Standing at the bus stop in ninth grade, a short bus drove past, off to pick up a special needs kid and take that kid to school. I recall one of the girls at the bus stop saying, “Oh, look... there goes a Jitney Bus.” I simply assumed that “Jitney Bus” was the proper name for “short bus” and went about my business; never bothering to ask her why she called it that.
It was about ten more years before I heard the term again, by which time I knew it was the proper term for the short bus. However, until finding the owner of this Jitney Bus I had no clue where the term came from, assuming the vehicle was named after its inventor like Volkswagen, Ford or Toyota.
Well, it turns out that I was wrong about that, too. The origins of "Jitney Bus" is far more interesting than I thought. You see… no, I’m not going to tell you. Wayne MacDonald of McConnellsburg, PA is going to tell you about them in the video below.
As the owner of this fine example, he spent the better part of four years restoring it. Taking a decrepit project, that was mostly in boxes, and turning it into a 2-cylinder work of art.
Wayne is a retired mechanical engineer, but today could easily pass as a genuine Jitney Bus driver (or train engineer) in his period-perfect matching outfit as he handed out nickels to children to feed the machine in his bus. After dropping the nickels into the machine, MacDonald handed each child a toy wooden bus as a souvenir. Since the business end of this wonderfully detailed bus is also made of wood, it is an extremely appropriate gift for future engineers, as well as woodworkers, painters, mechanics, editors… or any other kid, for that matter!