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Trip Report: Update on AMA (San Juan) Long


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Earlier this month, I took another vacation with my Dad to San Juan, Puerto Rico, this trip however was aimed more at Aviation spotting and not Bus spotting. On this trip, it was going to be the last time I would fly an Airbus A300, so this was a big deal for me.


After spending almost two weeks visiting family members, we left for San Juan, after the two hour drive from Ponce I asked my Dad if he could take a slight detour so we could find the AMA bus garage to see if there were any Flxible Metro's there, at first my Dad did not want to because he's not that fond of buses, but he did anyway. After exiting the Expressway we ended up in traffic in Rio Piedras, while waiting for a green light, a bright yellow 30' Flxible Metro which runs to Caguas flew right by us, I didn't even have time to pull out my camera because it was going so fast.


When we finally found the AMA bus garage, I saw a long line of dead Flxible Metro's, that right there told me they were infact all retired :cry:, I wanted to know if there was any way of going inside the garage to view the Flxible's up close and not thru a fence, when we pulled up to the security booth I asked my Dad to ask the guard if we could go inside, since I don't speak Spanish, my Dad handled all the talking.


Knowing how hard it is to get in to a garage without working there or knowing someone there, I was not getting my hopes up, but after a few minutes the guard said to go the employee parking lot and then go to the main lobby and the man incharge of operations would meet us there, after waiting a few minutes he came down and I told him if it was possible to take pics of the Flxible's, after I told him I was just waiting for him to say No, but he said Sure, and that I could see any bus I want and see any part of the garage I want, after he said that I was shocked, after that an employee in a company Ford SUV came by to pick us up and show us around, he asked me what I wanted to take photos of.


1st Stop: Flxible Metro's

The Flxible Metro fleet is dead, all are waiting to be scraped, as I walked around I counted at least 15 Metro's that were still parked there, I boarded 3 different ones, our "Tour Guide" told me to be very careful if I go one inside one because the bottom was so rusted out the floor could cave in, all were in the same shape, seats were still there but the drivers area was torn up, as I walked thru the 3rd one, the floor sounded like it was ready to fall apart, so I got out. I asked why they we’re still parked there and he said because the scraper that brought them does not have a tow truck or flat bed large enough, so until then, they will stay on the property.


2nd Stop: New Flyer DE35LF's

After the Flxible's we drove to see two New Flyer's that were out of service, these buses look great and smell great, I went inside and they both had a new car smell, the inside was also very clean. The rest of the New Flyer's where out and about.


3rd Stop: NovaBus Baby RTS

The most rarest bus to see on the road from the AMA fleet, The NovaBus Baby RTS, these 10 buses are supposed be dedicated to run on the C45 route, but rarely show up there, and insted pop up out of nowhere on other routes.

We drove around trying to spot one and found one parked that had gone tech, I walked around her taking shots from other angles and I decide to go inside, when I opened the door to go inside I didn't get to far because the entire floor was missing, after that it was off to the final stop, which turn out to be a surprise.


4th Stop: "AMA UNO"

After the Baby RTS, I thought the tour was over since I've now seen every thing there, but our "Tour Guide" gave us a bonus stop, he took us around the back where all the service trucks were parked, he said we have a special type of bus in the back, I wasn't sure which bus he was talking about at first because I had seen every bus AMA had, when we pulled up to it I realized which bus he was talking about, the Moble Command Center, a 1992 TMC RTS, he said AMA had nicknamed the bus "AMA UNO", the exterior of the bus looked great in the sliver "ATI" colors and was very clean, the rims were super shiny, he gave me permission to go inside and take photos, the bus is very cool, it has its own meeting room, a bathroom and two long rows of desks split in sections, he told me the bus is rarely taken out, and was recently given a new engine and transmission and repainted into the "ATI" colors.


After that we went back to the parking lot and he dropped us off at out car and that was the end of the tour.


Special Thanks to the very friendly and generous staff at AMA!

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