Megabus Bursts Into Flames

A Megabus enroute to Chicago from Detroit was engulfed by fire this Tuesday, forcing the driver to flee for his life, abandoning the bus by the side of the highway as it turned to cinder.

The driver was tootling along when he noticed smoke coming out of the dashboard, and a blazing inferno quickly erupted thereafter. No passengers were on board and he was not injured.

The accident comes less than three weeks after another Megabus crashed into a bridge, killing four passengers, while the driver was checking his GPS device.

Guess “no frills” doesn’t mean “no thrills.” Hit the link for some crazy pix of the discount bus totally on fire.

Driver not injured after bus bursts into flames on Interstate 94 in Portage (with gallery) [mlive] (Thanks to Ronald!)

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  1. longdvsn says:

    “No passengers were on board”…I thought he was driving the hot route!

  2. rpm773 says:

    A Megabus enroute to Chicago from Detroit was engulfed by fire this Tuesday, forcing the driver to flee for his life, abandoning the bus by the side of the highway as it turned to cinder.

    And here I just assumed it would be a couple of lame pics with a little white smoke slipping out the wheel well.

    Ben, I’ll never doubt your assessment again.

  3. danmac says:

    Holy smoke…that’s one hot metaphor!

  4. corrie06 says:

    I commute to work via insterstate. I’ve seen so many broken down buses on the side of the road. Some with engine fires. I’ll never travel by bus because it’s obvious that they aren’t well maintained or taken care of.

  5. Hermia says:

    I have taken this bus, and every single time I’ve taken it there’s been a disaster. Last time was in July and the air conditioning broke during 96 degree heat. It also broke down twice on the way. I think I’m going to skip the Megabus from now on.

  6. prezuiwf says:

    If Megabus isn’t careful, soon they’ll have the same reputation as Fung Wah. Having gone to school in Boston, I know that line remains a popular way to travel from Boston to NYC on the cheap. But now it has a reputation for being an F-grade death trap since there always seems to be a fire or terrible accident involving those busses in the news.

    • LisaLisa says:

      Last time I rode Fung Wah, I saw a tire fly by my window on the highway and it turns out it was our tire. We had to pullover and wait 3 hours for another Fung Wah bus to come and pick us up. Was NOT happy.

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    WOAH! This is right down the street from our house!

  8. AllanG54 says:

    So what does this fire have to do with the bus that crashed. Two separate and completely difference incidents.

  9. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    And I though Greyhound was questionable…

  10. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    “Public transportation is for losers.” – H. Simpson

  11. dg says:

    Given all the issues involving Greyhound, and now MegaBus – perhaps it’s time for regulation of that industry. Yeah, it’s going to raise prices – but you know what? The prices are low right now, the service sucks, and the buses apparently aren’t well-maintained enough so they’re becoming dangerous.

    I shudder to consider what may have been had there been more than the driver on the bus.

    Enough of the late buses, overbooked buses, buses that don’t stop at scheduled stops, vomit not cleaned up, fires, doors that don’t close and freeze out everyone (including the handicapped), surly drivers, fighting passengers, and more…

    Long distance bus service serves an important function for many people, and could be beneficial to a lot of people if it wasn’t known to be such a clusterFrack.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Seriously, the bus transportation industry better step up to the plate and do some serious damage control. I never gave riding a bus a second thought. I laughed when Fungh wah had all those accidents, but this is not funny anymore. I’ll start driving more.

    • colorisnteverything says:

      Exactly. I would consider riding a bus rather than taking a short commuter flight home from my university where I am at grad school if it was both a. affordable and b. safe. I would be far more wiling to do this if the service wasn’t awful. I took the bus everywhere in the UK and it was nice and worry-free. It wasn’t as cheap as here, perhaps, but it was very reasonable and I didn’t ever feel unsafe. Most of the buses were really comfortable and nice and always seemed very clean.

      If they could up service and make buses seem like a REASONABLE alternative to driving or flying, then they could a. charge a bit more and b. develop a good reputation.

    • unpolloloco says:

      The issue is that regulating the industry would do nothing but drive up costs. It’s already debatable whether riding the bus or driving is cheaper…

  12. vastrightwing says:

    I understand diesel fuel burns, but it is actually hard to start, unlike gasoline.
    Q: Does the fuel tank cover the entire underside of the bus? How could the fire start under the dash and spread to the rest of the bus like that? It seems it went up in a hurry too.

    I’m very curious why this thing burned with such vengeance. Metal won’t burn, so there must be a heck of a lot of other combustible material on that bus to make burn like that. Wow! makes me feel very safe on an airplane compared to a bus.

    Consider also that Poland had a recent bus crash this week killing 17 people on board. I’m wondering what the Bus/airplane death ratio is.

    • tkmluv says:

      According to the US DOT:http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_02_01.html

      Air Total: 564 in 2009
      Buss Total: 67 in 2009

      • PLAAND88 says:

        Excuse me? Your citation:

        Air fatalities (2008)

        Total: 564
        US Air Carrier: 3
        Commuter Air Carrier: 0
        On Demand Air Taxi: 66
        General Aviation: 495

        Including GA in the aviation death statistic is like including passenger car occupants in the statistic for buses.

        • tkmluv says:

          That is nice and all but it wasn’t asked what the comparison was from commercial flight and buses. It was bus to airplane.

          • PLAAND88 says:

            Which is pretty obviously not meant to include GA because GA is no reflection of the average person’s experience in air travel.

            “Wow! makes me feel very safe on an airplane compared to a bus.”

            “I’m wondering what the Bus/airplane death ratio is.”

            I’m pretty sure Vastrightwing isn’t wondering about the risk factor every time he climbs into his Cessna or even calls up an on-demand air taxi.

            Your number grossly over-represents the danger of air travel.

          • PLAAND88 says:

            Which is pretty obviously not meant to include GA because GA is no reflection of the average person’s experience in air travel.

            “Wow! makes me feel very safe on an airplane compared to a bus.”

            “I’m wondering what the Bus/airplane death ratio is.”

            I’m pretty sure Vastrightwing isn’t wondering about the risk factor every time he climbs into his Cessna or even calls up an on-demand air taxi.

            Your number grossly over-represents the danger of air travel.

  13. trey says:

    discount bus?

  14. grebby says:

    “Megabus is a no-frills express bus service that runs between Chicago, Ann Arbor and Detroit on I-94.”

    As opposed to what, the express bus to Detroit that serves champagne and caviar on white linen tablecloths?

    • ellemdee says:

      As opposed to charter busses which offer perks like movies and snacks. I’ve taken a charter bus from the Detroit area to Chicago in the past and it was actually a nice way to travel. The bus left early in the morning, so they served us breakfast (just danishes, but it was still nice). There were several employees on board to help us plan our itenerary for the day and they even dropped off and picked up my group from a different location than the rest of the passengers at our request. It wasn’t as cheap as the Mega Bus (which didn’t exist at the time), but offered more perks.

  15. ophmarketing says:

    “Police say the driver noticed smoke filtering from the dashboard while he was traveling westbound on I-94 near Sprinkle Road…”

    Well, that was part of the problem. If he had been on Torrential Downpour Road, the fire would have been doused more quickly.

    • nybiker says:

      Hell, the story is written out of “Portage” – as in I’m trying to tie the definition of the word to the fact that he’s driving a bus, which normally ‘carries cargo’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portage – carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles. Well, it seemed kinda interesting in my mind. Not so much after I wrote it all out.

  16. KyBash says:

    The pictures with the article show it was a dead loss. I wonder why they were trying to put it out. At that point, they were only slowing it down, destroying potential evidence, and increasing the possibility of it spreading (firehoses are notorious from blasting loose burning upholstery which can float away, spreading the flames). It would have been faster and more productive to simply flood the roadway around it and wait for it to burn itself out.

    Do people ever get sent to jail for improper maintenance of pubic vehicles?

  17. meg99 says:

    I guess I’m back to Bolt bus!

  18. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    what is tootling? Is it like whistling while your driving along or was that meant to be tooling? LOL, JK ;)

  19. Nobby says:

    Hell, I’d burst into flames too if I knew my destination was Detroit.

  20. ChiDoc says:

    Last time I was on the megabus, the driver stepped out of the bus for a minute but i guess forgot to put the brake on. Anyways the bus started rolling away. Here is an audio recording of it and the rest of the drivers weirdness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrymhBUZzu4
    At least its cheap…

  21. ford says:

    Supposedly the bus we were waiting on tonight was delayed (1hr & 15min.) because of it flipping over in Chicago. They never emailed anyone. To included assuring us that it would not be a no show. This guarantee was made after someone had been told it had in deed been canceled. Very irritating after driving almost an hour to and then again home to hopefully return the next morning for a non-no show mega bus…