I’m seeing Metro’s new trolley buses often these days. I’m riding in one at least once a weekday. I’ve learned where the roomy seats are. I like these new buses.
There was one evening when a 47 was approaching the stop at 4th & Pike, and the poles fell off the wires – right in the middle of 3rd and Pike. It’s amazing how often that happens in that busy intersection. It was one of the new trolleys, however, and instead of trying to maneuver the poles back up right there, the driver lowered the pole automatically from inside the bus. The driver drove the bus on battery power into the stop.
I was impressed.
I was surprised, however, that the driver didn’t put the poles back up once he got to the stop and opened the doors. Instead, he kept the pole down as passengers boarded. We left the stop., still on battery power, until the stop on 6th – then the driver got out and connected us to the wires again.
I like the new “Touch Here To Open” back doors, although I wish they were more like the back doors I’ve seen on TriMet buses in Portland. Those back doors have vertical bars on them. It seems more obvious that you’re suppose to grab the bar and push. (Really, how many doors do you run across in a day that require you to touch a yellow strip to open?) Plus, with a bar to hold onto, there’s less chance that the door will start to automatically close on a line of people exiting the bus.
More often than not, however, I’m seeing drivers opening the new trolley back doors for passengers – the old-fashioned way.
The one thing that truly bugs me about these new trolley buses is the new “Stop Requested” indicator. When the cord is pulled, a faint ding is heard, and the words “STOP REQUESTED” appear on the LED sign at the front of the bus – the same LED sign that’s cycling through the next stop information, the route, and the time. It’s hard to notice, and people (myself included) keep pulling the cord, not hearing the ding, and not noticing the new words on the sign. The buses need a good old-fashioned light that comes on to indicate the stop’s already been requested.