Residents, commuters, and workers in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City say a dangerously deep pothole that caused a charter bus carrying a company of young Canadian dancers to crash has been gone unrepaired despite complaints.
The bus, operated by Optimum Rides of New Brunswick, Canada, hit the massive pothole near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel around 8:10 a.m. July 17, sending it over a curb and crashing into scaffolding on a West 41st St. building near 10th Ave.
The bus was carrying a group of dancers from the Dance Zone Studio in New Brunswick to Carlo’s (The “Cake Boss”) Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., for a visit. The young dancers were in New York City for a July 18 dance competition at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd St.
One bus passenger told DNAinfo New York that everything was fine until the bus hit the pothole.
“I think something broke at the front of the bus. It seemed like we lost control and just slammed into the building and the scaffolding. The glass was breaking. It just happened quickly.”
The impact caused the metal scaffolding to collapse on top of the bus, trapping the passengers inside. At least 30 people received a medical evaluation at the scene and two were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
According to Optimum Rides, the driver has been driving buses for the company for seven years and has “a very clean driving record,” director of operations, Kim Keith, told DNAinfo.
DNAinfo reported that staff at a hotel on West 41st St. and Dyer Ave., “had complained about the pothole for months before the crash, bringing it to the attention of City Councilman Corey Johnson’s office …”
DNAinfo contacted Corey Johnson and the Department of Transportation about the pothole, but they refused to comment.
One commuter who has to drive over the pothole several times a week told DNAinfo that the pothole “is regularly surrounded by New York City traffic agents and occasionally has white plastic barricades around it, but has never been repaired.”
The bus crash was one of two commercial bus crashes involving Canadian buses in New York last week. The day after the Optimum Rides crash, a bus carrying 55 tourists from Quebec, Canada, on a weekend trip to New York City went off the highway and crashed near North Hudson, N.Y. A 14-year-old girl who was ejected from the vehicle as it flipped was killed and several others were injured.
Photo credit: “Large pot hole on 2nd Avenue in New York City” by David Shankbone – David Shankbone. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – click here to view image in Wikipedia