Classic buses are a very popular type of bus that were and are used in the Untied States and Canada. It is the GMC Classic that was a modern design of the famous GM New Look transit coach and was produced between the years 1982 to 1997, and you will find, with a little hard work, some classic gems - used coaches of this type that are of great quality and run well.
It was when GMC was used to replace the New Look with the RTSII series in 1977 that it was thought that the GMC would win the appreciation of commuters in US and Canada. However the Canadian transit passengers were not pleased with the design and futuristic looks of the bus. This is when GM Canada’s Transit division produced New Looks till 1982, when the Classic bus was unveiled.
These buses were popular not only among the operators in Canada, but also in the United States. It was the Utah Transit Authority that bought the buses in 1984. By 1992, the bus division had changed hands twice to finally reach NovaBus. NovaBus also build Classics in the United States in 1995 and 1996 from New York and it is these versions that are still used in Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh and Connecticut.
The Classic buses that are used presently have different names in different localities like Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, PACE, Port Authority of Allegheny County, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Norwalk Transit District.
Whichever the model or name of the Classic bus, their model numbers follow the same format. The first letter in the model is the type of bus it is, like T for transit, then the next indicates the model of the bus like C for Classic and then the length in feet is mentioned followed with the width in inches and an ‘A’ for air-conditioned buses and ‘N’ for non-air-conditioned buses. As there were only two models of Classic buses produced, the 40 and 60 feet buses, having a width of 102 inches, their Classic model numbers were TC40-102A/N and TC60-102N respectively.
It was only in 1992 that the 60 foot version of Classic bus was introduced when MCI started producing the Classic buses. Out of this, only 16 articulated buses were sold where 14 were sold to Metro Transit and 2 to Reseau de transport de la Capitale. The 60 foot version production was discontinued by NovaBus when it took over production in 1993.
These Classic buses have seating that ranged between 39 to 52 seats, along with handicapped-equipped lifts. These lifts were optional for the Canadian operators, but a must for the American operators. The other unique features of the Classic were its exit doors where most were wide door versions and only a few, with narrow doors.