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Posts in Category: C Line

C Line

Electric Bus put through paces in METRO C Line corridor 

Posted by John Komarek | Thursday, April 04, 2019 4:05:00 PM

Buses – especially a brand-new technology like an electric bus – are not like consumer cars where you can buy it off the lot and drive away.

For any bus to work along any route, it needs to be tested, retested, and calibrated. Onboard buses, there’s a complex computer system that controls functions like doors, hydraulic systems, and a host of other items you won’t find in a car. And, these electric buses are no different.

“Every variable we test can have an impact on the entire system,” Matthew Dake, director of bus maintenance said. “That’s why we’re making sure to put this first-of-its kind system through its paces.”

Metro Transit engineers are testing all the systems that could impact range and operator usage to ensure that it’s ready for the opening day of the METRO C Line.

After configuration tests at New Flyer in St. Cloud, the first electric bus is in Minneapolis testing its weight tolerance and range. The bus is loaded with 12,000 pounds of sandbags to simulate passengers. This is more weight than a fully seated bus.

“We’re running with heavier loads to stress test the weight, but also see how that impacts range,” Michael Joyce, assistant director of bus maintenance said. “If we know extremes, we know it will operate better in normal conditions.”


12,000 pounds of sand simulate more than a full load of passengers. This stress test helps transit know the extreme limits of this vehicle.

Engineer David Haas is working to calibrate the electric bus to feel more like driving a diesel. It helps the operators transition to this new bus, but also helps operations understand and control the variables that can impact overall operations.

“Without any changes, the electric bus would feel different to an operator,” Haas said. “By attempting to match items like rate of acceleration, we aim to make the transition to electric easier for our operators.”

Another important test depletes the battery down to lower levels than will be normally expected in daily operations. This helps the team understand how to plan for low power situations and further understand range capabilities.

“Just like a diesel bus, everything from its hardware to the operator to the ambient conditions can impact how the bus performs.” Haas said. “It’s our job to understand the bus inside and out in so we can provide and support the best experience possible.”

During these tests, riders might catch a glimpse of an electric bus along the METRO C Line corridor. Starting on June 8, 2019, we’ll ask our riders to put our electric buses to the test.

C Line

Electric bus put to the test in St. Cloud 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:21:00 AM

For two days, technical staff from bus maintenance tested the first electric bus produced at New Flyer in St. Cloud.

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At the New Flyer facility in St. Cloud, Metro Transit took not only another step towards opening the METRO C Line, but also a giant step towards the goal of electrifying the bus fleet.

For two days, a team of bus maintenance mechanics and technical support staff from Metro Transit tested the very first battery electric bus to be constructed at that facility and, in the process, achieved a few more firsts.

“It’s exciting to be here. It’s just historic!” David Haas, Overhaul Base technical support engineer said. “Just a few years ago, this would have been considered impossible. Now we’re here and testing it.”

This 60-foot electric bus is one of eight buses that will operate on the METRO C Line, but before the remaining seven are constructed, transit needs to make sure this bus is built to specifications.

“We tested and inspected the bus top to bottom to make sure it’s up to our standards,” Haas said. “It’s also a good time for our mechanics and support staff to familiarize and plan for this new system.”


Haas and Hinck inspect components beneath the electric bus.

Tabin Hinck, supervisor of fleet service lifts/brakes, kept a close eye on details that could become issues throughout these vehicle’s lives. From something as minor as a low hanging part that could drag to the new propulsion system, any part could become an issue and needs to be understood.

“This will be the first time anyone in transit will work with these buses.” Hincks said. “From a mechanic’s perspective, there’s some similarities between this bus and a hybrid, but there are a lot of differences that our team will prepare for.”

Some tests were planned; others weren’t but presented themselves as opportunities. 

Staff planned a highway test that would push the bus to its maximum speed limit of 65mph, but the subzero temperatures were an added stress test that presented itself – both were firsts for this vehicle and transit.  Other tests included acceleration and stopping, which in the cold and snowy weather provided an extreme example of conditions in which the bus may have to operate.


Haas take a moment to review data with a colleague after conducting acceleration testing.

After finishing extensive testing, the team left St. Cloud optimistic but, as is character for any good engineer or mechanic, realistic.

 “It performed well.” Steve Kaari, supervisor of fleet service preventative maintenance said. “But, there’s still a lot to learn. We won’t know the full story until the rubber hits the road.” 

The next steps for the electric buses is dynamic testing along the METRO C Line corridor, which will include the addition of charging the bus batteries in route.

 

C Line

Electric bus chargers arrive at Heywood Garage 

Posted by John Komarek | Wednesday, December 19, 2018 2:33:00 PM

As the METRO C Line pivots from construction to operations, staff at Heywood Garage got their first look at the future of bus technology – an electric bus charger.

This is a temporary installation, but a necessary first step towards familiarizing and training staff on its operation before the delivery of the first 60-foot articulated electric bus in January. Eight permanent charging stations will be installed in Heywood Garage, one for each of the eight electric buses.

At Heywood, bus batteries will be charged to capacity overnight, taking about four hours.  During a route, operators will receive a range-extending charge at the on-route chargers, taking about ten minutes time. Eight permanent chargers will eventually be installed in Heywood and two at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center.

The C Line is expected to launch in the spring of 2019. Metro Transit plans to eventually electrify our entire fleet.

Bus Bus Maintenance Bus Rapid Transit C Line Go Green

Fleet plan calls for gradual addition of electric buses 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, December 10, 2018 4:30:00 PM

An electric bus being made by New Flyer will be included in Metro Transit's C Line fleet beginning in 2019.Electric buses will be gradually added to Metro Transit's bus fleet over the coming years under a plan presented this week to the Metropolitan Council. 

The plan will begin going into effect next year, when Metro Transit starts the process of purchasing 19 new 40-foot electric buses. The buses would arrive in 2020 and will be used to help Metro Transit understand how electric buses effect scheduling, operations and maintenance.

Electric buses could also make up half of the fleet for future rapid bus lines on Chicago and Fremont avenues (D Line), Lake Street (B Line) and Hennepin Avenue (E Line). Additional 40-foot electric buses could go into service as early as 2022.

Combined, Metro Transit may purchase up to 125 electric buses by 2022. The fleet plan may evolve based on funding and an ongoing evaluation of electric bus technology.

Metro Transit’s first electric buses will be used on the C Line, a rapid bus line that will largely replace Route 19 service in 2019.

The first of eight electric 60-foot buses is currently being built in St. Cloud by New Flyer (above).

Charging equipment will also be installed at the Heywood Garage and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center.

Metro Transit was among the first transit agencies in the country to begin using hybrid-electric buses. Today, the fleet includes more than 130 hybrid-electric buses, which are partially propelled by electric power stored in a large battery on the roof of buses. 

Electric buses are fully-propelled by rechargeable batteries, eliminating tailpipe emissions.

A Line BRT C Line D Line E Line

Three future rapid bus projects move forward 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:57:00 PM

Bus shelter construction

Plans to bring the kind of fast, frequent service that has been so successful on the A Line to three additional corridors advanced within the past week. Here is a summary of the latest advances: 

C Line

Crews recently began assembling the first C Line shelters in downtown Minneapolis, including the above shelter at the corner of Fourth Avenue South and South Seventh Street, near Government Center. 

Around 20 new shelters with real time signs, on-demand heat, light and ticket vending machines are being built along the C Line corridor, which runs largely along Penn Avenue. The C Line will largely replace Route 19 service beginning next spring. The new shelters will remain out of service for several months while crews continue to install wiring and equipment. 

Learn more about the C Line

D Line

Plans to make Metro Transit’s busiest bus route up to 25 percent faster moved forward as the Metropolitan Council approved plans for 40 enhanced stations along an 18-mile corridor now served by Route 5.

Engineering will begin later this year and continue through the end of 2019. Construction is scheduled to begin as early as 2020, pending full funding. The D Line corridor is expected to see more than 23,500 average weekday rides by 2030. Route 5 is the region’s busiest bus route, with more than 15,000 average weekday rides. 

Learn more about the D Line

E Line 

The Minneapolis City Council last week approved plans for a stretch of Hennepin Avenue that position the corridor for future rapid bus service. 

Plans call for the construction of eight enhanced bus stops between Washington Avenue South and 12th Street. The city also plans to add one-way, protected bikeways in both directions, and to route the bike lanes behind the new stations to avoid conflicts at boarding areas. 

The new shelters will be served by routes 4, 6, 7, 12 and 61 and are designed to eventually become a part of the E Line, which will largely replace Route 6. 

The changes are part of a larger reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue. Utility work is expected to begin in 2019 and heavier construction is expected to begin in 2020. 

Learn more about the E Line

A previous study that identified a dozen rapid bus corridors will be re-valuated in 2019 to determine next steps for other future lines. Learn more at metrotransit.org/rapidbus

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