Gillig Phantom

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Gillig Phantom
Sound Transit Gillig Phantom 9105-P.jpg
2008 Phantom operated by Sound Transit; one of the last models to be built.
Manufacturer Gillig Corporation
Body and chassis
Doors 1 door (school bus)
2 door
Floor type High floor, step entrance
Chassis Gillig
Engine Caterpillar
Detroit Diesel
Capacity 78-84 passengers (school bus configuration)
Length 30–40 ft (9.1–12.2 m)
Width 96–102 in (2,438–2,591 mm)
Predecessor Gillig Transit Coach
Successor Gillig Low Floor

The Gillig Phantom is a high-floor bus that was produced from 1980 to 2008 by the Gillig Corporation in Hayward, California. The successor to the Gillig Transit Coach, the production of the Phantom marked the transition of bus production from yellow school buses to transit buses. While a few examples of the Phantom were produced as a school bus, most were sold in the latter configuration; as of 2016, the Phantom is the last school bus sold by Gillig.

The Phantom is the first transit bus assembled entirely by Gillig (the company produced a small number of buses with Neoplan from 1977 to 1979). Produced in several configurations, the first Phantoms were 35 feet long and 96 inches wide; however, 30-foot and 40-foot models were offered beginning in 1981, and 102-inch-wide models became available in 1983. From 2005 onward, only the 102-inch-wide version was available due to stricter emissions and accessibility requirements.

A liquefied natural gas fueled version was produced beginning in 1992; it was later discontinued. A diesel-electric hybrid powered version was sold from 1996 to 2006; MTA in New York purchased a Gillig Phantom hybrid demo bus as well as diesels for MTA Long Island bus.

Body specifications[edit]

The Phantom was available with a narrow rear door or a wide rear door. Initially, the wide rear door option consisted of two narrow doors, but this was reduced to one wide door by the 1990s. Most Phantoms transit authorities opted for the narrow rear door. The wide rear door option was mainly ordered by airports and rental car agencies, even though the Utah Transit Authority and Torrance Transit were among the exceptions, with Honolulu's TheBus orders from 1983 and 1984 featuring a different configuration. The Phantom could be ordered with dual headlights or quad headlights, with most transit authorities opting for the latter.

Phantoms could be ordered with the wheelchair lift in either the front door or rear door. Those with the lift in the rear door had a slightly wider rear door to accommodate the lift. Most Phantoms were ordered with the wheelchair lift in the front door.

A rare option for the Phantom was a rear window. Monterey-Salinas Transit and King County Metro are the only two transit authorities known to have ordered Phantoms with a rear window.

Another rare option was windows that did not open. TheBus in Honolulu, Hawaii ordered their 1995-2003 Phantoms that way. Sound Transit's 2008 Phantoms also had windows that didn't open.

The Gillig Phantom is also available with luggage racks on the top for the baggage for the suburban version.

Production of the Phantom ended in September 2008, with some of the last buses going to Sound Transit. With the Phantom discontinued, Gillig produces only low-floor buses.

There is also trolley bus version used on the Seattle King Metro Service.

Gillig Phantom School Bus[edit]

Gillig Phantom school bus of Los Angeles Unified School District (California)

In 1986, Gillig introduced a school bus variant of the Phantom; the successor to the Transit Coach, the Phantom School Bus was the first all-new school bus from Gillig in 42 years. Although well received by its operators, sales dropped off in the late 1980s, leading to its discontinuation in 1993 (no Phantom school buses were sold in 1991 or 1992).

Aside from the obvious school bus yellow color scheme and warning lights, Phantom school buses were distinguished from the standard Phantom by several exterior design features. As it was the maximum approved width at the time for the type, all Phantom school buses were constructed with the 96-inch wide body. Additionally, they were equipped with dual vertical windshields, a rear (emergency exit) window, left-side emergency exit door, and single curbside door.


A 1998 Gillig Phantom operated by DASH services King Street – Old Town station in Alexandria, Virginia.
A 1999 Gillig Phantom operated by Mountain Metropolitan Transit in Colorado Springs, CO.

The Phantom was originally equipped with either a Detroit Diesel 6V92TA, 6V71, or Cummins L-10 diesel engine, and was later available with either a Cummins ISB, ISC, ISL, or ISM diesel engine. The Phantom was formerly available with the Detroit Diesel Series 50 engine from 1993 until 2004 when Detroit Diesel cut production of the Series 50 engine. The Detroit Diesel Series 40 engine was available from 1995 to 2003.

Engine Manufacturer Engine Model Years Available Notes
Caterpillar 3208


3208: 1986-1990

C9: 2003-2008

3208 available almost exclusively in Phantom school buses.

Only 57 transit buses were specified with this engine, all of which went to Ride On in Montgomery County, Maryland and delivered in 1989; all were 30 feet long.

Cummins L-10
L10: 1984-1994

ISB: 1997-2008

C8.3: 1993-1998

ISC: 1998.5-2006

ISL: 2001-2008

M11: 1994-1998

ISM: 1999-2008

Detroit Diesel 6V71,6V71TA
Series 40
Series 50
6V71/6V71TA: 1980-1988

6V92TA: 1980-1994

Series 50: 1993-2004

Series 40: 1995-2003

The Detroit Diesel 6V71 engine was available only for 30' buses while the 6V71TA was available for 30' and 35' models.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]