Another bus carrier ordered to stop operating

August 23, 2008 8:23:55 AM PDT
Another Texas bus carrier has been ordered out of business by the federal government. Autobuses Rio Verde of Irving was ordered to halt operations Friday after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined it was too closely connected with another firm that had been shut down in April due to safety violations, The Dallas Morning News reported.

In a statement, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator John Hill said the two companies shared "identification of company officials and functions, physical addresses, vehicle ownership, employee identification and operational similarities."

"FMCSA takes its motor coach oversight and safety responsibilities seriously and will continue to investigate carriers with questionable relationships to ensure our orders and regulations are followed to the fullest extent possible," Hill said. "There is absolutely no tolerance for operators who attempt to game the system at the risk of endangering the traveling public."

Last week, federal regulators declared a San Antonio charter bus company an "imminent hazard" to public safety because of its affiliation with a Houston motorcoach operator involved in a deadly Aug. 8 crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Liberty Charters & Tours to stop using vehicles or drivers connected to Angel de la Torre or two of his companies, Iguala BusMex Inc. and Angel Tours Inc.

The bus that crashed earlier this month was owned by Iguala BusMex, a company formed by de la Torre after Angel Tours was ordered out of service for vehicle and driver irregularities. Seventeen of the 55 passengers -- members of a Vietnamese Catholic group on a pilgrimage to Missouri -- died after the bus blew a front tire blew and flipped on its side near Sherman.

Investigators said the retreaded tire violated federal safety standards, which forbid recapped tires to be used on a steering axle.

The FMCSA order against Liberty Charters came just a day after The Associated Press reported that the company leased a bus from Angel Tours after it lost its ability to operate.

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