As if the indignity of riding discount transportation to Boston wasn’t enough on its own, passengers of a Bolt Bus were forced to evacuate Monday evening as their chariot burst into flames. When one passenger emailed to complain about the incident, a representative asked her to join the company’s loyalty program so that she could receive “a couple of round trips” in exchange for her troubles.

Before we go any further, here’s video of a blast that dismantled several of the bus’s windows as it sat pulled over on the Mass. Pike in Newton. No injuries were reported.

According to police, the fire began in the engine. A passenger named Ariel Shapiro told Gothamist that the bus had already made one unscheduled stop in Connecticut before the fire began, and that when she asked the driver why, the driver answered that “her hand had been on the emergency brake the whole time” she was driving. It’s unclear whether the driver meant that the brake had actually been engaged.

In any case, the driver pulled over again and began the evacuation at around 5 p.m., just as passengers were beginning to notice that their bus was on fire.

Shapiro emailed Bolt Bus asking for answers and provided Gothamist with operations director Bill Revere’s response. It reads in part:

I checked to see if you are a loyalty member and I did not see your name on the list. If you like, you can join our reward program and I would like to offer you a couple of round trips.

Please let me know if you join and again I’m very sorry you had to experience that incident yesterday and glad you are safe.

We’re sorry your Bolt Bus exploded. As an apology, take a few free rides on the Bolt Bus. But first, there’s some paperwork we’d like you to fill out.

Screengrab via @russnelligan. Contact the author at