By KELLY ROCHE, JON WILLING
Exhaust fumes have leaked into the city’s new fleet of double-decker buses, OC Transpo general manager John Manconi told council in a memo Friday.
Transpo’s entire fleet of deckers is undergoing inspection as a “proactive measure” after drivers reported diesel fumes, Manconi wrote.
Management received word on Wednesday and the engineering unit identified the problem.
A gasket seal failure on the engine exhaust manifold “occurs during extreme operating temperatures found only during the regeneration process (emission control system),” wrote Manconi.
A driver had to pull over when he sensed something was wrong, said Sharon Bow, vice-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279.
He was on Hwy. 416 near Hunt Club Rd., reporting diesel fumes entering the bus and that he had a headache, according to the city.
The driver was told to leave the bus and get fresh air. He requested medical attention.
The bus wasn’t in service at the time, so there were no passengers, she said.
“The operator is fine. He’s back to work,” Bow said.
Bow said she hasn’t received any information confirming other drivers have been affected by exhaust fumes.
An interim fix, allowing the emissions control system to operate safely in override mode has already been implemented.
Manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd. has confirmed in writing “the buses are safe to operate and there is no risk to the operator, passengers or the bus itself,” wrote Manconi.
New seals are being provided by the engine suppliers and “in the interim, the regeneration program has been inhibited on all the currently operating buses, which will eliminate the opportunity for the issue to re-occur,” Manconi wrote.
The work is covered by warranty.
The union is pleased the city and manufacturer are acting over the weekend.
“The main thing is, when there’s a problem, it’s recognized,” Bow said.
The city’s 75 deckers cost about $72.1 million and began rolling out last month.
All 75 are expected to be in service by April.
SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING:
- Headaches, decreased alertness, flu-like symptoms, nausea, fatigue, rapid breathing, chest pain, confusion, and impaired judgement
- The degree to which these symptoms occur depends on health status and individual variations in sensitivity, so specific responses at a given concentration will vary among individuals
Source: Health Canada