STA finds faulty brake levers on Scania fleet: not on accident vehicle

By: Chris Smith

Scania buses at the News South Wales State Transit Authority’s (STA) Willoughby Depot have been found to have faulty or

Scania buses at the News South Wales State Transit Authority’s (STA) Willoughby Depot have been found to have faulty or failed handbrakes after an empty bus slid on to live railway tracks at Epping last week.

Scania have not commented on the incident although it has been pointed out to Bus+Coach that the vehicle in question was 15 years old and STA may not use genuine manufacturers’ parts.

"I'm informed we use a mixture of genuine parts and those sourced elsewhere which meet OEM standards," says STA spokesperson Paul Jackson.

Jackson says State Transit stood down the driver in the Epping incident on full pay until further training occurs.

"In terms of disciplinary action, this is not about discipline," he says.

"It is about ensuring drivers have instruction and training to prevent incidents such as this from occurring. Our disciplinary procedures are not required in this case."

He says State Transit would never allow buses on the road if they were faulty or if they have not passed all the regulatory requirements.

State Transit and Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) representatives have met to discuss the recent incident involving a runaway bus, which came to rest adjacent to railway lines at Epping station on Tuesday 18 March 2008.

The Union sought clarification regarding factors contributing to the incident. State Transit advised that there were several factors leading to the incident.

"State Transit’s investigation of the incident included a review of video evidence and a mechanical examination of the actual brake lever mechanism on the bus involved," Jackson says.

"The investigation has found that the handbrake was in proper working order and complied with the Roads and Traffic Authority requirements.

"It was also concluded that the driver made a genuine attempt to engage the park brake lever, but that she did not fully engage it. The lever was instead placed in a position, which eventually allowed it to release."

He says the position the lever was left in meant that a spring mechanism did not immediately release the park brake.

"For this reason, the investigation concluded that the driver believed she had properly secured the bus," he says.

State Transit Acting CEO Peter Rowley says in view of the combination of factors which caused this incident to occur and the good record of the driver involved, State Transit will be welcoming the employee involved back to full driving duties, following refresher training.

Due to the combination of these factors, State Transit will review the particular park brake lever system.

An audit of the State Government's 308 bus Scania fleet has revealed almost 6 percent of handbrakes are prone to failure.

"Just four of the Willoughby buses were deemed to require replacement parts,'' says Jackson.

"In total 18 buses of 308 Scanias across four depots have been deemed to require replacement parts."

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