A technical malfunction forced UMBC students to switch buses on their way to Arundel Mills Mall last weekend.
On Saturday, April 11, a UMBC Transit bus driving along the Arundel/BWI MARC transit line broke down on Interstate 195, near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Students and other passengers then waited for approximately 40 minutes before a replacement bus from UMBC Transit was able to pick up the group.
Alfred Hayre, a junior information systems major, was riding the bus with a group of friends when the incident occurred. Hayre recalled the back of the bus began to fill with smoke.
“A student went to the front of the bus to inform the bus driver of what was going on,” Hayre said. “The bus driver said that he was aware of the smoke in the back, and that he was trying to get to a safe spot where he could pull over.”
The bus driver pulled over near BWI Airport. Once stopped, according to Hayre, the driver initially stated that a broken radiator had likely caused the breakdown.
A replacement bus arrived thereafter to pick up the original group of passengers and resume the route. No one on board the first bus was injured.
Ricardo Jay Boulware, Associate Director of UMBC Transit, said that maintenance personnel determined the cause of the breakdown to be a cracked exhaust pipe. Boulware said that the crack in the pipe “triggered the the fire suppression system to go off, as it is designed to do.”
According to Boulware, an “immediate message” was sent out via the UMBC Transit Tracker system to alert other potential passengers of the incident.
Boulware stated that UMBC Transit is now taking preventative measures against possible similar malfunctions on its other buses. “UMBC Transit is inspecting other exhaust pipes to see if this is an age-related issue and if a similar condition exists.”