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Are curbside buses less safe for passengers?

Many San Diego residents have used coach bus services to get where they are going. Particularly if you want to take a weekend trip to see friends in another city, inexpensive and convienent coach buses can be the perfect solution. 

Still, there have been some safety concerns about low-cost buses, particularly regarding the companies that pick passengers up curbside, rather than in a traditional bus depot. The buses have been referred to for a long time as "Chinatown buses" becuase they intially offered service from the Chinatown section of one major city to the Chinatown area of another major city. A recent study from the National Transportation Safety Board caused concern for many riders of curbside buses, when the government agency reported that these buses were more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than other types of coach bus services. 

In fact, the 2011 report caused a major shakeup for riders of these types of buses, saying that they were as much as seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. The results were widely reported, leading to concern among lawmakers about possible new regulations or safety requirements. 

Now, some are raising doubts about the accuracy of the study. A review of the data used to come to the conclusions in the study revealed that many of the buses classified as "curbside" for purposes of the accident statistics were actually Greyhound buses, which pick up passengers at traditional bus depots, rather than on the curb of a city street. 

The conclusions of these safety studies are important for riders who are concerned about using curbside or traditional coach buses to get from point A to point B. When a passenger is injured or killed in a bus accident, the company should be held responsible for oversights that could have caused the accident, such as defective buses or safety equiptment or improperly licensed or trained drivers. In those situations, victims may be able to seek compensation. 

Source:, "Government Assault on the Chinatown Bus Industry Fueled By Bogus Federal Study," Jim Epstein, May 7, 2013

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