WEST NEWTON (CBS) –The fire that charred a BoltBus on the Mass. Pike at the height of rush hour Monday started in the engine compartment from a mechanical problem, investigators have concluded.
After surveying the damage at a Newton tow lot on Tuesday, investigators also determined the buildup of hot gasses later triggered the explosion that blew out the windows.
Authorities did not find evidence of hazardous material carried onto the bus by any of the 47 passengers, who all escaped the dangerous situation without injuries.
“People were pushing and shoving and screaming,” said one passenger. “We couldn’t get off the bus any faster.”
The bus was headed to Boston from New York City.
On Tuesday at South Station, the noon departure to New York City was sold-out.
Brooke Carrobis booked her trip after hearing about the fire, but said she never hesitated to reserve a seat.
“The fire doesn’t make me nervous. The bus will be probably be safer moving forward because I think they will double-check the mechanics,” she said.
Business traveler Daniel Bluestone added that he will always take his odds on a coach bus over a car.
“Automobiles are the most dangerous form of travel,” he said. “Buses are relatively safe. That’s why I’m here.”
BoltBus is owned by transportation giant Greyhound Lines, Inc., which has a strong safety report card, according to federal records.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gives Greyhound’s entire fleet a “satisfactory” rating and does not list any serious safety violations in the past two years.
In that two-year time period, drivers received a total of 16 speeding tickets in Massachusetts, some 15 miles-per-hour over the limit.
Safety ratings for just BoltBus’ fleet of 100 vehicles are not available because they fall under the Greyhound umbrella.
“We have the highest safety rating given by the Department of Transportation, and our drivers are well trained, experienced and professional,” spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said.
Gipson said the company is currently investigating the bus’ maintenance history.
Earlier in the trip, the bus stopped at a travel center in Southington, Conn. During that stop, a mechanic worked on the vehicle. A service manager told WBZ-TV he could not comment on the work performed.
The FMCSA will take a closer look at that stop to see whether the bus was in violation of any federal laws.
The safety of low-cost carriers has been under scrutiny by federal regulators in recent years.
In 2013, the I-Team was the first to report Fung Wah was forced to pull its entire fleet off the roads until it corrected a long list of violations.