Metro’s 35 foot Xcelsiors hit the streets for the first time this week. These coaches replace and supplement the retired 35 foot Gilligs (3185-3199). Coaches 3702-3705 have been seen on routes 246 and 269. The coaches will be numbered 3700-3759 and will be spread out amongst South Base (28), North Base (12) and Bellevue Base (20). Next year we should begin to see sixty 40 foot Xcelsiors arriving at Bellevue Base.

King County Metro New Flyer XDE35
Photo by the author

KCM New Flyer XDE35 #3704
Photo by SolDuc

KCM New Flyer XDE35 #3704
Photo by SolDuc

King County Metro New Flyer XDE35
Photo by the author

29 Replies to “Metro’s Xcelsiors hit the streets”

  1. What’s the story on bike carriers? From the illustration for this post I see the newer “V” Sportworks carrier as opposed to the majority of KC Metro stock which has the aluminum “squiggle” carriers with the horrible to use push to release tire bars. I’ve seen a few of the V carriers on the converted Breda artics (and much prefer them since they are not as apt to make you pull a muscle as the old “squiggle” carriers.

    1. My best assumption is that they will is that they will slowly add them to newer buses as they go in for maintenance at the bases. The Gillig buses most likely won’t ever recieve them, as they are being fased out in favor of the New Flyers. The only exception (a very, very loose exception) I can think of would be if they hold on to some Gillig 40′ vehicles, possibly for emergency substitutions as they have proven reliable for quick assignments. As a West Seattlite myself, the route 50 is ran by Gillig 30′ vehicles so we should be seeing the XDE35’s replacing them within a year or two. Very nice considering how many of us use a combination of biking and metro. Route 128 already uses the Orion VIII, along with the RapidRide DE60LFRs on the C Line. We would all love new bike racks.

      1. It’s funny that you mention pulling a muscle on the bike racks, I did a couple days ago putting my bike on the rack on the 50 down at Alki…

      2. The Gilligs are beasts. There is likely a reason you see a fair number purchased secondhand for various purposes.

  2. Metro and Sound Transit are swithing out the Veloporter 3 bike racks for the Apex 3 as funding permits. Sportworks discontinued the Veloporter 3 but still makes the 2.

    1. I’m glad that they are switching to the Apex 3. The Veloporter is a horrible design.

    1. They can be found by searching online for the King County Metro XDE35. Pretty similar inside to the Orion VIII

    1. I stepped out from work for 3 minutes to snap the first and last photos. I can’t comment on the interior noise levels, but the exterior noise levels were shockingly low. Significantly quieter than Metro’s hybrids in all-electric mode.

  3. What about the 30-foot Gilligs that only have one door? Are these being replaced by 35-foot Xcelsiors as well? Mercer Island used to see lots of the Ford vans, then the new vans that only lasted a couple years. Now the 204 is exclusively 30-foot Gilligs which are overkill for the ridership.

    1. I’m pretty sure these are replacing the 30′ Gilligs, as these are the shortest buses on order and all the Gilligs are set to be retired next year.

  4. Major disadvantage of English lit. education: you remember things like this:

    “Excelsior” is the title of a poem about a young guy marching with severe determination up into the Swiss Alps to freeze to death or get buried in an avalanche in about two hours.

    When some poor village girl asks him why, at the end of her every sentence, he just yells “Excelsior!” Poem probably inspired Darwin to discover natural selection.

    Still and all, name doesn’t anywhere near cover equivalent idiot suicide in the transit connection. Protagonist would have to yell…..” But standard unprintable indecency only has four letters. Br…….da? Appropriate bleep would probably blow out the CBS main transmitter.


  5. Is there any rhyme or reason the the contrasting colour of Metro buses? There is a lot of green and some navy in service; RapidRide is all red; these new buses are purple?

    1. I wish Metro could/would adopt the Sound Transit look. It’s consistent, looks sharp and fits the Emerald City and the Evergreen State. Metro’s livery is ‘meh’ and doesn’t fit the city IMO.

      1. Pic by your name really says it: Black and white, with snarling panda teeth along the sides of the front, just like the P-40 fighters in World War II.

        For a good strong northwest color scheme, I’d go for cedar, teal or bright blue-not present shade, which by itself is ugliest color in the pallet and putrid paired with machine paint yellow which they don’t even use on bulldozers anymore.

        Accent color could be reflective paint or decal- I remember 4000’s had a brown gold stripe that looked like Grant’s Scottish ale in headlights.

        Solid purple is already “taken” by Skane province in southern Sweden. Whose hundred mile an hour suburban electric streamliners look like speeding Easter eggs, but get away with it because service name really means “Little-Boy Train.”

        They name such things by public contests in Sweden.

        Theory about green and machine-paint current variation: somebody saw a garbage truck out the window, which inspired the color. Especially if a bus was simultaneously going by long overdue for a major-clean.


    2. I can’t find the link, but this started in the early 90s, when King County took over Metro. The first procurement under King County was the Gilligs that are still in service today. Rather than go with the white and yellow “sunrise” scheme, they opted for a new color scheme to “reflect the Northwest colors”. There are three colors: green, teal, and purple, each of which have an equal representation in each model of the fleet.

      1. Weren’t the original colors green, teal and blue? These look blue to me from the photos. The new trolleybuses are supposed to be real, bona fide purple. They should gradually retire the teal color. It just looks like faded green.

      2. The new trolleys will be purple based on some pictures I’ve seen posted around the ‘tubes.

  6. A couple of months ago, I had my first sighting of coach #7000. It was running as a “Test Coach” along Route 345 early one evening and testing out the tight turns at Four Freedoms House and at Northwest Hospital, places where the 40 foot buses have problems maneuvering. Lookin’ good!

  7. Just spotted the first new trolley (#4300) doing a test run NB on 3rd Avenue downtown today. Looked like it was loaded with something, I assume to simulate a passenger load.

    It is painted purple.

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