Day in the life of a 1960’s coach operator


Marketing & Planning Director Wendy Williams received a lovely Christmas card letter from retired Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Richard Breeden. She thought it might be fun to share this little piece of history.

“We were going through a lot of pictures and came across this one. I thought you would like to see it; it looks like the Omnitrans vintage bus, Old Blue. It was taken in 1959 or 1960 before the City of San Bernardino purchased the bus company from San Bernardino Valley Transit in 1961.

The bus is a 1947 GMC, 40 feet, no air conditioning, no power steering, 4-speed standard transmission, recycling fare box (like the one in Old Blue); we had to take the money out of the fare box while driving, and put it in a changer to make change.

The route I was on at the time was Route 3. The route went from downtown San Bernardino to 1st and Vermont in Muscoy, back downtown, then to 42nd and Kendall, and back downtown. It was 136 turns end to end (round trip), shifting gears, making changes, and selling tickets. For a 9-hour day, that was “The Good Old Days,” a day in the life of a coach operator in the 60’s.”

Richard Breeden

One thought on “Day in the life of a 1960’s coach operator

  1. The bus seen in the photo was not native to the San Bernardino area. San Diego is a possibility for its first home, but not having a San Bernardino roster available to me, I can’t say for sure. As far as this bus having a 4-speed transmission, the transmission must have been rebuilt at some point from an automatic transmission, though with the line described, this bus must have been assigned to either newbies, to prove their worth, or, if a veteran got it, as punishment for some perceived misdeed that may not have been against the rules, but if a driver got on the bad side of a dispatcher or a bus assigner.

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