Over the years, the HSR has owned a small number of minibuses of several different makes and models.
(All photos © Tom Luton, except where noted)
Rek Vee Club Car (HSR #1215-1216)
The HSR's first modern Minibuses were a pair of ex-GO Transit Rek Vee Club cars. These minibuses were originally built as part of GO Transit's Dial-A-Bus service, a door-to-subway transit service that started in the then low density suburbs of North York (now part of Toronto) in 1973. For this new service, a modified fibreglass camper body was attached to a Dodge motor home chassis, with seating for 17 or 25 riders, depending on configuration. More info on the Dial-A-Bus service is available on the Transit Canada website.
When the Dial-A-Bus service started winding down in 1975, GO Transit sold or leased the Rek Vee Club Cars to transit companies in Ontario. The HSR acquired two Club Cars in 1975, GO Transit #1215 and #1216. These buses were with the HSR for a short time, and were returned to GO Transit on March 31, 1977. #1215 was later sold to a private owner, while #1216 was sold to Lively Transit in Creighton, Ontario.
The interior of HSR #1215, date unknown (Photo from the Hamilton Street Railway)
HSR #1216 in Dundas in 1976 (Photo from the Hamilton Street Railway)
HSR #1216 at Ogilvie & King in Dundas, date unknown (Photo from the Jay Jespersen collection)
Ford E350D (HSR #9151)
Over twenty years would pass before the HSR aquired another minibus. In 1999 the HSR purchased Welland Transit #400, a Ford E350D built in 1991. One of the few buses bought secondhand by the HSR in the last couple of decades, it was numbered #9151 and placed into service on the 52A DUNDAS LOCAL on June 28 1999. This bus was retired in the fall of 2002 when the Ford E450s arrived.
HSR #9151 at Wentworth Garage, August 22, 1999 (Photo by Kevin N, used with permission)
El Dorado National Hawk PM (HSR #140551)
In 2001 the HSR received this minibus from the former town of Ancaster as part of the amalgamation of Hamilton and its suburbs. This bus had been built in 1994, and was used by the town of Ancaster as a seniors' shuttle bus. Strangely, this bus did not receive a regular HSR number, even though it was the first bus the HSR received after amalgamation and the start of its newest bus numbering series. This bus should have been numbered HSR #519451, as it was an HSR bus (the 51 prefix), built in 1994, and was used (used vehicles were numbered starting at 51yy51, instead of 51yy01). (The 14 prefix may have been for vehicles assigned to the Ancaster area, but I have no idea where the '05' comes from)
HSR #140551 was assigned to the 52A DUNDAS LOCAL route, where it remained for its service life. This little bus used to drive me crazy, as I would occasionally see it passing by McMaster after it had gone out of service. But because this bus was so small, it would zip by me before I could get a photo, I started to think of this bus as the Roadrunner. (Beep, beep!). HSR #140551 was retired in the fall of 2002 when the Ford E450s arrived.
HSR #140551 at York Road and Watson's Lane, April 2002 (Photo by Kevin N, used with permission)
Ford E450 (HSR #510261-510264)
The HSR's next minibuses were a quartet of Ford E450s bought in 2002. Because these were the second batch of brand new buses the HSR received in 2002, they were numbered #510261-510264. These natural gas minibuses ran on a number of short routes such as the 16 ANCASTER, 52A DUNDAS LOCAL, and the 99 'Gore to the shore' shuttle in the summer. However, these buses turned out to be very unreliable, and were all retired by 2007.
HSR #510263 at Mohawk and McNiven, Apr 28, 2004
Arboc SOM26D (HSR #1020-1024)
The latest HSR minibuses were 5 Arboc SOM26D's (Spirt Of Mobility, 26 ft long, Diesel engine), delivered to Hamilton on October 12, 2010. HSR #1023 was the first to be used in service on May 6, 2011. These buses were built on a Chevrolet G4500 van chassis, which is why the Chevrolet logo was on the front grill. These buses suffered frequent breakdowns and were retired in December 2018, HSR #1024 being the last one in service on January 8, 2019.
HSR #1021 at the Mountain Transit Centre, October 21, 2010 (Photo by Kevin N, used with permission)
HSR #1022 at Aldershot GO Station, September 12, 2015