The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an immediate cease and desist order against a Pennsylvania bus company that federal inspectors ordered off the road in December after deeming it to be an “immediate hazard” to public safety.
Double Happyness (sic) Travel Inc. of Huntingdon Valley, Penn., was found to be selling passenger tickets in violation of the agency’s December 23 order to “immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service.” An extensive review of the company’s operations turned up multiple serious violations concerning hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, driver qualification, records of duty, and drug and alcohol testing violations.
Ignoring the order, Double Happyness Travel resumed passenger ticket sales and travel operations, prompting the FMCSA to threaten additional enforcement action to keep its buses off the roads.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, vowing his agency would “remain vigilant in our efforts to protect bus passengers and all motorists from unsafe bus companies.”
Double Happyness Travel provided motorcoach service between New York City and Albany, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; and Wilmington, Delaware.
Federal and State regulators and law enforcement authorities have ramped up efforts to crack down on discount bus companies after a horrific bus crash in the Bronx killed 15 people and injured 18 on March 11 while en route to Chinatown from a Connecticut casino. In that incident, authorities discovered the bus operator, World Wide Tours of Brooklyn, New York, and the driver, 40-year-old Ophadell Williams, were in violation of numerous federal safety regulations.
Like World Wide Tours and a number of other discount bus companies, Double Happyness Travel (which sometimes goes under the correct spelling, Double Happiness Travel) ran buses out of Chinatown and catered primarily to immigrants and low-income travelers.
Before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel, the FMCSA encourages consumers to review the Transportation Department’s “Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time” pre-trip safety checklist. The list helps consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating, and operating authority. The checklist is available online at FMCSA’s Passenger Bus Safety Website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/Index.aspx.
The FMCSA also asks consumers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle, or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or the FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database.