While the city is insisting that safety issues are behind the proposed changes to the scheduling system, the OC Transpo employees union says the transit company is ignoring maintenance concerns that are costing the city millions and making buses potentially dangerous.

“Ourselves and our families ride the bus and safety is a big concern for us. Of course, so is expense, because most of us are taxpayers here in the city,” said Peter Theriault, a mechanic with 10 years experience at OC Transpo.

Hugh Thayer, a 26-year-veteran mechanic said when articulated buses first arrived at OC Transpo, their bumpers corroded very quickly. Yet upper management sent some that were marked for repairs out onto the roads.

“‘Meet service at all cost’ was a lot of the way the thinking is there,” he said. “We were fortunate that none of (the bumpers) fell off. If that was going down the Queensway, it could easily go eastbound in the westbound lane and hurt a lot of people.”

Theriault said the city does not follow a proper maintenance schedule for the buses and as a consequence, many of the warranties are unnecessarily voided because the time or the miles lapse out. Up to 500 buses have lapsed warranties that could have saved the city around $165,000 per vehicle, he said.

The city said it would not comment on unspecified allegations and insisted that instead of talking at one another through the media, they should be meeting at the negotiating table.

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