Safe and Reliable Marketplace Bus Lines

Law-abiding bus companies should not be paying the price for the foolish actions of Scapadas Magicas LLC.

A bus.
A runaway bus overturned on Sunday, February 3, while descending Highway 38 near Redlands, claiming the lives of eight and injuring several others. Because of this collision, preventative measures will likely be discussed by public officials at the state and federal level. Regulating private sector bus operators has long been a challenge. How does one ensure that privately operated buses on the highways are safe and reliable while maintaining a robust economic transportation alternative offered by the marketplace? With a fatal bus accident at hand, the situation is serious.

The long term solution of balancing bus safety regulations and sustaining a profitable bus market economy is subject to debate. Both the state and the federal government must ensure that law-abiding bus companies with safe and well-maintained fleets don't end up paying the price for those who foolishly fail to maintain their buses or fail to properly screen their drivers for necessary qualifications. Those that violate safety regulations and create hazards which cause traffic collisions are the ones that should be footing the bill. The feds have started to take action.

The federal government on Friday, February 8, shut down Scapadas Magicas LLC, the operator of the bus involved in the fatal collision after federal inspectors found serious mechanical safety violations aboard two other buses. Without exception, any passenger bus that does not pass critical safety inspections should be pulled from operations immediately. However, simply shutting down illicit bus businesses is insufficient. Both Scapada Magicas' owner and the designated manager responsible for maintaining its bus fleet must be held accountable. The feds and states should punish bus companies who ignore safety protocol while refraining from placing unnecessary regulatory burdens on law-abiding bus operators. Ill-advised proposals such as outlawing all buses on mountain highways won't prevent the unsafe ones from entering the roads. Robust debate for a long term solution to get all of our buses on the road up to code while keeping marketplace transit service competitive needs to continue.