2013 Maintenance Survey: Shops Seeing Electrical Issues, Need for Training

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

Diagnosing and repairing electronics and electrical systems is the number one issue for maintenance shops in North America, according to METRO’s Bus Maintenance Survey, with technicians saying they need more training in this area. Issues with engines/transmissions came in second, with last year’s top issue, parts, which includes availability, lead times and frequent failures, dropping several slots to No. 7. Meanwhile, training, with a large number of agencies reporting a growing need as turnover rates continue to grow due to retirement, comes in as the sixth greatest issue on the list of top shop challenges.

In a complete reversal from last year, where 60% said they are exploring such a move, 62% of the fleets who responded to the survey say their agency is not considering a switch to buses with all-electric components.

For the third year, METRO sent out its survey to even more maintenance shops, expanding its reach to almost 400 professionals, spanning a wide demographic consisting of large metropolitan to small and rural transit agencies as well as university-focused systems, and doubling last year’s numbers in both scope and response along the way. Questions covered topics ranging from fleet size to type of propulsion used and  hours-of-training provided per year to how that training is delivered. Other questions touched on top shop issues and what parts are bought most often.

Agencies varied in fleet size, with the largest maintaining 5,695 buses and the smallest five, with the mean boasting a fleet of 335 buses. Meanwhile, respondents’ salary levels ranged from a high of $181,750 to a low of $44,000, with the mean earning $76,172.   

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