About the vehicle. Manufacturers, Blue Bird. Fort Valley. Fort Valley GA. Body year, 2019. Manufacturing date, 2.18. Body number 489322. Diesel.
About the reviewer, -me. I’m E K, the Writingelk, I’ve been driving buses for over fifteen years, mostly the school bus types. For whatever reason, I have not driven much of the Blue Bird kinds, not until… anyway. I happened to be found driving these make of buses only on a few occasions, and only as a replacement for my regular vehicle, of a different make and kind. One such occasion was very recently, I was dragged into operating one of these buses again, and I had was to take note of some things about them. And in particular, about the long nose bird. Here is my finding.
Fuel management, excellent. Sports a visible fuel-management gauge that indicates the points and conditions at which the fuel-economy is high or low. Whether this has any real impact on the bottom-line of fuel savings or not, I can’t say for sure, since I have not been operating these vehicles on any continuous basic long enough to make that call with certainty, however, these vehicle do seem to go easy, (or easier than…) on the fuel consumption. Seat, and seating area, great. The steering wheel itself, -great grip, sturdy. Handling though, questionable. Dashboard area, great. Transmission and shift pad, -positioning and function. Great. Shifting though, rough on application at times. Handling and stability over-all, poor.
Whereas this vehicle might have, “meet or exceed racking load test!” as is the manufacturers’ claims, rocking on the road, might be quite another story. Responding to commands such as cornering, acceleration, and deceleration, can get a bit shaky and testing to the nerve, in that regard. Poor cornering.
Fields of vision, - excellent! – Belied the size and shape of the windshield. Heat and ventilation too, superb.
On one occasion, a co-worker was faced with the replacement issue because his regular vehicle had developed mechanical issues. They sent him a Blue Bird long-nose via another driver who was to then get his broken bus back to the garage for repairs. All good it would seem until the driver got into the drivers’ seat. Or at least tried to.
He could not reach the pedals beneath the dash area. Having to carry on with the show though, as is the case in show business. He practically had was to drive the bus standing up, and resting his backside on the edge of the seat in order to be able to see his way. Luckily for him, he was to meet up with me at a half-way point. Where we would exchange vehicles so he could continue on and finish the day with a familiar and more manageable vehicle. As for me, even though I am a 5’ 9’’ man, I myself had trouble reaching the pedals with ease and comfort.
Now, why would a company go about building vehicles for the open marketplace, and go screening out such a wide cross-section of the demographics of drivers? Or is it a case that they did not do the necessary research? Whatever the case, Blue Bird, you need to go back to the drawing board with this one.
It would seem to me like, “Big and spacious,” is someones’ idea over there at Blue Bird, of what this company’s vehicles ought to be about, and that only. More than enough room is already there to do the right things. Go, therefore, and do it.
Thoughts and conclusion. Has the making of something great but needs to go back to the drawing board on some aspects, especially one. The leg-room. I thank you. I am E K, the Writingelk, and I am, out.