Talk about a deal! Ben Franklin Transit purchased 11 slightly used buses to upgrade their mostly run down fleet, and they only paid $1 for each bus!
The buses originally belonged to Sound Transit in Seattle, but when they got new hybrid buses, they decided to help out BFT. The two transit agencies agreed on the price, and Sound Transit was able to transfer the buses to the Tri-Cities.
Many of BFT's buses have over a million miles on them, and are decades old. Service Development Manager Kathy McMullen says they have a hard time getting grants to buy new buses themselves, because the Tri-Cities has great air quality. She says the grants normally go to cities with air pollution problems, such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
"The newer buses, especially the hybrids, have really low emissions, so they help to keep the air clean in the cities. We're blessed with really clean air, so we've had a very low priority," she said.
The buses are not only newer and have fewer miles, but they are all wheelchair compatible, have reclining seats, foot rests and overhead compartments. Some have already been added to BFT's normal local route.. with stops every few blocks.
The new additions will allow Ben Franklin Transit to get rid of over thirty older buses.