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Keller to ART bus manufacturer: take back your crummy buses

- City to buy nonelectric buses for ART

- Tells BYD to take back its 15 crummy ART buses

- Keller: "“After inspections over the past three weeks, we’ve uncovered so many safety and structural issues that we simply cannot put these buses on our streets.”

Mayor Tim Keller said Tuesday that the city has told the Chinese manufacturer of the electric buses for the ART project to take them back and that the city is holding the company, BYD, responsible for damages its malfunctioning buses have caused to city taxpayers.

Keller also said that the city will try to buy non-electric buses for the ART project along Central Avenue.

The city notified BYD on Tuesday that it was junking its contract with the company because there are too many problems with the 15 buses the company has delivered to the city so far.

Here's Keller's news release about its intent to break its contract with BYD:

November 13, 2018

Mayor Tim Keller provided an update on the ART bus inspections today, revealing numerous safety concerns uncovered by mechanics over the last three weeks. All 15 Build Your Dream Motors' (BYD) buses underwent a full inspection at the Mayor’s direction to ensure the safety of the buses after several issues came to light during driver training.

“After inspections over the past three weeks, we’ve uncovered so many safety and structural issues that we simply cannot put these buses on our streets.” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “Safety is our primary concern and it’s time to bring accountability to this project. For over a year, we have tried working with BYD to resolve major issues with bus performance and workmanship. Now we’re putting BYD on notice, demanding that they come pick up these buses and holding them responsible for damages to our taxpayers.”

Today the City sent a letter putting BYD on notice that the city is rejecting the ART buses and that the City intends to hold them responsible for all damage it has incurred.

The City has encountered numerous problems with the BYD buses, since the first few buses were delivered last October. They range from battery cases and outside surfaces cracking to batteries only running at about 177 miles on a single charge (as opposed to the promised 275 miles on a single charge). But as the City began driver training with the buses along the corridor in July, more major issues came to light; from doors opening when they shouldn’t, to brakes not functioning properly.

Now, the latest inspections have confirmed the identified safety issues. For that reason the City put BYD on notice with a letter that outlined the following:

The buses were not able to timely pass the Altoona testing as promised in the contract. The buses failed the first attempt with this testing and are currently being retested. This delay has pushed the revenue service date to August of 2019, at the earliest, contrary to the agreed date of October 2, 2017.

BYD has not provided certifications that are contractually and federally required, such as the crash worthiness certifications.

The City has informed BYD of the fact that the bus batteries and chargers do not meet the specifications as required under the contract.

City inspectors have identified serious and non-repairable safety issues with the buses that prohibit the City from proceeding with any launch of the BYD buses within Albuquerque.

The City is now considering options for the ART fleet, including purchasing 60 ft., five-door articulated buses from another bus manufacturer that would be able to dock with the ART platforms on Central.

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