The Cuomo Administration today announced that the New York State Department of Transportation will immediately issue a suspension of the operating licenses of eight poor performing charter tour bus operators. The eight companies are being directed to cease operations under their New York licenses within five business days. All of the companies have failed three or more roadside inspections of buses or drivers in the last six months of intensified state enforcement or failed their scheduled semi-annual bus inspections or received a Federal Out-of-Service order.
"The frequent, and at times flagrant, violations of state and federal safety regulations by charter bus companies has gone on for too long and put too many lives at risk," Governor Cuomo said.
The Administration said that this action would pull some 100 buses off New York state roads pending a full DOT review of the companies' vehicle fleets, drivers' records, and company finances before the suspensions can be lifted. The reviews will take place at the expense of the suspended companies. Failure to achieve full compliance will result in the permanent revocation of the companies' right to operate in New York. Some of the failing operators have separate interstate operating licenses issued by the Federal government. NYSDOT is working with the US Department of Transportation to assure that sub-standard operators that lose their New York licenses cannot continue to operate in New York under a federal license.
The Department of Transportation is also adding 20 new inspectors to step up enforcement of bus industry regulations and carrier compliance. The additional staff will perform approximately 11,000 safety performance inspections of high-risk operators and 2,000 safety audits of poor performing motor carriers annually. These enforcement activities are expected to generate $2 million in civil penalties annually.
In the past four months, the Department of Transportation has performed 3,000 roadside bus inspections with 542 drivers and/or vehicles being placed Out-of-Service. This compares with 615 buses inspected at roadside in all of 2010--a nearly a 400% increase. DOT also conducts more than 160,000 routine bus safety inspections annually, and works with the State Police to conduct more than 120,000 surprise roadside inspections of buses and trucks annually.
The following carriers are being suspended:
- BEST TRAILS AND TRAVEL CORP
- PARTY RIDE
- A & W TOURS INC
- Touch of Class & Coach, Inc.
- Silver Star Limo Company, LLC
- Zoladz Limousine Service
- Long Island Limousine Service Corp.
- Big Apple Bus Charter, Inc.