Report Raises Concerns About Safety of Hampton Roads Transit Buses

Concerns about the safety of Hampton Roads Transit buses and their reliability are aired in a recent article in the Virginian-Pilot.

In an editorial, the Pilot refers to cost overruns at Hampton Roads Transit that were detailed at a meeting of the Norfolk City Council.

Council members heard the multicity transit partnership exceeded its budget for 2015-2016 by $5.3 million. The overrun mean all six Hampton Roads cities are faced with paying more for bus services.

The editorial suggests residents will be paying more for less. In Norfolk, that additional amount will be $2 million.

Hampton Roads Transit buses are breaking down

Hampton Roads Transit logo

While budget overruns of this nature are discouraging, we are concerned by the reasons for the additional costs. The Pilot cited HRT officials as blaming overtime costs because of driver shortages, breakdowns of buses that are too old and lower than estimated ridership.

The first two explanations can have a direct bearing on safety. Older buses are more prone to breaking down, putting drivers and passengers in danger. The driver shortages can mean longer hours for those who are driving and a higher risk of fatigue among drivers that can impact passenger safety.

The Pilot editorial asked some fundamental questions about HRT fulfilling its mass transit goals.

Just last month, five people were treated at a hospital after an HRT bus was involved in an accident in Newport News, reported

An HRT bus was involved in an accident with another vehicle in Newport News. The bus was reported to be too close to another vehicle when it was making a turn at the intersection of Canon and City Center boulevards. Five people were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The bus also had minor damage.

While Hampton Roads has not seen many fatal bus wrecks in recent years, some cities have experienced major bus crashes and serious loss of life.

Last year, six people died in an accident between a transit bus and a school bus in Baltimore, Maryland, reported the Baltimore Sun.

The driver of the school bus was reported to have had a history of seizures, reported the Sun.

Bus companies have a duty to ensure their drivers are not fatigued and are free from medical conditions that can pose a danger to passengers and other road users.

In some cases, operators of both school buses or commercial buses have been held liable for fatal bus crashes. If you have been hurt in a bus crash, please call our personal injury team at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper

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