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TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

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TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:42 pm

I've been up in the NT for some time now, and have gone out and sampled some of the "local bus cuisine."

Several weeks ago, I snatched a ride on TT's 115, a Scania L94UA.
Despite all this, I've only seen 115 out twice near Palmerston, and nothing else during several peak-period trips (all while using the mobile tracking application to move towards any appropriate vehicles).
While traveling along Stuart Highway yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the TT depot and noted all four artics were parked up together near the back of the depot, by themselves.

Given the typical patronage on Darwin-Casuarina routes, I'd have expected artics to be more of a mainstay in service, rather than "randomly appearing" for a few runs in Palmerston, then returning to the depot.

Is anyone aware if these vehicles are pending withdrawal, or remain largely dis-used? Or perhaps they're only used during the school-term for special services?
Coming from Perth, the L94 here in Darwin is my first taste of a diesel Scania artic. Our lone Scania, 3000, is a CNG-powered variant and is a one-off not just in Australia, but on a global scale.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Darwin bus lover » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:50 pm

As far as I am aware the artics are not awaiting retirement any time soon. They are mostly used for early morning orbital link runs and afternoon school runs before like you said a few Palmerston runs followed by a few Palmerston to Darwin routes or Casuarina to Casuarina route (11,2,3).It's likely however that bus 111R will be retired soon as buses 083R and 084R (CB80 on Mercedes Benz bodies) have recently entered service (based on discussions I have had with bus drivers which for the recoded all seem to hate 111R).
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:31 pm

To update on my original post; I've since realised the artics were out of action with the school holidays.

Two of the articulated vehicles, 115 and 116 have since moved to Adelaide. From my vantage point of Perth, thanks to the magic of online tracking, I've not seen any activity from the other two (121 & 122) for several months now.
Prior to early September, two were going out mornings and afternoons. I was in the NT in June for a time, and witnessed this myself. There was also some weekend action on the #4.

Wasn't aware of the delivery of 83 and 84. Thanks for filling me in.
As for 111, this was involved in a major collision about 7yrs ago now. Its quite possible the accident damage has had unintended effects on handling.
Presumably the presence of 84 means the end for 113, whatever that is doing these days.

Something else to bear in mind - the NT Government are hoping to introduce a minimum of 30min frequencies in the next year or two, based on official documentation I've seen (from the NT Gov., available online). Whether this will eventuate, I'm not sure. It is entirely possible though that new deliveries will not displace older vehicles immediately to allow for growth in capacity.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Darwin bus lover » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:49 pm

Quick update. From what I've heard from both TT's depot manager and other drivers there are new timetables coming soon which include the closure of Darwin Interchange and moving the start to Smith Street. This is when it is expected 121 and 122 will be retired or sent away for future service. As well as this 124 will move to Mandorah to operate school shifts as bus 112 or 118? Is currently doing. This means an additional 3 buses will be needed likely carrying 88, 89 and 90 as their number.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:16 pm

Great to see you post again, Darwin bus lover. Be great to have further contributions from you, we're in need of an enthusiast residing in the N.T. for updates on fleet movements and changes.

Definitely hope those new timetables make some headways into fixing the unpredictable frequencies across the network and poor connectivity between some services, and maybe even straighten out some of those circular routes (okay, perhaps that's too optimistic). Have read in some Government planning documents the Darwin Interchange was to be relocated to somewhere more useful for passengers in the coming years, so to hear rumours affirming that change is imminent is good.

The situation with the articulated buses is unfortunate, if they are in fact to be replaced with rigid buses shortly. While I think the historic DBS fleet comprising nearly one third articulated vehicles was excessive, the popularity of the 4, 9 and 10 routes more than justifies their existence in some capacity, I believe.

In terms of general state of the fleet, here are some observations of mine:
- 88 seems to exist already, and reportedly carries the registration mo4197
- Contrary to my expectations, buses 83 and 84 seemed to replace 115 and 116, while 85-87 seemed to displace additional Volvos
- Buses 110-117 all presently reside in Adelaide and operate in some capacity or another with Torrens Transit. Curiously, 118 is still registered, although it vanished from the depot during the space of my most recent visit (so perhaps on Mandorah School Duties as you suggest - does TerritoryTransit run that operation?)
- As an aside, the M.A.N. NL202s 102 and 104-109 are also with Torrens Transit, some were painted into Adelaide Metro livery, all except 104 remain in service
- 121 still carrying the Chemist Warehouse All Over Advertisement (AOA) at least as recently as the start of this year. It has carried this advertisement since 2017
- 122 received a new AOA for Charles Darwin University sometime in late 2019, replacing the former advertisements for Crab Island Resort & Lizards Bar and Grill which it carried since January 2017
- Also noticed via the Bus Tracker that Buslink have taken delivery of 212 and 213 recently - if you see them, please note their registrations, make & model etc and forward the information for the fleet lists.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Bus-1809 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:16 pm

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe a bus similar in spec to 85,86 and 87 was recently sighted in NSW, possibly headed towards Darwin?

I wonder if 121A and 122A will head to Radelaide to join their mates, 115A and 116A?
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Darwin bus lover » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:29 pm

Hey Merc1107, thanks for welcoming me back and it's good to be back. Some quick updates for you confirming some things.

Buslink buses 212 & 213 sure do exist. 212 entered passenger service on March 10 and 213 entered service yesterday (25). I'm yet to catch 213 but I have been on 212 and is very nice. I'm unsure of any more deliveries however I won't be surprised if there are. Fingers crossed as the a/c on some of the older ones just doesn't cut it.

122 and 121 are still active. In fact I caught 122 yesterday while it was doing a number i6. It is not unusual to see them no on low patronage roots such as 6 which doesn't make sense due to high patronage of other runs.

118 is the bus I believe runs the mandorah school runs which are operated by Territory Transit (Shift 1232). In fact last year 119 spent 2 - 3 months over there when 118? Broke down. It is due to be replaced by 124 I believe after the delivery of the 3 new buses.

I have seen 88 listed on fleet list so I'll be interested to see it enter service soon.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:49 pm

Darwin bus lover wrote:213 entered service yesterday (25).
I spotted 213 on the N.T. Bus tracker on Tuesday afternoon, although I've no way of verifying whether the tracker was accurate in this instance.

Buslink's oldest O500LEs (167-173) are all 2005 builds, so wouldn't surprise me if they're all to be replaced. Am guessing they're mostly used as school buses nowadays, although 173 & 174 (a 2008 build) seem to get about at least a tad. For the record, Territory Transit's 123-125 are also the same, Euro III emissions standard, if I recall.

Darwin bus lover wrote:122 and 121 are still active. In fact I caught 122 yesterday while it was doing a number i6. It is not unusual to see them no on low patronage roots such as 6 which doesn't make sense due to high patronage of other runs.
The last 6 & 7 trips of the day seem to be on shifts that are occasionally allocated an artic, one of those does a 1h and a 10 inbound - the latter at least is a busy trip! Same goes for the 0615hrs OL1 from Darwin, which was for a while a frequent haunt for all four of the artics - before 115 & 116 were replaced.

Darwin bus lover wrote:118 is the bus I believe runs the mandorah school runs which are operated by Territory Transit (Shift 1232). In fact last year 119 spent 2 - 3 months over there when 118? Broke down. It is due to be replaced by 124 I believe after the delivery of the 3 new buses.
Does that just round the local kids up to connect with the Mandorah Ferry?

You mentioning the Mandorah school run explains how 113 was both registered and not present at the Stuart Park depot for so long... Never crossed my mind it would be pottering around occasionally at Wagait Beach! :mrgreen:
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Darwin bus lover » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:02 am

Indeed, the 1735 i6 & i7 do often get artics running them. From speaking to other drivers neither of the shifts (1224 & 1216) are rostered to take an Artic, in fact only 1 shift, 1206 which does a Darwin high School run and then 31, i8, o5 and i4 is always logged to take an Artic. As opposed to Buslink,Territory Transit does not have a system that essentially joins to shifts togehter. E.g. a the bus from morning shift such as 2105 (Straight shift) then goes to shift 2155 (Split) for the afternoon and that bus always does those to shifts regardless of which vehicle it is. Territory Transit randomly assigns buses.

How ever based on the sign in times for these shifts 1224 being 1432 and 1216 being 1546 they seem to sit at about them times when the later morning shifts haven't returned yet and the night shifts have just gone out, this leads me to believe that an Artic may be the only available bus and hence why it is sent out to do an i3, i4, o22 and then Dead back to Darwin for the i6.

1216 on the other hand appears to be the time when most of the splits have gone out and a period also where if some buses are off traffic or have been defected, meaning that can't go out until the workshop has checked them out. the only available bus is an Artic. This is not for sure but from what I can gather this seems the most likely.

The morning shift that usually gets an Artic is shift 1204, it's a very short half with only the OL1D and then a DEAD to Casuarina for an i10 so atleast it is getting some service then.

The mandorah run as far as I know is exaclty what you said. I've seen the shift board for it and it is very no descript. It literally says "sign on, drive school service, depot finish" for both am and pm. It's a 38 hour week and I'm amazed that it lasts that long

173 And 174 are the only 2 of the older models to still have a DCU fitted, 170 - 172 are fitted with the driver partitions but have had the ticket system removed therefore making it a school only bus. I have seen them out in the school holidays mainly but they do some of the mindil beach runs (16 and 17).

212 and 213 are yet to be put onto their "line". Buslink uses a system where each week the same shift gets that bus for the week. After each week it moves up by one. E.g. shift 2111 will have bus 210 for the whole week. Then the next week bus 211 will do it for the week. Interestingly after 206 the next week has bus 152 and then 207. When new buses are introduced they tend to just fill in for buses that are off traffic as sort of a testing phase. So some shifts may get it while others will have to wait for months.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:54 pm

Thanks for your insight into how Buslink allocate vehicles. To me, that sounds fairly typical of a private operator, do Buslink drivers have fixed shifts or do they rotate?

In relation to Darwin High School (and plenty of other schools around Darwin), it's absurd there's a plan to phase out articulated vehicles when many of the school runs are double, triple, quadruple or quintuple banked... But enough of that particular hobby horse of mine.
During past visits, I've noticed the allocations of artics was perhaps a bit more liberal in the school holidays (and not necessarily wasted, being on 10s and 4s) - in any case, they could usually be found in the same places, at the same times and usually with the same driver at least a few times within the space of a week.

Your observations about 1216 shift are probably right on the money - I've done a drive by in the past roughly when that shift goes out and seen there isn't much choice in the yard for a driver! Happens everywhere, here in Perth occasionally some buses seem to sneak out when they really ought not to :mrgreen: ... But then buses turning up in strange places can also boil down to a driver pulling the strings to get a favourite of theirs out.

Surprised the Mandorah run could be put in as a full-time position - but then, 1hr in the morning and afternoon would fall afoul of any minimum engagement rules. I wondered whether it might've been setup as a split of some sort, set drivers doing a morning or afternoon trip and using the ferry to commute and perhaps a bit of weekend work?
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Darwin bus lover » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:07 pm

Buslink definitely runs a more "professional," operation which can work in their favour, however TT drivers have more freedom. Buslink drivers are required to turn their buses off whenever leaving their bus regardless of how long they're away. They also are not allowed friends or family on Dead runs and run. TT allows both of these which while not being a major impact certainty helps those drivers who take their family with them on weekends or helping a friend get somewhere.

Buslink fulltime drivers run to a rotating roster. There are 7 different rosters. The largest is the main roster, this is where most drivers are are. This roster guarantees a minimum of 38 hours with shifts changing often. They driver everything from morning, nights and splits. Because of this drivers wishing to swap shifts often have to swap the entire week as swapping one shift may mean they do not work a full 38 hours. The next 2 are the morning roster and night roster. As you'd expect this is the same but only morning straights and night straights are allocated respectively. Both these rosters only have about 6 lines so space for them is limited and a waitlist is available to gain one of these. The 4th kind is the splits roster. This is the end goal for most drivers as most of the lines on this roster have 40 hours of work but around 55 hours payed. The split line does however contain 2 straight shifts, on weekends. The 5 and 66 are similar in that they're morning and night but are only part time hours and finally is the relief roster, this is similar to casual but regardless of how many hours are worked you still get a minimum of 38 hours pay.

Territory Transit use a much simpler version of the full time roster. Each week the drive does the same shift for the whole week and this repeats for all 33 lines. Their is one part time shift which uses a normal shift but only works 4 days (Mon - Fri). TT roster means that is is much easier to swap a single shift as all shifts are atleast 7:36. There is also 1 line for mandorah, referred to as duty "man1". This shift is the mandorah and also 7.36 hours. How I'm not sure but it starts at 0720 - 1118 and then returns at 1440 until 1818 to make 7.36 or 38 for the week. Whether or not he's driving for all that time I'm not sure but I imagine he isn't. Because of TT's roster and shift structure it is not uncommon for shifts to have extra time attached to make the required hours. This can be starting 5 mins earlier or later. Meal breaks not being unpaid for aslong. This also leads to some shifts having time noted on their shift as "report to supervisor - duties as directed". While this sounds like work needs to be done it actual fact the driver sits in the crib room at the depot until it's time to go. One example is shift 1165, a evening shift. It starts at 1250 with a meal break from 1745 to 1820, it then does 2 i14 and 2 i14C which only takes it to 2005, the driver then returns to the depot arriving at 2015 and after fueling the bus and sweeping they then go at wait in the break room until 2101 when they sign off and head home. This does mean that there are some shifts which are only allocated to casual, when school is in these are 1230 and 1228, as well as 1233 during mindil beach. In school holidays there is 4224, 4226, 4228/9, and 4231. 4229 and 4231 are mindil beach only services. These are occasionally allocated to the relief full time drivers if they have an appointment to attend.

The school runs are massively overcrowded, especially Palmerston buses leaving from Darwin high. There are only 2 and jam packed. Unfortunately they're on a night shift (1165) and therefore only a rigid is ever allocated. As far as Casuarina buses from DHS 50A/B/C/D Are usually full. Only 50A is a split shift and therefore is the only one that is operated by an Artic, as mentioned previously shift 1206. I think it's ridclious that they're more and more removing these from that shift and sending a rigid as the buses is jam packed and hard for the driver to see at times.

And yeah you are absolutely correct, as TT doesn't have a system for assigning buses it is easy for a driver who is good friends with the coordinator to get a bus they like, this also works in the opposite way as if the coordinator doesn't like you he'll often give you a less favourable bus. I'm good friends with on of the coordinators and he tells me one driver hates 133 so whenever possible 133 us the bus he is allocated :lol: .

The artics seem to have the same shifts in the AM, usually the OL1 or occasionally heading to Casuarina for OL2. In the holidays it often is rostered on to the i21. The morning allocation seems to be a lot more defined then the afternoon which is likely caused by all the buses being availableat such a time.
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:06 pm

Thanks for the in-depth response. All very interesting, and I think all my queries are answered for the time being! :)
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Bus-1809 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:14 am

Thank you both parties for your insight.

Having spent many an hour discussing DarwinBus operations with "Volvo 3081" (Merc1107 for those in the North, playing at home), it's interesting to note that Transit Systems, operate Territory Transit, Much like they operate Swan Transit, their operations in the West.

It seems that Buslink operate reasonably similar in the way of their shifts and rostering, but with their own little twist on it (like how a bus that gets assigned to one shift will always go onto a matching 2nd shift etc... and also the same bus being on the same shift for the whole week) That to me just seems far too confusing from a scheduling point of view.

I work for a private charter operator, somewhere in the west, who has contracts to run school services for both the PTA and private agreements with schools. With us, the bus and driver is assigned to the contract, meaning I drive the same bus on the same run, every day. This however would never for a public transport operation.

There must be more to TT Shift 1232, than just the Mandorah School Run. Is there some kind of town service around there that it does? Otherwise there must be some other duties involved in that shift. I assume 119 would be the spare bus, used if 118 is required for servicing? Who attends to it, if it breaks down en route?, Obviously the spare would have to be 119, 120 or a Euro III Diesel OC, not requiring AdBlue?
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Re: TerritoryTransit Scania Artics

Postby Merc1107 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:18 pm

Bus-1809 wrote:There must be more to TT Shift 1232, than just the Mandorah School Run. Is there some kind of town service around there that it does?
I found this:

Wagait Shire President wrote:After the failure of the privately run mini bus service at Wagait Beach, I have been lobbying the NTG to provide a bus service for residents of the Cox Peninsula. In November last year I wrote to Minister Lawler on the need for a Bus Service on the Cox Peninsula. The need for such a service has not diminished, indeed it has become more urgent than ever.

We advised the NTG that it was most unsatisfactory that a bus which was located at Wagait Beach on a full time basis was being underutilised. We canvassed the department’s Transport and Civil Services section for the possibility of an extension of the use of that Darwin Bus. Currently, the bus is not used except for the school run morning and evenings and could be utilised to provide a Public Transport service at other times.

The need now is greater than ever before. In November 2017 the department proposed the use of the bus to meet some ferry services, for limited times during the morning and afternoon, and this proposal would be most acceptable to the community, however it has not progressed.
Shire minutes from February 2020 indicate they are still lobbying for a town service to be established and no change has otherwise occurred.

Bus-1809 wrote:Otherwise there must be some other duties involved in that shift.
Only speculation on my behalf, but if the bus is permanently based at Wagait Beach and doesn't return except for servicing, perhaps the driver is responsible for some cleaning, too?
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