Many New Yorkers have heard that federal regulators shut down a discount bus line that offered service from Chinatown in Manhattan to Boston last week. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shuttered the company, Lucky Star, Thursday citing significant safety risks. This is the second New York-to-Boston bus service that has been halted by federal regulators within just a few months.
Back in March federal officials revoked the Fung Wah bus company’s federal license due to safety problems that state investigators uncovered, including cracked bus frames.
Both of these closures are a result of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s crackdown on unsafe bus companies. The federal agency was given additional authority to police such companies last year, and has since shut down 20 bus companies.
Among the companies that have been targeted include a tour bus operator that was involved in a crash in California that resulted in eight fatalities.
The safety issues that have come to light during the crackdown are alarming. In the most recent case, Lucky Star has been accused of failing to inspect and properly maintain its fleet–even dispatching a bus that had a 4-foot-by-two-foot hole in the bottom. Additionally, drivers were not required to pass alcohol and drug screenings and they were not forced to abide by restrictions on their hours, which are typically in place to prevent fatigued or drowsy driving.
The Boston Globe reported that although Lucky Star only had one bus accident in the past two years, and no injuries, its buses broke down as many as 80 times within the previous 12 months while passengers were on board. Bad brakes and defects with emergency exits have also been uncovered.
Mass transit companies that do not meet safety standards present a major public safety risk. It is crucial that discount prices are not allowed to become an excuse for cutting corners when it comes to safety.
Unfortunately, bus and other transportation companies do violate safety regulations far too often, and this sometimes results in injuries or even death. Those who are involved in a bus or mass transit accident should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. It is often possible to obtain compensation and hold negligent companies accountable in the aftermath of a bus accident, but it is important to act quickly to protect your right to do so.
Source: New York Times, “Safety Agency Shuts Down Discount Bus Line,” Patrick McGeehan, June 7, 2013