In 1931, a loaf of bread was eight cents, gas was 10 cents a gallon and Montebello Bus Line passengers paid a nickel to ride the bus. The city of Montebello, a quaint agricultural community located 8 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, had just launched its own municipal bus service on a purchased lot on the corner of Olympic and Greenwood Avenue with a fleet of four motor coaches. As Montebello Bus Lines celebrated its 80th anniversary, its fleet is 16 times larger and provides service to over 22,000 passengers each weekday.
The theme for Montebello Bus Lines’ 80th Anniversary is “80 years of innovative thinking . . . an infinite future of green.” The bus company commemorated the milestone by rolling out its three new CNG buses with its new exterior graphics. The bus purchase was made possible by $6.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding for transit capital projects. Montebello Bus Lines will use the remaining ARRA funds to break ground for a new CNG facility which will be completed in December 2011.
Montebello Bus Lines director of transportation Aurora Jackson sees a green future for the transportation system. “We have a deep commitment to the environment and to providing our customers with the most modern and sustainable transit equipment and technologies available today. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made it possible for Montebello Bus Lines to take giant strides in our proactive emissions reduction program by replacing older diesel buses with cleaner-burning CNG buses as they retire from service.”
During a ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary, Montebello Bus Lines received a certificate of recognition from the Federal Transportation Administration and the city of Montebello. Long-time passenger Helen Cota, 86, received a special commendation for being the longest riding passenger. Cota has been a loyal Montebello Bus Rider since 1959. Most of the drivers know her by name and she has acted as a Montebello Bus Lines Ambassador on several occasions, distributing information and educating riders on service changes.
Montebello Bus Lines Anniversary celebration will continue for 80 days and include a video and essay contest and an art competition. For the video contest, bus riders will be encouraged to download videos congratulating the bus lines for 80 years of service to the community and telling stories about riding Montebello Bus Lines. The contests will be promoted primary through facebook and twitter, as well as interior bus cards. The contest rules can be viewed by scanning QR codes located on the interior bus cards using cell phones.
“Our 80th anniversary has provided a great opportunity for us to become innovative with our customer communications and test what works best.” said assistant director of transportation Alva Carrasco. “Besides providing a way to have fun with our riders and giving them a way to share in the celebration, the contests also helps us build a permanent following through social media that we plan to use as a primary way to communicate with our riders.” More information on Montebello Bus Lines 80th anniversary celebration is available at http://bit.ly/Montebello_80th.