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July 23, 2013

Driver steps through rusted bus floor

Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A bizarre incident occurred on an Oneonta Public Transit (OPT) bus at the beginning of this month when a driver’s leg plunged through a rusted-out floor.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Oneonta Public Transit Director Paul Patterson, who has been working with buses since 1971.

On July 2, an OPT bus driver was driving the East End and River Street routes. Whenever she changed routes, she would stand up and change the sign on the bus.

According to Patterson, while changing the sign from River Street to East End, her leg went through a crease between the doghouse and the floor that had been weakened by rust.

“Her leg went down to her calf,” said Patterson.

The driver had to be removed by the fire department, and suffered scratching, bruising, and a burn.

“She never noticed that there was a problem,” said Patterson, saying that no one had detected the weak spot until the driver went through. “Between the frame and the manifold, you can barely see this one spot.”

The bus is one of four short buses owned by the city of Oneonta. These buses were checked for further weak spots, but none were found.

“We were hitting them with rods to make sure,” said Patterson.

It was decided that the flooring under the driver’s seat would be replaced in the bus where the accident occurred, and in two of the other buses, in order to forestall future problems. The fourth bus, which was found to have no rust problems, is being sold.

The flooring under the passengers seats of these buses is plywood, and thus cannot rust out.