Five Years After Hurricane Rita Disaster, Bus Company Gets ‘Tea Party’ Contract
Great scoop by Lindsay Beyerstein: The BusBank, a sponsor of the truly wild “Tea Party Express” and an outfit that will transport some protesters to the 9/12 “Tea Party” march on Washington, was ensnared in a horrible disaster during the evacuation of New Orleans.
In 2005, a bus carrying seniors fleeing Hurricane Rita burst into flame outside of Dallas, immolating 23 nursing home residents. Investigators later found that the bus was: driven by an undocumented migrant without a valid U.S. driver’s license, lacking adequate fire extinguishers, and not registered to operate in Texas. When the bus had mechanical problems before the crash, the driver took it to an unqualified mechanic who failed to notice the critical fault–an unlubricated axle that eventually melted and caught fire.
BusBank (aka Global Charters) hired the subcontractor, Global Limo. BusBank boasted on its website that it had a “rigorous operator certification process” to ensure the safety of contracted bus drivers. BusBank used Global even though the subcontractor had a long record of federal and state safety violations, had entered bankruptcy, and was being sued.