The 500 series
1973 Flxible New Looks
These were the first Flxibles MTA purchased. It was the start of a 22 year relationship with Flxible that ended in 1995 with the company's demise. MDTA still had orders pending. This 74 bus order was numbered 501-574. They were V8 powered with the Detroit Diesel 8V71 coupled to the an Allison two-speed transmission. They were configured for 51 seated passengers and were MTA's first buses with mostly non-venting fixed windows, which is the norm today. The "500s" were known for their good power, cold AC, nice ride, and bad brakes. Most 500s were assigned to beach routes, only the 4 and 24 got them on the mainland. But this contributed to their early demise, as corrosion problems forced the agency to retire them as early as 1980, when the large RTS order came in. Bus 504 lasted to late 1985.
Bus 506 was a regular on the 4 as were 501-507. Then 508-511 on the 24, 512-518 on the 34, and the rest were Beach assignments. Though, you can argue that the 34 (today's J roughly) was a Beach run.