Fed Shuts Down 26 Bus Companies over Safety Violations
Fatal accidents in New York and New Jersey have prompted regulators from the U.S. Transportation Department to shut down 26 separate bus companies. The bus accidents in question happened over the course of last year and resulted in the deaths of 17 people in the Bronx and on the New Jersey Turnpike. The safety violations – compiled by federal inspectors – site three main companies as owning or affiliated with all 26 operators: Apex Bus, Inc., I-95 Coach, Inc. and New Century Travel. While the first two companies hail from New York, New Century Travel headquarters out of Philadelphia, according to Reuters.
Bus routes operated by these companies took passengers as far north as New York and as far south as Florida along Interstate 95. Safety violations for the companies shut down include drivers without valid commercial endorsements, vehicles with expired state inspections and vehicles in stages of disrepair.
In addition to the federal shutdown order, at least 10 professionals, including business owners, workers and management personnel – received orders to stop all involvement in passenger transportation operations immediately, according to Pilot Online. These separate orders are an attempt by the federal government to crack down on bus companies that “reincarnate” under new names in an attempt to avoid previous safety violations and citations.
This crackdown is welcome because the failure of officials to prevent bus drivers with lengthy safety violations from getting behind the wheel of commercial vehicles is costing people lives. One bus driver, Ophadell Williams, had his driving privileges suspended 18 different times over a 20-year period before the bus he was driving hit a concrete barrier in the Bronx. The bus flipped on its side and slid into a sign pole so violently that the impact cleaved the bus in twain. The accident killed 15 people, half of the passengers.
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