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BY ALINE REYNOLDS | The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thurs., May 31, that it had shut down 26 intercity bus operators, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety, marking the largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history.
According to data provided by the federal D.O.T., the 26 bus operators were subsidiaries of three primary companies, two of which were based in New York City.
Apex Bus, Inc. and I-95 Coach Inc., both based in New York, were shut down along with, their 10 and six subsidiary operators, respectively. The third company, New Century Travel, Inc., was based in Philadelphia and controlled 10 bus operators.
Safety investigators from D.O.T.’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that all of the carriers had multiple safety violations, including hiring drivers without valid driver’s licenses and failing to conduct alcohol and drug tests of the drivers. In addition, the companies operated vehicles that had not been regularly inspected and repaired.
“These aggressive enforcement actions against unsafe bus companies send a clear signal: If you put passengers’ safety at risk, we will shut you down,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The agency is taking further steps to ensure the companies that were shut down cannot continue to operate under other names. A new federal rule published in April expands D.O.T.’s authority to take action against unsafe bus companies that attempt to evade enforcement by “reincarnating” into other forms or by illegally continuing their operations through affiliate companies.