* Operators mostly serve "Chinatown" routes on East Coast
* Action a response to fatal crashes in NY and NJ
WASHINGTON May 31 U.S. transportation safety
regulators shut down more than two dozen bus companies that
predominantly run popular curbside "Chinatown" routes along the
The action against 26 operators announced on Thursday
stemmed from a broader investigation of the growing industry
triggered by crashes in New York and New Jersey last year that
killed 17 people. Shutdown orders were issued after those
U.S. Transportation Department truck and bus regulators
served shutdown notices on Wednesday for alleged safety
violations, focusing on three companies and their affiliates,
officials said in a statement outlining the action.
Apex Bus, Inc., I-95 Coach, Inc and New Century Travel, Inc
oversaw a network of motor coach services, the Transportation
Apex Bus and I-95 Coach are based in New York, while New
Century Travel is located in Philadelphia. The companies could
not be reached for comment.
Each of the other operators cited by regulators were
associated with one of the three primary companies, according to
Bus operators transported passengers along Interstate 95
from New York to Florida, the agency said.
Some of the operators were still in business despite
previous orders to halt service, and three other companies were
trying to apply for operating authority, the agency said.
Regulators cited multiple safety violations. The
shortcomings included drivers without a valid commercial license
and vehicles not regularly inspected or repaired, transportation
Although the commercial bus industry overall has a good
safety record, federal accident investigators have been pushing
the Transportation Department to get tougher.
Local authorities last year launched a crackdown on curbside
bus services to East Coast cities from New York's Chinatown.
That action also was a response to the fatal crashes last year
in the Bronx that killed 15 people and on the New Jersey
Turnpike that killed two others.
Congress is considering legislation that would give U.S.
safety officials more authority and tools to regulate commercial
(Reporting By John Crawley; Editing by Paul Simao)