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Articulated Bus Depot
#1
Articulated bus facility coming to Waterloo
02 Dec 2015 | Waterloo Record | Link
Quote:Regional staff are set to begin an environmental assessment for a new transit facility in the city’s north end that will ultimately allow Grand River Transit (GRT) to double its bus fleet and add articulated buses to the mix.

The new facility, which will be located at the former Waterloo North Hydro (WNH) headquarters at 300 Northfield Dr., will eventually house nearly 250 buses and be a repair facility for articulated buses.

GRT currently has a fleet of 290 buses but none that are articulated, and the master plan predicts the fleet must grow to meet future need.

“The transit master plan for GRT has identified that another site is needed to service the region’s transportation network,” said Jerry Biersteker, senior project manager at the Region of Waterloo. “It’s identifying future needs, based on population growth, that we’re going to need more buses and our existing facilities will be maxed out.”

The site is roughly two kilometres from Conestoga Mall and many of the region’s bus routes begin and end at or near the mall. Having a storage and maintenance facility so close to the mall — rather than making the 15 km trip to the Strasburg Road bus facility — will improve efficiency.

“If you can save 20 minutes per bus, or 40 minutes per bus, it’s a huge operating cost,” Biersteker said.

The region is looking to begin operating at the new site by 2021, but a lot of work still lies ahead. The first is the environmental assessment that just got underway. An estimated $65 million has been budgeted for the facility and the region has already pushed the opening back by one year.

The assessment will include an archaeological, heritage and transportation study, as well as any cleanup that may be necessary at the former hydro site. Early tests have already located areas with salt and fuel contamination.

The region has hired consulting firm IBI Group to complete the assessment and early indicators suggest the current 45,000-square-foot building will be demolished and replaced with a 300,000-square-foot facility on the 6.9 hectare (17 acre) site.

The region purchased the triangular piece of property from Kappeler Masonry for about $7.35 million in 2014. The masonry company initially purchased the former hydro property in 2013.

After the masonry company purchased the lot, several nearby companies — including BlackBerry — raised some concerns over the visual impact the masonry business may have by storing building materials on the property.

Biersteker said the region engaged in talks with the city when they first purchased the site.

“There were a number of things they identified they would like to see with the future use of the site,” he said. “None of them were major or affected the deal we made to purchase the site, and we indicated we would have future conversations with them.”
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#2
Wow, that's cool! I had no idea we were even considering getting articulated buses. The facility over by Sunrise centre is a really good looking hall, hope they end up doing something like that again.

Hope they go for Nova Artics!
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#3
Hopefully we'll have smart cards by the time they arrive, and they can be set up for three door boarding. By 2021, I can imagine the boarding situations on the busier routes will be much worse than it is today.

With so much of the fleet already Novas, maintenance would probably be straightforward going with more of the same.
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#4
I remember Kitchener Transit having articulated buses on Route 7 in the early to mid 90s. Does anyone else remember this too?
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#5
Wasn't the Strasburg Road garage expansion supposed to accommodate articulated buses? I wouldn't get too excited.
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#6
There was to be accommodations for articulated buses at Strasburg but from my understanding they are already near capacity. They need to make sure that the two existing facilities and the new one can accommodate these buses cause "20-40mins is huge"
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#7
(12-03-2015, 10:22 PM)white_brian Wrote: There was to be accommodations for articulated buses at Strasburg but from my understanding they are already near capacity.  They need to make sure that the two existing facilities and the new one can accommodate these buses cause "20-40mins is huge"

If a bus needs to go to the depot three times a day (just a guess, I don't know the real numbers) and you can reduce the trip from 40 minutes to 10 minutes, that's three service hours saved in one day (round trip, remember).  Assume 20 buses (how many terminate at Conestoga Mall?) and ~300 days/year (fewer trips on weekends), and you end up saving 18,000 service hours per year -- or about $2.5M at $140/service hour.

Plug in the correct time savings and number of buses above, but there is no question that the potential for savings is substantial.
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#8
(12-03-2015, 10:22 PM)white_brian Wrote: There was to be accommodations for articulated buses at Strasburg but from my understanding they are already near capacity.  They need to make sure that the two existing facilities and the new one can accommodate these buses cause "20-40mins is huge"

The articulated bus support at Strasburg was cut when the project went over budget. There's currently no support for artics anywhere at GRT.

(12-03-2015, 11:12 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(12-03-2015, 10:22 PM)white_brian Wrote: There was to be accommodations for articulated buses at Strasburg but from my understanding they are already near capacity.  They need to make sure that the two existing facilities and the new one can accommodate these buses cause "20-40mins is huge"

If a bus needs to go to the depot three times a day (just a guess, I don't know the real numbers) and you can reduce the trip from 40 minutes to 10 minutes, that's three service hours saved in one day (round trip, remember).  Assume 20 buses (how many terminate at Conestoga Mall?) and ~300 days/year (fewer trips on weekends), and you end up saving 18,000 service hours per year -- or about $2.5M at $140/service hour.

Plug in the correct time savings and number of buses above, but there is no question that the potential for savings is substantial.

I don't think the buses go to the garage three times a day. Once or twice is more likely, as they have large fuel tanks and drivers are changed off at passenger terminals rather than at the garage. Someone with more knowledge of GRT may correct me though.

However, there's a lot more than 20 buses that would be based out of here. Strasburg is already over 200 buses. They could split every route that goes north of Victoria St, though some wouldn't enter service right beside the terminal. They'd still probably get at least 15 minutes/trip of travel time savings, but times 100+ buses.
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#9
(12-03-2015, 09:13 PM)jwilliamson Wrote: Hopefully we'll have smart cards by the time they arrive, and they can be set up for three door boarding. 

The smart card system should be up and running this time next year, so no worries on that front. Not sure if all-door boarding is planned for the current bus fleet, though.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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#10
If you want to know about bus movements, have a look at the Canadian Public Transport Discussion Board. They actually have a thread where people post dozens of times daily "spotting" particular buses (but the last post to their ion thread is from months ago, amazingly). I'm sure they'd know how this all works.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#11
Even if the new facility can support articulated buses, none of the terminals currently in place can. My guess is that it is intended for a more distant future than 2021, if it doesn't get cut entirely.
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#12
I should hope that the intermodal station is built by 2021!
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#13
Jeez, I hope so. But how costly would it be to reconfigure a satellite terminal or two to accommodate articulated buses?
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#14
It would be a few 10s of thousands dollars, for tearing up some concrete and re-laying. Compared to the expense of the buses themselves, it's not that big, and can be planned and executed while they procure the vehicles.

The Boardwalk even has one bus bay that could handle one right now.

I would expect to see artics appearing on the 200 routes first. There aren't any terminals with multiple non-interlining 200-routes, so that would mean only two bays would be needed per terminal. Currently, that means 2 for each of Conestoga Mall, Boardwalk, and downtown.
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#15
That was pretty much my thought. Our "satellite terminals" are not exactly complicated infrastructure.
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