SLO double-decker bus crashed into bridge

January 25, 2016

Double decker bus 2

Part of the top of San Luis Obispo’s double-decker bus was sheared off Monday morning when its driver attempted to drive the 14 foot-high bus under a 12 and a half foot-high railroad bridge on Highland Drive on the Cal Poly campus.

While attempting to leave the campus, with no passengers on board, the driver went off route. The driver was not injured in the crash.

In 2010, the city purchased the bus to eliminate problems with a lack of bus seats. Usually during the first few weeks of a quarter at Cal Poly, the city would run an extra bus for a few hours four mornings a week to eliminate problems with buses being too crowded to fit all the people waiting to get on.

At that time, public works staff noted that the 14 foot-high bus would not fit under railroad bridges and tree lined roads. Because of this, the bus was unable to cover all but a portion of one existing route without modifications.

City workers then trimmed trees and raised two cables to modify Route 4 and Route 5, the two busiest routes.

In addition, public works’ officials needed to reconstruct the opening of the maintenance building to accommodate the $850,000 two-story vehicle.

The cost of repairing the vehicle is not yet available. The driver was taken out of work rotation while the accident is investigated.

Russ J

Back in the beginning of time, Tropicana and Valencia off campus housing complexes had double-decker buses that ran to the campus and back every hour. Even those young student drivers knew better than this idiot not to take highland drive.


But this was a City Employee, highly paid, because we want the brightness and best qualified for the position!



It was not a city employee. SLO has a contract with a private company to operate the bus system.


That is correct. They start around 12 bucks an hour. No wonder they have a hard time retaining quality drivers. In fact the low pay might be putting the public at risk, because of difficulty with driver retention. It’s funny when people who have no clue come in the comments section saying these people are high paid city workers.


SLO City bus drivers are some of the most underpaid people in the entire city. They work for First Transit, which is an English company. Their pay starts around 12 dollars an hour. That’s really bad pay for the amount of responsibility they have and the stress of being a bus driver. They are hard working people if you have ever met them, and you should probably give them an apology for calling them high-paid, when they can barely afford to live in the city they work in.


The stress of sitting on your ass and pushing pedals and turning a wheel, are you kidding? The pay is low because it is an unskilled job. Stress?


You’re mean. You trust your life to them, then insult them this way? No, you’re not just mean, you’re also stupid.


I haven’t ridden a bus since the 5th grade.


So it’s not an unskilled job and deserving of pay commensurate with what profession?

Don’t forget that the refuge of the stupid is to call names because they cannot formulate intelligent responses.


“… they can barely afford to live in the city they work in.”. well join the rest of the working class in SLO. Unless you are working for government, you are a professional or work the union this is the going rate or lower. Ask all those waitresses, waiters, clerks that work in SLO what their going rate is. No apoligize needed!


You’re right, because Highland didn’t exist back then.


You mean when Mayor Marx was young?

Kaiser Bill

I have used double decker buses in major urban areas like Berlin, not a pohdunk town like SLO.

Whoever thought that a double decker made sense in SLO had no experience in public transit logistics.


“Whoever thought” Jan Marx and the SLO City Council thought that a double decker made sense in SLO.


The $850,000 14 foot-high bus does not fit under railroad bridges and tree lined roads.

In addition, public works’ officials are planning to reconstruct the opening of the maintenance building to accommodate the two-story vehicle. Additional costs, such as hiring an outside firm to wash the bus because it will not fit in the city’s wash station, are also expected.

It’s just part of what makes SLO the happiest place.


Please vote for anyone except Jan Marx as San Luis Obispo mayor, this fall.


Gott im Himmel. You just can’t make this stuff up.



This is simple math. 14′ bus, 12′ underpass, that’s 2′ right off the top.


Was it Lichtig driving the bus ?


Like the ridiculous SLO City Fire Engine No. 1 with the tiller driver, this bus was a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. All because some bureaucrats wanted to play.

I was just down in LA. I watched a lot of LA RTD buses, Santa Monica buses and Culver City buses. Both conventional and articulated buses moving a lot of people in some very tight confines without a problem. Not a single double-decker bus to be seen.

Shame on you SLO gov’t for wasting money!


The city’s response will be to raise bus fares to pay for the damage and use grant money (which is taxpayer money pigeon holed by the elected to make them look good) to also RAISE the bridge at a muti million dollar expensse.

Or the railroad will sue the City for damages to be paid by you know who.

The bus driver will be a protected union employee who will receive a pay raise for calling attention to the LOW bridge problem in SLO. The driver will also attend classes (at taxpayer expense) to learn advanced math instruction to be able to subtract 12.5 from 14.


You forgot to mention that the bus driver and all the passenger will no doubt sue the SP railroad company, the city, the county…and possibly the state….it’s the American way.

Kaiser Bill

Most of the people that use the buses are students and they don’t pay to use the buses, their Student ID gives them passage on the buses.

Cathy S.

Actually Cal Poly pays a large subsidy to SLO Transit to compensate for the “free” rides.


Actually, Cal Poly pays the City of San Luis Obispo as they only contract out to get the drivers and services. The City owns the buses, the transit centers, the bus barn, etc. The City also manages the routes, fees and intraagenct.

Also, Cal Poly also pays the City of SLO for Fire Services/paramediics (they have no fire department) and the Fire Ladder Truck for purchased for one building into SLO – the Anderson Hotel which has limited access and citizens but mostly for the services as Cal Poly. Cal Poly pays the City and the City brought a toy with the money!

Have no mistake, the taxpayers of SLO as subsidaring Cal Poly Fire Services at a high cost to property owners,


It will be the insurance company of the PRIVATE contractor who runs the bus service who will be paying for this, not the taxpayers.


I am of the understanding that any and all commercially licensed drivers are responsible for mapping their route and avoiding all known hazards, including low bridge heights.

Please correct me if I am wrong.



They are responsible for following existing, pre-approved routes. In this case, pre-approved by the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority.




And this is why we have some of the highest paid public employees?, bet no repercussions for damaging city property are coming.


I guess that warning device hanging before the bridge, basically saying “If you don’t clear me you are not going to clear the upcoming bridge”, wasn’t enough, and lets not forget the sign indicating the bridge height, and I suppose it is too much to expect a bus driver to know the height of his bus. I suppose a raise is in order.


There is a hanging chain thang there; it’s on the other side of the bridge. I’m serious. I’m not joking.


They had a warning sign, but Cal Poly in their infinite wisdom had it removed. For such a highly ranked academic school, the administration of Cal Poly is as dumb as rocks.


SLO Transit drivers are not city employees, and make close to minimum wage. You have no clue what you’re talking about, but carry on.


Then I’m sure when Gov Moonbeam raises the minimum to +$15 that will fix everything or so he tells us.


Since the city “contracts” this service it completely removes itself from requiring that the drivers the company uses are qualified,????, why worry it’s only taxpayer money when the “private” company screws up and we all know there is plenty of that.

Oh and the “private” company is owned by Lichtag’s brother, just kidding but it wouldn’t surprise me that there is some sweetheart deal to the bus contract that benefits some city personal at the expense of the people who really pay for it. Why else would the city really buy a double decker bus. If they were so needed every comparable city would have one.

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