October 2008 Note - Information is circa 2004
2012 Note - The site hosting my personal gallery, which included the bus photos, died sadly last year. I hope to get it back online someday, but it will take a lot of work to re-match all the captions with the photos, etc. I may get something up here temporarily in the meantime. But it's not done yet.
Initially, this was going to be a page full of bus pictures, but since I installed GalleryPHP on my server, the buses have their own gallery. So this page will now (hopefully) include a plethora of information about our bus fleet, with direct links to my gallery pages
Click on the icon to see more pictures of that bus.
Click on the icon to some story posted somewhere on the internet about THAT bus! (Um, usually from my blog)
The oldest style of bus we have around at CyRide, their numbers are dwindling rapidly, but of the 6 we have left, a few actually feel like they have more power than some of our new buses.
Aye, well we learn the hard way. CyRide doesn't really like these buses anymore. Their bodies corrode, and they have a bunch of different mechanical problems. They come in 35 and 40-foot versions, although we finally got rid of all the 40-foot-ers because they had lousy turning radiuses. The 35's get sent out at night so we can run their mileage up high enough to get rid of them. They're actually not too bad...great cornering. Somewhat good power (as long as the air conditioning is turned off!). I haven't driven them too much, so not a whole lot of comments on individual buses
In 1999 we thought we'd give Gillig one last chance by purchasing 4 Gillig low-floor buses. These are the types where there are no front steps. From the front door to the rear, the bus floor is level. Balcony-style seating occupies the rear of the bus after 3 steps. These things have even more problems than the rest of the Gilligs, mostly with the transmission! They've been sent to Minneapolis from time to time for major mechanical upgrades (don't know if they're official recalls or just things our mechanics said they needed). We also thought they'd be good people-movers for heavy loads. Wrong there too. It's really hard to get out of a packed bus especially from the rear section. We're really trying to run these on nights and weekends to get them outta here.
We found a winner with the Orion bus company. We still have all but the first two we purchased new back in 1982, one of which is supposedly driving around Marshalltown today! The 'I' series aren't the most powerful things in our fleet, but they've held up remarkably well over the last 20 years.
If the Orion I's were winners, the Orion V's were gold. We did our homework and dove in, buying 6 identical buses in 2000 to the tune of over $250,000 apiece. A double-wide aisle lets you cram in 80 students moderately comfortably and more in dire situations. The double rear doors help get people out of the bus very quickly. These buses are my personal favorites and (so I hear) many other drivers' as well. Plenty of power, great AC with a vent that actually POINTS at the driver, and all the comforts a brand new bus should bring.
Our minibuses are used primarily as alternate relief vehicles to the minivans. But we also run them on certain routes at night and on the weekend to save money because they're cheaper to operate. They were also used on our door-to-door dial-a-ride service before we out-sourced it to Heartland Senior Services. Only a couple are used on moonlight express anymore as we've gone to a mostly shuttle-based system.
Our new present for 2002 was a Chevy Venture minivan. With a radio, we could now ride in style to our reliefs, and the smaller, unleaded engine was a lot cheaper on gas. Originally intended to carry passengers on dial-a-ride, they're now classified as "administrative vehicles," so there's some question as to whether or not they should be called "buses" and follow typical bus rules such as stopping at railroad crossings.
Return to Bus Stuff.