Tour bus company to lose license over deadly accident: minister

Taipei--The operating license of the tour bus company involved in one of Taiwan's deadliest traffic accidents in history will be revoked, Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan (???) said Tuesday.

One of the company's tour buses, carrying 44 people including the driver and the tour guide, crashed off a ramp connecting Freeway No. 5 and Freeway No. 3 in eastern Taipei at about 9 p.m. Monday, leaving at least 33 people dead ..

The tour group on board, consisting mostly of senior citizens, was returning from a one-day tour to Wuling Farm in Taichung to see cherry blossoms.

Ho Chen said road conditions have been ruled out as the cause of the accident, and investigators will now look into the driver and the bus's condition to determine what was behind the crash.

Due to the heavy casualties involved, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) will revoke the operating license of the company that operated the tour bus -- Yeow Lih Transportation (????) -- and thoroughly review the MOTC's supervisory system, he said.

Ho Chen said the ministry has in the past conducted regular assessments of the operations of tour bus companies based on public safety and quality, but he admitted that it has not done enough to weed out inferior companies.

"Those companies that have performed poorly should be reported and monitored," he said.

He said his ministry will conduct new inspections of tour bus companies with subpar evaluations in the past within the next two weeks.

Those companies that do not pass muster will be required to make improvements or face the suspension of all or part of their operations, Ho Chen warned.

The ministry will also look into the records of drivers working for those tour bus companies to see if they have committed traffic violations in the past and ask the companies to see whether they should continue to employ those drivers with tainted records.

"The bus companies have to work with the government to put the public at ease," he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel