Diners and bars made from old trolley and subway cars have been retro fixtures for decades, but most old public transport vehicles spend their last days in junkyards or undergo creative reuse. It's very expensive to scrap or recycle subway cars because, at about 18 tons each, they require some effort to move and often need to be stripped and cut down before being crushed and scrapped. Many sit in scrap yards, but for a time, subway cars donated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York City were dumped off of the New Jersey coast into the Atlantic. While that sounds pretty fishy, the cars were approved for dumping because they created an artificial reef for keeping marine life in the coastal waters. Although it started as a successful project, it ended in 2009 because the cars were starting to fall apart. Once again, the retired subway cars, which are costly to break down, land in salvage and scrap yards [sources: Murray, NJ.com].
Reuse, Recycle, Restore
Junk and salvage yards in the former Yugoslavia were loaded up with scrap following the war in the 1990s. During the siege of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, most public transportation vehicles were bombed or bullet-ridden and needed replacement as the conflict ended. Due to the high cost of tram cars and buses, replacing the country's transport system could have taken many years. Thanks to the world community, though, service resumed with the help of donated trams, buses and trolleys. Visitors to the city of Mostar, for example, can ride in buses provided by the Japanese. Always a crossroads of cultures, post-war Bosnia had the added internationalism of colorful, flag-emblazoned transit cars to keep them moving during rebuilding [source: JICA].