Motorcoach

Pub Perspective: Improving public perception of motorcoach industry is key

Posted on January 8, 2013 by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher

Recently, Ophadell Williams, the driver of a motorcoach that crashed on an early morning run to New York from a Connecticut casino in March 2011, was acquitted of 15 counts of manslaughter by a jury in the Bronx.

Williams, who drove for World Wide Travel, a company with a track record of pushing drivers to work long hours, faced a manslaughter charge for each person who was killed in the accident. He was found guilty, however, of one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and sentenced to 30 days in jail, which he has already served. He was also fined $500. 

There are several factors at the heart of this case, including a bus company that provided too little oversight — in its report, the National Transportation Safety Board  found that Williams had almost no sleep in the three days leading up to the accident except for naps he took while the passengers were inside gambling.

The most important factor, however, is the public’s perception of the motorcoach industry.

Over the last several years, the United States Department of Transportation has taken aggressive efforts to strengthen motorcoach safety and enforcement, including doubling the number of bus inspections of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies — from 12,991 in 2005 to 28,982 in 2011.

It is also taking unprecedented measures to shut down companies that are an imminent hazard to the public, including the 26 bus operations owned by three primary companies that were shuttered last May. These operators were found to have multiple safety violations, including a continuous pattern of using drivers without valid commercial driver’s licenses and failing to implement alcohol and drug testing programs, as well as having serious hours-of-service and driver qualification violations.

Last December, after receiving feedback from the public and stakeholders throughout the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented 11 new improvements to its Safety Measurement System, which is the key component of its Compliance Safety Accountability program.

Over the course of the year, FMCSA also  unveiled its SaferBus iPhone/iPad application — a first-of-its-kind app that gives customers a quick and free way to review a bus company’s safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel  —  and its Fit, Willing and Able regulatory policy, which raises the safety bar for commercial bus companies seeking operating authority by providing the specific criteria the agency considers when it grants, withholds, revokes or suspends a company’s operating authority registration.

This is all in addition to new provisions in MAP-21, which include increasing fines for operating an unfit passenger coach company up to $25,000 for each violation. The bill also raises the penalties for evasion of regulations, opens subsequent violations to criminal prosecution and authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to take more drastic measures, including impounding the entire fleet, for repeat offenders.

All of these changes, designed to improve the public’s perception of the industry, can only be good for operators around the country who provide top-notch services to millions of passengers each year. The only way this industry can continue to compete with other modes of transportation is for the public to be assured that when they select a bus company they will always get the very best.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

FMCSA establishes national training standards for new bus drivers

The entry-level driver training Final Rule retains many of the consensus recommendations of a negotiated rulemaking committee comprised of 25 stakeholders and FMCSA representatives.

2017 intercity bus travel outlook in NYC to be released

The DePaul report by the Chaddick Institute evaluates the remarkable implications of the resurgence of intercity bus travel on the competitive landscape of U.S. travel.

FMCSA establishes drug and alcohol clearinghouse for motorcoach drivers

The final rule's annual net benefits are an estimated $42 million, with crash reductions resulting from annual and pre-employment queries by FMCSA-regulated motor carriers.

IMG announces contribution to SYTA on Give Back Tuesday

The International Motorcoach Group has announced a five-year commitment to the SYTA Youth Foundation.

Wrong-way driver slams into Ariz. Greyhound bus

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said the bus driver “did an amazing job” keeping the vehicle upright after one of its front wheels was damaged in the high-speed collision.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close