Sunday, May 10, 2009

BUS STORY # 132 (It’s Got That New Bus Smell)

We’ve read about ‘em. We’ve heard about ‘em. Some of us have even seen ‘em, but haven’t ridden one yet.

But this morning, a brand spanking new 900 series pulls up to our stop. Despite ourselves, there’s a “whoo-eeee” reaction that runs through the knot of us waiting to board. Lilly* is the first to step inside, and she is exclaiming away about the wonders of the new bus. Then she turns back around in the doorway and announces, “It’s got that new bus smell, y’all!”

Even our driver, the guy one of my co-riders has nicknamed “stone face,” is grinning. I wish that co-rider were here this morning.

The 900 series is a New Flyer DE40LFR (DE = diesel-electric hybrid; 40 = feet; LF = low floor; R = Restyled). And despite all the exclaiming, the only difference between the 900 series and the 700 series we got back in 2007 is the numbering.

(I have no idea why the 900s aren’t 800s. I also have no idea why the new buses start with 951 rather than 901. Bus taxonomy is sometimes perplexing.)

Back in 2007, we got 57 of these buses. We’re getting another 31 now, and the new buses are being rolled out a few at a time. First sightings were recorded back in early April.

For right now, the windows are crystal clear, and the upholstery and floor don't have that ground-in dinginess from heavy use. The ride is smooth, and so is the braking. And Lilly is right about that new bus smell. Today, life is good on ABQ RIDE.

*Real name changed.


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