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Make Bus Crash Records Public to Keep Companies Honest, State Senator Says

By Mathew Katz | August 14, 2014 4:33pm
 The scene of a tour bus crash near Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street Aug. 5, 2014.
The scene of a tour bus crash near Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street Aug. 5, 2014.
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MIDTOWN — In the wake of a double-decker bus crash that left 14 people hurt in Times Square, an elected official is calling on the state to make all bus accident reports available to the public. 

State Sen. Brad Hoylman called for more transparency in a letter he sent on Thursday to the State Department of Transportation. He also asked the agency to investigate the safety record of Twin America, which owns both of the buses that collided in the Aug. 5 Times Square crash.

"The company’s spotty safety record raises the question of whether it’s complying with existing safety regulations, which is why I’m calling on the Department of Transportation to investigate," Hoylman said in a statement. "I’m also asking that DOT increase transparency for bus operators by expanding and disseminating accident reports so bus operators can be held accountable by the public.”

Making the accident reports public would help consumers make informed decisions about which private bus companies they use, Hoylman said in the letter.

A spokesman for Twin America could not immediately comment on the letter. The State DOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Times Square crash occurred when a red Gray Line tour bus slammed into a CitySights NY bus near the TKTS booth at West 47th Street and Seventh Avenue. The Gray Line driver, William Dalambert, 58, was arrested by police, who accused him of being on drugs when the crash happened. He was later released after he passed blood and urine tests.

In June, a CitySights NY bus struck and seriously injured a 74-year-old woman in Greenwich village. The driver was not ticketed.

State regulations currently require the operators of double-decker tour buses to report accidents resulting in injury or death, or caused by mechanical failure, to the agency within 48 hours. In his letter, Hoylman also called for the agency to expand reporting requirements to include accidents that cause property damage.