FMCSA triple slaps Double Happyness buses, obtains restraining order

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 1/26/2012

Say what you will for Double Happyness Travel Inc.’s inability to run within the law – but this is certainly one company loaded with a never-say-die attitude.

After FMCSA twice issued orders for the Pennsylvania-based bus company to cease operations in late December and early January, the company continued to sell tickets and conduct bus trips.

FMCSA announced Thursday it had obtained a temporary restraining order to shut the company down. The order was issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will not tolerate irresponsible bus companies that jeopardize the safety of bus passengers and other motorists.”

FMCSA said its safety investigators found the company failed to comply with hours-of-service, records of duty and driver qualification requirements. The company provided service between New York City and Albany, NY; Baltimore, MD; and Wilmington, DE.

Over the past five years, FMCSA says it has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation's estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside motor coach inspections have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.

In addition, FMCSA has initiated a greater number of enforcement cases against unsafe passenger carriers under the current administration – from 36 in 2008 to 44 in 2010.

DOT encourages travelers to check the department’s safety checklist before making plans to purchase bus tickets. The checklist allows consumers to review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and DOT’s operating authority.

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