Discount Bus Accidents; What Price Safety?


In view of the rash of fatal bus accidents, a consumer should give serious thought as to safety.

Dirt cheap bus fares mean that buses and the drivers must work three times as hard to make a small profit.  That means overworked buses and drivers. 

Consider the following examples:

  • Assume that Greyhound charges $40 for a one way ticket from New York to Philadelphia.  With 30 passengers, Greyhound makes $1,200 per run.  Greyhound can have the bus make one round trip a day with a revenue of $2,400  for the bus.  Also, the driver can take an adequate rest and meal break.  Generally, there will be a mid-trip rest break.  Cleaners and mechanics check the bus at both the New York and Philadelphia terminals. 
  • Assume a discount bus line, Happy Go Lucky, charges $10 for its one way ticket.  If there are 30 passengers, then the revenue per trip would be $300.  The bus makes four round trips that day to achieve the same revenue of $2,400 that Greyhound earned.  The driver works a straight sixteen hour day with few rest and meal breaks; the bus does not take a mid-trip rest stop in order to save time.  There are no mechanics and cleaners checking the bus at the beginning and end of each trip.

In view of the cut-rate, unregulated nature of the discount bus business, it is a miracle that there have not been far more fatal accidents.

A future post will examine problems of recovering against discount bus companies.

Mark E. Seitelman, 6/7/11, www.seitelman.com.

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