Posted: Feb 21, 2013 3:45 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Feb 21, 2013 5:45 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - We have a follow up report on a story we brought you last week about safety on our public buses. In our first story, we took a look at daily reports filed by Regional Transportation Authority drivers.
In those reports, the drivers detail what they believe to be mechanical issues with buses. When we looked at the reports, we found multiple examples where drivers reported serious mechanical issues with buses multiple times in a short amount of time. Things like brakes pulling to the left or right.
We asked the R.T.A if these problems weren't being properly looked at or fixed.
This week, 6 News obtained a copy of a performance audit conducted by Mcdonald Transit Associates on the R.T.A. That audit was completed in November and covers the last few years.
The audit analyzed the same problems that we found in the driver reports, but found that the majority of the repeat mechanical problems were not serious. However, it found some other problems that could impact passenger safety.
According to the audit, from 2010 to 2011, the R.T.A saw a 30% increase in accidents per 100,000 miles. In fact, that number is currently the highest it's ever been for the organization at 4.75 per 100,000 miles driven.
In the report, the auditor notes, "more focus must be placed on safety to bring this rate down to an industry acceptable standard".
Jane Haas is the media relations representative for the R.T.A.
"Part of that number comes from vehicles that are involved in accidents that we did not create... We have had zero accidents related to any bus or mechanical failure," she says.
But the audit also found that mechanical assistance calls are being made more frequently when buses are on the road.
From 2009 to 2011, the average amount of miles between road calls went from 7,595 to 5,690, a 25% dip. It means that drivers are seeing more mechanical issues with buses.
The auditor also noted poor communication between the maintenance department and the drivers on the status of bus repairs.
The report reads, "documentation of repairs is made, but the information is not provided to the operator or operations staff".
The R.T.A says they've responded to that finding by scanning all repair reports and sending them to the drivers.
But given the statistics in the audit, we wanted to know why the accident rate is higher and why the road calls are being made more often.
"That's the question that we're asking ourselves. We want to make sure that every person who board one of our buses feels like we are operating safely. We believe we are," Haas says.
She added that audits like these are performed every few months to make sure their performance is always being checked.
After this most recent report, they've beefed up their preventative maintenance program, where they routinely check buses even if they aren't having any issues.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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