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Queens driver charged with reckless driving in Virginia bus crash that left four passengers dead

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Queens driver charged with reckless driving in Virginia bus crash that left four passengers dead

By Greg B. Smith AND Corky Siemaszko

NY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

 

Tuesday, May 31st 2011

 

 

"A Queens man was asleep at the wheel of a New York-bound bus that skidded off the highway in Virginia early Tuesday, killing four passengers and badly injuring scores more, police said.

 

Kin Yiu Cheung, 37, was charged with reckless driving in connection with the crash that left a motor coach flipped over on its roof and trapped passengers inside screaming for help.

 

The Flushing man was employed by the Sky Express Bus Company, a problem plagued business based in North Carolina.

 

"The driver was fatigued when he ran off the right side of the road," Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police said.

 

Cheung was being held on $3,000 bond and cooperating with investigators, Molnar said.

 

The early morning accident paralyzed northbound traffic on Interstate 95 for hours as rescue crews raced to the scene and removed the victims.

 

The Sky Express Bus, which left Greensboro, N.C. at 10:30 p.m. Monday, was carrying 59 passengers when it strayed off a highway and hit an embankment around 5 a.m. The crash was about 30 miles north of Richmond, Va.

 

Cheung, who had a seat belt, suffered only a few bump and bruises.

 

Meanwhile, the injured passengers - some of them in critical condition - were taken to Richmond and Fredericksburg-area hospitals.

 

Sky Express has an abysmal safety record, with four previous crashes - including one that resulted in a fatality, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records.

 

Sky Express has been the subject of four compliance investigations since 2008, the records show. The bus company was cited for 46 violations related to fatigued driving, including three that were classified as serious, in the past two years.

 

Their drivers have also been cited for 17 unsafe-driving violations, including eight speeding violations since 2009.

 

Of all the motor coach companies recently surveyed by the feds, Sky Express had the worst score (99.7%) in the "driver fitness" category and earned lousy scores for fatigued drivers (86.2%) and overall unsafe driving (62.9%).

 

Sky Express's New York-based attorney, Ruth Yang, referred reporters to a company spokeswoman who did not return emails for comment.

 

The company, which has 34 buses and employs 53 drivers, runs three buses daily from Charlotte to Chinatown, leaving at 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

 

"I'm just happy I wasn't on that bus," said Cristal Rivera, 22, a mother of three from Long Island, who returned on an earlier Sky Express bus after visiting pals in Charlotte. "That could've been me. Being a passenger on one of those buses is scary."

 

There has been more attention on bus safety following a March 12 accident in the Bronx when a motor coach returning from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut toppled off an elevated highway and hit a utility pole, peeling off the roof and killing 15 people.

 

Following that tragedy, the feds did nearly 2,800 spot safety checks of passenger buses across the country from March 28 through April 6 - and yanked about 10% of the vehicles or drivers off the road.

 

In the wake of the tragic Virginia bus crash, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Councilmember Margaret Chin - all Democrats who represent Chinatown - are proposing legislation that would regulate intercity buses."

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/05/31/2011-05-31_queens_driver_charged_with_reckless_driving_in_virginia_bus_crash_that_left_four.html

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I'd like to know if there are members of the forums who actually patronize these bootleg operations and, if so, why? As far as I can see most of them are shakey at best and dangerous for the most part.

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I'd like to know if there are members of the forums who actually patronize these bootleg operations and, if so, why? As far as I can see most of them are shakey at best and dangerous for the most part.

 

As i said the only low cost bus route I would use is Bolt Bus which is owned by Greyhound.

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Nothing good or well maintained seems to come out of Chinatown....its either a cheap Handbag or Dangerous Bus company. And its sad and embrassing....things need to change...

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Nothing good or well maintained seems to come out of Chinatown....its either a cheap Handbag or Dangerous Bus company. And its sad and embrassing....things need to change...

 

Await to hear from Forest Glen to defend why the great things of $1 fare between NYC and DC despite all of the risks.

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They do get the job done when they function right... A friend of mines from Charlotte came to see me last summer and used this very same bus service...

 

If only they'd tighten up their practices they'd be a lot better off

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....its what happens you ride shyt companies

 

But to some, these companies are a lifesaver because of the cheap fares. If a cheap fare is worth the trip then sobe it. Now a accident can happen with big name companies also but you have a better chance of getting to point B.

 

Now imagine Airlines. A bargin Airline such as Southwest Jetblue ect....imagine if those planes were crashing left and right because of pilot error.....how many planes crashed because of pilot error; how many buses crashed because of driver error? Now if those bus companies were on the same page then it wouldnt happen. Pilots have zero room error at any given moment. I know driving a bus full of people is way different then driving a car full of friends if you get tired one of your friends can drive. A bus who the hell is gona drive? Sure as hell not John Doe whos sitting at random. You have to make sure you get enough sleep to be able to function driving a bus. Everyone gets tired...but if your tired to the point where you cant control your eyes shutting...then pull over and call control.

 

These bus bootleg companies dont give a crap about there drivers and make them work insane hours.

 

I rather get fired then being blamed for 55 deaths.....

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....its what happens you ride shyt companies

 

But to some, these companies are a lifesaver because of the cheap fares. If a cheap fare is worth the trip then sobe it. Now a accident can happen with big name companies also but you have a better chance of getting to point B.

 

Now imagine Airlines. A bargin Airline such as Southwest Jetblue ect....imagine if those planes were crashing left and right because of pilot error.....how many planes crashed because of pilot error; how many buses crashed because of driver error? Now if those bus companies were on the same page then it wouldnt happen. Pilots have zero room error at any given moment. I know driving a bus full of people is way different then driving a car full of friends if you get tired one of your friends can drive. A bus who the hell is gona drive? Sure as hell not John Doe whos sitting at random. You have to make sure you get enough sleep to be able to function driving a bus. Everyone gets tired...but if your tired to the point where you cant control your eyes shutting...then pull over and call control.

 

These bus bootleg companies dont give a crap about there drivers and make them work insane hours.

 

I rather get fired then being blamed for 55 deaths.....

 

If any airline had this type of record w/ accidents and crashes, the feds would have shut down a long time ago.

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Await to hear from Forest Glen to defend why the great things of $1 fare between NYC and DC despite all of the risks.

 

I'm going to say this one more time: Megabus =/= Chinatown bus

Bolt Bus =/= Chinatown bus

 

 

....its what happens you ride shyt companies

 

But to some, these companies are a lifesaver because of the cheap fares. If a cheap fare is worth the trip then sobe it. Now a accident can happen with big name companies also but you have a better chance of getting to point B.

 

Now imagine Airlines. A bargin Airline such as Southwest Jetblue ect....imagine if those planes were crashing left and right because of pilot error.....how many planes crashed because of pilot error; how many buses crashed because of driver error? Now if those bus companies were on the same page then it wouldnt happen. Pilots have zero room error at any given moment. I know driving a bus full of people is way different then driving a car full of friends if you get tired one of your friends can drive. A bus who the hell is gona drive? Sure as hell not John Doe whos sitting at random. You have to make sure you get enough sleep to be able to function driving a bus. Everyone gets tired...but if your tired to the point where you cant control your eyes shutting...then pull over and call control.

 

These bus bootleg companies dont give a crap about there drivers and make them work insane hours.

 

I rather get fired then being blamed for 55 deaths.....

 

incorrect

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You need to cut that shyt out. Im entitled to my opinion, dont like it? Dont reply.

 

Well isn't he entitled to his opinion? He just implied it in a rudely fashion.

 

 

Anyways, after my first experience riding the "Lucky" bus to Boston and back, I haven't sat in a Chinatown/Flushing bus since. Yes it's cheap but it was probably the most uncomfortable ride I've ever had.

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Chinatown buses tend to be very cheap, but they keep their fares low by committing every violation they can get away with and shaving as close to the line as possible on the ones they can't, and apparently that includes running their drivers into the ground. 553 Bridgeton brought up airlines such as JetBlue, and it turns out that a number of airlines do the same thing in terms of overworking and underpaying their crew. The only difference (and the reason we haven't seen that many incidents of this nature from them) is that planes always fly with at least two people onboard who are qualified to fly the aircraft. On buses, that's not the case; therefore shit like this happens when companies decide to cut driver costs.

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Chinatown buses tend to be very cheap, but they keep their fares low by committing every violation they can get away with and shaving as close to the line as possible on the ones they can't, and apparently that includes running their drivers into the ground. 553 Bridgeton brought up airlines such as JetBlue, and it turns out that a number of airlines do the same thing in terms of overworking and underpaying their crew. The only difference (and the reason we haven't seen that many incidents of this nature from them) is that planes always fly with at least two people onboard who are qualified to fly the aircraft. On buses, that's not the case; therefore shit like this happens when companies decide to cut driver costs.

 

 

Very true indeed. The dirty little secret of Jetblue and Southwest which I fly on at least 1-2x a year to see my MOM and Sister in Calif. is that their crews are often overworked. I once heard a story of a Southwest flight attendant flying home right after the Christmas/New Years Holidays after the Dec.26 (2010) Blizzard having to work '4' straight days since some of the crew had been 'snowed' in the northeast.

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You need to cut that shyt out. Im entitled to my opinion, dont like it? Dont reply.

 

It is unfair to lump Megabus in the same category as the Chinatown buses. Megabus saves money for people who don't want to get ripped off by Ghettohound. Megabus is the reason why I'm able to take so many intercity trips to DC, Boston, and Philadelphia. There is no evidence other than hearsay that their workers are overworked or incompetent.

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If any airline had this type of record w/ accidents and crashes, the feds would have shut down a long time ago.

 

I've been trying to stay outta this thread because tempers tend to flare around here lately.

 

But like I said in an earlier thread....these cheap companies haven't killed enough people yet. Once we have that major "55 dead" crash then things will change, until then 5-10 deaths every now and then is acceptable to people looking for a cheap ride.

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There is no evidence other than hearsay that their workers are overworked or incompetent.

 

According to the FMCSA, Megabus has a very high number of violations for fatigued drivers.

 

FMCSA Megabus link:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=PSXwoIfNqwU=&DOCKET=ek72fsZGQRI=

 

Now compare to Greyhound:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=GReHF56z454=&DOCKET=IHT1JBfCoXI=

 

Peter Pan:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=Om6GDYzWU1w=&DOCKET=1NvrE4QNorU=

 

Bonanza:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=TPDllhgmc04=&DOCKET=6bHYPT2yzUQ=

 

Fung Wah:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=mbycbfDQMk0=&DOCKET=X85m7b9yLZs=

 

Lucky Star:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=c8A9Z20YjGk=&DOCKET=DucOPT0YMmA=

 

If you feel comfortable riding with a fatigued driver, then power to you bro, I'll ride with somebody else.

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According to the FMCSA, Megabus has a very high number of violations for fatigued drivers.

 

FMCSA Megabus link:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=PSXwoIfNqwU=&DOCKET=ek72fsZGQRI=

 

Now compare to Greyhound:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=GReHF56z454=&DOCKET=IHT1JBfCoXI=

 

Peter Pan:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=Om6GDYzWU1w=&DOCKET=1NvrE4QNorU=

 

Bonanza:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=TPDllhgmc04=&DOCKET=6bHYPT2yzUQ=

 

Fung Wah:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=mbycbfDQMk0=&DOCKET=X85m7b9yLZs=

 

Lucky Star:http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/carrier_detail.aspx?DOT=c8A9Z20YjGk=&DOCKET=DucOPT0YMmA=

 

If you feel comfortable riding with a fatigued driver, then power to you bro, I'll ride with somebody else.

 

And from what I hear some of the drivers talking about on those philly runs makes me wonder.

 

@Forest Glen its fine how you feel. But I said it once before...Megabus drivers get paid peanuts to transport people in those deathtraps.

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And from what I hear some of the drivers talking about on those philly runs makes me wonder.

 

The NY-Philly doublebangers are rough no matter what company you work for. They are 13-15 hour duty days w/ 8-10hrs of driving. The only thing good about them (at least at PP) is that the are 4 on/3 off, but you need the 3 days off to recover for the 4 on. There is not one day you don't get screwed in/out the Lincoln Tunnel, and it all quick turns....no more than a hour layover at each end (if you are ontime, which you usually aren't!) I wouldn't wish a Philly Doublebanger on my worse enemy.

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The NY-Philly doublebangers are rough no matter what company you work for. They are 13-15 hour duty days w/ 8-10hrs of driving. The only thing good about them (at least at PP) is that the are 4 on/3 off, but you need the 3 days off to recover for the 4 on. There is not one day you don't get screwed in/out the Lincoln Tunnel, and it all quick turns....no more than a hour layover at each end (if you are ontime, which you usually aren't!) I wouldn't wish a Philly Doublebanger on my worse enemy.

 

Is there a reason why Megabus takes Route 38 into Philly? Imo taking Route 38 adds more time then need be. Unless they have a stop along Route 38. I know Bolt Bus has a stop in Cherry Hill on 38.

 

Lol since you put it that way it sounds even more harsh.

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Um, "Incorrect" is not a opinion.

 

It's a matter of perspective. Saying incorrect or typing out your whole paragraph with a "No" at the beginning.

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An 'incorrect because he feels he doesn't want to debate his opinion is a poor excuse and just lazy. Now if he followed it up with at least a sentence explaining his stance, then it would be acceptable.

Maybe because you post rarely, but that's his usual deal when he doesn't feel like explaining his opinions. So 553 is totally correct.

 

As for jetblue, what exactly is the problem? I've flown on that airline twice now and had no problems.

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