Edmonton Region News and Upcoming Projects

Future Vehicle Purchasing and Replacement Plans

Edmonton Region News:

St. Albert demoing BYD Articulated electric bus- Spotted on September 1 operating a PM 211 in Downtown Edmonton was the BYD battery electric bus that has been on a tour of various properties. No further details on or long, of even if, there will be more days of operation with St. Albert Transit.
Edmonton Electric Bus Plan, Community Shuttle Retirements, and Diesel update:
Going to the Executive Committee of City Council on September 5, 2017 is a report named "Electric Bus Procurement Update". Some additional information has come out on the XD40 order in this report.. The tender was awarded to New Flyer June 30, 2017 and covers a 10 year period. This is similar in length to the tender awarded to New Flyer in 1999 or there about for 10 years. I believe that contract allowed a certain number of buses in that time frame. ETS accelerated the time frame, and hence we had the 2007-2008 230 unit D40LFR purchase. As a result, the 2009 order was a separate tender. The new contract has a potential value of $308M USD.

Secondly, we can infer 03, 12, and 18 are retired. The same document lists 46 buses for the community shuttle fleet. Peak size was 49. 12 has never tracked on transit55.ca, and 03 hasn't been seen since October 2016, and 18 since January 2017 so those are safe bets for the decline in fleet size.

Finally, it's interesting to see ETS talking about "Electrification at Transit Facilities", 8 years after killing to trolleybus system. It seems their current plans are for electric buses at the NETG (oddly, this garage has a name, Kathleen Andrews Garage, but a few reports haven't referred to it as such. I use NETG as it's much quicker to type), Ferrier North (replacement for the Ferrier tent structures), and Centennial. Numbers that ETS is looking at right now are upto 40 buses for the NETG, up to 120 at Ferrier North, and 200 at Centennial. It will be too costly to retrofit the existing Ferrier and Mitchell Garages. The NETG could later be upgraded to support a larger fleet. The report also notes that the City would need a new 10 megawatt substation and associated infrastructure.
One thing I find interesting is that should the full build out of electric buses occur, that 10 year New Flyer diesel contract might only end up being for a relatively small number of buses. 230 diesels + 40 NETG, 120 Ferrier, + 200 Centennial electrics = 590 buses out of 852 40' buses. That would mean ETS would only need to replace another 260 buses or so using that contract, beyond what has been announced. Of course, that doesn't include growth buses.

This Electric Bus Procurement Update was originally provided in private to City Council on August 29th 2017. What has been presented publicly was the result of a motion at at the private update to provide a public report as well. Apparently the presentation from August 29, 2017 will be reviewed for public release. It's quite possible some of the specifics from vendors have been reported at the meeting and might need to be kept private for competitive reasons. This is probably the most relevant link to access the report at this time: http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?doctype=Agenda&meetid=1777
- MEP September 3, 2017

August 15, 2017:
New Flyer Announces ETS Order:
New Flyer has announced the award for the NRFP we noted below, and as expected, XD40 buses. The number of buses is interesting: 110 buses in 2018 and and option for 120 buses in 2019. No note on articulated buses.
Discussion: The NRFP was originally calling for an award in early 2017, which presumably could have lead to a late 2017 delivery at best. As a result of the award only occurring in June/ July it seems that a 2017 delivery would have been unlikely! The original NRFP called for 42 buses in 2017 and 43 buses in 2018 which would account for 85 of the 110. Presumably the remaining 25 buses are probably likely growth buses funded through GreenTRIP and PTIF grants, as I discussed here: http://barp.ca/bus/alberta/news/future.html
The 2019 and 2020 quantities in the NRFP called for 60 buses in each year, which certainly accounts for the 120 in 2019. I guess just all at once instead of over 2 years. Maybe some cost advantages?
This isn't too far off the 2013 plans I detailed in the link above, which called for about 40 buses in each of 2017 and 2018, and then 54 and 63 and 2019 and 2020 (117). Edmonton ran 1972 GM's that received a rebuild at 31 years old, while large numbers of 1980 GM's bit the dust in 2001. 448 and 458 ran long past the rest of the 5301's, so, a blanket statement that all 1998's and 99's will be done in 2018 is perhaps a bit premature at this point. However, assuming 25 buses are growth buses and won't affect long term (2019+) retirements, 205 replacement buses would be able to replace units 4046-4250, so, all 1998, 1999, and 2000 buses, plus about 1/3 of the 2001 fleet. Again, that's assuming a straight 1 for 1 replacement of the oldest buses numerically in the fleet.

This New Flyer order does beg the question: What are the plans to replace the 2001 D60LF's? These buses generally seem rough, and while they only operate M-F 6:00-18:00, day in and day out they only see service on two of ETS's heaviest routes, rather than an assortment of service like any other 40' bus does!

Source: https://www.newflyer.com/rss/859-edmonton-awards-new-flyer-a-contract-for-110-clean-diesel-buses
- MEP August 15, 2017

July 27, 2017
Beaumont Transit-
The route will be ETS Route 540 which fits in nicely with the other ETS commuter operations. There is a route schedule on ETS's website if you know where to look, or this link will work for the next month or so: http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/transit/route_schedules_and_maps/future/RT540.pdf
Not too much out of Beaumont yet, but, a design was chosen in June for the buses. This design and an interior view of the buses can be found at: http://www.beaumont.ab.ca/476/Beaumont-Transit
For renderings, these two links to Council meetings will provide those:
-MEP July 27, 2017

July 17, 2017
Name change to "Edmonton Transit Service": This occurred in November 2016. We will change pages over as times goes on. A good portion of the bus fleet has been "serviced" by having just the "System" portion of the buses lettering replaced. LRV's are almost 100% changed over. However, we aren't going all out to convert to the new name on the website. On that note, please see the History section below for the history behind the ETS name.

Buses #6950-6952 are on property: New Flyer XD40's. These are actually owned by Beaumont for their new operation that starts up in September and is contracted to ETS. Why they came in full ETS livery is a bit puzzling (although I have my theories), but, they did.

New buses in the pipeline: After a drought of a few years with only a handful of new buses things are ramping up. Enough Grande West Vicinity's are on order to replace all Glaval's, IC LC's, and GMC chassis Passport's within about the next 12 months or so. That will leave only the IC chassis Passport-HD's as the only cutaway-style bus in the ETS fleet (non-DATS!).
New Flyer has won a RFP for 40' diesel buses. The 2017 portion should be for around 40 buses. There's been some information out there that ETS might have some either Provincial or Federal transit funding to "top up" 40' buses to 60' artics. As a result, what ever was negotiated out the RFP could very well include articulated buses. The contract does allow for additional purchases as well. At least 5 years beyond 2017's order, so that should mean diesel New Flyer's until 2022. These buses should be equipped with air conditioning. Finally, electric buses are in the works, probably for 2018. A few options were examined which went to council in November 2016 and included just buying 5 buses, purchase upto 40 buses (or as many as $48 million will buy), or purchase 25 buses (or as many as $30.6 million will buy). I have more details on that here. ETS was recommending to council to go with the 25 bus option. They would be based out of the new Northeast Transit Garage (NETG) that is currently being built along the LRT at the old packing plant sight.

Capital Projects: A lot work currently occurring around ETS. WEM Transit Centre has had a new building built, and now the driveway is being replaced. Stadium and Coliseum have had driveways replaced. Lakewood is having it's done. The NETG garage is under construction, Belvedere, Castle Downs, and Jasper Place will be getting new shelter buildings. This isn't a complete list, bus, more details on ETS's website:  https://www.edmonton.ca/ets/improvement-projects.aspx

Service Changes: The summer signup lead to some significant service changes (reductions) beyond the usual summer reductions. A number of routes were eliminated, and a number of Mill Woods routes had their Downtown peak extensions partially, or entirely removed. Further, of course, ETS has been working on a significant revamp (changing "System" to "Service" was just the start!). On July 5, 2017 the Urban Planning Committee of City Council passed a motion that recommended the implementation of the network redesign by January 1, 2020. Administration's report was looking for 4-5 year phased rollout (so, until 2021-2022). In addition, Edmonton has been working with St. Albert on studying ways for the two transit systems to closer integrate with each other.
- MEP July 17, 2017

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