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Shane

Orion VII Hybrid and New Flyer Invero - Retirements and Rebuilds

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With the coming arrival of the LRT, the Orion VII Hybrid fleet is scheduled for retirement. While I don't completely agree with the retirement on such a bus, it is what was decided to reduce the fleet post LRT. In my opinion, they should have been refit with new batteries (the main source of the early retirement) to continue service, as they are to whatever level more efficient and theoretically produce fewer emissions and waste than the typical diesel bus (Invero). While the Orions came into service in 2007-2008, the Inveros still in service date back to 2003 if I am not mistaken, yet some of those are being rebuilt to extend their life.

In an interesting twist, it seems now that at least some of the hybrids will receive new batteries to extend their life, due to the LRT delay. Rumors also say the hybrids might not be retired after all. I do think some have already been retired.

Personally, I much prefer the Orion Hybrids to the Inveros. The Invero engines are loud, whether you are inside or outside, the lighting, while being an interesting design, makes for a darker experience inside. And I just find the seating to be too cramped. Don't get me wrong, when they were first introduced, I was one of those crazy ones trying to ride/find 4201. They may have been innovative then (maybe) but now they are just getting old. Yet after all these years, plenty of people still don't know the correct operation of the rear door.

I never completely understood how opening the Confederation Line (13 stations) would allow a reduction in the fleet of around 175 buses or more. Even more detours, not counting the routes that will be extended to reach Confederation Line stations... you would think more buses would be needed. In fact, more have been ordered, but it is difficult to grasp which are replacements for old retiring buses and which are for expanding the fleet.

What are your thoughts? Definitely an interesting side story to the Confederation Line delays.

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1 hour ago, Shane said:

the Inveros still in service date back to 2003 if I am not mistaken, yet some of those are being rebuilt to extend their life.

A number of them were rebuilt, but they're done rebuilding them now. What we have is what we've got, and of course they've started taking some of them off the road as the Novabuses are delivered and enter service.

1 hour ago, Shane said:

Rumors also say the hybrids might not be retired after all. I do think some have already been retired.

I think the ones that have been retired are because of unrepeatable damage, or "unplanned" retirements in other words.

1 hour ago, Shane said:

Personally, I much prefer the Orion Hybrids to the Inveros. The Invero engines are loud, whether you are inside or outside, the lighting, while being an interesting design, makes for a darker experience inside. And I just find the seating to be too cramped. Don't get me wrong, when they were first introduced, I was one of those crazy ones trying to ride/find 4201. They may have been innovative then (maybe) but now they are just getting old. Yet after all these years, plenty of people still don't know the correct operation of the rear door.

I was kind of shocked at how quiet the Novabuses are in comparison.

It's kind of annoying that the plastic covers on the back door bars fell off. it makes it a lot harder to operate them. Plus, the doors are reaaaally slow.

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So, I'll try not to confuse myself, but the timeline was initially planned this way with launch in 2018;

  • Opening of Line 1
  • Retirement of Hybrids
  • Retirement of most of the older Inveros, to be replaced by the Nova LFS.
  • Reorganization of the rest of the fleet (due to map redesign)

Of course, we know it didn't go that way. 2018 was to be a "perfect timing" because the Hybrid warranty on battery was due to expire, without requiring a renewal, which would be enough busses to account for the reduction in service caused by LRT. Double-deckers and artics would be relocated on frequent routes and transitway, but not need as many vehicles overall, and allow some to operate on local routes. Increasing capacity on those routes, without requiring new vehicles. Also, the OC Transpo lifecycle for units is around 15 years, which puts a main part of the Inveros for replacement over the next few years, a job destined to the Nova LFS. Basically, the reduction in fleet simply was to come from the retirement of the Hybrids, and anything else was simply lifecycle replacements.

So, now that we are past the original timeline, we are looking at something more along those lines.

  • Extension of battery warranty on Hybrids (couldn't find a cost figure for that)
  • Arrival of the Nova, progressively replacing Inveros (1 to 1, therefore no reduction in fleet, though I am not entirely sure)
  • Opening of Line 1
  • Retirement of the Hybrids
  • Reorganization of fleet

So, as logical as it seems, this one implies more vehicles are expected to work / be serviced for longer. Replacing hybrids with Novas and keeping the Inveros for longer is not really an option because we don't have enough Novas delivered yet, and the battery is the most expensive part of those buses, so economically "insane" to not take the warranty for longer.

I am not gonna lie: I hate most of the buses in this city, and embrace the new Novas. Especially the Invero and Artics. THEY. ARE. SO. LOUD. Novas are dead silent in comparison, and arguably more modern buses than the Invero. I never really understood why people "like" the Invero. As for the hybrid, I think most of the blame comes to how the city operates its bus network. With a proper implementation of local / long distance and high speed / low speed, they would be a smart choice, but not how they operated them due to fleet constraints.

As for the future, I do hope the city will finally wake up and embrace the future of electric buses. People are scared for the wrong reasons, and they would be a meaningful improvement to the network, its performance and its costs. For now, all we can wait for is the train.

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OC was (is) paying a company some absurd amount of money just to keep parts available for the hybrids, not to mention the cost of the parts themselves, so they're very expensive to maintain. Also all the hybrid tech is first gen, not very efficient. Even when new they didn't save nearly as much as was projected. And they spend a lot of time on the highway basically running only on their pickup-truck engine struggling to maintain 80. However, I've also heard that they're putting off their retirement.

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Good Day.

To be reasonable (to the bus, not to OC-T), and as has been noted before, the Hybrids were properly tested on local, high stop-and-start local routes only. Key - only.

When OC-T purchased them and put them into service, they mis-used and abused them in running them as standard inter-route fleet resource, including cross-greenbelt high-speed no-stops routes. BIG wrong. Thus their efficiency and savings went up the proverbial exhaust pipe, literally, since they were specifically NOT designed for efficiency at long-distances at high-speeds. Result - self-fulfilling prophesy of disaster and -dismay- at the poor performance.

Even given that they were first or second generation, they still had the potential for good results if properly used. They never were.

<sigh>

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9 hours ago, PHrenetic said:

When OC-T purchased them and put them into service, they mis-used and abused them in running them as standard inter-route fleet resource, including cross-greenbelt high-speed no-stops routes.

This is a really important point that is forgotten about when people say "Hybrids are inefficient". In Quebec City, the Réseau de Transport de la Capitale (RTC) has been increasing their share of hybrid, as they use them specifically on routes that maximize the benefits. Same situation in Montreal or other cities.

OC Transpo has, for some reasons, failed to understand the idea of an efficiency curve, delaying both a potential electric bus program, or increase of hybrid service, which is quite shameful. They had been quite "early on" in offering accessible buses on all lines, AC and the first modern dedicated BRT system in North America, but they completely dropped the ball on this entire program, costing both users, and future generations.

The hybrid program as a whole is a *shocked Pikachu meme* in its implementation and expectations. Fortunately, with the transition to LRT and expansion of Line 2, we are seeing the city proactively dropping its GES emissions, but it is not an excuse to stop there.

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Good Day.   FYI.

Per the duscussion on Hybrids and their efficiency - a Montreal Gazette article on their recent Hybrids being not so good :

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/fuel-savings-of-stms-hybrid-buses-less-than-half-what-was-promised-documents-show

"Fuel savings of STM's Hybrid buses less than half what was promised, documents show" - June 10, 2019 - Jason Magder .

EnJoy!

 

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Guess it goes to show that even in Transit, more efficient is more expensive. Not that it comes as a surprise.

Still, it is disappointing that they found they only save 10-15% over a modern diesel bus. While I do agree something needs to be done to cut emissions and pollution, higher costs involved in doing so can limit an organizations ability to do so.

Quote

Hybrid buses consumed 47.5 litres to travel 100 km, compared with diesel buses that consumed 53.5 L/100 km — an 11.2-per-cent savings.

If money was no object, 10-15% is still better than nothing.

Even our Hybrids, I'm sure regardless of whether they are used on cross-city transitway routes or downtown core routes, probably do have some magnitude of savings from their operation, big or small, over other buses purchased around the same time (for comparison reasons).

Hopefully over time, if the city follows through with their plans, the Confederation Line and Trillium Line will be the main cross-city, with the buses providing local service to the stations. In those cases, hybrid and even electric buses would be in a much better position to run at their maximum potential.

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On ‎6‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 10:23 PM, DavidBellerive said:

As for the future, I do hope the city will finally wake up and embrace the future of electric buses. People are scared for the wrong reasons, and they would be a meaningful improvement to the network, its performance and its costs. For now, all we can wait for is the train.

Things seem to be looking up on the electric bus front. Yesterday a motion was unanimously passed to have OC-T report back to council on the 19th (next week) about their plans to introduce electric buses to the fleet in large numbers 'before the end of this City Council's term' (or something to that effect).

A few weeks ago Manconi wrote a statement saying OC-T is cancelling the electric bus pilot project because other cities are doing pilots and it's too complicated to do an electric bus pilot and launch the LRT system at the same time (apparently OC Transpo, as an organization, is incapable of multitasking). At some point recently, according to the news I saw yesterday, McKenney wrote something back basically saying 'yes, I agree! We don't need a pilot project since electric buses are being used in numerous other cities already and have been for years - we should stop wasting time and just start purchasing them immediately instead!' The mayor yesterday then put forward a motion pretty much saying the same thing and it passed unanimously so if I understand city politics correctly it looks like we'll finally be getting electric buses sooner rather than later!

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While I do not agree with retiring the hybrids, it was deemed necessary as they had problems due to not being used on appropriate routes as well as not having any fuel savings.

What OC Transpo should have done in the first place is either get diesel versions of the NG or buy Orion Vs (by then, the corrosion issue was fixed a long time ago) with wheelchair lifts to accommodate more people. 

I am going to miss the Inveroes as I grew up on them along with all the high floor buses. At least the majority are staying for now, right?

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Double post...

Anyways, the City of Ottawa actually put out a tender quite some time ago saying that 257 transit buses were to be disposed of. 82 being Inveros and the other 175 being all the Hybrids. So the rumour is put to rest.

If I can find the tender, it will be posted here.

 

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