Chinatown buses shut down in ‘largest federal crackdown ever’

Twenty-six bus operations have been shut down, including 10 in Philadelphia, as part of a crackdown by federal safety officials.

The bus companies, which primarily operated inexpensive trips from Chinatown, transported more than 1,800 passengers a day along Interstate 95 from Boston to Florida. The action was called the largest in the history of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally, ten individual bus company owners have also been ordered to cease operations.

The action follows a year-long investigation and affected three primary companies – Apex Bus Inc., I-95 Coach Inc., and New Century Travel Inc., – that operated a broad network of other bus companies. Ten of the carriers were run by New Century, based in Philadelphia, while the other 16 were based in New York.

The carriers were cited for numerous violations, including employing drivers who worked long hours, did not have valid commercial driver’s licenses, and were not tested for drugs and alcohol. Federal safety inspectors also said the vehicles had not been regularly inspected and repaired.

“These aggressive enforcement actions against unsafe bus companies send a clear signal: If you put passengers’ safety at risk, we will shut you down” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Safety is and will always be our highest priority.”

The investigation began following a series of deadly bus crashes along I-95 last spring.