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99intamtran
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2013 :  5:08:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit 99intamtran's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi i am a newbie to your forums. I have read in the forums previously that a lot of districts in Michigan run Thomas buses. Where i am from in northern Michigan i have never seen a Thomas in person only Wards Blue-Birds and Amtran,and IC. Is this at all unusual? Also would like to hear from others in Michigan and what your fleet is comprised of.

Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2013 :  5:36:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Not unusual. The fleet I grew up with was all Thomas, but the fleet I drove for in the upper peninsula was all Blue Bird. Where I live now, the local fleet is a mix. The rural areas for some reason historically favored Blue Birds, and recently they have been going to IC because of price.

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999
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SuperiorGMC1963
Top Member

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2013 :  4:22:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't live in northern Michigan full time any longer but I am aware that Traverse City's fleet is about 90% Thomas. They bought some AmTrans and Blue Birds around 2000. They have about 125 buses in their fleet. Most of the smaller districts near Traverse City seem to run IC's.

Ted

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99intamtran
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2013 :  07:36:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit 99intamtran's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you Thomas Ford 85-16 and SuperiorGMC1963 for your replies to this topic. Another question are air brakes standard for Type C and D buses in Michigan? Every bus i rode on dating back to an 1981 GMC Ward gasser had air brakes.
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2013 :  08:24:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
They are not required, if that's what you mean. Where I drove, there were many 77/78 passenger buses that were hydraulic brake units. My own fleet was mostly air brake though. However, I think that air brakes at one time were required for the larger buses, which would explain your 1981 Ward (when air brakes were otherwise less common). This text in the Pupil Transportation Act suggests that to me: "(2) A school bus manufactured after July 15, 1982 that has a rated seating capacity of 60 or more passengers is not required to be equipped with an air brake system."

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2013 :  7:50:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I am originally from West Michigan and now live in Mid Michigan. In West Michigan there are TONS of Thomas buses. The district I was previously at ran 90% Thomas and since the C2 have gone IC. My current district has one Thomas and its a spare...they are primarily IC. I THINK a big part is Hoekstra Trans out of GR. Although now there is Holland Bus Company (bluebird). That is pure speculation however I've noticed many districts ran Thomas in the 80s and 90s an since many have gone IC. Just an observation. Glad to see another person from MI here. The more info you have about MI buses to share the better. Just curious, in the area you are from, what are some of the oldest buses (from more than one district) that you have still seen in service?
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99intamtran
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9 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2013 :  10:20:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit 99intamtran's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you for replying Thomas Ford 85-16 & spin76. In the county i am in there are two school districts one being where i attended school and another small village to our south. Where i went to school our oldest bus is a 2000 International Amtran. The other district has last i saw a 97 or a 98 international can't remember the body. About 5 years ago i visited a town about 40 miles to my southeast and i saw a 95 International Carpenter at their bus garage but it was sitting in a corner of the lot but they had 8 or so buses, the town to their south had a few 1996 International Bluebird, but again that was 2008-ish. The only real information i have is from a riders perspective from my own district. Their specs really hadn't changed to much. Examples would include our 87-88 Gmc Bluebirds our 87 A 87B and 87C were 8.2L Detroit Diesel 5spd manual. Our 88-A was an 8.2L Detroit Diesel Allison AT545 and air brakes Our 88-B was the same as 88-B but with an air horn 88-C-88-G had 8.2L Detroit Diesel 5spd manual with air horns. All of our buses have/had air brakes. In December of 1990 All of our buses with the exception of our 81-82 models had the 4-ways converted to 8-ways
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ic0730
Active Member

18 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2013 :  7:03:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit ic0730's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I am from the thumb and we had 25 Thomas 1994-2002 and 10 Ic`s 2003-2011.before we were outsourced now we have 12 Thomas 1998-02, 10 Ic`s 2003-2011 and 8 new 2012 c2s much rather have ic. Thomas have to many problems.

Edited by - ic0730 on 03/29/2013 8:04:28 PM
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2013 :  7:55:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
ic0730 what part of the thumb are you in? Who outsourced your district? Most schools around here have been outsourced by Dean. Every so often a Trinity bus makes an appearance, but Dean operates all of the area ISDs that I'm aware of plus some schools in the Lansing area (East Lansing, Dansville, Webberville) I know Dean does Ottawa ISD on the Westside of the state too plus Grand Rapids Public.
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ic0730
Active Member

18 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2013 :  6:42:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit ic0730's Homepage  Reply with Quote
NORTH BRANCH. we where outsourced by Dean Transportation. they also have Lakeville , Trenton , Birch run and walled lake. DON'T NO OF ANY MORE AROUND HERE!

Edited by - ic0730 on 05/23/2013 7:26:57 PM
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JustinB
Advanced Member

United States
490 Posts

Posted - 03/25/2013 :  12:47:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Birch Run isn't much of a suprise. The program was a bit ripe for such a move.

I may not know the answer but I can usually find who does.
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2013 :  3:24:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JustinB

Birch Run isn't much of a suprise. The program was a bit ripe for such a move.



Justin what do you mean? When was Birch Run outsourced? Last time I went through, they still had a share of mid 90s Thomas Fords. Good looking fleet in my opinion!
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ic0730
Active Member

18 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2013 :  8:02:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit ic0730's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spin76

quote:
Originally posted by JustinB

Birch Run isn't much of a suprise. The program was a bit ripe for such a move.



Justin what do you mean? When was Birch Run outsourced? Last time I went through, they still had a share of mid 90s Thomas Fords. Good looking fleet in my opinion!




Some where around July? I believe it is a main garage for them if they have something major! Trenton had some 88's still at beginning of the year.

Edited by - ic0730 on 03/30/2013 8:14:29 PM
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mr.bluebird
Active Member

United States
44 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2013 :  10:38:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit mr.bluebird's Homepage  Reply with Quote
hi guys long time no see how is every one doing ?

YOUR CHILDS SAFETY IS OUR BUSINESS!!!
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2013 :  6:20:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just wondering if anyone knows of any districts still operating buses with the 4 way reds (1990 and prior). When I lived in Ovid a few years back, they operated three buses with 8 ways but no side stop sign. (1991 models, Ward and Wayne). Most unique buses I have seen in a while.
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thomas86_a
Top Member

USA
4407 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2013 :  6:55:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit thomas86_a's Homepage  Send thomas86_a an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Saginaw Public Schools still had some 1990 Wayne/IHC models running last school year with reds only. They outsourced last summer and I believe all of their old units are gone. I'm not aware of anyone running units that old anymore.

If you have an International, you NEED customer service.
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overbyja
Senior Member

USA
123 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2013 :  5:48:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was in my hometown of Menominee, in the U.P. two months ago. They still were running a 91 Intl. Blue Bird (originally #19 now #11) with the 8-ways and no stop arm. They also have an old Bird (#12) they're using as a moving truck (no seats) that had the Aeroflash conversion kit on it. It doesn't have any flashers now, but the 4 way holes are still there.

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busman9726
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2013 :  7:21:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit busman9726's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Spring Lake was still operating a couple of 91 Thomas Int'ls, number 91-28 and 14-91 (formerly 91-29). They have spec'd them out however and have a tail fin, front crossbar, stop sign, LEDs, and eight ways. All are aftermarket except for sign and 8 ways. They also had some 87 Thomas Int'ls (87-30, 87-31, 87-32, and 87-33, formerly 3,5,6, and 8) with the same specs...all aftermarket, but have since retired them
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busman9726
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2 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2013 :  7:25:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit busman9726's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also when I worked in Muskegon, Mona Shores had a mid 80s S-1700 (number 8) with 4 ways. It was about 5-6 years ago, but I think they still had it 2 or 3 yrs ago
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2013 :  5:41:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What's being bought/sold in MI this summer? Our district is unchanged after selling an 01 Amtran RE and purchasing an off lease 2008 bluebird all American rear engine. Great purchase too!
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AmTran Fan
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8 Posts

Posted - 06/13/2013 :  1:50:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit AmTran Fan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I used to drive for a contractor on Long Island, in NY. Alot of the older buses you will see up there still bear the Ward name. My favorite bus was an 89 Wayne, with a Ford body. My bus held 9 wheelchairs. It had an automatic transmission, and air brakes. My old bus rode like a lumber wagon, but it ran like no other. Needless to say, I was pretty upset when they made me retire my bus, and they put me in a 2000 Bluebird IHC. I hated that bus! I do not care what anybody says, the old Wayne's, and the late 90's Am Trans were the best! I have drove Wards, AmTran's, and the new IC's, and they made their biggest mistake by going away from the Am Tran brand.
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  8:10:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hello Michigan folks. I thought you might get a kick out of this... There is no way to confirm it, but it is possible I spared one of the last four way buses in the State from the scrapper. I heard through the grape vine that this bus did not receive any bids at auction, so I submitted an offer after the fact in order to save it.

1990 Blue Bird Chevrolet, 71 passenger, 225 hp turbo Detroit Diesel, MT643, heated mirrors, heated rear light lenses (odd!).






It was from a community in the upper peninsula that used primarily sand on their roads, not salt. I think that was a big help to its condition.

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999

Edited by - Thomas Ford 85-16 on 08/06/2013 8:12:27 PM
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Jake
Top Member

USA
3516 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2013 :  9:33:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jake's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Awesome bus, Mike! Both of your buses are looking good for their age. Thanks for sharing.


School Bus Web Discussion Forums: http://schoolbusweb.proboards.com/
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2268 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  05:04:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What on earth are you going to do with these things? I have one bus that I own myself and it is storage out back. I can't imagine trying to keep one of these things going just for fun. To each his own. If it's what you like, then good luck to you.

Bryan
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99intamtran
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  08:12:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit 99intamtran's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice Chevy Blue-Bird, looks like the perfect companion for your Thomas Ford.
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JustinB
Advanced Member

United States
490 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  2:37:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Moran Twp?

I may not know the answer but I can usually find who does.
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  5:55:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the compliments! Forgot to mention that it does have air brakes too. After 14 years of owning the Ford, I figure it deserved a friend.

JustinB, no it was not Moran Township. For privacy sake I prefer not to share too much about where I run around, but it was not Moran. Did they have a similar bus? There are some mid 80s buses (one Blue Bird Ford, one GMC Carpenter) sitting close to M-28 near Deerton. They are from AuTrain-Onota. I share that in case anyone wants to do some serious resurrection. http://buses.zwebpages.com/BlueBird/0709/autrainonota83.htm

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999
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99intamtran
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  8:10:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit 99intamtran's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thomas Ford 85-16, I thought that you had an 8way converter installed on 85-16?
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  7:21:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
99intamtran, I put one on shortly after I got it but took it off recently because 10+ years of weather made them look really bad. Plus, back when I put them on, the fleet in my town still had lots of four way buses, so it made the bus unique. Now, you don't see four ways anywhere, so having it back to original makes it unique. I also grew tired of 8 ways as a school bus driver when people would speed up and pass the bus in the other lane as soon as the yellows turned on.

Edited by - Thomas Ford 85-16 on 08/08/2013 7:23:53 PM
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  9:57:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I saw that this bus was up for auction a month and a half ago! I wanted BADLY to bid on it, but the finances aren't there right now. My dream bus is that (except Thomas body). Two years ago, DeTour Public still had some four ways. There was also a spec needs bus near the east side with 4 ways...however I'm VERY jealous of your purchase, but glad to see it survive! I love BOTH of your buses!
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spin76
Active Member

26 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  10:08:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit spin76's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also Hemlock sold an 88 Ford with 4 ways last year...Google maps makes it look like they may have others but there's no telling when the picture was taken or how clear it is. I don't live close to there either so there's no real chance of checking that one out ;-/
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