The end of the 1998 era is here for Capital Metro. The last 3 New Flyer D35LF’s should be retired as of January 1, 2018. Buses 7417, 7424, and 7451 gave out almost 20 years of service to the city of Austin. Despite being so old, they ran as if they were only a couple of years old. I’m surprised that a Detroit Diesel S50 could have so much power when VIA’s DD S50’s from 2003 didn’t last long.
I remember when I first arrived to Austin in late 2008 and came across these beauties. They were super fun to ride and the hum of that engine could put anyone to sleep, but why would you want to sleep anyways? After the D30LF’s were retired, this was all I had left to ride. So for the past 2 years I would make a monthly trip to document the remaining fleet, as they were slowly being phased out.
What was once a fleet of 70 buses dwindled down to about 12-14 on 2016. Then by around spring/summer 2017-ish, it was down to the last 3. My monthly trips then turned into a manhunt of sorts. I would stake out somewhere and just hope for a great catch. Sometimes I got lucky, while most times my luck ran out. Regardless, I’m glad I got to experience such an awesome bus for as long as I could. I’m just astonished that these 3 buses lasted way longer than anything VIA ever kept in service, including the remaining 14 NABI’s still in service now and the old RTS fleet.
So I say Congrats Capital Metro, for keeping these lovely buses out on the road for so long. Thanks for the fun rides and memories.