In Part 1 of this series, I explained the relationships among operating companies, lead agencies and brokers. I began the discussion about how operating companies are victimized by lead agencies and brokers, whose ignorance and impunity often create operating environments which make it impossible to provide service safely or profitably. And I introduced the core goal of this series: How to defend operating companies from liability exposure related to incidents caused largely or solely by negligence committed by the lead agencies or brokers who “make the rules.” The rules matter. Most “lead” agencies (those public agencies which receive the funding)
Archives for paratransit
For decades, motorcoach providers have provided commuter-express service, under contract, to transit agencies (and, occasionally, to municipalities which do not even have formal transit agencies). Particularly in the past 20 years, this role has expanded: Motorcoach providers are increasingly providing service on local and regional routes, often with regular buses – not even motorcoaches. Similarly, many motorcoach companies also own schoolbuses, and provide schoolbus service, under contract, to school districts. For decades, roughly a third of all schoolbus service has been contracted out, and this percentage had remained surprisingly consistent. For the same reasons that contracted transit service has been
Over the years, I have predicted countless things in the pages of National Bus Trader. No reader will ever find me to have been wrong. Nor am I wrong about this: Some day, charter and tour service will come back stronger than ever. But that day is a long way off. The challenge is what to do in the meantime. Particularly from the Pandemic, America is in far deeper collapse than most people would have thought possible. Recent estimates have suggested that renters (and their families) of 20 million households could be evicted after the short-term bans on evictions expire.
Most motorcoach companies do not provide paratransit service. So learning the nuances of this mode is often limited. But much can be learned from this rarely-creative, inefficient and often dangerous service. Paratransit’s tight schedules, and the reasons for them, provide important lessons for any mode of transportation. In contrast to motorcoach operators, transit agencies have a formal responsibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide complementary paratransit service. Most transit agencies contract out these services to private companies. Either way, tight schedules trigger safety compromises. If the victim has an effective attorney, tight schedules are a liability. Ingenuity
Amtrak, the heavily-subsidized enemy of the motorcoach industry, is now outdoing its airline industry colleagues. But as a quasi-government monopoly, the taxpayers will effectively cover the damages if problems develop. That Amtrak may not even belong in most parts of the country is only a footnote. The latest development was disclosed formidably in the October 14, 2020 issue of Mass Transit, re-characterizing a story from The Times Union, in Albany, New York. Amtrak’s activities were actually presented as great news: Mass Transit titled its article: “NY: With cutbacks, some Amtrak trains now sold out.” The fact that this feat was
Two installments ago, I described alternative roles motorcoaches could play to make important contributions to the current pandemic, and which would keep drivers, mechanics and vehicles at work, and operating agencies and companies, manufacturers and suppliers in business. In the last installment, I described how to put motorcoaches back on the road in traditional roles. In this installment, I will outline some ideas for getting fixed route transit buses and passenger trains back to work, consistent with safety for both drivers and passengers. The ideas focus on NYC’s transit system as a model, since the challenges facing this system are