For everyone still coping with Metro trip cancellations, we’ve been noting in our weekday morning traffic/transit watches that we’ve had a request out to Metro for a while, seeking an update on how many buses are still out of service. Tonight we have the answer.
“We are nearing the finish line for this round of steering column replacement efforts,” says Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer.
It’s been exactly two months since Metro revealed on December 6th that a steering defect identified by two of its drivers took buses out of service for repairs. Metro at first said it “proactively removed 126 buses from service out of its 1,500-vehicle fleet.” Then on January 12th, Metro said it actually needed to fix 206 buses, more than two-thirds of which had been repaired by then.
Now, Switzer says, “We are currently looking at 28 buses needing replacement steering columns, of which we have parts in hand to address 20 buses in the coming days thanks to our partnership with [manufacturer] New Flyer.” That work is expected to continue through the end of this month. But that’s not the end of it, he adds: “Building on initial guidance from the manufacturer, Metro has implemented a new enhanced inspection process to identify any additional buses in need of total steering column replacement moving forward.” So in terms of their service levels – which of course are affected by other factors, too, such as staffing challenges – “We’re in the range of 97% of our typical weekday service, and 100% on weekends, but appreciate the patience of riders while we work to address our fleet availability challenge.”