Orbitz estimates that three quarters of Americans will travel during the 2016 holiday season. Between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day, millions of American will take to the sky, roads and rails to spend time with loved ones or take a much-needed vacation. AAA reported that Thanksgiving travel was at the busiest level since 2007. Despite the recent reports of bus accidents and train crashes, close to 2 million travelers relied on buses and trains to get to and from their holiday destination, suggested 6abc.com
On any given morning, one passing Philadelphia’s 30th street station can see passengers lined up to board a Bolt or Megabus motor coaches. At least 5,000 passengers board one of these “bargain buses” each day from this location, according to Philly.com. Philly passengers can ride to New York for as low as $10. Both Bolt and Megabus advertise fares as low as one dollar on their website. Philly.com suggests that the low fares are one of the reasons private motor coaches are the fast growing form of intercity travel. While Bolt and Megabus are inexpensive options for holiday travel, some question the safety of bargain bus motor coaches.
Concerns about the safety of bargain buses began after the 2010 Megabus crash in New York. According to Christian Science Monitor, this was the worst Megabus accident. However this was not the last. At last 22 Megabus accidents occurred between 2013 and 2015, reported Christian Science Monitor.
Megabus is not the only carrier prone to accidents. Greyhound has also experienced a number of bus accidents during the last few years. In January 2016, two passengers were killed and eight others were injured when a Greyhound bus crashed into a safety barrier and flipped on its side in Northern California, LA Times reported. Two months later, 12 people were injured when a Greyhound bus collided with a truck in Fairfax County, Virginia, according to CBS.
During a September 2016 trial, a jury in Philadelphia, PA awarded $3.05 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages on behalf of four passengers who filed a bus accident lawsuit after suffering injuries in a 2013 Greyhound bus accident. One passenger was killed and more than a dozen were injured when the fatigued bus driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tractor trailer while traveling on I-80 from New York to Ohio.
In addition to bus accidents, travelers have also experienced numerous train accidents during the last two years. On May 12, 2015, eight Amtrak passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when a speeding train derailed in Philadelphia, the New York Times reported. Amtrak train 188 was traveling more than 100 MPH when the crash occurred. The deadly train accident raised awareness of Positive Train Control, (PTC)a technology designed to prevent trains from reaching such a deadly speed.
On September 29, 2016, a woman waiting on the platform at the Hoboken New Jersey train station was killed when a New Jersey Transit train crashed into a wall at the station and brought down part of the roof. More than 100 passengers were injured when the train that was traveling at a high speed failed to stop on the track, New York Times reported. According to CBS News, the train that crashed into the Hoboken station was not equipped with PTC.
Bus accident and train crashes made headlines multiple times during the past 18 months. Despite the periodic reminder of transportation accidents, three out of four Americans plan to travel at least once during the 2016 holiday season. U.S. travelers refuse to let the fear of auto, bus, train and plane crashes ruin their holiday plans for much deserved relaxation and much anticipated visits with family and friends.