Recently, I saw bus 0462 (marked in the picture for route 504) belching fumes. That itself is not remarkable. Some buses just stink. But this bus stunk in a peculiar way. See in the picture to the right how there is an exhaust pipe up high to the left of the bus, strategically above the passenger compartment and away from the curb? That is where one would expect the bus fumes to escape.
Instead, the fumes on this bus came out the bottom, apparently whenever the driver hit the gas, in a big gray plume. (The picture shows the bus idling).
I’ve seen several buses like this in the last year. Exhaust pipe on the top, heavy stinky exhaust cloud down below. When I’ve been unlucky, I’ve ridden on that bus and been made queasy by diesel fumes that perfumed the passenger compartment. Maybe it was the same 0462 bus over and over.
If the cloud of exhaust underneath the bus is indicative of a major leak in the exhaust system — the other possibility of a dummy exhaust pipe seems unlikely — one might wonder how the bus ever made it out of the shop. Ahem … make that “might have wondered,” i.e., wondered in the past. Turns out the bus maintenance people have been falsifying records to keep up the appearance that they could handle their backlogs of work. So far nineteen supervisors have been disciplined for faking regular maintenance of the buses.
Here’s guessing 0462 is overdue for its next checkup. Hopefully the T will have enough supervisors to deal with this problem soon.