Correction to This Article
This article incorrectly identified the type of Metrobus that caught fire in an incident in late August. It was a compressed natural gas bus, not a hybrid electric New Flyer bus.

D.C. area Metro transit agency pulls 100 buses after Beltway fire

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2010

A Metro bus burst into flames Thursday on the Capital Beltway near Springfield, and the transit agency said it would immediately remove 99 buses of the same type because of a problematic part that could have contributed to the combustion.

All 100 buses belonging to the 10-year-old, diesel-powered Orion VI series would not return to service Friday so they could undergo repairs to hydraulic pumps, official said.

Metro said in a statement that it was testing a "possible repair to the problem" on one bus and would repair and test each bus before returning it to service. It was unclear how long the process could take.

Metro has 1,500 buses in its fleet, and officials said riders should expect "minimal impact," although waits for buses may "increase by a few minutes."

James M. Dougherty, Metro's chief safety officer, said the move was precautionary.

"We don't want to risk other buses catching on fire," he said.

Dougherty said that there was a fire about two weeks ago on a newer type of bus and that the incident is under investigation. Buses of that type, part of the hybrid electric New Flyer series, were being examined by a contractor but remain in service, he said.

The New Flyer buses had been rehabbed recently.

Officials could not immediately provide more information about the incident.

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