The Gillig Phantom was a transit bus produced by the Gillig Corporation in Hayward, California. The Phantom was first introduced in late 1980 and, with the exception of a small number of buses built in a three-year-long joint venture with Neoplan from 1977 to 1979, was Gillig's first transit bus. 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. A liquefied natural gas fueled version was produced beginning in 1992, and was later discontinued. From 2005 onward, only the 102-inch-wide version was available due to stricter emissions and accessibility requirements.
A diesel-electric hybrid powered version was produced beginning in 1996, but was discontinued in 2006. MTA in New York purchased a Gillig Phantom hybrid demo bus.
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. 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.
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.
Gillig Phantom School Bus
)The school bus version of the Phantom was introduced in 1986. Much like its predecessor, the Transit Coach, the Phantom School Bus was marketed primarily for West Coast operators. Although initially well-received, sales dropped off and production ceased in 1993 (no Phantom School Buses were sold in 1991 or 1992). Only the 96-inch body width was produced as a school bus, as the 102-inch body specification was not approved for school bus use. Aside from the school bus yellow color scheme and warning lights, the school bus version was distinguished from the standard Phantom by its single curbside door, dual vertical windshields, and standard dual headlights.
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.