ABOUT THE BUSES:

The 518-702 series General Motors RTS buses (model T8H-203) were New Orleans' first Advanced Design Buses. The City ordered them for 1979 delivery to Public Service. The last ten buses came with wheelchair lifts; 693L-702L were usually assigned to designated accessible uptown lines such as Magazine, Tulane, and South Claiborne. None of these buses had express lamps, although they were available as seen on Houston Metro RTS acquisitions. They brought a new (and perhaps more appropriate) livery to New Orleans with stripes of Mardi Gras colors (from top to bottom, gold-green-purple) on the ubiquitous white body panels. Bright gold fleur-de-lis logos were on the rear and sides, and the NOPSI logo was applied behind the front wheels. Buses 608 and below had roll curtain signs, buses 612 and above had dot-matrix signs. (I don't know which sign type 609, 610, and 611 had.)

RTA acquired these RTS buses with the July 1, 1983 purchase of the NOPSI transit system. Some were still in service in 1997, but all were gone by 1998.

RTS 556:

RTS 556 signed for Louisa rests at Canal Station in the days before the cross streets were fenced off from the public.

RTS 562:

RTS 562 outbound on the Franklin line stops at the Woolworth store at Canal and Bourbon Sts.

RTS 571:

RTS 571 outbound on Canal-Lakeshore at Canal and North Rampart Sts.

RTS 578:

RTS 578 on South Claiborne-Carrollton via M.L. King on a rainy July 17, 1983 (after RTA takeover).

RTS 579:

RTS 579 on 11 Magazine at what may be Magazine and Capdeville Sts. in April 1991. RTA continued using variations of NOPSI's old yellow bus stop signs for years; it was in the 2000s that new signs with route numbers began appearing.

RTS 582:

RTA RTS 582 on 43 Canal Lake Vista leaving the foot of canal in March 1997. The bus is decorated to advertise television station WNOL as a WB affiliate; we see cartoon character and WB mascot Michigan J. Frog dancing on the side and inert on the rear. Construction would soon begin on the streetcar connector linking the Riverfront and St. Charles lines. Four photos added 08/13/12.

RTS 592:

RTS 592 on the Carrollton via Poydras branch of South Claiborne at Carondelet and Canal Sts. on April 25, 1980. One photo from a slide in from my collection added 08/23/11.

RTS 608:

RTS 608 on the Jackson line turning from University Place to Canal St.

RTS 612:

RTS 612 on the Tchoupitoulas line at the S. Peters and Common Streets terminal.

RTS 617:

RTS 617 on the Freret line at Dryades and Thalia Streets.

RTS 637:

RTS 637 on Palmer Park at the So. Claiborne and So. Carrollton layover on July 17, 1983 (after RTA takeover).


RTS 637 on Express 81 at the foot of Canal Street. RTS 683 is parked behind. Photo from the Gerald Squier collection courtesy Scott Richards added 01/18/14.

RTS 640:

RTS 640 on the St. Bernard line at Basin and Canal Streets.

RTS 667:

RTS 667 on the Canal Street neutral ground busway outbound for the Cemeteries.

RTS 696L:

Lift-equipped RTS 696L on Tulane at So. Carrollton and So. Claiborne on July 17, 1983 (after RTA takeover).

RTS 697L:

Lift-equipped RTS 697L on South Claiborne-Carrollton via M.L. King at So. Claiborne and So. Carrollton on July 17, 1983 (after RTA takeover).

UNKNOWN NUMBERS:

A couple of RTS buses at the Canal Station.