September, 1979 Home   Newsletters

October, 1979

November, 1979

Is Anyone Listening? - October Units on Schools
From the President: We Need Everyone (Jean Ko)
Membership Luncheon Reprise
Planning Committee Continues to Be Action Oriented
Planning and Zoning Position Statement
Help League Be Heard
Let's Earn $ for League
Ghost Rider on the Bus

Ghost Rider on the Bus

When "the big red bus that bends in the middle" (otherwise known as "articulated") arrived in Honolulu for demonstration by the D.O.T. late in August, Ghost Rider was privileged to be a passenger on one of its early runs. The previous day it had gone around the Island, and the following week was to begin 15 days of demonstration runs of five days each on our three most heavily-traveled lines--Nos. 1 and 2 (our longest) and No. 8 (the tourist line between Waikiki and Ala Moana Center).

The ride on the "artic" was a bonus feature of a previously planned (and twice-postponed) O.M.P.O. Citizens' Advisory Committee tour of the new Halawa Bus Facility, which took place on August 29. A transportation officials and approximately a dozen bus driver trainees also went on the tour. Ghost Rider and a trainee were the only gals present, except for Z our driver, who was a real pro at handling the 60 foot long monster.

Being the most unmechanical person in the world, Ghost Rider was in no better position to explain the operation of the bus following the ride than she was beforehand. Suffice it to say that "it can turn sharper corners and climb steeper grades than can our familiar G-M models," to quote an M.T.L. official. A big mystery was that when riding in the rear of the bus, the bending feature was not even visible on the floor, but the accor ion sides were seen to expand and contract as the bus made turns. The articulating mechanism "operates on a turntable principle, and the rear wheels turn independently," again quoting the M.T.L. authority.

While brand new on the scene here, articulated buses have/been used extensively in Europe and Asia for decades, and they are now coming on the scene in various American cities--Seattle has had 150 of them in service since early this year and has 228 more on order. This model, Ikarus 286 (with our name TheBUS already boldly appearing on its side) will carry up to 107 passengers, 61 seated and 46 standing, compared to 60 to 70 in a standard bus.

Honolulu's M.T.L. employees working in or out of Halawa, as maintenance people or drivers, now have a first class facility as a base of operations. The tour of the new facility which has been in operation since mid-May showed us:

  1. The bus drivers' area or "readyroom" (which has the added bonus of a cool breezy lanai);

  2. Dispatch area;

  3. Parking deck on the roof (202 stalls available at $7.50 per mo.);

  4. Women mechanics' locker room (16 lockers, 4 showers, etc.--at present occupied by Honolulu's one woman mechanic);

  5. Women drivers' lounge;

  6. Similar facilities for men (NO integration!);

  7. Lunchroom (including a large color t.v. set);

  8. Maintenance office;

  9. Transportation office (where their 125 to 130 monthly accidents, among other things, are dealt with);

  10. A huge "bus board" in the hall (with a reversible hang-tag for every bus number at the facility, black on one side for "in" and red on the opposite side for "out", to keep tabs on all rolling stock);

  11. Dispatch office;

  12. Store room;

  13. Laundry (where engines are steam-cleaned, not clothing washed!);

  14. Machine shop;

  15. Tire shop;

  16. Paint shop;

  17. Dead bus area in the yard (where at the present time stood 16 buses with major ailments which the crew never gets around to repairing, all neatly berthed in a long line);

  18. Servicing department (where buses are fueled, washed, and vacuumed inside).

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