Faults found on new buses

Auckland City Harbour News - - SITUATIONS VACANT - ZIZI SPARKS

In­tro­duced last year and hailed as ‘‘top of the line’’, more than 10 dou­ble-decker buses have been taken off the roads in Auck­land, after a fault in the chas­sis was found.

A New Zealand Trans­port Agency spokesper­son said the is­sue was dis­cov­ered on one bus, by an op­er­a­tor, and the bus was im­me­di­ately with­drawn from ser­vice.

‘‘As a re­sult, all sim­i­lar model buses have been in­spected and have since been un­der­go­ing daily in­spec­tions,’’ the spokesper­son said.

The new fleet of dou­bledeck­ers first hit Auck­land’s roads in 2015.

Eleven Ritchies buses have been re­moved from ser­vice and 14 buses that were due for de­liv­ery to NZ Bus also con­tained the fault and would not be in­tro­duced to ser­vice un­til the fault was rec­ti­fied.

In early 2016, AT and Ritchies Trans­port in­tro­duced 15 dou­bledeck­ers to the North­ern Ex­press ser­vice to in­crease ca­pac­ity on the busway by at least 15 per cent. At the time, Ritchies manag­ing di­rec­tor An­drew Ritchie said the new ad­di­tions were ‘‘top of the line buses’’ built in China with ‘‘pas­sen­ger safety and com­fort in mind’’.

North Shore Ward coun­cil­lor Chris Darby said the buses af­fected were a small num­ber in the to­tal Auck­land fleet of more than 1300.

He said they had been pulled from ser­vice and re­pair work was be­ing done.

‘‘Rig­or­ous main­te­nance pro­grammes, as re­quired in Auck­land Trans­port’s ser­vice con­tracts, have shone a light on some chas­sis ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties on a small num­ber of dou­ble decker buses,’’ Darby said.

‘‘There is ab­so­lutely no cause for alarm, it’s busi­ness as usual on the buses.’’

Auck­land Trans­port spokesman James Ire­land said AT was aware work was be­ing done and this was not un­usual.

‘‘Ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers iden­tify and rem­edy is­sues as they are found,’’ Ire­land said.

Ire­land said the work was be­ing su­per­vised by NZTAcer­ti­fied in­de­pen­dent engi­neers and the cost of re­pair sat with the bus man­u­fac­turer and op­er­a­tor, not with AT.

AT group man­ager metro op­er­a­tions Bren­don Main said the work was a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure.

‘‘We’ve taken a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach be­cause the safety of pas­sen­gers, driv­ers and other mo­torists is para­mount,’’ he said.

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