Union issues bus fire warning

Release date: 6/02/2013

Seven vehicles in the Cairns Sunbus fleet should be pulled off the roads because they pose a risk of catching fire, a transport union official says.
Grace Uhr, Cairns Post, 6 February 2013

Two Volvo Sunbus vehicles ignited on the Captain Cook Highway within a month late last year and despite moves by parent company Transit Australia Group to make safety modifications, a Volvo bus fire in Brisbane yesterday highlights bigger problems, Transport Workers’ Union passenger transport co-ordinator Bob Giddens said.

“I have to congratulate them (TA Group) for that (modifications), but now they have to look at the big picture because it’s not just their company,” he said.

“this is too many in too short a time to be an isolated incident.”

Yesterday, a bus ignited outside a school in the Brisbane suburb of Park Ridge with the occupants getting out unharmed. It follows another fire on a Gold Coast Volvo bus in October last year.

The four fires prompted the TWU to demand all Queensland bus companies recall Volvo buses in the fleet, labeling them a “fire hazard”.

Volvo buses make up seven of the 50-bus fleet in Cairns.

TWU state secretary Peter Biagini said it appeared there were “significant problems” with Volvo buses.

“It is unacceptable for our public transport to be catching fire,” Mr Biagini said.

“Companies and governments are playing chicken with the lives of passengers and drivers.”

Volvo buses in the Cairns Sunbus fleet caught fire on September 4 and October 5 last year.

No one was injured in either blaze with passengers able to exit the vehicle in time, but both vehicles were destroyed.

The incidents prompted TA Group to modify the alternators of every Volvo in its company which includes services on the Gold Coast, Tweed, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton, Townsville, Magnetic Island and Cairns.

TA Group elected not to comment on yesterday’s fire.

The cause of the incident involving a Park Ridge Transit bus is yet to be determined but Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the department would now review the maintenance records for all nine Volvo B12 buses in the fleet.
He said he was unaware of any “systemic issues” which this model of bus.

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