Not every bus that reaches the end of its life as a passenger vehicle is sent for scrap, though many are. Uses are often found for them, such as mobile playschools, restaurants, housing and much more. Buses truly can be put to many uses, but bus graveyards are everywhere.
Ever wonder where America’s yellow school buses go to die? Well, some found a second life on Central Africa’s rutted, traffic-choked roads. The familiar boxy buses that once carted American children around are now hauling Congo’s people, young and old, with their loads of preserved fish, powdered milk, beans, onions and cassava. These old yellow buses rattle fiercely, as they hurtle through the potholes peppering Kinshasa’s roads.
The buses are often in a state of disrepair, with broken tail-lights and windows, but they perform a vital service to these poor people in this impoverished land. Would it not make sense to ship more of these vehicles to third-world countries that can make use of them for many years?
Again, imagination has led to other uses for some seven old buses that once shuttled commuters around Chile’s capital Santiago. They have found new life as makeshift classrooms in this earthquake-devastated city. Five of the buses became classrooms, one was turned into a teacher’s lounge, and the seventh became a bathroom, complete with seven stalls for boys and seven for girls.
Each classroom bus has room for 20 children. Teachers have placed a blackboard in front of the windshield, and small wooden desks are in the spots where the seats were once attached to the floor. There must be numerous places on earth where such schemes would benefit the local community.
Of course some older types of bus, like the double deckers pictured below, become obsolete simply because passenger demand is no longer as high as it was. Though many of these type of buses are sold for use in other countries, or indeed for putting to other uses, still very many simply rust away, reminders of a transport need that is gone forever.
There is something very sad about seeing these wonderful old vehicles, which served such a useful purpose in their day, being left to rot in the elements, but they need to be put somewhere when they are no longer needed. Bus graveyards is somehow a distasteful term, but very apt. Untold thousands of metal corpses decorating fields around the world in the worst possible way. Truly a sorry sight. There has to be a better way of sending old buses to die. Let’s hope we find it soon.
I would like to express sincere thanks to the following sources for the images and information that appear in this article: 1, 2, 3