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Banned Bus Companies Often Reopen Under New Names

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Despite the fact that 3 out of 5 Texas bus companies have had their operating licenses revoked in the past 2 years for safety violations, there is no guarantee that dangerous buses have been taken off the road. Carol Davis, director of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TXDOT) motor carrier division, told The Houston Chronicle that state officials were still trying to find out how many revoked companies were operating under a different name.

At least one of those rogue bus companies was involved in a fatal bus crash earlier this month. On August 8, a charter bus, owned by a company called Iguala Busmex, was taking a group of Vietnamese Catholics to a religious festival in Missouri. The vehicle blew an illegally treaded tire, skidded off the highway and overturned. In addition to 17 deaths, 38 people were injured. The bus accident was the nation’s deadliest since 2005.

It turns out that Iguala Busmex was an offshoot of another Texas bus company, Angel Tours. Following the crash, it was learned that its owner, Angel De la Torre, opened Iguala Busmex just three days after federal investigators banned Angel Tours from interstate travel after finding safety violations. Despite those violations, Iguala Busmex was able to receive a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.

Unfortunately, Angel Tours/Iguala Busmex was not an isolated case. Late last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered another company Autobuses Rio Verde of Irving, Texas to cease interstate operations because of its links to Green River Buses LLC of Dallas. According to the Associated Press, Autobuses Rio Verde was involved in at least two deadly accidents – the most recent on July 3 – in Mexico before being shut down.

According to the FMCSA, Autobuses Rio Verde and Green River Buses had vehicles, drivers and management in common. Autobuses Rio Verde owner Marco Vasquez previously was the terminal manager for Green River Buses, while Green River Buses owner Luis Patino was manager and safety director for Autobuses Rio Verde.

Autobuses Rio Verde was given permission by the FMCSA to begin operations on June 5, a mere six weeks after Green River Buses was ordered to stop doing business because of an unsatisfactory safety rating, according to the agency.

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