Boston Globe: Regulation of Bus Companies Coming Up Short

03-20-14: Dorchester, MA: Crystal Transportation bus on Morrissey Blvd. in the Dorchester section of Boston, Mass. March 20, 2013. The company, which runs a shuttle service between the JFK/U-Mass MBTA station and the nearby U-Mass Boston has had its interstate operations shut down by federal authorities. Photo/John Blanding, Boston Globe staff story/Katie Johnston, Business ( 21crystal )
Crystal Transportation bus on Morrissey Blvd. in the Dorchester section of Boston, Mass.
John Blanding/The Boston Globe

A Boston Globe investigation found that the federal body in charge of regulating commercial bus companies has not been able to keep up with the industry’s fast-paced growth.

After investigators revealed that local bus company Crystal Transport was not pulled off the roads while various violations accumulated for five years, the Globe took a closer look at how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been ensuring the industry is safe. Unfortunately, it seems the organization has not been able to inspect the “more than 3,700 commercial motorcoach and passenger van companies” that fall under their jurisdiction.

From the Globe:

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One in four of the more than 3,700 commercial motorcoach and passenger van companies regulated by the federal government has never received the full safety evaluation that turned up long-running problems at Crystal, according to the Globe's investigation. Nearly half have not been reviewed in more than two years.


Following a decade of lax oversight, insufficient authority, and inadequate funding, recent rule changes have brought more attention to the industry. Full safety reviews are now required every two or three years, and a nationwide crackdown last year put 110 companies out of service, including Boston's Fung Wah and Lucky Star.

But federal regulators are still playing catch-up, the Globe's analysis found. More than 200 companies with at least one safety alert for serious violations uncovered by local authorities have not undergone a complete federal safety review in at least two years - if ever.

You can read more about the Globe’s investigation here.