Bus Photo of the Month: February 2018

New Flyer XN40 2959

New Flyer XN40 2959

Location: Columbia Pike at Joyce Street, Arlington, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: July 4, 2017

When compressed natural gas (CNG) buses made their entry in to US transit fleets, the buses were notable for the large hump on their tops.  This hump was for the fuel tanks.  Many agencies highlighted the fact these buses were running on compressed natural gas as opposed to diesel, and some even used special paint schemes on these buses to draw attention to that fact.  This included WMATA’s first CNG buses, the New Flyer C40LF buses ordered in 2002.  However, the fuel tanks on these must be replaced after 15 years, often resulting in the bus being retired at that time.  As bus designs have evolved, the fuel tanks have been incorporated in to the bus design in less obvious ways and agencies have moved away from highlighting their CNG vehicles.  As a result, there is little indication to most passengers boarding one of these newer buses that they are boarding a bus powered by CNG.  As someone who enjoys seeing variety in bus fleets, I am sorry to see the special liveries for alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrid and CNG buses.  That said, it is remarkable to see how new CNG buses, such as this New Flyer XN40 that replaced WMATA’s original C40LF buses, now look so much like their diesel counterparts.  Do you like when alternative fuel vehicles get special paint schemes?  Post your thoughts in the comments below!

For more photos of WMATA’s New Flyer XN40 buses, please click here

Bus Photo of the Month: January 2018

BredaMenarinibus M221 233

BredaMenarinibus M221 233

Location: Piazzale Roma, Venice, Italy
Operator of Vehicle: Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano (ACTV)
Date of Photo: March 10, 2008

When one thinks of transit in Venice, Italy, one usually thinks of vaporettos (water taxis) or gondolas, not buses.  And when American transit fans think of Breda, they think of trains, not buses.  Yet here we have a photo of a Venetian bus built by Breda.  Venice has transit modes other than its famed vaporettos.  ACTV not only operates the vaporettos but also has a fleet of over 600 buses serving the islands of Lido and Pallestrina, as well as the Venetian boroughs located on the mainland.  In 2010, ACTV began operating a tram line, the first in the region since 1941.  Meanwhile, Breda is known for its rail rolling stock, which can be found in cities such as Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Washington, and Boston.  However, it also manufactured buses, mostly found in Italy, for over 25 years, and also some trolleybuses in cities around the world.  Transit is often predictable, but there are often surprises to be found, such as this, as well.

For more photos of buses in Venice, please click here

Bus Photo of the Month: December 2017

Flxible Metro-B 9436

Flxible Metro-B 9436

Location: F Street, NW at 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Date of Photo: July 4, 2005

The Rail Photo of the Month post for this month and a conversation I had earlier this week with a fellow transit fan inspired me to pick this photo to be the December 2017 Bus Photo of the Month.  Yesterday’s photo featured a Budd car from Miami that is nearing the end of its service life on account of its replacement having just entered revenue service.  Today’s photo features the first type of Metrobus that I recognized as being “different” (in other words, new) as a budding transit fan in the early 1990s.  At that age, I had no idea what a Flxible was, what a Metro-B was, or that these buses would push out some older bus that I either wasn’t familiar with or didn’t have an attachment to.  However, I did notice these buses had larger destination signs, that they “flipped” horizontally instead of vertically, that the interior speakers had a different shape, and a few other differences that most commuters would pass off as being subtle.  As I’ve grown older and as time has marched on, there are now quite a few buses in the DC area that I can recall being new that I have seen entirely retired.  One of the great joys I have in running this website is that I am able to document my transit fan experience for the ages so that others can see the equipment, paint schemes, and more that are no longer with us but remain as memories perpetually.

For more photos of WMATA’s Flxible Metro-Bs, please click here. The De

Bus Photo of the Month: November 2017

Gillig Advantage/BRT 4061

Gillig Advantage/BRT 4061

Location: Medical Center Station, Bethesda, MD
Operator of Vehicle: Ride On (Montgomery County Transit)
Date of Photo: October 6, 2017

Exactly one month ago, Ride On, the county operated bus system in Montgomery County, MD, launched its first limited stop service, Route 101 or the Ride On Extra.  This route uses a special fleet of BRT styled Gillig Advantage buses.  I’m not a huge fan of WMATA’s “MetroExtra” branding for several reasons, but I really like how Ride On has taken this brand from another agency in the area and applied it to itself.  The paint scheme and name is clearly derived from WMATA, and to Ride On’s credit, the paint scheme makes it clearer that an approaching bus is a limited stop one than Metro’s scheme.  In its first month of service, I had three occasions to take this service, and found the trip to be extremely speedy, though I was admittedly riding against the peak direction of travel each time.  The buses have WiFi and USB charging ports on board, but I did not use either feature any of the times I have been on these buses.  The buses also still have that new bus smell, so be sure to check it out soon if you want to experience that, too.  The Ride On Extra currently operates between Lakeforest Mall and Medical Center Station during weekday rush hours.

For more photos of the Ride On Extra, please click here

Bus Photo of the Month: October 2017

Leyland RT intercity bus

Leyland RT Intercity Bus

Location: Egged Historical Center, Holon, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 1, 2010

Many places have transit museums to commemorate the vehicles and systems of old, and Israel is no exception to this.  Its largest bus operator, Egged, operates the Egged Historical Center in a corner of its bus depot in Holon, just outside Tel Aviv.  Until recently, it was known as the Egged Museum, which is probably a more apt description of the attraction.  It consists of over 60 buses and other vehicles that have been preserved and are on display to the public during the museum’s opening hours.  This bus was built by Leyland in 1963 on a Greek chassis, earning it the nickname Yavaniya (lit: Greek woman).  Egged operated 50 of these buses for about 10 years, at which point they were withdrawn from service.  In the photo, you can see the continuation of the line of buses on display at the museum.  If you’re a transit fan and you find yourself in Israel, provided you can get to the museum while it is open, it is definitely worth a visit. 

The Egged Historical Society is located in the bus depot at the corner of Moshe Dayan and Dan Shomron.  At the time of this posting, the museum is open to the public on Friday mornings from 8 AM until noon and also during the intermediate days of Sukkot (October 8-10, 2017) and Passover from 8 AM until 12:30 PM.  The museum can be reached by taking a short bus ride from central Tel Aviv, and since September 2011, it is also accessible by Israel Railways’s Bat Yam-Kommemiyut Station.  From Jerusalem, one should travel to Rishon LeTzion and take a local bus to the museum from there.

For more photos from the Egged Historical Society, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: September 2017

Gillig Phantom 482

Gillig Advantage 482

Location: Smithfield Street at 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Operator of Vehicle: Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority (MMVTA)
Date of Photo: November 27, 2015

The Port Authority isn’t the only bus operator in Pittsburgh.  There are some other operators in the area, and this month features another one of those operators.  Among its routes are commuter services from Washington County, Westmoreland County, and Fayette County to and from Pittsburgh.  And just like PAT, their buses have a colorful flair to them.

For more photos of Pittsburgh’s buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: August 2017

Mercedes-Benz O 405 G 10652

Mercedes-Benz O 405 G 10652

Location: Derech Jericho near Derech Sha’ar HaArayot, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: April 2, 2010

Yesterday, we visited the 9th Avenue Station in New York, and specifically, a photo showing both a train route and a track alignment that are no longer in use.  The same evolution of routes over time can also happen with buses.  In some regards, it is a bit easier with a bus, since it doesn’t have tracks, so changing an alignment to make or change a route is easier.  However, that doesn’t meant this sort of change can’t be difficult.  This photo shows a Mercedes-Benz O 405 G nearing the end of the number 2 route in Jerusalem, Israel.  The 2’s route was so well known that people who had only been to Jerusalem once knew where it went.  However, in 2012, as part of the restructuring of the bus routes following the opening of the Jerusalem Light Rail, it was discontinued and replaced by two different routes, neither of which carries the number 2 designation.  The 2 is so venerable that when other proposed routes needed a number assigned to them, 2 was not considered as an option because these proposed routes wouldn’t go anywhere near the Western Wall where the original number 2 terminated.  (As an aside, the bus model shown in the photo has also been entirely withdrawn from service.)  

Are there any bus routes in a city that you live in or are familiar with where the number is so strongly associated with a single route?

For more photos of Egged Jerusalem’s Mercedes-Benz O 405 G buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: July 2017

New Flyer D40LF 964

New Flyer D40LF 964

Location: Bay Street at Keith Street, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Operator of Vehicle: West Vancouver Blue Bus
Date of Photo: August 6, 2007

West Vancouver Blue Bus has the distinction of being the oldest municipally operated bus system in North America, having been founded in 1912.  Although they are operated under contract to TransLink (which is the primary transit operator in the Vancouver area), the dozen or so West Vancouver Blue Bus routes certainly have their own identity.  After all, no other buses in the Vancouver region are running around with the West Vancouver seal above their headsigns.  It’s been nearly 10 years since I was in Vancouver and I still don’t think I’ve seen an agency before or since that trip to stick something on the roof of the buses like that before.  Has anyone else seen anything like it elsewhere or know why West Vancouver Blue Bus does this on all their buses?  It is certainly unique.

For more photos of West Vancouver Blue Bus buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: June 2017

Mercedes-Benz O530G 4629

Mercedes-Benz O530G 4629

Location: Avenida da Liberdade at Rua das Pretas, Lisbon, Portugal
Operator of Vehicle: Carris
Date of Photo: November 15, 2013

Articulated buses with three doors are finally becoming more common in the United States, but in Europe, three door artics have been a standard sight for many years now, and the Mercedes-Benz O530G model is easily found all over the continent.  This particular bus operates in Lisbon, one of 50 units that can be found in the Portuguese capital.  Unlike some other European capitals, such as Paris, buses can be found with relative ease in the city center.  In some cases, the buses even share a right of way with Lisbon’s famed trams.  In other words, it isn’t implausible for a tourist to have a need to take a bus to get from one place to another.  In addition to sharing fare media with the trams and Metro, Lisbon’s buses have automated announcements that call out the name of each stop, making for easy navigation.  While the trams are the “transportation highlight” in Lisbon hands down, don’t overlook the buses while you’re there, either for transit fanning or just to get around.  

For more photos of Lisbon’s buses, please click here.

 

Bus Photo of the Month: May 2017

MAN NG-313 35790

MAN NG-313 35790

Location: Herzl Street at the main gate of the Weizzmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: May 15, 2011

Today, the State of Israel marks the 69th anniversary of its independence.  One way in which the country celebrates this day is by decorating balconies, streets, and even cars (among other things) Israeli flags or just blue and white decorations of any sort.  Therefore, if one is taking pictures of just about any streetscape in Israel at this time of year (whether it be of buses or something else), it is hard to not capture some of these decorations in the photo, as I did here.

Although the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Egged, its primary bus operator, traces its history back to 1933.  In its earliest days, some of its buses even traveled to Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Egypt, and Iraq.  A more recent international route, a Tel Aviv-Cairo route, operated from 1982 until 1996.  However, Egged’s presence has always been strongest within Israel itself, and at one time just about every bus line outside of the Tel Aviv area was operated by Egged.  In recent years, the government has opened up the bidding process to operate these services to more companies, and Egged now only operates about 37 percent of scheduled bus services in Israel.  However, it still remains the largest operator.  

For more photos of Egged buses in Rehovot, please click here.