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Metro pulls 94 buses after two catch fire

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In the wake of two bus fires in the span of a week, WMATA has pulled 94 Metrobuses from service that are of the same model as the ones that caught fire.

(Photo: Heather Farrell)

The most recent fire happened on an Orion VI-model bus on Route 50 in Maryland on Tuesday morning. There were no injuries or passengers on the bus, which was being operated by a mechanic at the time.

Metro began using the diesel-fuel buses in 2000. The use of Orion VI buses was reduced last week after another bus caught fire on April 12 on Interstate 66 in Fairfax. No one was injured in that fire, either; something that Metro acknowledges is a fortunate result for the agency.

The 94 pulled buses represent just more than 6 percent of the Metro bus fleet. In a statement, WMATA general manager Richard Sarles said that the agency will take all steps necessary to minimize customer impact while the buses are out of service.

Some passengers, however, expect even more problems from the already troubled transit system. However, they acknowledge that Metro has to take bold action.

"Safety...has to be the first priority," Metro commuter Kirsten Peterson said.

An outside investigator has been retained to try to determine the cause of the fires.

 

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