Parked by the curb on Quivira Road on Monday afternoon, January 4, was an enormous yellow Leyland Olympian bus. On its side was a sign that read: "The British Bus Company, LLC, Santee, CA." I pulled over to take a photo as a car pulled up behind it.
“Is this your bus?” I asked while snapping off several shots.
“Yes...it broke down last night after the Chargers Game,” said Janice Brown, the owner. "Had a bus full of people all kinda drunk, wantin’ to go home. Come inside...this is Chloe,” said Brown as she handed me her Jack Russell terrier. "It’s normally fine," she said about her bus. "Lost transmission...computer is on the fritz.”
Just then, a van pulled up in front of the bus.
“Here are the mechanics now,” said Brown. "Fred flew in today from San Francisco with the parts." Fred Corlett, from the British Bus Company, and his assistant Damian Scott, from London, brought inside the bus a medium-size cardboard box and went to work installing the computer.
“There’s a fellow in England staying up to talk through any problems we may have,” said Corlett.
Brown said she imported the 1985 Leyland Olympian from Scunthorpe, England. “It’s the newest one we can bring in without having to deal with the huge issue of modifying the engine for the smog [laws]. It has a million kilometers on it, and it cost three times more to ship the thing than the price of the bus."
"How much longer do you think she’ll last?” I asked.
“Forever, we hope,” said Corlett.