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A Pretty Special Bus For The President To Ride


It really was a relative few who got to see the president in person as he began his bus tour across New York State and into Pennsylvania yesterday. Many, many more did get to see the presidential motorcade, and you really have to be impressed with the level of security.

I suppose there’s a reason for everything, but they don’t want anybody standing on or below any bridge the motorcade passes during its trip. And sometimes as much as a half hour before the motorcade is scheduled to pass, all entrances to expressways are closed. And it created massive traffic jams around Amherst and Cheektowaga yesterday as parts of the Kensington Expressway and Youngmann Highway and stretches of the mainline Thruway were closed.

I was lucky enough to get a pretty close-up view of the motorcade as it passed on the ramp from the Thruway to the Youngmann Highway on the way to the president’s speech at the University of Buffalo. I counted 37 vehicles of all shapes and sizes — cars, SUVs, buses, even an ambulance led by at least 15 police motorcycles. I think the term kids today like to use is awesome.

The unofficial code name for the presidential bus is Ground Force One. The Secret Service code name for the bus when the president is riding it is Stagecoach. Before the presidential buses were built to order, the Secret Service used rented buses. They had to outfit them with all kinds of security and communication gear, then would have to restore the bus to original condition before returning it. So it made a whole lot more sense to buy them and build them to spec, even at a cost of $1.1 million apiece.

The only company that built a bus chassis strong enough to support the weight of everything the bus has is a company in Quebec, Canada. Then a company in Nashville took over installing all the specialized communication devices and security equipment. It’s pretty spacious and luxurious too.

They’re considered just part of the government fleet and painted a standard black.

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