Electric Bus Iceventure

The T whipped out the ancient electric buses tonight, I guess because they assumed that bad things would happen with the ice and didn’t want to beat up the new buses they got last year. I didn’t even know they kept the old ones around. I guess the motors don’t really go bad, or anything, so.

It amused me to note that even these old, old buses got the brand new fare machines with Charlie Ticket and such. I don’t know how much it costs to install one, and I’m sure the T got a mass buyer’s discount, but still.

What was less amusing was that our driver had clearly not been trained on the old buses. We spent 10 minutes getting out of the portal at Harvard Square, with several overhead wire detachments, before we got going. I would guess the (by my count) 5 buses behind us (there were probably more) were less than happy.

We took out time down Mt. Auburn… we seemed to be sparking a lot, I suppose because of ice crusted on the lines. I was amazed at the speed with which some vehicles passed us.

We got the to the Star Market, where I was getting off to make some purchases anyway, and there was a transit policeman pulled over, stopping the electric buses. When I came out of the store, after finishing my shopping, the other folks from my bus (destination: Watertown square) were still waiting on the bus. They had their standard diesel buses on the inbound routes. I would guess that as rush hour peaked, more non-electric buses were freed up for use on the 71 and 73 routes.

On my brief walk home, no sidewalks were cleared, and the crosswalk buttons were non-functional because they were sealed in ice. But thanks to the miracle of GORE-TEX®, I am quite dry.


3 responses to “Electric Bus Iceventure”

  1. So the Boston bus system has a fleet of trolleybuses and (working) catenary that it hasn’t used in a year, and they just rolled it out this evening? Or is it only a bunch of old trolleybuses that they haven’t used, leaving the new trolleybuses back in the garage?

    Are the new buses diesel or electric?

  2. The sidewalks were clear in Philadelphia. But the roads just were not plowed. It’s true that I didn’t have to drive on the unplowed roads, but it made the crosswalks a *nightmare*! I…just don’t understand.

  3. The generations of Boston buses that I have been on:

    ’60s (older?) electric (retired last year, or so I thought)
    ’80s diesel
    ’90s CNG (I’ve only seen these on a few routes)
    ’00s diesel, electric, and combo

    The ’80s diesel buses are still pretty active from what I’ve seen; all of the ’90s and newer buses have the low floors for easy handicap access. The electric buses were replaced over the last two years or so with brand shiny new ones; the combo buses are for the Silver Line (electric in the underground busway, diesel for the Logan leg).

    I haven’t seen the old buses in close to a year, except for a few parked at the Mass Ave bus barn (the northern terminus of the overhead lines that center on Harvard Square station); I had assumed that they were all scrap. Seeing the ones tonight, they must function as backups, or in this case, disposables.

Nurd Up!