Home » I Found A Century Of Incredible Transit Bus History At A Train Museum

I Found A Century Of Incredible Transit Bus History At A Train Museum


A couple of weeks ago, I went to what is now my favorite transit museum, the Illinois Railway Museum. Normally, you’d visit IRM to catch a ride on one of its historic trains or maybe to volunteer to keep transit history alive. But on September 24, the museum had a treat for a different kind of enthusiast. The museum’s Bus Day featured over three dozen buses spanning a century, and the coolest part is that ten of them could be ridden. I rode all of the buses, and even found some incredible history on my own bus.

I’ve been writing a bit about the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM) since I first discovered it in August. That’s partly because I’m still incredibly fascinated with the place. I’ve been living in or near northeast Illinois for my entire life. Heck, I’ve been living about 25 minutes from the museum’s property for more than four years now. Yet, I never heard of this place until the summer.

20220918 131357

Sheryl and I have visited IRM three times already, and two of those times were within the span of a single week. We’re both lifelong fans of trains. And while we both have seen maybe a locomotive or a few cars here and there at other museums, we never expected to find a place on the level of IRM. The sheer scale of the museum’s property is stunning, as is the fact that so much of the museum’s hundreds of pieces of equipment actually run.

One of the things that I loved most about visiting EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was the fact that the vintage aircraft on display were operational and had flown in. You get that same vibe at IRM as much of its equipment runs down the museum’s short mainline. It’s one thing to collect non-operational pieces of history, but it’s another to keep those pieces of history operational. I’m still blown away by the fact that volunteers keep IRM’s sometimes century-old equipment chugging along even decades after the museum acquired them. To put my wonder at IRM in other words, I’ll be looking into how I could volunteer for the museum.

Bus Day

20220924 134224

This time, we didn’t come for the trains, even though that’s right in the museum’s name. Instead, we came for the museum’s impressive collection of transit bus history. According to a sign I found on the property, the Illinois Railway Museum has 37 buses, with 24 of them being electric trolleybuses and 13 being motor buses. On our first two visits to the museum, the massive pole barns storing the buses were largely inaccessible. Fitting a few dozen buses into two barns means that there’s basically no space between each bus, and no room for you to actually look at them. We couldn’t see more than maybe a few buses.

As it turns out, there’s enough interest in preserving transit bus history in the Midwest that IRM devotes a whole day to it. For the past seven years, the museum has hosted a Bus Day, where the buses are taken out of the barns and bus fans can take in history that they might not be able to find anywhere else. This year, the museum ran ten buses on a loop around its grounds ranging from vintage trolleybuses to a modern diesel transit bus from nearby Janesville, Wisconsin.

Janesville Transit System 412

20220924 103751

Our journey started with the sight of an old friend, Janesville Transit System 412, a 1979 GM RTS-II. This bus operated with Janesville from 1979 to 2002. Then it was donated to IRM. The museum has operated this bus for 20 years more or less in the state that it was received in 2002. That makes it an awesome time capsule.

I’ve written about the Rapid Transit Series’ history a lot before, and I’ll give you a recap.

The Rapid Transit Series (RTS) is General Motors’ successor to the famed New Look transit bus. Back in 1970, the United States Urban Mass Transportation Administration launched the Transbus program to reverse declining bus ridership while advancing bus technology. GM’s entrant was the innovative Rapid Transit Experimental. This three-axle beast featured plastic body panels, a gas turbine engine, and a funky then ultra-modern interior. The GMC Truck and Coach Division eventually pulled out of the Transbus program, but it had a backup plan to develop the RTX into the buses that we know today.

20220924 112623

Not all of the advancements were lost on the way to production. The gas turbines were left in the past, but the stainless steel unitized body built in five-foot sections stuck around. So did the plastic skin and acrylic windows.

GM built the RTS-II from 1977 to 1987, before passing the torch to Transportation Manufacturing Corporation. TMC kept things going until 1994, when Nova Bus took over. Nova produced its version of the RTS until 2002, when the bus passed to Millennium Transit Services in 2002.

Production ended for good in 2012. The RTS is General Motors’ swan song transit bus, capping a long dominating history of building popular and distinctive people movers. It also happens to be one of my favorite vehicles in the world. I even drove one 1,200 miles home from Texas.

20220924 121006


My 2002 Nova Bus RTS-06 is an evolution of the original RTS design. The beautiful frameless windows became framed windows that opened. The driver seat became a more comfortable Recaro air seat. Out back, the slanted rear became squared off to accommodate a better air-conditioner spaced further away from the engine. The Detroit Diesel Series 71 V6 even became a Series 50 inline four. But a lot of parts remained the same. This old RTS and mine share a similar information center, a similar lack of a fuel gauge, and a similar lack of keys needed to start it.

Honestly, I like this older RTS just a little bit more. The windows give more of an airy feel to the interior. Oh, and the engine sounds fantastic.

20220924 120351

While I was there, I decided to take some notes. Sure, my bus and this one were decades apart and built in two different factories, but they are similar enough to help me out with some silly questions.

For example, the Detroit 50 in my bus gave out a slow, but steady stream of faint white smoke from the crankcase breather. I’ve always wondered if this is normal. The RTS at the museum did it exactly like mine. I asked one of the volunteer mechanics and he told me that it’s a common thing that Detroits do.

20220924 121352

I also asked about battery drain. When parked, my bus will eat through two fully charged batteries in maybe two weeks. He chuckled and suggested completely disconnecting the batteries if the bus will be parked for more than a week. Apparently, battery drain was a problem that existed even on these older units, and was never fixed in newer iterations. Basically, these buses are just quirky.

Chicago Transit Authority 9631

20220924 112519

Moving on, I boarded Chicago Transit Authority 9631, a Marmon-Herrington TC49 built in 1951.

IRM has a neat story about its past:

Chicago’s trolley bus system, for the 43 years it lasted, provided vital transportation through the streets of the city. Even though it mainly served the Northwest Side with a few lines on the Near South Side, it had the largest fleet of trolley buses in the country. And even though it never came within a half mile of the Loop, it carried enough passengers that some routes needed intervals between buses of less than a minute during rush hours.

20220924 112005

CTA’s last order of 349 trolley buses was also the largest quantity of them that had ever been bought from any builder, and no larger order has been placed since. Bus 9631 is one of those 349, and its sister 9553 is also preserved here at IRM. It was built by Marmon-Herrington in Indianapolis, Indiana, who had only produced their first trolley bus in 1946, but their product quickly outsold all other builders’ trolley buses. Marmon’s design was lightweight and strong, using the aluminum skin of the bus to stiffen the structure. Other manufacturers relied on a heavy steel frame, and moving all that extra weight consumed more electricity and cost more money to operate.

Bus 9631 was assigned to the North Ave. Garage at North and Cicero Aves. for its entire service life. When Chicago abandoned its final trolley bus routes on March 25, 1973, bus 9631 was already chosen for preservation. It ran on a final excursion on April 1, and came to IRM on July 11. Among its sister buses, 124 were sold to Guadalajara, Mexico, where they continued in service until the early 1990s.

Originally, I thought that riding an old bus wasn’t going to be much different than a modern day bus. But that was wrong. These old buses felt like riding in an old train car, but with rubber tires. It’s powered by a GE-1213J3 electric motor fed from trolley poles riding on lines above the bus. The driver told me that top speed is somewhere around 45 mph. And while that’s not much speed, remember that these were designed for slow city roads. Acceleration was actually sort of exhilarating as it took off from a stop like a car, not like the 20,340-pound bus that it is.

Milwaukee & Suburban Transport 441

20220924 133944

One of the next buses that we boarded was Milwaukee & Suburban Transport 441, a 1948 Marmon-Herrington TC44. The story of this trolleybus is similar to 9631. IRM notes that Marmon built just one design of trolley bus, and the vehicles only varied in number of seats and door width. That previous 9631 has 49 seats, while #441 has 44 seats. The two trolley buses even have a similar motor, with a similar thrust of acceleration.

The thing that blew my mind about this bus is its condition.

20220924 134123

The previous bus was restored, but this one? It’s original. This bus drove around Milwaukee from 1948 to 1965. Then it became a part of IRM’s collection that same year. A volunteer told me that this is what the bus looked like all of those decades ago. That was simply incredible to me, especially the fact that it still runs.

The volunteer did go on to say that the Bus Day was the last day that this bus was running before an exterior cosmetic restoration. The next time the public will see the bus, it will be all nice and shiny like 9631.

Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle 633

20220924 151451

If I wrote about all ten of the buses that you could ride that day, this story would probably be 10,000 words-long. But believe me, each and every one of these buses are awesome, and each has a story to tell. For example, Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle 633, a 1940 Twin Coach 41GWFT, was retired from passenger service not once, but three times before it finally became a museum bus:

San Francisco’s cable cars (streetcars pulled by a constantly moving cable beneath the street) are legendary. But hilly Seattle also had a cable car system, and was the last American city to abandon their use, in 1940. Recognizing the trolley bus’s ability to climb hills easily, it was chosen as the primary mode to replace Seattle’s cable and electric street cars. They placed two orders, one to a local firm for trolley buses to a Brill design, and another for 135 vehicles from Twin Coach in Kent, Ohio. Twin supplied their streamlined GWFT model with Westinghouse electrical equipment. During WWII, Twin and Pullman-Standard built additional coaches for Seattle.

Our bus was built as number 865 in June, 1940. It was renumbered to 626 in 1963, and it served the city-owned Seattle Transit System until March, 1965. During the mid-1960s, Seattle Transit’s policy was to gradually abandon the trolley bus system, but strong public opinion against the policy, primarily for environmental and economic reasons, led to its reversal in the early-mid 1970s. When our bus was retired, it was preserved at the Oregon Electric Railway Society in Glenwood, Oregon.

20220924 153308

The transit system, absorbed into the new Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, rebuilt what remained of the trolleybus fleet and even re-acquired four older units that had been sent to museums, including our bus. Rebuilt and renumbered 633 in 1974, it served until the entire trolley bus infrastructure was to be rebuilt during 1978. During the shutdown, a fleet of replacement trolley buses was ordered, but only a few were ready when the system re-opened in September, 1979. Our bus resumed service a third time, running in limited service until 1981. After its third retirement, it was preserved at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California, and came to IRM in 2009.

This trolley bus was restored in 1974, but it still lived a hard life, and it has the scars and imperfections to show for it. One observation that I made with this old beauty is that its electric motor sounds like a car’s wheel bearing at the very end of its life.

That made for a fun realization when I hopped aboard one of the modern trolley buses.

20220924 144557

These buses all follow a similar basic design, and yet, builders have still found a lot of room to improve. The drivers of the older buses could be seen sawing at their unassisted wheels to make turns that the newer buses make easily. And the motors of the newer buses don’t pierce your ears with noise. It’s great to witness those improvements all in one place.

Bus Displays

20220924 135352

Outside of the buses that you could ride, there was a small display of privately-owned buses. A couple of GM New Look buses were driven in by a private owner and the Midwest Bus Museum. A newer in-service Gillig came in from Northern Illinois University. IRM allows private owners to display their buses at a Bus Day event. I’ll have to remember that for next time so I can bring my own RTS.

Listen to this 1976 GM New Look purr:

Inside of the bus barns were even more examples of fine bus history. This Montebello Bus Lines 17 is an example of when the Ford Motor Company built transit buses. As IRM notes, Ford’s line was called the “Ford Transit Bus.” Built in 1944, this Ford 99T features a Ford chassis, but a bus body from Union City Body Co. in Union City, Indiana. Power comes from a 239-cubic inch flathead V8 making 95 HP. The driver rows through a three-speed manual.

20220924 104316

Just 13,700 of these were made, and IRM notes that running examples are rare. This one originally operated in Montebello, California, before coming to IRM. After its arrival, it was painted in a fictitious Chicago & West Towns Railway livery to illustrate the type of bus used by the railway back in those days.

Also in the barns were various GM New Looks, including Chicago Transit Authority 9799, a 1977 GM New Look T8H-5307A.

20220924 115736

IRM says that this bus is the very last New Look built in GM’s Pontiac, Michigan plant. It was built in an order of 200 buses destined for Chicago. It served routes in Chicago until 1992, when it was retired. It then went into the Chicagoland Historical Bus Museum until 2011, when IRM acquired it. This bus is being lovingly restored by a volunteer. He told me that as of right now, it runs and drives, but one of the suspension air bags needs replacing.

Finally, I think I’ll close this out with Chicago Surface Lines 84. This 1930 Brill-American T40 is said to be the oldest surviving trolley bus in the country.

20220924 104402

It’s incomplete, missing headlights, seats, and other parts, but IRM says that it does run and drive. This bus entered service in 1930, then was retired in 1951. It was then gutted of its seats and used as a locker room for Chicago Surface Lines work crews. Electric Railway Historical Society got it in 1960 before that museum shuttered in 1973, with the bus getting in IRM’s hands.

More Than Buses

20220924 125247

Funny enough, I even ran into a reader at Bus Day. Apparently, I’m probably one of just a few regular weirdos preserving a piece of transit history. So when I started talking about my RTS, it was pretty obvious who I was.

There was also an antique shop with random transportation-related artifacts for sale. To the left there is a metal sign with the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority’s logo on it.

20220925 133714

I’m unsure what this sign was attached to, but wear marks suggest that it was framed in something. Not that it matters; I got it because it looks so cool. And to the right are two magazines, the older one details some of the development of the GM RTS. Meanwhile, the newer one contains a complete production record of the Nova Bus version of the RTS, including my bus. These will absolutely come in handy in the future.

I ended the Bus Day learning a lot and smiling from ear to ear. Honestly, I didn’t expect that some of the most fun that I’d have at a train museum would be playing with buses, but that’s what happened. I even got to meet people working in the transit bus industry.

20220924 134243

A lot of those people were happy that there are organizations out there saving these buses from the scrapper. As a few of those folks told me, cars have an easier time getting saved by museums because they’re smaller, easier to keep going, and can be more popular. That means that a lot of buses get sent to the junkyard when their service lives are over. So to them, as it is to me, it’s awesome not just to see saved buses, but saved buses that actually run and drive.

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

34 Responses

  1. Ok. Calling this out based on experience from my late uncle in law…

    The proper term for these vehicles you refer to should be “coaches” not buses. Buses are your garden variety school buses built on a truck chassis. A coach is a purposeful built dedicated people hauler.

    Background: my aunt in California married a “transportation engineer”. After their marriage they came out to visit is in suburban Detroit in 1970. I was a teen at the time. Dad wondered how to entertain them. He had a buddy that worked at Pontiac. Unfortunately no plant tours were available due to the summer shut down. But he could see what he could do. He got a friend to give us a tour of the coach side of the GMC truck and coach plant. So uncle George got to see how his coaches were made. I’ve never seen a man so happy in his life. Best yet, at the end they had some engine / axle assemblies there were for coaches to his employer (BART, Bay area rapid transit, his route was across the Oakland bridge). Could identify by the wheel color, them the attached work order.

    So these vehicles are coaches. RIP George…

    1. In British English the distinction between “bus” and “coach” is down to how it’s used.
      Buses drive a regular route, usually in a town/city and used to be owned by the local transport authority (most of which have been privatised now). ‘Coaches’ refers to vehicles which travel longer distances between towns/cities, and the privately hired ones (eg for taking kids on a school trip).
      The physical difference is that a coach is built to be able to drive long distances at (somewhat) high speeds, whereas buses are optimised for short, stop-start, journeys.

    1. I remember double-decker trolleys in Porto, Portugal, they were awesome. My hometown has the last operational trolleybuses in Portugal (currently suspended because of major infrastructure works). They’ve been operating continuously – except for momentary suspensions like the one that’s currently ongoing – since 1947. I miss them and can’t wait to see them back on the road!

  2. If you make it to the upper east coast, the Seashore Trolley Museum needs to be on your agenda.

    Things may have changed, but a decade ago they were quite accommodating to adventurous idiots that wanted to see the unrestored “off limits” part of the collection.

    1. I can confirm this. I was there a while ago, and wanted to see a specific Milwaukee streetcar that was not on display. They happily took me back to see it!

  3. Apparently, battery drain was a problem that existed even on these older units, and was never fixed in newer iterations. Basically, these buses are just quirky.

    The main thing I’ve learned in restoring and maintaining my first classic car is that, half the time, something you think is an age issue that needs to be addressed was actually just like that the day it rolled out of the factory line.

  4. I can’t count how many times I boarded and exited the 4020 bendy bus pictured here. I do remember as a child how much I loved sitting on the dual seats that were located within the articulated part of the bus.

    Holy $hit, my high school transportation is now a museum piece?
    Thanks Mercedes for making me feel older than I should!

    (and have a fantastic wedding girl!)

    1. I can’t say if I ever rode that particular bus but I did ride some of the bendy buses like that back in the day and the seats in the articulated portion were definitely the cool spot to get.

    2. Thank you so much! 🙂

      And yes, your high school transportation is a museum piece! It was fun riding it, thinking about all of the people who rode it to and from places, like you! Now, it operates at a museum as a piece of history.

  5. As a teenager in northern Los Angeles in the mid-seventies, unlike every single other person I knew I rode the RTD everywhere, usually w/ skateboard in hand. With my stupid (particular kind of) high school being ten miles away I was stuck with it daily, but then often it was a form of freedom. Imagine slipping out your bedroom window at midnight on a warm summer’s evening, skating miles away along or even in the middle of the empty thoroughfares in the early morning hours (all downhill from where I lived), then catching the first bus home from wherever as long as it was along the route (56) at six in the morning and making it back for breakfast, basically pulling an “all-nighter”…what 15-year old gets to have such an adventure on some regular weeknight and get away with it. In those days major routes used the “new-look” busses, those on tangent lines ran 1950’s GM ones with the slanted pass-side front window, and all drivers used the gas pedal like an on-off switch. You never knew if the bus you’d been waiting for was actually coming, all manner of folk might be stuffed in with you and seats smelled like piss, yet I do wax nostalgic and appreciate this appreciation for the good ‘ol city bus. The rich kids didn’t know what they were missing.

  6. Trolleybuses are the best. My hometown has a fleet that’s currently parked because of some major infrastructure works going on, but it’s the last in the country to still have operational trolleys. The fleet is kind of crazy: two state-of-the-art Skoda trolleys and a handful of 60-year old ones that were refurbished in the 90s, the remnants of what used to be a much larger fleet. I love them, and I really hope the new public transit infrastructure they’re building (a metrobus route) doesn’t act as an excuse to finally do away with trolleys (although I have a feeling that that’s exactly what will happen).

  7. Great article!

    I’ve always loved the contradiction of the ultra-modern RTS II design and it’s peak-brougham era logo on the builder’s plate inside.

  8. “If I wrote about all ten of the buses that you could ride that day, this story would probably be 10,000 words-long. But believe me, each and every one of these buses are awesome, and each has a story to tell.”
    Yeah, maybe a series of ten 1,000 words-long articles over, say, ten days or ten weeks? Would read each & every article!
    How does the museum (indeed, any transport museum) get those ginormous vehicles to their premises from such distant places? Just drive them or use a large flat-bed trailer truck or by any means necessary (such as disassembly & then reassembly?)

  9. On the topic of loving a museum so much you decide to volunteer there:
    That’s what happened to me after the first time I visited LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma last year. I decided it was awesome, put in a volunteer application, and, well, the rest is history.

  10. In Milwaukee we had both Trolly Buses and the venerable GM “Old Look” with the 2 stroke Detroit Diesel. For me that will always be the bus. The sound of the engine, the smell of the exhaust…
    One night in Denver in the mid Naughts my van broke down. Snowing like all..cold and wet. I was on a main thoroughfare so I waited for and took a bus.
    When I boarded I was wrapped in the warmth and smells of a bus ride in my childhood. Something I guess you never forget.

  11. Mercedes,
    Have you discovered the North Shore Electroliner at the museum yet?

    A streamlined articulated train designed to run 80 mph in the country, but also use the L tracks to get to downtown Chicago.

  12. I’m curious on how the electric buses stay connected to the power grid. If a driver deviated to far from the power lines and became disconnected would the bus stop working or did it have a battery backup?

    1. There should be no reason for the bus to ever intentionally drive away from the power lines, but it is not uncommon for the pantograph (the connecting pole assembly on the roof) to *accidentally* disconnect from the power lines. The buses have no backup power, but the driver can roll to a stop, and then hop out and reconnect the poles using controls at the back of the bus. That happened a couple of times when I was riding the MUNI in San Francisco, and in both cases it was a quick fix that took about a minute.

  13. I recall seeing the trolley buses running up and down North Ave. in Milwaukee, near my grandparents house on 58th Street. I was fascinated by the sparks that sometimes happened at the connection of the pole on top of the bus and the overhead wires. I also remember seeing the drivers get out and reconnect that pole to the wire when they occasionally bounced off.
    My Dad said they interfered with the TV signal when they went down the street, which in the fifties, was probably entirely possible.

  14. It is kind of surprising to see that many King Co Metro units that have ended up 1/2 way across the country. On the other hand since they have continued to use trolley buses long after they were abandoned by so many other operators I guess it isn’t that surprising. I do miss the old livery, I’ve never really warmed up to that seen on 4123 above.

  15. I honestly didn’t even know “trolleybuses” were a thing until now. I knew about streetcars and gas/diesel buses, but I had no idea there were electric buses that ran off of overhead wires!

    1. They’re just one of many old solutions to modern problems, in my opinion, and it’s sad to see them disappear (my hometown is the last in the country that has them, and both the fleet and coverage shrunk visibly in the last couple of decades).

      With the transition to renewable sources of electricity bringing new problems to solve, I can see trolleybuses (and electric trains, subway cars, trams, literally any transportation method that’s permanently connected to the grid) being used in an interconnected system that diverts excess power from hydroelectric/wind/solar generators, which we currently deal with in my country using pumped storage (pumping back water into the dam using excess power from wind turbines nearby to activate the pumps) which has actually caused a couple of new dams to be built – not because of the increase in production but rather to diminish the losses during peak production. I’m not entirely dismissing pumped storage, especially when there’s already lots of hydroelectric production to begin with, but transportation is seems like another viable method of preventing energy waste (but I’m not a specialist, maybe there’s some aspect that I’m not taking into consideration that make it not-viable).

    2. I first met trolleybusses when travelling in Russia in 2010. I laughed when I first saw them, thinking they were some weird creation from the Soviet Era that could only exist in Russia… then once I got home I did a little Googling and saw they existed in much of Europe and America over the years.

      As doyouhaveamomenttotalkaboutrenaults says below, trolleybusses may well have a renaissance in coming years as cities look to electrify their buses. Would the infrastructure involved be cheaper than battery electric busses?

      1. Would the infrastructure involved be cheaper than battery electric busses?

        I dunno about the cost but you can bet the rabid NIMBYS, CAVES and BANANAS will be up in arms about the “ugly” overhead power lines and “muh property values”.

      2. The thing is, in many cases the infrastructure is still there, although of course it would still involve lots of work making it operational again where it’s been decommissioned. But take my hometown as an example: there’s huge infrastructure works going on to accommodate what was supposed to be a light tram and ended up being a metrobus, in a decades long process that has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros without much to show for it (except for the shutdown of an important railway way too early in the process, some demolitions of historic buildings and a lot of centennial trees cut down); however, the catenary for the streetcars that were taken out of circulation in 1980 is still there (it’s the same that trolley cars still use, another big plus in my book – shared infrastructure). Not only that, in many places the rails were never removed, they just paved over them, and after 4 decades you bet there’s lots of sections where they’ve resurfaced. We even have preserved streetcars and old trolleys in a fancy Transportation Museum.

        It seems obvious to me that there’d be savings in making this whole infrastructure functional once again vs. coming up with something new, which in our case took over thirty years (notice the ten year gap between the end of streetcars and the start of the tram/metrobus lobbying; almost like it happened by design), with several changes in course and a couple of cancellations and revamps of the project along the way. Not only that, but the way I see it there’s definitely some value to repairing/repurposing/refurbishing infrastructure from an environmental standpoint. Our oldest trolleys were refurbished in the mid-80s on top of 1950s frames (I said 90s in a previous comment but I went to check and I was wrong, the refurbish happened in 84-85) and I love it that they’re still around – although currently temporarily suspended because of the ongoing infrastructure works. I’m not alone in this, the population overwhelmingly supports the existence of trolleys.

        But let’s say this infrastructure wasn’t there to begin with; it’s hard to believe it would’ve cost more to build from scratch and taken more time than the goddamn metrobus, a need that, again, was artificially created by the end of streetcars, and later on, the shutdown of a suburban railway branch. Not only that, after a lot of the work had been done with a tram line in mind, they decided to move to the metrobus option. Of course, this is an anecdotal example of how badly public mobility has been managed in some Portuguese town over the last 4 decades. But it’s hardly an isolated example (there’s a few others like it in Portugal alone).

        Then there’s the environmental impact current battery tech has, and while we don’t come up with alternatives to lithium, I’m pretty sure it’s better to not create even more demand, especially if an alternative is already in place. I’m very much hopeful that we’ll see new tech in this field in the next 5-10 years, which should help lower the demand for lithium, but while that doesn’t happen, I really think the most sensible thing is to use any tools available to lower demand.

Leave a Reply