Waterbury: Where Westport Minnybuses Go To Die

Or, at least one of them does.

Jennifer Sabella is a 1982 Staples graduate. She lives in Litchfield now. For years she’s passed by a junkyard near the Route 8 Colonial Avenue exit in Waterbury.

Deep in the woods — almost hidden by brush — she spotted an old Westport Minnybus.

Jennifer DeJesus Sabella's 1975 and '76 Minnybus passes.

Jennifer DeJesus Sabella’s 1975 and ’76 Minnybus passes.

Back in the day, they were Westport’s cutting-edge (yet diesel-belching) transportation technology. Driving fixed routes, they ferried people — mostly kids — around town. At least one parent was known to park kids on a Minnybus for a round-trip or two, using it as a vehicular babysitter.

At least 10,000 youngsters used it as a place to escape home, smoke cigarettes, make out.

Jennifer always wanted to take a photo. But that stretch of highway is busy. The junkyard entrance is hard to find. And there’s (of course) a barking dog.

The other day though, there was very little traffic. She pulled over.

And she recorded this little bit of Westport history, now rusting quietly away in the Valley.

Minnybus in Waterbury

17 responses to “Waterbury: Where Westport Minnybuses Go To Die

  1. what an exciting time! I loved that Minny Bus!

  2. Marc Sholes Staples class of 80'

    I think back on that time and think of Westport as incredibly innovative. Those Minnybuses we great. I remember the drivers and the routes and meeting at Jessup green. I think we got our ID’s at the YMCA. does anyone remember how many years Westport had access t the MInnybuses.

  3. Jonas Shapiro

    They were so great. I remember once being on the wrong bus as a kid and doing three full round trips before finally realizing ( with the help of the kind and inquisitive driver) I was on the wrong route.

  4. karen Howes Westport youth comm.

    Wow, great, warming story..my husband and I have such fun stories and loved those minny buses growing up ! thanks for the chuckle this morning 🙂

  5. The minnybus gave the mothers a break from driving and the kids independence and autonomy. We all loved her. mmm

  6. There must be a Westport rock band that can resurrect this and put it to good use as a means of transportation for its gigs. (On the other hand, perhaps Westport-based rock bands have gone the way of the Minnybus, although I hope I’m wrong about that.)

  7. Wish I could remember the name but one SHS student’s grandmother road the minibus all over town without a destination so she could practice speaking English with the bus driver. I believe she was from China. It worked.

  8. Joyce Bottone

    The days before Mommy Taxi Service. Great memories navigating myself around town to get to friends houses. I just came across a couple of my minibus passes, the other day. Thanks for the nice story!

  9. How lucky we were! Those minibuses were terrific. I wish I had saved my pass…Thanks Tweetie for taking this picture and sharing your pass with us it’s taken me back in time….. And thank you Dan Woog!

  10. We used the current Westport transit when we werr in highschool 1999-2003.

  11. I remember taking the bus with my sister to get to work in 1976. We took the bus to the train to the subway and then did the reverse at night!

  12. The Minnybus is one of Westport’s best-ever transit achievements. I think Fred Cantor’s suggestion to resurrect it as a bus for a local band is spot on. Kickstarter, anyone?

  13. Let’s get a group together to go see those buses!!!! I miss them – 1980 grad.

  14. Still trying to find the right way to write how the Minnybus sounded. Tunk-a tunk-a tunk-a tunk-a, or maybe putt-a, putt-a, putt-a, or maybe clunk-a, clunk-a, clunk-a.

  15. I would love to hear more about the Minnybuses and how they might fit into Westport’s transportation future. Is it possible they morphed into the After-School Shuttles? They must have been in service before The Norwalk Transit District took over.

  16. 18 Hillandale Road

  17. This story and posts are awesome. Westport has been providing progressive shuttle services for students, commuters, our seniors and people with disabilities for over 40 years. It says alot about our town and how unique it is. Anyone interested in helping the tradition continue should contact the Westport Citizens Transit Committee (wpctc@westportct.gov).

    Jim Ross, Chair, Citizens Transit Coimmittee