HERSHEY, PA | “The Gang’s All Here” was the theme of the 2022 Museum of Bus Transportation Spring Fling. On June 3rd and 4th, hundreds of bus enthusiasts and industry veterans gathered in perfect weather to celebrate the history and evolution of the bus industry in North America. Thirty “visiting” coaches braved $6/gallon diesel costs to join the Museum’s collection of 53 buses. In all, guests had the opportunity to see and touch and climb aboard many of the 80 historic vehicles ranging from 1912 to 2022.
Although every bus has a unique story, perhaps this year’s best was the 11 members of the Parra family from Chihuahua, Mexico, who made the 8-day, 4,400-mile round trip journey to the Spring Fling in their spectacular 1970 4-axle Sultana coach. Cesar Parra has been in the business for 30 years and runs two companies. His Sultana coach is still in revenue service for “Noroeste”, and Parra family lore has it that the President of Mexico once rode this coach. Cesar’s son Isaac pointed out that he has 11 uncles, and every one of them is a bus driver. The family is headed home with plaques representing three categories won to keep them company (see below for awards).
At Friday evening’s Townhall gathering, bus committee chair John Oakman gave a “state of the museum” briefing. He indicated that since merging with AACA Museum, Inc., the bus group’s financial state has not only stabilized but, for the first time, revenue exceeded expenses. In addition, in the past 2 years, the fleet has grown by more than ten units. Also, he addressed his plan to step down at yearend after a 3-year leadership stint. He then introduced Dan Lenz as the next Chair.
Fleet manager Randy Wilcox pointed out that movie bus rentals have made a large contribution, both in terms of revenue and recognition. Giant strides have been made in cataloging and sorting parts, and the Annex library has grown to more than 200 maintenance manuals and parts books. These books are both historic records and a valuable resource for the museum and colleagues across the country.
After pointing out that none of this would have been possible without a dedicated team of volunteers and museum staff, he announced that the MOBT is starting an annual “Volunteer of the Year” award, and the inaugural winner was Tom Mozer. Mozer loves “all things wheeled” and has become virtually indispensable in every aspect of managing and maintaining the fleet.
Thank You Notes
During Saturday’s celebration, the museum recognized and thanked Annett Bus Lines, JC Tours, Alexandria Transit Company (DASH), and Premier Transportation for their generous donation of buses to the historic fleet. Special thanks were also directed to ABC and Irizar for showing new Demonstrators… ABC brought a 2022 C2045 battery-powered bus, and Irizar an i6 touring coach.
Next year’s Spring Fling celebrates the Pennsylvania Bus Association’s 100th anniversary. PBA has been one of the most ardent supporters of the MOBT. The bus industry in Pennsylvania has a rich and colorful history, which will be prominently on display.
- Farthest traveled: Parra family, 1970 Sultana 2,200 miles each way from Chihuahua, Mexico
- Best restored bus: Parra family, 1970 Sultana that is still used in occasional commercial service
- Best Story: Parra family, 1970 Sultana
- Oldest Bus: Friends of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center, 1957 GM PD4104
- Best Transit Bus: Alexandria Transit Company (DASH), 2007 Orion V
- Best Modern Bus: Transbridge Lines, Prevost H 345
- Best Conversion/Motorhome: Dan Hunt, 1989 Model 15 Eagle