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DCTA works to repair problems with buses

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Denton County Transportation Authority officials are working to get rid of some pesky problems with a recently purchased fleet of buses serving the University of North Texas.

While some problems with new vehicles are expected, transportation authority officials did not anticipate the volume they were seeing, said Jarod Varner, DCTA’s vice president of bus operations.

“Quite a few of them had water leakage around the A/C units, which are attached to the roof,” Varner said. “Some vehicles had issues starting for various reasons. They had to replace some alternators. It’s mostly typical stuff you find; it just happens to be more prevalent then we anticipated.”

The Champion buses cost about $200,000 each. UNT purchased 18 of them for DCTA use, as part of the agency’s updated contract with the university.

Varner let DCTA board members know of the issues at the October board meeting.

“There are [always] bugs you need to work out. I was letting the board know we had more issues with the fleet as a whole,” Varner said.

He said officials expect about 8,000 miles between maintenance calls. But for the past month, maintenance has been a lot more frequent because of the UNT fleet, he said.

The buses were purchased from National Bus Sales, which has a facility near the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Varner said bus maintenance workers have said National has been responsive to problems with the fleet thus far, due to help and support from Jenny Griffin, UNT’s interim director of parking and transportation.

“They understood UNT is behind us, and we will push to get the fleet operational as soon as possible, and they realized we were not going away and they have to be more responsible than [maybe] they planned,” Varner said. “We’re getting to a position where we are over the hump with this problem.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is .