SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)– Sportran is still trying to pinpoint what caused a wheel to come off one of its buses Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Hearne and Murphy while carrying a bus full of people. No one was hurt, but the accident raises questions about bus safety.
Sportran's manager tells KSLA News 12 that this accident is the first of its kind for the transit system. It's been established that the tire rim was worn out, and that the metal on that rim was torn. But Gene Eddy says it's not clear what caused that, but that heat may have played a role.
"When operating buses, there's about 500 to 600 degrees of heat, typically, in a wheel compartment like that, because of brake heat. Did that, plus the outside heat contribute to the problem? We don't know that," Eddy says.
Eddy says this incident was unpredictable-"We've had loose bolts before. We run two and a half million miles a year, and when we go to do our preventive maintenance check, the whole idea is to make sure they're re-tightened."
KSLA News 12 caught up with a few Sportran riders Thursday.
"I didn't know about that, and I'm not concerned," says Erica Reynolds.
Michael Harvey is only riding until his car is fixed. "It's something to worry about, but I try not to worry about it too much. Whatever happens happens."
And Lakendra Houston says it worries her: "...this is my only transportation, so I have to catch the bus."
Gene Eddy says he's asked the bus manufacturer if there have been similar problems elsewhere.
"We are also doing a campaign of our fleet to visually check all the bolts to see if there's any signs of fatigue, to make sure they're all properly tightened and torqued to their factory specifications."
Eddy doesn't believe riders should be concerned
"I would have my own relatives ride the bus every day. And I think this is an anomaly. It's a one time occurrence."
We're told this bus was on its regular preventive maintenance schedule. Every bus gets a preventive maintenance check done on every bus every six thousand miles (or every three to four months). Gene Eddy says if Sportran sees anything that could indicate that this kind of incident could happen again, it will take steps to notify riders.