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Police blitz at Busabout’s Smeaton Grange depot finds 32 out of 88 buses had defects

Jul 3, 2014Bus Express

Dozens of school buses were among those found to have dangerous defects during a police blitz on a bus depot in Western Sydney yesterday.

Police and Roads and Maritime Service officers swooped on the Smeaton Grange depot of Busabout in Sydney’s southwest yesterday. They found 32 out of 88 buses had defects.

A vast majority of the defective buses are used to carry children on busy morning and afternoon school runs.

The defects on the buses ­included problems with suspension, steering, tyres, brakes and warning lights.

Six of the buses at the depot had “major defects” and three were grounded during the ­inspections. One had no working brake lights.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said the blitz was targeting bus driver fatigue and vehicle standards following a spate of serious bus crashes earlier this month. Busabout was not linked to those crashes.

“It’s not good enough,” Mr Smith said of the defects.

“Passengers getting on a bus and paying for the privilege expect that the vehicle they are getting into is roadworthy and safe.

“Given these large vehicles also transport our children to and from school each day, they must be mechanically sound and able to operate safely all of the time.

“As with other areas of the heavy vehicle industry, maintenance regimes must be followed effectively for the benefit of road safety.”

The Busabout depot targeted in yesterday’s blitz operates public transport and coach services in Liverpool, Lurnea, Casula, Prestons, Glenfield, Miller, Hoxton Park, Austral and Bringelly.

The company will be required to fix the defects and have the buses checked by the RMS before they can return to the roads.

Mr Smith warned other companies that the crackdown would continue.

“Given what we’ve found so far, it’s certainly our intention to continue this audit process,” Mr Smith said.

Police also carried out drug and alcohol tests but the company’s drivers all passed.

Article by Ashlee Mullany first published in Daily Telegraph