For years, penny-thrift passengers have flocked to budget-friendly buses that regularly make the trip up and down I-95. In a sweeping safety crackdown, federal authorities have shut down 26 of these low-cost bus companies serving East Coast, including from D.C. to Philadelphia and New York.
The announcement comes exactly a year after a North Carolina-based bus crashed on I-95 in Virginia, killing four people. The incident spurred a year-long investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
"These operators — Apex Bus, I-95 Coach, and New Century Travel — blatantly and repeatedly violated safety rules," says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Specifically, LaHood says the curbside bus companies employed drivers without licenses and operated buses that did not meet safety standards.
"This crackdown is a victory for bus safety and for the people who ride these bus services," says Lahood.
by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and LaHood says it uncovered a pattern of safety violations.
Meanwhile, LaHood says other companies should be on notice: "Follow the rules and keep people safe or we will shut you down."
But Andy Song, who works for Eastern Travel, a Chinatown bus company that was not shut down, says passengers should know that some low-cost companies are still operating, and operating safely. "We check on all the drivers and make sure everything is safe," he said.
And, Song says, he's pleased to see the feds taking action.
"DOT is doing their job," says Song. "Would you want to get on a bus that wasn't safe?"