There’s a special kind of pride that comes with taking good care of a vehicle and watching the odometer tick into high mileages. But while many people are content to retire their vehicles after 100,000 miles or so, the Metro transit service in St. Louis has achieved an even more impressive accomplishment by running a bus for an incredible 1 million miles.
Its Cummins M11 engine has never required an overhaul despite being driven consistently for more than a decade and a half.
“To put it into perspective, it’s the same as if this bus had traveled around the world more than 40 times,” said John Nations, president and CEO of Metro transit’s parent company in an interview.
St. Louis Metro officials credit their rigorous vehicle maintenance program with enabling them to keep the bus on the road as long as they have.
The Metro service began redesigning its fleet maintenance program in 2001, and since then the expected lifespan of transit buses in St. Louis has increased from about 500,000 miles to 750,000 miles.
Although this is the first bus they’ve managed to run for 1 million miles, they expect more of their veteran buses to hit that same mark in the next couple of years.
In addition to increasing the lifespans of its buses, Metro’s improved fleet maintenance program has also dramatically reduced breakdown rates, making its service far more reliable for riders in St. Louis. It just goes to show how a little extra maintenance and attention to detail can make a transit bus a great investment for the future.