Two electric Muni buses caught fire last week, leading to the immediate evacuation of passengers and the inspection of a substantial part of the Muni Trolley Electric Coach fleet. The fires occurred on December 8 and 10, both on buses that had been in service for almost 15 years.
The first fire happened near City College of San Francisco on Ocean Avenue, while the other took place at Union and Mason Streets, reports the Examiner.
Both buses were of the type that use electricity from overhead wires to power their engines.
SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley confirmed the incidents in conversation with the paper after sending out an internal memo detailing the blazes last week. Apparently both fires began in the same spot on each bus and involved the pole that connects the bus to the overhead wires.
“The connector of the pole is what burned through,” explained Haley. “These coaches are ready to be replaced,” he said, “but given the delivery schedule (of new buses), most will remain in service for another two years.”
In response to the incidents, Haley ordered the inspection of 298 buses in an attempt to determine if the problem was widespread.
“We’re doing a two-step inspection process, and repair to replace the connectors,” he explained.
After completing the inspections, 45 buses were found that needed work to prevent similar fire-prone conditions.
Fortunately, no one was injured in either fire.
According to SFMTA, San Francisco's trolley coach fleet is larger than any other city in either the United States and Canada.
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