This week I heard from a shuttle operator* that CDTA is now number one in the country for, get this, bus fires. Number one! How exciting. Am I the only person who's more than a little concerned about that (unverified) statistic? I imagine that CDTA's fleet is tiny in comparison to that of a larger city and still we're beating them soundly in the category of burning up. Both weathered (4-5 years old, in the case of a shuttle) and brand spankin' new hybrid buses have been affected, with electrical and mechanical failures identified. So what does that mean? What is the underlying issue here, and, more importantly, what is being done by CDTA to remedy it? The fact that no one has been injured is a testament to the skill and level-headed reactions of the drivers involved but I certainly hope that it doesn't take a rider or operator getting hurt for changes to be made. As someone who tries to devote a lot of time to promoting public transportation these incidents are frustrating and scary. I already have enough people looking at me like I'm equal parts pathetic and nuts when I tell them I ride the bus. The potential for explosions does not help.
*who should have been driving the ill-fated bus on Monday, but wasn't, because he had taken it as a personal day. Employees who are recognized for excellence in safety during the year are awarded a floating holiday and thanks to fate or coincidence RB chose Monday as his. In my opinion, avoiding being engulfed in flames is an awfully appropriate way to celebrate one's attention to safety.