NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


NTSB study shows rapid growth of curbside carriers poses challenges for effective safety oversight

October 31, 2011

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman was joined today by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez to release the results of a six-month study on curbside motorcoach safety initiated following a series of accidents in this rapidly growing industry.

The study - requested by Senator Schumer and Representative Velázquez following the March 12, 2011, bus crash in the Bronx that killed 15 and injured 18 more - highlights key safety issues related to this fast-growing segment of the transportation industry.

"Business and safety practices within the growing curbside bus industry create challenges for enforcement authorities and consumers alike when it comes to separating the safe operators from the unsafe operators," Chairman Hersman said during today's press conference.

"It's abundantly clear that the oversight of this industry has not kept pace with its growth and the consequences have been deadly," said Senator Schumer. "The NTSB report is a wake-up call that we need a more rigorous regulatory regime and it provides a blueprint for how to fill the gaps. I want to thank Chairman Hersman for so quickly and efficiently responding to our goal and I look forward to working with her as we now begin the process of working to overhaul how this industry is regulated and monitored."

"When travelers board a bus, they should feel safe, whether the trip starts in a terminal or at a Chinatown sidewalk," said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). "The NTSB study has revealed important information about curbside motorcoach travel and, in the coming weeks, we'll need to continue working to improve the safety regulations that govern this growing industry."

This report is the first comprehensive evaluation of the motorcoach industry, with an emphasis on what are commonly known as curbside carriers. Curbside motorcoach operations consist of scheduled trips that begin or end at locations other than traditional bus terminals; most of these operations pick up or discharge passengers at one or more curbside locations. The study analyzed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) data and conducted field work, which included interviews, focus groups, and observations of compliance reviews and inspections.

Key study findings include:

"Motorcoach safety is on the NTSB's Most Wanted List because of the potential for high-consequence accidents like we saw in the Bronx," said Chairman Hersman. "It's time to recognize that traditional transportation services have morphed into new business models that challenge existing regulatory constructs. I want to thank Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Velázquez for their leadership on this important safety issue."

Since March 2011, the NTSB has initiated investigations into two curbside bus crashes and has been assessing safety issues in three others. These five accidents resulted in 22 fatalities and 159 injuries.

This study and its Executive Summary are available online.

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.