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When I emailed NTSB press officer Eric Weiss with all the problems with the study and asked for an explanation, he offered this response: “The NTSB stands by its report.”
Ironically, the regulatory crackdown that followed the release of this dreadful study may lead to more highway deaths. The shrinking of the industry has caused bus ticket prices to spike considerably in the last year. That means fewer travelers will be enticed to leave at home a far greater threat to their safety, which is sitting in their driveways.
[*] Intercity buses are even safer than the “three times” statistic implies, since it was derived from data that includes school buses and transit buses. Seventy-two percent of fatal bus accidents involve school buses and transit buses, and only 3.4 percent involve intercity buses, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
[**] As mentioned, Greyhound and Peter Pan do have a jointly owned subsidiary, BoltBus, but it had a fleet size of just 92 buses in 2011. The NTSB’s list of curbside carriers states that Greyhound has a fleet size of 1,515 buses. According to company press officer Tim Stokes, the 1,515 number may include BoltBus, but primarily refers to the parent company, which is not a curbside carrier.
[***] If New Jersey Transit, a public agency, meets the study criteria as a conventional bus company, others that should have been included are the RTD bus system in Denver, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, which serves the Boston area, and Metro, which buses commuters between Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.
[****] The study data does not include the March 12, 2011 World Wide Travel accident because “due to lags in data reporting it was not yet a part of the database,” according to the NTSB.