The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) nabbed another bus company that was trying to evade enforcement action by operating under a new name. On Thursday, FMCSA declared Georgia-based JCT Motor Coach, Inc. an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered the company to immediately cease all transportation services. The company had “reincarnated” itself as JT’s Travel & Charter to skirt a previous out-of-service order.
In a release announcing the order, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood put all passenger carriers on notice. “If you are an unsafe, illegal bus company attempting to dodge federal safety standards and place passengers at risk by operating under a different name,” he said, “we will find you and shut you down.”
JCT, which provided charter bus service in the southeast, was placed out-of-service after a compliance review uncovered several serious violations, including:
- intentionally falsifying vehicle maintenance records,
- failing to ensure its vehicles were regularly inspected, repaired and maintained,
- using drivers with positive drug and alcohol testing results,
- using medically unqualified drivers, and
- failing to comply with federal hours-of-service requirements for drivers.
FMCSA has the authority to declare a carrier to be an imminent hazard if it finds the carrier’s operations “pose a substantial likelihood of serious injury or death.” JCT’s order applies to all officers and future companies affiliated with JCT Motor Coach, Inc. and JT’s Travel & Charter, Inc.
At the end of last week, FMCSA issued a cease-and-desist order against Sky Express, Inc. after learning that the bus company was attempting to operate despite an out-of-service order handed down on May 31. Sky Express had been placed out-of-service hours after a fatal crash.
In recent months, FMCSA has been very vocal about its crackdown on unsafe passenger carriers. The agency has adopted an “Action Plan” that includes the development and implementation of zero tolerance policies for unsafe companies and drivers, the introduction of a pre-authority safety audit and more.