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Service on the new FX2 Division line will continue with regular buses until a fix is approved.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A 60-foot articulated bus seen before the opening of the Division line.All of TriMet's new 60-foot articulated buses have been recalled and will remain out of service at least until some time in December, if not later.

The manufacturer, Nova Bus, has issued a voluntary recall of all similar buses based on a problem TriMet first uncovered earlier this month. It involves connecting bolts that cannot be fully tightened, come loose and can fall out.

"It's disappointing that our new buses experienced this issue, just as it's disappointing to have an issue or recall on a brand-new car that needs to be addressed. But, we are thankful for the diligence of the operator who reported the odd noise and our maintenance team for identifying the issue and immediately removing the buses from service," TriMet said Friday, Nov. 18.

TriMet purchased 31 of the buses for service on the newly launched FX2 line between Portland and Gresham. Each one costs $935,000. Nova Bus is a member of Volvo Group and builds them at a facility in Plattsburgh, New York.

Regular TriMet buses will service the line until a solution is found.

"Our hope is to get the FX buses back in service sometime in December, once we feel confident that it is safe to do so. We appreciate our riders understanding as we focus on doing what's right for them, for our employees and for the communities we serve," TriMet said Friday.

The new buses are painted green because of the environmental benefits of being able to move more riders more quickly along the line. But TriMet posted a notice on Nov. 6 that they had been withdrawn from service after a driver heard a strange noise. The regional transit agency subsequently said inspectors had found a fastener or bolt that connects a mounting plate to the frame was missing or loose on six buses.

"Nova has directed TriMet that a spherical washer between the mounting plate and the frame of the bus is limiting the tightening of the bolts and advises replacing the washer with a solid spacer. We hope to receive confirmation of the solution by the end of November and then conduct testing. Until we are confident in the fix, our FX articulated buses will not return to service for the safety of our riders, operators and the public," TriMet said.

TriMet is the regional transit agency serving most of the TriMet-county area. The FX- Division line was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic reduced bus ridership. Construction continued through the pandemic after the federal government agreed to fund 50% of it.

A previous Pamplin Media Group story on the FX2 Division line can be found here.

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