Three buses out of a group of 67 sidelined with cracked suspensions have been repaired and returned to service, county transit officials said Monday.
But repair of the entire group probably cannot be made before mid-June, according to Orange County Transit District officials.
The three buses returned to service were fixed Saturday after representatives of the manufacturer, Gillig Corp., and a parts supplier, and Nuway Co., agreed that reinforcing a steel bracket with a steel plate to "more evenly distribute the weight of the bus" would solve the cracking problem, OCTD spokeswoman Joanne Curran.
Late last month, two of the buses, which are less than a year old, collapsed onto their rear axles when their suspension systems failed. No one was injured, but the buses had to be towed away.
OCTD officials had feared that sidelining the 67 buses--about 15% of the agency's fleet--would eventually require such emergency measures as reduced service or leasing of extra buses from the Southern California Rapid Transit District in Los Angeles.
But Curran said Monday that such actions apparently will not be necessary unless more buses break down.
OCTD officials said they will invoke a contract clause that requires Gillig Corp. to pay $100 a day for each bus not in service. Curran said Monday that Gillig has not yet started paying the fee.
Gillig, a Hayward-based company, is scheduled to manufacture another 69 buses for delivery to OCTD in July or August, Curran said.
The OCTD board approved a $27,000 contract with a management consulting firm Monday to closely monitor production of the 69 new buses. Similar monitoring of production for the first 67 buses failed to spot any problems with the suspension systems, OCTD officials said.
In other action Monday, the board postponed for 2 weeks a decision on how to reward OCTD employees who set an example for the rest of the county by car-pooling and doing some work at home so that the agency can meet strict new limits on the number of commuters who can drive alone to work.
The restrictions have been set for all employers of 100 or more by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
In a controversial move, OCTD officials had proposed paying bonuses of up to $25 a month and giving extra vacation days to employees who participate in the agency's traffic-reduction plans.