By John CascioThe transportation agency that owns the Lyndon Express bus service says it’s trying to fix a major problem plaguing the bus system, but the agency also acknowledged Monday that its problems may be the result of the agency’s previous leadership.
Lyndon Transportation said it has been working with its bus system’s board to address some of the issues that have been identified, but has yet to finalize a plan for how to fix the problems that have arisen over the last few months.
The agency’s chief executive officer said Monday that it is not clear how the company plans to fix its problems, but that the board is working to identify what those problems are.
The Lyndons Express service has had a tough year.
The agency was the target of a state audit that determined that it has not paid the state of Tennessee enough to maintain its buses.
Lynda Teller, a former transit planner at the agency, said in a statement that it’s too soon to know how the agency will address the problems, saying the agency is in the process of “evaluating our operating environment and the options available to us to improve it.”
Lyndons chief executive says the agency “is doing everything we can to make sure our bus system is working as efficiently as possible and our customers have access to safe, reliable service.”
“We are committed to working with our board and our customer base to develop a plan to address the challenges identified,” Teller said.
The problem appears to be a combination of a lack of funds and the agency using a “bait and switch” approach, which allows the agency to take on a new bus system and then, with a few months left in the current administration, announce the buses are no longer needed.
A spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation said Monday the agency cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
LyNDON TRAVEL, a subsidiary of Lynden Transportation, was created in 2012 by then-Gov.
Andy Beshear, who is now the chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee.
The company is owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has been outspoken about his belief in the benefits of a privatized system.
Lynton Transportation is now part of the government-owned Transit Authority of Tennessee, which operates the transit system.
Teller’s statement said the company “continues to be focused on meeting the needs of our riders.”
Lynda said in its statement that the agency was working with the transit authority “to address the issues identified, and we are confident that this process will be successful.”
Lynton Transportation has a long history of problems with its buses, which were built in the 1930s.
The Tennessee Department for Transportation’s investigation of the company found that in 2014, the agency had used two buses that were not properly maintained, and that a third bus that was not properly certified for the route was not used.
The report did not specify what led to the errors, and no one was charged for the failures.
In 2015, the department fined Lynton Transit $15,000 and ordered it to provide training on safety, and to install safety equipment.
Lyntons chief operating officer, Matt O’Keefe, said the problems were the result, in part, of the fact that the company had not paid attention to maintenance issues.
He said the agency has since fixed the problems and will begin implementing a new contract with a different bus service.
The Tennessee Department is a subsidiary agency of the Tennessee General Assembly.
The state of Tennesseans owns and operates all of the transit systems in Tennessee, including the Lyntons.