Ordered to Cease All Operations Immediately
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Michigan bus operator Roger Haines, who does business as Haines Tours, to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service declaring the carrier an “imminent hazard” to public safety for its practice of transporting passengers in the motorcoach’s cargo compartment.
“People's lives were needlessly placed at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility and it begins with practicing common sense. That means not putting human beings in cargo holds."
On May 27, 2011, a Haines Tour motorcoach driven by Roger Haines, traveling from Roscommon, Mich., to Clyde, Ohio, was inspected by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Lake Township, Ohio. The officer discovered that six of the 62 passengers were riding in the luggage compartment of the motorcoach, which also contained unsecured baggage. In August 2010, Haines Tours was cited for a similar illegal practice – utilizing the motorcoach’s luggage compartment as an unauthorized sleeper berth for drivers.
“Despite being warned in August 2010 that it cannot transport people in the luggage compartment of its buses in violation of federal regulations, it [Haines Tours] continues to place people in the luggage compartment,” the Out-of-Service order states. Continuing, it states, “[t]his Imminent Hazard Order is necessary to put an immediate stop to this highly dangerous practice.”
“Every day, and in every state, commercial vehicle inspectors and investigators are working to keep all travelers on our highways and roads safe,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “There is absolutely no higher priority than safety.”
This is the second “imminent hazard” out-of-service order issued by FMCSA to a passenger carrier company in the past 48 hours. On June 9, JCT Motor Coach, Inc., and its affiliated company, JT’s Travel & Charter, Inc., of Atlanta, Ga., were ordered to stop operating passenger service for attempting to evade a previous out-of-service order by operating under a different name
Last week, on June 3, FMCSA issued a cease and desist order against Sky Express, Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., after finding that the company was attempting to operate and sell tickets under a different company name, including 108 Tours and 108 Bus.
(BELOW FROM CEASE TO OPERATE ORDER)
On May 27,2011, a HAINES bus transporting approximately 62 passengers was inspected by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Lake Township, Ohio. The bus was travelling from Roscommon, Michigan to Clyde, Ohio. The Ohio State Highway Patrol officer discovered that six of the sixty-two passengers on the motorcoach were riding in the luggage compartment of the bus. The driver of the bus told the officer that the passengers were riding in the luggage compartment because there was no room for them in the passenger compartment. In addition to mattresses and pillows, the luggage compartment also contained luggage which was not secured to the vehicle, nor was it in a partitioned section of the compartment. Nothing prevented the luggage from striking these passengers in the event of a sudden deceleration. In addition, these luggage compartments are not designed nor intended to accommodate passengers.