Fall 1996 MBS Convention

The 1996 Motor Bus Society Fall Convention was held in Los Angeles, CA., on October 12th. and 13th. Our headquarters was in the LAX Holiday Inn, close to the LA Airport.

We departed, under sunny skies, from our hotel at 8:30 am on Saturday, the 12th. Our trip bus was #4729, a 1989 TMC 102C3-(XKR007165), of Pacific Coast Sightseeing Tours, Inc., Anaheim, CA.

Our first stop, after a 55 minute ride north and east of metropolitan LA, was at the Montclair Transit Center. It is served by 15 bus routes and Metrolink Rail and is about 25 miles east of Los Angeles. We made a short photo stop, then proceeded to the Foothill Transit garage in Upland. It is north of Montclair and Interstate 10. Foothill Transit's operation is on the Laidlaw Transit Inc. property in Upland. Their equipment consists entirely of California made Gilligs. They have six Gillig Spirit 28's and over 200, 35' and 40' busses. Their oldest busses are 19 1987's and the newest are 24 1996's.

We headed south of I-10 to the RTA garage in Riverside for our third stop. This turned out to be a well-run, very clean operation. The Riverside Transit Agency equipmentconsists of GMC and TMC RTS'S, dating back to 1981. Their newest busses are Fixible 40102-6's, 17 built in 1993 and 17 1995 CNG'S. The Los Angeles area is big on CNGequipment. The most interesting busses there were the RTA "Candy Cane Express", a 1982 RTS T80204-(820811), #2308, painted in Christmas colors, and three Sheriff's Dept. County of Riverside MCI MC-9's. They are serviced by the RTA and have a special space inside the especially clean garage, one behind the other. Their fleet numbers were RCJ1, RCJ2, and RCJ3, 1989 MCI-9-(IKPO42707), (3KPO42708) and 1992 (ONP044842).

We had an hour break for lunch in Riverside and then headed north on I-10, headed to the Roesch Lines, Inc. garage in San Bernardino. They are mainly a charter operation and also have a garage in Desert Hot Springs. It is a family run operation, started in 1932.They run MCI and TMC'S, as most charter operators do. The Inland Empire Connection is also based here at Roesch. They run local commuter service using GMC RTS T8J-204, Volvo/GMC Series 7's, Neoplan AN340A's and three MagnaBus 461 Trailers, ex OCTA 7608-7610, using the Volvo/GM's as their motor power. The AN340AIs are ex National Transit Service (TX) and the three semi's are leased OCTA units.

Our final stop was at Omnitrans, also in San Bernardino. This well run operation consists entirely of RTS'S, 1981 GMC T8J-204 and 1990-1994 TMC T70 and T80206's. Their operation is strictly feeder lines between the surrounding communities to local malls and Metroliner stations. They also have at least six routes serving the Montclair TransCenter, where our day began. The trip ended back at the Holiday Inn, where after a dinner break, a flea market and business meeting were held. The meeting was ably conducted by MBS Vice-President Eli Bail, mainly concentrating on future convention sites. Among those discussed were St. Paul-Minneapolis, Orlando, Cincinnati, San Diego, Long Island, Boston and Richmond. The meeting was adjourned at 10 PM.

Our trip on Sunday was aboard Pacific Coast SightSeeing Tours #4766, a 1979 TMC MC-9 (T2/2-1798-2893), ex Yosemite Trsptn. Co. #85. The weather again was ideal.

We headed north to the MTA Division 15 garage, located in Sunland, which is north of Burbank. Los Angeles County MTA has a roster of 2256 busses. These consist of 1981-82 GMC RTS, 1988-92 TMC RTS, 1988-92 Flxible 40102-6 and 1983-95 Neoplan AN440A models. Many of the TMC RTS's are Methanol fueled and ten of the Flxibles and the 1995 Neoplans are CNG fueled as the MTA is big on the clean air environmental issues of today.

Our next stop was at Laidlaw Transit's Van Nuys garage. They operate contract routes for LADOT on Community Express and Community Connection Services, using LADOT busses. These are mainly Gillig 30 and 40-96TB's. They also had 20 Stewart and Stevenson Apollo T-40 busses, an unusual bus. It is believed that they were the only 20 made.

After a quick lunch break we were taken to Ralph Cantos historic fleet, in City of Industry. His antique fleet has to be seen to be believed. It includes ex Greyhound Scenicruisers (PD 4501's) along with other vintage GMC models, plus many transits. The Pacific Bus Museum and some of their members also have some antique busses at this location. Industry is east of metropolitan L.A., off of the Pomona Freeway, State 60. There are around fifty busses there. A lot of them can be found in the MBS Directory of Preserved Coaches issue of October, 1989. It was a pleasant hour there, that went much too quickly.

We then went back to the Holiday Inn, to drop off anyone who had travel connections to make, before proceeding to our final stop. This was at the Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines. This is another well run bus operation. The parking lot is lined and every bus has its own spot. The fleet is well maintained and consists of MCI TC-40102A Classics, two MCI MC-9's, GMC T8H-5307A's and two 1966 GMC SDM 4502's. The SDM's are fleet #4101 and 4102 (095-096). A good stop to end the convention at!

Special thanks should go to Ed Buckley, Bill Vallow and Scott Page for their help in setting up this interesting convention. --Charlie Bailey