Hamilton orders one-third of ‘deficient’ DARTS vehicles off the road

By

Published May 19, 2022 at 3:19 pm

City of Hamilton demands removal of DARTS vehicles over safety concerns
The City of Hamilton has demanded that more than one-third of the approximately 136 DARTS vehicles operating in the city be removed due to safety concerns. (DARTS photo)

The City of Hamilton has demanded that more than one-third of the approximately 136 DARTS vehicles operating in the city be removed due to safety concerns.

The demands were made toward the third-party provider of Hamilton’s accessible transit service after an audit revealed that as many as 45 per cent of the vehicles tested did not meet safety expectations. Initial findings uncovered issues ranging from less severe, such as malfunctioning lights, to more serious problems, such as issues with suspensions and exhausts.

Advertising
Advertising

The audit, which commenced earlier this month and followed a review of DARTS vehicle maintenance records, was initiated following a confidential complaint received by Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) regarding the state of vehicles operated by or on behalf of DARTS. Initial audit findings indicate that a significant number of vehicles reviewed to date were found to have deficiencies.

Understanding that removing a significant portion of the DARTS fleet from service will impact service levels, the City has requested that all remaining vehicles, which have already passed inspection, be utilized for priority services such as critical medical appointments.

“Over the past few months, the City has worked diligently to ascertain the condition of vehicles providing accessible transit service in Hamilton, which has included a review of existing maintenance records, discussions with the operator, and, ultimately, engaging the services of the Office of the City Auditor,” said Maureen Cosyn Health, HSR’s director of transit. “While we appreciate that our ultimate decision to demand that a significant portion of the DARTS fleet from service will result in significant service disruptions for persons with disabilities in our community, we strongly believe that concerns for the traveling public’s safety must remain paramount.”

The City says the deficient vehicles can return to the fleet after a safety review by third-party mechanics.

DARTS is a charitable organization that provides specialized transit services in Hamilton. DARTS owns a fleet of accessible vehicles and subcontracts for minivan and sedan service.

The official letter issued by the office of Mayor Fred Eisenberger is available here.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising