Entries in Buses (3)


Government Shuts Down 26 Bus Companies over Safety Violations

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Following a series of deadly coach bus accidents last year, federal regulators are cracking down on unsafe operators, announcing Thursday morning that they're ordering 26 East Coast bus companies to shut down.

The companies in question transported some 1,800 passengers a day along I-95, from New York to Florida.  Of the 26 ordered to shut down, half had already been given that order, but kept operating anyway.

Officials say all of the carriers had been cited for repeated violations -- with buses that hadn't been regularly inspected and drivers that didn't have valid licenses.  Some drivers also regularly worked longer hours than allowed.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fatal Bus Crashes Prompt Bus Regulators to Seek Greater Authority

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the recent deadly bus crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is recommending Congress strengthen its authority.

The regulatory agency wants en route bus inspections, the ability to more quickly shut down companies acting improperly, an increase in the penalty for bus companies that operate illegally, full safety audits before a company receives passenger carrier authority, and regulation authority of bus ticket brokers.

"This year has been the worst period in recent history for motor coach safety with six crashes, resulting in 25 deaths and numerous injures just since January," Anne Ferro, the administrator of FMCSA, told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Monday.   

"It is exceedingly frustrating that despite tighter safety standards and dramatic increases in the number of inspection and enforcement action that we're taking that the risk to passengers continues from a few bad actors."

Since January FMCSA has declared 18 bus companies unsatisfactory, pulling them off the roads.  Another 15 bus companies with unsatisfactory ratings are currently under review and appeal.  Although FMCSA has the authority under law to declare some companies a "severe risk," which immediately terminates operations, the agency often does not do so.  Under law, a company that has been given an unsatisfactory rating can continue to operate for 45 days during an appeals process.

Safety advocates say that is much too dangerous, pointing to a deadly crash on I-95 May 31 in Virginia.  Four people were killed on a Sky Express bus, even though regulators had been trying to shut down the company. A safety advocate told the House hearing that's outrageous.

"The Virginia crash that occurred last week has revealed a dirty little secret that safety advocates have revealed for years," said Jacqueline Gillian, vice president for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Giving motor coach companies with an unsatisfactory safety rating 45 days or longer to continue operating or carrying passengers is simply unacceptable,"

John Mica, R-Fla., the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the hearing on Monday. The committee is drafting a bill that would make changes to regulations of bus operations.

Pete DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon on the committee, suggested deregulation of interstate commerce for buses has been a contributing factor for the increase in low-cost tour bus crashes.  "The intention of deregulation was to bring about competition, but not to kill people," he said. "That's where a total deregulation environment fails us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


EPA and Transportation Department Propose New Fuel Standards for Trucks and Buses

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation are proposing new national standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from heavy trucks and buses.

"These new standards are another step in our work to develop a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American vehicles that will improve our environment and strengthen our economy,"  EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the proposals a "win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer" due to a reduction in transportation's environmental impact as well as a reduction in the cost of transporting freight.

These proposals, the firsts of their kind, will be phased in starting in 2014 if approved. 

The government says the new standards will reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil within the first five years.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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