CHAMPAIGN — Federal officials ordered a Champaign-based bus company to shut down its operations on Friday.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it had issued an order requiring LEX Express Inc. to shut down.
According to a release from the agency, the bus company received an unsatisfactory safety rating on Oct. 22 after a compliance review found several violations of federal safety regulations, including:
— False reporting of records of duty status.
— Using commercial motor vehicles that were not periodically inspected.
— Failing to properly maintain vehicle parts and accessories.
The bus company had asked for an administrative review of the violations and had sent paperwork explaining the violations.
The Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it is reviewing the paperwork, but did stick to its original deadline of Friday as a shutdown date.
LEX's owner, Robert Frazier, says he's saddened by the news and that his staff of 100 employees will now be out of work.
Frazier continued to refer to the violations as unjust. He said LEX has a paperwork problem, not a safety problem.
Frazier says he doesn't plan to take any legal action at this time and will wait until the Motor Carrier Safety Administration gets back to him on the review of the violations.
The agency said LEX Express submitted a 600-page proposed safety management plan on Nov. 30. The agency is still reviewing that material, and has up to 30 days to review the plan before the bus company's safety rating may be upgraded.
The bus company's website, lincolnlandexpress.com, said, "On Monday (or Tuesday) we'll know if this is a temporary or permanent. If permanent, unfulfilled paid reservations will be fully refunded."
"Safety is our number one priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in the written release from the federal agency. "We are using every resource at our disposal to identify and remove unsafe bus companies from our roads."