Tour Bus Safety Grades Proposed by Sen. Chuck Schumer
By Tom Liddy
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN - Tour bus companies may soon have to make the grade...and show it.
Sen. Chuck Schumer has proposed a system for giving the companies letter grades similar to the health ratings dished out to city restaurants.
The move comes in the wake of a string of deadly accidents involving the discount bus industry including a Sky Express Bus bound for Chinatown from North Carolina that crashed in Virginia two weeks ago.
That company had an eye-popping 46 violations for fatigued driving and had been involved in four previous crashes that included one fatality, according to the senator's office.
The driver, Kin Yiu Cheung, 37 of Flushing, Queens, was charged with manslaughter.
Bus company safety records are already available online throught the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, but Schumer argued that the information is difficult to navigate and understand.
"Many people do not have regular internet access, making it difficult for them [to] research bus companies online," Schumer wrote in a letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.
"In addition, the ratings given out by FMCSA...do not give passengers a clear indication of the level of safety of the carrier nor are they displayed at ticket counters or at online points of purchase."
The senator is proposing that the grades be posted at the point of sale and on the buses themselves.
"If bus companies have a poor safety record, passengers should know about it before they purchase a ticket," Schumer said.
In March, a bus from Foxwoods Casino bound for Chinatown crashed in The Bronx, killing 15 people.
In the wake of the crash, cops set up checkpoints in Chinatown to crack down on safety violations.