Inexperienced managers in OC Transpo’s maintenance department are being held responsible for more than 200 trips being cancelled at the start of the year.

The routes were cancelled because around 30 buses could not be started after sitting out in the cold over the four-day New Year’s weekend.

The buses were supposed to be started and rotated into a garage, but transit services general manager Alain Mercier said these instructions were lost in the shuffle due to human error.

The maintenance department is in the midst of a major transformation that should eliminate such mistakes in the future, Mercier said.

In recent years, there was an “unacceptable struggle” to get buses out on the road every morning, said Mercier, and there was very little planning for maintenance operations within garages.

To bring more structure to the department, Mercier said they hired an entirely new management team, from sectors like the airline and commercial vehicle industries. Most of the team has been at OC Transpo for less than six months, but it was while working under an antiquated maintenance system that the errors were made.

“We’re going through this process of taking an unstructured organization and imposing structure on it. That can’t happen overnight,” said Mercier. “We’ve hired the right people.”

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