Following a bus fire in Redondo Beach Tuesday morning, a Metro board member called for 32 aging diesel buses to be taken off the road immediately, which the transit agency said would be done by the end of the day.
Residents posted photos of the burning bus on social media, its back end fully engulfed in flames, at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Avenue H.
The fire was contained within the engine compartment and no one was injured, a Metro spokesman told City News Service.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who also has a seat on the transportation board, initially said the agency wasn’t moving fast enough to address her concerns.
“This bus is part of an aging fleet of diesel buses, several of which have caught fire in recent years,” Hahn said in a statement. “Late last year, I ordered that Metro expedite replacement of each of these old diesel buses, however, it is clear that this process is not moving quickly enough. These buses are dangerous and must be taken off our roads immediately.”
The agency has bought new compressed natural gas buses and will replace the remaining 32 diesel buses with existing CNG equipment by the end of the day, Metro spokeman Rick Jager said.
“So far, one new CNG bus has been put into service and another 10 new CNG buses have been delivered and are currently undergoing testing before placing into service,” he said. “In the meantime, we will be using existing CNG buses to immediately replace the remaining 32 diesel buses with MV Transportation.”
MV Transportation Inc. operates buses in the South Bay under contract to Metro.
When additional new CNG buses are available, the old CNG buses will be swapped out.
There are more than 2,300 buses in the Metro fleet, according to the agency’s website.
A CBS2 investigation last year found that seven buses in Metro’s older diesel fleet had caught fire since 2015. The station reported that 52 were still on the road at that time, operated for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the South Bay by MV Transportation Inc.
A Metro spokesman told Channel 2 in October that the buses were safe but that they were expected to be replaced with newer models by this summer.
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