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IndyGo electric bus safety questioned after Albuquerque points out major problems, returns them

Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-06 07:24:30-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Questions are being raised about the new electric buses that IndyGo has purchased for the Red Line Transit after another big city says they’ve had major problems and is returning their buses to the manufacturer.

IndyGo has purchased 13 electric buses from Chinese manufacturer “Build your Dreams” in an effort to replace their mass-transit system’s older diesel fleet and become more environmentally friendly.

But the quality of those buses is now being questioned after the city of Albuquerque says they’ve had major issues using the same buses on their streets.

“People have complained the services are unreliable and they don’t take it because they can’t, because it could take hours when it should take a half hour,” Lee Lange, Founder of the College Corridor Business Organization said.  

Some of the issues Albuquerque has had with the buses include:

  • Doors opening when they shouldn’t
  • Brakes not functioning properly
  • Cracking alongside the buses
  • Batteries only running 180 miles on a charge – instead of the promised 275 miles

“We’ve uncovered so many safety and structural issues that we simply cannot put these buses on our streets,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said.

IndyGo says they are looking into all of those possible issues and more while they test out the electric buses themselves.

“We have had a vehicle here since September and we are doing long days of testing several days a week. We are checking for all of the data points to meet the specifications we needed for our Red Line rapid transit," IndyGo said. 

IndyGo officials say they are not seeing the same problems on their test bus, because they are now using different battery technology. They say the brake issues Albuquerque experienced were also caused by the battery charge.

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