The bus drivers union in Montgomery County, Md., filed a grievance after a rash of Ride On bus fires, and the union is also calling for two bus models to be pulled from service immediately.
Six Ride On buses have caught fire in the past three years. The causes of the fires have ranged from circuit breaker problems to brake issues.
In its grievance, the union cited unsafe working conditions:
The continued operation of buses that continue to catch fire is a known and foreseeable danger that unnecessarily exposes employees and the public to known and unacceptable risks.
Montgomery County responded in a statement from David Dise, Director of the Department of General Services:
The safety of the public is of paramount importance to Montgomery County. Our mechanics assess the condition of every bus for safety before it is put out on the road. The consequences of pulling all the Champion buses off the road immediately is that thousands of riders will be left at their bus stops waiting for a bus that Ride On does not have.
"It is clear that the reliability of the Champion buses no longer meet Ride On’s standards," the statement continued. "That is why we are replacing all the diesel Champion buses over the next six months."
The first five Ride On bus fires happened on diesel buses. A sixth fire occurred on a bus that runs on gas.