SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Two separate charter bus accidents this weekend — one in Boston, the other in Southern California – are raising concerns about the overall safety of these vehicles.
For Michael Briggs of Ware, who was boarding a Peter Pan bus this afternoon, the news is somewhat unnerving.
“A little bit, now that I’ve heard about it, it makes me a little bit nervous,” says Briggs. “But, you know, not to the point where I’m just not going to ride them anymore.”
At Peter Pan Bus, driving applicants must submit to drug testing and background checks before they begin six to eight weeks of mandatory training.
“A lot of testing, a lot of behavior testing,” says Chris Crean, vice president of safety and security at Peter Pan Bus. “We probably lose — I’m going to say 30 to 40 percent in the training program because they just don’t cut it or don’t adhere to our very strict safety policy.”
Strong Bus Corporation out of Easthampton says they too require background checks and training. Before drivers hit the road, they must have a specific route mapped out because many roads — like Soldiers Field Road in Boston– are safe for cars, but not charter buses. And most GPS devices won’t tell you that.
Crean says there are some charter bus companies that don’t require driver training, but there’s a bill moving through Congress that could change that.
The Department of Transportation’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability website offers a tool to check a charter bus company’s safety rating. You can find that tool here: csa.fmcsa.dot.gov