Keolis faces regional fines over BYD bus faults

Keolis faces regional fines over BYD bus faults

The states of Gelderland and Overijssel states have had serious problems with Keolis electric buses in the IJssel-Vecht agreement. They have issued a tax evasion notice to the consignor and plan to impose a fine of five thousand euros on the bus if the bus does not meet the requirements before March 31.

The Regional Executive Boards of both states have announced this in a joint letter to the members of their respective States. For regions, the measure is now full. They believe that there is not enough vision for a solution to the ongoing problems with climate control and ergonomics of the cabin. This has been happening since the start of the agreement on 13 December 2020.

The current transport company Keolis operates in an IJssel-Vecht emergency contract with 259 electric buses from BYD suppliers, where 90 percent of the delivery obligation applies if a new agreement is made with another service provider. The current contract term expires this year and the appointment of a new service provider is still ongoing. In addition to Keolis, EBS and Qbuzz have offered the deal. In April, it will be announced which of the three will be allowed to provide bus transport from December 2022 to the end of 2035.

Fines are threatening

In November last year, regional authorities demanded in a letter to Keolis that problems be resolved with effect from the new schedule. Now they realize that this is still not the case. Therefore, they have now given Keolis official tax clearance notice and plan to fine the transport company if there is still not enough solution by the end of March.

According to Gelderland and Overijssel, there are ample reasons to change this measure. Poorly adjusted seats and poor climate control system cause severe absenteeism due to illness, making it difficult to navigate all planned trips.

New owner of the agreement

In addition, BYD buses will be relocated to the new concession owner IJssel-Vecht by December 11 this year. “We want a guarantee that the new employee can use the buses without facing the problems of the past, which have not been adequately resolved,” the regional authorities write. They also fear the destruction of public transport imagery in Gelderland and Overijssel. And the worse the picture, the less likely people are to travel by public transportation.

Keolis has been given three weeks by the provinces to respond in writing. The answer should explain what has been done to prevent problems and how and when the problems that still arise will be resolved. The fine will follow only if Keolis does not respond in time or cannot arrange buses before March 31. In the worst case scenario, this could reach around $ 1.3 million.

Base tin for more space behind the wheel

In response, Keolis states that it has been working hard with BYD for some time to end the crisis. There is already a solution, says a spokesman. For example, a new base plate under the driver’s seat in the bus should ensure better seating and more space behind the wheel. The plate had to be specially developed and now it also has to be installed. That has already happened to some buses.

According to the spokesman, the heating system has not functioned properly since the start of the agreement. Extra heaters were built later, but coordination between old and new heaters does not work well. Keolis is now looking for a reason for this. Meanwhile, drivers who are cold can get warm pants from their employer.

Driver rating

It is understood that the regions have now set tough deadlines, according to the spokesman. “It also provides transparency. We would like problems to be solved today rather than tomorrow.” But he says it takes time to handle all buses, in consultation and coordination with BYD distributors.

Last week, two buses were provided by BYD, where all points were upgraded. Drivers were able to evaluate them, so that they could be replaced on other buses after their approval. The review also provided a number of improvement points, which BYD is working on. A new round of evaluations will follow later this week. “We will continue until everything is satisfied with the drivers.”

Back issues

The problems that these buses are now facing are of a different nature than they were last year. Shortly after the start of the emergency agreement, the buses stopped unexpectedly due to software problems. Keolis then set up a ‘road improvement’ to look at all buses and solve structural problems. Last autumn there were malfunctions due to problems with the driving vehicle. These problems have also been solved successfully.

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