NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC SERVICE INC.
GMC NEW LOOK BUSES 1-167 & 196-313
GMC New Looks
Page created October 10, 2003. Last updated July 27, 2016.|
©2003-2016 Michael Strauch. All rights reserved.
All GMC New Look buses were air conditioned. They replaced White 788s and GMC 5105s. Busorama ad wings were installed on most two- and three-digit bus numbers circa 1965. Some of the 5301s were still operating in 1978. Although the nominal capacity of these buses was 53 passengers, Public Service ordered them with 51 seats. This allowed a little more space for each rider.
The stop request cord sounded a buzzer like the streetcars did. Before 1971, operators collected fares by hand and rang them on two registers located on the center dash. In that year, buses received Grant fareboxes for exact fare collection, and the operator pressed a pedal that rang a bell when a transfer was presented by a boarding passenger. All buses came with express lamps. The 4517s delivered in 1962 were 45 passenger buses to be used on feeder lines such as Metairie, Palmer Park, and Marconi, but could be found on expresses as well.
Forty-three of the 196-313 series buses were rebuilt by Blitz Body Co. in 1978. These buses wore a B in the fleet number. Acquisition of advanced design buses from General Motors and Grumman Flxible in 1979-81 allowed NOPSI to begin retiring the fleet. A few GMCs made it to the RTA era and were replaced by M-A-N Americanas in 1985-86.
Some of these pictures may have been taken by John McKane, John Pappas, or Gerald Squier. Scott Richards and Richard Silagi have shared photos from the Squier collection. Other images come from slides and prints purchased on eBay from Thomas Helliwell, Bruce Korusek, and others. Photo credits are similarly acknowledged as above. Grateful appreciation to everyone.
GMC 1:First of the series GMC 1 on Express 71 (Nashville via Earhart) at Baronne and Union Sts. on July 28, 1965. Visible in the pavement are the former St. Charles and Tulane Belts streetcar tracks, unused except for possible reroutes from Carondelet and St. Charles Sts. during Carnival parades. These tracks were "gone" by the early 1970s in that they were merely tarred over. I saw much evidence of trackage on Baronne in 1981 because the asphalt wore down from traffic. Overhead is a dual wire for the Jackson trolley coach line and a single streetcar wire over the other lane. Jackson was converted to diesel buses in 1967. At left is a bus stop sign for Jackson, a typical white one seen in the Central Business District, the French Quarter, and at route terminals. In the distance beyond Common St. is the Roosevelt Hotel. On the uptown side of Gravier St. is seen First Homestead. At left is Bennett's Camera Store, where one might take slide film such as the one this was shot on for 24 hour processing by Kodak. The detail of the slide is fabulous. We see the original pale green window area and the olive green lower front endcap, belt stripe, and lower panel. The express lamps do not seem to be illuminated; it's possible they were flashing and happened to be off at the time of the photo. While I call them GMCs on this page, the maker's emblem typical of early New Looks says GM. The curbside advertising card is for Taaka Vodka, which appeared on many of NOPSI's streetcars and buses in that era. Scan comes from a slide in my collection. Photo originally added 10/28/11 and replaced 07/24/14.
GMC 15:GMC 15 on the Freret line upbound at St. Charles Ave. and Julia St. in April 1973. One photo added 07/27/16.
GMC 19:GMC 19 on the Freret line downbound at Carondelet and Common Sts. in full image and cropped versions of a slide in my collection. Two photos added 09/27/14.
GMC 30 AND 285:GMC buses 30 and 285 lay over at the South Claiborne (Napoleon via Melpomene) terminal on October 21, 1973. The yellow decal under the curbside headlights says "Exact Fare 15¢". Over bus 30 are two billboards; the right one is a political ad to elect Frank Minyard coroner and the left one advertises the "lagniappe" larger loaf of Sunbeam bread. Most NOPSI terminals had white bus stop signs as seen at left. Left side ad wing on 285 advertises Delta Airlines and Protect-O-Lite from the Public Service. Left side ad wing on 30 advertises WRNO-FM. The photo shows a good comparison of the marker light above the driver's side window. GM 5301s had a rectangular light; 5303s had a bullet type like earlier 5105s. Napoleon via Melpomene operated locally during the limited stop hours of Carrollton via Poydras, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily except Sunday. Scan from a slide in my collection. One photo added 06/19/11.
GMC 42:GMC 42 on South Claiborne (Carrollton via Poydras) passes the tearing down of the St. Charles Hotel (another landmark lost to time) on St. Charles and Common Sts. about June 1974 in a photo by Earl Hampton, Jr. The curbside express lamp is lighted, but the streetside one does not seem to be on. The lamps were displayed when this branch of South Claiborne was in operation, daily except Sunday, about 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. On the Busorama is advertisement for Newscene 8, broadcast on WVUE-TV, then the New Orleans ABC affiliate. The news team is listed on the rear ad panel: Alec Gifford, Nash Roberts, and Buddy Diliberto. One photo added 03/13/11.
GMC 50:Earl Hampton, Jr. shot of GMC 50 on the Freret line at Canal and St. Charles Sts. in March 1971. Car 914 is turning from the Canal neutral ground into St. Charles. One photo added 04/13/11.
GMC 76:GMC 76 on the Canal Lake Vista line outbound at Canal, Bourbon, and Carondelet Sts. in 1968. Scan of a slide marked Traction Photographs in my collection. One photo added 09/27/14.
GMC 76 on the Jackson line in 1978. My photo.
GMC 99:GMC 99 at Canal and Chartres Sts. about January 1974 in a photo by Earl Hampton, Jr. Canal street lines (Cemeteries, Lake Vista, Lakeshore, Express 80, and Express 81) used the neutral ground (median) busway from 1964 to 1997. In the background at the corner of Exchange Place is a Royal Castle Hamburger restaurant, famous for their square little burgers served with chopped onions and mustard. Burger King later occupied that location, and Popeyes Chicken now operates there. To the right, not visible, is the site of the Marriott Hotel. The rear bumper of 99 looks pretty beat up. One photo added 04/13/11.
GMC 110:GMC 110 on the Freret bus line at St. Charles and Common Sts. Behind it is GMC 300 and a Perley Thomas streetcar on the St. Charles line. From the Gerald Squier collection courtesy Scott Richards. One photo added 01/15/14.
GMC 116 AND 126:GMC 116 and 126 are two of the buses seen inside Carrollton Station. The 126 is over one of the service pits, which I assume is sealed against underground water prevalent in New Orleans. Oh yes, there's car 921. Slide taken in April 1973 added 07/27/16.
GMC 122:GMC 122 on the Tulane line at the Palmer Park layover (S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Aves.) on March 30, 1970. St. Charles streetcar no. 930 is at the neutral ground layover of that line. Slide by Charles B. Porter from the collection of H. George Friedman. One photo added 09/15/12.
Carrollton Station scene from April 1971 shows car 971 on the left with some GMC buses, old look 1927 and new looks 122 and 110. Scan from a slide in my collection. One photo added 01/07/12.
GMC 124:GMC 124 signed for Tulane rests at Carrollton Station in the early 1980s.
GMC 126:GMC 126 off the Tulane line on Jeannette St. approaching Carrollton Station in April 1973. One photo added 07/27/16.
GMC 131:From the 1974 NOPSI Transit Guide (600 DPI scan), here is GMC 131 on the Lake bus line. The photo illustrates how easy it is for children to use transit to attend school. Beginning September 1975, Orleans Parish, with funds paid by the state, bought student tickets from NOPSI to distribute to those who lived at least one mile from the nearest school.
GMC 145:GMC 145 on the Metairie bus line at the Cemeteries terminal, Canal Blvd. and City Park Ave. Photo (possibly taken by Jerry Sires) from the Gerald Squier collection courtesy Scott Richards. One photo added 01/15/14.
GMC 151:GMC 151 on the Metairie line outbound at Pontchartrain Expwy. (Interstate 10) in a slide dated October 1975. The nose of a NOPSI service vehicle is visible at left. Metairie charged an extra fare (the express surcharge) for crossing into Jefferson Parish. Louisiana line patrons could jaywalk across Metairie Rd. to transfer here. One photo added 07/08/13.
GMC 153:GMC 153 signed for the Louisa line (but with a Metairie side sign) at Canal Station in a slide dated September 1976. The Busorama ad wings just barely fit the sides; it appears to be cut away at the rear. One photo added 07/08/13.
GMC 199:A rear shot by Roy Gabriel of GMC 199 inbound at Canal and St. Charles on September 1, 1964. The Canal streetcar line had just been converted to buses on May 31. At left is St. Charles streetcar 948 entering the neutral ground. Coming toward the camera is GMC 29 on the Canal Cemeteries line. Interesting note: the headsign is patterned after the end-to-end destinations on the Broad (Lowerline-Wright Rd., Washington-Cerise, Lowerline-Michoud, etc.) and the Galvez (Poydras-Delery) routes. However, this sign says Canal (Cemeteries-blank). I do not know if NOPSI intended to put in an inner destination of Wells, River, or something else. Most signs were centered up to say Canal on top and Cemeteries on bottom. The D.H. Holmes store at right is getting a facelift. Two photos added 04/21/12.
GMC 203:From the 1974 NOPSI Transit Guide (600 DPI scan), here's GMC 203 demonstrating that the Public Service bus fleet is available for charter within the City of New Orleans. Notice that there is an "Express 20¢ Fare" sign hanging at lower curb side of front. This sign covered the "Exact Fare 15¢" sign usually displayed as shown in the picture of 131 above.
GMC 208:GMC 208 on Canal Cemeteries outbound at Canal and Dauphine Sts. in May 1968. The livery shows a bright lime green around the windows, an olive green stripe above the belt, and no paint along the skirts. Later repaints would bring a pale green around the windows and olive green lower panels. Note Godchaux's store on the right. Number 208 was the first bus on the Canal line when streetcars were discontinued in 1964. Two photos added 10/24/11.
GMC 249B:GMC 249B (Blitz rebuild) on the Desire line at Canal and Bourbon Sts. F.W. Woolworth is behind the bus.
GMC 251:GMC 251B (Blitz rebuild) on the Read Blvd. line at Chef Menteur and Read.
GMC 256:GMC 256 was painted in bicentennial colors for 1976. Seen on North Peters Street. Earl W. Hampton, Jr. photo.
GMC 266B:GMC 266B (Blitz rebuild) and Flxette 1005 are among the buses at rest in Canal Station. One photo added 03/16/11.
GMC 266B (Blitz rebuild) on the Desire line on Canal Street in the early 1980s.
GMC 271:From the 1974 NOPSI Transit Guide (600 DPI scan), here's GMC 271 signed for Canal-Cemeteries in front of D.H. Holmes (Canal and Dauphine).
GMC 278:GMC 278 from the 1974 NOPSI Transit Guide (600 DPI scan) is signed for Express 80, and the express lamps are turned on.
GMC No. 305B:GMC 305B is signed for the rarely seen South Claiborne to Nashville branch. Four uptown bound morning peak trips terminated at Nashville Ave. The express lamps are still turned on for its just completed downtown bound trip on Carrollton via Poydras. Behind 305B is GMC 232 on the Freret line, and car 947 is about to turn uptown onto St. Charles Ave. All vehicles have the original RTA logo on the sides. This slide was taken on May 2, 1985 and is copyrighted 2015 by Peter Ehrlich. Used with his permission. Two photos added 01/14/15.
GMC 307B:GMC 307B (Blitz rebuild) on the South Claiborne-Carrollton via Poydras route at Carondelet and Common Sts. in late 1981 or early 1982. The Busorama ad wing asks for the election of Mayor Morial "for a greater New Orleans". Note the express lamps are lighted for this limited stop service. One photo added 05/11/11.
GMC 308:GMC 308 on Express 70 at the outer terminal of S. Carrollton and St. Charles Aves. in April 1973. One photo added 07/27/16.
GMC 313B:GMC 313B (Blitz rebuild) on the South Claiborne-Napoleon via M.L. King route at Loyola and Tulane Aves. in late 1981 or early 1982. This bus also has an ad on the wings for reelection of Mayor Morial.
UNKNOWN FLEET NUMBERS:A 5301 series GMC bus with two digits is marked Desire Florida and turns from Burgundy St. to Esplanade Ave. This was part of the midday detour around Royal and Bourbon Sts. when they were made pedestrian malls. In peak hours the barriers were removed and traffic continued as usual. Earl W. Hampton, Jr., circa January 1974. One photo added 03/13/11.
Two 5301s (note square marker lamps on foreground bus) lay over at S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton about 1978. Neither bus has ad wings. Two photos added 03/16/11.