Arlington bus rolls down hill after brakes fail

Arlington Transit buses had no problems Tuesday making it up the steep embankment on Barton Street, a far cry from the frightening episode that sent an ART bus rolling back down the hill Monday after its brakes failed.

“It’d be hazardous to have that stall out on you, brakes fail,” says Brian Prunty.

The bus had 20 passengers on board as it started moving backwards with no way of stopping on its own.

“That would be scary,” says Sherry Merill, an ART bus passenger. "I don’t know that I would ride again.”

The incident happened on a busy road in Arlington, which prevented it from being worse.

“This is a unique incident, and the bus probably stopped because it was in traffic. This probably shouldn’t have happened,” says Steve Yaffe of Arlington Metro Transit.

The bus came to a stop when it crashed into two other cars.

Officials with ART are taking the accident seriously because the vehicle involved was one of three hybrid buses purchased just nine months ago. The county has now pulled all three from its fleet as they try to figure out what caused their brand new bus to fail.

“New is not always better,” says Merill.

Each of the hybrid buses cost about $600,000. ART has received several industry safety awards over the years, so they’re hoping to figure out what caused Monday’s incident fairly soon.