Bus company shut down by Feds after Fox 32 Investigation - FOX 35 News Orlando

Bus company shut down by Feds after Fox 32 Investigation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A popular bus company that runs college students between downstate campuses and Chicago has been shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation, after a Fox 32 News investigation exposed safety concerns.

On a typical weekend, Lex Express carries about 2,500 travelers, most of them college students, between college towns in Illinois.

Those travelers were scrambling to find an alternative Friday as the feds shut down the bus company, calling it too unsafe to be on the roads.

This is something you won't see this weekend. Lex Express buses, on the highways of Illinois, carrying college students between cities like Champaign, Bloomington, Peoria and Chicago.

The company website says Lex's office is currently closed due to circumstances beyond it's control. What it doesn't say is that the company was shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Safety is our number one priority. We are using every resource at our disposal to identify and remove unsafe bus companies from the roads," Secretary Ray LaHood said, who's from Peoria.

The company had been warned this could happen, but Lex Express owner Robert Frazier says his 100 employees were still caught off guard.

"These employees, I have to tell you, are very saddened today. It is Christmas time. And everybody has presents to buy," Frazier said.

As we revealed last month in a FOX 32 News Investigation, federal investigators in October accused Lex Express drivers of falsifying their logs. Some of Lex's 30 buses were also found to be dangerously unsafe.

Frazier says he's paying the price for the highly publicized, deadly crashes involving Megabus and other companies in recent years. He says his passengers are just as upset about this as he is.

"The public, you know, my people, that I carry for so long, are calling and saying, just give me DOT's number. We want to talk to them. You are not that bad," Frazier said.

Lex Express has submitted a 600 page safety plan in response to the accusations from federal investigators but the feds have 30 days to review that plan. The company says it could learn Monday or Tuesday if this is a permanent shutdown and if so, passengers holding tickets will be reimbursed for their costs.


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