PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – TriMet announced Tuesday that the longer, faster FX buses that were recalled shortly after hitting the road in Portland in 2022 should return to service in a few weeks.
The green, “bendy” buses launched in Portland in September 2022, but in November, a TriMet operator noticed a concerning flaw. When turning on one of the buses, the operator heard something that didn’t sound right. After investigating, they found that a fastener or bolt that connects a mounting plate to the frame of a bus was missing.
TriMet performed a further inspection on the buses and found that four of the six inspected buses had loose fasteners. The other two’s fasteners were completely missing.
The transit agency announced on November 2 that it was removing the buses from service “out of an abundance of caution.”
About two weeks later, TriMet announced that all of the new 60-foot articulated buses had been recalled by the manufacturer, Nova Bus.
TriMet had purchased 31 of the buses.
In the announcement issued Tuesday, TriMet said the buses have undergone extensive testing and analysis over more than 8 weeks.
“We are confident that the buses can be put back into service safely,” said TriMet spokesperson Roberta Altstadt.
Nova Bus is installing the solution to the problem on the Portland buses. It is replacing a spherical washer between the mounting plate and frame of the bus with a solid spacer that will allow for full tightening of the bolts.
Riders could see the green buses return to Portland streets as early as this week, Altstadt said. However, they won’t initially be picking up riders. Operators will be using them to get reacquainted with the vehicles and to train.
TriMet’s goal is to return the buses to FX2-Division service within the next few weeks.
“We appreciate our riders’ patience and understanding as we worked with Nova Bus to resolve this issue and ensure the buses could operate safely. We are eager to see the bendy buses back on the street and restore one of the key features of our new FX—Frequent Express—service,” Altstadt said.
The FX2 buses have room for more riders and TriMet said it helps service run faster by using multiple doors to allow riders to board and by allowing bikes on board.