N.Y., L.A. sideline new buses to inspect cracks

New York City's 637 new buses -- the first in almost 10 years -- have been withdrawn for inspection after only four months of service because of the discovery of cracks in the rear assemblies of some of them. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Richard Ravitch said the buses were permanently taken out of service because some 150 of them -- including 39 sleek single-deckers with computerized direction indicators which not only tell passengers where they're going but also to "have a nice day" -- had cracks in the undercarriage and in many cases were deemed ready to collapse. The MTA has stopped payment of $46 million still owed to the Grumman Corporation, builders of the buses, and will reconsider the planned purchase of 532 more.

Shortly afterward, in Los Angeles, all of the 230 Grumman-Flxible buses in the Southern California Rapid Transit District fleet were also taken out of service when cracks were discovered.

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