Mass Transit

DEC 2014 -JAN 2015

Mass Transit magazine features agency profiles, industry trends, management tips and new product information.

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BI-STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY 12 | Mass Transit | | DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 He said, "I would say open up the engine and you would see this engine that's clean; it's got the green tag." "Looking at the history from the time at the main shop until they got done with it — and it's 160-day evolution — they had spent $80,000 on it and then sent it back out. It would run again for fve to six months, maybe 40,000 miles, and then it was getting retired. "All this work, all this money, and buses are going out there and getting pounded to 60/65,000," said Friem. "So I'm investing millions of dollars in things I'm going to throw away. I'm murdering my brand new rolling stock and everybody hates each other. Tere's got to be a better way." "The Plan" Starting point: Determining where they wanted to make the investments. Making a $100,000 investment in the last 6 months of the buses life isn't good for the agency or for the customer, Friem said. He started to look at midlife, at about 350,000 miles. Friem said, "If I had tried to go to them and say this is how we did it in rail and this is how we're going to do it, I would have failed. You had to be willing to play to the strength of the team." Each of the managers was assigned a segment of the feet. Tey were to go back in the system, M4 Maximus at the time, and had to calculate how much was spent on that feet of buses the previous year. "It was selectively chosen who got what," stated Friem. "I tried to make sure that the reports were going to be honest and quite frankly, based on their level of hatred for each other, probably rather damning." When they came back with the reports, he mapped out how much they were spending on buses and when they were spending those amounts. Tey weren't do- ing anything to the bus until there were terrible prob- lems. In the middle of its life they started spending a bit more and then it got huge at the end. So they were making all of the investments in year 7 to 12. Next: Looking at what they were fxing. Tey looked at the top 25 components being replaced and how many miles since the last time it was replaced. If a failure was coming at 125,000 miles, they would replace it at 100,000. Friem said they screamed; they didn't have time to replace good parts. "Tey didn't have time not to." "Suddenly we had all kinds of time," Friem said. When they took a part of at 100,000 before it failed, it's a functional component. "At 100 I take it of, clean out the bearings, do some electrical testings, By the numbers - operating revenue Metro Transit: 80.1% Gateway Arch: 7.5% Executive Services: 5.0% Gateway Riverfront: 3.2% St. Louis Downtown Airport: 2.4% Gateway Parking: 1.8% IN FY 2014, Metro provided 48.2 million passenger trips and operated 27 million revenue miles of service in a 558 square- mile service area in Missouri and Illinois. Mass Transit He said they would go out night afer night cam- paigning around diferent themes. "We're trying to help people lead better lives, get a better job, make tomorrow better than today, create economic op- portunity and that's how we ft in to the economic development equation," Nations explained. He was asked to come in again to talk to the board about being president and was ofered the position. While people think because the agency is in the news most about public transit, that public transit consumes his day. He said, "When you've got a guy like Ray Friem who can run it, transit as the functioning entity and the business of it, occupies a minority of my time." Maintenance Overhaul Chief Operating Ofcer of Transit Services Ray Friem's background is as a rail car feet manager. He had train- ing in systems from the Navy, running a system on an aircraf carrier. "I was trained to be aware of touch- points and to be able to think, if I do this, how's it going to efect this other group over here? Tat training was invaluable for transit," he said. Afer the Navy he was in Pittsburgh, and then came to St. Louis. While he had no experience in buses, it was the accounting depart- ment that put him as the "bus manager guy," he said. "What happened really, the cost of LRV mainte- nance kept going down; we kept refning it," he said. In 2000 they were $500,000 less than in 1998 and the bus side was $11.5 million more. And struggling. Te separate garages were run in competition of each other, with much hostility. "I'm listening to these guys talk. We had a main shop and we had these satellite garages and our procurement department is a diferent group and when you bring them all together in a room, you literally needed UN peacekeepers," Friem stated. When a bus had to be sent to the main shop, it was taking 135 to 160 days to get out. If an engine or transmission was bad, they knew if they sent it they were never going to see it again, so before sending it over, they would steal everything out of it that was working. Friem said, "Tere was nothing lef func- tional. We were getting these hulls that had to be completely rebuilt … they stole everything." Te agency was rebuilding 150 engines a year and spending massive amounts of overtime — millions of dollars. Metro was about to buy 240 buses. Friem ex- plained it's a 470 bus feet and more than 200 buses were coming in right as he was appointed chief mechanical ofcer. Te mean distance between failures was around 3,400 at the time. "Fify percent of the feet is going to be brand new. Mean distance between failures is going to 6,000. I'm a hero if I don't do anything," he said. "All I have to do is sit here and smile for two years and get the hell out of here because it's all going to happen again." Friem said his eureka moment came when the head guy at the main shop took him to look at retired buses. As a new bus would come in, one would get set down.

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