The Spring 1997 MBS Convention was held in Richmond, VA from April 12-13, 1997. Here is a report from Charlie Bailey, excerpted from the April-June 1997 issue of Motor Coach Today.
Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m., we boarded James River Bus Lines #212 MC831243/12405. The skies held the threat of rain. Frank Adams was our driver for both days.
After a 45 minute ride, our first stop was at the Petersburg Area Transit's garage, where we were welcomed by Kevin Page. PAT has ten 1992 Flxibles, 101-110 (35096-6TND 103364-373) and two 1982 Neoplans, 72-73 (AN340 CL13008-009). Two RTS-II buses are used as utility buses. It began raining.
Another 45-minute ride brought us to Virginia Overland Transportation's garage, where we were greeted by long-time member Bruce Korusek. He answered all our questions about the equipment. They have both transit and charter buses. A sampling of buses follows:
89 Mack (C47DT 1336) ex Citizen's Rapid Transit
135-136 Flxibles (45102 61852, 61863, ex New Jersey Transit 7610, 7621)
440 Flxible (45096 58931 ex Richmond)
The light rain continued to fall as we had lunch at Richmond's Clover Leaf Mall. As we left, bound for Greater Richmond's Garage, the rain got heavier.
Greater Richmond has 20 new Gillig 35/102TB 6CT (#901-921 T1087363-382). Also in service are the 1984, 1989 and 1990 Flxible 40096-6 models, more than 100 in all. Of interest were three 1996 Blue Bird electric buses, called Electro-Bus. Numbered EV-1 to EV-3, with a weight of 33,000 lbs. each, and the serials are TF068900-68902. The Chance trolley replicas, built in 1985, are still on the property, awaiting the summer.
Our next stop was at the James River Bus Lines garage, where we were greeted by theowner, Mr. L. Woodrow Story, and maintenance manager Rick Carter.
James River will be 70 years old next year. Its well maintained buses are a familiar sight on the east coast. The pride of the fleet is a GMC PD4106, which was brought outside for photos. MC8's are used daily, and newer MCI's are 1994 102D3 #103 RPO46540 in a "Storyland Tours" logo, and 146, built 1994, 102DL3 SPO46802. The soda and cookies provided were appreciated, as was the dry garage.
Our last stop of the day was at the new Richmond Greyhound maintenance hub. A former furniture warehouse, it was opened in 1993. There are five lift bays, nine running repair bays, and four coach cleaning and refurbishing and dedicated engine change bays, for a total of 22 bays.
Inside the garage we were greeted by Greyhound's senior maintenance manager, Victor Fetter. He gave us an interesting tour of the facility. Of interest was the classroom for training a minimum of 80 hours in safety, maintenance procedures, computer literacy, and coach systems. A 1995 MCI 102D3, #1006 (TPO47921), shrink-wrapped for "Ameripass", was photographed the most. MC12's were being services as was a 1988 Eagle AE15, #0729 JBO80083, ex GK Lines (Texas) #0729. In spite of the rain, which stopped as we departed, it was a nice day.
After dinner, a business meeting and flea market were held, We then had a very nice two-hour slide show, put on by MBS members Jim Beeler, Mel Bernaro, Fred McGullam and Bill Anthony.
Sunday was a lovely spring day. Frank Adams was at the hotel early and we departed for Williamsburg and 8:30 a.m. Colonial Williamsburg Transit is an interesting organization, with both new and secondhand buses. Added were #9601-9615, 1996 Blue Bird CS buses and ex-Richmond buses 510 and 525. Many of the older buses remaining had been renumbered. Many interesting charters were to be seen in the bus lot.
Next, off to Norfolk, where we were met by Bill Ross, Tidewater Regional Transit's maintenance supervisor. In the fleet are Orion 05.501's #901-933P6031447-P6031511 (1993) and 934-949 S6032062-S6032109 (1995). The serials arescattered. The 1980 RTS-II #501-520 T7H603 A256-A275 and the 1973 Flxible #301-34753102-8-1 57851-897 are being sold.
Some of the RTS's have been rehabbed, repainted and renumbered for a shuttle to Williamsburg. #510 and #511 were renumbered #1101 and #1102. #513 will probably be #1103. Newly repainted, it had no number.
The 1989 Flxible Metros #701-762 40102-6T's KD100640-659, LD100983-1002 and LD101353-374 are the backbone of the line work.
We crossed the Hampton Roads Bridge for our Sunday lunch. The bridge offers a nice view of the Chesapeake Bay area and the Norfolk Naval Base, bringing back memories of the mid-1940's to me. It was a short ride to the garage of Peninsula Transportation in Hampton, where Troy Scarboro greeted us.
PENTRAN has a fleet of more than 100 buses. They do a lot of school work. Buses are Gilligs, #501-534 S1085911-944, #901-929 TMC T80606 KR825891-KR826604, #800-815 GMC RTS T80604 FV823686-FV823700), and #600-649 1976 Flxible 53096-8-1 (61083-62692). Ex Norfolk buses were #1109, 1973 Flx 53102-8-1 57866, ex 316, and #1110, 1980 RTS T7H603 A260, ex #505.
Special thanks go to Fred McGullam, L.W. Story of James River Bus Lines, Kevin and Scott Page, Kathy Kritzer of the Holiday Inn, and Frank Adams, our capable driver. --Charlie Bailey