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  #1  
Old Posted May 26, 2021, 3:31 PM
Myrtonos Myrtonos is offline
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Why new street transit vehicles tend to be low floor

If you look at this thread, the original poster noted that there are trade-offs when designing transit vehicles with floors that low:
  • Capacity for a given vehicle length is often reduced.
  • Some, especially non-electric buses, aren't 100% low floor.
  • The light rail vehicles that are 100% low floor often have fixed bogies which is said to cause other problems like greater wear and tear of the tracks they use.
So it is often said the only reasons that new buses and light rail vehicles (with exceptions like existing systems with high platforms) are low floor are:
  • The need for level boarding has become important enough.
  • High platforms might not be possible in all locations where dwelling occurs and even if they, low floor and low platforms are a cheaper and easier option for a new system.

The idea of this thread is to take this apart and look for a richer sequence of events. Let's start by noting that mere technological aspects may have little bearing on the buying decisions of the operators. They are not running theme park services and won't choose one option over another just because it is technologically superior.

Also, drivers cabs don't need to be accessible, is this because people in wheelchairs don't drive them or is this for whatever reason(s) they don't drive them?
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2021, 2:43 AM
accord1999 accord1999 is online now
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Calgary councillors Druh Farrell and Gian-Carlo Carra have a Twitter thread talking about why they wanted low-floor for the Green Line:

https://twitter.com/gccarra/status/1404318309441441792
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2021, 3:55 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
Calgary councillors Druh Farrell and Gian-Carlo Carra have a Twitter thread talking about why they wanted low-floor for the Green Line:

https://twitter.com/gccarra/status/1404318309441441792
The instant I opened that page I saw the first lie - "the bidding companies have to rebuild their assembly lines to accommodate our high floor specs". Is he stupid, or does he think we are? We literally just took delivery of a bunch of high floor vehicles, and will be ordering them for the next century or more, as will any city that has high floor systems, of which there are many.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2021, 4:01 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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As for the "integrates better", I've stated my position many times but this too is BS. The only portion of the Green Line that would benefit from this is the street running section on Centre Street, which is a small fraction of the line. And not only is it my opinion that it would be a mistake to build that on street portion, it's becoming increasingly clear that it won't be built at all any time soon. Thus the only benefit really is saving a foot of concrete supports for the station platforms, which could well be lost in the need for an increased number of vehicles to make up for the reduced capacity of low floor LRVs.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2021, 6:30 PM
DoubleK DoubleK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
The instant I opened that page I saw the first lie - "the bidding companies have to rebuild their assembly lines to accommodate our high floor specs". Is he stupid, or does he think we are? We literally just took delivery of a bunch of high floor vehicles, and will be ordering them for the next century or more, as will any city that has high floor systems, of which there are many.
The whole thread reeks of confirmation bias.

Wouldn't the synergies of having an interoperable rolling stock make up for any savings in the upfront capital cost?
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2021, 6:44 PM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Originally Posted by DoubleK View Post
The whole thread reeks of confirmation bias.

Wouldn't the synergies of having an interoperable rolling stock make up for any savings in the upfront capital cost?
We've already got four types of rolling stock so it doesn't appear that it is that big of a deal. I would guess the cost difference either way is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, the main thing that bothers me is the blatant dishonesty. Either these councilors are total morons and are incapable of independent thought (quite possible) or they know what they are saying is bullshit and are lying to us.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2021, 2:52 AM
accord1999 accord1999 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
The instant I opened that page I saw the first lie - "the bidding companies have to rebuild their assembly lines to accommodate our high floor specs". Is he stupid, or does he think we are? We literally just took delivery of a bunch of high floor vehicles, and will be ordering them for the next century or more, as will any city that has high floor systems, of which there are many.
Agreed, and I also question the assertion that Calgary only went with high-floor back in 80s because they were cheap as they were already no longer in demand:

Quote:
Either these councilors are total morons and are incapable of independent thought (quite possible) or they know what they are saying is bullshit and are lying to us.
I saw a comment elsewhere on Twitter who noted that it seems like Green Line supporters such as Carra take it personally to any criticisms of the Green Line and choices that were made.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2021, 1:38 PM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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OK so I looked at the costs of the latest high floor LRV order in Calgary vs low floor vehicles in Ontario and the claim that high floor is more expensive is:





I've used the most like for like comparisons, the orange is data from Wikipedia, the rest calculated.

Sources:

Bombardier Flexity Freedom
Siemens S200
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2021, 2:27 PM
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technomad technomad is offline
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per tradition, the OP in this thread is shit. It tried something similar in the Edmonton forum with no response.. pretty sure this ID is run by a Bombardier intern

Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
We've already got four types of rolling stock so it doesn't appear that it is that big of a deal.
that's a bit autistic.. there might be four generations of LRT cars in service, and I think some gens can only be linked with the same, but all can be used on the same lines and stations...

Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
OK so I looked at the costs of the latest high floor LRV order in Calgary vs low floor vehicles in Ontario and the claim that high floor is more expensive is:





I've used the most like for like comparisons, the orange is data from Wikipedia, the rest calculated.

Sources:

Bombardier Flexity Freedom
Siemens S200
yeah, pretty much. the low-floor thing was so obviously astroturfed...

I figure it was a combo of the Quebec mafia doing their usual thing, combined with protectionist union attitudes, trying to keep the debate away from LRT vs ALRT

the 7th av station renos took out the expensive stations argument at the knees, and I seem to recall reading about issues Ottawa's trains were having with snow and ice...

make sense to repeat that mistake on the steps of the Rockies, right?
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Last edited by technomad; Jun 16, 2021 at 2:46 PM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2021, 2:50 PM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Originally Posted by technomad View Post
that's a bit autistic.. there might be four generations of LRT cars in service, and I think some gens can only be linked with the same, but all can be used on the same lines and stations...
Calgary Transit isn't going to be randomly running trains on either system, they'll be running to a schedule and the number of trains each line needs will be fixed. Thus interoperability won't matter, especially considering there isn't an obvious place to put a link (or an obvious benefit). My comment was more about maintenance, having a non unified fleet clearly isn't that harmful.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2021, 3:11 PM
CrossedTheTracks CrossedTheTracks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technomad View Post
I seem to recall reading about issues Ottawa's trains were having with snow and ice...

make sense to repeat that mistake on the steps of the Rockies, right?
Ottawa's annual snowfall laughs at Calgary's annual snowfall

But of course, we should take note of their problems and solutions. OTOH, it seems like they should have taken note of Calgary's problems and solutions. e.g., a December 2020 news article describes their newly-installed switch heaters -- something Calgary did long ago.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2021, 2:57 AM
outoftheice outoftheice is offline
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I'd like to flip the question around... what exactly makes the high floor vehicles so superior to going low-floor?

The common arguments I've heard are:

- Commonality with the existing fleet. But we know that's BS because that only works if they order high floor LRVs AND order them from Siemens. Even that argument is tenuous because there's not huge commonality between the various generations of Siemens LRVs.

- Greater capacity. But we know that's BS because the Wikipedia figures posted above show the Citadis low-floor LRVs have a greater capacity than the s200 high floor LRVs we ordered last time.

Soooo..... why exactly do people keep pushing this narrative that high floor LRVs were an obviously superior choice for Green Line that 'silly hall' over-looked?
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2021, 3:34 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Originally Posted by outoftheice View Post
I'd like to flip the question around... what exactly makes the high floor vehicles so superior to going low-floor?

The common arguments I've heard are:

- Commonality with the existing fleet. But we know that's BS because that only works if they order high floor LRVs AND order them from Siemens. Even that argument is tenuous because there's not huge commonality between the various generations of Siemens LRVs.

- Greater capacity. But we know that's BS because the Wikipedia figures posted above show the Citadis low-floor LRVs have a greater capacity than the s200 high floor LRVs we ordered last time.

Soooo..... why exactly do people keep pushing this narrative that high floor LRVs were an obviously superior choice for Green Line that 'silly hall' over-looked?
Those Citadis Spirits vehicles are longer - that's why they are larger capacity and why I ensured I adjusted my figures to reflect that and calculated cost per passenger capacity.

So despite the truespeak which even I believed before looking at the figures, high floor vehicles in Canada are cheaper, at least when you compare those three orders - I accept that it may be possible that orders elsewhere came in cheaper, but I couldn't find orders that were solely defined to the vehicles (Edmonton's order was for more than the vehicles). I think KWC Ion's vehicles were more expensive than ours too though.

So once you determine that low floor vehicles are, in fact, more expensive than high floor, what is left? The cost of an extra foot support for platforms? High floor vehicles have more spacious interiors (reflected in their capacity), so that is the benefit. Since the Green Line that will be built has no street running, the low floors have no benefit. Even if the Centre Street section is built, that's what, 4km? Why should we design the rest of the line around that trash component?

Last edited by milomilo; Jun 20, 2021 at 3:29 PM.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2021, 7:05 AM
casper casper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outoftheice View Post
I'd like to flip the question around... what exactly makes the high floor vehicles so superior to going low-floor?

The common arguments I've heard are:

- Commonality with the existing fleet. But we know that's BS because that only works if they order high floor LRVs AND order them from Siemens. Even that argument is tenuous because there's not huge commonality between the various generations of Siemens LRVs.

- Greater capacity. But we know that's BS because the Wikipedia figures posted above show the Citadis low-floor LRVs have a greater capacity than the s200 high floor LRVs we ordered last time.

Soooo..... why exactly do people keep pushing this narrative that high floor LRVs were an obviously superior choice for Green Line that 'silly hall' over-looked?
High floor gives you a passenger compartment that is one big rectangular box. You can arrange seats anywhere you like and put doors in where every you want to.

Low floor has the wheel well going into the passenger compartment space. You have to box that in and then the constrains where you put seats, where we can have doors. How many doors you can have. You lose a lot of flexibility.

I don't know which works best in a snow environment. I would guess like an SUV, having some the vehicle higher up on the tires makes life easier but I don't know.
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