How safe are you on a NYC bus?

If you are a typical New Yorker, taking the bus is an almost daily occurrence for you. On any given weekday, 2.38 million people ride a city bus, 1,997,302 of them on one of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s five local bus routes in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, and 40,817 of them on one of the MTA’s express route buses. Countless other passengers ride a bus operated by the city’s 249 independent bus companies. All of you expect that your bus rides will be safe and uneventful. Sadly, however, expectations often do not match reality.

Given that New York City’s streets seethe with traffic virtually 24 hours a day, it is not surprising that bus crashes continue to happen at an alarming rate. Upwards of 50 people lost their lives and hundreds of others suffered injuries as the result of NYC bus crashes in 2017. While the vast majority of these crashes occurred as a result of speeding, careless driving and a variety of other poor decisions by bus and other drivers, few can forget last Halloween when eight people died and 12 suffered injuries on a sunny Lower Manhattan bike path when a terrorist opened fire on cyclists, joggers and children in a school bus.

Charter buses

While the MTA brags about its safety record in relation to the number of passengers its buses carry, charter bus safety records are disturbing at best. Of New York City’s 249 charter bus companies, 121 of them have a history of unsafe driving citations. Fifty-one of the companies have multiple violations. In order of most to fewest violations, the worst charter bus companies are the following:

  1. Sagbus, Inc.
  2. Yep Tour, Inc.
  3. No 1 Bus Tour, Inc.
  4. Safari Tour, Inc.
  5. Soe Tour, Inc.

Buses are some of the largest vehicles on NYC’s streets and roads. If one hits you or your car, motorcycle or bicycle, you can receive massive injuries as a result of the impact. You also can receive serious injuries if the bus in which you are a passenger crashes into another vehicle. Since mass transit buses have no passenger seat belts, there is nothing to prevent you from being thrown out of your seat.

While you likely have no realistic alternative to riding the bus, it definitely is in your best interests not to take your bus ride for granted. Instead of reading your paper, working on your laptop, taking a snooze or losing yourself in your music playlist, your safest strategy is to remain ever vigilant to what is going on around the bus. If you see a crash coming, you at least can take evasive action to minimize the effects of the upcoming accident.

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