TransLink shuts down fume-spewing heaters 0
TransLink has disabled the Webasto heater on its fleet of 188 Nova diesel-electric hybrid buses following reports of fumes from drivers and passengers. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
TransLink has turned off the Webasto heaters on its fleet of Nova diesel-electric hybrid buses serving Vancouver and Burnaby to address complaints of fumes spewing into bus cabins.
On Friday, a driver on the #106 route from Metrotown to New Westminster was hospitalized in Burnaby for fume exposure. A passenger on the same bus also reported the same smell, according to transit spokeswoman Jiana Ling, but didn’t go to hospital.
“We knew of the fumes and we were turning them off … (the decision) was made last week, after this event that happened, to turn off the Webasto heaters,” she said.
“As each bus gets retrofitted, the Webasto would be turned back on afterwards.”
TransLink will begin upgrades to the heaters on 188 buses in July. They include a new latch to seal a cabin off from the bus engine compartment — where fumes were seeping in — plus extending the Webasto’s exhaust to the rear of the bus.
The retrofits are expected to be complete by mid-August. The heaters will not be turned back on until they are refitted, Ling said.
According to the bus drivers’ union, hundreds of drivers had reported smells, with about two dozen “adversely” affected, over the past four years.
One bus passenger who felt sick after riding a Nova bus, described to 24 hours last week the fumes reminded her of a gas station.
“These buses have thousands of hours of service without problems, relative to the hours of service, the incidents of complaints of odours are relatively low,” Ling said.
“In the interest of safety we are making these modifications to address the concerns of odours on these buses.”