Authorities have shut down a variety of bussing operations because of numerous alleged safety violations.
The shutdown was announced jointly by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation. It concerns bus companies based out of New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, and Maryland, with 233 routes suddenly being taken out of service. Most of the routes in question originate or terminate in New York’s Chinatown district, and the buses along those routes ship people all the way to Florida by way of Interstate 95. Over 1,800 people were transported along these routes every day.
Three companies in particular were singled out, and the remaining companies were all affiliates of those primary three. The companies are New Century Travel, Apex Bus, and I-95 Coach.
Federal investigators found a wide range of violations at the companies in question. These violations include a failure to get the buses inspected and repaired at regular intervals and hiring drivers that failed to obtain a commercial driver’s license. The investigation was launched in earnest when numerous bus crashes occurred last year which left people dead. Many of those crashes took place along Interstate 95.
Safety officials were concerned that bus companies were making repeated violations yet escaping penalties by simply shifting business to an affiliate when one business was shut down. These companies were also accused by some of utilizing white “ghost” buses that could be repainted relatively quickly with a new name.