Friday, June 3, 2011

US bus crash in industry growing fast

Tranzwatching Regional Bus in USA

Rapid growth of regional inter city services in the North-Eastern United States leads to cut rate operators pushing the boundary on safe standards - high-lighted this week by the bus bound for New York  that rolled in Virginia killing 4 passengers and injuring 50 others at 5.30am in the morning. It appears the driver may have nodded off at the wheel. At least one of those killed, according to her son, had chosen to travel by bus instead of by air as usual, lured by the budget rates fares of only $30 from North Carolina to to New York. The company involved Sky Express, had had many tickets for violations and Federal transport agency had been planning to close it down but allowed time to bring their buses and systems up to standards. US Secretary of State has announced an end to such tolerance, saying "Never again on my watch".

These regional bus services have risen dramatically, 10% a year,  in recent times, at a time when both air and road travel have been leveling off. George Hofer, a transportation economist at the University of Richmond in Virginia, quoted in the Christian Scientist Monitor, says that after four deadly crashes involving cut rate regional bus carriers it probably means a"critical mass has been hit, where we'll see a flushing out of the business and [where] more capitalized people will expand into markets that were marginal before," The Christian Science Monitor article itself offers a good background piece to this industry, while USA Today has more about the government response and police enforcement and a YouTube of current bus policing in New York.

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