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VEHICLE & MAINTENANCE EVALUATION

DC Circulator

Conducted January 10-12, 2017


by Transit Resource Center
Table of Contents
Background ................................................................................................................................................... 1
Summary ....................................................................................................................................................... 1
Work Approach ............................................................................................................................................. 5
List of Buses & Records Inspected ................................................................................................................ 6
Analysis of Bus Inspections ........................................................................................................................... 7
Evaluation Methodology ............................................................................................................................... 7
Defect Spreadsheets ..................................................................................................................................... 8
Analysis of Bus Defects ................................................................................................................................. 8
“A” Defect Analysis ..................................................................................................................................... 11
Analysis of Buses Not Available for Service ................................................................................................ 12
Analysis of Records Review and Fluids Analysis ......................................................................................... 13
Methodology............................................................................................................................................... 13
Findings: PMI Schedule Adherence............................................................................................................. 15
Findings: Repair of Defects Identified During PMIs .................................................................................... 16
Findings: Technician Training, Certification & Staffing ............................................................................... 16
Findings: Management of Fluid Analysis Program...................................................................................... 17
Parts Inventory ............................................................................................................................................ 18
Vehicle Registrations................................................................................................................................... 19
Contested Defects ....................................................................................................................................... 19
Recommendations ...................................................................................................................................... 20
Appendix A – Excel Spreadsheet Reports ................................................................................................... 23
Appendix B – “A” Defect List (revised for January 1917 Audit) .................................................................. 24
List of Tables
Table 1 - All Defects January 2017 Bus Inspection..........................................................................................2
Table 2 - Defect Comparison All Buses May 2016, September 2016 & January 2017....................................2
Table 3 - Defect Comparison Van Hool Buses May 2016, September 2016 & January 2017 .........................4
Table 4 - Buses Inspected................................................................................................................................6
Table 5 - Total Number of Defects by Bus Category .......................................................................................9
Table 6 - Average # of Defects by Bus Category .............................................................................................9
Table 7 - Defect Comparisons .......................................................................................................................10
Table 8 - Comparison of "A" Defects by Bus Category .................................................................................11
Table 9 - Buses Currently Out of Service for mechanical reasons as of 1/9/17 ............................................12
Table 10 – Summary of Buses Not Available to Meet Full Service Requirements........................................13
Table 11 - PMI Schedule Adherence .............................................................................................................15
Table 12 - A/C Repairs by Certified Technicians ...........................................................................................17
Table 13 - Common Spare Parts Inventory ...................................................................................................19
Table 14 – Recommendations ......................................................................................................................20
Background
Transit Resource Center (TRC) was contracted by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation
(DDOT) to evaluate the condition of its fleet being maintained by First Transit beginning in August 2015.
Because the first audit revealed a high number of defects and deficient preventive maintenance
practices, subsequent audits are taking place as part of an ongoing effort to monitor First Transit’s
maintenance performance to determine if improvements are being made. This report presents the
findings of the fifth fleet audit, conducted January 10-12, 2017.

In addition to assessing fleet conditions, the audit sets out to determine if:
• Preventive maintenance (PM) inspections are being performed at prescribed intervals;
• Technicians are properly documenting defects found during the PM inspections and a
documented process exists to repair those defects;
• Refrigerant-related air conditioning (AC) repairs are being made by EPA-certified technicians;
• Technicians have Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications as proof of their
competency;
• Sufficient training is provided to technicians;
• Sufficient spare parts are being kept in inventory;
• If vehicle registrations are current; and
• The fluids analysis program is being administered properly.

As part of its audit, TRC also reviewed bus records for those buses currently unavailable for service to
determine why buses are down and when they are expected back in service. A summary of buses
unavailable to maintain full service requirements was also made of the previous three months.

Summary
This report section summarizes audit findings where First Transit’s performance has improved in some
areas and deteriorated or left unchanged in others. The summary begins with defects found during the
bus inspections as shown in Table 1 which follows categorized by:
• All buses inspected
• 2003/2004 Van Hool buses
• 2009 Van Hool buses
• 2014 New Flyer buses

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Table 1 - All Defects January 2017 Bus Inspection

All Buses 2003/04 2009 2014


Category Inspected Van Hool Van Hool New Flyer
Number of Buses Inspected 22 9 7 6
Total Number of Defects 124 62 33 29
Average # of Defects per Bus 5.6 6.9 4.7 4.8
Total Number of “A” Defects* 17 11 3 3
Average # of “A” Defects* per Bus 0.77 1.22 0.43 0.50
* “A” Defects are safety related, those that would prevent a bus from resuming service if identified as part
of a regularly-scheduled Preventive Maintenance Inspection

As indicated in Table 1, the 22 buses inspected had an average of 5.6 defects per bus. The 2003/04 Van
Hool buses continue to have the highest average number of defects per bus at 6.9 compared to 4.7 for
the 2009 Van Hool buses, and 4.8 defects per bus for the 2014 New Flyer buses, the newest in the fleet.
Industry standards for per-bus defects do not exist because of the many variables such as different audit
methodologies, fleet age and composition, and duty cycle. For example, audits conducted by TRC using
similar audit methodologies for three agencies other than DDOT conducted in 2016 revealed averages
of 3.2, 4.1, and 11.4 defects per bus.

Whereas Table 1 identifies defects from the most current audit, Tables 2 and 3 which follow compare
defects from the last three inspections, first in Table 2 for all buses and then in Table 3 for the two Van
Hool sub fleets, oldest buses in the fleet with typically the highest number of defects.

Table 2 - Defect Comparison All Buses May 2016, September 2016 & January 2017

May 2016 Sept. 2016 Jan. 2017


All Buses All Buses All Buses
Number of Buses Inspected 22 22 22
Average # of Defects per Bus 6.6 6.5 5.6
Average # of “A” Defects per Bus 0.27 0.27 0.77

As noted in Table 2, the number of defects per bus for all buses inspected fell from an average of 6.6 per
bus in May to 5.6 this audit, continuing a trend where the number of overall defects has fallen for four
consecutive audits since August of 2015 when the inspections revealed an average of 22 defects per
bus.

Despite the consistent reduction in overall defects, “A” defects increased nearly three-fold from an
average of 0.27 defects per bus last audit to 0.77 this audit. Prior to this audit, “A” defects had
experienced a consistent decline since the first audit in August 2015 where nearly three “A” defects per
bus were found. The average of 0.77 “A” defects per bus for this audit, however, reverses this trend and

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is unacceptably high at a time when First Transit needs to show signs of consistent improvement. “A”
defects are safety related, those that would prevent a bus from resuming service if identified as part of
a regularly-scheduled Preventive Maintenance Inspection.

The erratic performance could be attributed to a continued lack of skilled manpower. Last audit, only
seven technicians dedicated to DC Circulator were in place with another five brought in by First Transit
on a temporary basis to fill the manpower shortage. Although the full complement of 12 full-time
technicians has been put in place since the last audit and outside workers are no longer needed,
additional time is needed for these new workers to become acclimated to the fleet and receive all
needed training. The high turnover among technicians resulting in a great number of new hires with
limited experience makes it difficult to achieve consistent maintenance performance. Once the
workforce is stabilized and needed training provided, maintenance performance should improve.

Further evidence of insufficient skills is that none of the 12 technicians dedicated to the DC Circulator
fleet has an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification, which is consistent with the last audit. In
the audit before last (May 2016), two technicians had at least one ASE certification. ASE is a nationally
recognized program that certifies a technician’s abilities in various bus areas (e.g., Engines, Brakes, etc.).
By contrast, PRTC, another First Transit contracted operation, has 19 of its 21 technicians with at least
one ASE certification, seven are master certified (each holding seven individual certifications).

A similar lack of skills is found with regard to air conditioning certification needed to legally perform
refrigerant-related repairs. Only two of the 12 technicians have air conditioning certification. By
contrast, PRTC has all but one of their technicians certified in air conditioning.

The lack of skilled technicians continues to hamper their ability to identify defects during inspections
and facilitate needed repairs. While improvements have been made since last audit, the records review
revealed an insufficient number of defects being noted by technicians as part of their preventive
maintenance inspections (PMIs). Despite being given PMI training shortly after being hired, technicians
either:
• need additional training to identify the defects,
• choose not to document them, or
• are not taking (or not given) the required time to perform a thorough inspection.
Proper identification of defects during the regularly scheduled inspection process and subsequent
repair of those defects is essential to improving maintenance performance.

Furthermore, of the 22 PMI records reviewed, only 45% (5 out of 11) were done on time (at the
required mileage interval) compared to the same percentage last audit. The industry standard, set by
FTA, is at least 80% on-time PMIs. However, on-time performance was acceptable at 91% in May 2016
and 82% in January 2016. Performance in this area has deteriorated and needs to improve to match
industry standards.

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At the time of TRC’s audit, 24 buses (36% of the total fleet) were down for repairs compared to 25% in
September 2016 and 22% in May 2016; again, a worsening in performance for the past three audits.
The extreme cold weather at the time of this audit no doubt played some role in the large number of
downed buses.

The industry standard for spare buses is 20% of the peak vehicle requirement (PVR). With a total fleet
of 67 buses and a current PVR of 51, the 24 down buses drive the effective spare ratio to 47% (24/51).
This rate is more than double the industry standard, leaving the active fleet at 43 buses, eight short of
the PVR.

A closer look at bus operations pull-out records from October through December shows significant
improvements when compared to the prior audit. For the 91 days that make up the three month period
October through December, the full complement of buses needed for service was met on 81 of the 91
days (89%). Last audit peak fleet requirements were only met on 46 of the 92 days (50%). Although bus
availability performance improved for this audit, 100% availability should be the norm given a planned
32% (16/51) spare ratio of buses during this period.

Table 3 which follows compares the average number of defects for the older Van Hool buses and does
not include the 2014 New Flyer sub fleet. This provides a more accurate assessment of maintenance
performance because newer buses typically have fewer defects.

Table 3 - Defect Comparison for Two Subfleets of Van Hool Buses May 2016, September 2016 & January 2017

May Sept January May Sept January


2016 2016 2017 2016 2016 2017
03/04 03/04 03/04
Van Van Van 09 Van 09 Van 09 Van
Hool Hool Hool Hool Hool Hool
Number of Buses 9 9 9 7 7 7
Inspected
Average # of 9.3 7.7 6.9 5.9 7.3 4.7
Defects per Bus
Average # of “A” 0.44 0.44 1.22 0.14 0.29 0.43
Defects per Bus

As indicated in Table 3, the 2003/04 Van Hool sub fleet shows a consistent lowering of defects compared
to last two audits (9.3 in May 2016 compared to 6.9 this audit). Defects for the 2009 Van Hool sub fleet,
which increased from 5.9 in May to 7.3 in September, fell to 4.7 this audit. Despite the reduction in
defects for the 2003/04 Van Hool sub fleet, the extra maintenance effort needed to keep these buses
operational underscores the need to replace them as soon as possible.

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“A” defects increased significantly for both Van Hool sub fleets; from an average of 0.44 per bus to 1.22
for the 2003/04 models (nearly a three-fold increase), and 0.29 to 0.43 for the 2009 models (a 50%
increase).

Troubling for this audit is the increase in defects found on the 2014-15 New Flyer sub fleet where defects
increased from an average of 3.7 defects per bus last audit to 4.8 this audit. It is possible that the focus to
repair defects on the older sub fleets has come at the expense of neglecting the much newer sub fleet.
Allowing defects to increase on these newer buses will lead to their accelerated deterioration. The
existence of nearly five defects on buses only a few years old is unacceptable.

Other aspects of the audit revealed:


• The last audit had two categories with more than one defect per bus on average, this audit had
the same: exterior body condition and engine/engine compartment, two areas that continue to
need targeted attention.
• Most of the fleet continues to be in dire need of detailed cleaning. Windows, wheels, interiors,
and exteriors would all benefit from thorough cleaning. For this audit the winter months have
left the fleet looking especially dirty.
• Testing results of 15 vital fluid samples taken by TRC revealed abnormalities consistent with
providing an early warning of possible impeding damage, not maintenance neglect. However,
First Transit is neglecting its own internal fluids analysis program by not taking samples at each
scheduled PM inspection.
• Regarding spare parts inventory, First Transit now appears to be sufficiently stocked with
needed supplies. See additional details on page 19.
• A review of refrigerant-related air conditioning (AC) repairs to determine if they were
performed by EPA-certified personnel could not be made because no such air conditioning
failures could be found since the last audit. However, with only two certified AC technicians
currently on staff, additional training is needed to substantially increase this number in
preparation for the warmer weather ahead when the need for air conditioning repairs will
certainly increase.
• A review of vehicle registrations found all to be current except for one, which was delayed in
arriving but was received after the audit had been conducted.

Recommendations are presented in Table 14. 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 submitted with this report.

Work Approach
A team of three bus inspectors was assigned to physically inspect the buses and draw oil samples. A
separate Project Manager organized the overall inspection process, performed the Records and Fluids
Analysis Audit, and prepared the final report. As in the previous audit, First Transit is required to

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acknowledge in writing on a dedicated form that it received notification of “A” defects as soon as they
were identified.

List of Buses & Records Inspected


TRC selected 22 buses at random from the entire DDOT fleet for a physical fleet inspection. Of these 22
buses we chose eleven of them for a records audit and five for fluid analysis. Table 4 which follows
shows those buses. A listing of buses on- and off-property that were not available for inspection and the
reasons why is shown in Table 9.

Table 4 - Buses Inspected


Records (R) &
Fleet Inspection Fluids Analysis (FA)
2003/2004 Van Hool
1103 Not Chosen
1104 Not Chosen
1107 1107 (R & FA)
1110 Not Chosen
1113 1113(R)
1120 Not Chosen
1121 1121 (R & FA)
1126 Not Chosen
1129 1129(R)
Subtotal 2003/2004: 9
2009 Van Hool
1130 1130 (R)
1132 1132 (R)
1137 Not Chosen
1142 1142 (R & FA)
1143 Not Chosen
1145 Not Chosen
1147 1147 (R & FA)
Subtotal 2009: 7 Not Chosen
2014 New Flyer
2002 Not Chosen
2005 2005 (R)
2009 Not Chosen
2012 Not Chosen
2015 2015 (R& FA)
2018 2018 (R)
Subtotal 2014 New Flyer: 6
TOTAL:
TOTAL: 22 11 Records
5 Fluids Analysis

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Analysis of Bus Inspections
Evaluation Methodology

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 critical defect, primarily safety in nature, that when identified during a
regularly scheduled PMI would require immediate repair, keeping the vehicle from
returning to revenue service until the defect is corrected.
B – Indicates a non-critical defect that should be repaired as soon as possible, but does not
prevent the vehicle from returning to revenue service.

A copy of the “A” defects used for the bus inspections, which was further defined since the last audit to
minimize ambiguity, is attached as Appendix B. During the audit, TRC informed First Transit management
of “A” category defects immediately after they were identified. First Transit acknowledged receipt of the
defects by signing a form and agreed to repair “A” defects before the bus would be placed back into

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service. WMATA verified when and how these defects were repaired and sent documentation to DDOT
confirming the repairs. First Transit was also given an opportunity to contest defects as soon as they were
brought to their attention.

First Transit did contest one “A” defect, a fuel leak. That defect was subsequently eliminated from the
total after further investigation. A complete description of that defect is found in the Contested Defects
Section below on page 20.

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 is 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 bus equipment.

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:
 Defect Summary – All Buses
 Defect Summary – 2003/2004 Van Hool Buses
 Defect Summary – 2009 Van Hool Buses
 Defect Summary – 2014 New Flyer
 Static Defects – All Buses
 Defects by Category – All Buses
 “A” Defects – All Buses
 Defects by Category – “A” Defects
 Defects by Category – 2003/2004 Van Hool Buses
 Defects by Category - 2009 Van Hool Buses
 Defects by Category – 2014 New Flyer Buses
 Total Buses Inspected

Analysis of Bus Defects

As indicated above, all defects identified were categorized under 18 specific bus areas. Tables 5 and 6
summarize all bus defects under each of the 18 functional categories. The two tables further categorize
defects under the three sub fleets. Table 5 shows the total number of defects, while Table 6 shows the
number of average defects per bus in each of the 18 bus areas where averages of more than one per
bus are highlighted in red. Defects are sorted high-to-low by “All Buses” column.

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Table 5 - Total Number of Defects by Bus Category

Defects by Bus Category


(Total Number of Fleet Defects)
2003/04 Model 2009 Model Year 2014 Model Year
Defect Category All Buses Year Van Hool Van Hool New Flyer
Exterior Body Condition 34 12 13 9
Engine/Engine Compartment 39 21 11 7
Transmission 10 6 0 4
Suspension/Steering 9 6 3 0
Driver’s Controls 7 3 1 3
Safety Equipment 5 2 1 2
Exhaust 5 5 0 0
Destination Signs 3 3 0 0
Accessibility Features 2 2 0 0
Interior Condition 2 0 1 1
Air System/Brake System 2 0 2 0
Passenger Controls 2 0 1 1
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank 2 2 0 0
Lights 1 0 0 1
Tires 1 0 0 1
Electrical System 0 0 0 0
Climate Control 0 0 0 0
Differential 0 0 0 0
Defect Totals: 124 62 33 29
Buses Inspected: 22 9 7 6

Table 6 - Average # of Defects by Bus Category

Defects by Bus Category


(Total Number of Average Defects per Bus)
2003/04 Model 2009 Model Year 2014 Model Year
Defect Category All Buses Year Van Hool Van Hool New Flyer
Exterior Body Condition 1.55 1.33 1.86 1.50
Engine/Engine Compartment 1.77 2.33 1.57 1.17
Transmission 0.45 0.67 0.00 0.67
Suspension/Steering 0.41 0.67 0.43 0.00
Driver’s Controls 0.32 0.33 0.14 0.50
Safety Equipment 0.23 0.22 0.14 0.33
Exhaust 0.23 0.56 0.00 0.00
Destination Signs 0.14 0.33 0.00 0.00
Accessibility Features 0.09 0.22 0.00 0.00
Interior Condition 0.09 0.00 0.14 0.17
Air System/Brake System 0.09 0.00 0.29 0.00
Passenger Controls 0.09 0.00 0.14 0.17
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank 0.09 0.22 0.00 0.00
Lights 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.17
Tires 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.17
Electrical System 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

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Climate Control 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Differential 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average Defects per Bus: 5.64 6.89 4.71 4.83
Buses Inspected: 22 9 7 6

As noted in Tables 5 and 6, Exterior Body Condition ranks the highest with 1.5 defects per bus (1.9 for
2009 Van Hools), followed by Engine/Engine Compartment with an average of 1.8 defects per bus for all
buses inspected. Categories with no defects found for any of the buses inspected included Climate
Control, Electrical System, and Differential. There were nine categories where no defects were found on
the newer 2014 New Flyer sub fleet.

Table 7 compares the average number of defects in each of the 18 bus categories for the last three audits.
Defects are sorted high-to-low by “Jan. 2017” column. Categories with an average of more than one
defect per bus are highlighted in red.

Table 7 - Defect Comparisons

Defect Category May 2016 Sept. 2016 Jan. 2017


Exterior Body Condition 1.64 2.32 1.55
Engine/Engine Compartment 2.05 1.41 1.17
Transmission 0.14 0.45 0.67
Suspension/Steering 0.18 0.27 0.41
Driver’s Controls 0.50 0.14 0.32
Safety Equipment 0.82 0.27 0.23
Exhaust 0.05 0.14 0.23
Destination Signs 0.09 0 0.14
Accessibility Features 0.18 0.14 0.09
Interior Condition 0.18 0.36 0.09
Air System/Brake System 0.09 0.09 0.09
Passenger Controls 0.23 0 0.09
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank 0.14 0 0.09
Lights 0.32 0.59 0.05
Tires 0 0 0.05
Electrical System 0.05 0.27 0
Climate Control 0 0 0
Differential 0 0 0
Defect Total: 146 142 124
Buses Inspected: 22 22 22
Average Defects per Bus: 6.6 6.5 5.6

As shown in Table 7, Exterior Body Condition and Engine/Engine Compartment remain as two areas
where targeted efforts are needed to reduce defects.

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“A” Defect Analysis

As indicated earlier, “A” defects are safety related, those that when identified during a PMI service
inspection would keep a bus from resuming service until repaired. First Transit was made to acknowledge
receipt of each “A” defect as soon as it was identified, and follow-up oversight by WMATA was made to
ensure all such defects were repaired prior to the affected buses resuming service.

A historical look at these defects shows nearly three “A” defects per bus in August 2015, compared to
approximately one “A” defect for every four buses inspected for the prior two audits (an average of 0.27
per bus). This audit, however, showed a significant increase in the number of “A” defects over the last two
audits, a total of 17 or an average of 0.77 per bus, nearly a three-fold increase. Although First Transit’s
maintenance program continues to show a reduction in overall defects, the increase of “A” defects in
particular is significant and requires immediate attention.

Table 8 compares the number of “A” defects from the last three audits classified under each of the 18 bus
areas. “A” defects were found in eight of the 18 bus categories compared to four categories during the
previous audit. Categories with more than one “A” defect per category are highlighted in red. Defects are
sorted high-to-low by “Jan. 2017” column. All five of the “A” defects in the Exhaust category were related
to excessive oil dripping onto the exhaust system with the potential to cause smoke or fire.

Table 8 - Comparison of "A" Defects by Bus Category

A” Defects by Bus Category


(Total Number of Defects/Average per Bus)
“A” Defects “A” Defects “A” Defects
Defect Category May 2016 Sept. 2016 Jan. 2017
Exhaust 0 0 5/0.23
Safety Equipment 1/0.05 0 4/0.18
Air System/Brake System 1/0.05 2/0.09 2/0.09
Structure/Chassis/Fuel Tank 0 0 2/0.09
Accessibility Features 2/0.09 2/0.09 1/0.05
Electrical System 0 0 1/0.05
Suspension/Steering 0 1/0.05 1/0.05
Tires 0 0 1/0.05
Driver’s Controls 0 0 0
Interior Condition 0 0 0
Engine/Engine Compartment 1/0.05 1/0.05 0
Lights 1/0.05 0 0
Exterior Body Condition 0 0 0
Passenger Controls 0 0 0
Climate Control 0 0 0
Transmission 0 0 0
Destination Signs 0 0 0

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Differential 0 0 0
“A” Defect Total: 6 6 17
Buses Inspected: 22 22 22
Average “A” Defects per Bus: 0.27 0.27 0.77

Analysis of Buses Not Available for Service

TRC reviewed all buses currently not available for service as part of its evaluation audit. The buses are
reviewed in two categories:

1. Buses on-property and temporarily out of service; and


2. Buses off-property and temporarily out of service.

Each bus was reviewed to determine why it was down and when it was expected to resume service.

As of Monday, January 9, a total of 24 buses were down for mechanical reasons. To meet weekday peak
service requirements in January, 51 buses are needed. With 24 buses down on this particular day only
43 were available, leaving the fleet eight buses short for service.

Table 9 shows the 24 buses out of service for mechanical reasons as of January 9, 2017, the reason why
they were out of service, and the date they are expected to resume service. This compares to 17 buses
that were unavailable for service on September 13, 2016 and 15 buses that were unavailable for service
on May 11, 2016, the dates of the previous two audits.

Table 9 - Buses Currently Out of Service for mechanical reasons as of 1/9/17

Date Removed from


Service - Date
Expected Back in
Bus Number Reason Why Buses Out of Service Service
Buses Currently Off Property for Repair
1111 Transmission repairs 1/4/17 – 1/20/176
1118 Transmission repairs 1/5/17 – 1/20/17
1119 Body repairs 1/7/17 – 1/14/17
1136 Suspension repairs 12/22/16 - 1/12/17
1146 Fire Damage Mid-January?
Buses currently on property for repair
1102 Engine repairs (turbo & compressor) 12/18/16-1/11/17
1105 Engine repairs (compressor) 12/31/16 – 1/10/17
1109 Engine repairs (pressure sensor) 1/9/17 – soon
1112 Awaiting door parts 1/9/17 –1/10/17
1114 Kneeling system repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1115 Farebox and other repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1116 Air system repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1117 Kneeling system repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1122 Farebox and other repairs 8/30/16 -1/16/17
1124 Farebox and other repairs 9/6/16 -1/16/17
1125 Engine service 12/16/16 – 1/11/17

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1139 Air system repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1140 Heating system repairs 1/9/17 – 1/10/17
1141 Parking brake repairs 1/8/17 – 1/10/17
1144 Coolant leak 1/7/17 – 1/10/17
1148 Starter repairs 1/5/17 – 1/11/17
2003 Engine repairs (shuts down) 1/8/17 – 1/11/17
2011 Engine repairs (shuts down) 1/8/17 – 1/11/17
2017 Engine repairs (shuts down) 1/7/17 – 1/11/17

Subtotal: buses currently off property for repair: 5


Subtotal: buses currently on property for repair: 19
Total buses down for repair: 24

Although eight buses were shy of the 51 needed for service on this one day of investigation, a closer
look at bus availability for the three months preceding this audit shows better overall performance. For
the 91 days that make up the three-month period October through December, the full complement of
buses needed for pullout was met on 81 of the 91 days (89%). Last audit peak fleet requirements were
only met on 46 of the 92 days (50%). Despite the improvement, there are two caveats. First, the
industry standard for meeting pullout requirements is 100% with a spare ratio of 20% - achieving 89%
with a generous 32% spare ratio is substandard. Second, it must be noted that the buses in service
were deficient with regard to the large number defects that were not properly identified during PM
inspections, a large percentage of PM inspections not performed on time, and a high per-bus
percentage of “A” defects. Table 10 summarizes buses not available to meet full service requirements
for the previous three months.

Table 10 – Summary of Buses Not Available to Meet Full Service Requirements

Oct Nov Dec


Service Days 31 30 30
Number of Days Full Complement of Buses were NOT Available to Meet Pullout 2 4 4
Requirements
Cumulative Number of Buses Not Available to Meet Pullout Requirements for 3 4 6
Each Month

Analysis of Records Review and Fluids Analysis


Methodology

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

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• Technicians are certified through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) program and
receive regular training; 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 11 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 two PMIs were examined for each of the 11 buses selected at random
(22 records) 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.

Technician Qualification
To determine if qualified technicians performed maintenance tasks by virtue of documented training and
certification, TRC typically selects five AC repairs at random from work orders.

TRC typically examines AC-related work orders to identify a) the nature of the repair, and b) the
technicians performing the actual work. TRC then asked to see the appropriate AC certification card for
the technician performing the repair to determine if they are certified to perform the tasks. As noted
earlier, however, a review of refrigerant-related air conditioning (AC) repairs to determine if they were
performed by EPA-certified personnel could not be made because no such air conditioning failures repairs
could be found since the last audit.

TRC also inquired about the number of technicians with ASE certifications. ASE is a nationally recognized
program that verifies technician competence through testing and certification. A review was also made of
the training provided to technicians since the last audit.

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 11 buses selected at random for the Records Inspection. TRC noted if the fluid analysis was

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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 five buses selected at random and
reviewed those results (15 samples total). In reviewing the results, TRC looked for evidence of
inappropriate levels of deterioration resulting from improper maintenance.

Findings: PMI Schedule Adherence

The schedule 6,000 mile PMI intervals are considered “on time” if performed on or before 6,600 miles
allowing a “late window” of 10% or 600 miles. The records review revealed that five of the 11 buses (45%)
had their PM inspections done on-time compared to the same percentage last audit and 91% the audit
before last. The six late buses were past the 6,600 mile window by 144, 369, 7,269, 1,536, 1,143, and 1,315
miles. Performing PM inspections late allows lubricating oils to go beyond their recommended life, which
decreases the lubricants’ effectiveness and contributes to decreased component life. Delayed inspections
also extend the period in which defects can be identified and repaired.

For reference, FTA requires that 80% of PM inspections be done on time using the 10% window. First
Transit’s performance of only 45% falls well below FTA’s requirement. Table 11 shows the PMI intervals for
each of the 11 buses selected at random based on review of electronic files.

Table 11 - PMI Schedule Adherence

Bus # PMI Mileage Intervals Notes


2009 Model Year Van Hool
1130 5616 On time
1132 13,869 Late
1142 8136 Late
1147 7743 Late
2003/2004 Model Year Van Hool
1107 6371 On time
1113 6184 On time
1121 6744 Late
1129 6969 Late
2014 Model Year New Flyer
2005 6525 On time
2015 7915 Late
2018 4742 On time

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Because First Transit as an organization has a proven method to identify buses in need of scheduled PMIs,
there is no excuse for the poor performance. Although recordkeeping was found sufficient in the past,
this audit revealed several discrepancies between “system mileage” and vehicle “life mileage.” Based on
the findings, it is recommended that steps be taken to improve the recording of vehicles miles and ensure
100% on-time PMI performance.

Findings: Repair of Defects Identified During PMIs

TRC reviewed the last two PMI files for all 11 buses chosen at random (22 bus records) to determine if
repairs were performed properly and made promptly. During previous audits TRC noted that PMI files did
not contain the level of detail needed to make these determinations even though work orders have such
provisions. Beginning last audit, however, First Transit adopted a procedure where technicians enter
defects and other information on an iPad as part of its corporate-wide paperless system. A quality control
process was also put in place where a manager periodically checks a completed inspection to make sure it
was done properly and thoroughly. Despite these improvements, however, a review of the 22 PMI records
inspected last audit showed only two cases where defects were noted for follow-up repairs; the rest
indicated no defects were identified for follow-up. This contradicted TRC’s findings where an average of
over six defects per bus was found.

Although technicians made note of more defects this audit, 15 of the 22 PMI sheets inspected did not
reveal any noted defects. Of the PMI sheets where defects were noted one had 29 individual defects,
another 13. However, these two PMI records represent the exception. Other PMI sheets where defects
were noted only indicated a few, which is not in keeping with TRC’s findings of over five defects found per
bus.

Although PMI training has been provided to new hires, it is recommended that this training be followed
up with more aggressive oversight to make certain mechanics are, in fact, identifying and recording all
defects that exist on buses at time of inspection.

Findings: Technician Training, Certification & Staffing

Regarding training and certification, First Transit continues to state that it is providing access codes to
technicians, which will allow them to study and then take ASE tests to achieve certification. ASE is a
nationally recognized organization that certifies technician ability. In May 2016, only two of the seven
technicians held ASE certifications. Last audit and for this one, however, none of the technicians has ASE
certifications despite First Transit’s declaration last audit that it would attempt to fill vacancies with ASE
certified personnel. Although PMI training was provided to each of the newly hired technicians, additional
training is needed. TRC will continue to monitor the number of technicians with ASE certifications during
its audits. However, it is recommended that First Transit offer incentives for technicians to become

Prepared by Transit Resource Center 16


certified and oversight take place between audits to make certain technicians are, in fact, receiving
training and taking appropriate steps to become ASE certified.

The same applies to air conditioning (AC) certification. Only two technicians (and one supervisor) are
legally certified to make AC related repairs, which represents an acute shortage. TRC again recommends
that First Transit provide WMATA and DDOT with a plan and timetable for increasing both AC and ASE
certifications. Finding technicians with existing certifications is difficult. However, PRTC mentioned above
has 19 of its 21 technicians with at least one ASE certification, seven are master certified (holding seven
individual certifications), and all but one are certified in air conditioning.

TRC set out to determine if qualified technicians are following federal requirements by performing AC
maintenance tasks by virtue of documented certification required by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). However, TRC could not find a single refrigerant-related AC repair needed to confirm First
Transit’s adherence to this requirement. Therefore, Table 12 is left blank for this audit.

Table 12 - A/C Repairs by Certified Technicians

Bus # Date HVAC Repair Certified Technician

Regarding staffing, all 12 technician positions are now filled, bringing the ratio of buses to technicians to
5.6:1 (67 buses divided by 12 technicians). This technician ratio is appropriate to DDOT’s operation, is
comparable to similar operations, and one that First Transit agrees with. TRC will continue to monitor this
ratio during its audits.

Findings: 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. The practice
provides 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 PMI (going back two PMIs – 22 records);
b) Fluid records were filed and could be easily accessed; and
c) First Transit is making use of the fluids analysis results as part of its maintenance program.

For the first two audits, TRC was not able to make the necessary determinations because fluid analysis
reports for each bus examined were not accessible. However, starting in May 2016, oil analysis records
are integrated into a paperless system where all files are easily located. Two audits ago in May, the review
of 11 bus records found proof that fluid samples were taken as part of the PM inspection process (each of
the two records reviewed for each bus showed evidence of fluid sampling). Last audit, however, fluid

Prepared by Transit Resource Center 17


sample records could not be found for five of the 11 bus records reviewed. For this audit, the
performance was similar; at least one record could not be found for buses: #1121, #1129, #1142, #2005,
and #2015. Per First Transit’s maintenance program, fluid samples should be taken with every PMI. The
rate of 55% compliance for two straight audits when the standard is 100% is unacceptable. It is
recommended that WMATA and First Transit take additional steps to ensure fluid samples are taken at
each PMI and corresponding records are properly filed.

TRC drew engine, transmission, and coolant fluid samples from five buses selected at random (15
samples) to provide another level of fluid condition verification. The results from TRC’s lab are shown
below. Last audit two lab recommendations required separate follow-up action. This audit there were two
abnormal findings, both of which require additional follow-up action. They are highlighted in bold below
and require First Transit to add a specified concentrate to coolant.

Engine Oil:
All five engine samples taken were normal.

Transmission:
All five transmission samples taken were normal.

Coolant:

1107 – Abnormal: pH level is normal. Glycol level is normal. Nitrites are low. Recommend adding SCA-
{Coolant concentrate} as per manufacturer’s recommendations to raise inhibitor level. Re-sample at
normal recommended interval.

2015 – Abnormal: pH level is normal. Glycol level is normal. Nitrites are low. Recommend adding SCA-
{Coolant concentrate} as per manufacturer’s recommendations to raise inhibitor level. Re-sample at
normal recommended interval.

Based on the findings, there is no evidence to suggest that First Transit is neglecting maintenance to
engines and transmissions that would cause accelerated deterioration. With that said, not drawing fluids
at each and every PMI creates a risk of undetected deterioration, to prevent this, fluids analysis should be
completed with each PMI. The findings from the samples drawn by TRC are consistent with fluid analysis
providing an early indication of potential problems. Corrective actions indicated by the lab to buses 1107
and 2015 (coolant concentrate) are recommended to prevent the possibility of any future damage.

Parts Inventory

Starting last audit, TRC was asked to examine First Transit’s parts inventory to determine if common
maintenance parts are available. Last audit First Transit was not sufficiently stocked with AC compressors,
farebox parts, and destination sign parts. This audit, however, supplies have been replenished and First
Transit was found to be properly stocked with spare parts. Table 13 lists common spare parts that TRC
was asked to monitor and whether the supply for each is satisfactory.

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Table 13 - Common Spare Parts Inventory

Spare Part Quantity Satisfactory Level


Brake Calipers 13 sets, mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
Brake Rotors 19 - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
22 wheel sets - mix of New Flyer and Van Yes
Brake Pads Hool
Brake Hoses Vast array - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
7 rears, 4 fronts - mix of New Flyer and Van Yes
Brake Cambers Hool
HVAC Blower Motors 60+ - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
AC Compressor 2 Yes
AC Refrigerant 60 lbs. 134a Yes
AC Fittings Vast array - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
AC Hoses Vast array - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
Wiper Blades 20 sets - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
Shock Absorbers & Mounts Vast array - mix of New Flyer and Van Hool Yes
Seats 0 – sent out for repairs n/a
Farebox Parts Variety of parts added since last audit, Yes
appears sufficient
Destination Sign parts Variety of parts added since last audit, Yes
appears sufficient

Vehicle Registrations
For this audit TRC reviewed the registration status for all buses. The review of First Transit’s files revealed
that all but one of the buses had current registrations. The one bus where the registration had expired
was ordered on time, but apparently was not received in a timely manner. Following the audit a call to
First Transit confirmed that the registration had in fact arrived. To further confirm registrations, a
WMATA representative ordered that First Transit inspect the registration stickers posted on the front
windshields of all DDOT buses returning for service one evening during the audit and document the
expiration date for each bus. A review of the spreadsheet produced by First Transit resulting from that
inspection revealed that except for that one bus where the registration had been ordered but had not yet
arrived, no other bus had expired windshield-mounted registration tags. Following the audit First Transit
confirmed that the registration tag for the one expired bus had been placed on the windshield, bringing
all buses into compliance.

Contested Defects
Last audit First Transit contested one “A” defect, which was later withdrawn by First Transit. This audit
First Transit contested a fuel leak. Although TRC had evidence to support a leak, it could not locate the
exact source. First Transit stated that the fuel was residual from a prior repair. First Transit subsequently
inspected the bus and found no leak. A technical representative from WMATA also inspected the bus and
concurred with First Transit’s findings. Based on this information, TRC removed that defect from its total.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center 19


Recommendations
Recommendations are provided in Table 14 which follows. To address these reconditions DDOT, WMATA,
and First Transit jointly conduct twice-weekly conference calls to discuss progress on improvements.

Table 14 – Recommendations

Reason for
Category Action Needed Recommendation Benefits
Training Recommendation from last audit None of the 12 Properly trained and
Deficiencies remains: First Transit to present to technicians are ASE certified technicians are
WMATA and DDOT with a formal certified, and only two more efficient and
plan for providing each technician are certified to conduct successful at identifying
with a minimum of 16 hours of refrigerant-related air defects, diagnosing
training annually to get a conditioning repairs. faults, and making
minimum of 75% of them with at needed repairs.
least one ASE certification and
minimum of 50% of technicians
with AC certification.

Additional recommendation: Currently, none of the ASE certification will


First Transit to put incentives in 12 technicians holds a improve technician skill
place to increase the number of single ASE certification levels and improve
technicians with ASE certifications overall maintenance
performance.
The oversight will help
ensure that technicians
Additional recommendation: Records continue to are properly identifying
Although PMI training has been indicate that technicians and documenting all
provided to new hires, it is are not documenting all defects found during
recommended that it be followed defects that exist on a PM inspections. If not,
up with more aggressive oversight bus during PM training can be directed
by First Transit management to inspections. accordingly.
make certain technicians are, in
fact, identifying and recording all
defects that exist on buses at time
of scheduled PM inspections.
Excessive Recommendation from last audit Defects, especially “A” Reduced defects
Defects remains: First Transit to present to defects, continue to be improve bus reliability
WMATA and DDOT a detailed plan excessive. and availability.
for reducing the number of
defects, which in turn should
improve bus availability. In
particular, the plan should cite
specific activities to reduce
Engine/Engine Compartment and
Exterior Body Condition defects.
The recommendation also
included bringing in more
technicians to provide time for the
large number of newly hired

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Reason for
Category Action Needed Recommendation Benefits
technicians to receive the training
they need without jeopardizing
the ability to repair existing bus
defects.
Delayed PM Recommendation from last audit The current Performing PM
Inspections remains: First Transit should take performance of 45% is inspections on time
needed steps to ensure that PM well below FTA’s ensures that vital
inspections are performed 100% requirements. lubricating fluids are
on time. replenished at
recommended intervals
Additional recommendation: First Transit tracks and to extend major
Action is needed to improve the records bus “life” components life. Timely
accuracy of actual vehicle miles to mileage (accumulated inspections also allow
improve on-time PMI mileage) as well as technicians to identify
performance. “system” mileage defects on a more
(reading from odometer regular basis.
device that may have
been changed). Accurate accounting of
Mileages are not bus mileages will help
systematically recorded, facilitate scheduling
making it difficult to and maintain on-time
schedule/track PM PMI performance
inspections.
Bus Recommendation from last audit Buses are unacceptably Clean buses will show
Cleanliness remains: Implement a detailed dirty inside and out passengers and funding
cleaning program to make buses including dirty exteriors, sources that DDOT
more presentable to the public. interiors, wheels, and values their patronage.
windows.
Suggestions include outsourcing
this function to a firm capable of
doing a thorough job, having
buses washed at another facility,
purchasing a portable bus washer,
establishing a checklist of cleaning
functions to be followed and
criteria for determining what
represents a clean bus, steam
cleaning and polishing wheels on
a more regular basis, and
establishing a policy that
technicians protect fabric seating
and other interior items from
soiled bus components during
repairs.
Fluid Analysis Make certain vital fluid samples Two audits ago the Fluid sampling provides
are taken at each PMI and review of 11 bus records critical early warning of
corresponding records properly found proof that fluid impending engine and
filed. sample were taken as transmission failures.
part of the PM
inspection process. For

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Reason for
Category Action Needed Recommendation Benefits
the last two audits,
however, records could
not be found for five of
the 22 bus records
reviewed.

Corrective action needed on two Lab findings indicated Prevents possible future
abnormal fluid samplings taken by that buses 1107 and damage to engines in
TRC. 2015 need additional those buses.
coolant concentrate
(additive).
Maintain DDOT and WMATA need to The number of “A” Buses will operate with
Oversight continue their efforts to oversee defects along with the fewer defects, be safer,
First Transit’s maintenance number of buses more appealing to the
performance by tracking all of the unavailable for daily public, and DDOT will
recommendations listed here. service continues to be receive the level of
excessive. service performance
contracted for.

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Appendix A – Excel Spreadsheet Reports

See attached file: DC_MasterDefectSheet_Jan 2016_Final toDDOT.xlsx

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Appendix B – “A” Defect List (revised for January 1917 Audit)

“A” Defects

 Fire extinguisher - any onboard fire extinguisher that is missing, not properly mounted, has an
expired or missing tag, or an indicator that reads the device is not charged to an acceptable level (i.e.,
in green zone).
 Headlights - any headlight that has an inoperative low or high beam or not operating in a normal
manner (erratic or intermittent illumination).
 Wipers - any wiper that is not operating in a normal manner (inoperative, erratic or intermittent).
 Cracked windshield in driver’s view or any windshield flaw that restricts visibility.
 Seat belts, driver - any seat belt that is missing, damaged or not operating in a normal manner (belt
does not latch, latches in an erratic or intermittent manner).
 Turn signals - any turn signal that has an inoperative incandescent bulb or more than 50% inoperative
LEDs, cracked lens, or not operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent switch function or
illumination). (Note: any cracked lens, not omitting white light, and the lights function properly will
not be an A Defect).
 Horn - any horn that is not functioning or operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent
sound, switch function or functionality).
 Emergency flashers - any emergency flasher that has an inoperative incandescent bulb or more than
50% inoperative LEDs, cracked lens, or not operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent
switch function or illumination). (Note: any cracked lens, not omitting white light, and the lights
function properly will not be an A Defect)
 Brake lights - any brake light that has an inoperative incandescent bulb or more than 50% inoperative
LEDs, cracked lens, or not operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent switch function or
illumination). (Note: any cracked lens, not omitting white light, and the lights function properly will
not be an A Defect)
 Air pressure/Air leaks - any part of the air system having an audible leak.
 Brake lining thickness – indicator pin needs to be flush with or extended past outside of caliper. In
cases where there is no indicator, an “A” defect will be assigned in cases where the rotor exhibits
metal-to-metal contact (scoring) or exhibits no contact at all.
 Tire tread depth @ 2/32” rear; 4/32” front (minimum allowed when measured at any point across the
tread)
 Fuel leak - any fuel leak except overflow caused by overfilling at filler.
 Exposed wires - any wire that has visible conductor material except for those designed in that
manner.
 Proximity to exhaust – oil, harness, etc - any fresh oil that is leaking onto an exhaust component; or
any wires, wiring harness or other non-metal material that is in contact with or close enough to an
exhaust component that it exhibits deformation from heat.
 Oil/Grease on brakes (saturated) - Any evidence of oil seepage into or out of the brake lining/drum
interface area. This must include wet contamination of the lining accompanied by evidence further
contamination will occur such as oil running from the drum or bearing seal.
 Wheelchair Ramp inoperative - any wheelchair lift or ramp system including passenger present alarm
system that is not functioning or operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent movement,
switch function or functionality, or is binding).

Prepared by Transit Resource Center 24


 Wheelchair securement equipment - any part of the wheelchair securement system that is not
functioning or operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent movement or functionality).
 Kneeling - any part of the kneeling system that is not functioning or operating in a normal manner
(erratic or intermittent movement, switch function or functionality).
 Sharp edges - any edge where part of the bus where persons may come in contact with that is sharp
cause bodily injury (i.e., skin scratch or puncture)
 Tripping hazard – interior any deformation in a horizontal surface used by passengers to walk on that
is greater than ¼” between vertical surfaces, or if there is beveling, no more than ½”. Measurements
will be made using a straight edge and ruler at the highest point of deviation.
 Critical steering/suspension play, wear - Pitman arm: Looseness of pitman arm on pitman shaft,
obvious repair weld, or improperly secured, or wheels cannot be turned to designed limits without
interference.

Tie-Rod Ends, Radius Rods & Drag Link: Any motion, other than rotational, greater than 1/8” , that can be
detected by movement with two hands with moderate strength, in any connecting joint; any wear
demonstrated by wear indicator; any looseness of a stud nut; any looseness in any threaded joint, or any
loose clamp(s) or clamp fastener(s). Exceptions include any spring loaded joint designed to move up and
down with no lateral play.

Steering Box: Loose, damaged or missing fasteners or mounting component, excessive fluid and/or oil
leak (observable shininess of fluid), any repair welds.
 Sensitive edges – doors – not working at all when an arm or any other object is placed between the
sensitivity edges and the doors do not respond accordingly. Special testing provisions will be applied
to 2003/04 Van Hool buses. However, any failure of the doors to respond when subjected to these
procedures will result in an “A” defect.
 Any tire pressure below 80 psi
 Wheel lug nuts - any wheel lug nut that is missing, damaged, or through visual indication appears to
be coming loose.
 Exhaust leak into bus - Any bus exhaust system leaking or discharging under the passenger or engine
compartment
 Back-up alarm - any part of the back-up alarm system (buzzer and light) that is not functioning or
operating in a normal manner (erratic or intermittent functionality).
 Excessive oil in air system – when the opened valve emits more oil than air.
 Missing emergency exit signs – any emergency exit sign that is missing or illegible.
 Emergency window won’t open. TRC inspectors will use their judgement and years of experience to
determine if excessive force is required to either release the handle or push out the window.
 Stop request signaling system- a stop request system that is not functioning or operating in a normal
manner (erratic or intermittent functionality). For New Flyer buses one defective stop request signal
will be classified as a “B” defect, each additional inoperative stop request signal will be classified as an
“A defect. For Van Hool buses two defective stop request signals will be classified as a “B” defects,
each additional inoperative stop request signal will be classified as an “A defect.

Prepared by Transit Resource Center 25


1020 Center Street, Suite 16
Horseheads, NY 14845
Telephone: 607-796-0238
Facsimile: 607-796-2584

March 23, 2017

Mr. Sean Egan


Deputy Associate Director for Transit Operations
DDOT
55 M Street SE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20003

Re: DDOT-TRC Audit January 2017

Mr. Egan

First Transit is in receipt, and has reviewed the results of the DDOT-
TRC audit conducted on January 10 – 12, 2017. Overall average
defects per bus were reduced from 6.5 defects per bus to 5.6 defects
per buses totaling 124 defects, however “A” defect average
increased from .27 per bus to .77 per bus as documented in the TRC
January audit results, and is a serious concern to First Transit. The
days leading up to the audit the weather was extremely cold which
had an impact on overall fleet availability and performance due to
cold weather related breakdowns and repairs. As you are aware, First
Transit has remained committed in addressing staffing challenges
over the past months allowing additional labor resources to address
audit defects from the prior audits. Out of the 596 total defects
found between the past 4 audits 526 defects have been completed.
As of 3/20/2017a total of 70 defects remain open, 12 mechanical,
and 50 body repair/vendor repair defects. First Transit continues to
A FirstGroup America Company
www.firsttransit.com
make the audit defect a priority for repairs to be completed and
closed out.

First Transit continues to work diligently in addressing the areas


highlighted in TRC’S audit findings. Outlined below are actions that
have been taken to improve the quality of maintenance and
maintenance processes while working towards a goal to sustain a
high level of fleet performance through consistent and quality
maintenance practices:

Training: First Transit has conducted PM training class for 6 additional


technicians on October 11, 2016 – October 13, 2016. First Transits PM
inspection process, is a robust and comprehensive preventive
maintenance program, that when followed ensures that our vehicles
are maintained to the highest standards. First Transit is committed
to ensuring we are maintaining vehicles to the OEM standards and
putting safe and reliable vehicles on the road.

Specific training pertaining to OEM Equipment has been conducted


on site. The courses are as follows;
1. VanHool Training – Comprehensive classroom as well as hands
on instruction on multiple systems of the VanHool Transit Bus.
Number of Technicians attended was 10 and class was 40hrs
per Technician.
2. Farebox Training – Two Technicians have been sent to training
provided by WMATA. Each Technician received 16hrs of
training over two days. The number of trained Farebox
Technicians is now six.
3. BAE Training – A total of eight Technicians received 16 hours of
training over two days.
4. New Flyer Training – All 12 current Technicians will be required
to attend this training from April 17th to April 21st, 2017. Each
Technician will receive 40hrs of instruction, including
classroom and hands on, covering multiple systems.

A FirstGroup America Company


www.firsttransit.com
Staffing: First Transit hired a Maintenance Manager Michael Estrada
as of 12/19/2016 who will provide the day to day oversight, guidance,
training and leadership for all shop staff. First Transit also added a 4th
supervisor Dennis Johns who started on 1/09/2017. This has allowed
us to shift Teddy Pierre to the position of Maintenance Training
Manager working on the floor with the technicians across all shift as
a hands on trainer to help diagnose bus repair issues, and provide on
the job training to each of the technicians to further improve their
knowledge and skill set of the fleet.
Increasing the technician labor staff from 7 to 12 technician positions
has had a positive impact in addressing the overall work load in
clearing past audit defects, performing PM Inspections and daily
repairs. However, the aging 2003/04 Van Hool buses continue to have
the highest number of defect repairs consuming labor resources to
ensure buses are operable while maintaining an acceptable number
of down buses.

ASE Certification: Firs Transit continues to provide on line training


and support to all employees to become ASE certified. First Transit
has partnered with Delmar Learning to provide support for
technicians to become ASE certified. First Transit also offers a pay
incentive based on the number of ASE certifications. We are also
utilizing our in house training department, as well as continually
looking to recruit highly trained technicians.

608/609 Air Conditioning Certifications: In the short term, to offset


the small number of Technicians we have certified to conduct this
work, ThermoKing will be brought in to prepare for turning on the
A/C.

ThermoKing has inspected each type of bus in the fleet and they have
stocked the necessary parts to perform a PM and charge each
system. The start date for the work is March 27th and all 67 buses
will have this service performed in preparation for summer.

A FirstGroup America Company


www.firsttransit.com
In the long term we will certify as many Technicians as possible in the
evacuation and recharging of A/C systems. The projected date to
have each Technician certified is May 1, 2017.

Parts Inventory: John O’Neill was hired as the parts clerk as of


October 2016 filling a position that was open for 2 months. First
Transit continues to improve our inventory stocking levels based on
fast moving parts and adjusting our on hand inventory to ensure
availability of parts for timely repairs. First Transit has also set up all
inventory parts with a Min/Max level in Infor allowing us to utilize an
automatic reorder process to replenish parts that have been used.

The linchpin in the improvement of parts availability is and will


continue to be our focus on Technicians completing Work Orders
correctly. As Technicians become more proficient in the proper
completion of Work Orders the process we have put into place for
automatic reordering will have more and more of an impact on our
parts availability.

As a measure to ensure we do not have equipment down due to lack


of parts each time a part is ordered a second same part is ordered as
well. The combined effort of charging parts out correctly and in
effect ordering two of everything has made our parts stocking level
and quantity increase substantially.

Audit Defects: All defects have been entered into INFOR to ensure
the repair is tracked to completion in our maintenance system.

In our continued effort to improve the number of defects found we


have implemented the following changes;
1. PM Training to better identify defects and completing the
defects before equipment is released for service.
2. The use of multiple third party vendors to address the defects
found during the audit. The target completion date of all
defects is May 1, 2017.

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3. Supervisors are accountable for work done and to QC/QA work
performed during their shifts.
4. Giving each Technician a PM Guideline Sheet to assist them
during PM inspections to ensure items are not missed.
The continued use of the Quality/Safety Inspection developed by
WMATA continues to be used each time equipment is brought into
the shop fort repair. These steps, will over time, lower the amount of
defects found per piece of equipment.

Please note that all “A” defects were repaired immediately following
the audit.

The First Transit team remains committed in addressing our


maintenance shortfalls as identified in TRC’S audit. Our mission is to
provide consistent, and quality maintenance every time. We expect
with the additional technicians added to the staff at DC Circulator
that it will provide the labor hours, and skill set needed to maintain
the DC Circulator at a high level while minimizing service
interruptions.

Please let me know if you have additional needs for clarifications.

Sincerely,

Wayne Johnson

Wayne Johnson
Region Maintenance Manager – East Region
First Transit.

A FirstGroup America Company


www.firsttransit.com