Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 2, 2013

Falls bus line idled|Falls bus line idled by the DOT

Niagara Gazette — Federal safety officials have shut down a small tour bus company after finding that it required drivers to maintain and repair vehicles and failed to keep proper records.

Coach USA Tour Inc., a Niagara Falls company, was ordered to cease operations following a review by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the department said Thursday.

It was the third shutdown of a passenger carrier this month following the motor carrier administration's deployment of more than 50 investigators to look at businesses considered to be high risk, the DOT said.

"We are committed to taking unsafe bus companies off the road," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

Coach USA Tour is a 2-year-old company that operates six buses. It isn't affiliated with Paramus, N.J.-based Coach USA, the much larger company that runs Megabus and other intercity bus routes across the country.

Investigators said Coach USA Tour did not require drivers to turn in hours-of-service records, driving itineraries and fuel receipts and that drivers had falsified record-of-duty status reports. The company also required its drivers to maintain and repair vehicles without ensuring they were qualified bus mechanics, investigators said.

Coach USA Tour Inc. President Lucy Shun said she understood some of the paperwork concerns but disagreed with the finding that it failed to ensure that the buses were regularly inspected, repaired and maintained.

"The drivers are not responsible (for maintenance), my company is," she said by phone. Coach uses various repair shops to service the vehicles when needed, she said.

Shun said the company would work with the DOT to address the violations with the hope of resuming operations as quickly as possible.

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