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Report on November bus crash reveals new details; new transportation service announced

CONTENT WARNING: The following article contains details about the bus crash that occurred in November. Reader discretion is advised.

On Brandeis Public Safety’s website, a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that contains details surrounding the November bus crash is now available. It can be found on Brandeis Public Safety’s website or directly through a URL. The report is an “Onsite Comprehensive Investigative Report,” meaning that it reviews the entirety of the operations of Joseph’s Transportation (the company that operated the bus that was involved in the crash).

The driver who was operating the bus when the crash occurred was not named in the report, but it was mentioned that “his license to operate was suspended indefinitely by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles while the investigation is ongoing.”

The report also contained details from an interview with Joseph’s Transportation’s safety manager, Katherine LaMonica. On the morning of the crash, she spoke with the bus driver about his long hours, lack of breaks, and concerns over a second driving job. The driver responded by noting that he had breaks built into his schedule and was only working one driving job but that he was also a full time student. The driver gave the same answer when he was questioned at other points over the year leading up to the accident.

The report refuted the driver’s statement, though. It found that he was also working as a Class B school bus driver for Transdev Transportation during the week while working for Joseph’s Transportation on the weekends. Although this driver was usually scheduled to work 30-32 hours per week for Transdev, he regularly logged 40-42 hours with the company weekly. Transdev never received documentation showing the hours worked by this driver for Joseph’s Transportation, and were unaware of the total amount of hours he was working weekly.

An investigation into Joseph’s Transportation and the crash was started on Nov 11, 2022 due to both the crash itself and the company being a “MAP21 Motor coach career requiring a safety rating.” The report found numerous violations of both federal and state laws, listing dozens of violations. It was also noted that an investigation into the crash is ongoing, with support from the Massachusetts State Police, the Waltham Police Department, and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.

At least one violation was also found for each of the following categories, each of which was relevant to the fatal bus crash: operating a motor vehicle for more than 70 hours over eight days (known as the “70 hr rule”), operating a motor vehicle for more than 10 hours after eight hours off duty (known as the “10 hr rule”) and operating a motor vehicle in violation of local laws (the bus that crashed was traveling at a speed of 54 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone).

It was noted that “Joseph’s Transportation failed to ensure all drivers operate within the 10hr and 70hr regulations by not monitoring all Hours of Service. Failure to do so resulted in 10hr and 70hr violations that ended in a fatal accident.” As a result, this report recommended that the company “develop a policy that monitors all drivers [sic] hours of service on a daily basis to eliminate all hours of service violations … [and] assign a manager to conduct hours of service training with all drivers and dispatchers.” The report also recommended that Joseph’s Transportation implement strategies found on the “Accident Countermeasures” website and review the FMCSA’s “Motor Carrier Safety Planner.”

In an email sent to Brandeis students on Aug. 18, Campus Operations announced that DPV will “begin operations on Monday, August 21, 2023, providing service on all routes:  Campus; Waltham; Weekend Campus/Waltham Combo; and Boston/Cambridge. Accessibility Transportation (AT) service will continue to be provided by Brandeis through an application process.

They added that the Brandeis logo will appear on all buses, trips can be tracked through Tripshot, a seat reservation system will be available for the Boston/Cambridge route and a new route will be started for holidays and weekends.

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