bike racks coming to the last remaining PAT buses

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StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Also, from one of my FB friends (who also happens to be a bus driver):

Here are buses left today without racks: 1932, 2634, 2635, 2638, 2661, 2668, 2671, 2681, 2691, 2692, 2768, 2770, 3056, and 5329. Not bad at all, and 11 out of these 14 are retiring between oct 30th and late December.

* 1932 is a big 45-foot suburban coach

* 3056 is an articulated; its days are numbered but not real soon, maybe a year or so

* 5329 is a newer bus, maybe seven years old, going to be around a good long time. I don’t know why it doesn’t or cannot have a rack. Photo taken Sept. 30, 2011.

bus 5329


erok
Keymaster
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wow, thanks for the update. maybe it broke and they removed it and never put it back on?


scott
Keymaster
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Great recon, Stu! Can you contact Port Authority and inquire about the 1 or 2 that should have them but don’t?


Pseudacris
Participant
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Stu, I love the video!


erok
Keymaster
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stu, finally watched that video. SO AWESOME!! I posted it to the front page of the site


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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*blushes*

Thanks for the front-page treatment!

Actually, it was kinda fun making the video.

Hat tip to my friend Secret Agent L for the “Be Kind. No Exceptions.” T-shirt I wore for the shoot.

As to 5329, I’m going to guess the bus was in an accident that messed up the undercarriage badly enough that the attachment points are mangled, but not bad enough that they can’t run the bus. Probably the same with the other two. The artic may also be gone soon. Those new 3-door 3200s are intended to replace those 14yo buses. Buses are only expected to last 12 years, and we’re getting 14 or 15 out of them.

I’ll get a definite answer on 5329, though. My source also tells me that at least one bike-hating driver asks for that bus just to piss off cyclists. (There always has to be one, right?)


erok
Keymaster
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that’s cool, another 100 views since it went up. edumacating the masses!


Impala26
Participant
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One key thing I think the video leaves out is that when exiting the bus be sure to let the driver know you will be unloading the bike at that stop.

Don’t rely on them remembering you or anything. I have had a handful of times where the driver nearly pulled away from the stop with my bike! :o


Swalfoort
Participant
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+1 Impala


rsprake
Participant
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That video rules! Stu, you are shredding around that corner at the start!

And another +1 for letting the driver know.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Not sure if you’ve seen some of the buses that now have a big panel affixed to the bike racks. That’s to hold an advertisement, I am told. I have not yet used one of these myself, but I did encounter a lame comment from a Facebook friend about how stupid the idea was and how poor PAT is. With that, I posted the following retort:

“Lose the attitude. This is brilliant. Those ads are *income*. PAT isn’t poor, it’s underfunded. There’s an important difference. You try running a $330 million operation on $280 million in income. If they can get a couple hundred bucks a bus each month for having an ad on the front, *while also* carting around a bicycle now & then, then more power to them. Learn how the funding system works (or rather, how it was designed to work), and once properly informed, then try in good conscience to say this. You will find that you cannot. If instead you insist on continuing to approach it this way, the appropriate word is: ignorant. Ditto to anyone else, and I know there are *a lot* of people who think this way.”


edmonds59
Participant
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I would also add that if they find it stupid to have ads on buses, I would find it equally stupid to have a “Consol” arena, a “PNC” park, or a “Heinz” field. Are those entities “poor”?

What happened to the city that had the Civic Arena, Three Rivers Stadium, and Forbes Field? I guess since everyone wears corporate logos right on their clothing, we’re all nothing but fking corporate signboards anyway (rant over).


Pseudacris
Participant
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The more people use the racks, the less we’ll have to look at the ads ;-)


edmonds59
Participant
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Pseuda, awesome point!


erok
Keymaster
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i think that’s great. but i always wondered, and stu, maybe you can enlighten, but the ads on the inside of the buses (those panels) always seem to be ads for the Port Authority. are they having trouble selling those inside ones, or do they just not try very hard. seems like some easy revenue.


ieverhart
Participant
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Re: Port Authority advertising itself, I always assumed they just put those when there are no other advertisers who’ve bought the space. Maybe they have one or two designated panels for route changes/announcements etc. but would typically prefer a paying advertiser to more self-promotion if there one there, and as soon as one comes along, they swap it out.


Impala26
Participant
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I tend to notice that the majority of “interior” bus advertising is either Port Authority announcements or UPMC ads for various participation studies and whatnot. Actually, given the demographics of those who ride the buses, this is actually geared in the right way.

I’ve just never been a fan of the all-over heat-wrapped ads on the outside of buses. My biggest gripe with those is that they obscure the windows, and in my view, without windows to look out a somewhat boring bus ride becomes even MORE boring.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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It’s actually a fairly complex topic, one that has changed over time. It had been the case that all ads, interior and exterior, were handled by one contracted agency. Said agency made piles more money on the exterior ads than the interior. No payback, so no effort expended, so no ads. More recently, staff does this work directly, but staff is stretched beyond thin. Anything they do sell goes straight into increasing income, but again, at only $1 per ad per month per bus (1998 numbers), it’s a lot of work for very little payback. Much easier to fill up the space with internal announcements than pound the pavement to sell space, so that’s what you get.

Full-wrap buses, OTOH, pay back big time. PAT is not the only transit agency to do these, which they’ve done here since May 1994 btw. Visibility issues are well known. There is little to learn that hasn’t already been tried.


dmtroyer
Participant
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$1/month/bus???? This seems like insanely cheap advertising. BikePGH should hop on that train.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The numbers may have changed, but that’s what those overhead interior “car card” ads used to cost. Plus design and production costs. To get one on every bus for a month is close to a grand. I don’t know current numbers.


erok
Keymaster
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i see these on board ads in every other city? how does everyone make this work, but we failed at it? clearly there is profit to be made if others agencies take the time to do this.


wojty
Participant
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I would be curious to see the socio-economic breakdown of ridership for various cities mass transit systems. I have no idea if there is a link there or not, but I see less professionals on busses in PGH than I have in a lot of other cities.


edmonds59
Participant
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I just rode a brand new articulated bus on the G2 route, it was a really, really nice bus, still had that new bus smell. As opposed to b.o. And it had a rack, whoohoo! The only drawback was that it apparently had led interior lighting, really really awful. I am very hesitant about a future where we have completely led indoor lighting if that is where we are headed, it will be horrible.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Actually all the 5600s (new, early 2009) and 5700s (new, late 2009) have LED lighting; some lights on the 2007 model 5500s are LEDs as well, though not all. So we’ve had them for a while.

We’re getting three sets of brand-new buses right now. The 3200s are the artics, the 5800s are the regular 40-footers, and a few hybrids numbered 5730-something, are all being put in service right now. The artics are a different manufacturer, New Flyer, whereas the others are just re-orders of the same make and model of what we’ve been getting for the last few years (5200 on up).

However, we will be seeing a lot more of the artics as we retire the 1900s next year, and replace some older 40-footers. I’ll pass along that the lighting is objectionably garish. Maybe they can modify them in future orders.


edmonds59
Participant
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I completely forgot that I like to sit in the middle swivelly section and failed to do that. Maybe this evening.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I like to stand in the middle swivelly section, feet planted fore and aft and a little left and right, astride the articulation point. That way you get to experience the humps and hollows in the street as well as the turns.


Mick
Participant
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I’m guessing taht LED lighting will vary wildy – some will be horrid, but there is no reason they can’t balance out a white LED with several colors, for an OK overall mix.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I rode two new artics today and didn’t think the lighting was bad at all. your eyes will adjust to the temperature of the lights. I especially loved how it almost imperceptibly dimmed when the doors shut.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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As of Tuesday, Nov 1, our rackless count should be down to eight, from 14. Four old no-rack buses retiring, two others got racks. The count may actually be less than eight; the only confirmed no-racks I have at the moment are 2661, 2668, 2681, 3056, and 5329.


sprite
Participant
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Cool!

@wojty it varies a lot here by route IME.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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No-rack 2681 lives! I saw it on East Carson after the tag pickup. This bus is well into its 16th year. It’s legal until at least the end of November.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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We still have a couple of rack-less buses. Aside from 5329, which will be around a while (2016, I’m told), there are about seven, some still sporting the 1996 red-white-black paint scheme. Four of these run out of Collier garage, typically running a G2, and are paired with a rack-toting 3200-series articulated. Three run out of West Mifflin. I believe all will be scrapped after Jan 31.


scott
Keymaster
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Erok and I saw one of these downtown yesterday. Can’t wait till these are retired.


erok
Keymaster
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man, i’ve been in pittsburgh long enough to see a whole generation of buses be born and die.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I’m glad that they are using them as space for advertisement


erok
Keymaster
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yeah, it sorta helps a bit


Mick
Participant
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@ Edmunds guess since everyone wears corporate logos right on their clothing, we’re all nothing but fking corporate signboards anyway

“Corporations are people, my friend.”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Twitter conversation, 1/24/2012:

will 5329 ever have a bike rack?This is a newer bus and is out all the time!

Port Auth answer: It should! I’ve forwarded the message along to our bus department so they can work on correcting that.


edmonds59
Participant
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So as I was getting my 29 bus home last night, I got a bus with a broken rack (#5536). The driver got out to check it, then said “just bring it on in”. When I got on I thanked him profusely and his reply was “I’m not going to leave you standing out there, it’s our job to make it happen”. This driver was awesome, just naturally positive (29 route, Gateway Center 5:56 bus, 2/21/2012). If PAT had more drivers like this guy, shit, if Western PA had more people like that, I can only imagine how much better things would be.

Stu, is there somewhere on the PAT site I should report that rack?


cburch
Participant
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you should call the garage and tell the guys boss how awesome he is.

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