The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said it has shut down 26 bus operations, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. This action is the largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history, DOT said.
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.
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, DOT said.
“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 Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is and will always be our highest priority.”