As airline tickets become more-and-more expensive, many travelers are looking to bus companies for their travel transportation needs. This is especially true for trips in New Jersey or the surrounding states. However, busses occupy the same streets as any other motor vehicle, and as a result, they are susceptible to the same motor vehicle accidents as any other vehicle on the road. As such, how does one pick a safe bus company?
Before picking a bus company, look it up
Before picking a bus travel provider, passengers can search the company through the U.S. Department of Transportation. The search can be done through the USDOT number or the bus company name. If the company is not listed or they do not have a USDOT number, then a search will need to be done on the New Jersey Department of Transportation because that company, likely only operates in our state alone.
Authorization to do business
The USDOT also has information on whether the bus company is authorized to operate, including the company’s safety rating. If the company has a “satisfactory” rating, that is the highest rating, and it means that the company has adequate safety management. A “conditional” rating means that the travel company is authorized to operate, but it has some safety violations. Passengers should dig a bit deeper to see if it is a good idea to still book with that operator. Finally, an “unsatisfactory” rating means that the company is not authorized to operate. A red notification also indicates that the company is not authorized. If the company is not rated, this simply means the operator’s safety management has not been evaluated yet by the USDOT. These companies may still operate.
Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories
The company’s safety records are known as their BASICs. There are several symbols, but they refer to unsafe driving, service hour compliance, vehicle maintenance and driver fitness, among other issues.
Safety, insured and licensed
Now that passengers have verified that the bus operator is authorized to operate, the next items to check are if they are licensed and insured. The company’s USDOT profile will list an “Active For-Hire Authority,” which should be marked as, “Yes” next to “Passenger.” Insurance is listed in the “L&I” link.
If a Florham Park, New Jersey, company is not authorized to operate, has an unsatisfactory rating level, not licensed or not insured, report that company to the USDOT, and do not book. Ensuring that we only take safe transportation will help us avoid car accidents.