published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Megabus double-deckers temporarily replaced

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  • photo
    A Hart County firefighter breaks the glass of a second level window on a Megabus charter bus after it caught fire on northbound Interstate 85 near the Georgia and South Carolina border in Lavonia, Ga. on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. Chicago-based Megabus said about 80 passengers were aboard the Charlotte, N.C.-bound bus when the fire broke out at about 11:30 a.m. All were safely evacuated by the driver in the accident that is the latest in a string of problems for the company.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Christopher Quinn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Megabus has pulled its double-decker buses off Georgia highways for safety checks.

All buses leaving the Atlanta hub will be checked, including busses that travel between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Byrony Chamberlain, the director of operations for the transport company, said single deck buses have replaced the double-deckers until the checks are complete. Service has not been interrupted.

“We were confident in the vehicles anyway, but this is extra safety precautions,” Chamberlain said.

Georgia did not ask Megabus to pull its double-deckers off Georgia highways, according to a spokesman with the state Department of Public Safety.

The checks are related to recent mishaps by Megabuses, including an Illinois accident Aug. 2 that killed one passenger and injured dozens and a bus in Georgia that caught on fire along I-85 a few days, later closing the highway for hours, Chamberlain said.

After the fatal accident, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cautioned motor coach companies about bus loading and tire pressures. It advised companies to prevent tire failure by properly loading passengers and cargo and by increasing pressure in rear tires to the maximum when buses are carrying heavy loads.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety also has begun safety and weight checks on all bus and van carriers as part of a national sweep.

Agencies around the nation are selecting random buses and vans to be weighed at weigh stations, terminals and stops and also are performing safety checks.

“Our effort toward checking motor coaches in the current two-week period was already in play before the Megabus situation reared its head,” said Capt. Bruce Bugg with the state Motor Carrier Compliance Division.

“We have also pulled in Megabuses into weigh stations and inspected them as well. But it is part of an overall inspection of of carriers. We have not targeted Megabus necessarily.”

Megabus offers regular non-stop bus trips from Chattanooga to Atlanta, Knoxville and Nashville with some fares starting as low as $1.

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