May 31, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 3:09 pm

Gov't cracking down on unsafe bus companies

Twenty-six bus operations that transported more than 1,800 passengers a day along Interstate 95 between New York and Florida have been closed for safety violations in what federal officials say is the government's largest single safety crackdown of the motor coach industry, The Associated Press reports.

Teams of officials for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, armed with legal orders declaring the bus operations imminent hazards to public safety, swooped down Wednesday on companies based in six states: Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Officials withheld details about the operation until Thursday.

The shutdown orders were aimed at the companies' headquarters and at bus pickup locations. Most of the 233 bus routes serviced by the companies either departed from or terminated in New York City's Chinatown district.

Besides the shuttered bus operations, 10 people -- company owners, managers and employees -- were ordered to stop all involvement in passenger transportation operations, including selling bus tickets, the Transportation Department said.

The shutdowns are the culmination of a yearlong investigation by the safety administration that focused on three primary companies: Apex Bus Inc. and I-95 Coach Inc., both of New York, and New Century Travel Inc. of Philadelphia.

Each of the three companies oversaw a broad network of other bus companies, officials said. The other bus operations targeted in the crackdown were companies that were affiliated with one of the three primary companies but have other names.

Phone calls and emails to the three companies seeking comment were unanswered.

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