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Old 11-10-2016, 11:57 AM   #1
prof.fate's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
New, from the inside sorta

When I was 18 I wanted to get on a bike and go see Alaska..well, nearly 40 years later and still haven't done it. At least now I know people that have..progress? MAybe not.

I also like sailing and as a retirement plan thought about getting a sailboat and traveling the world. Have made progress on knowledge, but little else.

When I met my wife we started camping - tent then vintage popup (lot less cost than a vintage car) and moved to a 28' new camping trailer. Felt less like camping but the convenince of a bathroom, stove and air conditioning made up for that.

Recently I got my CDL/airbrake/passenger/school bus licenses and have started driving a school bus - the kind with little live cargo units on it.

I've been training/observing and filling in, mostly driving our newest bus, a 2017 IC..just turned 5,000 miles on it. The newest bus arrived today, with another due next week - that will give us 6 of these almost all the same (he forgot to order air horns on one of them). All are 72 passenger w/ cummins engines (don't know the model). He does get the 260hp model though.

We've also got 20 older buses, only 2 'transit' models, both front engine. The boss doesn't like them, the mechanic doesn't like working on them. They're certainly more challenging to get in/out of the drivers seat.

The variety of buses is interesting...and we have some shot (van based) buses but haven't driving any of them.

Being on the 'inside' I"m learning a lot of bits and pieces..our oldest bus as only 133k miles on it..just got a radiator ($1200 parts), how check engine and warning lights are common to be on - be that an old bus or a brandy new one (and more common on the newer ones actually), all our buses are kept inside, have chrome (ok, alum) wheels - pretty - part of boss's philosophy. And they've all got 100gal tanks..they use 5-6 gallons of fuel a day.

A bus company down the road replaces ALL their buses every 4 years...1/4 a year. Hmm...

And another company is losing their biggest contract so there may be a large number of buses available next summer from them.

Now if I can talk him into ordering me a RE flatnose of my specs..and i'll use it till retirement and buy it from him for my conversion....

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Old 11-10-2016, 01:10 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 647
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
Is that a pic of the bus in your profile?
Looks shape with the shiny bits.
Are you driving for a public or private school?
If it is a public school, I would not be happy about the extra expense of those shiny bits.
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Old 11-10-2016, 03:03 PM   #3
prof.fate's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
It's a private contractor doing public school transportation. A new bus with the options he chooses is about $90,000 he says.

high(est) HP engine, shiny bits, air horns, inside lighting display for exterior lights, acoustical ceiling, stereo, on spot chains, air brakes and door of course, air seat, no student left behind system, exhaust brake, elec activated posi traction, air suspension, cruise/tilt/intermittent wipers...not sure what else is optional/extra/unique. the older/est buses have no exhaust brake, no 'no student left behing' and air wipers - they suck BTW.

That's the 'new' bus-well, not the newest now that 105 has come in, 106 is due in next week.

And all the buses are garage kept - lots more costly that shiny bits - BUT no frost or snow to clean off in the morning!!
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Old 11-10-2016, 03:23 PM   #4
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,850
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
for 90k id expect A/C too... at least from the pricing (65-70k purchase for a seatless IC with A/C)i got earlier this year when i thoght about leasing a brand new bus... scratched that pretty quickly... lol

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Old 11-10-2016, 10:07 PM   #5
prof.fate's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
not enough warm days here for a/c to do much and it's the number one most repaird item on motor vehicles - plus it's in the way of other repairs.

School here (western pa) runs last week of august to first week of june. AM it's not warm enough to need a/c anyway - so you're looking at 30 trips (~6 weeks, 5 trips a week in the PM) out of 360 trips. And a typical trip for the kids is 20-25 minutes - they can sweat!

some of our buses have a 'shoulder pad rail' along the bus walls, some don't. I guess just another 'option'..I wonder out customizable they can be?

98, the 133k mile 'transit' (flat nose) has regular pedals and 4 different interior dome light switches (2 lights at the rear, 4 middle, 4 more middle, driver) and the gear shift is touch sensitive push button.

92, the other transit with big honkin motor (so they tell me - they've done burnouts with it in gravel) has 'transit bus pedals' - the long gas and brake pedals I'm used to seeing in city transit buses.
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