Paris said a nostalgic "adieu" on Friday (22 January) as the city's remaining open platform buses made their final journeys before being permanently retired.
Paris said a nostalgic "adieu" on Friday (22 January) as the city's remaining open platform buses made their final journeys before being permanently retired. The Paris Transport Authority is withdrawing the attractive and famous buses in the interests of "efficiency and safety" -- bringing pangs to romantics and traditionalists.
Passengers gathered along bus route 21 -- from the Gare Saint Lazare to the Porte de Gentilly -- to be among those joining the buses for their last rides along Paris' streets. The buses, once a common sight in the city, have been seen less and less often in recent years -- only on route 21 were they still in regular use.
The quaintly-built vehicles, made for savouring the charms of Paris and attempting daring athletic feats, had been in service for 35 years. Their attraction was the open platform at the back, where passengers could chat to the conductor, smoke and view the sights.
A common feature on Paris postcards, the buses were to the French capital what the cable cars are to San Francisco and red double-decker buses are to London
Over the past five years, however, the Paris Transport Authority has been replacing the wooden-built buses with "more efficient" one-man vehicles. They say the old buses were difficult to maintain and were potentially dangerous to passengers. The open-sided rear platform tempted Parisians and tourists alike to try running leaps at moving buses.
But even the Transport Authority said "we feel a certain nostalgia at this moment when, after so'eventful a life -- some of them have covered a million kilometres (625,000 miles) -- these old friends of the Paris street are disappearing."
The buses aren't dead yet, however. There's been a rush to buy the buses by souvenir hunters, holiday camps, restaurants and publicity firms. Many of the offers had poured in even before the last bus on route 21 pulled into the garage on Friday night.