Location: Chapel Street at College Street, New Haven, CT
Operator of Vehicle: CTtransit
Date of Photo: June 2, 2019
One should always travel with his or her camera and expect the unexpected! A flight cancellation last week resulted in my driving from the DC area to Boston and back again, so instead of spending this past Sunday in Boston, it was spent working my way south along the Northeast Corridor. When Mrs. Oren’s Transit Page suggested we stop for lunch in New Haven, I was able to get my first CTtransit photos. I know very little about the system and certainly had no plans to be building out a CTtransit section on this site anytime soon, but sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you find yourself with an opportunity to photograph an agency you did not expect to. Be on the lookout for this new section, including photos from the Shore Line Trolley Museum, in the near future!
Location: East 42nd Street at 3rd Avenue, New York, NY
Operator of Vehicle: MTA New York City Transit
Date of Photo: December 12, 2012
It is hard to believe, but the end of an era for public transit in New York City is approaching in just a matter of days. The last of the venerable “RTS” buses, which have been transporting New Yorkers around the five boroughs for thirty-eight years, are due to be retired in the coming days. The RTS was first developed by GMC’s Truck and Coach Division in 1977 and New York City Transit took its first delivery of RTS buses in 1981. These buses were able to be recognized by their rounded, futuristic looking fronts, especially when compared to the “New Look” buses that made up much of the fleet when the RTSs were introduced. Between 1981 and 1999, a total of 4,877 and RTS buses were ordered from three different manufacturers (GMC sold the rights to the RTS design to TMC who later transferred those rights to NovaBUS). These buses were also the first buses to be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and helped New York City Transit become one of the first agencies of its size to have a 100 percent accessible fleet. Today, there are only a handful of RTS buses remaining in service in New York City, and it is expected that the remaining units will be taken off the streets by May 10, if not before then due to the fact these buses run on diesel fuel, while newer buses are powered by compressed natural gas or hybrid engines.
New York certainly isn’t the only city to have operated the RTS, but it is certainly the city I associate most with this model of bus. These buses were everywhere when I would visit family in New York in the 1990s, and while I knew my “home” agency of WMATA had some as well (and they often served routes near where I grew up), I didn’t expect to ride them all that often whereas getting anything but an RTS in New York was a notable event. I can’t say they were my favorite New York City buses, although I always loved the single seat on the right side just in front of the rear door. I found the rear door lifts to be annoying as a passenger (it could take a long time to load or unload a wheelchair compared to a bus with a front door lift) and the narrow front door and stairwell was not easy to navigate when traveling with luggage or bulky items. Over the years, New Flyer D60HFs, Orion Vs, Orion VIIs, and NovaBus LFSAs have come to dominate the routes where I stay most often in New York. The photo featured this month is one of the last ones I ever took of an RTS in New York, and I took this photo over six years ago. I believe the last time I rode an RTS in New York City was in 2014. It just goes to show how much the New York City bus scene has changed in recent years. However, I don’t expect the association between the RTS and New York City to fade in my mind anytime soon.
What are your memories of the RTS in New York City?
For more photos of New York City Transit’s RTS buses, please click here.
Location: 16th Street, NW at Q Street, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
Date of Photo: July 19, 2007
It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no April Fool’s Joke! If you’re familiar with DC area bus assignments, you’ll know that C40LF buses were never assigned to Northern Division, the longtime home of the S2 route. I also don’t photoshop my photos in that way. So what’s the deal here? Sometimes in a pinch, a bus from a “foreign” division gets put in to service on a route in order to maintain service in the event of a service interruption. For transit fans and those who enjoy taking photos of unusual circumstances, coming across an instance such as this is quite fun, as it allows for taking photos that are really hard to come by. To my knowledge, this is the only time a C40LF was documented as operating on this route during their service lives. So even though it is April 1st and perhaps not everything on the internet is believable today, don’t forget to take a second look. Sometimes, the unexpected is still legitimate.
For more photos of WMATA’s New Flyer C40LF buses, please click here.
Location: M Street, NW at Wisconsin Avenue, Washington, DC
Operator of Vehicle: District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Date of Photo: March 13, 2015
Yesterday’s post was about a DC area equipment type that is no longer operating. Today’s post is about an equipment type that is still plying the streets of the nation’s capital nearly a year after it was expected to be retired. When DDOT placed its new Proterra electric buses in to service about a year ago, it was assumed that the remaining Van Hool buses would be retired. However, nearly 12 months after the Proterras’ debut, the “baby” Van Hools are still in service. The Van Hools certainly aren’t my favorite bus type in the current DC Circulator fleet; I’d much rather see a New Flyer pull up instead (I have yet to ride a Proterra, but they don’t seem to be operating entire service days just yet). But if you are a fan of a bus type that is rarely found in the United States or buses that seem to have nine lives, you may want to hunt down one of the Van Hool A300Ks while you have the chance. Their days may be numbered, and one day that prediction will be right.
For more photos of DC Circulator buses, please click here.
Location: Via Florida at Largo Argentina, Rome, Italy
Operator of Vehicle: ATAC
Date of Photo: January 29, 2008
Many bus systems throughout the world are beginning to make a strong push towards electric powered vehicles. However, some agencies have already experimented with electric buses, to varying degrees of success. In 1995, Rome ordered nearly 60 Gulliver electric buses from TecnoBus to run on a handful of routes that could not handle standard size buses. These buses, in addition to being less than 6 meters (18 feet) long, also did not create vibrations that would damage old buildings in and near the city center. The original fleet has been since been replaced by newer buses around 2010. Unfortunately, the entire fleet was sidelined in 2014 after several buses caught fire. Last year, the Rome municipality and TecnoBus reached an agreement to “revamp” the buses in an effort to get them back on the street. More recently, TecnoBus was purchased by the Italian firm Enertronica.
For more photos of Rome’s TecnoBus Gulliver buses, please click here.
Location: Arlozorov Terminal (2000 Terminal), Tel Aviv, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: December 8, 2009
The “New” Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv gets a lot of attention from the transitfan, urban planning, and architecture communities, generally for all the wrong reasons. As a result, those who can avoid traveling through the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station do so when they can, opting instead to use Arlozorov Terminal, adjacent to the Tel Aviv Central Railway Station. Unlike most major bus terminals in Israel, the Arlozorov Terminal is not located in a large building that also contains retail and other space in the transit terminal. Instead, it is open air, has no building, and passengers just walk straight in from the street to their platform. (This also means there is no security check prior to boarding the bus, unlike at just about every other major bus terminal in the country.) Although perhaps it is a bit utilitarian, it is certainly the easier of the two major intercity terminals to use in Tel Aviv. Recently, a reconstruction project has taken place here, and the new and improved terminal layout with boarding location changes and the like is officially being implemented today. It will still be superior to the Central Bus Station (how could it not?) but perhaps a little less trecherous for pedestrians trying to reach the bus platforms in the middle of the terminal to get to where they want to go.
For more photos of the buses in Tel Aviv, please click here.
Location: Port Orleans Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL
Operator of Vehicle: Disney Transport
Date of Photo: February 15, 2002
Disney World’s busiest week of the year is coming up at the end of this month, and Disney Transport is an integral part of how park visitors travel between Disney World’s resorts, theme parks, and other attractions. Although it isn’t your “typical” public transit system per se, Disney Transport’s bus system is the third largest in all of Florida (behind Miami-Dade Transit and Jacksonville Transit Authority). Disney Transport also has a unique way of dispatching and managing its services. Unlike most transit agencies, there are no fixed schedules at Disney World. Buses are dispatched using a system called “Magic in Motion” that monitors loads and frequencies and instructs drivers to move from route to route based on demand. It is a system that is probably impractical just about anywhere other than Disney World! Although RTS buses no longer operate at Disney World, the fleet has nearly 400 buses manufactured by NovaBUS, Gillig, and New Flyer.
For more photos of Disney Transport, please click here.
Location: Route 40 between Har HaAyit and Neot Smadar, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: November 13, 2011
What is the most surprising place you’ve found public transit services? There have been quite a few times in my travels over the years I’ve seen a bus stop in a seemingly random place and wondered how much service really comes out here and how many people actually board or alight here. Although it makes up over 55 percent of Israel’s land area, the Negev desert is home to only about 8 percent of its population. Yet there are bus stops throughout the desert and considering the low population densities and distances between places, many routes operate a minimum of four to five trips per day. Why so much service? Much of the land is used by the Israeli Army, and soldiers ride free on public transit, so they take buses to and from their bases. In addition, the resort town of Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, has regular service to cities in the central and northern parts of the country in order to cater to vacationers. Besides the bus, the most common ways to travel to Eilat are by plane (expensive and inconvenient for anyone not coming from Tel Aviv) or driving (on two lane roads through miles upon miles of desert). Needless to say, the bus is a popular option, and reservations are recommended for the buses to and from Eilat.
Why do I say those are the most common ways of getting to Eilat? When I took this photo, I was on an organized bike ride that ended in Eilat. It might not be the way most people get there, but it does create opportunities to get photos of buses as they cross the desert.
For more photos of Egged Intercity Buses in Southern Israel, please click here.
Location: South Eads Street at South Rotary Road, Arlington, VA
Operator of Vehicle: Alexandria Transit Company
Date of Photo: July 19, 2018
For those of you who know the DC area well, your first reaction to seeing this photo is that one isn’t supposed to be taking photographs at this location. It is a reasonable first reaction, as this photo was taken on the Pentagon Reservation, and photography is generally prohibited there. But notice my use of the word generally. Photography is allowed at the September 11th Memorial adjacent to the Pentagon (though the DoD was reluctant to permit this when the memorial opened). However, this isn’t where the photo was taken. So what’s the secret? I did have authorization to be taking photos at the Pentagon that morning, and there were Pentagon police officers nearby at the time. However, like many things that go on at the Pentagon, I can’t really reveal how I got this authorization or how one might go about doing so (other than to say the circumstances were somewhat unique, so anyone else trying to replicate them is likely to be unsuccessful).
As for the bus itself, as rare as photos of DASH buses of any sort at the Pentagon might be, photos of Orion V DASH buses are becoming a rarity as well. This specific unit is about 16 years old, is among the last high floor buses remaining in the DASH fleet. Catch these while you can anywhere in the DASH service area, because they are due to be reassigned to the “big bus garage in the sky” in the very near future as newer Gillig Advantages arrive.
Location: Campus Drive at Union Drive, College Park, MD
Operator of Vehicle: University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services
Date of Photo: March 30, 2017
The University of Maryland Athletics Department isn’t only making news because of issues regardings its football team. Recently, the Athletics Department announced it would help to fund some weekend services on campus that would otherwise have been discontinued this fall due to budget shortfalls. The University of Maryland has one of the largest student operated bus systems in the United States, with nearly 3 million trips annually on board a fleet of about 60 buses. While the system is overseen by professional staff, many system functions including dispatching, training, and operating are carried out by students most of the time. How many of those student operators might be transit fans?