The Government’s Cheap, Dishonest Campaign Against the Chinatown Bus Industry: Jim Epstein in The Daily Beast

Customers line up in NYC's Chinatown to board a Lucky Star bus. |||

I have an article up at The Daily Beast looking at how
the government’s forced shut down of
two Chinatown bus companies was based on fabricated evidence.
Here’s how it 

On May 20, 2013, a passenger motor coach run by a Chinatown bus
company called Lucky Star departed New York City for Boston’s
SouthStation. Shortly after hitting the road, the driver heard
a strange bang come from under the bus. The bus seemed to be
functioningnormally, so he kept going.

Upon arriving in Boston, the driver was shocked to find a New
York City manhole cover lodged in the vehicle’s luggage
compartment. Apparently, the bus struck the loose cover in the
streets of Manhattan, sending it darting up into the vehicle’s
undercarriage. Lucky Star immediately took the bus out of service
and sent it to the garage for repairs.

The following month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) ordered Lucky Star to cease operating
on the grounds that its buses and drivers posed “an imminent hazard
to public safety.” One of the primary reasons the FMCSA gave for
the shutdown was the manhole cover incident. But the out-of-service
order, which is the official document revoking the company’s
operating license, incorrectly states that after discovering the
damage, Lucky Star’s dispatcher kept the vehicle out of the garage
and continued sending it on passenger trips in an act of willful

The false account of the manhole cover incident is just one of
many distortions and inaccuracies that appear in the out-of-service
order, according to multiple sources familiar with the
investigation. (FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne declined to
comment for this article.) The case of Lucky Star, a well-run
company with a nearly spotless accident record, is the latest
example of how the government’s stepped-up safety regime is
destroying small bus companies to the benefit of large,
politically-connected corporate carriers, and in the process making
American travelers less safe.

Read the whole thing.

And watch my recent Reason TV collaboration with Naomi
Brockwell, The
Feds vs. The Chinatown Bus

from Hit & Run

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