FLINT (WJRT) (5/16/2019) - One group of MTA buses has been on the road for nearly 24-years.
One of the buses has racked up 1.4 million miles. It was just taken off the road this month.
The group of 50 buses came to Michigan after shuttling people around in Atlanta, Georgia for the 1996 Olympics.
They were driven up here shortly after the games.
"In the industry, the standard is that you replace a vehicle at 12 years or a half a million miles," MTA CEO Ed Benning said. "So what we do is, what we have done in the past, is we rehab the bus and extend the life. And in this case, we doubled the life of the vehicle and tripled the miles, if you will."
Benning said a team in Owosso is responsible for the rehab. Because the Michigan road and weather conditions were not kind over the years, he explained the understructures were corroded.
So, the Owosso re-builder came in to help fix up many of the 50 Olympics buses.
But now, nearly 24 years later and thanks to a $16 million grant, the 50 are being replaced.
There are 22 new compressed natural gas buses on the road. 11 more are expected in September.
Benning said they're cleaner and helping MTA reduce their diesel footprint by one million gallons.
So what's next for the old buses?
"We put 'em out on an auction site and for the most part we see 'em as being scrap and or parts. When you have 'em for 24 years, but who knows. People can be very creative!" he said.
Benning said the change has been very exciting for his drivers. He also credits the maintenance department for their hard work keeping up the fleets.
And he added, 24 isn't their oldest bus, decades ago they had quite a few that were 34-years-old.
They referred to those as "museums on wheels."