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Sat Jun 9, 2018, 01:15 AM

Albuquerque: Company sent faulty ART bus due to city pressure

Pressure from top city administrators to deliver an initial electric battery bus for (Albuquerque) then-Mayor Richard Berry to promote the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project last year led to the bus manufacturer cobbling together a vehicle that didn’t meet the city’s specifications, concluded the city’s Inspector General.

A new Office of Inspector General report states that a top city administrator allegedly “threatened” to terminate the city’s $22.9 million contract with bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams, BYD, if an initial bus wasn’t delivered in time for Berry to ride. Just days before Berry’s term ended Nov. 30, he took a ceremonial first ride on an ART electric battery bus, along with dozens of officials and citizens, on a trip to the city’s River of Lights event at the Botanical Gardens. The first bus was among those deployed for the River of Lights ride.

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... the city was supposed to have inspected the buses at the BYD manufacturing plant in Lancaster, Calif., before their transport. But the OIG found that city transit employees sent to the California plant to act as inspectors weren’t properly trained beforehand. Nor were they provided specific checklists tailored for the BYD electric buses. In short, the city’s quality assurance efforts were insufficient.

The city transit employees sent to California for inspections racked up nearly $69,000 in travel and other expenses ...
One employee ... spent two weeks at the BYD plant without observing the assembly of a single bus destined for Albuquerque ...
Another reportedly took the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to visit his family for five days.


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