The company behind the much maligned ART buses is firing back at Mayor Tim Keller, three days after he announced he was pulling the plug on the electric buses.
BYD, the company behind the buses, is now threatening legal action against the city, claiming Mayor Keller was maliciously slandering them.
On Tuesday, Mayor Keller mentioned a long list of problems with the buses, including battery charging issues, malfunctioning brakes and doors flying open on their own.
In a statement Friday, the Chinese company, which built the buses in California, says Mayor Keller never intended to honor the contract with them and even accused him of having a political agenda against the buses while he was campaigning for mayor.
The statement goes on to say, “City Hall’s actions have damaged BYD’s reputation.”
BYD’s president also mentions the company would be willing to hire a third party to inspect the buses to show the city’s claims are inaccurate.
The company stands by their buses, saying they’re safe.
The mayor says the city already ordered 10 non-electric buses from a competitor about a month and a half ago, anticipating the buses wouldn’t meet expectations.
Mayor Keller says it will be at least about 18 months before they get here.
The city ordered 20 buses from BYD at a cost of $23 million, but hasn’t paid the company a dime yet.
The 15 buses that had been delivered have been sent back to California.
Friday afternoon, the city issued the following statement:
“We’ve laid out the facts since the beginning, and these buses are not safe for the road. We refuse to jeopardize the safety of our residents and want BYD to hold up their end of the deal,” said Alicia Manzano, Communications Director for Mayor Tim Keller.