Faults found on new buses
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Transport Agency spokesperson said the issue was discovered on one bus, by an operator, and the bus was immediately withdrawn from service.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.