A Bus By Any Other Name Would Ride So Sweet

I’m not sure what it is, but spring makes me thing of school busses. You’d think that autumn would do that…but there’s something about early morning spring air that reminds me of taking the bus to school. I was quite fortunate – although my bus ride was quite long, it was very scenic. It included going over a draw bridge onto an island (and often times we’d be late for school in the spring when the bridge would go up to let a boat go by…how many kids can use THAT as an excuse?). We also rode along a golf course, through salt marshes, along seaside mansions and over another bridge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (technically Nantucket Sound). It’s quite lovely. I bet tourists would pay big bucks to take a tour of the exact same route.

But what struck me this morning was the naming of busses. I saw a Cambridge school bus this morning and on the side of the bus it listed the name of the bus company (because they’re normally private/contracted out) and a 4-digit number. Is that how students know which bus is theirs? By the number?

On the Cape, our busses were named after people or places. My bus for the last 6 years of schooling was Mr. Ed. Other bus names included the Wianno, the Cotuit and the Cummaquid (I love that name). I think that naming system is much easier than a numbering system. I mean, I was never confused (except when a bus was in for repair and the Adrienne was in it’s place).

Oh, and in addition to being spoiled with a scenic route, my busdriver, Gail, owned the bus company with her husband, Sunny. So, since she was an owner, our bus kicked ass: we had a stereo system and, in the final few years, air-conditioning! Oh yes. And as spring approached, she would often pull the bus over at 4-Seas Ice Cream so we could get cones. On the last day of school, she would always treat us to a free ice cream cone, too!

Those were the days.



  1. Comment by Salina on March 31, 2005 11:40 am

    Wow! That’s fancy! Our school district was huge, and therefore had it’s own fleet of busses and bus barns. All of our busses had “Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District” painted on the side of them with three digit numbers indicating what bus route you were on. No warm fuzzies there!

  2. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on March 31, 2005 12:37 pm

    lucky bastard. we had mrs. chalmers, who easily weighed on the upside of 450 lbs (her driver’s seat had shock absorbers, no lie). all i remember was trying to stay away from the hoods smoking up in the back of the bus. soooo not scenic (or long).

  3. Comment by David in Chicago on March 31, 2005 3:48 pm

    My suburban Chicago school district also had its own fleet of busses. We had numbers.

  4. Comment by Scott on March 31, 2005 4:11 pm

    Buses with names? That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. I rode buses 57, 46, 71, and 59. My drivers were James, Russell, Eleanor, and Lucia. Funny what you remember, isn’t it?

  5. Comment by matt on March 31, 2005 5:17 pm

    I rode in the very back row on bus #38! Tho, given no official name, the PE Coaches ref. to it as Stoner Heaven. Hmmmmm….

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