New PRIMO Route Under Construction

So things have been super busy with me the past few weeks.  Driver training is going well so far, and there is a lot more to come before the year is over.  But that’s not to say that I didn’t have any free time to do some bus drawings.

I had extra free time during a lunch break to just drive around and I came across a realization that construction of the next bus rapid transit corridor has began.  PRIMO route 120 is scheduled to begin service sometime in late 2018 or early 2019.  Construction right now is limited to reconstructing the sidewalk to fit new larger shelters and constructing bus pads in the street.

 

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Rendering of new PRIMO stations from www.viasmartmove.com.

 

26 new stations are being constructed along the Zarzamora corridor.  Features are to include lighted shelters with seating, free 4G LTE WiFi, security cameras, and a digital information screen with next-bus arrival information.  So that got me to thinking what vehicles are going to be used on this new route.  Obviously the current fleet VIA has of NABI’s and XN40’s will be used, but there needs to be vehicle expansion.

XN60 PRIMO

VIA would need to purchase new articulated buses.  And since Nova doesn’t have an option for articulated CNG buses, the only option on the market would be New Flyer’s XN60.  This bus would be perfect for the Military Drive BRT, but it won’t work on Zarzamora due to one railroad crossing that has a very steep grade.  Even 40-foot buses have been known to get stuck at this crossing.  So what other options are available?

Nova PRIMO

Above is a rendering of the new Nova LFS repainted into the PRIMO livery.  This option would be suitable for VIA since they are switching to an all CNG fleet, and they chose Nova for 500 buses.  The other option would be to purchase more Xcelsiors, but that doesn’t seem likely.  Right now, it’s too hard to tell what VIA will choose the run down this new corridor.

And because I was already repainting bus drawings, I went ahead and did some extra credit.  I painted a Gillig CNG bus into the new VIA livery just to see what it would’ve looked like.

VIA Gillig

I would hope that VIA would’ve gotten the regular styling, but who knows for sure.  Gillig would’ve never gotten the contract based on the fact that they couldn’t handle the high production of buses.  Honestly I would take Gillig over Nova Bus any day.

Graveyard/NABI Update

This past Sunday was a milestone… The remaining 1999 NABI’s were officially retired form service.

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Bus #801 was the last bus in the series (730-809) to be “laid to rest” so to speak [pictured above].  I am quite surprised that these buses lasted for 18 long years.  I’ve read articles online where other transit agencies with NABI’s from the same year have been retired long ago, however a handful do remain in service.  Miami-Dade Transit is also retiring their 1999 buses this year, and they were built after VIA had received theirs.

Honestly VIA does a great job maintaining their buses.  The last bus series to run for 18 years were the 1992 TMC RTS #633-662.  Even though several buses were retired early, most made it to 2010 when VIA received the hybrid fleet.  Those things were constantly breaking down, some on a daily basis.

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Now that the 1999’s are gone, next is the 2000 fleet (810-889).  Looking at the photo above you can see buses 815, 816, 818, 810, 811, and 824 which were added recently.  The only bus to not be retired (yet) up to 824 is bus #812.  However I have a suspicion that I saw it at the VIA paint shop getting painted white, which means the end of the road for it.

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Another interesting note is the vacant lot you can see on the left of the photo.  The previous owner moved out 2 weeks ago.  Since my visit last week, the lot has been cleared of buildings, debris, and the fence has also been removed.  This can only mean that VIA is now leasing this lot to add more buses, since I doubt they could fit the remaining NABI’s in the remaining lot on the right.  I’ll find out when I visit the graveyard this Sunday for my weekly update.