Company defends bus conditions

AC failed on trip from NYC

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / July 23, 2011

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A discount bus line said yesterday that the air conditioning systems on its entire fleet have been inspected, one day after 51 passengers were without air conditioning for at least part of a trip from New York City to Boston on a company bus with windows that did not open.

Though some BoltBus passengers who arrived in South Station Thursday told the Globe that the air conditioning did not work during their entire trip, company spokeswoman Maureen Richmond disputed that account yesterday.

Richmond said in an e-mail that the air conditioning on the bus worked for two hours Thursday before it “began to malfunction,’’ working intermittently for the rest of the trip. She said passengers are not able to roll down windows on the buses.

She also confirmed the passengers’ account that the driver opened an escape hatch on the ceiling of the bus to provide ventilation.

The company said Thursday that passengers could obtain refunds.

Richmond added that all buses have been checked to ensure that their air conditioning systems are working properly.

“We would never put a bus on the road that we did not have complete confidence in,’’ she wrote.

However, a South End woman who contacted the Globe yesterday said that when she rode BoltBus from Boston to New York on the morning of July 7, the air conditioning did not work .

Marna Terry, 73, said in an e-mail that the temperature that morning was in the mid-80s outside the bus and several degrees higher inside. She said the driver opened the escape hatch during that trip and the atmosphere was fairly calm.

She said in a phone interview that passengers “would have been a lot angrier if we weren’t so miserable’’ because of the heat. She said the driver said all riders would be entitled to a refund, which she did not seek.

“Thirteen dollars is hardly compensation for that kind of misery,’’ Terry said.

Richmond said that she was unaware of any incidents on July 7, and that a company official has indicated there is no fleet-wide problem with air conditioning on the buses.

In an earlier e-mail, she said all riders on BoltBus are encouraged to bring refreshments on board. She also said drivers will make additional stops along routes as needed.

The average fare on BoltBus is $15.

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.