Nfld. & Labrador

School buses taken off road for leaking brake lines, broken emergency gear

Faulty emergency equipment and leaking brake and fuel lines prompted seven school buses to be taken off the road in eastern Newfoundland.

7 of Island Bus Services vehicles found with faulty emergency exits, leaking brake, fuel lines

A company that does busing for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District had buses pulled of the road because of safety concerns. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Faulty emergency equipment and leaking brake and fuel lines prompted seven school buses to be taken off the road in eastern Newfoundland.

Island Bus Services, a private company in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, is on contract with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District to service schools on the Southern Shore and in St. John's.

Spot inspections by the school district turned up a number of issues with the buses in the company's fleet.

Service NL Minister Eddie Joyce says the inspections turned up a fuel leak, brake lines leaking, inoperable emergency equipment — including emergency doors and windows seized shut — and flashing lights not operating.

In total, seven of the company's buses were taken off the road, while two others were allowed to stay on the road but could not carry students.

Minister of ServiceNL Eddie Joyce says the buses won't be allowed back on the road until they are brought up to standard and inspected again. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

In all, 18 of Island Bus Services buses were inspected during the week of Oct. 10.

What happened?

The province inspects all school buses prior to the school year, and Joyce said government is "looking into" how these nine buses fell through the cracks.

"We will do an evaluation of what happened when the inspection is done," said Joyce.

Joyce said he doesn't know why these buses were flagged for a spot inspection, but added unannounced inspections do happen on occasion.

Any company that continues to fail inspections could lose its contract with the school board, Joyce said, "but, in most cases, we rectify the situation."

"To the best of my knowledge there have been no sanctions in this case," said Joyce.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the English School District told the CBC that one of Island Bus Services buses had gone off the road, so the school district asked ServiceNL to inspect all of the company's buses.

The school district said the company's contract for Leary's Brook Junior High and Larkhall Academy has been suspended, but could be reinstated once those buses are repaired to standard and re-inspected.

The school district said no problems were found with the company's buses on the Southern Shore.

Messages left for the owner of Island Bus Services, Paul Cummings, were not returned.

About the Author

Glenn Payette

Videojournalist

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.