Hollywood Tour Buses Not Just Lying To Customers, They Could Be Putting Their Lives At Risk

Last week we told you about the undercover report that found numerous Hollywood tour bus drivers charging top dollar to just point to random houses and pretend that celebrities live in them. But even if those vans and buses were telling the truth, a follow-up report shows that some drivers and vehicles are not fit to be on the road.

For the second part of its investigation into the wild west of the Hollywood tour bus business, the NBC Los Angeles I-Team looked at the defective buses and the unsafe drivers who put their paying customers’ lives at risk.

Seatbelts Are For Suckers

seatbelts1One woman who was on a bus last year when it sideswiped a car, tells the I-Team, “I was scared for my life… There weren’t seatbelts. We were sitting on a ripped up American flag, and the driver pulls up on the wrong side of the road and he side swipes this nice-looking vehicle.”

Video shot by reporters posing as tourists backed up this tourist’s account, pointing to numerous buses that either lacked seatbelts or where the seatbelts were rusted shut, rendering them useless.

Who Needs A License?

Some drivers were caught in the report either operating tour buses with suspended licenses or without the proper class of license to be operating a commercial vehicle.

One company caught by NBC L.A. said it would cease operating until its license was sorted out, but instead it just moved its bus off Hollywood Boulevard a few blocks.

Many drivers take their buses down roads where posted road signs make it clear that heavy vehicles are explicitly barred. One driver even points it out with a laugh to his passengers that it’s against the law for the bus to be going down this road.


Look Ma, No Hands

When you drive the same route all day, you probably get to feeling like you could do the trip blindfolded. None of the drivers in the NBC L.A. report went that far, but they didn’t seem to have any problem with taking their hands off the wheel, whether it’s to take a look at their phone…

Or just showing off:

Careful: Tourist Crossing

To give their passengers a scenic view of Los Angeles, tour bus drivers like to travel up Mulholland Drive to check out the view from one of the curvy road’s many overlooks. This means crowded conditions for the large vehicles crammed into these tight spaces:

These unwieldy buses pulling in and out onto Mulholland — not exactly a road for slowpokes — is problematic enough, but the safety concerns are significantly increased when those small parking lots are full and the buses just illegally park on the side of the busy road and tell their passengers to just jaywalk:


Just to give you some idea of how bad an idea this is, here’s a satellite picture of Mulholland Dr. around the overlook shown in the parking lot photo above:

As you can see, drivers and pedestrians would have little time to react if a car comes racing around that curve.

L.A. councilman David Ryu says the safety issues highlighted by the I-Team report are “completely unacceptable. It’s just frustrating. The tourists who actually go on those vans… they’re probably fearing for their lives as well.”

Check out the whole story at NBClosangeles.com

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