4th Age
My pages
Fun Terms

Transit Terminology

This is a collection of transit terms as used by various transit agencies, some of them are common to the industry, while others are not. A lot of this information may be specific to SCVTA.

10 Codes
Radio codes expressed as numbers. Ex. 10-7B = Break, personal reasons. 10-7OD = Off Duty. 11-82 = Accident, with Property Damage.

Accessible Service
Service that is equipped with wheelchair lifts.

Accident Review Committee
A committee of people who determine whether accidents are preventable or not. This committee has representatives from Management, the drivers, and local law enforcement.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, a U.S. Federal Civil Rights law that requires certain services be provided or actions to be performed to aide the disabled.

Automatic Fare Collection.

Allowed Time
The amount of time that is needed to make up the run to 8 hours (or whatever minimum is set for a given run). Ex. run 1 has 7 hours and 35 minutes platform, it would require 25 minutes of allowed time to create an 8 hour run. Can be called Make-up Time. This type of pay depends on the agreements the workers have with management and the applicable labor laws. This can also be called Makeup Time.

Automatic Passenger Counter, a system whereby the passengers are counted automatically as they board and deboard.

American Public Transit Association. A trade organization made up of Transit Agencies, consultants, and others with interest in the business.

Arterial Route
Those routes the travel in primarily one set of directions, such as North/South. They usually provide all day service in both directions.

Amalgamated Transit Union, one of the unions that represents the workers at SCVTA. ATU, local 265, represents the Drivers, Dispatchers, Radio Dispatchers, ISRs, and Maintenance workers. They also represent workers at many other properties.

Automatic Block Signal System (ABS) (rail)
A series of consecutive blocks governed by block signals activated by a train, or certain conditions affecting the use of the block.

Ballast (rail)
The crushed rock base for rail ties and track.

The process whereby the operators choose there runs for the next sign-up. This is almost always done by seniority.

Block (bus)
The schedule operated by a single bus from pull-out to pull-in.

Block (rail)
A length of track of defined limits, the use of which is governed by block signals or manual block system rules.

Block Number
This is the schedule number as operated by a certain bus. SCVTA buses usually have the block number in the left window of the front of the bus.

The process of putting trips together to form a block.

Bad Order, something that doesn't work. A B.O. Lift would be a non- operable lift.

Bonus Bus
A term, no longer used, that was used by SCVTA to identify limited stop routes.

Brake Interlock
A system that locks the brakes of the vehicle in certain situations, such as the rear door being open or the wheelchair lift being deployed.

Brake, Train
Electric and/or mechanical device to slow trains or cars to bring them to a stop, including:
Dynamic Brake
A primary braking system in which current derived from the train motors acting as generators provides braking action.
Friction Brake
A power operated system which applies stopping forces to brake discs on the truck axles. The brakes are applied by spring action and released by air pressure.
Track Brake
An electromagnetic brake located between the wheels of each truck which operates through direct contact with the running rail.

Bus Bridge (LR)
A emergency service that is implemented when a section of track is put out of service. Buses are used to "bridge" the gap of the section out of service. The same term is used for Caltrain. Bus Bridges are needed because it is rather hard to move tracks so that the trains can be rerouted around the closed section.

Bus Stop
An authorized location for a bus to stop on a route. Marked with a sign and may include a shelter, bench, or trash can. See Flag Stop.

Bus Stop Inventory
A list of all the bus stops that tells approx. what it at each stop.

Bus Stop Map Book
A map book containing the location of all routing and bus stops.

Cab Pass
A pass that allows the person to ride in the cab of a train.

Call Stop Program
The program set up for ADA compliance with the drivers calling out specified stops and routes at stops.

The commuter rail service operating from San Jose to San Francisco. Scheduled peak hour trips operate as far south as Gilroy.

California Department of Transportation. Those orange trucks always out blocking the highways in California.

Canceled Service/Blocks/Runs
A bus or train that either never goes out of the yard, or is pulled back into the yard due to a lack of equipment or operators.

Car (rail)
A single, articulated light rail vehicle or historic streetcar.

Car Bump, or Bumping (LR)
The process of adding to the consist of an LR train.

Car Cut (LR)
The process of reducing the consist of an LR train.

A trip that is hired by a given group to carry that group to and from a specific location.

Class Pass
A special pass that is issued to a school so that an entire class of students can use the system.

Coach Exchange
Where a bus is exchanged for another bus due to mechanical failure or other reason.

Coach Operators Guide
A book that contains most the information a driver needs on a daily basis. Includes fare information, route descriptions, and general information. Used to be called the "Orange Book" at SCVTA.

Coast (rail)
A position of the master Controller in which neither power nor braking is commanded.

Conductor (rail)
The person walking up and down the isles of a train that checks passengers for their tickets, or in some cases sells tickets. On systems using conductors, there is usually at least one conductor on each train. Has some of the same duties as a Fare Inspector.

Consist (LR)
Describes the number of, and which, cars in a certain Light Rail train. This term is also used for heavy rail as well.

Convention Pass
A special pass issued to a convention for use by attendees of the convention.

Courtesy Card
A card that the operator will ask passenger to fill out in the case of accidents.

Crossover (rail)
Two track switches connected so as to form a continuous passage between to parallel tracks.

Crush Load
Okay, if you can't get this one, you better listen to Weird Al Yankovich's "Another One Rides the Bus". How many people can you cram on a bus or train, think of Sardines.

Current of Traffic (rail)
The movement of trains on the main track, in a designated direction.

Day Pass
A single day pass purchased from a bus operator, or from a TVM. Can also be prepurchased in the form of Day Pass Tickets at some districts.

A vehicle going from one location to another while not in service. Frequently this is pulling out or into the yard, but may include going from one route to another.

Deadhead Route
The route the operator is supposed to use to deadhead from one location to another.

Deadman Control (rail)
A device used on rail vehicles which must be held in the operating position to permit vehicle movement. I have also heard the term "Deadman Switch" used for this.

Defect Card
A card an operator fills out each day on the mechanical, physical, and overall condition of the coach.

Deputy Director, Maintenance
The person in charge of all aspects of transit maintenance.

Deputy Director, Operations
The person in charge of all aspects of transit operations.

The process of assigning the extra-board to their runs for the next day.

Demand response transit service. In mostcases it requires a reservation made a day ahead of time.

Dial-A-Ride Zone
The area in which Dial-A-Ride service is available.

Directional Road Mileage
The total road mileage operated on. Each mile is counted only once, no matter how many routes travel on it.

Directional Route Mileage
The total mileage of all the routes.

Director of Operations
The person in charge of all aspects of transit operations and maintenance.

The people responsible for assigning the coaches to a particular block, and making the assignments for the next days extra board.

Diesel Multiple Unit. Passenger train with motorized carriages, not hauled by separate locomotive.

Department of Transportation, one of many departments of the federal government. Might also be used for a state or local department as well.

Driver Relief
When one driver relieves another on a given vehicle.

Drivers Room
A room at the yard where the drivers wait. Also includes access to the Dispatchers.

See Fall-Back.

Drop off Only
A term used when a bus is full and another bus on the same route is running in tandem, the first bus may be instructed to "drop off Only" where the second bus will be used to pick up passengers, and the first one will continue in service until it's back on schedule, or empty.

Electric Multiple Unit. Electric equivalent to DMU.

Exempt Crossing
A rail crossing that does not require a bus, or certain other vehicles, to stop.

Express Routes
Routes that usually provide commute type service, with a limited number of pick-up stops, then some distance on freeways or expressways before dropping off passengers. They charge a premium fare.

Extra Board
Those drivers who do not have a regular run, use to fill in for operators on vacation or who are sick. Often call "the Board".

Extra Service Trip
A trip not normally found on the timetable.

Extra Train (rail)
A train not authorized by a timetable schedule.

The term used when you use more operators than vehicles.  Most commonly used with rail system.  With Fall-Back Operations the operators change trains at the end of the line.  Example, Train A comes into a station, the operator gets off the train and the operator from the train that arrived before A takes over on train A.  Also called Drop-Back operations.  In order to create driver runs in a fall-back operation you must either create many piece runs, or have a separate blocking for the driver.

The money you put in the farebox to pay for your ride.

Fare Category
The grouping of passengers by how much they are supposed to pay.

Fare Evasion
The act of intentionally trying to ride without paying the correct fare.

Fare Inspector
A person who checks to see if passengers on a P.O.P. system have their tickets or passes, they also issue citations to those people who have no Proof of Payment.

Fare Structure
The actual description of the fares that the passengers are supposed to pay. This also includes the price of passes or tickets.

Where you put your money on the bus.

Farebox Recovery
The percentage of the operating costs that are recovered from farebox and pass sales. This is what the users are actually paying towards the cost of the service on a daily basis.

Farebox Revenue
Can be used as the term for the amount of money from the farebox only, or might include pass/ticket sales as well.

Feeder Routes
Shorter arterial routes designed to get passengers to a longer route, frequently a long haul arterial or some form of rail.

Fixed Guide Way
This can be many things, a busway, and LR line or an H.O.V. lane.

Flag Stop
A stop made at a location other than a designated bus or rail stop. Some systems allow them, while others do not. Goes back to when a flag was raised to have a train or bus stop at a smaller stop with no proper station facility.

Federal Transit Administration, formerly known as UMTA. Part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Fouling Point (rail)
The closest point to which a car may approach a switch from the trailing direction without being in danger of collision with a train passing through the switch on another track. In ABS territory, the closest point to which a car may approach insulated rail joint or vehicle detector governing occupation of the block in which the switch is situated.

Fuel Island
The part of the yard where the buses are fueled.

General Sign-up
This is when the drivers are allowed to change from one yard to another. It is also when the bid their vacations. At SCVTA this happens one a year (December, takes effect in January).

Grade Crossing (rail)
A crossing over the track at track level by a road or footpath.

Group Relief
A bid assignment where the operator does different runs every day of they work during the week. Ex. the operator might have run #1 on Monday, Run #2 on Tuesday, etc.. On every Monday they would do run #1, Every Tuesday run #2, etc..

The destination sign above the front window of the bus. At SCVTA all of these are electronic. In other places they may be on rolls of plastic.

The time separation between buses or trains traveling in the same direction on the same route. A route with buses running every 10 minutes is said to have a 10 minute headway.

HI-Rail Equipment (rail)
Tire mounted cranes, trucks, etc., normally used for construction, with flanged steel wheels that can be moved on and off the tracks. This includes the Uni-Mog.

H.O.V. Lane
High Occupancy Vehicle Lane, a carpool/bus lane, traffic lane restricted to the use of carpools and buses, some also allow motorcycles.

In House Schedules
The schedules that are used in house. They include information not available on the public timetables. Such as which block is operating a trip, and schedule notes.

Information Services
The department that provides schedule and routing information to the public.

When a given bus does trips on more than one route. This is frequently done when the running time on one route does not allow enough layover while maintaining consistent headways.

Interlocking (rail)
An arrangement of signals and signal appliances so interconnected that their function must succeed each other in proper sequence and for which interlocking rules are in effect. It may be operated manually or automatically.

Information Services Representative, these are the people who answer the phones when you call the information number. They also staff the Downtown Information Center. They also go out to various events where SCVTA sets up a booth or table to provide information.

Layover Point
Also known as terminal. Location where operator waits during a layover between trips on the same or different routes.

Layover Time
The time between when a vehicle is scheduled to arrive at the layover point, to when it is scheduled to leave again. Also called Recovery Time or Spot Time.

Limited Stop Routes
Routes that stop less frequently than normal arterial routes. May or may not charge premium fare, at SCVTA the don't charge a premium fare.

Line Instructors
Operators who train new drivers on the road.

Lining a Switch (rail)
Moving the switch points to the position which will divert a train onto the desired track.

Live Track Crossing
A rail crossing that a bus must stop at.

Light Rail Transit. Usually an electric rail system running on or next to city streets. Almost always operate with individually powered cars, with controls in each car. Sometimes called Trolley or Streetcar lines.

Light Rail Vehicle, an electric vehicle used to operate an LRT system. In some areas called Streetcars or Trolleys. Usually used for vehicles built since about 1970.

Maintenance Superintendent
The person in charge of maintenance at a given yard.

Milepost (LR)
A sign along the track right-of-way indicating the distance from the intersection of North First Street and Younger Avenue.

Minor Maintenance
This is where day to day maintenance in performed. Each yard at SCVTA has a minor maintenance facility.

Failing to show up for an assignment on time or at all. Also called an oversleep in some cases.

Mixed Flow Lane
Lane of traffic allowing any type of traffic, as opposed to an H.O.V. lane. Also called S.O.V. lanes.

Money Room
The building where the money from the fareboxes is processed for shipment to the bank. Also called Revenue Collection Center. No I'm not telling you where SCVTA's Money Room is.

Memory Transfer Unit, used to transfer the data into the newer electronic headsigns.

Non-accessible Service
Service that is not normally equipped with wheelchair lifts, or where there is no certainty of a working wheelchair lift.

Non-Preventable Accident
An accident where it has been determined that the operator could not have prevented it.

Non-revenue Passengers
Passengers who are allowed to ride free, young kids, Police Officers in Uniform, etc.

Non-revenue Vehicles
The vehicles that do not carry revenue passengers. This includes the cars used by office staff, maintenance trucks, road supervisor vans, etc..

Neighborhood Route
Lighter load routes designed to serve smaller areas or areas where arterial routes can't serve well.

Overhaul and Repair, the major maintenance facility. This is where you would normally find the major overhaul facilities, the body shop, the paint shop, etc..

O.C.C. (LR)
Operations Control Center.

Off Duty.

Off Route
When an operator takes the bus off of the designated routing.


A bus pulling out of the yard late. This can be for any one of several reasons, but are mainly due to lack of equipment, or lack of drivers.

Overhead Contact System (OCS) (LR)
That part of the overhead line equipment comprising of the catenary, catenary supports, overhead wire, foundations, counter weights and other equipment and assemblies, that delivers electric power from a substation to the car or trains.
A system of overhead wires, in which the contact wire is supported from one or more longitudinal messengers, either directly or by hangers in combination with auxiliary conductors and clamps.
Contact Wire
An electrical conductor which provides power to the LRV or Historic Trolley through direct contact with the pantograph or trolley pole.
A fitting by means of which the contact wire is suspended from the OCS.
The longitudinal wire or cable of an OCS from which the contact is suspended.

Showing up late for work. Depending on what is going on the person with an oversleep will be sent home without pay for the day, and an entry goes in their record.

Owl Service
Generally this applies to all night service operated between midnight and 5 a.m., or there about. In some cases special routes or routings are used for this service.

A official schedule for each block that is issued to a operator each day. Usually consists of a schedule on laminated paper.  With some of the newer radio systems these are being replaced by LCD displays controlled by the radio.

Panic Button
A button that the driver can press to inform Radio Dispatch that there is an emergency in progress on the vehicle.

Pantograph (LR)
A device for collecting electricity from an overhead conductor (wire) consisting of a jointed frame operated by springs or compressed air, and having a suitable conductor at the top.

Service provided to transport people who cannot take normal transit service. One part of the services required by ADA.

Park & Ride Lot
A parking lot provided for passenger to park their cars at when riding bus or rail lines to their final destination.

Passenger Facilities
Those facilities built for the use of the passengers, includes bus stops, train stations, etc.

Advanced high-performance streetcar introduced in the 1930s to a design by the Presidents' Conference Committee of US streetcar operators. The design became a classic.

Platform Hours
The actual time behind the wheel of a bus or train, SCVTA usually counts recovery time as part of the platform. The limit on platform time is 10 hours by California state law.

Preventative Maintenance, the minor maintenance performed to prevent bigger things from going wrong.

Point Operator
An operator who does not have a regular operator who is on the Extra Board and waits at dispatch for an assignment. A Point Operator who is sitting at the yard is said to be sitting point.

Proof Of Payment, an honor type fare system where the passenger must show their ticket/pass when requested by a Fare Inspector.

Pulled Out of Service, when an operator is pulled out of service, there can be many reasons for this.

A container that is handed to an operator each day which contains all the necessary information for that day's operations. Includes Paddle, Day Passes or Transfers, Defect Card, etc.

Preventable Accident
An accident that has been determined could have been prevented. This does not mean the operator caused the accident, just that they could have prevented it.

Private Right Of Way (rail)
The portion of the trackway which is separated from a street or roadway.

Public Timetables
Bus Schedules that are published for use by the public. Most districts publish what is known as In-House schedules which usually contain block, pull in, and pull out information.

Pull Out Route, Pull In Route
This is the routing the operators are supposed to use to get to and from the yard.

Pull Out Time, Pull In Time
Pull Out is the time a bus leaves the yard to begin a schedule. Pull In is the time the bus returns to the yard at the end of schedule.

Radio Codes
Code numbers used over the radio to describe various things or incidents. 10-7B (Break for Personal Reason), 11-82 (Accident with property damage), etc..

Radio Dispatch
The people who operate the radio system in the office, used to be called System Monitors at SCVTA.

         Rail Diesel Car

Recovery Time
The time between when a bus arrives at the end of the line to when it begins the next trip. Also called Layover Time or Spot time.

Regular Route
Non-Express/Limited route, the base fare applies to this type of route.

Regular Train (LR)
A train authorized by timetable schedule.

A replacement coach and operator that is used to "run" a schedule that has a bus that is out of service due to a "road call".

Relief Point
A location where a driver is relieved by another operator to continue the trip.

Relief Time
The time at which a driver relief takes place.

Report Time
The time when the driver must report to the yard for their assignment. No all drivers have a report time, those who relieve in the field do not. Bus drivers get 15 minutes, LR operators get 20 minutes.

A change in the routing of a bus line due to street closure. Buses frequently have reroutes due to construction, parades, or weather. Rail transit usually cannot have reroutes.

Revenue Collection Center
A secure facility where the money from the fareboxes and TVMs is counted and packaged for the trip to the bank.

Revenue Hours
The hours when the vehicle is in service and can pick up passengers, does not include deadhead time or report time.

Revenue Miles
The miles the buses put in while in service. Does not include deadhead miles.

Revenue Passengers
Passengers who pay for their rides with money or some form of purchased pass.

Revenue Vehicles
These are the buses and LR cars used in normal service for carrying revenue passengers.

Reverse Running (LR)
The movement of a train or trains against the normal current of traffic.

Road Call
A incident where a bus needs mechanical service on the road.

Road Supervisor
The on the road supervisors for Transit Operations. Also called Transit Operations Supervisors. These people provide on road supervision for the system.

Route Description
The instructions given to the drivers as to where the route operates. The are contained in the Coach Operators Guide.

Route Schematics
A map of the route showing where it operates and where the cross routes connect. This is the route map found on the public timetables. These are also contained in the Coach Operators Guide.

Right of Way. The land where the tracks or roadway exist. Sometimes the land is not developed, but still maintained for future use.

The piece of work done by a single driver. There are several types of runs. These examples are from SCVTA, other systems may have similar types of runs. None of these have more than 10 hours of platform time, this is restricted by State Law, and for good reasons.
Regular 1 piece run
One block for 7-10 hours. The driver stays with one bus or train for the entire run.
2 Piece Straight
A run that does two pieces of work with less than 1 hour off between the two pieces, these are paid straight through. (Very few of these exist at VTA.)
2 piece split (regular split)
2 pieces of work on different blocks, or the same block at different times. From 8-12.25 hours total spread.
Frag Split Run
2 pieces of work with 12.25-12.5 hour total spread.
A Frag
A single piece of work less than 5-6 hours long, these are usually assigned to the Extra Board.
A Part Time Run
A piece of work from 3-5.5 hours long, operated as the complete run for a part time operator.

Run Cutting
The process of creating the runs for the operators.

Run Out Track (rail)
See Tail Track.

Running Time
The time given to a bus to get from one timepoint to the next.

Schedule/Paddle Note
A note that tells the operator to perform some action such as how to deadhead from one place to another, or to wait from passengers from a connecting bus.

Seated Load
A full load of passengers where every seat is occupied, but no more. This depends on the size of the vehicle. At SCVTA the seating capacity of the buses ranges from 24-46. Most of the buses seat 43. The LR cars each seat 67.

Service Planning
The department in charge of creating and maintaining the routing and schedules for the buses and trains. Sometimes called the scheduling department. Also called Service and Operations Planning.

Service Hours
The approx. starting and ending hours of service on a given route.

Service Type
The type of service being operated, such as Weekday, Saturday, Sunday or Holiday. Can also be used to describe the type of route, Express, Local, etc..

Short Rest
Bringing a driver back on duty after a shorter rest than normally allowed. At SCVTA a short rest is anything less than 10 hours, California State Law requires a minimum of 8 hours off. Premium pay is usually paid for short resting a driver.

Short Turn
A trip on a route that is scheduled to turn around at a point other than the far end of the line. Also called a turn back.

Shuttle Route
A route designed to take passengers from a main line route like LR or Caltrain to their final destination. Also can be any short route designed to carry local passengers.

Sign Up
The quarterly process of changing route schedules and operator bidding for new runs. The timing of Sign-Ups vary from agency to agency.

Signal Controlled Crossing
A rail crossing that is controlled by a traffic signal. Most SCVTA LR Crossings are signal controlled. These are usually also exempt.

Signals (rail)
A method or device conveying information affecting movement of a train or car.
Audible Signal
A signal which the indication is given by long and short sounds of the horn or bell.
Block Signal
A fixed signal at the entrance to a block, governing a train entering the block.
Dwarf Signal
A low signal used as a block or interlocking signal.
Fixed Signal
A permanently located signal indicating a condition affecting the movement of a train.
Hand Signal
A signal, the indication of which is given by the motion or position of a person's hand or arm, or by flag, light or object held by a person.
Signal Aspect
The appearance of a fixed signal conveying an indication as viewed from the direction of an approaching train.
Signal Indication
The information conveyed by the signal aspect.
Switch Indicator
Signals which indicate the position of switch points.
A fixed signal at a traffic intersection governing the movement of trains through that intersection.

Single Ride Ticket (LR)
A ticket that is good for two hours after purchase for riding Light Rail. Not good on the buses.

S.O.V. Lane
Single Occupant Vehicle Lane, traffic lane open to all vehicles on the road. Also called mixed flow lanes.

Special Instructions (rail)
Long term instructions affecting train operations issued by O.C.C..

Speeds (rail)
There are several different Speeds used by Light Rail over different parts of the tracks.
Maximum Speed
55 MPH.
Operate on Sight Speed
A speed which will permit stopping safely within the range of vision of another train, stop signal, switch not properly lined, track defect or obstruction.
Limited Speed
A speed which will permit stopping safely within the range of vision of another train, stop signal, switch not properly lined, track defect or obstruction, not exceeding 25 MPH.
Restricted Speed
A speed which will permit stopping safely within the range of vision of another train, stop signal, switch not properly lined, track defect or obstruction, not exceeding 15 MPH.
Yard Speed
A speed which will permit stopping safely within 1/2 the range of vision of another train, stop signal, switch not properly lined, track defect or obstruction, not exceeding 10 MPH.
Note: Other speeds may be specified by O.C.C. as appropriate to cover conditions not addressed in the basic speed rules, such a slow orders.

Sports Special
Special service provided to serve various sporting events. Currently VTA operates sports specials for the following teams: S.F. 49ers, and the San Jose Sharks. In the past Sports Specials have been run for the S.F. Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors, and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Spot Time
The time between when a bus arrives at the end of the line to when it begins the next trip. Also called Layover Time or Spot time.

The total hours from start of work day to end of work day. At SCVTA the limit on spread is 13 hours. California state law limits the driver to 15 hours.

Spread Time
Extra pay provided for runs that exceed a given spread.

Standby Coach
An operator and Bus assigned to wait at some location in order to be able to run a relay in case of break down. Also available for coach exchanges.

Standing Load
A load of passengers with people standing because all the seats are occupied.

Scheduled Time Off, this is usually vacation time.

Super Express
A premium express route that travels mostly on the freeway and is equipped with suburban style buses.

Switches (rail)
There are several different types of switches for Light rail.
Track Switch
A track structure with movable points to divert a train from one track to another.
Facing Point Switch
A switch placed so that an approaching train may take a diverging route.
Trailing Point Switch
A switch, the points of which face away from approaching trains.
Spring Switch
A switch equipped with a spring arranged to restore points to their original position after having been trailed through by a train.
Variable/Trailable Switch
A switch that when trailed through retains its points in the position to which it was forced by trailing movement.
Dual Control Switch
A power operated switch that can also be operated by hand.

System Map
Map of all the routes operated by the transit agency, some include connecting service provided by other agencies.

System Monitors
The radio control people for the buses.  Now refered to as Radio Dispatchers.

TA Youth Partnership
A program where bus operators go out to various schools and talk to the children about how transit works. The children can also get tours of the various facilities.

Tail Track (rail)
The trackage that lies beyond the station platforms, or is not used. Also called Run Out Track.

The location where the route ends.  This term is sometimes refers to the bus or rail yards.

Time Point
Those locations where buses or trains observe a scheduled time.

Timed Transfer
A location where buses wait a designated time for transfers from other buses or trains. The waiting could be layover as well as in service time.

Transit Input Report, these are filled out whenever someone has a complaint or compliment about the service or operators.

T.O. Notice
A Transit Operations Notice, these are instructions, or information, provided to the operators by various units within Transit Operations.

A metal coin like object used by some agencies for pre-payed fares.

Total Hours
The total time the buses or trains operate, includes deadhead time.

Total Miles
The total miles the buses or trains operate, includes deadhead miles.

Trackwork (rail)
The rails, switches, frogs, crossings, fastenings, pads, ties and ballast or track support slab over which trains or cars are operated.
Axillary Track
Any track other than a main, yard, or shop track. (This includes the Tail Tracks or Run Out Tracks, and the tracks connecting the Main Line with the Yard.
Double Track
Two main tracks upon one of which the current of traffic is in a specified direction and upon the other in the opposite direction.
Main Track
A track on which trains are operated per timetable, and/or O.C.C. authority.
Shop Track
Track within the Shop Area at the Light Rail Yard.
Single Track
A single main track on which trains are operated in both direction.
Yard Track
Track within the Light Rail yard limits.

Traffic Check Form
The form that has the data collected by a traffic checker. Includes ridership and running time information.

Traffic Checker
The people who collect the ridership and running time data used when scheduling the system. Regular Light Rail riders can expect to see them fairly often.

Train (LR)
One or more cars operated from a single cab.

Train Number (LR)
This is the schedule number as operated by a certain train consist. On LR this is equivalent the Block Number used for buses. On Caltrain or Amtrak the Train Number identifies a single trip.

Train Order (LR)
Short term instructions issued by O.C.C. which govern train and vehicle movements.

Train Operator (LR)
The term train operator shall apply to any person operating rail equipment upon the tracks.

Trainlined (LR)
Control circuits routed between cars by means of couplers so that control signals may be transmitted to other cars of the train.

A pass useable for a one-way ride to board another bus or train. SCVTA does not use transfers at this time, but does accept transfers from other systems as full or partial payment of Fare. Some systems do allow round tripping within a limited time period.

Transit Center
A location that has been set up for buses and/or trains to facilitate transfers for the passengers.

Travel Time
Pay given for an operator who has to travel from one relief location to another on a 2 or more piece run. Some systems might also have travel time for operators to return to the yard or out to the relief location from the yard.

A single one-way trip on a single route.

An extra service bus that is sent out to pick up the overloads from schools. Usually only operates part of a route. These buses are available for anyone to ride. Sometimes called School Trippers.

Trolley Pole (LR)
A device for collecting electricity from an overhead conductor (wire) consisting of a single pole, operated by springs and contacting the overhead wire by a sliding harp with carbon inset.

TSD Notice
At VTA this is a notice sent out by Service Planning to notify people of a change in routing or schedule.  These can be for may reasons from construction reroutes to routine schedule changes.

Ticket Vending Machine, used to sell tickets on LR and at some Caltrain stations. Very common on P.O.P. systems.

Urban Mass Transit Authority, now called FTA.

Unlinked Passenger Trip
one passenger boarding one bus or train. Each time a passenger boards it is an unlinked trip. This is what is counted in reporting ridership.

A device at the Light Rail stations for validating pre-purchased day pass tickets. The must be validated before boarding the train.

Vault Room
The room where vaulting takes place.

The process of retrieving the money from the fareboxes on the buses.

Vertical Clearance
The amount of room a vehicle need to be able to get under obstacles. For buses this is between 10 and 12 feet.

Voice Annunciator
That irritating box that announces the destination of the route when the door of the bus is opened. This is a requirement of ADA. This is part of the headsign system.

Wash Rack
The bus wash at the yard. It is like a car wash designed for buses.

Way, Power & Signal (LR)
The part of maintenance that maintains the LR trackage, overhead wires, power systems, and signals.

Wayside Selector (LR)
A trackside device, cab high, activated by a key which selects a route, cancels a request, or aligns the required switch.

Window Sign
Small sign placed in the window of the bus in cases when headsign is not working, or to supplement the information provided by the headsign.

Work Copy
The working copy of the schedule that comes from the scheduler.

Where the buses are stored when not in service. Also where most maintenance is done. Can also be called the garage.

Yard (LR)
A system of tracks within defined limits provided for the making of trains, storing cars, and for other purposes, in which movements do not require timetable authority, subject to prescribed signals, rules and instructions.

Yard Limit (LR)
The territory defined by a yard limit sign separating the main track from the yard.

Yard Sign-up
When the drivers at a yard bid for their assignments for the next period of time. At SCVTA their are three yard sign-ups and one general sign-up each year. Light Rail only has yard sign-ups.

Yard Superintendent
The person in charge of operations at a given yard.

Youth Outreach Program, a program where the ISRs go out to various schools or other youth groups and do presentations on how to use public transit.

Headsigns Usage

Here are some of the other headsigns that are used other then the ones designed for a specific route.

Coach Terminal
A bus that is deadheading back to the yard.

Emergency Please Call Police
This means that there is an emergency in progress on the bus.

Emergency Rail Service
A coach being used in a Bus Bridge. (see Bus Bridge)

Extra Service
A bus that is running extra service on a route, these are usually School Trippers.

Not in Service
A coach that is out of service and heading out from the yard. Also used by maintenance when road testing buses.

Used for certain special services when no other headsign is appropriate.

Training Coach
A coach that is being used by trainees to learn to drive.

Welcome Aboard
Used when there is no other sign available for the service being run.

Now, here are some more "real world" definitions.

Current VTA Organization
Transit Ops.
VTA Overview
Service & Operations Planning
Last Modified: March 24, 1998

This page was produced by: Eric Rosenberg 

[Site Page List]

[Home] [Me] [4th Age] [Transit] [My pages] [links]