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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2009 :  06:14:57 AM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
There are PLENTY of VA buses out there with Automatic Transmissions and Hydraulic Brakes. There is nowhere in the state regs that states you can't have that combination.

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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2009 :  3:09:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
VA code states that you cannot have an automatic transmission without a "park pawl" or a hydraulic locking brake such as Lucas Girling. A cable operated "hand brake" was not allowed because VA felt there was no way to secure the bus if the cable broke or other problems occurred with the brake. Thats from the states specifications for public school buses. I've never seen a public school bus with hydraulic brakes other than a Ford until I saw that Freightliner the other day and I've seen PLENTY of buses.

P.S. My book is from 1996 so if the rules have changed than I was wrong.

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 08/24/2009 3:10:10 PM
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vabuslover
Advanced Member

United States
246 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2009 :  07:45:21 AM  Show Profile  Click to see vabuslover's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I think York County has been getting the IC CEs for several years (even before it was called IC) with Automatic Transmissions and Hydraulic Brakes. I was surprised to see that, but apparently that is the way they wish to spec their fleet.

Also, is there anybody else, other than me, that is familiar with Newport News school buses? There used to be a couple but I cannot seem to get in touch with them anymore.
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2009 :  5:02:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thats a first for me. Ive always known VA to spec auto with air unless Lucas Girling, or Low Profile package with 19.5 rims. I work for a private school and we have to buy our buses outta Maryland because of VA specs. We prefer hydraulic disc brakes. I cant find that regulation but Im almosty sure that was the rule, but if I'm wrong I appoligize. I'm still still sure the bus has to have a "park pawl"

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2009 :  9:39:00 PM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
King George and Powhatan Counties, to name a couple, are among those with many auto/hydro combos. They both spec their buses pretty nicely too, with tinted windows, etc. For some reason, the air brake thing just did not take off with them. I will notice though, that I' have seen the trend when the school districts started going with the autos, they also went with the air brakes. Virginia Beach started going with the automatic transmissions on big buses in 81ish, and ever since then have gotten air brakes on those buses. Even the fords.

As far as the Newport News fleet, I havn't lived down in that area for over 10 years now, however I used to admire their fleet of all blue bird transits! When those TC2000 REs came in, I thought they were the sharpest in the area! My only issue with them is they did not get air doors for a very long time. I hear they have gone back to conventionals lately, which sadens me. That seems to be a trend though with budget cuts around the state.

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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2009 :  8:04:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I live in Powhatan County and the only Auto Hyd. brake buses were two 1985 Ford with Lucas Girling and 2 1994 Ford spec. ed. buses. I've been in the "bus" business for 15 years and I'm telling ya there arent any in VA unless they are equipped with LG or have a newer Allison with the park pawl. I'm not trying to argue but I believe I'm right on the air brake issue. I admire your knowledge of the fleets in VA but I think if you look close youll see I'm right.

P.S. go to the Dept. of Edu. website and you will see that a "automatic transmission is allowed when equipped with a park pawl or approved braking system."

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 08/27/2009 8:30:05 PM
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vabuslover
Advanced Member

United States
246 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2009 :  6:23:47 PM  Show Profile  Click to see vabuslover's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Well, isn't it possible that these fleets with automatic transmission and hydraulic brakes have those systems you are saying are required by state requirements? We are not trying to prove you wrong, but I would not think that public school districts would intentionally violate these regulations.
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2009 :  5:48:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm just saying that Air is required on buses with autos. I think busfreak is very knowledgeable on the fleets but is wrong on the brake issue. I'm not trying to argue. I think a "park pawl" came around with the newer Allison trans. in 2000ish which would be allowed. I just have never seen any auto/hyd. in VA other than Ford or Lo Pro IHC and I've seen a plenty of buses. We all learn from each other and I'll be the first to say I've learned alot since I began and I learn a whole lot posting on here

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 08/31/2009 5:50:06 PM
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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2009 :  7:39:52 PM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
At one time, I bet the hydraulic break rules applied, however the rules are definitely different now. I have pricing schedules from all three bus dealerships in VA drilled down to Virginia Specs. All three have bids out for up to 64 passenger Type C buses with either Hydro or Air Brakes. They also have options, such as Air Ride that they specifically say are only available with the air break option. They specifically used the word option though. There is even the option now for the parking break to be a left side lever.

I will say though, I do bet the specs were changed at some point along the way. The trend in VA has always been for districts to convert to air brakes at the same time they converted to automatic transmissions. For one reason or another though, I think that with the demise of the manual transmissions, they allowed districts to spec autos with hydro brakes to keep training costs down. Currently, the ONLY bus dealership in VA to offer a manual transmission is Sonny Merryman.

I do know for a fact that King George county has many late model FS-65s with the hydraulic brakes and autos. Their newest C2s, however, do have the air brakes. I could very well be wrong about the Powhatan fleet having hydro brakes though. I was basing that off of their AmTran ICs that I see ALL the time (the older models with low head room). Last spring, I happened to look inside of one through the driver's window, and did not see a spring break knob, AND I saw a manual door. Both were a suprise to me, as they look like nice buses otherwise, with white roof and tinted windows. I could have just missed the spring break knob though.

I'm actually really suprised that Virginia allowed a full sized conventional bus to be equipt with a park prawl. Even the fords that I've seen in the state had the T handle shifter (even ones I've seen with the lightswitch parking break). The first time I ever saw a column shifter was when the C2 came out, and even those did not have a P position on the column. Hardybusman, other than Type As, have you seen a bus with a column shifter in VA in a public school district? I'd be curious to find that out. I always thought there was some kind of rule back in the day that prevented column shifters.

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Edited by - BusFreak on 08/31/2009 7:40:26 PM
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vabuslover
Advanced Member

United States
246 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2009 :  12:58:57 PM  Show Profile  Click to see vabuslover's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I actually remember a few of Newport News' Thomas Fords having some kind of column shifting transmission, but they were rare. There were also a few Blue Bird and Thomas Fords in their fleet that had air brakes, but maybe as some kind of test to see how well they held up. Those were the first to be retired of all the Fords, though so maybe it was not too successful.

Edited to add: These were early-to-mid-80s buses. I do not remember when Newport News switched to Automatic transmissions, but all I can remember them having is automatic transmissions. They had only just started getting Type-d buses when I first started riding.

Edited by - vabuslover on 09/02/2009 1:01:18 PM
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2009 :  1:47:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I dont remember ever seeing a column shifter on anything other than a type A or the early C2. I would also like to see someone order a C2 with a 5 speed. I think the theory of the park pawl on a large vechicle is to apply the parking prake then use the "park". It seems to me that is a lot of pressure on a transmission to rely on a pawl espescially on a grade. Powhatan does have a fairly decent fleet of buses. The oldest on the road last year was 1996 but no new buses were purchased and I'm sure a few older ones will head back on the road. They bought automatics in 1985 and went back to 5 speed in 1986 for one year. Powhatan has always been on top of buying new models. They were the first around here to buy Freightliners and the first to get the newer IC in 2000 and again in 2005. They were the only county I've seen to own a 1990 GMC Thomas Vista in Virginia. Vabuslover, I looked to buy a NN bus that was a 1986 Ford 34 passenger and it had hydraulic Lucas Girling brakes. Matbe they retired those first because of the headaches of those brakes? Busfreak, next time you roll through Powhatan you can check out my fllet anytime you want. We have a mixed bag of VA and MD buses of all shapes and sizes.

p.s. I may be a little out of date with all of the regulations. They change so often lately and its tough to keep up. I see a lot of buses on the road with stuff that wasnt up to code a couple of years ago and maybe they are bit more relaxed on those things now. I never thought that you would see a 77 passenger conventional in VA. but they run everyday.

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 09/02/2009 1:55:11 PM
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  12:39:32 PM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Norfolk had diesels with the T-brake system no air on them at all. Hampton had Fords from the Carpartner bus company with column automatic shifters not sure of the regulations just drove what ever they put under me and hope it made it from point a to b and back.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  4:09:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thats interesting. I never cared much for a column shifter. As a mechanic they are more troublesome to replace than the others. Where those Norfolks Fords? I did like driving Fords with the 8.2L diesels, they sounded good and were very dependable.

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  8:29:25 PM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Alexandria City also had at least one GMC Vista....talk about an UGLY excuse for a school bus. They were running up through 2002. It seems as though a few districts (caugh chesterfield caugh) fell in LOVE with the Vista. I think the reasoning behind buying the Vistas is that they offered a slightly higher capacity without going with the Type D bus. Thank goodness that trend didn't last.

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vabuslover
Advanced Member

United States
246 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  11:02:35 AM  Show Profile  Click to see vabuslover's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Hampton also has (or used to have) a ton of Vistas too. I remember them still being on the road in 2007, the last time I really was in that area. Since they just started offering school busing for ALL students (decided to not renew the contract with the public transit company for middle and high school students) they might still be using those Vista buses. I know they just got 45 brand new IC CEs for that reason.

When were you trying to buy the 1986 NNPS bus? I know for all the hydraulic brake buses they had, they all had a light switch-like thing to set the parking brake that would buzz when activated. The last of those have been gone for at least 5 years now. I know they never got any transits with hydraulic brakes (not legal, but is possible, I have seen).
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2009 :  12:28:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow it was like 6 or 7 years ago that I looked at thoses NNPS buses. I backed out of the deal when I learned how much trouble LG brakes were. They were 34 pax Ford Bluebirds without lifts. Other than high mileage and a little rough around the edges I think they were decent little buses. I dont remember what they sold for. Boy Chesterfield was definately Vista city for many years. Those buses were actually pretty nice when they were new. I drove for 1 summer and was given a 1996 (the first white top) and I actually liked it. I think they were different and I guess when thats all you've got to choose from you learn to like them. That was also before I turned wrenches full time. I always wondered if anyone other than Powhatan had the GMC vista. That bus never did much for me. What are some of the older buses still on the road? I know Brunswick Co. still has a 1989 for a spare Powhatan has some 1993 IHC on the reserve line.

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 09/07/2009 5:49:15 PM
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vabuslover
Advanced Member

United States
246 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  2:26:56 PM  Show Profile  Click to see vabuslover's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I would think that the only people in favor of the Vista were the people that were in charge of the money, and the people that drove them. They looked like they would be hard to repair or do any "under the hood" work with. I am sure if they were spec'ed properly they would be good buses that serve their purpose well.

Also, I think it should be noted that most of the buses NNPS had right before switching to transit style buses were 4-ways. Only one generation of the Blue Bird Fords had 8-way lights, and those were the last to be retired. They did have some shorty in both 4 ways and 8 ways, but if it was 5-6 years ago it is more likely than not you were looking at the ones with 8-ways. It should also be noted that when the switch from 4-way to 8-way lights occurred, that was when they switched from what sounded like a T444 engine to the Cummins engine. I know the two aren't related, but figured it was significant enough to point out.

Edited by - vabuslover on 09/08/2009 2:34:08 PM
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  3:28:58 PM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
i just love breaking down on the first day of school.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  4:12:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Vabuslover the buses I looked at were 1986 models with 4 way lights and the engines you are thinking of was the 8.2L V8 to the Ford 6.6L in-line 6. Both were very good engines by the way. It may have been longer than 5 years that I looked to bid on those little babies, time really seems to fly lately. Vistas seem like they were only built to last 5 or 6 years, after that they rattle and just dont seem to hold up well. Our 1996 model is in pretty good shape but it was a sp. ed. bus that didnt get much abuse.

How was everyones first few days? bsaund09 you sound like not too good!!

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 09/09/2009 4:16:00 PM
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  5:27:56 PM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
yeah, i think my bus has some sort of electric problems everything that should shut down with the key kept staying on and it finally got to the Child Safety Check System which meant i couldnt disarm the alarm but it did finally work at the garage . Our spares had not been processed yet so finding a bus was interesting and then it had problems today but one of the better mechanics got it going so Hats Off to those guys. i have always liked the '99 GMC s not a bad bus at all.

keep those buses rolling
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/schoolbushistory
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  6:18:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry you've had a rough start. At least you got a nice spare it seems, must be nice to have a 99 for a spare. Elsctrical issues stink because they can be hard to trace and cause a lot of down time. Other than having a inner rear tire blow out on one of ours its been a smooth start. We started last week so we got a head start. Hope they get your bus straight bsaund.

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 09/13/2009 12:45:15 PM
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2009 :  4:42:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How is everyones school year going so far? Hopefully not a lot of problems.

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2009 :  07:34:32 AM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Basically , I am having a great year so far breakdown and all the biggest things going on here are the installation of the GPS system in all school buses and I think they are doing trucks and cars after that. We also have had a school with severe discpline issues that are about to take possession of a brand new multi million dollar green equipped building not sure what their furture will be but they are an alternative school. Our bus routes were pretty messed up when school started so that is slowly being fixed they really ought to employ drivers to help with that job instead of paying people supervisors pay that have no clue exactly how this stuff works-I think they forgot that our times should include the traffic we encounter along that route since Edulog can't see or think traffic jam.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2009 :  5:44:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now you know the computer never lies and is always right. Other than constant minor mechanical problems we have had a pretty good year so far. Hope it keeps up, I've been logging 400-500 miles a week running activity trips alone, getting kinda burned out!

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2009 :  05:57:39 AM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
i can imagine well, our buses that have full schedules easily do about a 1000miles plus every week I am around 800-900 miles a week.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2009 :  06:01:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow you do somw rolling. My problem is my day starts at 6:30 at the shop turning wrenches or mowing grass and doing repairs around school. If I'm lucky I wont have to sub. on a route then grab some lunch before I head 100+ to Greenbrier or Isle of Wight, or Roanoke Catholic, sit through a game then head 100+ home, get home 12ish get 5 hrs. sleep and do it again. Most of our route buses travel 500-600 miles a week. I imagine you would wear out a bus pretty quick.

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2009 :  05:39:59 AM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
yeah, i do but so far this Vision is doing very well.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2009 :  10:07:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our biggest problem is our buses are pretty well worn when we buy them. I am pretty amazed sometime how well they hold up. Most of our buses have 200k+ miles and one is over 300k and one over 400k, but engine has been replaced.

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2009 :  12:00:06 PM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Ours now when being sold are usually 200k+ on them unusual to be below that marker. We do multiple runs during the day so the buses and drivers are used to there fullest potential we may never get paid like that but you never know.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2009 :  12:55:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mileage goes up and pay goes down. Thats an interesting scale isnt it!!!!!! Lets just be thankful that we have a job to complain about.

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2009 :  05:31:46 AM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Mr. Hardy they are selling two of the 1996 52 pass.buses on public surplus for the next 5 days.I not to sure about 420 but 416 just came off the road but i think has more miles that leaves 4 others yet to come.http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/auction/view?auc=383803

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2009 :  12:03:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks bsaund09, I've been watching them and was going to ask you about them but you beat me too it. Does 416 have a lift? I see it needs a lot of work but that does keep the price down. I like the fact that Va. Beach lists the defects that are known.

Mr. Courtney Hardy

Edited by - hardybusman on 11/01/2009 12:07:32 PM
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2009 :  2:40:30 PM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
no lift on 416 or 420 yes it has been around the block a few times but those have been some really good buses along the way.

keep those buses rolling
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2009 :  5:27:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
bsaund09 thanks again for the heads up. I gave a bid on both and we'll see what happens. I'd love to get a couple of those 93 with the DT360 engines. They dont come much finer than those buses in my book. I just dont need anything that big right now. What are ya'll using for spares now? Did Va. Beach get a large order of new buses this year?

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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bsaund09
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2009 :  07:02:51 AM  Show Profile  Send bsaund09 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
So far no new buses at all, the spare line consist of the '94s,'95s,'96 and '97 Internationals on a bluebird and thomas body. They have a few '99 GMCs in use as spares to the new buses should be arriving anytime now. Those 52 pass. are the ones like that in Va.Beach ever all the rest of the 52 pass. buses are lift equipped buses.They do have one Vista with ac and lift still running Bus 473 not sure when they plan parking that one although it has mega miles I am sure that was the second lift bus ever bought equipped with ac. The '93s they sold with it were installed ac units after purchase.

keep those buses rolling
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