June 6, 2011

FMCSA issues cease and desist order against Sky Express Inc.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a cease and desist order against Sky Express Inc. after finding that this unsafe, illegal bus company is attempting to operate and sell tickets under a different company name, including 108 Tours and 108 Bus. The order is effective immediately.

Additionally, as part of FMCSA's investigation of Sky Express and its commitment to pursue enforcement action against unsafe "reincarnated" bus companies, the agency has subpoenaed the records of three Internet websites that have sold tickets for Sky Express and several other bus companies. Those websites are www.gotobus.com, www.taketours.com and www.2001bus.com.

"We are relentlessly targeting unsafe and illegal bus companies," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This action sends a strong message that the U.S. Department of Transportation will utilize every legal and enforcement tool available to shut down unsafe bus companies and protect passengers and motorists."

On May 31, FMCSA issued an unsatisfactory safety rating and placed N.C.-based bus company Sky Express out of service for violating multiple federal safety regulations. Under the out-of-service order, Sky Express is prohibited from operating interstate and intrastate commerce. Sky Express was involved in a fatal crash on I-95 near Fredericksburg, Va. that killed four people on May 31.

"Every day, across the country, we are focused on getting bad actors off the road," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Our goal is to create a tight net of enforcement so that when consumers select a bus company and purchase a ticket, they can be confident their bus trip will be a safe one."

Last month, FMCSA and its state and local law enforcement partners conducted more than 3,000 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections over a two-week period that resulted in 442 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from the nation's roadways. The strike force issued out-of-service citations to 127 drivers and 315 vehicles during the unannounced inspections that took place from May 1 - 15, 2011.

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