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HOW DOES YOUR BUS COMPANY RATE?

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by CG News Desk

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New York State law requires school bus operators to present their vehicles for DOT inspection every six months. According to Robbie Persaud, Intermodel Transportation Specialist One with NYS DOT, a bus earns either an inspection sticker or an "Out of Service" sticker. An inspection sticker, however, does not indicate that the bus is in perfect condition.

Buses are graded by "A", "B" and "C" defects, Persaud explains, with "A" defects being the most serious and earning the bus an immediate "Out of Service" sticker. Such buses are not allowed to transport passengers, and have 15 days to remedy any problems. "A" defects include, among other offenses, a faulty steering column or brakes, or non-working headlights.

Examples of "B" defects provided by Persaud include such failures as a loose handrail, a storage compartment that doesn't close properly, a fire extinguisher that isn't secured, a faulty steering fluid pump, and others. Buses with "B" defects cannot transport passengers, but do earn an inspection sticker, provided they correct any problems within 15 days.

Buses with "C" defects pass inspection and are allowed to transport passengers, but operators are required to fix the defects within 15 days. Persaud explains that "C" defects include such things as a missing bus number on the outside of the bus, a improperly positioned metal strip down the center aisle of the bus, and other problems found on the exterior, interior or bottom of the vehicle. "C" defects tend to be more cosmetic than functional.

When we asked Persaud how the DOT follows up on compliance, he replied that spot checks can be made at any time. Buses that have not made repairs, or that are caught operating without an inspection sticker, receive a Notice of Violation, which entails fines and court appearances.

DOT's statistics do not currently include accident records or highway offenses. The New York City Police Department compiles accident statistics, but does not differentiate between school buses and any other vehicle. (These efforts, however, do not take into account any manner of minor accident that never gets reported ? such as a child falling and breaking an arm on a school bus. And if the wearing of seat belts is not required on school buses, where does the blame lie in such situations?) One consolation for concerned parents is that in any accident involving a school bus, EMTs must be called to check out every child on the bus.

The following statistics are samplings taken from the results of NYS Department of Transportation inspections of bus companies that supply city school buses:

Amboy Bus Company Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 79% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 84% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 165 Total defects found: 54 % of "A" defects: 27% Caravan Transportation, Inc., Pilling St. Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 86% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 86% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 208 Total defects found: 53 % of "A" defects: 54%

Caravan Transportation, Inc., Eastern Pkwy. Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 75% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 75% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 382 Total defects found: 134 % of "A" defects: 70% Jofaz Transportation, Inc. Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 89% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 93% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 97 Total defects found: 27 % of "A" defects: 25% Jo-Lo Bus Company, Inc. Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 77% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 91% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 297 Total defects found: 122 % of "A" defects: 23%

Meryc Bus Company Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 79% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 93% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 69 Total defects found: 12 % of "A" defects: 41% Supertrans NY, Inc. Buses passing inspection 6/1/96-5/31/97: 73% Buses passing inspection 6/1/97-1/5/98: 79% In most recent inspection period: No. of buses inspected: 123 Total defects found: 31 % of "A" defects: 83%

For specific questions about your bus company, call this special NYS DOT number: (718) 482-4754.


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