The low-cost bus industry generally has a good safety record. However, when accidents do occur, they are more likely to involve fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently found that this part of the transportation section had a fatal accident rate seven times higher than well-known carriers such as Greyhound.
Low-cost buses, also known as curbside buses because they pick up and discharge passengers on the street rather than in terminals, got their start by offering fares as low as $1 per seat between East Coast Chinatowns. Such buses now provide inexpensive transportation to casinos and operate scheduled service between major cities throughout the United States. They are able to offer the intercity fares because they do not pay terminal fees and have few other overhead costs.
This part of the transportation industry has proven difficult for the government to monitor. Managers and drivers frequently do not speak English, and records are kept in other languages. They sell tickets online, which exempts them from some types of regulation. Because they do not stop at established terminals, it is harder for inspectors to monitor equipment. Moreover, there have been instances of companies being dissolved and re-established under other names or in other states, making it difficult for regulators to take action after safety violations are discovered.
A casino bus crashed in the Bronx in March of 2011, killing 15 people as it returned from the Mohegan Sun Casino. This cash triggered the NTSB report, which was requested by members of the New York congressional delegation.
Source: The New York Times, “High Fatality Rate Found for Low-Cost Buses“, by Michael M. Grynbaum, Oct. 31, 2011.