Federal bus safety regulators have shut down 52 companies in what they describe as a major nationwide crackdown, the Associated Press reports.
Among the violations that inspectors discovered were drivers whose licenses were suspended or who drove more than 800 miles without rest. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Wednesday that in April it started checking out 250 companies with poor safety records.
The agency announced the heightened crackdown, a month after an NBC4 I-Team investigation revealed tour bus drivers routinely speeding, using cellphones behind the wheel, and running red lights.
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The FMCSA launched a strike force in April – dubbed “Operation Quick Strike” – that began shutting down problem bus companies. But most of the companies put out of business were in the eastern half of the country.
The agency didn’t shut down a single company in California, the most populous state, until two weeks after the NBC4 I-Team aired its first investigation, questioning lax regulation of California bus companies.
On Nov. 19, federal authorities shut down Salcido Tours of Los Angeles. Manager Carlos Martinez told NBC4 he didn’t know why his company was shut down, claiming there were no problems with its drivers or buses.
But the I-Team found Salcido Tours has one of the worst safety ratings from the FMCSA: 98 percent of bus companies score higher than Salcido.
Of the 52 that were shut down, three have made changes that allowed them to reopen.
Agency administrator Anne S. Ferro said the companies aren't just low-cost, fly-by-night carriers -- some have transported school bands, Boy Scouts or senior citizens.
Ferro said that while most of the nation's approximately 4,000 interstate bus companies are safe, others "put safety by the wayside in order to compete in a very tight market."
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Here is a state-by-state list of 49 companies that were shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have not reopened.
That is followed by a list of three companies that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down but have reopened after taking corrective action, according to the agency.
—Autobuses Rayon Inc.
—River City Shuttle
British Columbia, Canada:
—FTS Forest Transport Services LTD
—New Haven Bus Service
—People to Places Inc.
—McRea Transportation, Inc.
—Fabulous Coach Lines
—All Pro Motor Coach
—Best Limo Service
—Across USA Tour & Travel
—Nealson Coach Inc.
—Irma J Tours, Inc.
—Rotel North American Tours LLC
—Midnight Express LLC
—M H B S Inc
—Furtado Bus Lines
—Carbo Limo Of Oxford, LLC
—CC Rider Coach
—Coach USA Tour Inc.
—Horizon Coach Inc.
—Gotham Coach Service Inc.
—Uniworld Tours, Inc.
—Southeastern Tours, Inc.
—Executive Charters Lines, Inc.
—Spaulding Charters and Tours, Inc.
—Bus Go Bus, Inc.
—Travel Time Transportation, LLC
—S & V Tours Inc.
—Wilcar Tours, Inc.
—The People's Choice
—South Carolina VIP Tours, LLC
—GWC Enterprises Inc.
—Autobuses Zacatecanos LLC
—Agape Tours Inc.
—Salt Lake Shuttles LLC
—Advanced Ventures, LLC
—Onboard DC Tours LLC
Companies that were shut down but have reopened:
—Transsouth Motorcoach, LLC
—DAPTCO Motor Coach Services
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut