Government halts licensing for new bus companies

DALLAS (AP) - The federal government says it halting licenses to new bus companies on a temporary basis as a result of the crash in Texas that killed 17 people.

The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today tells The Associated Press he wants all applications to be checked against a database of bus companies that were given out-of-service orders.

John H. Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said the suspension will not be, quote, "for a long period of time."

FMCSA has come under fire for failing to see that Iguala BusMex was simply an offshoot of Angel Tours, with the same operator, Angel de la Torre, and address.

Iguala BusMex had received a U.S. Department of Transportation number but had not been approved for operation at the time of the accident.

Angel de la Torre, the owner, didn't immediately return a telephone message left on a bus company answering machine Tuesday evening.

Relatives of victims involved in a 2006 accident involving a school bus in southeast Texas said Tuesday that last week's crash underscores the need for better motorcoach and school bus safety standards.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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