By Allan Fuller
An electric bus parked at Putney Bus Garage caught fire this Wednesday (24 January) becoming the third vehicle to ignite in recent weeks.
The single decker bus owned by operating company Go Ahead lit up at around 8.21am requiring 20 members of staff to be evacuated from the building on Chelverton Road. There were no reported injuries.
The Fire Brigade received nine calls about the incident and sent two fire engines from Tooting and Fulham. It had the fire under control and the vehicle made safe within an hour.
Following the incident Go Ahead announced that it is checking all 380 electric vehicles in its fleet to ensure their safety. A spokesperson for Transport for London said, "Putney bus garage was partially closed following a fire on a bus. No one was on board the bus at the time, and it was extinguished quickly. "An investigation into the incident is now taking place."
Just under two weeks earlier on 11 January a double decker 200 bus caught fire on Wimbledon Hill Road. As the buses are of a different design, it is not thought at this stage that there is any link between the incidents although the buses in Putney and Wimbledon were made by the same manufacturer. A hybrid bus burst into flames in Woolwich earlier in the month.
Tom Cunnington, TfL’s head of bus business development, said after the Wimbledon incident that the city’s fleet of electric buses was “safe to use.” He added, “As a precaution, the fleet of buses that normally operate on route 200 is being temporarily withdrawn from service by GoAhead while the investigation continues, with other vehicles being brought in to cover.” “All buses made by the relevant manufacturer will be checked thoroughly as a matter of priority. “Other buses in the fleet remain in service and TfL and bus operators will not hesitate to take further action if required to ensure the network remains safe.”