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Philadelphia Bus Company Busted For Safety Violations

In 2011, several fatal tour bus accidents rocked the east coast. In the wake of these wrecks, the feds have cracked down on unsafe tour bus companies, including one in the Philadelphia area. In all, 26 bus companies that transport passengers along Interstate 95 between New York and Florida have been closed for violating safety regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the closings during the last week of May, saying that the bus companies posed imminent hazards to public safety. Officials said most of the bus routes that have been terminated either departed from or terminated at New York City’s Chinatown district.

Three main bus companies were at the center of the year-long federal investigation, including Philadelphia’s New Century Travel Inc. The other two companies were based out of New York. Federal officials said all of the companies that were shut down were tied to these three main companies, but operated under different names.

Officials said that this is a huge problem in the bus industry: A company gets shut down for safety violations, only to reopen and continue operating under a different name or in a new location. Those in the industry refer to buses operated by these rouge carriers as “ghost buses” because they are usually mostly white to make them easier to repaint with a new name.

At a press conference, the secretary of the Transportation Department said the three main companies are “very, very bad actors.” In addition to the company shut downs, he said 10 business owners, managers and employees were forbidden from any further involvement in passenger transportation operations because of repeat offenses.

Officials said that all of the bus companies that were shut down had multiple safety violations that included hiring drivers without proper licensing or alcohol and drug testing. Additionally, many of the companies’ buses had not been regularly inspected or repaired. Finally, many drivers were encouraged or permitted to violate work schedule and rest requirements.

Source: Action News 6, “Philly company involved in bus safety crackdown,” Joan Lowy, May 31, 2012