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Fleet Overhaul Series, Part 6 of 6: Electronics and high-floor wheelchair lift repair

Fleet Overhaul Series, Part 6 of 6: Electronics and high-floor wheelchair lift repair

This little office is where they fix the destination signs for the vehicles.
This little office is where they fix the destination signs for the vehicles.

This is the final article in a six-part series about Fleet Overhaul, the vehicle maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre. (Check out the earlier articles on the body shop; panel fabrication; the paint shop; high-mileage vehicle work; and the warehouse.)

A little room just to the side of the body shop floor is where the electronic signage is repaired.

The electric shop, where they fix vehicle elements with electronic components.
The electric shop, where they fix vehicle elements with electronic components.

Overhaul manager Jeff Dow explained that they not only fix the signs, but also program them to flash custom messages like “Go Lions Go” or “Countdown 2 Gold,” which the buses showed for the Olympics.

There’s also an electric shop nearby, where electronic components of vehicles are repaired. Defrosters, fareboxes, new electronic motors, circuit boards, and more are taken care of here. (It’s a clean room, so we didn’t get to take an actual peek inside.)

Repairing wheelchair lifts for high-floor buses

The high-floor wheelchair lift repair area. The black frames (atop the blue structures) are the actual wheelchair lifts.
The high-floor wheelchair lift repair area. The black frames (atop the blue structures) are the actual wheelchair lifts.

Wheelchair lifts for high-floor buses are in fact a special challenge for Fleet Overhaul.

While lifts for low-floor buses are just small ramps that flip onto the sidewalk, the high-floor lift is a complicated beast that extends out from under the driver’s seat, then lowers itself down to meet a passenger in the wheelchair.

The high-floor lifts can be quite finicky, and if they’re not working, it’s often because of alignment of the unit—not necessarily because the lift isn’t functioning.

The lifts often show up at Fleet Overhaul for repair work, and a small area is set aside for those tasks.

Considering the warehouse setup at Fleet Overhaul, you might have guessed that Fleet Overhaul does build all the parts for the lift. There’s only one company in the U.S. that supplies the high-floor lift parts, and it’s much easier and cheaper for Fleet Overhaul to make the parts themselves.

So here is a video of a wheelchair lift being tested! (That’s overhaul manager Jeff Dow who steps in to explain a few things about the lift.)

And that’s it for the series on Fleet Overhaul! It has been quite some work putting all of this together and I sure hope you enjoyed it.

A big thanks to Jeff Dow and Jack McKenna for their patience and help with these articles. And of course, a big thanks to the hard working crew out at Fleet Overhaul!