SPIRIT of Mobility Bus #1 goes back in service

The first ARBOC Specialty Vehicles low-floor bus ever built in 2007 has returned in service after five years of retirement.

Nine years ago, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles (then known as ARBOC Mobility) built their first prototype bus to demonstrate their ground breaking ADA compliant low floor technology for small shuttle buses. The prototype was used for engineering development as well as sales and marketing promotions accumulating tens of thousands of miles in the process. As production geared up Old #1 as it became known was phased out of use and finally retired in 2011. For the past 5 years it has been stored at the ARBOC manufacturing facility in Middlebury, Indiana. That is, until May of this year.

Craig Bennett, the son-in-law of one of the ARBOC Specialty Vehicles founders Jim Bartel, suffered a horrific accident while racing in Brazelton, Georgia in April of this year.  Craig suffered a crushed L5 vertebrae as well as bone fractures in every appendage. He was sedated for 11 days, underwent 6 surgeries which resulted in 58 screws and several plates being added to his anatomy. Needless to say, recovery will take a long time- but full recovery is expected. Because of these injuries, Craig needed a means to transport himself for several months to doctor’s appointments and to work as a vintage race car engineer.

Jim contacted Don Roberts, President of ARBOC to discuss the accident and inquire if they had any low floor product that could be used for a while. Don never hesitated a second. He said, “Let’s put old #1 back in service.” After routine service, a new battery and tires, the Bus was delivered to Craig and Leah Bennett, Craig’s wife. The bus is operating flawlessly, even after setting idle for 5 years. The ADA features introduced to the market in 2008 and included in every ARBOC bus to date, have made daily travel comfortable and efficient for Craig.

The smooth function of this bus also makes a clear statement for the reliability and durability of the ARBOC products, over 95% of all buses built since the company shipped its first bus in 2008 remain in service. Some of these buses have accumulated over 300,000 miles in service.