by Lindsay Shelton
“We’re not perfect,” says the CEO of NZ Bus, Zane Fulljames. This was after a second series of faults had been found in his Wellington buses.
His words (for some reason they remind me of the last scene in Some Like It Hot) are being widely repeated. But it’s no joke. It’s the second time his company has been shown to be less than perfect. In May, there were four weeks of disruptions after his buses were pink-stickered because they were unsafe. Wasn’t everything supposed to have been fixed by now?
Senior Sergeant Willie Roy of the Police CVIU, explains what was found last week:
The common theme among all 28 of the vehicles ordered off the road was serious oil leaks – an obvious fire hazard. Other significant faults detected on a number of buses included insecure fuel tanks and battery boxes, as well as faulty lighting. The buses ordered off the roads represented about 30% of the vehicles checked. When combined with a range of other safety faults detected, 47% of the buses stopped and checked had some kind of fault, he said.
The responsibility now lies squarely with the operator to fix these problems, so the public can be assured these services are safe and we will be working alongside NZTA to ensure this happens.
But haven’t they been doing that since the unsafe buses were identified in May?
And the excuse from the NZ Bus CEO, whose company didn’t know what it hadn’t done till someone else’s safety check revealed its oversight:
Why was the oil or material accumulation issue not fixed? NZ Bus has undertaken an examination of the faults with the assistance of independent expertise over the last 48 hours and identified a gap in our steam cleaning process that allowed these issues to manifest. What this means is that the engine bays were being steam cleaned but not the undersides of the vehicles. So what have we done about it? We have taken immediate action to close this process gap and have commenced a program to steam clean the undersides of vehicles.
Now what’s to be said about the insecure fuel tanks and battery boxes?
And when is the Regional Council going to break its very obvious silence about the buses?