Old Pueblo Transit #135
33 passenger, 1960 General Motors Coach, Model TGH3102, Serial 1242
Bus #135 takes on passengers at Stone and Congress in the early 1970’s.
Old Pueblo Transit Company served the south and west sides of Tucson. It was founded in 1924 by Roy Laos, Sr. under the name Occidental Bus Line. In 1949 he took in a partner, Emery Johnson, and together they changed the company name and set about replacing their World-War-II-era fleet of Ford Transit buses with 31-passenger General Motors buses like #135. This small transit bus was powered with gasoline rather than diesel as was the case with most G.M. Buses of that period. They turned out to be very dependable, but by the late 1950’s were showing their age, so Old Pueblo Transit Company purchased 6 new G.M.’s in 1959 and 1960. The last 3 (#134-136) were unique in that they had only one door and thus sat two additional passengers. They operated in daily service until replaced by Highway Products Twin Coaches in 1974.
Number 135 was purchased by Tucson Transit mechanic, Dick Shoemaker, with the intent of converting it to a motor home. However, in the summer of 1980 he instead sold it to bus modeler and Old Pueblo Trolley member Mark Hart who repainted it in the 1950’s Old Pueblo Transit Company paint scheme and has kept it in running condition.
Dedication of Laos Transit Center.
In March 1987 Sun Tran opened their first transit center, named in honor of Roy Laos, Sr. It was appropriately located immediately east of and adjacent to the site of the final Old Pueblo Transit bus garage. Bus 135 was invited to participate in the dedication and carried the Laos family on the first ride around the new center.
Mark Hart has since donated the bus to Old Pueblo Trolley.