With nearly three months on the books for 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to intensify its focus on cleaning up the motorcoach industry.
At the end of February, the FMCSA declared the notorious Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc. to be an imminent hazard and sent the company an out-of-service order, which ordered Fung Wah to immediately provide its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors. The company was then shut down by the FMCSA after not cooperating with FMCSA safety investigators and blocked further access to company safety records.
What helped finally take Fung Wah, a company with a well-detailed history of accidents and safety hazards, off the road were new provisions contained in the MAP-21 surface transportation legislation signed into law by President Obama in July 2012.
Under the new provisions, the FMCSA may revoke the operating authority registration of a motor carrier that fails to comply with an administrative subpoena or a letter demanding release of company safety records. Fung Wah turned out to be the first case of FMCSA exercising this new provision to revoke a motor carrier’s federal operating authority.
“Bus companies that jeopardize public safety and refuse to cooperate with our investigators have no place on the road, and now, thanks to our additional authority, we can take them off,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood earlier this month. “Safety is our highest priority, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that unsafe bus companies are not on our roads.”
While the closure of Fung Wah has been mourned in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way by The New Yorker — it was an incredibly cheap way to commute from Boston to New York City — the industry has to be thankful that such a high-profile offender of motorcoach safety rules and regulations is finally off the road.
More importantly, the message has now clearly been sent to the rest of the oft-called “rogue operators” throughout the nation that it is a priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and its various agencies to get them off the road once and for all, so the public at-large will begin to view the motorcoach industry with an even higher regard.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Putting out the fire on hot spots" here.
Typically, when riding the rails in the Philadelphia region, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority customers can purchase daily, weekly or monthly passes — even onboard tickets — for their journeys. But the weekend of Sept. 26 to 27 will be far from a typical weekend in Philadelphia — Pope Francis will be in town, along with an estimated 1.5 to two million people attending public events along the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Transit authority operators nationwide have been victims of sometimes brutally violent acts, but in Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has had a decrease in bus operator assaults by almost 60% since 2011. How did they do that?
The cost of copper was around $2.50 a pound in mid-June. While that might not sound like a lot of money, when you have hundreds of feet of copper wire, you’re talking about thousands of dollars or more. Transit systems, which utilize copper in wiring, are the latest target for thieves looking to make some easy cash.
While PTC may have just recently entered the consciousness of the public at-large, it has been an issue for freight and commuter rail systems since Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) (P.L. 110-432) in 2008 following the collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles. Since that time, rail organizations have been working toward meeting the federally-mandated PTC implementation deadline of December 31, 2015. With less than six months to go, several commuter rail systems have said that, not only will they not meet the deadline, they will need several more years before having full PTC implementation on their trains.
Disruptive technologies and the new era of information sharing are helping to evolve and advance public transportation in our nation’s greatest cities. Nearly 300 mayors and government officials convened in San Francisco June 19-22 for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Annual Meeting, featuring remarks from President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. I was invited to speak in front of these influential government leaders to discuss “Technology and the Transformation of Urban Transportation.” This article will give readers an inside look at the conversation.