Technical problems: 28 RTC buses still out of service in Quebec City

The Capital Transportation Network handed out on Friday Highway 53 of the 81 hybrid buses that were subject to a preventive inspection due to the deterioration of a part of the power steering system. It will be necessary to wait until a week so that the 28 others resume the service.

Thursday night, the association of public transit companies announced that it had to stop nearly 600 buses across Quebec because of a technical problem reported by the manufacturer Nova Bus.

In Quebec, the inspection notice affects 81 hybrid 40-foot and articulated buses acquired in 2015 and 2016. The RTC immediately removed them from the road.

The problematic part is a power connector of the power steering system subjected to bad weather. “Accelerated corrosion of the connector can cause a short circuit and shut down the vehicle,” says Sonny Côté, Chief of Planning and Maintenance Engineering. This situation did not occur in Quebec City.

The problem was already known since 2017. Nova Bus had then issued a first opinion to add a piece of protection to the connector. But this first solution considered was not effective in time and corrosion continued.

Maintenance workers spent the night from Thursday to Friday inspecting each affected bus. Finally, 53 buses were able to resume the road on Friday morning as the condition of the connector was considered satisfactory.

On the other hand, 28 buses – eight articulated and 20 40 feet – were preemptively removed due to a risk of short circuit. They should be back online no later than a week, the time to receive and install a new connector on each.

Reduced frequency

The general manager of the RTC, Alain Mercier, spoke on Friday a scenario less pessimistic than the day before. Only the absence of 28 buses will have an impact on the frequency of passage on certain circuits.

“Sometimes people will have to wait a little longer and some buses may be a little more crowded,” he says.

In addition, the RTC can not guarantee that all buses in circuits 803 and 11 will be accessible to persons with reduced mobility. The transportation system had to use older, unsuitable buses to compensate for the removal of the 28 buses.

On Friday, the RTC canceled 40 of its 1,150 scheduled departures during the morning peak period. Under the circumstances, Mr. Mercier commended the overnight inspection work that maintained 97% of the service.

All costs incurred, parts and labor, are paid by Nova Bus, says the BTI. The builder is still looking for a solution to solve the problem in the long run. In the meantime, the connectors of the 81 affected vehicles will be replaced.

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