OC Transpo, union deny double decker bus problems

OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi said there was never a recall on the brakes on double decker buses around the time of the September 18th bus crash in Barrhaven.

Manconi admits, however, they were having work done on the fleet around that time.

"There were some lubrication issues with the bus that could lead to future costs down the road and it was not a safety issue," he told CFRA's Mark Sutcliffe.

Manconi said they immediately contacted their supplier to say they didn't want to have premature wearing of parts that will increase costs and the company agreed to fix the problem.

"They voluntarily agreed to pay for this. It was not a recall," said Manconi. "There was no defects, there's no design flaws or any issues that have been identified with those brakes."

The Ottawa Citizen reports the bus involved in last September's fatal crash with a Via Rail train near Fallowfield station had not yet been serviced.

Union officials agree, there was no safety issue.

"The situation with those actual roller brakes, we know that they needed lubrication," said Craig Watson, the president of the local Amalgamated Transit Union. "We've known of that all along. It wasn't a major issue. The TSB (Transportation Safety Board) was notified of it right away and I'm sure looked at it right away and I'm sure had there been any issues they would have made a comment."  

"My mechanics tell me the buses were safe, so I go with that," he adds.   Commuters who were on the bus at the time of the crash say they felt the brakes pump twice before the collision.

Manconi insisted the TSB has not reported any problems with the brakes.

"I've met with TSB three times and I remember the first meeting very clearly, where I told the CEO of TSB that if at any time they find any issues with any part of our buses that could possibly even remotely compromise the safe operation of the buses, that they were to notify me and I would the ground the fleet immediately. And they have not done that," said Manconi.

Rob Johnston, the TSB lead investigator into the September 18th crash told CFRA they have no reason to suspect that this issue had any effect on the brakes of the bus involved in the fatal crash.

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