Maintaining The Equipment: The Driver and The Company Share The Responsibility

by Rhonda

I got bus 1 in 1978 when it was a year old--a 1977 Chevy. We went everywhere together. That bus was kept clean inside and out. You could even eat off the floor. I believe in clean vehicles.

When I started writing up the brakes, they were at the point of "plenty of time left before the rotors need work" and there was nothing unsafe about them. I kept copies of my reports I turned in to the mechanics. I kept asking when the brakes were going to be checked and that I could take another bus for my noon route as that would give you from 9ish to 2 to 2:30 to do the job. I got no response so I kept writing them up daily.

Because my company owned the buses, we also leased them to groups. Such was the case for a trip to the mountains for a ski trip with a church. So when the day finally came that "my" bus was brought in to be serviced for this trip. Soon, one of the drivers, who also helped out in the shop, came to me and started in on me that I need to write up things that need to be fixed on the buses I drive. Before he got too far with me, I shut him up and went to my locker. I pulled out a months worth of write-ups on the brakes.

I went out to the shop to see "my" bus sitting on jacks and all the wheels were off. The brakes were so bad that what was left of them just crumbled onto the floor. If someone had listened to me weeks ago, we would not be sitting here arguing. Now this unit will not be going on a ski trip and a normal brake job has just risen to a cost of $2,000 (I found out later) because the rotors needed to be turned along with new brake pads and shoes - the whole works. This bus was in the shop for 35 days. You can be sure that my employer was not happy when shown all my write-ups. The mechanics were also not happy with the chat the boss had with them.

I am driving one of the spare buses but I sure want "my" bus back. Oh, happy days when it was returned to me!!! We had been away for too long. You can also be sure that now when I wrote up vehicle problems on the bus or any bus I used, I had a whole shop of mechanics looking at that bus ASAP before the ink was dry on my write-up. Guess they learned the hard way that women do know a few things about vehicles!

A note from Brett Aquila - Rhonda brings up a couple of excellent points with this story. First of all, you have to understand how your vehicle works and how to determine if something is wrong - whether it's a bus or a tractor trailer - you need to know something about the mechanical operation of the vehicle and how to inspect it. Rhonda obviously knew that something needed to be done to the bus she was driving and did her part when it comes to the driver's responsibility for the equipment.

Also, one of the ways to determine if a company is one that you'd like to work for is to talk to their drivers and mechanics. Ask the mechanics if the equipment is well taken care of and ask the drivers if the company does the work you request. Also, find out how well they take care of routine maintenance. Any good company I've ever worked for kept their equipment like brand new and never questioned doing the work that needed to be done. This doesn't mean you can tell them to rebuild the motor once a month, but if you say it needs new wiper blades or that a few lights are out on the dash and they ignore it, that's a big-time red flag and a warning that you better pay close attention to the company and how they operate.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

by Brett Aquila

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