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No DriveCam to set off this year…

February 2, 2016, 6:46 PM

This past Wednesday, Elyse and I went to the Washington Auto Show.  We checked out the cars, and then went down to see the Metrobus display.  This year, Metro had an Xcelsior artic on display.  Remembering last year where I inadvertently set off the DriveCam on the demo bus, I was surprised to see that there was no DriveCam on the demo bus this year:

I wonder if they remembered Elyse and me from last year, and thus waited until after the Auto Show was over to install the DriveCam.  In any case, it was interesting checking out this Xcelsior artic.  It’s a little different from the New Flyer DE40LFA and Neoplan AN460 artics that I’m more familiar with, as it has folding seats in the hinge area (I’ve only seen regular seats there), and it has rear-facing seats right in front of the hinge.  It also has white destination and window block signs, vs. the amber signs on most buses.

I also finally got my own photo of bus turn signals, mounted on the floor.  And here they are:

Bus turn signals.

Those two buttons on the floor are the turn signals.  I think you probably can tell which does which.  The turn signal only operates while you’re holding down the button, which I didn’t realize at first.  On my first day driving a transit bus, I was clicking the button with my foot to turn it on, and then clicking it again to turn it back off until I realized that it didn’t work like that.  And then I suppose people were wondering why I was turning without signaling.  Remember that before I got a transit job, I initially learned how to drive a bus on a school bus.  School buses have turn signals on the steering column like a car, whereas a transit bus has nothing on the steering column except for the wheel tilt knob.  I prefer the turn signals on the floor, because it gives the left foot something to do, and keeps both hands on the wheel.  I’m surprised that school buses don’t have that.

The folks running the Metro booth were giving out souvenirs, and so Elyse got a foam rubber Metrobus, which she is holding in this photo, taken on the artic:

Elyse in the back row of 5480.

It’s a New Flyer Xcelsior in the MetroExtra paint scheme, numbered 7091.  Not bad.  She also got a similar Xcelsior in the red scheme, numbered 7001.  This expands her WMATA fleet to four, as she has a model NABI artic that she got at last year’s show, and then she also has a GMC RTS model in WMATA colors, and a small model Flxible Metro painted in WMATA colors that she got from a friend.

We also each did the “Manny the Metrobus” coloring page:

My "Manny the Metrobus" page. I did something like a typical Orion V scheme, and numbered it 2137.  Elyse's "Manny the Metrobus" page. She came up with her own paint scheme.

My drawing is on the left, and Elyse’s is on the right.  I did mine in something resembling an Orion V paint scheme, and then Elyse did hers in something totally unique.  Someone needs to photoshop Elyse’s scheme onto a photo of an actual bus to see how it might look in real life.

Outside of the buses, we checked out a few cars, and I discovered how poor of a fit I am in many cars.  Apparently, people with long legs are not supposed to drive cars.  It’s like the Toyota Sienna that my mother used to have.  In order to reach the pedals, the steering wheel would be too far back, requiring an un-ergonomic reach in order to steer.  In order to have the steering wheel in the right spot, my knees would be smashed against the dashboard.  Not fun.  Even the big SUVs suffered from the same problem.  You know, these:

Sitting in a GMC Yukon XL SUV.

You would think that with as much room as those things have inside, they would have made a wheel that telescopes far enough out to accommodate taller folks.  I commented that in order to drive a really big SUV, not only do you have to be poorly endowed, but you must also have short legs.

Otherwise, these two cars at the Toyota booth were pretty cool:

Toyota Mirai, complete with gull-wing doors
Toyota Mirai, powered by fuel cells

Toyota Coms
Toyota Coms electric vehicle

Regarding the Mirai, I just would love to have a car with gull-wing doors.  However, I wonder how well doors like that would work in a tight parking space.  Regarding the Coms, that thing reminded me of an Isetta (you know, the car that Steve Urkel had on Family Matters) because of the single rear wheel, though unlike the Isetta, this car seats only one person, and the door is on the side like a normal car.  I do, however, wonder how it handles on the road, or if this thing would even be street-legal in the first place.

And just to tweak Elyse a little bit, I was pronouncing “Toyota” as “Tyota” (TIE-oh-ta).

Then when Elyse and I got back to my house, I took some photos of the foam rubber Metrobuses like they were the real deal:

Toy 7091, photographed in my kitchen at a similar angle to how I would photograph a real bus.

Toy 7001, photographed in my kitchen at a similar angle to how I would photograph a real bus.

Despite being foam rubber toys, I enjoyed photographing these like they were real buses.  Compare these to my photos of real Metrobuses on Flickr.

So all in all, the Washington Auto Show was pretty fun.  I wonder what they will have in store for next year…

Categories: Elyse, Events, Washington DC, WMATA