Following a year-long investigation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shut down 26 bus companies, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. It’s the largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history.
The bus companies transported more than 1,800 passengers a day along the I-95 corridor from New York to Florida.
FMCSA also ordered 10 individual bus company owners, managers and employees to cease all passenger transportation operations.
The 26 companies were all part of three primary organizations: Apex Bus, I-95 Coach and New Century Travel. Among the 26 companies, 13 had already been ordered out of service but were continuing to operate, and three others were applying for operating authority. The companies are based in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
All of the companies had multiple safety violations, including:
- using drivers without valid commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs)
- failing to conduct alcohol and drug testing programs
- operating vehicles that had not been regularly inspected and repaired, and
- allowing drivers to operate vehicles when they had serious hours-of-service and qualification violations.
Using a new rule published in April, FMCSA is taking steps to ensure the bus companies it shut down can’t continue to operate under other names. FMCSA has revoked the carriers’ operating authority and linked the active companies to others that were previously placed out of service.
The new rule was created to crack down on companies that attempted to evade enforcement by reincarnating themselves as new entities.
FMCSA began its investigation after a series of deadly bus crashes last spring along the I-95 corridor.
In May, FMCSA and state and local law enforcement agencies also conducted safety inspections of passenger buses in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The crackdown netted more than 2,200 safety inspections and successful removal of 116 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 169 buses from the roads for substantial safety violations.