Saying it was sold nearly 400 “lemons,” Jefferson County Public Schools is suing a national school bus manufacturer over “major maintenance” issues involving nearly 400 buses that district officials say have cost the district more than $1 million in out-of-pocket repairs.
rust on the bottom of a JCPS school bus
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court against Delaware-based Navistar International Inc. and it’s Kentucky-based dealer Bluegrass International, seeks reimbursement for those repairs, in addition to future damages the district expects to incur through additional maintenance costs.
The district spent paid $32 million for the 396 school buses from Bluegrass International purchased between 2005 and 2011. Typically, the district says its buses typically remain in service about 15 years before they need to be replaced, but with the problems being caused by this crop of buses, they will likely need to retired much sooner.
“These buses have not lived up to the warranties that were made when we purchased them,” said Byron Leet, an attorney representing JCPS. “They are not going to last as long as they should have lasted, the district has spent a considerable amount of time and money on them, and the damages are continuing as time progresses.”
District officials say despite the maintenance problems being caused by faulty engines and other issues, the buses are still safe to transport students and they don’t expect any of the issues to prevent the buses from being used as the first day of school approaches on Aug. 20.
“The buses pose no safety threat to our student because of the extensive preventative maintenance that we are having to perform on them,” said Michael Raisor, chief operating officer for JCPS. “This is a service and reliability issue -- we are spending twice the amount of time as we should on these buses and we’ve spent over $1 million out of pocket so far to fix them.”
Steve Schrier, a spokesman with Navistar International, said Friday his company does not comment on pending litigation.
According to its website, Navistar is a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks, buses, defense vehicles and engines; it says its buses transport 26 million children to and from school daily.
Friday, August 02, 2013
JCPS sues school bus manufacturer over 400 "Lemons"
This from the Courier-Journal: