Saturday, 14 July 2012

USA Holiday - June 2012

As promised, a posting on the bus/ light rail operations observed whilst on a 17 day trip touring around parts of the USA.

Our 'tour bus' (as the American's call it!) was this All Aboard America's Prevost number 545 operated by Industrial Bus Lines of Carlsbad in New Mexico.

Prevost is a leading North American manufacturer of intercity touring coaches with more than 80 years of experience in the bus industry. Free WiFi enabled, (a bonus!) our bus was expertly driven over the 2,300 miles by our Phoenix-based driver Bruce.

Our first base was in Denver with our hotel being a couple of blocks from the main shopping mall on 16th Street. Free buses operate throughout the length of the mall with stops at every block between Union Station and the Civic Center.

Operated by Regional Transportation District (RTD) the hybrid electric powered vehicles drive through the pedestrian area.

Our first destination was Red Rocks Park, where its amphitheatre is a geological phenomenon; the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world.

A second Prevost was there in the shape of Gray Line's 781. Gray Line, formed in1910, claims to be the world's largest provider of tours activities and attractions

Common place in the USA are the yellow school buses and this, I understand, is an AmTran bus with a Navistar International 3800 chassis

School bus builder AmTran was founded in 1980 and is short for the American Transport Corporation.

This example is pictured at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota.

Jackson, Wyoming was another interesting place to visit. Not only does it provide the gateway to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, it also has a public transport system known as START.

START, or the Southern Teton Area Rapid Transport system runs a number of routes within the town of Jackson and beyond

Pictured is hybrid vehicle 276 travelling eastbound on the free town shuttle in Jackson nearing the Gill and Center stop on the evening of 11th June

Salt Lake City was next on the agenda and the Utah capital is home to a bus and light rail system and both are operated by  the Utah Transit Authority (UTA).

The photo shows bus 12022 travelling southbound along State Street on the 200 route heading for the TRAX (light rail) Station at 5300 South Murray.

The last photo shows TRAX unit 1148 arriving
at Courthouse on Main Street with a Blue Line service to Salt Lake Central

The Utah Transit Authority has a very comprehensive website providing details of all their operations including the bus routes and the light rail system (TRAX)

A very enjoyable, but hectic holiday - I now need another to recuperate!


  1. Glad you enjoyed your trip Roy. For your information the Start Bus is a Gillig hybrid whilst the UTA vehicle is also a Gillig BRT, but not a hybrid. Our local authories (DATA, TT CHT and CATS) here in The Triangle all operate Gilligs, DATA's (Durham) full-sized fleet is 100% Gillig and includes 26 BRT hybrids.
    One thing I like regarding American buses is that then all have alloy wheels which really adds a finishing touch.
    I'm not a fan of the Prevost (Volvo), but prefer MCII (Motor Coach Industries) vehicles. That's just my personal view.

  2. Mick
    Many thanks for the clarifications. As you probably guessed, I did a lot of research before putting up this post and in some cases (eg START & UTA vehicles) I was deliberately vague as I wasn't sure of the details.
    All very interesting stuff and our driver Bruce was very knowledgeable and gave me some of the background as to how bus services were delivered in the USA
    Each year we say it's our last vacation in the US but we still love the country and its people. I can understand why you have now settled there.