There’s a reason that the ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ symbol is in that order. It’s because each of them is more important than the last, however important they all may be. That’s an important part of this story about buses. Wait for it.
As much as we love buses, we know that they will not be used as originally planned forever. Eventually, they’ll all have to be permanently parked. But, we can reduce our environmental footprint by reusing old buses, and make use of the ones that are still running to bring useful things, wonderful ideas, and creative projects to the people who need or want them.
There are a lot of people dedicated to making sure that our planet is a better one for future generations. Here’s how some of these innovators are using buses to make a big difference, and getting creative along the way.
L’Anonyme Sticks Out by Blending in
What better way to make use of an old bus than to use it to educate, inform, and maybe even save a life or two along the way?
The good people at L’Anonyme (literally: The Anonymous) in Montreal are a group dedicated to promoting safe sexual behavior and “egalitarian relationships, as well as [preventing] the transmission of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.”
They have very cleverly painted their bus to replicate a graffitied brick wall, which blends in nicely with its surroundings. They’re not trying to camouflage or hide the bus, though. They’re on a very important mission and it’s absolutely essential that people know who they are, and feel comfortable approaching them.
They go to the same places, at the same time, building trust with the people who need their services the most. The bus carries a social worker and a sexologist, who hand out condoms, free needles, and advice to the people who need it most.
In the Street with Dans La Rue
In an effort to provide services to homeless people and at-risk youth in Montreal, the people behind Dans La Rue (which translates as “In the Street”) use an upcycled RV to provide much-needed warmth and care to those in need.
They call it The Van, and it’s a mobile escape that travels the streets of downtown Montreal, making stops in zones where homeless people tend to gather. They provide clothing, hot meals, a place to hang out and get warm, as well as support and someone to talk to and get advice from.
More People Do Well when these People Do Good
One of the things that you’ll often hear from people who support specific causes is that people always ask them how they can get involved. The same held true for the “doGOODers” who ride the Do Good Bus in Los Angeles, California.
So what did they do? After renting a bus for a party, they had an idea. They got their friends together, got them onboard a bus, and showed them exactly how they could get involved.
The entire operation is meant to raise awareness for local causes and to “create community amongst volunteers and prove the power of working together to make a difference.”
Then end result is that people begin to feel like a part of a community, encouraging them to keep getting involved and to do more good deeds. What do you need to get involved? An open mind and a willingness to help is more than enough to cover your ride fare aboard the Do Good Bus.
Will Reuse for Food
Every bus has a purpose. On the most basic level, they’re built to carry people from one point to the other. But, as with all things, the time will come when buses are no longer able to fulfill their original transportation purpose. That’s not to say they’re no longer useful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
There are a lot of great ideas that people have had to reuse old buses, one of our favorites being reusing an old bus to turn it into a dining room. It’s not just a great way to protect the environment; it’s a clever and unique way of reusing an old bus. And it looks amazing!
Take, for example, this converted bus in Berlin. Café Pförtner in Berlin is described as a “patchwork bistro,” featuring an old bus with tables where you can sit and have lunch. It’s a great way to experience something new, and score some great food!
Go Anywhere while Working from Home
What do you get for the person who works from home, but misses taking the bus to work everyday? How about an old public bus cabin that’s been transformed into a cozy office?
There’s a lot of talk about conceptual design these days, and one has to admit that for this project, there was definitely some design genius behind it.
This project ends up being a small room inside of another room. In this case, it’s placed in the corner of a larger bedroom, and creates an immersive desktop experience like no other. It’s amazing what a little bit of ingenuity can do, and with a home office built like this, sky’s the limit on how far you can go!
Living Large in a Tiny Home
More and more people are trying to live larger lives with a lot less, and are attempting to reduce their environmental footprint. Enter the tiny house movement, with people building small and tiny (read: 400 sq. ft. and under to qualify as “tiny,” and up to 1,000 sq. ft. to qualify as “small”) houses.
These houses are generally mobile, with a few exceptions. One could easily build a tiny house just about anywhere they’re permitted to build a full-size home without the hassle (or adventure) of moving it elsewhere.
For those who wish to limit their footprint even further, there’s the option of reusing something that already provides shelter. Like a bus!
The Tiny Home Bus is a great example of this very thing. It’s a 1966 GMC Commuter Greyhound that’s not just a home — it’s an AirBnB location in Yucca Valley, California. The interior of the bus has been masterfully renovated to accommodate up to four adults, complete with cooking facilities. It’s even got a full bathroom!
It’s not just a home, it’s a work of art, and an innovative example of what you can do with a beautiful old bus.
View this post on Instagram
Putting the “Bus” in Business
When Nokia launched a new smartphone, their marketing people looked for a way of making sure that the campaign behind the new product made a splash. And that’s where their bus comes in!
The Bus Business is a company that will let your message take the bus, and take your message to the people who need to see it! They’ve done 3D renders on a lot of different kinds of buses, and other vehicles.
For the Nokia campaign, they repurposed a double-decker bus, added displays, an onboard meeting room, and interactive product displays. The end result of the campaign was that Nokia was able to reestablish itself as a contender in a crowded smartphone market — something that I’m sure all the execs at Nokia could get on board with.
Hop on the Pop Up Shop!
By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of a pop up shop. Usually located in a trendy district’s unoccupied retail space, or at the back of an old, unused industrial building (bonus hipster points), the pop up shop is a great way for brands to spark FOMO for passersby and generate a little more business to their temporary locale.
This particular pop up shop, put on by Kate Spade, was installed on a bus that had been painted to replicate a tour bus from the 60s. The great thing about this pop up shop is that it’s not limited to any one location — the bus travelled cross-country from NYC to Seattle, and even Austin, Texas.
The Bus of the Past Becomes the Bus of the Future
As we’ve seen, it’s pretty amazing what can be done with old buses whose sole purpose was once to bring people to corporate events, shuttle people across the country, or transport kids to school outings.
What’s even more fascinating is the creativity demonstrated in pushing the boundaries of what buses can be. Buses keep us moving forward, and they do so much more than simply getting people from Point A to B – they create unique experiences, whether they’re connecting passengers or being used for unconventional means.