By AZP Staff
MAXI-TAXI owners are up in arms with Diamond Motors, the local dealers for Japanese/Indian bus makers Fuso after their vehicles started experiencing serious problems.
The Route 2 Red Band maxi-men, who ply their trade on the Priority Bus Route from Port-of-Spain to Arima, held a meeting on Wednesday at their office at City Gate in the capital city.
Linus Phillip, president of the group said that despite complaints to Diamond Motors, which belongs to the ANSA-McAl Group of Companies, no satisfactory resolution of the problems has been reached.
He said that the maxi-taxi owners believe the serious mechanical problems need to be urgently addressed by the local agents since the safety of commuters and the general public are at stake.
He also stated that the financial toll the stalemate has been taking on his membership is also staggering.
Phillip told AZP News that it was first noticed that there was a serious problem when the new 25-seater Rosa buses began shaking violently in stationary mode, before the engine cuts off abruptly. Some operators also complained that the compressor for the air-condition units was defective and had to be changed frequently.
At Wednesday’s meeting, other bus owners complained that the studs on the wheels were falling off, and there were serious issues with the transmission which required the gearboxes to be repaired or replaced regularly.
Another major problem identified was a malfunctioning of the fuel pumps. Several also pointed out that the buses were burning an inordinate amount of engine oil and longer runs, like Port-of-Spain to San Fernando, necessitated frequent topping-ups.
“These problems should not be experienced by new buses. This is unusual. Especially so since the older version of the Rosa buses does not have this kind of issues,” said Phillip.
He said that in talks with officials of Diamond Motors, they were told that the local diesel fuel being used in the vehicles was the cause of the problems, but this was not borne out by any convincing evidence.
Phillip said that Diamond Motors brought in an engineer from the Fuso regional office in Peru who agreed with the maxi-taxi owners that the problems really do exist. Yet, the dealers were not prepared to have the affected vehicles recalled, and the problems corrected.
Instead they offered to change “kits” for only those that were under warranty.
The maxi-taxi boss said that the Rosa buses cost approximately $600,000 and it is grossly unfair that mechanical problems should crop up with the relatively new vehicles which the dealers refuse to take full responsibility for.
It is understood that although Fuso is a Japanese company, the latest models of the Rosa buses are being manufactured by the Tata Motor Company in India.
Phillip said that owners agreed that a comprehensive report should being compiled using all available data on the nature of the manufacturer’s defects and the number of vehicles involved.
He said the maxi-taxi owners will be making every effort to meet again with the officials of Diamond Motors to get some relief from their present predicament.
When contacted, Rishi Basdeo of Diamond Motors said he was “surprised” at the latest declaration by the maxi-taxi owners as the company has a very cordial working relationship with the group, and has been keeping it up-to-date on the progress of the process to bring closure to the issues.
He said that the company has determined that there are many actors contributing to the problems for which the owners must bear responsibility including a lack of proper maintenance by the authorized dealers, the installation of parts not compatible with the buses, and the fact that many of the buses affected were out of warranty.
However, he said Diamond Motors was willing to work with the affected maxi-taxi owners to have their problems resolved as the company has always supported this important sector of the local transportation industry.