For as far back as he can remember, Andy Novak has always been interested in public transit. As a child, he inherited his dad’s and grandfather’s love of trains which soon expanded to include buses as well.
“When I was a kid I used to love looking at the RTD [Southern California Rapid Transit District] maps and schedules,” chuckles Andy. “I was fascinated by the fact that someone could get on a bus and ride halfway across the city on a route.”
Later, as an adult, he found other people on the Internet who also liked buses. He became actively involved with groups like Transit Advocates and The Motor Bus Society that would occasionally meet up to ride service or go on trips.
“The groups are pretty diverse, which makes it interesting. Many of the members also work within the transit industry as drivers, planners and mechanics. In addition to planning group trips, we help promote ridership and provide feedback to agencies based on our experience.”
Eventually he started a website called Rapid Transit Press (RTP), which featured his own books and photo galleries dedicated to public transit. In 2007 he published a special issue of his RTP New and Views magazine which covered 30 years of Omnitrans history and featured Old Blue on the cover.
“I had the chance to actually ride Old Blue back in 2006, during a Pacific Bus Museum trip,” Andy reminisced. “It was a great piece of history and the restoration job was nicely done. I think the older buses had a lot more character and style than you see today.”
Today Andy works as a ticketing department manager for Coach USA in Anaheim. The charter bus company offers sightseeing tours, airport shuttles, Megabus service and Amtrak thruway connections.
He is looking forward to the launch of the sbX rapid transit line and to getting a closer look at the new 60-foot articulated coaches.
“Good public transit is not only important, it’s a necessity. Not everyone can afford a car and not everyone can drive. And for others, it’s fun to just get on a bus and not have to worry about driving.”