly affecting trips to and from West Chester. (Of course, this is not noted at the SEPTA web site along with the long list of other systemwide detours and delays.
The Pennridge RUSH and Quakertown RUSH services began operation today. Both RUSH services will operate to the Lansdale Rail Station on the R5 Lansdale/Doylestown line during peak hours. SEPTA TransPasses and TrailPasses will be honored on these routes, as they are on the existing Warminster RUSH, with single fares costing $1.00 or 15 TMA tokens (not SEPTA tokens) for $10.00.
The TMA of Chester County will offer free rides on the SCCOOT service between West Chester, Chadds Ford and Oxford and on the PHLYER service between Exton Mall and Phoenixville during Code Red Ozone Alert days.
Due to a printing error, the Sunday 6:30am trip on Route 14 does not serve Langhorne, but terminates on Roosevelt Blvd the Bucks/Philadelphia County border.
The KYW 1060 Big Blue Bus (Southern 5383) will be in service tomorrow on Route 28. The schedule for the next four Tuesdays for 5385 are as follows: July 9: Routes 14/20; July 16: Route 58; July 23: Route 24; July 30: Route C.