The Misconception that Motorcoach Passenger Safety is Negotiable

Once again efforts are underway to conflate the two issues of safety and wages within the private motorcoach industry. This effort is not surprising as Congress is currently in the midst of developing long term highway transportation legislation.  

This is not a new issue to the motorcoach industry. However, it is unfortunate there are still those who would use safety as a means to achieve economic gain. Across the various modes of transportation, it is accepted by all transportation professionals: safety is not a point of competition. 

Any viable transportation business knows, that a safety related issue for one company can quickly develop into one for the entire industry. A motorcoach accident for one company can affect the entire industry. Yet, there remain various interests who persist in using such tragedies as motorcoach accidents, as a basis to seek higher wages. Simply put, the two issues are unrelated. 

Hundreds of millions of people depend on safe motorcoach transportation each year for business and leisure travel. The motorcoach industry has justifiably earned their trust. Further, the U.S. Department of Transportation, along with the National Transportation Safety Board have both recognized motorcoach travel as one of the safest modes of surface transportation. [1][2]

More specifically, the American Bus Association, which represents companies that own and operate two-thirds of all the motorcoaches on the road today, ensures safety is at the core of everything we do. We are proud to be the industry’s leaders. ABA and its members are always identifying and addressing safety issues that affect the entire industry, not just those that are ABA members. We do this in conjunction with our regulatory agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

The ABA’s Bus Industry Safety Council’s mission is to raise the level of safety in the intercity bus and motorcoach industry continually through collaborative efforts of professionals in a workshop and educational environment. The BISC has more than 400 motorcoach professionals as part of its membership, including several officials from FMCSA. The BISC holds two conferences a year where members work together in five distinct areas. They include: Government Activities, Security, Human Performance, Vehicle Technical Operations and Workplace Health and Environmental Safety.

This past summer ABA formed BusMARC. It’s designed to meet the needs of ABA's bus operator members and address the need for continuing maintenance education and compliance training as well as provide a new venue for equipment, parts and service providers to interact with the bus industry. BusMARC’s membership is open to all bus operators who have an interest in maintenance. Like the BISC, membership in the ABA is not required to be a member of BusMARC.

ABA and the industry continue to take a lead role and has worked closely with FMCSA and Congress on many safety related issues. ABA supported the Motorcoach Action Plan, which addressed both enforcement and structural elements to reduce the number of accidents. FMCSA is focusing on not only on the companies already operating, but all new motorcoach companies will be visited by FMCSA within the first 18 months after they open for business. The vetting process to receive approval to begin operating is even longer and more comprehensive. As an association, ABA insists its members must maintain the highest government safety rating – Satisfactory – to remain a member.

These are just some of the many efforts the motorcoach industry has taken to improve the safety and overall passenger experience for the hundreds of millions of people who ride buses every year. We take this responsibility seriously. Seeking to link safety to wages at the negotiationing table is a mistake and one we will continue to oppose.

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

About the Bus Industry Safety Council

The Bus Industry Safety Council is comprised of security, mechanical, safety, operational and maintenance leaders from across the North American motorcoach industry. The group meets regularly to discuss issues and innovations in areas of safety, regulatory compliance, mechanics, technology and security. The council's mission is to develop and promote methods, materials, and procedures to improve motorcoach safety. The Bus Industry Safety Council meets twice a year, and everyone in the motorcoach industry is invited to attend and participate. The BISC Winter Meeting will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, January 9–12 as part of the ABA’s 2016 Marketplace. Learn more at

About BusMARC

The mission of the Bus Maintenance and Repair Council (BusMARC) is to raise the level of maintenance awareness in the intercity bus and motorcoach industry continually.


Melanie Hinton, Director of Communications & Media Relations, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)