Freak accident in NZ

Auckland Transport replacing ticket console batteries in entire fleet following freak accident

A bus driver was injured when a ticket console exploded, resulting in urgent maintenance to the Auckland Transport fleet.

All consoles on Auckland’s bus fleet are now being modified after an incident where a driver was taken to hospital with facial injuries on Thursday, June 4.

A malfunction within a console used to store ticket and route information, caused a plastic casing to fly off injuring the driver, in a surprising accident.

The source of the fault was found to be an internal lithium battery.

Thales Australia installed and maintains the machines and recommends they be replaced with upgraded batteries, which have a short-circuit fail-safe as soon as possible.

Technicians are being flown in and the new batteries will be fitted on all buses.

Auckland Transport has also asked Thales Australia to look at modifications to the console casing itself.

Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton says incidents involving faulty batteries of this type are rare worldwide and that immediate action to rectify the situation has been taken.

"We don’t believe this is a systemic issue but rather a freak accident," he says.

"Thales have never had any experience of an incident like this and they advise the possibility of a similar event is extremely low, and reduced even further with the latest fail-safe battery."

Warburton expressed concern for the bus driver involved and gives assurances his welfare is being looked after.

Auckland’s 1150 buses have travelled an estimated 46 million km and spent 1.9 million hours on the road since the machines were installed last year.

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