As expected and hinted at yesterday, the CHP has just released its report following a surprise audit of City Sightseeing, the local tour bus operator whose double-decker bus seriously injured multiple people when it apparently had brake failure and crashed in Union Square on November 13. As ABC 7 is reporting, investigators looked at seven of the company's buses including the one that crashed and found multiple violations or failures, most of them mechanical in nature. In one case, a loose steering component was on the verge of failing completely.
As the Chronicle reports, the Motor Carrier Safety Unit of the CHP has given the company 120 days to fix its buses or else face a revocation of its operating license, and possible criminal prosecution. There were a total of 61 violations found in the audit, conducted one week after the crash, 29 of those equipment-related.
CHP inspector Kevin Dee sounds less grave in speaking to ABC 7, saying, "[The buses] were essentially unsatisfactory across the board, but that doesn't mean it's something that can't be fixed."
KRON 4 reports that the investigation also revealed that the company had failed to conduct full inspections of its fleet every 45 days, which is required under CHP rules, and did not keep proper driver logs or enforce drug testing or background checks for all drivers.
Drivers were also apparently working beyond the 12-hour limit legally allowed, per the Chron, and three were found to have expired license credentials. The company had also stopped registering its drivers in a mandated DMV database, after already being suspended by the DMV in 2014 for nonpayment of fees.
State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) is, in fact, calling for the company to be shut down completely, calling the entire inspection system "dysfunctional."
In total, 20 people were injured in the November 13 crash, and it is unclear if all of the seriously injured will recover completely. Yesterday we heard from the first person struck by the bus that day, a Brazilian tourist on a bicycle, who is recovering from his injuries after being struck at the intersection of Post and Mason, two blocks before the bus came to a stop.
City Sightseeing is a global company, the largest of its kind, and per Wikipedia they operate in more than 100 cities worldwide. It's a partnership between British-based Ensignbus and a Spanish tour company, Hispalense de Tranvías.