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SEPTA's Oldest Bus Receives Antique Certification

Another special commemoration joins the yearlong celebration of SEPTA's 50th Anniversary. This week, the Authority announced that the oldest remaining bus in SEPTA's fleet has been successfully registered with PennDOT as a Pennsylvania Antique Historic Vehicle. Tag #8Z75 confirms the 1970 GMC Bus as an officially recognized Antique Vehicle meeting the state's requirement of "being manufactured more than 25 years prior to the current year, and that it has been maintained or restored to a condition which is substantially in conformance with manufacturer specifications."

More commonly remembered as a "Fishbowl" because of the large window glass in the front of the bus, these buses first appeared on Philadelphia's streets around 1964 sporting the green and cream livery of the Philadelphia Transportation Company. Greg Mielke, a retired driver for both PTC and SEPTA remembers the buses also painted in a red and blue paint scheme for special service to the Airport and at the Airport Parking Lots. "They also had no right hand drivers' side mirror, which is now a requirement for all of today's vehicles and drivers," said Mielke.

You may notice that this bus sports a gold colored paint scheme. This was SEPTA's first official paint scheme recalled SEPTA's Chief Service Planning Officer Charles Webb. "As SEPTA first began, we just placed stickers over the PTC and Red Arrow buses we inherited. When the authority began making its own purchase of new vehicles, new color schemes were tried. The gold color was the first one ever used by SEPTA."

The antique vehicle tag will allow SEPTA to operate the historic 1970 GMC bus only in limited circumstances to special displays and other events. Look out for future announcements as to where you may be able to see SEPTA's oldest fleet vehicle on public exhibition.

Click here to read more stories and learn more about how SEPTA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.