NEW YORK — CBS New York has learned more about the company that operated the bus, including how it wound up on the state’s list of unacceptable bus operators.
Bus operators on the list can still operate, but they face more scrutiny and more rigorous inspections from the state.
The bus that crashed was just purchased by Regency Transportation over the summer, but the state said it had already inspected it twice.
The New York Department of Transportation said it inspected the bus in August and again during a random roadside inspection. It passed both times, but Regency Transportation failed seven state inspections of other buses over the last two years.
The state added the company is on its list of unacceptable operators because of failed inspections.
“They haven’t been proactive enough,” transportation expert Carl Berkowitz said. “If I’m a parent, I tell ya, I’d be really, really nervous to let my child on a bus that says unacceptable, but also we want to know why they’re unacceptable.”
A spokesperson for the state DOT said the majority of the issues it found involved braking systems on a few Regency buses, which were immediately taken out of service until fixed.
The spokesperson also said the DOT found recordkeeping and rear axle issues.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the Orange County crash, but police said the failure of a front tire may have contributed.
“We can’t jump to conclusions. We have to wait and see what the experts say,” Berkowitz said. “Even though another bus had a problem, this may not have been the case with this particular bus.”
Last week,. Those inspections were separate from the state’s, and Regency had a satisfactory rating with federal regulators.
CBS New York has reached out to Regency several times since the crash and we haven’t heard back yet.
There were 48 companies on the state’s most recent unacceptable list, and more than 1,400 operators are either considered acceptable or preferred by the state.
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