Officials: Bus fleet is safe

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials believe a bus fire that snarled rush-hour traffic last week was caused by a hydraulic line failure, according to an initial report.

Veolia Transportation, which manages the Gwinnett County Transit system, released a statement Friday saying a preliminary investigation ruled out the fuel system of compressed natural gas as a cause.

While officials believe the fire was an isolated occurrence, investigators inspected the county's 82-vehicle fleet.

"We have taken aggressive steps to ensure this remains an isolated incident," general manager John Autry said. "Safety is our No. 1 priority, and our goal, first and foremost is to ensure the safety of our employees and passengers. After an exhaustive inspection of our vehicles, we have determined they are indeed safe."

Gwinnett Transit Director Tim Collins said he hasn't seen a dip in services since the fire, which occurred while a driver was on her way to pick up commuters in Atlanta. The driver safely evacuated, but Interstate 85 was blocked for hours while firefighters battled the blaze.

The county's express system serves 7,500 passengers daily.