Manufacturer Advises Bendy Buses Be Pulled From Streets Nationwide in Response to TriMet Driver Complaint

The transit agency spent nearly $30 million to purchase the buses for its new rapid transit route on Division Street.

TriMet pulled all 31 of its brand-new bendy buses from the streets in early November after mechanics discovered loose bolts on their frames.

Those bright green 60-foot articulated buses are still in the garage—and, now, their manufacturer has revealed why.

On Nov. 15, Nova Bus filed a recall notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, citing an “increased risk of crash” due to improperly tightened bolts within the buses’ steering systems. It advised owners not to drive the buses until the part is repaired.

“Nova Bus will inspect and tighten the fasteners as an interim remedy,” the recall notice states.

TriMet says the recall is based on an issue first discovered by a TriMet bus driver earlier this month. The driver heard strange noises while the bus was turning, and mechanics later inspected six buses and discovered loose or missing bolts on all of them.

“Nova has directed TriMet that a spherical washer between the mounting plate and the frame of the bus is limiting the tightening of the bolts and advises replacing the washer with a solid spacer,” TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt told reporters this morning.

She said the agency hopes to return the buses to service in December. The issue, she said, is unrelated to a separate August recall also involving the buses’ steering systems.

In the meantime, riders can expect “minor delays,” Altstadt said. Until the new buses can be fixed, the agency is relying on old ones, which require riders to board through the front door and place their bicycles on the front-mounted bike rack.