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TTC: Electric and alternative fuel buses

W. K. Lis

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I just can't see trolley buses being a smart investment. They don't have the 'cool' factor that streetcars have which helps to attract extra choice riders, they are heavily restricted as to where they can drive, the cost of electricity seems to be rising even faster than the price of gasoline, and they definitely don't offer increased capacity over regular buses. There would be no savings in terms of drivers, a need for massive investment in new infrastructure and garage retrofits, and there would be yet another different type of vehicle for the TTC to maintain. Bad, bad investment.
From Statistics Canada:

Between December 2009 and December 2010, gasoline prices increased 13.0%, after increasing 7.2% in the 12 months to November. Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.8% in December, identical to the increase recorded in November.

In addition to paying more for gasoline, consumers paid 6.2% more for electricity and 9.2% more for natural gas in December. Overall, energy prices rose 10.5% during the 12 months to December.
Gasoline and diesel prices rose higher in 2010 than electricity prices. I'm not a fortune teller, but I think the first 3 months of 2011 might end up with gasoline and diesel prices going higher up than electricity prices as well.
 

lafard

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Iif oil prices rise by so much that the TTC can't afford diesel in 4 years time, you won't have a job to ride the bus to anyways, nor obviously any money to take the bus shopping either.
 

W. K. Lis

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Iif oil prices rise by so much that the TTC can't afford diesel in 4 years time, you won't have a job to ride the bus to anyways, nor obviously any money to take the bus shopping either.
Unless you're multi-millionaires like the Ford brothers, they will continue to be the sole occupant in their SUV's.
 

dowlingm

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I just can't see trolley buses being a smart investment. They don't have the 'cool' factor that streetcars have which helps to attract extra choice riders, they are heavily restricted as to where they can drive, the cost of electricity seems to be rising even faster than the price of gasoline, and they definitely don't offer increased capacity over regular buses. There would be no savings in terms of drivers, a need for massive investment in new infrastructure and garage retrofits, and there would be yet another different type of vehicle for the TTC to maintain. Bad, bad investment.
The driver savings point would be gotten around if they acquired something like an E60LFR or Xcelsior New Flyer. But then TTC would have to get over their Orion fixation, their anti-trolley stance and their anti-bendybus stance all at the same time :D
 

drum118

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The Return of the Trolley Bus

Is the return to trolley buses around the corner after they were decommission long ago?

The Hybrid buses have been a failure and systems are looking at building new trolley system with Quebec being one of them.

Other than Edmonton, systems that still had trolley buses have or are in the process of buying new equipment, as well expand the system.

A number of other systems are now looking going with the trolley buses using duel power. Dayton Ohio became the first one today when it started testing 2 of the Vossloh-Kiepe-Gillig-Complete Coach Work Duel Mode demonstrator that arrived just before Christmas.

Boston has this type of system.

RTA Rolls Out Dual-Powered Electric Vehicle
http://www.abc22now.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/wkef_vid_24107.shtml
 

cplchanb

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Sorry to those who are sentimental about nostalgia but this will never happen in our lifetimes. the former infrastructure was ripped out decades ago. To put something back after this long would cost too much and
it will never pay back for itself by the savings over replacing the hybrids with diesels.
 

AlbertHWagstaff

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what cities left in North America still have Trolley buses? Edmonton, SF, Dayton, Boston..
Vancouver, Seattle and San Fran have extensive systems, while Boston, Philadelphia and Dayton have relatively small systems.

Vancouver and Philadelphia have modern trolley buses with bodies by New Flyer and equipment by Vossloh-Kiepe, while Boston has modern coaches with bodies by Neoplan. San Fran and Dayton have coaches from the 90s, with Skoda bodies and ETI electrical. Seattle has rebodied coaches by Gillig, with the electrical equipment I believe salvaged from the AM General fleet of 1978-79.

Seattle has a demonstrator of a brand-new coach with the current New Flyer Xcelsior body and electrical by Vossloh-Kiepe. I believe both Seattle and San Fran will be getting these, for a total of 500+ coaches (if someone has the details please correct/share), including some articulated buses.

In Europe, the trolley bus is thriving in Switzerland with at least seven extensive systems operating. There are three systems in Latin America: Mendoza, Argentina, using ex-Vancouver coaches, Valparaiso, Chile, which has some second-hand Swiss coaches and 1948 original Pullmans, and Mexico City, which has a larger system.

The coaches in Vancouver, Philadelphia and Boston (dual-modes) have off-wire capability.

One of the knocks against trolley coaches aside from spaghetti-junctions of overhead at intersections is the need for substation infrastructure and feeders. Seattle apparently has some system that is different from this conventional set up, although I don't remember exactly what the gentleman who set it up told me about it, other than he was quite proud of his work in upgrading the entire Seattle trolley coach system in 1978.

The only way trolley buses are coming back here is if there is a way to tie in the infrastructure with the existing system or with an expanded LRT network so that it can support both, and if fuel costs rise substantially. The off-wire capability would be a must, avoiding the need for complex overhead junctions. They would also have be used on heavy bus routes. The ancient system here had some heavy routes, but by the end, some were merely shadows of what they used to be, with the exception of Ossington and maybe Bay.
 

AlbertHWagstaff

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Sorry to those who are sentimental about nostalgia but this will never happen in our lifetimes. the former infrastructure was ripped out decades ago. To put something back after this long would cost too much and
it will never pay back for itself by the savings over replacing the hybrids with diesels.
The former system is completely irrelevant, most of the old trolley bus routes wouldn't make the cut for a new system. Much of the substation infrastructure was shared with the streetcar system and the subway. A new system woudl operate on heavier bus routes such as Dufferin, Wilson, Jane, etc. There would be no trolley buses running on Mt. Pleasant, that's for sure.
 

TheTigerMaster

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What exactly is the benefit of trolly busses vs. traditional busses, other than the lack of local emissions and lower energy costs? The only thing I can think of is faster acceleration and more torque due to the electric motor and rubber tires. Furthermore, once the technology in battery powered busses improves, trolly busses will have no benefit over them other than perhaps the lack of expensive battery swaps every few years. I think we're better off holding off on trolly busses until battery powered busses have matured.
 

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