Metrobus users should prepare for longer wait times after the transit agency pulled 164 buses from the streets Wednesday—about 10 percent of its fleet—after two incidents in which the engines stopped without warning while traveling at low speed.
Those two incidents results in minor injuries after the buses’ engines cut off without warning while moving at less than 10 mph and the brakes engaged. The buses will be out of operation until the cause of the engine problem is determined, Metro announced Wednesday.
Metro’s Rush Hour Promise will not apply to bus delays resulting from the safety checks, the agency said.
“We are taking this action, putting safety first, until we fully understand what caused these engines to cut off unexpectedly,” Metro Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin said in a statement. “While we understand there may be some customer inconvenience as a result of this action, safety must trump service.”
Metro is deploying its fleet of approximately 80 reserve buses to help offset the removal of the New Flyer fleet. However, the reserve buses will not fully replace the entire 164-vehicle New Flyer fleet, and bus customers may notice longer wait times between buses.
Passengers should monitor MetroAlert notifications about significant delays.
The 164 buses were manufactured by New Flyer in 2015 and 2016. The buses are all 40-foot compressed natural gas models that operate out of Metro’s Bladensburg Bus Division in Northeast DC and Four Mile Bus Division in Arlington.
The buses remain under manufacturer warranty, and New Flyer is sending a team of experts to participate in the investigation.