America Bus & Limousine’s dangerous safety record uncovered after passenger filmed local driver using iPad behind the wheel
Updated: July 29, 2014 - 11:46 pm
BRENTWOOD, Md. (WJLA) – Customers of local tour bus company were alarmed after a passenger caught the driver on camera continually fiddling with his iPad while driving. ABC 7 News investigated their complaints—and the company’s ties to the federal government.
Last Sunday, a group of more than 50 local families hit the road for a fun trip to Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va. Some of them brought iPads to keep themselves entertained during the ride, but were surprised to find their driver using one as well. A passenger caught him on camera swiping and scrolling on the touch screen as they rolled down the road.
America Bus & Limousine Service claims it has a perfect safety record, but ABC 7 News went under the hood to find out more about its history. The feds know the company as America Transportation Services, the official address of which is listed in Brentwood, Md. But people working inside the building claimed they had no ties to the company.
The business may have slammed the door in ABC 7 News’ face, but America Transportation Services’ record is an open book, and it isn’t pretty. Federal records show the company has been flagged—prioritized for intervention—because of unsafe driving issues, and a serious violation for failing to do random drug and alcohol screenings. Those records also show the company has two fatal crashes on its record.
But Uncle Sam doesn’t mind; ABC 7 News found that America Transportation Services has a five-year contract with the General Services Administration, shuttling people around for as much as $150 an hour. That federal contract lists a modest house in McLean, Va. as the business address. The owners weren’t home Tuesday, but a company limousine was parked in the house’s driveway, with a registration card listing America Transportation Services.
The passengers who rode with the tablet-toting driver last week say they wish they’d known about the company’s background before they booked their ride.
ABC 7 News called America Transportation Services to talk ask about its driver’s behavior last Sunday, as well as the company record. The cussing owner told ABC 7 News not to stick its nose where it doesn’t belong.
ABC 7 News investigators also wanted to know why America Transportation Services posts the Better Business Bureau’s logo on its website, when the company has an F rating.
As for the GSA, ABC 7 News wanted to know why that federal agency would do business with a company that has been flagged by another. Though requests for comment were not returned before this story first aired at 5 p.m., the administration later sent the following response Tuesday evening:
“America Transportation Service (ATS) currently has a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract. As a matter of contract administration, GSA will investigate the allegations, check past performance, determine compliance with the contract and take appropriate action if necessary. There are no compliance issues on file for ATS and the company has a 95% positive rating in the government-wide past-performance database.”