Will the Chinatown Bus Kill You? Findings of Government Study Are Ambiguous

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11/01/2011 11:35 AM |

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“Curbside” buses—the Chinatown bus and its other low-cost imitators—are involved in proportionally fewer accidents than their “traditional” competitors like Greyhound, the Times reveals, reporting on a study recently concluded by the National Transportation Safety Board, but are involved in fatal accidents seven times more frequently.

The study was requested by state rep Nydia Velasquez after a casino bus crashed in the Bronx this March, leaving 15 dead, and it comes at time when more established carriers are imitating the increasingly popular curbside model: witness Greyhound’s Bolt Bus. The study also found that curbside bus companies incurred higher rates of “violations related to driver fatigue and training,” which seems not unrelated.

The study was not conducted by interviewing sample groups of college sophomores home for fall break, but probably should have been.

The Transportation Department noted that it has recently banned the use of cellphones for bus drivers, but allowed that due to the informal nature of the industry, and the frequent language barrier between operators and regulators, that regulation presents something of a challenge. The author of the study added, “Plus this one guy on my floor was taking it down to visit a girl at UVA and there were chickens in all the overhead racks.”