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Plastic Rings on Tires Make Buses Safer
Friday, June 13, 2008 4:27 PM  

Green plastic rings on lug nuts of bus tireA loose wheel nut on a tire can spell disaster if you're driving a bus.

Now METRO has installed tiny, neon-green triangular rings that are giving passengers a safer ride. Wheel-Check is a loose wheel-nut indicator. The plastic rings sit on top of lug nuts.  

"If all goes well with the lug nuts, the Wheel-Checks will all point in the same direction," said Larry Hewitt, METRO director of maintenance support functions. "If a lug nut becomes loose, then the Wheel-Checks will point out of position or sequence."

Each ring cost 32 cents and allows bus operators to do a simple visual check to find out if a lug nut is loose. Wheel-Checks are also heat sensitive and can signal hot-wheel conditions caused by a tight brake or wheel bearing problem. If the temperature soars higher than 248 degrees Fahrenheit, the circumference of the ring will blister and distort. Close-up of plastic rings on lug nuts

We started testing Wheel-Checks on 150 buses in January and documented two incidents when the small plastic rings did exactly what they were supposed to do. One melted Wheel-Check indicated a bus with a tight brake, and another melted Wheel-Check showed a bus with a failing wheel bearing.

Since then, we have bought about 58,000 Wheel-Checks. These days, checking the bright green rings is a required step when bus drivers inspect their buses before they go on the road.


Posted by Mary Sit
Filed under: ,


DominicMazoch said:

Now, what happens if I see one of these checks "out of Spec"?  If I am riding the bus, or at the same stop I am waiting, I can tell the op.

But what if i can't get to the op.  Call MPD?

# June 13, 2008 6:31 PM

scott doe said:

when are you going to get rid of the stupid q card and bring back the bus passes so I can get back on the bus?

# June 14, 2008 10:02 AM

P&R Rider said:

Well Scott, Metro will never go back to the old fare media.  The Q-Card was a way to increase revenue to Metro without having a fare increase, but I suspect the fare increase is coming as soon as their long term fuel contracts expire and they have to buy fuel at the new price. So either get a bike and ride where you want to go, or walk.  You could try to ride the train for free, but enforcement is getting tougher.

I'm not sure what the Q-Card has to do with lug nuts.

# June 14, 2008 7:29 PM

Cedric Collins said:

My opinion is that these should of been first installed on those 18-wheelers rolling along out there.  They're as much as likely to have a problem just like a bus.

# June 16, 2008 11:35 AM

Chris said:

yea, the buses are pretty well maintained when you "compare" them to the way many private truck companies service their fleets.

But METRO needs to either replace the buses or get rid of the ones with faulty a/c units. *cough* Route 102

# June 26, 2008 2:33 AM

Chris said:

And which driver inspects these things? I have seen many driver swaps and they have NEVER conducted a pre-trip before getting in the seat.

# June 26, 2008 2:35 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Chris said:  "But METRO needs to either replace the buses or get rid of the ones with faulty a/c units."


     METRO does NOT need to get rid of buses with "faulty A/C units.  However, METRO should leave them out of service at their respective garages until the a/c unit is fully repaired.

The buses you may have been talking about that may operate the 102 line that NEEDS TO RETIRE ALREADY is the Neoplan AN345/3 coach.  Those are the oldest "commuter" vehicles METRO has.  PUT THEM TO REST, WILL YA METRO?!

I say METRO ought to make it mandatory for operators to pre-trip every last bus that they're going to operate---for their safety---AND OURS!

# June 26, 2008 2:11 PM

wi11ie said:


I have been reading and now I must comment.

WE DO PRE-TRIP these PODs.(Pieces of defecation)

As an operator on the 102 I assure you that we are left with very few alternatives in "taking" these crapboxes out on the streets.

Penalty for refusing a POD? Days off.

Then when they crap out, It is like pulling teeth to get a decent non-POD to replace it with.

The problem does not exist with the operators, it starts with the gamble taken by scheduling personnel that a bus will actually be able to "make" its daily assignment.

These people in the assignment jobs get a list of recommended buses to go on a particular run.To avoid putting their jobs on the line they assign these PODs to the route that it calls for.

SO..... the problem is that scheduling would rather place the worst buses that we have so that visitors to our fine city can be greeted with the worst that we have to offer in public transportation.Gives us a great first impression..

Couple that with the illusion of "more service" by removing recovery time from schedules and you get PODs being driven by guys and girls that haven't went potty in 4 hours cause of 1-4 minutes of recovery time on each end. Result? Crappy bottom of the line buses being operated by people that are full to the eyes,resulting in a bad deal for everyone but the people getting bonuses for saving money.


# July 4, 2008 5:56 PM
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