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 Boring Few Years for SB Enthusiastics U Think?
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Former School Bus M8
Senior Member

143 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2012 :  5:36:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've always been a fan of cars, trucks buses etc.. And I know that school buses aren't made for show but instead to do the job of mainly transporting students to and from school, field and sports trips. But IMO in the catagory of design regarding school buses, things have just been boring, nothing to write home about(I hate that term) or in a slump over the past 7 years or so.

*IC- no major changes since 05.

*Thomas- No major changes since the introduction of the C2. They updated their Ef this year but nothing special.

*Bluebird- The upgrades to their transit school buses are an eyesore only second to the 03-05 visions(IMO). 06-present Visions eh nothing special(again IMO). Haven't really seen anything that I liked from them since the bluebird conventional brochure in 01 or 02 and since they discountinued the GMC in 02. Hopeful to see something in the future but not holding my breath.

* Misc.- Kind of liked the Hino/Starcraft prototype and also kind of liked the Lions bus. Saw some school buses from China that looked kind of cool.

I'm sure the state of our economy and school districts keeping buses longer, cutting routes and reluctant to buy new school buses probably have a play in it. I'm hoping we'll see something that will spark interest one of these days.

I think that Thomas and IC are pretty set with their designs. If anything and if I were to expect or hope for any design updates, it would be for Bluebird.

Anyone know if we'll see some changes from any manufacter coming up that will spark some interest?

Edited by - Former School Bus M8 on 12/11/2012 5:43:55 PM

spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2012 :  5:27:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree 110%
THOMAS- Since Thomas retired the FS-65, I have personally had no interest in Thomas buses whatsoever (I always found them to be the most unique based on models in the 80s and 90s...predominantly what my home district had) I think the C2 looks cheap yet futuristic and according to the TD in my current district (I am a teacher enthusiast), he wouldn't even consider purchasing one.

IC-Although I like the IC (predominantly what my current district runs-IC-RE), it has become redundant and boring. Our buses are unique to the fact that we buy off lease from generally higher-end districts so they have added bells and whistles, but nothing special. I would love to see a major modification out of them personally.

Bluebird-I think like you said that this is the best shot at a revamp. Although I like the Vision as it stands now (anything is better than the original), it again doesn't do a lot for me. We took an off lease All American RE that is pretty sweet and puts our ICs to shame, however it's nothing unique like you said.

SOOO if I had it my way...I would want Thomas to offer the FS-65 again with the option to have a Ford or Chevrolet chassis again. I would also love for Bluebird to partner with Ford and develop a bus similar to that prototype that never went anywhere in the early 2000s. I think the biggest missing piece is the variety of chassis selection. Thomas had it in the late 90s with a Ford, International, and Freightliner option. I think the best possible option (though still VERY unlikely) would be a Bluebird/Ford partnership. Thomas thinks the C2 is the best thing ever and IC well that's self explanatory. Bluebird/Ford would definitely be something to write home about...in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy pictures of the "good ole days" of selection and variety.
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Former School Bus M8
Senior Member

143 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2012 :  6:54:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well said spin76. As anyone who reads my posts knows I would love to see a Ford/Bluebird partnership based on the early 2000's prototype; with some updates to the body of course.(IC style,i.e.windshield) Thomas c2, I dont like the looks but enjoy driving it to some degree. Although our c2's have been turned in with under 10,000 miles on them so I dont know how they are in the long term. Ce is a nice design but I'm bored with it. I would love to see a GMC Thomas(pre05) paired up but from what I understand GM doesn't make a medium size chassis anymore so thats kind of out of the question. I guess in the meantime I can just reminisce about the good old bus days

School Bus M8
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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

338 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2012 :  2:49:08 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I'd like to see them go back to a more simpler design and lose alot of the electronics. A small operator like myself cant keep up with the changing times and expense.

"Hardybusman"
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Former School Bus M8
Senior Member

143 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2012 :  6:09:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by C.HARDY

I'd like to see them go back to a more simpler design and lose alot of the electronics. A small operator like myself cant keep up with the changing times and expense.



I agree, I'd take a bus from the 80's any day.

School Bus M8
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Jared
Top Member

USA
1858 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2012 :  2:01:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think the issue is really that the industry is streamlined today. Chassis/Body companies have merged down and there isnt much room for diversity in fleets. Back when it was low bid and no one cared about stocking parts for multiple body and chassis companies, fleets were very diversified and it was "interesting". Today, fleets are the exact opposite. But I think the only people who really care about the diversity are us bus nuts. Its not all bad though, thanks to these mergers we are seeing far more ergonomic drivers area's and centralized electrical panels amongst other things.

The old days were awesome though...Its fun to think what it would be like if GM, Ford and International were still just making flat back chassis cowls and Thomas, Blue Bird, Amtran & Wayne even were just making good old bus bodies.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/
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1983ChevroletWayne
Senior Member

Canada
160 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2012 :  09:16:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

quote:

The old days were awesome though...Its fun to think what it would be like if GM, Ford and International were still just making flat back chassis cowls and Thomas, Blue Bird, Amtran & Wayne even were just making good old bus bodies.



Totally agree!

Formerly "83ChevroletWayne"



Pic courtesy of: "schoolbusdriver.org"
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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

338 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2012 :  3:35:22 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Just FYI I have driven that bus (318)in your pic. I was 18 when I started working there and this bus had broken down in route. I followed another mechanic over there and drove this bus back. He had just had knee operation and didnt want to shift gears. Those things were built like tanks and drove like Cadillacs.

"Hardybusman"
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