King County Metro pulls 8% of bus fleet for steering issues

Dec 8, 2022, 2:03 PM
transit service, sales tax, King County metro...
A King County Metro bus near the Amazon Spheres in downtown Seattle. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

King County Metro removed 126 buses from its 1,500-bus fleet Tuesday because of steering manufacturing issues.

Al Sanders, Public Information Officer with King County Metro, said they immediately brought in the buses when the issue was brought to their attention.

Some Metro trips canceled after steering system issue found in buses

“We had two operators — one in late October and one in early November — [who] mentioned to our maintenance staff that they had seen an issue with the steering column,” Sanders said. “We immediately brought in all of our 1,500 coaches to check and see what the issue was. It has been isolated to 126 coaches.”

Sanders said the buses in question didn’t lead to any collisions or injuries. Metro proactively removed the buses from service Tuesday afternoon, and they are working to understand what the issue is with guidance from the manufacturer.

So what does that mean for passengers who ride Metro?

“For them, we first want to make sure that everyone understands that the safety of our passengers, the operators, and the public is our first priority,” Sanders said. “That’s why we proactively took these coaches out of service. This represents only 8% of our fleet. But it does mean that we had to shift coaches around to make sure that we were covering service.”

He encourages riders to check their routes before they head out.

  • Use “Text for Departure” by texting your bus stop number to 62550. You will receive a text with the next departure times and/or canceled trips at that stop.
  • Sign up for Transit Alerts via email or text.
  • On Twitter, follow @kcmetroalerts for route alerts, cancellations, and delays. Follow @KingCountyMetro for general information.
  • Visit TripPlanner.kingcounty.gov and use other map apps (e.g., Bing Maps, Google Maps, One Bus Away, etc.)
  • Metro’s customer service office is open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (206) 553-3000.

While King County Metro does not have a date at this point on when the buses will be fixed and returned to their route.

“The first priority is to diagnose what the next steps are going to be to repair them, and then, we will start with repairs,” Sanders said. “There are challenges in terms of the basic supply lines making sure that the materials are are sent to us by new flyer and working on getting them corrected.”

Follow Micki Gamez on Twitter or email her here.

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King County Metro pulls 8% of bus fleet for steering issues