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Feds Shut Down Chinatown Bus Company Double Happyness

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 03:14 PM

(With AP) Federal authorities are shutting down a Pennsylvania-based bus company that operates in New York City citing safety concerns.

Authorities have ordered Double Happyness Travel to immediately cease operations declaring it an imminent hazard. U.S. Transportation officials say they found numerous violations related to vehicle maintenance. They also say the company failed to follow driver safety rules, including regular drug and alcohol testing and regulations governing the length of shifts.

Doubly Happyness takes passengers from Albany, Baltimore, and Wilmington, to stops in midtown Manhattan and Chinatown in New York City.

Calls by the AP to the company's headquarters in Huntingdon Valley, near Philadelphia were not returned. According to the government shutdown order, Double Happyness filed at least 49 false reports no driver activities, meaning that more than 20 percent of driver hour logs were falsified, double the number deemed "critical" to ensure drivers are getting enough breaks and rest to adhere to safety regulations.

According to a DOT press release, the Federal Motor Safety Administration has doubled inspections and safety reviews of the nation's 4,000 bus lines in recent years and "Roadside motorcoach inspections have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010."

Ridership has also spiked. Despite a series of high-profile crashes this year, a DePaul University study found the curbside bus industry, including "Chinatown buses," grew by almost 30 percent in 2011.

The Federal Department of Transportation teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to execute a crack down on bus carriers with about a week of ramped up surprise inspections around the nation in September.

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