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Tales of a Twenty Year Bee-Line Commuter
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tommy meehan




Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 44
Location: Yonkers, NY

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first batch of new buses Westchester County bought (before there was a Bee-Line) were RTS-03 models. The county bought 105 of them in 1978 and originally distributed them among thirteen private operators. (Bee-Line was not formed until 1987.) They were numbered between 101 and 205 and were of two models. The twenty TH-7603s were 35' long and the eighty-five TH-8603s were 40-footers. The TH-8603s were numbered 107-188, 191-193. They served until replaced in 1996 by the 85 400 series Orion Vs (which were all 40 feet long and six inches wider than the RTSs, at 102 inches.

The RTSs did not have a great reputation but, looking back, I rode them almost everyday for about five years and they seemed okay. Noticeably less roomy than the Orions that replaced them, though. A big problem with the RTSs that Westchester DOT bought was the rear door wheelchair lifts. The mechanisms were housed inside the rear door and took up a lot of room. It slowed down people trying to get off and made it difficult to move along the aisle. The bus operators didn't like them because the driver's window did not open. Just a tiny flap at the bottom which was not very convenient or practical. GM designers did that, I think I read, to avoid cooling loss when the AC was running.

Edit - Although most Bee-Line rosters I have seen (there are several on-line), list the bus below, 194, as a 35-foot TH-7603, the bus in the photo is a 40-foot TH-8603. The spotting feature is the number of full length side windows on the driver side. The 35-footers have five and the 40-footers have six. WP&P 194 pictured below has six.



WP&P 194 WP NY.jpg
 Description:
RTS 194 being operated by White Plains & Pleasantville Bus Co. leaves the old White Plains transit center on Main Street. Route 18 was merged with Route 6 when Liberty took over the route.
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WP&P 194 WP NY.jpg



Two series of Orion Vs at White Plains.jpg
 Description:
Both series of Orion Vs are shown here as they head south on North Lexington Avenue by the White Plains Trans Center. Major external difference was, the newer 600s had brighter LED destination signs.
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Two series of Orion Vs at White Plains.jpg


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tommy meehan




Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 44
Location: Yonkers, NY

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To illustrate the difference in the 35-foot RTS-03 TH-7603s and the 40-foot TH-8603s, I am using two photos from albums on this web site. In addition to the additional side window, the 40-footers have four side panels that are fairly visible along the bottom of the bus body -- between the wheels -- while the 35-footers have three.


Thirty five foot RTS -03 210 former WST 105 in Warwick RI after being sold..jpg
 Description:
This is a five window 35-footer, former Bee-Line (Westchester Street Transportation) 105, after being renumbered and sold to a private company in Rhode Island.
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Thirty five foot RTS -03 210 former WST 105 in Warwick RI after being sold..jpg



Forty foot RTS -03 154 at E. 238th Street and White Plains Rd, on Rt 25 072482..jpg
 Description:
This is a six-window 40-footer, operating as a Yonkers-bound 25 in July 1982. At White Plains Rd and E. 238th Street (Nereid Avenue) in the Bronx.
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Forty foot RTS -03 154 at E. 238th Street and White Plains Rd, on Rt 25 072482..jpg


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