The federal Department of Transportation has shut down 26 bus companies, including the Philadelphia-based firm New Century Travel and its associate Wahoo Tour and Charter.
The crackdown comes in response to a series of bus accidents, including one that killed two people last year on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said he’s warning all bus companies.
“When it comes to safety, we take a back seat to no one,” he said. “This is a notice to every bus company out there; follow the rules and keep people safe or we will shut you down,.”
LaHood said the bus companies that were shut down were guilty of multiple safety violations. He said they did everything from failing to properly test drivers for alcohol or drug use, to hiring drivers without valid commercial licenses, to using buses that were not regularly repaired or inspected.
Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, headed a yearlong investigation into the bus companies. She said now that they companies have been shut, they will be prosecuted.
“To any entities or companies who think they can cut corners to make a buck at the expense of their passengers’ safety, we have cut off your routes to operating in the bus industry and we will keep those routes closed,” Ferro said.
The closed bus lines carried nearly 1,800 passengers a day combined along I-95 from New York to Florida.