Curbside bus operators are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal wreck than their conventional counterparts, according to U.S. safety investigators.
Companies that pick up passengers on the street, as opposed to a bus terminal, had 1.4 fatal crashes per 100 vehicles. That compares to just 0.2 collisions by depot-bound buses.
The study is in response to the tremendous growth of the industry. So-called "Chinatown" buses, economy fare operators such as MegaBus and even terminal stalwarts such as Greyhound have entered the arena (for the latter, under the name "Bolt Bus"), vying for customers who need to travel between major American cities but don't have the cash, time or ability to travel by rail, air or a more expensive bus.
Intercity bus travel has become the fastest-growing mode of commercial transportation in the U.S., with a 24 percent growth rate last year. Twenty-eight people died in eight crashes in 2011; the National Transportation Safety Board says regulation hasn't kept up with the industry's rapid growth.
As unfavorable economic conditions continue, more and more Americans seek transportation -- but for less than they previously were willing to pay. (It certainly doesn't help that existing options, direct and indirect, hiked their prices in response to gas prices.)
The most vexing issue, it seems, is not that the law doesn't accommodate for this new form of cheap transport; it's that regulators didn't see this transportation trend coming.
Chinatown Buses’ Death Rate Said Seven Times That of Others [Bloomberg]
Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com