Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 45

ClrcuLat:or d

District Department of Transportation

VEHICLE & MAINTENANCE EVALUATION


C Circulator

Conducted August 24-28, 2015


by Transit Resource Center

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page3


,-w lrCULO~Or

Table of Contents
Background and Summary ............................................................................................................................ 3

Evaluation Criteria and Methodology ........................................................................................................... 6

Fleet Inspection ................................................................................................................................ 6


Records and Fluids Analysis Audit ................................................................................................... 8
list of Buses and Records Inspected ................................................................................. ............... 9

Analysis of Vehicle Inspections ................................................................................................................... 11


Overall Bus Condition ..... ............................................. .................................................................. 11

Defect Spreadsheets ...................................................................................................................... 11


Analysis of Bus Defects .................................................................................................................. 12

"A" Defect Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 15


Analysis of Records Review ...................................................... ................................................................... 16

PMI Schedule Adherence ............................................................................................................... 16


Repair of Defects Identified During PMis ...................................................................................... 17

WMATA Maintenance Oversight ................................................................................................... 18


Mechanic Training & Certification ................................................................................................. 19
Management of Fluid Analysis Program ........................................................................................ 21

Useful Life Analysis of Van Hool Buses ....................................................................................................... 23


Factors Contributing to Useful Life .............................. ................................................ .................. 23

Findings Point to Neglected Maintenance ..................................................................................... 27


Bus Age .. ............................................................................................................... :......................... 28

Current Life Miles ........................................................................................................................... 28


Major Component Status ............................................................................................................... 30
Useful Life Analysis and Prioritization ............................................................................................ 32
Recommendations to Extend Vehicle Life ................................................................................ .................. 34

Primary Actions .............................................................................................................................. 35


Secondary Actions .......................................................................................................................... 36
Appendix A- Excel Spreadsheet Reports ................................................................................................... 38
Appendix B- "A" Defect List ....................................................................................................................... 39

Appendix C- Recommended Timetable for Completing Action Items ......................................................40

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page4


ClrcuLacor dDistrict Department of Transportation

List of Tables
Table 1- All Defects ........................................................................................................................................4
Table 2- Buses lnspected ................................................................................................................................ 9
Table 3- Buses Not lnspected ....................................................................................................................... 11
Table 4 -Defects by Bus Category .................................................................................................................12
Table 5 - "A" Defects by Bus Category ..................................................... ......... ............................................15
Table 6- PMI Schedule Adherence ...............................................................................................................16
Table 7- A/C Repairs by Certified Mechanics .............................................................................................. 19
Table 8- Current Bus Age ............................................................................................................................. 28
Table 9- Current Bus Mileages ..................................................................................................................... 29
Table 10- Major Component Rebuild I Replacement Status .......................................................................30

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 3


I""WircuLacor

Background and Summary

Transit Resource Center (TRC) was contracted by the District of Columbia government's Department of
Transportation (DDOT) to evaluate 49 of its Van Hool buses, the oldest in its fleet. These buses consist of two
subfleets: 29 2003/04 models placed in service in 2005; and 20 2009 models placed in service in 2009 and 2010.
DDOT owns the buses and contracts with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for them
to oversee a private contractor that operates the service and maintains the buses. Currently the private operator is
First Transit.

The evaluation by TRC consisted of a physical inspection of 42 of the 49 buses because seven of the 2003/04 models
were off property for repairs. TRC also conducted an inspection of related records and an analysis of essential
drivetrain fluids and verification of worker qualifications. With 29 of the earlier models approaching the end
of their 12-year useful life as defined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in about two years, DDOT's primary
objective for this work was to have TRC determine the condition of the overall fleet, the condition of individual
buses, the ability of WMATA and First Transit to maintain these buses in a state of good repair; and to prioritize the
remaining useful life of the Van Hool fleet. The evaluation concludes with a series of recommendations to extend
the service life of all Van Hool buses being maintained by WMATA/First Transit for DDOT.

The fleet inspection revealed that all of the Van Hool buses were dirty inside and out, and would greatly benefit
from a thorough, detailed cleaning. Dirty buses could be interpreted by passengers that the agency does not value
their patronage. There are two primary reasons for dirty buses. First Transit lacks formal bus washer equipment and
instead uses a high pressure spray gun to wash DDOT buses. This type of equipment is typically used to de-grease
engines and bus undercarriages. The use ofthis equipment is extremely hard on bus paint and to externally-applied
graphics, which must also endure the harshness of outdoor storage. Secondly, First Transit lacks a detailed cleaning
procedure where additional time is spent on a periodic basis to provide more extensive cleaning. Apparently, the
existing level of daily cleaning is insufficient.

The inspection also revealed an exceptionally high number of defects, a total of 924 or an average of
twenty-two (22) defects per bus. Although the industry does not have universally accepted standards,
this number of defects is considered excessive based on other maintenance evaluations conducted by
TRC. For example, bus inspections conducted by TRC for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation
Commission (PRTC) in nearby Woodbridge, Virginia, which provides both city and commuter services
through a contract with First Transit yields an average of about three (3) defects per bus. Bus inspections
conducted by TRC for the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), Albany, New York, which only
provides city-bus service yields an average about five (5) defects per bus.

Most alarming is the number of "A" defects identified during the inspection. "A" category defects are
serious safety defects that should render a bus out of service until repaired. There were a total of 120 'W'
category defects, an average of 2.9 per bus. Of the 42 buses inspected, 40 of them had at least one "A"

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page3


C IrCULOcO r d.
District Department of Transportation
defect, leaving only two of the Van Hool buses on property at time of inspection fit for operation .. In
contrast, the last PRTC audit revealed an average of only 0.08 "/1:' defects per bus (one "A" defect for
nearly 13 buses inspected). The average number of "A" defects found during the last CDTA inspection in
Albany was 0.4 per bus (one "A" defect for nearly 3 buses inspec:ted). Again, the number of safety-critical
"A:' defects found on the Van Hool fleet, almost three (3) per bus on average, is unacceptable by any
standard.

Table 1 below summarizes the defects found on all 42 buses categorized by 2003/2004 and 2009
subfleets. As indicated in the summary table, the number of interior and exterior defects that tend to be
more cosmetic in nature averaged 8.2 per bus for all42 buses inspected. Cosmetic defects such as body
damage, peeling graphics, and damaged seats and flooring, while not critical to the daily operation of the
bus from a mechanical standpoint, help to create a negative passenger experience. The table also reveals
a higher number of defects for the 2003/2004 subfleet compared to 2009 model year buses. The
2003/2004 subfleet also averaged almost four (4) safety-critical "A" defects per bus.

Table 1- All Defects

2003/2004 2009
Category Model Year Model Year
(Z 2 buses) (ZO bu ses)
Total Number of Defects 924 590 334
Average # of Defects per Bus 22.0 26.8 16.7
Average# of Cosmetic Defects per Bus
(interior/exterior defects) 8.2 9.7 6.4
Average# of Mechanical Defects per Bus (net
of cosmetic defects) 13.8 17.1 10.2
Total Number of Safety Critical "A" Defects 120 81 39
Average# of "A" Defects per Bus 2.9 3.7 1.9
Average # of "BR" Defects per Bus (those
with safety implications) 2.8 3.3 2.1
Average# of "B" (Standard) Defects per Bus 16.4 19.8 12.6
Number of Buses Not Inspected (off property
for repairs) 7 7 0

The exceptionally high number of defects is an Indication that First Transit, although proven highly capable
at other transit locations, has fallen short In providing the DDOT fleet with adequate maintenance. likewise,
WMATA has not fully carried out its responsibilities to provide sufficient oversight of First Transit. Other
aspects of the audit revealed:

• The workshop and parking areas are cramped, making It difficult to maneuver buses, possibly
contributing t() exterior body damage.
• Maintenance records, although somewhat easy to locate, lack sufficient detail.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page4


Clf"CULOcor
District Department of Transportation
• The six categories with an exceptionally high number of defects, more than one per bus on
average, include: exterior body condition, engine/engine compartment, safety equipment,
driver's controls, interior condition, lights, and accessibility features.
• It could not be determined if all refrigerant-related air conditioning (AC) repairs examined were
performed by EPA certified personnel as required by federal regulation.
• The review of PMI records revealed that First Transit does not have a process to follow up on
defects identified during PM inspections. This is evident by the exceptionally high number of
defects found on each bus.
• Information placed on repair orders including any actions taken to correct those defects is vague,
making it difficult to reconstruct maintenance histories on each bus.
• On-time adherence to preventive maintenance inspections (PMis) scheduled at 6,000-mile
intervals revealed that 11 of the 12 buses (92%) were done on time.
• Testing results of 36 vital fluid samples taken is consistent with First Transit's adherence to PM Is;
the on-time changing of vital fluids at regular intervals indicated no significant neglect to the bus
engines and transmissions.

Regarding a prioritization of buses to be retired, TRC did not find any reason to retire any of the first of the
29 2003/2004 buses that began service in 2005 before the end of their useful life period in about two years
from no'I(V. There is also no reason to believe that the 2009 subfleet could not make it through its useful life
ending in 2022, assuming the recommendations made as part of this report are implemented. There was
no structural damage found or any significant rust that would prematurely sideline these buses. The vast
majority of defects found were the result of neglected maintenance. Once repaired and buses thoroughly
cleaned, TRC does not find any reason for the early retirement of any of the Van Hool buses.

Unfortunately, the cycle for rebuilding and replacing engines and transmissions comes at a time when the
oldest Van Hool buses have already seen 10 years of service. Although more convenient at midlife to make
greater use of life that will still be remaining in these major components, virtually every transit agency
understands that these replacements/rebuilds are needed at least once during the life of a transit bus. As
such, First Transit should have anticipated this work in their original proposal to DDOT; retiring buses
because they need a first-time engine or transmission replacement/rebuild is not justification for early
retirement. If these were federally funded buses, FTA certainly would not allow it. Furthermore, the
refreshing of engines and transmissions will allow these buses to more easily remain In service beyond their
useful life period should they be needed.

If DDOT has a reason to retire buses early, TRC recommends first retiring those buses in need of engine or
transmission rebuilds/replacements.

TRC concluded Its evaluation with a series of recommendations to ~xtend bus life. In summary, they include:
• repairing all defects found on the buses beginning with those with safety implications,
• follow up on repairs made by First Transit to make certain they have eliminated all defects,

Prepared by Transit Resource Center PageS


ClrcuLot=or

d.
District Department of Transportation
establish a detailed cleaning operation to make the buses are more presentable to the public inside
and out,
• consider requiring First Transit to purchase more appropriate bus washing equipment or change Its
current washing procedures to something less harsh,
• have First Transit revisit Its maintenance program and apply what it assured in its original proposal
to DDOT, which will improve bus conditions in the long-term,
• consider having the oldest buses repainted and new graphics applied,
• consider a midlife overhaul for the 2009 sub fleet to extend bus life beyond the 12-year cycle, and
to make those buses more appealing for passengers,
• have First Transit plan for an increased number of engine and transmission replacements/rebuilds,
• have WMATA revisit its current maintenance oversight program to more thoroughly inspect buses
and identify defects, generate reports to DDOT that reflect the true condition of the fleet and state
of good repair, and be more aggressive in holding First Transit responsible for correcting noted
deficiencies.

lastly, DDOT itself needs to do a better job monitoring fleet condition and performance to ensure that its
contractors are fully abiding by contract requirements to provide safe, reliable, and appealing bus service.
A more comprehensive list of recommendations is found in Section 6.

Audit details are presented in the various sections found in the body of this report. Various tables used
throughout this report are based on more complete data contained in Excel spreadsheets Included on a
separate CD.

Evaluation Criteria and Methodology

The material which follows describes the evaluation criteria and methodology used by TRC to conduct the
various analyses.

A team of three bus Inspectors was assigned to physically inspect the buses, conduct road tests, and draw
oil samples:
on-site supervisor and was responsible for entering the defects identified by the inspection
erved as Project Manager, organized the overall inspection process, performed the Records and
Fluids Analysis Audit, analyzed the remaining useful life, offered recommendations based on the findings,
and prepared the final report. The Inspection team has also worked together for several years evaluating
fleet conditions and maintenance perfo,rmance at other locations, including PRTC and CDTA.

Fleet Inspection

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 6


ClrcuLocor
District Department of Transportation
A team of three inspectors physically inspected each bus as if they were conducting a preventive
maintenance inspection (PM I). Specific defects noted during the bus inspections were classified under 18
functional categories:

1) Accessibility Features
2) Air System/Brake System
3) Climate Control
4) Destination Signs
5) Differential
6) Driver's Controls
7) Electrical System
8) Engine Compartment
9) Exhaust
10) Exterior Body Condition
11) Interior Condition
12) Lights
13) Passenger Controls
14) Safety Equipment
15) Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank
16) Suspension/Steering
17) Tires
18) Transmission

An "A/B" designation system was used to denote safety related defects requiring immediate repair from
those that could be repaired at a later time.

A- Indicates a safety critical defect that when identified during a regularly scheduled PMl
requires immediate repair and would keep the vehicle from returning to revenue service
until the defect Is corrected.

B- Indicates a non-critical defect, the repair of which could be deferred to a later time,
preferably before the next scheduled PM I.

"/It' category defects were agreed upon by First Transit prior to conducting the evaluation. A copy of the "A"
defects used for the bus inspections is attached as Appendix B. TRC informed First Transit management of
"/It' and "BR" category defects shortly after they were identified. First Transit verbally agreed they would
repair "A" defects shortly after they were identified or before the bus would be placed back into service.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page7


ClrcuLot=or d.
District Department of Transportation
First Transit was also given an opportunity to contest defects as soon as they were brought to their
attention.

A third "BR" classification was used to note those "B" defects that were "R"eported to First Transit upon
being identified because TRC considers them to have safety implications and recommends that Immediate
action be taken to rectify them even though they are not on the safety critical "A" list.

TRC shared the entire list of preliminary defects found during each day's inspections with First Transit
management with the understanding that all defects would be reviewed by TRC and may change based on
that review. The sharing of defects was Intended to keep First Transit Informed of TRC's findings as part of
a cooperative and objective evaluation process. TRC Inspectors also worked with First Transit personnel to
confirm operation of certain controls in advance of the inspections to ensure defects were legitimate and
not the result of the inspectors not being familiar with specific Van Hool bus equipment.

Records and Fluids Analysis Audit

Twelve buses were selected at random by TRC for the Records and Fluids Analysis Audits. The records
examination set out to determine if:
• Preventive maintenance (PM) had been performed correctly and at prescribed intervals;
• Repairs had been performed properly and made promptly;
• Qualified mechanics performed refrigerant-related air conditioning maintenance tasks
by virtue of documented training certification (a federal requirement); and
• The fluids analysis program is being administered properly.

PM Intervals
To determine if preventive maintenance inspections (PMis) were performed correctly and on time, TRC
examined the PMI records of the 12 buses selected at random. Mileage between the last two PMis was
calculated to determine if the inspections were performed on time (within 10% or 600 miles of the
scheduled 6,000-mile interval).

Repairs
To determine if repairs were performed properly and made promptly, two audit procedures were used:

1) PMI sheets going back three PM Is were examined for each of the 12 buses selected at random
to determine if and when defects noted during the PMI process were repaired.

2) Defects from the previous PMis were then compared to determine if any defects were
repeated from one PMI to the next.
From this comparison TRC could determine if defects were repaired or if they were simply noted on
subsequent inspections.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 8


, I rCULOcO r
District Department of Transportation
Mechanic Qualification
To determine if qualified mechanics performed maintenance tasks by virtue of documented training and
certification, TRC selected five air conditioning (AC) repairs at random from work orders.

TRC examined AC-related work orders to identify a) the nature of the repair, and b) the mechanics
performing the actual work. TRC then asked to see the appropriate AC certification card for the mechanic
performing the repair to determine if they are certified to perform the tasks.

TRC also inquired about the number of mechanics with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.
ASE is a nationally recognized program that verifies mechanic competence through testing and certification.
Once restricted to the automobile and trucking industries, a dedicated transit bus program was established
about ten years ago.

Fluids Analysis Management


To determine if the fluids analysis program is being administered properly by First Transit, TRC examined
the oil analysis records (engine oil and transmission fluid only-- First Transit does not sample coolant) for
each of the 12 buses selected at random for the Records Inspection. TRC noted if the fluid analysis was
being performed at the appropriate PMI interval, if fluid analysis records were properly filed for easy
reference, and if any actions were being taken as a result of the fluid analysis findings. First Transit and
other maintenance providers routinely use fluid analysis to provide an early indication of impending major
component failures so preventive action can be taken to prevent catastrophic failures. TRC also looked for
evidence that First Transit is making use of the fluids analysis results (e.g., acting on recommendations
made by the lab).

TRC also drew engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant samples from 12 buses selected at random and
reviewed those results (36 samples total).ln reviewing the results, TRC looked for evidence of inappropriate
levels of deterioration resulting from improper maintenance.

List of Buses and Records Inspected

TRC set out to inspect all49 Van Hool buses for a physical fleet Inspection. However, seven buses were off-
property for repairs and could not be inspected.

Table 2 which follows shows the 42 buses that were available for a physical inspection along with the 12
buses selected at random for a Records Audit and Fluids Analysis.

Table Z - Buses Inspected

Fleet Inspection
_ 2003/2004 Van Hool. _
1101
1103

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page9


, ClrcuLacor
Fleet Inspection
d
District Department of Transportation
Records & Flu1ds Analysis
1105
1106
1107 1107
1108
1109
1110 1110
1111
1113 1113
1114*
1115
1116
1117 1117
1118
1120 1120
1121
1122 1122
1124
1125
1126
1127 1127
1129
Subtotal2003/2004: 22
2009 Van Hool
1130
1131 1131
1132 1132
1133
1134
1135
1136
1137
1138 1138
1139
1140
1141
1142
1143
1144
1145
1146 1146
1147
2003/2004 Van Hool
1148
1149
Subtotal 2009: 20
TOTAL:42 TOTAL: 12

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 10


~lrcuLacor
District Department of Transportation
* Bus 1114 had its fluids taken on Sunday, August 23 as one of the 12 buses selected at random, but was
later taken off property for air conditioning repairs and was not available during the week for a physical
inspection.

Table 3 which follows shows the seven buses that were off-property and could not be inspected. All of the
buses that could not be inspected were 2003/2004 models; all 2009 models were inspected.

Table 3 - Buses Not Inspected

2003/2004 Van Hool Reason


1102 engine repairs
1104 engine repairs
1123 engine repairs
1128 engine repairs
1112 accident damage
1119 accident damage
1114 AC repairs
Total: 7

Analysis of Vehicle Inspections

Overall Bus Condition

The DDOT Van Hool fleet was found to have an el<ceptionally high number of defects. The 42 buses had a
total of 924 defects, an average of 22.0 per bus. More alarming is the number of "A" defects found. "/Jt'
defects are those defects based on state and federal requirements that would cause a vehicle to be taken
out of service until repaired. First Transit agreed to these defects before conducting the inspections. There
were a total of 120 "A" defects, an average of 2.9 per bus. Of the 42 buses inspected, 40 of them had at
least one "A" defect, implying that all but two (2) of the Van Hool buses on property at time of inspection
were not fit for operation. By contract, inspections conducted by TRC at PRTC, another First Transit
contracted operation where the same TRC inspection criteria and inspection crew Is used, the inspections
typically yield an average of three defects per bus and 0.08 "/Jt' defects per bus (one "/Jt' defect for nearly
13 buses inspected). Unlike DDOT, PRTC provides both city and commuter bus operations. Bus Inspections
conducted by TRC for the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), Albany, New York, which
provides only city-bus services yields an average about five defects per bus and an average of 0.4 "A"
defects per bus (one "A" defect for nearly 3 buses inspected). Without question, the number of defects
found on the DDOT Van Hool fleet is unacceptable by any measure.

Defect Spreadsheets

All defects identified during the inspections were entered in a database, which was used to generate a
series of detailed Excel reports. The following Excel spreadsheets produced by TRC for DDOT are included
as a CD attachment to this report:

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 11


ClrcuLat=or
• Defect Summary- All Buses
d.
District Department of Transportation

• Defect Summary- 2003/2004 Buses


• Defect Summary- 2009 Buses
• Static Defects -All Buses
• Defects by Category- All Buses
• "A" Defects -All Buses
• "A" Defects by Category- All Buses
• "BR" Defects -All Buses
• "BR" Defects by Category- All Buses
• "B" Defects -All Buses
• Static Defects - 2003/2004 Buses
• Defects by Category- 2003/2004 Buses
• "A" Defects - 2003/2004 Buses
• "BR" Defects- 2003/2004 Buses
• "B" Defects - 2003/2004 Buses
• Static Defects - 2009 Buses
• Defects by Category- 2009 Buses
• "A" Defects - 2009 Buses
• "BR" Defects - 2009 Buses
• "8" Defects - 2009 Buses
• Buses Inspected

Analysis of Bus Defects

As indicated above, all the defects identified were categorized under 18 specific bus areas. Tables 4 (A and
B), which follow, summarizes all bus defects under each of the 18 functional categories and further
categorizes them under the two subfleets. The table begins with the highest number of defects ~nd
descends to the lowest.

Table 4 -Defects by Bus Category

Defects lly Bus Category (A)


total number of fleet defects)
Z003/04 Z009
Model Model
Defect Category All Buses Year Year
Exterior Body Condition 244 146 98
Engine/Engine Compartment
124 78 46
Safety Equipment 124 94 30
Driver's Controls 115 71 44
Interior Condition 99 68 31
Lights 61 38 33
Accessibility Features 52 21 31

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 12


District Department of Transportation
Suspension/Steering 27 12 15
Passenger Controls 22 18 4
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank
12 12 0
Exhaust 11 11 0
Air System/Brake System 9 6 3
Climate Control 8 5 3
Electrical System 4 4 0
Transmission 4 1 3
Tires 4 1 3
Destination Signs 3 3 0
Differential 1 1 0
Defect Totals: 924 590 334
Buses Inspected: 42 22 20

Defects by Bus Category (B)


(total number of avera e defects per bus)
2003/04 2009
Model Model
Defect Category All Buses Year Year
Exterior Body Condition 5.8 6.6 4.9
Engine/Engine Compartment
2.9 3.5 2.3
Safety Equipment 2.9 4.3 1.5
Driver's Controls 2.7 3.2 2.2
Interior Condition 2.4 3.1 1.5
Lights 1.4 1.7 1.1
Accessibility Features 1.2 0.9 1.5
Suspension/Steering 0.6 0.5 0.7
Passenger Controls 0.5 0.8 0.2
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank
0.3 0.5 0
Exhaust 0.3 0.5 0
Air System/Brake System 0.2 0.3 0.1
Climate Control 0.2 0.2 0.1
Electrical System 0.1 0.2 0
Transmission 0.1 0.05 0.1
Tires 0.1 0.05 0.1
Destination Signs 0.1 0.1 0
Differential 0.02 0.02 0
Buses Inspected: 42 22 20
Average Defects per Bus: 22.0 26.8 1&.7

As noted in Tables 4 (A and B), exterior body condition ranks highest with an average of nearly six defects
per bus for all buses inspected. This is double the number of defects in the next highest categories,
engine/engine compartment and safety equipment with an average of nearly three defects each per bus.
Categories with an average of over two defects per bus include driver's controls and interior condition.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 13


ClrcuLocor d.
District Department of Transportation
Categories with an average of over one defect per bus include lights and accessibility features (i.e.,
wheelchair accommodations, kneeling, etc.).

The exceptionally high number of exterior body condition defects is due in part to the extremely tight
quarters existing both in the parking area and the maintenance facility itself. Other contributing factors
include outdoor storage of these buses, use of high-pressure hand-held jet washers Instead of more
traditional drive-through washer equipment, lack of an on-site body shop to facilitate such repairs, and the
typical body damage that occurs during daily revenue service operation. Because these defects tend to be
cosmetic in nature, they are easily overlooked in favor of dedicating manpower to repairing more critical
mechanical defects, especially those needed to keep buses operational for daily service requirements.
Regardless of the reasons, the outward bus appearance is most noticeable to the public and passengers.
The combination of dirty exteriors and the exceptionally high number of exterior body defects give the Van
Hool buses an undeserving run-down appearance.

Engine and engine compartment defects were also high at an average of nearly 3 defects per bus. The vast
majority of these were engine oil leaks, which develop over time on any heavy duty diesel engine. Repair
of these defects require that they first be identified during routine PM inspections and then scheduled for
repair. Like cosmetic exterior body defects, most oil leaks are not mechanically critical to the operation of
the vehicle and are e.asy to overlook and defer-- as long as oil leaks are topped-off on a regular basis. The
easy solution is to replace oil as part of the daily service line inspections when buses are fueled. However,
the process does not solve the problem. Leaks only intensify in time, resulting in the spilling of oil on public
streets and the parking facility. Leaks also spread flammable oil onto the engine and other bus components,
which can lead to fires and other catastrophic failures. The correct solution is to repair oil leaks as soon as
they are discovered to minimize the negative consequences.

There was also an average of nearly three safety equipment defects per bus, which is disturbing given the
nature of these defects. Many emergency exit windows (27) were difficult to open, close, or would not
remain latched, an indication that they are not being tested or lubricated as part of the PM inspection
process. In case of a bus rollover or other bus emergency, proper operation of these windows is essential
to passenger escape and safety. Several of these windows were also missing signage noting they are
emergency exits. Other safety equipment defects included missing or damaged "watch your step" signage,
inoperative backup alarms, i~operative door sensitive edges to prevent passengers from being caught, and
insecure or expired fire extinguishers. Again, all of these defects are the type that should have been noted
during the regularly scheduled PM inspections with follow-up repairs made as a result of the inspections.

Regarding defects pertaining to driver controls, there was also an average of nearly three defects per bus.
They consist of varying defects ranging from inoperative switches, shades, PA system, mirrors, windshield
washers, and other defective equipment controlled by the driver. Given the number and nature of these
defects, one has to question the effectiveness of the daily reporting of defects by drivers and the follow-up
process to rectify those faults.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 14


~I rCULOcO r

Interior defects are much like exterior body condition defects in that they tend to be cosmetic in nature
and not critical to bus operation. Like body defects, however, they have an effect on passenger comfort and
convenience. Defects like panels and other interior equipment that is loose or missing, tripping hazards,
damaged modesty panels, and other such defects are readily visible to passengers and do not contribute
to creating a welcoming environment, especially when interiors lack cleanliness. Again, the 99 interior
condition defects identified during the inspections are easy to overlook and point to a general lack of
preventive maintenance.

When the two subfleets are looked at individually, model year 2003/2004 buses had a higher percentage
of the defects compared to the newer 2009 models. This holds true for virtually each of the 18 bus areas
inspected. These findings are also consistent with neglected maintenance as the older buses have more
time in which to accumulate defects.

11
A" Defect Analysis

As indicated earlier, "A" defects are those that are critical in nature and when identified require immediate
repair as agreed to by First Transit. "BR" defects are thos~ that while not on the criticai''/J:' defect list, do
have safety implications. As a result, "A" and "BR" defects were noted to First Transit personnel as soon as
they were discovered by the Inspection team.

Any inspection that reveals an average of nearly three "P:' defects per bus is an indication that the
maintenance program is not effective and needs immediate attention. As noted, all but two of the 42 Van
Hool buses had at least one ''N' defect. As a result, 40 of the 42 Van Hool buses inspected should not have
been in service. The spreadsheet entitled "P:' Defects by Category shows all of the safety critical defects
found in each of the 18 bus categories.

Table 5 which follows summarizes the number of "P:' defects classified under each of the 18 bus areas. With
73 defects, the safety equipment category had the highest number of "P:' defects (61%) followed by
accessibility features with 27 (22%). The amount of liability exposure represented by these defects Is
alarming. "A" defects were found in ten of the 18 bus categories.

Table 5 -"A" Defects by Bus Category

"A" Defects by Bus Category


(total number of defects/average per bus)
Defect Category "A" Defects
Safety Equipment 73
Accessibility Features 27
Air System/Brake System 6
Tires 4
Driver's Controls 3

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 15


ClrcuLaeor
Interior Condition 3
d.
District Department of Transportation

Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank 1
Exhaust 1
lights 1
Electrical System 1
Exterior Body Condition 0
Engine/Engine Compartment 0
Suspension/Steering 0
Passenger Controls 0
Climate Control 0
Transmission 0
Destination Signs 0
Differential 0
''A:' Defect Total: 120
Buses Inspected: 42
Average "An Defects per Bus: 2.9

Analysis of Records Review

PMI Schedule Adherence

In addition to the physical bus inspections, TRC examined the records of 12 buses at random to determine
if PMis are being done at scheduled 6,000-mile Intervals. PMI Intervals are considered "on time" If
performed on or before 6,600 miles ("late window" of 10% or 600 miles).

Although First Transit is requiring all of its operations to move to an electronic information system, the
majority of records Inspected for this evaluation were located In manual files. Manual records were
somewhat easy to access, but several mileages had to be verified through electronic means because some
entries were taken from hub odometers while others were based on life mileages. Hub odometers are
mounted on wheel hubs for easy, external reference but sometimes they become defective and need to be
replaced with new units where mileages begin at zero. Life mileages reflect total accumulated bus mileage
that take in to account any defective hub odometers. In cases where different mileages were used, backup
records provided the needed information.

Table 6 which follows shows the PMI intervals for each of the 12 buses selected at random.

Table 6 - PMI Schedule Adherence

Bus# PMI Mileage Intervals Notes


2003/04 Model Year
1107 5392 On time
1110 5547 On time
1113 6586 On time
1114 6006 On time

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 16


~lrcuLat:or
Bus tl 1 PMI Mileage Intervals
1117 6558 On time
1120 7108 Late
1122 5723 On time
1127 6595 On time
2009 Model Year
1131 5569 On time
1132 5766 On time
1138 6584 On time
1146 5618 On time
,
The review of records by TRC revealed that 11 of the 12 buses (92%) had their PM inspections done on time.
Although the goal for performing PM inspections on-time is 100%, the result here is acceptable.

Performing PM inspections on time ensures that vital fluids are replenished on a regular basis, which
extends the life of major components. Conducting inspections on-time also provides a regular opportunity
for technicians to note defects and to make repairs In a timely fashion. As noted below, however, First
Transit is deficient in its ability to thoroughly Identify defects and respond with needed repairs. WMATA has
also lacked the necessary oversight to make note that the repairs are conducted in a timely fashion.

Repair of Defects Identified During PM Is

TRC reviewed the last three PMI files for all 12 buses chosen at random to determine If repairs were
performed properly and made promptly. TRC examined the PMI files to determine if First Transit has:

• A process in place to distinguish those defects identified and repaired during the PMI from
those scheduled for repair at a later date; and
• Actually followed up and repaired the defects Identified during the previous PM I.

Unfortunately, the PMI files did not contain the level of detail needed to make these determinations.
Although work orders have provisions on them to allow technicians to note whether their activities are
related to PMI follow-up, scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, or supplier service, very few technicians
make these critical notations. As a result, it was extremely difficult to determine why a particular repair was
being made. In some cases driver reports were attached to the work orders, which makes one assume the
repairs were in response to driver write-ups. However, for the vast majority of cases it was not clear what
precipitated the repair. Where notations were made, most lacked sufficient detail.

The review of PM inspections checklists found technicians were simply "checking off" each inspection item
as being satisfactory with little or no notations made regarding any of the defects existing on the buses.
Given the number of defects found during TRC's bus inspections, there should have been many more
defects indicated and explanations regarding those defects written up as part of the PM inspection process.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 17


ClrcuLacor d.
District Department of Transportation
As a result of this finding it is strongly recommended that First Transit initiate a comprehensive training
program to instruct technicians on how to properly perform a preventive maintenance inspection. The
training should include all of the steps needed to thoroughly inspect each area of the bus, procedures for
noting repairs, and criteria to determine which defects should be immediately corrected from those
requiring follow-up repairs. A quality control oversight program is also needed where management spot
checks a bus after the technician has conducted his/her Inspection to verify that all defects existing on a
bus have been properly identified. Quality control oversight should also include provisions to determine if
follow up repairs have been initiated. Failure to identify defects as part of the preventive maintenance
inspection process has allowed defects to accumulate from one PM inspection to the next. When defects
are noted, there is lack of documentation that fully describes the fault and corresponding actions taken,
making it nearly impossible to keep accurate maintenance histories of each bus. These factors contribute
to the unacceptably high number of defects that currently exist on each Van Hool bus inspected.

The same applies to daily pre-trip inspections required of bus drivers. Quality control oversight is needed
to make sure drivers are thoroughly inspecting buses and noting any defects. To help Insure this, First Transit
is planning to install Zonartechnology, which was mentioned in their proposal but never installed. Zenar is
a paperless system where drivers use a hand-held device to make wireless contact with various sensors
mounted on the bus. At each station or zone, the driver Is prompted with a series of inspections to make.
For each inspection item, drivers are forced to note if no defects are found or make an entry to identify any
abnormalities, which then get automatically communicated to the maintenance department as an action
item for repair. It is recommended that WMATA monitor the progress of Installing Zonar and follow-up to
determine if First Transit is making appropriate use of its benefits.

WMATA Maintenance Oversight

Because DDOT relies on WMATA to oversee First Transit and insure that its assets are being properly
maintained, TRC also reviewed WMATA's oversight Inspection program. WMATA conducts a quarterly
inspection of all DDOT buses and notes defects found. In reviewing write-ups noted by WMATA for the most
recent Van Hool inspections, TRC noted that most buses had only five to seven defects per bus, a few buses
had only two defects noted while others had 12 defects per bus. This greatly contrasts with an average of
22 defects per bus found during TRC's inspection. WMATP:s inspector, who was present for part of the TRC
inspection, admitted he does not check the bus undercarriage, an area where the most significant defects
are found. Additionally, the process to follow up on the defects noted by the WMATA Inspector to determine
if First Transit has initiated repairs Is not clear. It appears from the discussions that the WMATA Inspector is
not involved in the defect follow-up process.

To further evaluate WMATP:s oversight role, TRC asked WMATA to produce reports regarding the number
of in-service breakdowns (road calls) and missed pull-outs, two key indicators of maintenance performance.
Although WMATA produced a series of monthly road call reports, the information contained in those
reports was insufficient. Additionally, there were no summary reports showing a breakdown of the leading

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 18


~lrcuLat;or
District Department of Transportation
causes for the road calls or whether they were increasing or decreasing over time. Such reports would be
useful to WMATA and DDOT as another useful Indicator to gauge First Transit's performance. It is also
recommended that WMATA convert the road call data into a measurable performance Indicator statistic,
the typical industry measurement is mean distance (miles) between failures (MDBT).

The review of pull-outs produced slmilarfindings. Missed pullouts refer to cases where the number of buses
needed to service each route was insufficient. Buses typically fall short on this requirement because there
is some repair need that prevents the bus from operating. WMATA claims the tracking of missed pullouts is
"relatively new," which Is unusual given its importance as a key performance Indicator. The Excel reports
produced by WMATA show the number of buses needed to service each route on weekdays and weekends
along with the number of actual buses available on each day for that route. Deficiencies are highlighted in
red; but not In every case. Reasons for the missed pullouts are also included, but are also Insufficient and
often provided only in one-word explanations. As with road calls, there are no convenient summary report
that would assist First Transit improve its performance and for WMATA and DDOT to gain a better
understanding of dally bus availability.

Based on these findings it Is recommended that WMATA be more thorough in its oversight responsibility.
Specifically, inspections should Include undercarriages as part of the inspection process, and a procedure
put In place to Insure First Transit follows up with repairs to correct defects noted by WMATA. It is also
recommended that WMATA improve Its monitoring and reporting of road calls and missed pullouts as more
useful indicators of First Transit's performance.

Mechanic Training & Certification

TRC set out to determine if qualified mechanics are following federal requirements by performing air
conditioning (AC) maintenance tasks by virtue of documented certification. Refrigerant that escapes into the
atmosphere while conducting an AC repair harms the environment, which caused the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to require AC technicians to be certified. To confirm First Transit's adherence to
this requirement, five refrigerant-related AC repairs were selected at random. TRC then asked First Transit
to provide a copy of the repair order and the name of the mechanic performing each repair. Table 7 which
follows lists the five AC repairs examined and the mechanics who conducted the repairs.

Table 7 - A/C Repairs by Certified Mechanics

1117 8/07/15 AC weak. Add refrigerant.


1116 7/08/15 AC not cooling. Add refrigerant.
1107 8/17/15 · Low AC. Recover and replace refrigerant.
No AC, replace leaking compressor line .
1106 8/07/15 Add refrigerant.
Low AC. Check system Recharge with
1105 8/5/15 refrigerant.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 19


ClrcuLacor d.
District Department of Transportation
TRC then asked First Transit to provide an EPA certification card for each of the mechanics who performed
t he AC repairs. AC ca rds were provided for-TRC found that no longer works for First
Transit and t hey do not have access t o his f ile, alt hough It Is assum as one. ld not
provide proof of EPA required certlficat ion.- is said t o have one but could not uce it . Based
on the review, it could not be determined If all HVAC repairs involving refrigerant were performed by an
EPA certified AC technician. It is therefore recommended that additional steps taken to ensure all HVAC
repairs involving refrigerant are performed by certified technicians to avoid any penalties.

The level of technician proficiency plays an Important role in keeping fleets properly maintained. Although
there are no federal requirements for technician proficiency, Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a
nationally recognized voluntary program that verifies mechanic competency through testing and
certification. Developed originally for the automotive industry, the program was expanded over the past
10 years to include transit bus technician certifications. An interview with First Transit management
revealed only two technicians hold ASE certifications, with one having had at least some of those
certifications lapse. Although First Transit claims it intends to increase the level of ASE certifications among
its technicians, it is recommended that WMATA monitor this progress as part of its oversight role. WMATA
should also consider imposing a goal for ASE certifications and experience. For example, PRTC requires all
mechanics to have at least one ASE certification, and five (5) years' experience on heavy duty trucks or
buses. Alternately, mechanics may be graduates of a certified two-year technical/vocational institute and
have two (2) years' experience with heavy duty trucks or buses. PRTC also requires that at least 33 percent
of the maintenance staff be ASE Master Certified, an elevated status where a technician holds certifications
In every vehicle area (i.e., engines, brakes, etc.).

Training Is a universally recognized vehicle for technicians to obtain craft proficiency. When asked about
training, technicians receive about 40 hours per year. Without conducting a more thorough investigation of
the training received, it is recommended that WMATA look more closely Into training and steps taken by
First Transit to ensure technicians have the necessary skills.

TRC also calculated the ratio of buses per technician. In doing so, it was revealed that there are currently
seven technicians, two utility workers, and two supervisors who also conduct repairs when time allows.
Discounting the two utility workers and counting the two supervisors as one technician, the ratio of buses
to technicians is 8.4:1 (67 buses divided by 8 technicians). Although national standards do not exist because
of the many variations among transit agencies, the number of technicians appears to be low given the duty
cycle and operating conditions of DDOT buses. When this ratio was presented to First Transit management
during the interviews, the response was they are seeking another technician. If so, the ratio of buses to
technicians would then be 7.4:1 (67 buses divided by 9 technicians), which on the surface appears more
appropriate. A soon-to-be-published report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) contains a
calculator that agencies could use to determine appropriate maintenance staffing levels.lt is recommended
that First Transit use the TRB calculator once available to substantiate staffing levels to WMATA. Based on
the results, it is recommended that WMATA establish a minimum bus-to-technlcian ratio and monitor that

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 20


District Department of Transportation
ratio over time as another performance indicator that it shares with DDOT. The technician deficit could be
contributing to the overall fleet condition.

Management of Fluid Analysis Program

As part of its maintenance program First Transit takes engine oil and transmission fluid samples at each PM
inspection and sends those fluid samples to a laboratory for testing and evaluation to determine if there
are any signs of deterioration that may lead to a substantial failure in the future. This practice is common
among transit agencies as a way of providing early warning of any engine or transmission problems before
they can escalate. During its evaluation, TRC set out to determine if:

a) fluid samples were taken at each PM I;


b) fluid records were filed and had easy access; and
c) First Transit is making use of the fluids analysis results as part of its maintenance program.

First Transit uses a scale of 1-5, where "1" indicates the sample finding is normal and "5" indicates the most
critical condition.

Unfortunately, TRC was not able to make the necessary determinations. Locating current fluid analysis
reports for each of the 12 buses examined was not an easy task. Reports were not filed by bus number, and
instead haphazardly existed In one large file. Individual records were very difficult to locate. In fact, the
clerk was asked to file each fluid analysis report by bus number during TRC's evaluation, a practice that
should have already existed as part of a well-organized record keeping system.

After reports were organized by bus number, the review revealed that reports were not up to date and very
old. Based on the deficient recordkeeping it could not be determined if fluid samples are taken at the
appropriate intervals or if First Transit is using the fluid analysis program to provide early warnings of
potential engine and transmission-related failures. It is recommended that First Transit rectify this
deficiency and begin using the fluid analysis program as intended. It Is also recommended that WMATA
include the monitoring of First Transit's fluid analysis program as an essential oversight role.

TRC drew engine, transmission, and coolant fluid samples from 12 buses selected at random (36 samples)
to provide another level of fluid condition verification. The results from TRC's lab, which uses a different
grading system than First Transit's lab, are shown below. The three lab recommendations highlighted in
bold require separate steps be taken, steps that should be verified by WMATA as part of its oversight role.

Engine Oil:
Five (5) engine oil abnormalities were found:

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 21


ClrcuLacor d.
District Department of Transportation
1110- Caution: All engine wear rates normal. High copper level in isolation is probably a result of
leaching of oil cooler core/oil additive reaction and does not indicate wear. Silicon level (dirt/sealant
material) satisfactory. Water content acceptable. Viscosity low for specified oil grade. Action: Change oil
and filter(s) if not already done. Resample at next recommended interval to monitor and establish wear
trend.

1113- Caution: Engine wear levels appear satisfactory for first sample. Silicon level (dirt/sealant material)
satisfactory. Water content acceptable. Viscosity low for specified oil grade. Action: Change oil and
filter(s) if not already done. Resample at a reduced service interval to monitor and establish wear trend.

1114- Abnormal: Engine wear levels appear satisfactory for first sample. Fuel dilution at problem level.
Silicon level (dirt/sealant material) satisfactory. Water content acceptable. Viscosity low for specified oil
grade. Action: Check fuel injection system. Change oil and filter(s) if not already done. Resample at a
reduced service interval to monitor and establish wear trend.

1117 -Abnormal: Engine wear levels appear satisfactory for first sample. High copper level In isolation is
most likely a result of oil cooler core leaching/oil additive reaction and does not appear to Indicate wear.
Fuel dilution at problem level. Fuel test result re-checked and verified. Silicon level (dirt/sealant material)
satisfactory. Water content acceptable. Viscosity low for specified oil grade. Action: Check fuel injection
system. Change oil and filter(s) if not already done. Resample at a reduced service interval to monitor
and establish wear trend.

1127- Caution: Engine wear levels appear satisfactory for first sample. Minor fuel dilution occurring.
Silicon level (dirt/sealant material) satisfactory. Water content acceptable. Viscosity low for specified oil
grade. Action: Check fuel injection system. Resample at next recommended interval to monitor and
establish wear trend.

Transmission Fluid:
One (1) transmission abnormality was found:

1146- Caution: lack of information regarding time on compartment limits accuracy of diagnosis. Cooler
core leaching/clutch pack/thrust washer wear indicated. Silicon level (dirt/sealant material) satisfactory.
Water content acceptable. Viscosity within specified operating range. Action: Resample at next
recommended interval to monitor and establish wear trend.

Coolant:
No (zero) coolant abnormalities were found.

Out of the 36 samples taken (12 buses x 3 samples), results show six abnormalities. Three of the six are
precautionary in nature and only require monitoring at the next regularly scheduled PM inspection. Three

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 22


ClrcuLat:;or
District Department of Transportation
cases, shown in bold above, are significant enough to warrant action in advance of the next PM inspection.
As mentioned above, it is recommended that WMATA follow up to determine lfthese actions take place as
part of its oversight role.

Despite the poor recordkeeping, the findings of vital fluids sampled show that changing of these fluids at
regularly scheduled PM inspections are contributing to the relatively good health of critical (and expensive)
drivetrain components. The fact that no coolant abnormalities were found is outstanding given the role this
fluid plays with extending the life of major components. TRC finds that the changing of vital fluids that
comes with conducting PM inspections on time shows no significant neglect to the bus engine and
transmission fluid samples tested. The warnings received from the lab are consistent with those that
provide an early notice of potential future damage. However, this does not relieve First Transit from making
better use of the early warning program.

Useful Life Analysis of Van Hool Buses

Factors Contributing to Useful Life

The ability of any vehicle to fulfill its useful life and travel beyond depends on many factors that include
how well vehicles are engineered and manufactured, how well vehicles keep their structural Integrity over
time, and how well vehicles are maintained to keep them In a state of good repair. Whether buses have had
a midlife overhaul is considered anotherfactor.

Engineering and Manufacturing Capability

Van Hool is a Belgian-based company, a long-standing producer of a wide range of buses for city, suburban,
Inter-city and luxury coach applications manufactured for worldwide distribution. Throughout its 67-year
history Van Hool has introduced several bus innovations Including low floor designs, and has extensive
experience with alternative fuels including CNG, hybrid, hydrogen, fuel cell technology, and electric
propulsion. The company has the flexibility to build integral buses entirely of its own manufacture, or work
with chassis builders to incorporate their major chassis components. Van Hool formally entered the North
American market in 1987, and has over 10,000 buses in use or on order in North America, primarily 3-axle
(over-the-road) coach models.

If a review were made, Van Hool would certainly meet FTA's requirements for being a responsible
manufacturer, occupying more than 60 acres of manufacturing and office facilities. Annual production in
Belgium totals about 1,200 buses and coaches, which is similar to production levels of North American
based bus manufactures. Van Hool employs over 100 engineers, and Its plants and processes are fully
compliant with ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, and other ISO requirements. Van Hool is an established
bus manufacturer with the capabilities needed to build a viable product. Although experience with
providing city buses to the North American market is extremely limited, Van Hool did provide 21 shuttle

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 23


ClrcuLacor d.
District Department of Transportation
buses at Washington's National Airport In 1988. These Van Hool buses are still in operation today after more
than 25 years.

Despite these impressive credentials, it cannot be overlooked that Van Hool buses purchased by DDOT are
unique to the US transit market. Although they comply with all US federal safety standards, they contain design
features and other attributes different from typical buses produced in North America. For example, Van Hool buses
have three doors, and some models have engines placed in the middle of the bus instead of at the rear as is common
in the US. Additionally, 2003/04 versions had their air-conditioning systems retrofitted in the US after buses were built,
unlike integral designs installed at time of manufacture. In addition, obtaining spare parts for those parts exclusive to
Van Hool could be difficult. These aspects unique to Van Hoof buses would be challenging to any maintenance
operation.

Despite these unique aspects, First Transit was well aware of the challenges in advance of bidding for the work. As
an established maintenance provider with a proven track record at other properties, First Transit fully understands
the anomalies associated with unique buses and what it takes to keep these vehicles operational.

Structurallntegrltv

The ability of a bus to maintain its structural integrity over time is another important element in
determining useful life. The history of bus technology Is dotted with examples of cracking chassis due to
the structural stresses placed on them, and buses that rust due to aggressive road salting, deficient
design, and inferior materials used in the construction process. While defective mechanical equipment
such as engines and brakes are relatively easy to replace and repair, structural and rust damage is far
more extensive, requiring substantially more time and materials to correct. In some cases inherent
designs make structural repairs difficult because a repair made to one chassis/frame crack, for example,
only serves to shift the stress to other bus structures. Buses with extensive structural deformities and rust
become likely candidates for early retirement.

Although this Inspection did not undertake an extensive inspection or testing of structural bus members,
the visual inspections conducted did not reveal any structural cracks or similar damage, nor did the
inspections reveal any significant rust that would impact vehicle life or justify early retirement.

Mid life Overhaul

Whether buses require a midlife overhaul has been a topic of discussion for at least 30 years. Some
maintain if buses are periodically and properly maintained they will not need to be overhauled. Others
contend that the rigorous environment buses operate in combined with a need to keep them for a
minimum of 12 years makes these overhauls an absolute necessity. The differences in opinion are also
demonstrated within FTA, which funds most all public transit buses. Recently, FTA proposed exclusion of

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 24


~lrcuLat:or
District Department of Transportation
mid life overhauls from the list of eligible capital projects. In response to the myriad of comments related
to bus overhauls, however, FTA has revised its position to include bus overhauls as an eligible capital
project. For rolling stock to be overhauled, it must have accumulated at least 40 percent of its useful life.

None of the Van Hool buses in the DDOTfleet have undergone a midlife overhaul. The earliest buses, now
ten years in service, are at a point where it makes little sense to conduct comprehensive mid life overhauls.
The 2009 models, however, are at their mid life point in their life cycle. Certainly, the 2003/2004 models
would have benefited from such an overhaul. However, given the annual mileage placed on these buses,
engines and transmissions would not have been due for rebuilds or replacements at the midlife point,
essential activities that typically take place as part of the midlife overhaul process. Given that engines in
the newer 2009 models are less robust than those fitted to the earlier Van Hool models, the timing may
be more appropriate to consider mid life overhauls for the 2009 fleet. (Additional information regarding
engine characteristics is provided in the Major Component Status section below).

Regardless of whether buses are refreshed as part of a continuous maintenance process or overhauled
at a specific point in time as a major undertaking, each maintenance provider has an obligation to keep
buses in a state of good repair. The lack of conducting a midlife overhaul is not sufficient reason for early
retirements. FTA would not approve such retirements if this fleet were federally funded.

State of Good Repair

Regardless of whether buses are overhauled at midlife or not, they must be continually maintained and
kept in state good repair. The high numbers of defects in the Van Hool fleet documented in this report
are excessive but not uncommon. As part of its state of good repair initiative, FTA estimated in 2013 that
more than 40 percent of the nation's transit buses were in marginal or poor condition.

The question here is whether First Transit is maintaining DDOT buses In a state of good repair. Although
FTA continues to develop a definition, [State of"Good Repair Grants Program: Final Circular, January
2015] there is no universally accepted definition for "state of good repair'' for public transit assets;
rather, individual transit agencies typically employ their own internal definitions (if they have even
adopted a definition), and these definitions can vary appreciably. A memo provided by WMATA states
that it is working with APTA and the transit industry to develop criteria for evaluating state of good repair
and asset management. However, the definition of "state of good repair" is fairly consistent among
transit authorities: an asset is considered in a state of good repair if it is safe, reliable, and keeps the
customer satisfied.

Regarding whether buses maintained by First Transit for DDOT are safe, the findings speak for
themselves. Defects pertaining to safety equipment, one of the 18 bus areas evaluated, totaled 124
defects, an average of nearly three per bus. In addition, the inspections revealed a total of 120 safety-
criticai"A" defects, those that would keep a bus from reentering service until repaired. All but two of the

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 25


ClrcuLocor d.
District Department of Transportation
42 Van Hool buses inspected had at least one "A" defect, implying that 40 of the Van Hool buses, 95% of
all buses inspected, should not have been in service. Although a national standard regarding the number
of safety defects per bus does not exist, the number found during this inspection would not substantiate
a finding that the Van Hooi fleet is being kept In safe operating condition.

When it comes to reliability, TRC examined the road call histories for the past year and a half and found
about 10-20 road calls per month, about 180 annually. Predominate causes offailures found virtually every
month consist of coolant leaks, air leaks, engine shut-downs and door-related problems. Typical repairs
included replacing of coolant hoses and replacing/repairing air lines. Given the number of these faults, First
Transit should initiate additional inspections of coolant hoses and air lines and take other steps based on
the road call data to improve its preventive maintenance program. Specifically, it is recommended that First
Transit implement its ,cutting edge technology" of Predictive Maintenance Analytlcs listed In the DDOT
proposal"to prevent unexpected vehicle failures by scheduling corrective maintenance." Doing so would
greatly lessen the number of road calls, improve reliability, and improve customer satisfaction.

As indicated earlier, TRC also examined missed pullout data provided by WMATA as another indicator of
bus reliability. In examining missed pullouts for the month of August 2015, there were at least 44 cases
where routes were operated with an Insufficient number of buses. Reasons given for missed pullouts
include engine problems, inoperative air conditioning, buses at the body or engine shop for repairs, air
system leaks, faulty destination signs, and others. Again, WMATA has only recently begun tracking this vital
performance indicator and does not have useful summaries that analyze the data in a meaningful way.

To repeat recommendations offered above (see WMATA Maintenance Oversight), WMATA should produce
more convenient summary reports of road calls and missed pullouts, add appropriate detail to those
reports, and set goals with First Transit to improve bus reliability and availability ..

Customer Satisfaction

Given the exceptionally high number of defects, especially those found In the interior, the lack of
cleanliness, the number of breakdowns caused by road calls, and the number of missed service (pullouts)
because buses were not physically available for service, it is appropriate to assume bus condition is having
a negative effect on customer satisfaction.

Despite the lack of universally accepted definitions, it is clear from this maintenance assessment that the
DDOT fleet is NOT being kept in a state of good repair. As WMATA works with the industry to adopt
standardized criteria for determining acceptable bus condition, it is recommended that they apply those
criteria to the DDOT fleet as another measure of First Transit's maintenance performance.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 26



District Department of Transportation

Findings Point to Neglected Maintenance

While engineering, manufacturing and structural integrity aspects of the Van Hool fleet do not warrant
early retirement, the poor state of repair raises the question of early retirement. However, when trying to
determine remaining useful life for the Van Hool fleet, the question becomes whether the state of good
repair is reversible, and whether the cause of so many defects is the result of either inherent bus flaws or
a lack of proper maintenance.

To help make this determination TRC more closely reviewed the defects Identified as a result of Its fleet
inspections. In reviewing them, TRC found there were six (6) functional categories out of 18 categories that
accounted for most of the Van Hool defects. They are as follows: Exterior Body Condition (244 defects),
Engine/Engine Compartment (124 defects), Safety Equipment (124 defects), Drivers Controls (115 defects),
Interior Condition (99 defects), and Lights (61 defects). Together these defects account for 83% of all defects
that existed on the Van Hool fleet inspected. TRC then reviewed the specific defects in each of the six bus
categories.

Exterior Body Condition defects appear to be the result of accident damage and use of high-pressure
washing equipment pulling away the applied graphics, defects that would exist on any bus subjected to the
same use and conditions. The tight conditions existing In the bus storage and maintenance areas are likely
contributing factors to extensive body damage. Engine/Engine Compartment defects are also difficult to
pin on the bus manufacturer because the Cummins engines fitted in these buses are made in the US and
used exclusively on nearly every US transit bus. Most ofthese defects consist of oil leaks that have not been
repaired. The third category is Safety Equipment, defects primarily consisting of emergency windows that
are difficult to open, the result of PM inspections that fall to test these windows and provide needed
lubrication; sensitive door edges that are not properly adjusted; missing emergency decals that have not
been replaced; Inoperative backup alarms that have not been repaired; and other such defects. With the
possible exception of door edges (Van Hool doors are not common to the US market), the majority of other
safety equipment category defects should not exist in these numbers ifthere was an ongoing and effective
preventive maintenance program in place. Even the door defects could be resolved through a program of
targeted maintenance.

The Interior Condition category Is next, consisting of various parts that have come loose over time and
require repair, torn seats that need repair/replacement, and lifting flooring that needs to be re-secured.
Again, persistent routine maintenance could resolve these issues. Lights are the last of the six functional
categories with 61 defects. Any light will burn out over time and needs to be replaced. There Is little if any
blame to be placed on the bus manufacturer for Inoperative lights. Add in tires with low tread depth; the
multitude of defects pertaining to handicap accessibility features such as missing decals and defective
wheelchair restraint and ramp equipment; leaking air lines; faulty destination signs; Inoperative stop

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 27


ClrCULOcOr d.
District Department of Transportation
requests; and missing mud-flaps- defects that will appear in time on any bus- and there Is little to attribute
to the bus manufacturer. And although not counted as defects, the bus manufacturer cannot be held
accountable for the lack of interior and exterior cleanliness. Most defects listed above have one thing in
common -they are not essential to daily bus operation and therefore can be neglected or deferred. In
doing so these faulty conditions accumulate over time resulting in road calls, buses that look worn out
before their time, and a fleet that becomes unappealing to customers.

Regarding whether the fleet condition can be reversed, TRC finds that because the type of defects found
are the result of neglected maintenance, a program could be put in place to repair these defects. Because
the existing maintenance program has resulted In putting the fleet In a state of disrepair, steps can be taken
to revitalize the maintenance program and reverse the mechanical and aesthetic condition of the Van Hool
fleet. First Transit certainly has the resources and proven ability to undertake such a task.

Bus Age

No factor plays a more influential role in determining bus retirements than bus age. Although 12 years is
the industry standard for heavy-duty bus replacement, most agencies are forced to keep transit buses
beyond this period because of funding constraints, procurement delays, and other factors. Some agencies
pride themselves on keeping buses in operation well beyond the 12-year period, up to 20 years In some
cases, as a reflection of their maintenance prowess.

For DDOT, the determination of remaining bus life must be based on when buses actually entered service
despite buses being built In earlier years. Table 8 which follows presentS that Information. Using a strict 12-
year replacement cycle, the first of the 29 buses delivered (1101-1129) would be due for retirement In July
2017, about 22 months from now.

Table 8 -Current Bus Age

Subfleet Service Start Date 12-Vear Anniversary


Model Year 2003/2004
Bus# 1101-1129
29 Buses July 2005 July 2017
Model Year 2009
Bus# 1130-1143
14 Buses March 2009 March 2021
Model Year 2009
Bus# 1144-1149
6 Buses September 2010 September 2022

Current Life Miles

Accumulated bus mileage Is another Important factor In determining bus retirement. With many transit
agencies averaging 45,000 miles or more per bus per year, buses that reach a half million miles or more at

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 28


~lrcuLocor
District Department of Transportation
the end of their useful life is not uncommon. However, some agencies operate buses in dense urban
environments where average bus speed is low, and accumulate lower mileage despite the number of hours
they operate each day. Nevertheless, one must take mileage into consideration when determining
remaining useful life.

Table 9 which follows shows the current mileages for the Van Hoot bus fleet. A review of those mileages
shows buses in each sub fleet are accumulating roughly the same mileages, an indication that use (and
reliability/unreliability) is consistent among the fleet. The review also indicates that the fleet is averaging
about 25,000 to 30,000 miles annually.
Table 9 - Current Bus Mileages

life Mileage
(000, rounded)
2003/2004 Van Hool
(10 years, one month service)
1101 239
1102 254
1103 244
1104 228
1105 224
1106 246
1107 233
1108 257
1109 256
1110 239
1111 216
1112 237
1113 243
1114 236
1115 252
1116 263
1117 242
1118 250
1119 258
1120 254
1121 239
1122 231
1123 240
1124 247
1125 251
1126 236
1127 251
1128 205
1129 225
Sobtotal2003/2004:29
2009 Van Hool
(6 years, five months service)
1130 197

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 29


ClrcuLocor
1131 196
d.
District Department of Transportation

1132 185
1133 190
1134 188
1135 178
1136 193
1137 195
1138 192
1139 197
1140 181
1141 192
1142 190
1143 199
2009 Van Hool
(4 years, 11 months service)
1144 182
1145 154
1146 181
1147 191
1148 177
1149 177
Subtotal 2009: 20

TOTAL:49

Major Component Status

Condition of major components such as engines and transmissions is also a determining factor regarding
'
bus retirements. Table 10 which follows shows the rebuild/replacement history of transmissions and
engines followed by buses in need of engine replacements. Due to variations in manufacturing, use, and
maintenance, it is difficult to predict exactly when engines and transmissions will fail. Fluid analysis, which
First Transit conducts at every preventive maintenance inspection, along with other diagnostic procedures
will help make those determinations.

Table 10- Major Component Rebuild I Replacement Status

Mileage
(000, roU11ded)
.Transmission Replacement or Rebuild
2003/2004 Van Hool
1103 9-13-13 205
1105 6-12-12 153
1106 7-5-12 184
1107 12-3-14 217
1110 7-12-13 177
1111 5-30-13 179
1112 10-12-12 177
1113 1-23-13 186

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 30


1114 3-18-14
d
District Department of Transportation
205
1116 8-14-12 192
1117 11-14-14 224
1120 9-27-12 218
1121 7-21-15 238
1126 10-13-12 184
1128 5-21-14 181
1129 11-10-14 214
Engine Replacement
2003/2004 Van Hool
1129 1-12-15 214
2009 Van Hool
1135 1-12-15 161
1136 2-26-14 153
Buses In Need of Engine Replacement
2003/2004 Van Hool
1102 254
1104 228
1123 240
1128 204

A review of the 16 transmission rebuilds/replacements indicates all were needed on the 2003/2004 sub
fleet. Nine were needed prior to 200,000 miles, while seven were done after that mileage.

Regarding engines, only three have been replaced to date. Two ofthem were needed in the 2009 sub fleet
at relatively low mileage (153,000 and 161,000 miles). Although the 2009 buses are newer, they are fitted
with Cummins ISB engines, which because oftheir design are not as robust as the ISL engines. As a result,
they typically will require replacements at mileages less than the 2003/2004 sub fleet equipped with the
more robust ISL engine. The other engine replacement at 214,000 miles, an ISL engine, also appears to be
low. Without conducting a more thorough investigation, this could be the result of a manufacturing defect
that manifested itself over time, a catastrophic failure, or lack of required maintenance.
The existing data can be used to predict future engine and transmission rebuilds/replacements. Regarding
transmissions, they typically require rebuilds/replacements before engines. The data show 16
transmissions have been rebuilt or replaced to date compared to only three engines with another four
engines pending rebuilds/replacements. With 16 transmissions rebuilt/replaced to date, it appears that just
over 200,000 miles is a typical life expectancy for that component. Based on the current bus mileages
shown in Table 9 above, the remainder of transmissions will require rebuilds/replacements in the near
future.

Engine replacements are more difficult to predict based on the limited data of existing replacements and
those currently in need of replacement. Engine differences between the two fleets must also be considered.
Bus number 1123, equipped with the more robust ISL engine, is in need of an engine replacement with
240,000 miles, the highest in the category. Given the current mileage of 2003/2004 buses, it is safe to
assume that most will require engine rebuilds/replacements over the next two years. Knowing that two of

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 31


ClrcuLat:or d
District Department of Transportation
the 2009 models with the less robust ISB engines have already been replaced in the 150,000 mile range,
First Transit will be facing the need to either rebuild or replace a substantial number of engines as well as
transmissions in the near future. The onslaught of this activity In addition to the costs involved will have a
significant impact on manpower requirements and budgets, and can potentially Impact bus availability.

Furthermore, the timing of engine/transmission needs is not favorable in light of a 12-year replacement
,cycle for the 2003/2004 sub fleet. Given that these buses have only about two years remaining to reach
their 12-year life, replacing engines and transmissions in the coming months could be viewed as not being
cost-effective. Certainly, the closer a bus gets to the end of its useful life, engine/transmission costs are
more difficult to justify. It is more favorable to have major component rebuilds/replacements coincide
closer to midlife where engines are replaced once and worn out just before the bus is retires. However,
reality is such that this cannot always be the case.

To those unaccustomed to heavy-duty vehicles, the need to replace engines and transmissions in such
numbers could be interpreted as an ideal time in which to replace buses, especially because of the cost
impact. However, does it make economic sense to retire entire buses because engines and transmissions
need to be rebuilt or replaced? It is a well understood fact in transit that with buses lasting a minimum of
12 years and traveling up to a half million miles, they typically will require at least one engine and
transmission rebuild/replacement. As a result, agencies budget and plan for this activity accordingly.
Experienced fleet maintenance providers such as First Transit are also keenly familiar with duty cycles and
related engine/transmission wear and should have anticipated such rebuilds/replacements In its proposal
toWMATA.

Understanding of the cost implications, some maintenance contracts include provisions where the transit
agency will pay for engine and transmission rebuilds/replacements after the buses have accumulated a
certain minimum mileage, but require the contractor to pay for any that fail before the minimum mileage
requirement. The thinking here is that with proper maintenance major components should be able to
achieve a certain mileage threshold, and the contractor should only be responsible for those major
components that fail to meet the mileage threshold. However, in the absence of such an agreement,
engines and transmissions should be replaced and rebuilt as needed regardless of where that activity falls
in the bus mileage/time framework. If these buses were federally funded, FTA would not authorize early
bus retirements due to pending engine/transmission rebuilds/replacements.

Useful Life Analysis and Prioritization

Based on the findings, TRC was tasked with determining the remaining useful life of each bus in the Van
Hool fleet. That determination, however, is based on a series of assumptions:
• First Transit repairs all noted defects found by TRC during its inspections by bringing in extra
manpower and resources as needed to bring buses up to a state of good repair,

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 32


~,rcuLocor
District Department of Transportation
• First Transit revitalizes its existing maintenance program to one that matches what it assured in
its original proposal to ensure buses are kept in a state of good repair,
• First Transit begins preparations to plan for the rebuild and replacements of upcoming bus
engines and transmissions as needed without placing a burden on existing manpower
allocations or jeopardizing general fleet condition,
• All defects are identified as a result of its periodic inspections and follow-up is made to correct
those defects, and
• Improve its performance monitoring of road calls and missed pullouts, and work with First
Transit to establish improvement goals.

The original thinking was that TRC would produce an itemized listing of buses in need of immediate
replacements. Based on the findings, however, and assuming the actions listed above will take place, there
is no reason why all of the oldest buses that TRC inspected, 2003/2004 models, will not be able reach their
full12-year useful life and go beyond if needed. Possible exceptions include those seven buses that were
off property and not inspected.

Of the defects found on the 22 2003/2004 buses that TRC did inspect, all can be repaired and none are
serious enough to warrant retirement. They are defects that First Transit and WMATA allowed to
accumulate over time. As stated earlier, body damage, oil leaks, emergency windows that will not easily
open and the wide array of other defects found on these buses should not have been allowed to accrue,
but can be repaired. Once corrected, buses can be brought back to a state of good repair. These buses
appear to be structurally sound, and none inspected had devastating accident damage or noticeable
significant rust that would require extensive repair. These observations make it difficult to justify early
retirement for any of the 29 2003/2004 buses.

Without question, there will be a large number of engine and transmission rebuilds/replacements needed
for the 2003/2004 subfleet within the next two years, which will require significant cost and maintenance
labor to address. However, agencies and private maintenance providers alike typically replace/rebuild these
major components within the useful bus life period. It is understandable for First Transit to want new buses
to minimize major component rebuild/replacement costs and the impact those rebuild/replacements will
have on its workforce. This, however, does not justify the retirement of buses because those expenditures
should have been accounted for in its proposal to DDOT.

First Transit provided its own list offive buses it feels should be included in the first round of retirements:
1102, 1103, 1104, 1111 and 1116. Reasons given include high mileage, high number of road calls, high cost
per mile, and engines in need of significant repair or replacement. TRC does not feel that any of these
reasons justify early retirement. Heavy duty buses with less than 300,000 miles are not considered high-
mileage vehicles. The review of road calls presented earlier in this report show the majority appear to be
caused by a lack of preventive maintenance (i.e., coolant leaks, air leaks, engine shut-downs and door

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 33


CircuLator d•
District Department of Transportation
related problems). The number of road calls across the entire fleet would be reduced if steps were taken to
improve the overall maintenance program.

Regarding high cost of operation per mile, a more in-depth Investigation would be needed to make an
informed determination. Given the nature of defects found during this inspection, the relatively poor
condition of the fleet, and findings of inadequate preventive maintenance initiatives, the high cost of
operation appears to be the result of an ineffective and inefficient maintenance program. Newer buses
would certainly give First Transit a reprieve in that they tend to need less maintenance, but if the same
maintenance approach were applied to the new fleet, they too would need premature replacement.

In making a recommendation for retirements, the first batch of 29 2003/2004 buses that began operation
in 2005 with about 10 years of service would obviously be the first candidates for retirement in about two
years. Two years from now, prioritizing 2003/2004 bus replacements based on engine/transmission needs
or structural or corrosion problems that may develop, would make sense- but not at this time.
If DDOT could afford to retire buses before their 12-year anniversary, a logical option would be to base
retirements on the need for engine/transmission replacements and rebuilds because of their costs. In that
case, the following buses could be immediately retired: 1102, 1104, 1123, and 1128. However, the
retirement of buses with a low of only 204,000 miles (bus 1128} and a high of only 254,000 miles (bus 1102}
are difficult to justify, especially for bus 1128 that recently had a transmission replacement/rebuild. If this
.option were followed, subsequent retirements beyond the four buses identified could also be based on the
need for engine/transmission replacements and rebuilds.

A more sensible approach would be to hold First Transit accountable to contract provisions which will
extend service life and allow buses to achieve their full useful life potential. Recommendations for doing so
are provided below.

Recommendations to Extend Vehicle Life

For buses to achieve their useful life potential there are certain steps that should be taken to improve the
maintenance program and restore the fleet to a state of good repair. The issue here Is not whether First Transit is
capable of performing the required maintenance tasks. The company is well established and respected In the US.
In fact, the original proposal submitted by First Transit could serve as a national guidebook for maintaining
buses in a state of good repair. The proposal outlines the tenets of effective and efficient maintenance
by promising:
• Comprehensive preventive maintenance inspections (PM Is) performed in concert with best
practices,
• A parts supplier management program that provides adequate spare parts inventories,
• A predictive maintenance program capable of minimizing unexpected failures,
• Dedication to vehicle cleanliness,

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 34


~lrcuLacor
District Department of Transportation
• Monitoring causes of unscheduled maintenance to prevent emergency road calls, and
• Other programs to ensure peak vehicle performance.

An example of First Transit's capability exists nearby at PRTC in Woodbridge VA, where buses maintained
by First Transit and evaluated by TRC using the same inspection criteria and inspection crews consistently
yields relatively few defects, recordkeeping is well organized, and buses there are found to be exceptionally
clean.

Despite the proven performance elsewhere, an evaluation of the DDOT Van Hool fleet reveals that First
Transit and WMATA have both fallen short on their obligations. The recom mendatlons below to extend bus
life are divided into primary and secondary actions. Since WMATA is DDOT's contractor, the actions are
primarily those steps WMATA needs to take in cooperation with First Transit to Improve fleet condition and
maintenance reporting to DDOT. Primary actions represent broader steps that should be taken, followed
by secondary steps that support the primary actions.

Primary Actions
• Have First Transit immediately repair all safety criticai"A" defects found during the inspection and
follow up on each to make sure they have been corrected. First Transit said it would immediately
correct these defects and has provided some documentation, which like all other documentation,
lacks sufficient detail.

• Have First Transit immediately repair aii"BR" defects found during the inspection and follow up on
each. Although not as safety critical as the 'W' defects, they do have safety implications that need
to be repaired as soon as possible.

• Have First Transit repair the remainder ofthe defects within 90 days to prevent defects from further
accumulating and causing potential collateral damage.

• Have First Transit undertake a detailed cleaning operation, possibly through contracted services, to
thoroughly clean bus interiors and exteriors.

• Have First Transit revisit its current maintenance program and put into place those practices that it
clearly articulated in its original proposal. Technicians require a training program to assist them
identify defects as part oftheir preventive maintenance inspections (PM I). Quality control oversight
is needed by First Transit management to periodically examine PMis to make certain technicians
have identified all defects and repairs have been made.

• Based on its revised maintenance program, have First Transit submit a detailed Maintenance Plan
that clearly delineates the roles of technicians, managers/supervisors, and drivers in carrying out
their maintenance responsibilities. The Plan should also detail those actions needed to be taken

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 35


ClrcuLocor d.
District Department of Transportation
dally, weekly, monthly and annually in fulfilling the maintenance program including a series of key
indicators on which its performance is to be evaluated. First Transit is well qualified and
experienced to develop a comprehensive maintenance plan and related key performance
indicators using its original proposal and those recommended in this report.

• WMATA should revisit its current maintenance oversight of First Transit to more thoroughly inspect
buses and identify defects. The inspections need to include the underside of each bus. A follow-up
process is also needed to make certain defects identified have been repaired by First Transit. In
addition to monitoring fleet condition, WMATA should make certain that First Transit is abiding by
the Maintenance Plan it develops, improve its monitoring of key performance indicators, examine
key maintenance records, and improve the way it reports First Transit's performance to DDOT.

• WMATA should work with DDOT on a plan to improve the outward appearance of the 2003/2004
sub fleet by painting those buses and applying a fresh set of graphics. Also consider a midlife
overhaul program for the 2009 sub fleet to extend bus life and to make those buses more appealing
for passengers throughout their useful lives.

• Have First Transit Institute a program to address the onslaught of pending engine and transmission
rebuilds/replacements, understanding this activity will add significantly to workforce requirements
and impact budgets.

As a final primary action, DDOT needs to be more diligent in its efforts to oversee the performance of its
contractor to ensure all buses are properly maintained and the fleet is not allowed to deteriorate.

Secondary Actions
• Consider having First Transit purchase more appropriate bus washing equipment. Although space
is limited, there are portable bus washers available to keep exteriors cleaner and be less damaging
to paint and applied graphics.

• DDOT, WMATA and First Transit should visit buses at PRTC in nearby Woodbridge, Virginia to
examine a fleet that is kept dean and has a low number of defects. Obtain a copy of their contract
with First Transit to determine which performance aspects of that contract are applicable to DDOT.

• Have First Transit use the maintenance staffing level calculator developed by the Transportation
Research Board and work with WMATA to establish an adequate bus-to-technician ratio; use that
ratio as a key performance indicator to be shared with DDOT.

• Have First Transit increase the number of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technicians,
and monitor those levels as a performance indicator. Also look more closely into training and steps
taken by First Transit to ensure technicians have the necessary skills.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 36


ClrCULOcOr
District Department of Transportation

• Have First Transit improve its work orders such that all work done on DDOT buses is clearly
identified and provides an accurate historical record. .

• Have First Transit institute quality measures (spot checks) to make certain technicians and drivers
are thoroughly identifying defects, and repairs are initiated to properly correct them.

• Have First Transit improve its fluid analysis program such that record keeping is improved and steps
are taken to make better use of results and recommendations offered by the testing laboratory. It
is also recommended that WMATA include the monitoring of First Transit's fluid analysis program
as an essential oversight role.

• Work with First Transit to develop a definition for road calls (i.e., service interruptions), convert
road call data into a measurable performance Indicator statistic, and establish goals that could be
monitored to determine if First Transit's maintenance operation is improving, or deteriorating, over
time.

• After WMATA establishes criteria for determining state of good repair, apply those benchmarks to
the DDOT fleet as another measure of First Transit's maintenance performance.

• Have First Transit initiate additional inspections of coolant hoses and air lines and take other steps
based on the road call data to improve its preventive maintenance program.

• Have First Transit develop a more convenient summary report of missed pullouts and set goals for
First Transit to improve bus availability for daily service.

• Have First Transit take additional steps to provide verifiable evidence that all HVAC repairs involving
refrigerant are performed by certified technicians to avoid any potential penalties.

• Monitor First Transit's progress of installing the Zenar system, which will allow drivers to make more
thorough daily inspections, note abnormalities, and have those defects automatically transmitted
to the maintenance department for repair. After installation, follow-up to determine if First Transit
is making appropriate use of Zenar's benefits.

The recommendations will add another layer of manpower allocation, which may require First Transit to
temporarily bring in additional crews and other resources to address. Appendix C consists of a
recommended timetable for completing primary and secondary actions.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 37


ClrcuLat=or d.
District Department of Transportation

Appendix A- Excel Spreadsheet Reports

See attached file: DC_MasterDefectSheet_Aug 2015_Final toDDOT.xlsx

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 38


ClrCULOcor
District Department of Transportation

Appendix B - u A" Defect List

"A!' Defects

• Fire extinguisher
• Headlights
• Wipers
• Cracked windshield in driver's view
• Seat belts, driver
• Turn signals
• Horn
• Emergency flashers
• Brake lights
• Air pressure/Air leaks
• Brake lining thickness- flush/forward with pin
• Tire tread depth @ 2/32 rear; 4/32 front
• Fuel leak
• Exposed wires
• Proximity to exhaust- oil, harness, etc
• Oil/Grease on brakes (saturated)
• Wheelchair Ramp inoperative
• Wheelchair securement equipment
• Kneeling
• Sharp edges
• Tripping hazard- interior
• Critical steering/suspension play, wear
• Sensitive edges- doors- not working at all
• Tire pressure below 80 psi
• Wheel lug nuts
• Exhaust leak into bus
• Back-up alarm
• Excessive oil in air system
• Missing emergency exit signs
• Emergency window won't open
• ABS dash light on
• Stop request signaling system
• Excessive oil leak- dripping, puddles

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 39


ClrcuLacor d
District Department of Transportation

Appendix C- Recommended Timetable for Completing Action Items

Action Items Responsibility Due By Completed By Comments/Special Notes I

Primary Actions
I

Repair all safety critical "!\' defects found Before each bus is allowed I
First Transit
during the inspection to resume service
Follow-up to confirm all "!\' defects have Within 30 days of
WMATA
been repaired notification by WMATA
Repair all "BR" defects found during the Within 30 days of
First Transit
inspection notification by WMATA
Follow-up to confirm all "BR" defects have Within 60 days of
WMATA
been repaired notification by WMATA
Repair remainder of defects found during the Within 90 days of
First Transit
inspection notification by WMATA
Follow-up to confirm remainder of defects Within 120 days of
WMATA
have been repaired notification by DDOT

Institute an ongoing detailed cleaning First Transit


Within 60 days of Consider contracting out
program to thoroughly clean bus interiors withWMATA
notification by WMATA with cleaning service
and exteriors. OVersight
Revisit current preventive maintenance
program and put into place those practices
clearly articulated in the original proposal. First Transit
Train technicians to identify defects as part of withWMATA Within 60 days of
their preventive maintenance inspections
Oversight notification by WMATA
(PM I}. Implement quality control program to
periodically examine PM Is to make certain
technicians have identified all defects and
repairs have been made. - -

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page40


Clr'CULOcor
Based on revised maintenance program,
d.
District Department of Transportation

submit a detailed Maintenance Plan that


clearly delineates the roles of technicians,
managers/supervisors, and drivers in carrying
First Transit
out their maintenance responsibilities.
Include those actions needed to be taken withWMATA Within 60 days of
daily, weekly, monthly and annually in Oversight notification by WMATA
fulfilling the maintenance program including
a series of key performance indicators on
which its performance is to be evaluated. Use
First Transit original proposal and recent
evaluation report for guidance.
Follow-up to confirm practices included in
First Transit proposal are put in place;
technicians are trained to properly perform
PM inspections; QC program is implemented
to verify PM inspections are properly
WMATA Within 60 days of
performed; revised Maintenance Plan is
notification by WMATA
submitted and being followed; daily, weekly,
monthly and annual tasks delineated by staff
assignments are developed and followed; and
key performance indicators are established
and monitored.
Periodic inspection of DDOT buses to more
thoroughly identify defects. Include
inspections of bus underside. Establish
WMATA Quarterly
follow-up process to make certain defects
I
identified have in fact been repaired by First I

Transit.
- ~ -

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page41


Clr'CULOcor
Based on key performance indicators
d.
District Department of Transportation

established, develop a summary reporting


system that clearly indicates to First Transit
and DDOT whether First Transit's
performance is improving or deteriorating
over time. Monitoring should include at
minimum:
• Within 30 days establish
• Number of bus defects identified
list of key performance
including criticai"A" defects;
indicators and how they
• mean distance between service
will be measured
interruptions (road calls);
WMATA • Within 60 days produce
• number of buses lacking to service
sample summary report
routes by day (pull out data);
for DDOT review
• number of technicians with ASE
• Provide reports on a
certifiCations;
monthly basis.
• bus to technician ratio;
• hours and type of training provided
to technicians;
• lab findings regarding fluid analysis;
• number of accidents and safety
incidents, and;
• other performance measures.
Develop plan and related costs to paint
Within 90 days of receipt of
2003/2004 Van Hool fleet and applying a WMATA
audit report
fresh set of graphics.
Develop a cost-benefit analysis regarding WMATA& Within 90 days of receipt of
'
midlife overhaul of 2009 Van Hool. DDOT audit report

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page42


CircuLator
District Department of Transportation
Develop a plan and timetable for pending
engine and transmission rebuilds and Within 90 days of
First Transit
replacements including cost and manpower notification by WMATA
impacts.
Secondary Actions
Investigate costs, installation requirements
and space allocation related to the purchase Within 90 days of
First Transit
of more appropriate bus washing equipment notification by WMATA
and other alternatives to bus washing.
Visit buses at PRTC in nearby Woodbridge,
'
Virginia to examine a fleet that is kept clean
DDOT, WMATA
and has few defects. Obtain a copy of their Within 60 days
& First Transit
contract with First Transit to determine which
performance aspects are applicable to DDOT.
Institute training programs and incentives
First Transit Within 60 days of
that increase the number of Automotive
notification by WMATA
Service Excellence (ASE) certified technicians.
Improve the work order process used by
I
technicians such that all work done on Within 30 days of I
First Transit I
Circulator buses is clearly identified and notification by WMATA
provides an accurate historical record. I
I
Institute quality measures (spot checks) to
make certain technicians and drivers are
Within 30 days of
thoroughly identifying defects, and repairs First Transit
notification by WMATA
are initiated to properly correct those
defects. '

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page 43


ClrCULOcOr
Improve the fluid analysis program such that
d.
District Department of Transportation

recordkeeping is improved and steps taken to


Within 30 days of
make better use of results and First Transit
notification by WMATA
recommendations offered by the testing
laboratory.
Develop a definition for road calls (i.e.,
service interruptions), convert road call data
Within 30 days of
into a measurable performance indicator First Transit
notification by WMATA
statistic. Establish goals for acceptable road
call performance.
After WMATA establishes criteria for
determining state of good repair, apply those
Within 90 days of
benchmarks to the DDOTfleet as another First Transit
notification by WMATA
measure of First Transit's maintenance
performance.
Initiate additional inspections of coolant
hoses and air lines and take other steps based Within 30 days of i
First Transit
on the road call data to improve its notification by WMATA :

preventive maintenance program. I


I
Insure that all HVAC repairs involving
Within 30 days of
refrigerant are performed by certified First Transit
notification by WMATA
technicians to avoid any potential penalties.
Monitor First Transit's progress of installing
the Zenar system. After installation, follow-up Within 30 days of
WMATA I
to determine if First Transit is making notification by WMATA
~o~iate use of its benefits. I

Prepared by Transit Resource Center Page44