Why Chinatown Bus Operator ‘Yep Tour’ is a Dangerous Bet

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 at 5:19 am by

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Yep Tour unlawful idling, Photo: Our Streets NY

Get to know your Chinatown buses.

Yep Tour is somewhat off the radar, both for operating illegally (i.e. without permit) and for not having widespread name recognition. However, it’s been in the local and national news quite a bit the last month.

Here on the Lower East Side, the Massachussetts-based Yep Tour tried to legitimize its business with a legal curbside pickup at 132 Madison Street, just east of Mechanics Alley. Its previous attempts to secure a permit from the Department of Transportation failed. Same with its bid to Community Board 3 last month.

Yep Tour is a problem bus company. Drivers consistently idle in spots designated for Yo Bus and even impede M15 routes along Pike Street.

On a more serious note, Yep Tour was responsible for a hit-and-run in Philadelphia’s Chinatown and a bus inferno in Charlotte.

According to NBC, a 46-year-old pedestrian was in the crosswalk when struck by the large white bus last Tuesday. He was dragged roughly fifty feet and eventually died of his injuries. The driver kept going; police are still investigating.

The same morning, on the outskirts of Charlotte, another Yep bus headed for Atlanta (from NYC) caught fire. A flat tire sidelined the bus on a center median of I-85 when “passengers started smelling smoke and seeing flames.” Chaos ensued as the eighty customers on board struggled to vacate the vehicle. Four people were treated for burns and ankle injuries from jumping off the bus.

This star Yep driver also ditched the scene, having hitched a ride with an unknown bus. Local authorities are still reportedly in pursuit.

A local Charlotte paper mined Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records to uncover a troubling history of safety issues with this operator. Apparently, Yep buses were taken out of service at least thirteen times in 2015 alone. And the year isn’t even out.

According to FMCSA records, Yep Tour buses were taken out of service six times this year for having either no emergency exit or defective emergency exits. Two of those citations came in July alone.

The company was cited four times for either missing a fire extinguisher or having one that was discharged or not properly secured. A Yep Tour bus was most recently cited for a fire extinguisher violation on July 2, 2015.

Other violations found on Yep Tour buses include oil and gas leaks and wiring that had no or improper protection.

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