LEWISTON — Twin Cities bus service Citylink will go to a two-hour route schedule Wednesday because of continuing maintenance issues.

Phil Nadeau, chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, said the Citylink service should have four buses available for riders. That will be enough to provide two-hour-interval service on seven of the system’s nine routes. The Auburn Mall shuttle and the College Street to Auburn Mall bus will continue at one-hour intervals.

“But if we have one more bus go down for maintenance, I’m afraid it’ll mean a full shutdown,” Nadeau said.

Citylink normally runs nine buses on the cities’ routes, with one spare. Seven of the 10 buses have been out of service since August. Western Maine Transportation Services, the contractor hired to manage and maintain the Citylink fleet, has been running buses from Mountain Explorer service on the Lewiston-Auburn routes. Those buses are scheduled to return to their normal routes at Maine ski areas.

Nadeau said the problem is the result of a flaw in the design of low-floor buses, specifically buses built by SLF and Blue Bird. The fleet’s two SLF buses were permanently removed from service for corrosion problems in September and the four Blue Bird buses are out of service with a variety of problems.

“We got into a situation where we only have three really good buses in the fleet,” Nadeau said. “We have an aging fleet. The backbone of my fleet is locked up in those low-floor buses and they just continue to give us problems. I cannot keep more than two buses on the road at any one time. There is always something going wrong with these buses.”

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