Federal probe forces local bus company to shut down

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it has shut down 52 bus companies across the country that it is calling unsafe, and Eyewitness News learned that one -- Spaulding Charters and Tours -- was based in Charlotte.

"You want to obviously look at the tires," said Randy London as he showed Eyewitness News the tires on a charter bus Thursday afternoon.

Safety is London's job. He works with bus companies to make sure they are following safety rules. News that the federal government shut down 52 bus companies it is calling unsafe doesn't surprise London. In fact, he said he's afraid there are more out there and that customers don't even know.

"I don't think they have any idea or realize they are on an unsafe bus," said London, the president of Professional Safety Support Inc.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, said Thursday that 52 bus companies and 240 vehicles were taken off the road as part of Operation Quick Strike. It said more than 50 investigators performed in-depth reviews over the span of about eight months.

The FMCSA said one of the companies that was put out of service -- Spaulding Charters and Tours -- was based in Charlotte.

Eyewitness News looked Spaulding Charters and Tours Inc. up on the FMCSA website. The site said the company is out of service and lists a number of violations.

Eyewitness News went to the company's listed address off of Eastway Drive, but no one answered. A person who answered the phone for the number listed said the owner wasn't in.

Lee Helms is the president of a different charter company in Charlotte -- Sunway Charters and Tours. He said that safety is important, and that is why he hires London. He hopes the government continues to focus on safety.

"If we get unsafe carriers off the road, it will help all of us," said Helms.