Omnitrans After Dark

So do you ever wonder what happens here at Omnitrans after dark? Here’s a look behind-the-scenes at all the work that happens behind-the-scenes from dusk to dawn.

There have been many changes since the start of our Vehicle Maintenance Facility construction, including the installation of a temporary Fuel Island and the setup of our new parking configuration.

At 4:30 p.m., the swing crew begins their shift. There is always plenty of work to be done: preventative maintenance vehicle inspections, brake jobs, A/C repairs and more. Sometimes there are bus exchanges to work on before the buses on route return. We have more than 86 buses on route on weekdays.

Around 6:30 p.m., buses coming in the yard at the end of their day are triaged by maintenance personnel. All incoming buses will be parked heading westbound in specific lanes. By reading the Operator’s Daily Report (ODR), the triage inspector can determine whether the bus is a good bus that just needs minor servicing or if it needs an ODR repair, a scheduled inspection such as a Preventative Maintenance Vehicle Inspection (PMVI), a Critical Items Inspection (CII), an oil change service or any number of other pre-scheduled/non-scheduled services.

How does the triage inspector know where a bus is to be parked? Well he has a map; the map shows all buses that have pre-scheduled services and lanes available. This map is updated daily. All north lanes heading west are usually for buses that need to be serviced or in need of some type of repair/service. Once all maintenance repairs and inspections are completed, the bus is ready for servicing. Three times a week, contractors wash the exteriors of buses.

Next utility service workers fuel the buses, also checking the fluid levels, emptying fare boxes, sweeping and mopping the floors, and wiping down the handrails inside the bus. Having completed this process, buses are parked, starting from the south lanes, and move up until all buses are in place. Buses parked in the lanes heading eastbound, indicate they are ready for service.

At 8:30 p.m., the graveyard shift starts. They work through the night and early morning hours until they leave at 7:00 a.m. One of graveyard’s responsibilities is to certify that all coaches get a Critical Items Inspection every 2 weeks. This ensures that the coaches are safe for both drivers and passengers. Graveyard is also responsible for tracking and scheduling the Preventative Maintenance Vehicle Inspections for the day shift. The PMVI’s are a bit more extensive than the CII’s and are conducted every 10,000 miles. Graveyard also does tune ups, fluid services and continues to work on carry-over repairs as well. Graveyard shift also ensures all coaches have been fueled and that enough buses are ready for dispatch to start assignments for pull-outs starting at 3:30 a.m.

It can be a difficult task when you consider that the east valley facility has approximately 90-100 coaches that need to be ready for service at any given day of the week. On average 80 to 100 buses are repaired, inspected and serviced nightly. Numerous parts are installed, countless small and large repairs are completed, various inspections are done, thousands of gallons of fuel, oils and fluids are dispensed. All this is done while most of us are quietly at home asleep. And that’s what happens every day at Omni after dark.

– article by Timothy Drake, Mike Plunkett and Oscar Tostado
– photos by Juno Kughler Carlson 

Thank you to mechanic Manny Cruz for allowing us to shadow him for these photos!

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