A big hat tip to FrontBurnervian Dubious Brother for opening my eyes to the potential with his comment on the poster earlier today about the plan to bring shuttle service to downtown Dallas:
Maybe they could paint the bus pink, put rabbit ears on the front, call them bunny buses, play music from the 80’s on board and charge a dime to ride.
He was referencing the Hop-a-Bus system that operated around downtown Dallas in the 1970s and ’80s. Someone made a Google map of their routes (though I can’t vouch for the accuracy.) Here’s a 1978 New York Times piece about the Hop-a-Bus program by the Dallas Transit System, the city’s forerunner of DART:
After extensive market research, the Dallas Transit System has concluded that it can improve downtown bus service by painting its buses pink, adorning their fronts with a nose and two buck teeth and sticking three-foot aluminum rabbit ears on top.
In short, the transit agency has decided it can best serve the needs of its 4,500 daily riders by turning the 22,000-pound, 40-foot buses into something that resembles Easter bunnies on wheels.
By 1984 the chair of the DART board was saying the bunny buses were “not dignified” and should be redecorated, though not everyone agreed:
“Without those big ears, I wouldn’t know a bus was coming,” said Felicia Humphrey, who takes about 10 Hop-a-Bus rides daily as part of her job with a courier service. “We have all these plain old buildings, I like to see that big pink thing and those big ears rolling down the street.”
OK, yes, maybe pink bunnies is too garish a way to decorate the new shuttles. But I think there’s potential here. Maybe even revenue-generating potential. For instance, the Dallas Zoo might be up for making the buses into elephants again?