I-Team Investigates: Access Link bus problemsPosted: Updated:
Two Access Link mechanics claim they were used as scapegoats for simply following their manager's orders to ignore bus maintenance problems.
The Access Link program is NJ Transit's paratransit service. In December, NJ Transit pulled three buses out of service at the Elizabeth facility of MV Transportation, a private company it pays to operate Access Link. MV Transportation then fired mechanics Anthony Ventura and Mike Cox, saying they failed to notice the problems.
However, documents obtained by the I-Team show Ventura and Cox wrote the buses up for suspension problems and broken springs. Records show the buses were still put back on the road. The former employees claim their attempts to warn management about unsafe conditions fell on deaf ears.
"It was like a cat and mouse game," Ventura says. "I would write it, he would erase it," he says of his boss.
An MV Transportation manager asked the I-Team crew to leave the facility, but a corporate spokesperson defended the company. She maintains that the mechanics are "disgruntled" and the maintenance issues were "routine."
NJ Transit declined an interview, but says it has put the company "on notice" that it will be "held accountable for any more maintenance infractions."