The Spring 2000 Convention of the Motor Bus Society took place over the weekend of April 15th and 16th. Hotel headquarters was the Holiday Inn-Pittsburgh Airport, which is located a few miles north of the Pittsburgh International Airport. It was attended by over 50 MBS members and friends.
Convention Chairman was Dino Mandros, former Port Authority Transit intern and current member of the Lancaster (PA) City Transit Commission. Dino was responsible for providing all roster and material handouts, and for making arrangements for all of the garage and facility visits during this successful convention.
Transportation for the property tours was supplied by Lenzner Coach Lines (Coach USA) on Saturday and by Port Authority Transit on Sunday. Lenzner supplied their Nos. 233, a 1995 MCI 102-DL3 and their Shuttle Division's No. 351, a 1999 Bluebird CSRE-3904. PAT supplied two 1999 Neoplan AN-440LF low floor buses, Nos. 5129 and 5131.
Saturday: The Saturday garage tour was concentrated on the significant operators in the outlying counties that are adjacent to Allegheny County. The lone exception was the first stop, which was at Lenzner Coach Lines, who had supplied buses for the day. This company, now a division of Coach USA, runs a fleet of 102 buses, including 28 MCI's, including 2 MC-9's, 4 102A3's, 7 102-C3's, 5 102-D3's and 12 102-DL3's; 6 Blue Bird CSRE 3204's; the remainder of the fleet are trolley replicas, small buses, vans and school buses. Saturday was a busy day for the Pittsburgh area charter operators; as a result, the yard included only a few of the highway coaches.
The next stop was at McCarter Transit in Beaver Falls. McCarter operates a fleet of 16 MCI highway buses, including 2 102-A3's, 5 102-C3's, and 8 102-DL3's. But McCarter also operates and maintains buses for the Beaver County Transit Authority. BCTA operates ten Neoplan AN-340 suburban buses, as well as 4 Thomas Citiliners, and 25 small buses, cutaways and vans.
Next stop was at the New Castle Area Transit Authority, the only agency operated transit system visited on this day. The fleet includes 4 of the original 12 Neoplan AN-435A buses, plus 3 21 passenger World Trans and 12 1999 Gillig G22B102N4 low floor buses. The World Trans and Gilligs were painted in a new metallic green and gold paint job; the Neoplans were still in their original white with red and blue stripes and markings; they are to be rehabbed and repainted. After our visit to the Authority's garage, the group proceeded to downtown New Castle for lunch and free rides on the new Gillig buses that were the only buses in operation on that day. After lunch, the group traveled 80 miles to Greensburg to observe and photograph Westmoreland County Transit Authority operations at the Greensburg transit center. Seen was one of the three Ford Phoenix II 12 passenger cutaway vans and 3 of the 10 1997 Gillig C20B096N4 buses.
The final visits for the day were to the territory served by the Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority. The first stop was at the new Charleroi Transit Center, which turned-out not to be open, and sees only very limited service on Saturday. The only bus seen was 1 of 6 1998 Nova T80-206 RTS buses: these are run for Mid-Mon by 88 Transit Lines, operator of service in the Monongahila River Valley from Pittsburgh to Charleroi (along State Highway 88) and locally in the Charleroi area. A visit to Washington to view local operations of G G & C Bus Co. was next. The only bus seen was a single door Thomas Citiliner. The day was concluded with a stop at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in nearby Arden. The museum placed into service Pittsburgh Railways standard car No. 3756 and PCC car No. 1711 for the MBS tour group.
Semi-Annual Meetings: The Spring 2000 meeting of the Society was held in one of the Holiday Inn meeting rooms, and was attended by 40-50 convention attendees and friends. The audience was presented with a summary of the recent convention survey, and the criteria and procedures that have been adopted for selecting new convention locations and dates. Members were reminded to attend the upcoming Fall meeting in Portland OR over the weekend of October 14th and 15th. The meeting was concluded after the presentation of slides of Pittsburgh area bus operations in the summer of 1963.
Sunday: The Sunday garage tour concentrated on the operations of the Port Authority of Allegheny County's Transit Division (Port Authority Transit). The first stop was at the South Hills rail operations and central dispatch facility. Attendees first inspected the radio dispatch and control facility for both rail and bus, then view rail equipment in the storage yard. Seen were both the Siemens Duwag LRV cars that are currently providing all of PAT's rail service. But still on the property were four of the rebuilt 4000 series (ex 1700 series) PCC cars that had been taken out of service in 1999. The next stop was at the West Miflin Division bus garage. Each of the bus types currently being operated by PAT are located at this facility, including the five Orion V CNG buses. One of each type of bus (see PAT roster in the April-June 1998 MCA) was taken out of in-door storage so that they could be inspected and photographed.
Next stop was the AMCAP (Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania) museum facility in McKeesport. AMCAP's current bus collection consists entirely of retired PAT coaches. Parked outside for photos and inspection were Neoplan AN-440A No. 3500 and single-door GMC TDH-3207 No. 715. Lunch was at Kennywood Plaza, after which the tour proceeded to East Liberty and a run on the East Busway to downtown Pittsburgh via the Oakland off ramp. Along the way, a diversion was made into the East Liberty Division facility. A 15 minute stop was provided at this location for photos of buses that were parked in the open area south of the garage. In downtown Pittsburgh, a stop was made at the Steel Plaza LRT subway station to observe rail operations here and collect assorted schedules. The tour was completed with a trip on the not yet completed West Busway. Photo stops were made at one of the on-line stations and at the east portal of the busway tunnel, where the group photo was taken. The MBS tour was the first public group to view and ride on this new facility.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: MBS Chairman Mandros and Conventions staff wish to thank the following organizations and people for helping to make the Pittsburgh meeting the great success it was:
Executive Director, Paul Skoutelas
Director of Operations, Don Bell
Manager of Special Services, Dan DeBone
West Miflin Division Superintendent, Rick Hennigan
South Hills Operations Center Supervisor, Chuck Kampala
Instructors for the trip: Richard J. Wojnar and Fascacal Courrtney
Drivers for the trip, Jim Fisher and Ed Courtney