SCARLET FACES IN ATLANTA Yesterday's Olympic bloomers

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The latest twist in the continuing saga of the Olympic buses is that the drivers have now gone on strike. They say that replacement buses which have been conscripted from a fleet of school vehicles are just too dangerous to drive.

Tyres are split, fire extinguishers are out of date, steering wheels fall off and doors don't close, which is a bit worrying considering the buses take thousands of children to and from school every day during term time.

The drivers rebelled after being told to drive the buses - which have no radios or air conditioners - to the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, which is one of the longest routes in the system.

"It would be no different for us to take one of these buses and kill some people than to put that bomb in Olympic Park," said Katie Brady, a California school bus driver hired to work during the Olympics.

It now seems only a matter of time before the authorities are forced to dust down a stagecoach or two to transport people about, as the current fleet of buses are piling up on the hard-shoulders of the freeways.

The most common sight in and around Atlanta now is no longer an Olympic flag, but a bus driver standing by his vehicle with its bonnet up at the side of the road as he looks around in bemusement and scratches his head, knowing neither where he is or what is wrong with his bus.