Bus Week – Day Two Report

One more day closer to Regents and yet another day of bus riding. My trips today also weren’t so successful, but I did actually go to a few places. Here’s the results.

I headed out quite a bit later than I did yesterday, leaving the house at around 11:15 AM. To get the facts out quickly and sweetly, both the departing and returning Q46 trips were on RTS buses (and I wasn’t doing very well today in terms of tracking the buses I rode, which means no manufacturer names).

I took the E into Manhattan, and walked through the long tunnel between Port Authority and Times Square, as well as through the Times Square station. It’s really not a big deal though.

While walking on 42nd Street, I noticed something kind of cool. Under the “canopies” in front of the McDonalds and the theater on that block, there are heating lamps installed. The respective owners probably did that to make their customers feel more welcomed into their establishments, but I’m sure the homeless people appreciate it.

On the way home, I took a little detour through the subways. I took the S from Times Square to Grand Central, then the 6 to 53rd Street, and finally the E back to Queens.

Here’s where the fun begins. I took the Q37 to my elementary school, and magically it was a hybrid. actually, I was waiting in line for the Q10, and an Orion V was sitting at the stop, but after a few minutes a hybrid showed up at the Q37 stop just one short block away.

Coming back from there, I took the Q10 back up to Queens Blvd., and saw a hybrid on the Q60, which was a miracle for me. Unfortunately, it didn’t move too fast, despite the lack of any traffic on Queens Blvd.

From there it was the E train yet again back to Union Tpke. and the Q46 home. My MP3 player didn’t get a whole lot of mileage today, but I’m happy I went somewhere, and met some old friends (more like teachers) along the way.

Bus Week 2007 – Day 1

What an exciting day! Today was my first ever “Bus Day”. It probably differs from other people’s ideas of what a bus day is, since I went out for recordings of buses, not pictures. And unfortunately, I came back slightly disappointed, but I’m happy I came back with at least something.

To begin, I took the Q46 to Queens Blvd. (as I do when I go anywhere), which conveniently was a hybrid (a 2004 one I think). This ride went relatively smoothly, as my recordings point out.

I then hopped on the Q10 for the first time in almost a year and a half. The last time I took the Q10 was in elementary school. Ever since graduating, I have had a private bus company or van company take me to school. Anyway, I am noticing that the MTA Bus is using their hybrids wisely, since some of JFK Depot’s routes are of the constant stopping-and-going variety. That is what hybrid buses (especially those with series hybrid propulsion systems) are basically designed to take advantage of, which is good for transit agencies, but bad for those who like to record buses (like me, hehe).

The new (as in 2006-2007 build year) HEVs are slightly different in the inside. The floors now resemble those of the older RTSs and Orion Vs in that they are grooved in the aisles and have the marble look the other buses have. Also, there are now entirely forward facing seats behind the back door (not counting the far-rear row), instead of having two forward-facing rows. This would make it a bit easier to move around on a crowded bus, but there are also two fewer seats and I think that there are fewer poles for holding on to.

I took the Q10 back to Queens Blvd., where I got an old ex-Jamaica Bus RTS (presumably a TMC, but I don’t remember the number so I can’t look it up in the latest edition of The Roster). This bus had all of the old stickers around the back door, and surprisingly it also had touch-tapes instead of the old pull cords.

Another RTS later, I was ready to make my way into Manhattan. Got another hybrid on the Q46 to Queens Blvd. With this trip, however, I had a bit of fun in the subway. Within three minutes I had recordings of four trains, where in each recording (the latter of which you can listen to) two trains either pulled into or left the station at the same time.

Tomorrow I’m going to go out again. I might take the Q10 for a second try, if there are any buses around when I get to Kew Gardens. Otherwise it’ll be back across Queens blvd. for a shot at the Q60, which wasn’t doing too well today in terms of hybrids. In the meantime, I should probably study for the Regents exam that I am taking on Thursday.

Special thanks to members whose names I don’t know for the pictures.

Midterms, Regents and Vacation

Six o’clock today marked the official end of midterms for the first semester. I took three exams within the last week: English, which was pretty easy except for the SAT-level questions on reading comprehension, Global History, which required some brain activity but wasn’t too hard, and Chemisrty, which I wouldn’t be surprised if I failed.

Right now I’m officially on vacation, but because of some bad scheduling that has been around for years, we are taking the Math A Regents exam right smack dab in the middle of the break (which is short enough already). Fortunately, I’m not that bad at math, and the exam is based on elementary material, so I should get a nice score.

I plan on holding my first ever bus day tomorrow (Tuesday), when I will ride on several routes that use MTA Bus’ new hybrids. More specifically, I will attempt to ride on the Q10 and Q60, both out of John F. Kennedy Depot (formerly Green Bus Lines, one of the private lines of NYC, until this year). Hopefully the recordings that I make of these buses will come out well.

This is one busy week for a vacation week. Bus Day 2007, second Regents exam, and more sleep. Too bad it only lasts until Sunday.

How Slow Manhattan Buses Move

I decided to take a trip on the M104 yesterday, with hopes of getting one of the newer ’05-06 model year Orions VII HEVs (which I did get), which have a slightly updated propulsion system, and hence a slightly different sound (for me to record, obviously). Let me tell you that had I completed the trip on the subway, I would have gotten where I was going a whole lot faster – almost an hour faster. I waited more than ten minutes for the bus, but the real fun was once I got on. From 72nd street to 98th street, the bus stopped at almost every stop and traffic light along Broadway. The total time (on the bus) was about 20 minutes. I might upload the rather long recording soon, but I don’t know if anyone really wants to listen to 20 minutes of very minor acceleration.

I realized that the way this trip came out really illustrates the usefulness of the hybrid-electric technology. The constant stop-and-go of the bus puts the regenerative properties of traction motor to good use, saving the MTA tons of money every year.

Latest Crop of HQ Recordings

I got a new iriver u10 MP3 (and a whole lot of other formats, including video and pictures) player recently. The first time I tried recording a bus with it, it came out horrible, which I blame on the ultra-sensitive mic that picked every bump. After a few tries, I got it right, and came out with a few decent trips worh of recordings.

RTS Sounds

One of my buddies asked me to share my not-so-new NYC RTS bus sounds, so here are the links to them. I’ll add more in time.