Media reports on New York City’s old buses

This bus was delivered in 1994 or 1995, making it up to 15 years old.

This bus (#457), seen here in the Bronx earlier this year, was delivered in 1995/1996, making it up to 14 years old.

Today’s amNewYork newspaper contains an article about the state of New York City Transit’s bus fleet.

The MTA bus fleet isn’t aging gracefully.

Because demand is forcing more additional buses onto the street, more than one out of four in operation are at least 12 years old, the age when the vehicles are supposed to be retired.

Mechanics say they have increasingly found themselves tearing out engines and bus underbellies, while some drivers just blatantly refuse to get behind the wheel of the older models.

Expensive overhauls bring the old clunkers back to life, but it hasn’t transformed ugly ducklings into swans – meaning more breakdowns and delays for riders.

“Everyday the rails are cracking, the bulkheads are cracking,” said Bob Keith, a bus mechanic for 24 years who is running to become a union leader. “We are welding them all and putting them back into service. But that’s a temporary fix.”

I hate buses just as much as anyone, but I’m not so sure if things are really as bad as the article makes them out to be. Though I can say that some of the buses on my Bronx bus routes are up to 16 years old, and some of them rattle and shake like crazy. While I’d like new buses, I don’t want the new buses New York City Transit is purchasing (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post). So instead, I’d prefer to ride the “newer” buses from the existing fleet. That, or give me a 30+ year old vintage bus from the Transit Museum fleet 🙂

The article also included some stats:

Buses in the Big Apple
1,700: buses in the fleet are 12 years or older.
6,200: total buses in the fleet
3,950: average number of miles between bus breakdowns in January, up 20 percent from 2007

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2 Responses to “Media reports on New York City’s old buses”

  1. bob says:

    For those of us old enough to remember the Grumman Flxble (it was missing some vowels, but I might have left out the wrong ones) disaster this has a certain irony….then they couldn’t keep the new ones working. But the fact that these can keep running with a 4000 mile MDBF after 12-14 years of hard use is really a credit to the design & manufacture, and the shop forces.

  2. Nick says:

    I like the older buses. They are soon to be retired so enjoy them while you can. Also for those who do not like buses. MTA has to run buses up to as long of they can due to the fact that NYC is a big place.

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