Motorcoach

FMCSA shuts down 26 bus operations

Posted on May 31, 2012

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shut down 26 bus operations, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. Additionally, FMCSA ordered 10 individual bus company owners, managers and employees to cease all passenger transportation operations, which includes selling bus tickets to passengers. The bus companies transported over 1,800 passengers a day along Interstate-95, from New York to Florida.

The action is the largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history.

 Following a year-long investigation, FMCSA shut down three primary companies — Apex Bus Inc., I-95 Coach Inc. and New Century Travel Inc. — that oversaw a broad network of other bus companies. The 26 shutdown orders apply to one ticket seller, nine active bus companies, 13 companies already ordered out of service that were continuing to operate, and three companies attempting to apply for operating authority. The various companies are based out of Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Federal safety investigators found all of the carriers had multiple safety violations, including a continuous pattern of using drivers without valid commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) and failure to have alcohol and drug testing programs. In addition, the companies operated vehicles that had not been regularly inspected and repaired. The companies’ drivers also had serious hours-of-service and driver qualification violations.

“The egregious acts of these carriers put the unsuspecting public at risk, and they must be removed from our highways immediately,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “With the help of multiple state law enforcement partners, we are putting every unsafe bus and truck company on notice to follow the safety laws or be shut down.”

In addition to the Imminent Hazard Orders, FMCSA is taking further steps to ensure the bus companies they shut down cannot continue to operate under other names. Under a new FMCSA rule, FMCSA has revoked the carriers’ operating authority and linked the active companies to other companies previously placed out of service. This new rule, published in April, expands FMCSA’s authority to take action against unsafe motor carriers that attempt to evade enforcement by “reincarnating” into other forms or by illegally continuing their operations through affiliate companies.

FMCSA will continue to work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to ensure these companies remain out of service.

“Companies that flout the laws and regulations that safe, well-run bus companies follow and the concentrated action to get these carriers shut down and prosecuted are much appreciated,” said American Bus Association President/CEO Peter Pantuso in a statement. “FMCSA’s actions went far beyond random roadside inspections, and ABA very much supports these types of law enforcement efforts. We will continue to support FMCSA, and we urge our members to operate at the highest level of safety.”

FMCSA began investigating the network of carriers operating along I-95 following a series of deadly bus crashes last spring. FMCSA ordered several bus companies to shut down last summer after a comprehensive compliance review of their operations. The investigation of those operators uncovered additional problems and serious safety violations with other I-95 carriers, and FMCSA investigators have been working diligently ever since to establish the links between the bus networks.

“We appreciate the leadership exhibited by FMCSA in working with the states to pursue all available options to remove these high-risk operators from the road,” said Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler in support of the FMCSA’s efforts.

Over the last several years, the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has taken aggressive efforts to strengthen motorcoach safety and enforcement. The U.S. DOT has doubled 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.

Staying committed to the Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, in January 2010 FMCSA banned texting by commercial drivers, and in November 2011, the agency prohibited commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Earlier this year, FMCSA also released the SaferBus mobile app to give travelers a quick way to view a bus company's safety record before buying an interstate ticket or booking group travel.

Earlier this month, FMCSA and its state and local law enforcement partners conducted safety inspections of motorcoaches, tour buses, school buses and other commercial passenger buses in 13 states and the District of Columbia. This effort resulted in over 2,200 safety inspections and the successful removal of 116 CMV drivers and 169 buses from the roadway for substantial safety violations.

Congress is also currently considering surface transportation legislation which, if passed, would adopt several new safety policy proposals to further protect bus customers, including:  

  • Granting FMCSA greater authority to pursue enforcement action against unsafe “reincarnated” companies by establishing a single national standard for successor liability that eliminates the loophole allowing bus and truck companies that have been shut down for unsafe operations to recreate themselves.
  • Eliminating the jurisdictional gap that prevents FMCSA from directly regulating passenger carrier brokers, including ticket sellers that are not also motor carriers.
  • Enhancing FMCSA and its state partners’ authority to inspect buses at locations with adequate food, shelter and sanitation facilities for passengers.
  • Requiring new passenger carriers to undergo a full safety audit before receiving operating authority.
  • Raising the penalty from $2,200 to $25,000 a day against passenger carriers that attempt to operate without valid U.S. DOT operating authority.
View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

ABC delivers 4 Van Hool CX45s to Northfield Lines

The 56 passenger coaches come with Van Hool's standard safety features including Kidde fire suppression, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning and a backup camera.

Peter Pan teams with 15-40 Connection to spread cancer awareness

The bus features young adult cancer survivors who are sharing their stories to help others recognize cancer symptoms and why it is important to be an active member of your health care team.

MCI delivers J4500s to Quebec, Va.

Coaches include the latest safety technology, including electronic stability control, a new ZF independent front suspension for a superb turning radius and ride quality, and a Bendix braking system that delivers car-like control for drivers.

San Francisco's Loop commuter services acquired by Hallcon Corp.

The acquisition will enable the family-owned, 40-year-old transportation services company to expand its industry-leading commuter bus services beyond the Bay Area to markets across the country.

Motorcoach offerings abound at BusCon 2015

The UMA is continuing its partnership with BusCon by sponsoring two informative sessions on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 28 — Social Media Mastery for Motorcoach Operators and Alcohol - What is Your Liability? The show continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with even more educational sessions and the chance to check out BusCon’s show floor

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 resource for managers of class 1-7 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