Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Horse Drawn Coaches to Replace Busses in Ca Town

Horse drawn coaches to replace Blue Buses

By John Wilkes Booth

April 01, 2009

COLORADO AVE — In light of $21,000 worth of fines leveled against the Big Blue Bus for some eco-unfriendly practices by the California Air Resources Board, the city-owned Big Blue Bus company announced Tuesday some very eco-friendly and sustainable changes in its operations.

As a pilot program, fuel-burning buses will be abandoned on three BBB routes and replaced with horse-drawn coaches. The horse-drawn coaches will hold up to eight people with six inside and two on the roof. Each coach, similar to the stagecoaches of the old west, will have a team of eight horses and a driver.

Coaches will not carry strong boxes, so armed guards will not be needed.

The three routes featuring the exclusive horse-drawn conveyances will be the no. 11 Crosstown, The Sunset Ride and the no. 4 San Vicente Boulevard and Carlyle Avenue lines.

"This is the first time in nearly 100 years a municipal transit company has embraced the tried and true, old technology of horse--drawn vehicles to eliminate fuel purchases and carbon emission problems," BBB spokesperson Lotsa Seats said.

The non-fuel vehicles will be phased in during the summer months. If the pilot program is successful, Phase Two will see horse coaches operating on the no. 3 line on Montana Avenue/Lincoln Boulevard, and no. 2 Wilshire Boulevard line.

City Hall expects to initially purchase 92 coaches from an Amish company, the Bird-In-Hand Coach Co. of Lancaster, Ohio. The Amish company also manufactures the high energy fireplaces advertised on television.

Seats disclosed that coaches will begin arriving in a few weeks. With summer coming on, Bird-In-Hand has already switched to coach fabrication from fireplace building, Seats said.

Unlike the old stagecoaches of the Wild West, Santa Monica's coaches will be made of aluminum and have wood frames. They will be painted a "Bruin" blue. Coaches will be stored in a vacant lot across from the Santa Monica Courthouse.

City Hall is purchasing 460 horses that will be stabled in a large tent directly behind City Hall where the old police building was formerly located. Another 320 horses will be rented from "Equines 'R' Us," a motion picture livestock rental firm in Culver City.

"By using horses we eliminate the need for both foreign oil and natural gas," said Santa Monica Mayor Ken Fenser. "The horses are a 100 percent renewable and recyclable technology. They eat hay and straw and the droppings can be sold as fertilizer. You can't get any more sustainable than that."

In a high tech twist, the tented stable is configured to collect the methane gas the horses expel in the tent when they aren't .

Meanwhile, a meth addict was seen cooking a fresh batch in the median near the Fourth Street stairs.

1 comment:

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