Discount tour bus industry under microscope, traveler safety - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Discount tour bus industry under microscope, traveler safety

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The bus driver charged in the deadly crash in Caroline County will be arraigned Friday morning. Kin Yiu Cheung is facing a reckless driving charge in Tuesday's crash that killed four women and injured dozens of other passengers.   

He's due in court at 8:30 a.m. We will have a crew there to let you know what happens.

This is the third deadly crash in two months involving discount tour buses. The entire industry is under the microscope as people may think twice about booking trips. We caught up with some people boarding a bus for an overnight trip to Chinatown in New York City. Those considering similar excursions are urged to do their homework.  

$30 for a trip to the Big Apple. For these travelers, the Apex Chinatown bus is a budget friendly ride. 

 "Never had a problem, never felt unsafe," said Chris Leary of New York.

"I'm not used to riding a bus, so I said I'll take a chance," said Marlon Alston, of New York.

Apex is aware Tuesday's crash is fresh on travelers minds. Just listen to the company's recorded phone message.

"While we were not involved in any bus crashes, most recently Sky Express where four people were killed, we'd like to express condolences to the families of those who may have lost loved ones."

The message goes on to stress passenger safety.

"Your safety is our number one priority. We do not compromise safety while offering low fares.  We believe the best way to retain rider ship is to keep customers alive."       

NTSB's Earl Weener said the agency is in the early stages of a special six month study on the discount bus industry. It began after two back to back deadly tour bus crashes in March in New York and New Jersey where a total of 17 people died.

"It's a real chance to understand, basically, a new model in low cost bus transportation," said Weener.

Before buying your next ticket, you can check out the company's history by going to the Department of Transportation web site. There you'll find safety history and ratings as well as any violations.

 "There probably are a lot of buses that need closer regulation, I don't think this is one of them, said Leary.

Meantime, the NTSB is expected to release new details Friday about its investigation into Tuesday's crash.

For pre-trip safety check list information: (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/safety-security/pcs-checklist.pdf)

To research bus companies: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/index.aspx 

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