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King County Metro removes 126 buses from service due to manufacturing issue

Two Metro operators identified an issue with the steering system in some vehicles, and no accidents or injuries occurred as a result of it.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County Metro has proactively removed 126 buses from its 1,500-vehicle fleet after identifying a manufacturing issue with the steering system.

Two operators discovered the issue with some of the vehicles, and all the remaining buses in service have been inspected and remain up to King County Metro specifications. They say no accidents or injuries happened as a result of the steering system issue.

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ATU Local 587 is the union representing Metro bus drivers, and they say the calls started coming in yesterday.

"My phone started lighting up," said Cory Rigtrup, the union's Vice President of Maintenance. "A steering wheel doesn't make tires move. Yeah, that's about as big as you can get."

Rigtrup said he appreciates King County Metro's swift action.

"To Metros credit, they immediately shut the fleet down, brought them in for inspections, and they found 126 buses that are not safe,” he said.

King County Metro Spokesperson Sean Hawks said they apologize for the cancellations.

"That is about 8% of our fleet, so we still have 90% of service out there," Hawks said.

King County Metro said some trips have been canceled and plans have been adjusted as a result of the buses being removed. The following resources are offered for riders to check whether their trips have been impacted:

  • Use “Text for Departure” by texting your bus stop number to 62550. You will receive a text with the next departure times and/or canceled trips at that stop.
  • Sign up for Transit Alerts via email or text.
  • On Twitter, follow @kcmetroalerts for route alerts, cancellations and delays. Follow @KingCountyMetro for general information.
  • Visit TripPlanner.kingcounty.gov and/or use other map apps (e.g., Bing Maps, Google Maps, One Bus Away, etc.)
  • Metro’s customer service office is open on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at 206-553-3000.

King County Metro is working with the manufacturer of the affected buses, New Flyer, which has people on site working to resolve the issues.

No timeline was given for when the affected buses will be back in service.

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