The Big Orange Beast-A Classic Public Transport
There is a food drive for the Peoria Friendship House in Peoria, Il called "Stuff A Bus." The goal is to fill a city transit bus full of food to help feed those in need. But they use no ordinary bus. This is an aluminum antique that I found oddly satisfying.
This pusher for the people is a 1973 General Motors Coach "New Look" Transit Bus. What better form of cheap, honest transportation than the city bus. There are many people who cannot afford to own a vehicle and many places where one cannot afford to store a vehicle. For those without personal transport, this is their main and possibly only way to make it throughout their burg. For a few nickels, this behemoth would take one where they needed to go.
What I found most intriguing were the styling choices made for a people carrier that is only going to get peed on anyhow. The ceiling had this wonderfully 50's sputnik starburst pattern that is lost to utilitarianism in modern transit.
This model even had air conditioning for it's passengers to enjoy, as designated by the "A" at the end of the build number.
The drivers seat was not as bad as it would seem either. The seat was very comfy. All the switches seemed to be where I thought they should be. Visibility was great, as though I were driving a fish bowl.
What is truly great about these machines, which I feel is a testament to the engineers and designers who created it, is how easy it is to drive. I tended to forget that it was 35 feet long. I have driven other American land yachts that were half as long and felt twice as big. I was most definitely more excited than any sane person should have been behind the wheel of this urban monster.
My experiences with public transit in the past have been lackluster at best. Long hauls on urine soaked, metallic bread loafs with mostly maniacal passengers. However, the nice touches made with this transport made me appreciate the mechanics for the masses. I walked through the bus, I sat in every seat, I grabbed every rail, I turned the cranks on the destination scroll, and you bet your sweet bippy I flipped every switch and pushed every button.
So, now I find myself perusing the internet in search for a roadworthy example. I have this odd idea for a road trip vehicle. It looks like I will do my silly dance where I really want something and I have to convince myself not to do it. Where will I put it, where will I find the time, will we have to live in it, how much will it cost to run, etc, etc? I will not be buying this bus. At the time of this writing, I have already talked myself out of bus ownership. Also, this bus is owned by the transit company "CityLink" and they would not sell it to me. They are proud of their history and fond of this bus. In the mean time, I will continue to play with the destination scroll every year during the Stuff A Bus food drive.