A double-decker bus owned by tour bus company Megabus has collided with a concrete pillar while en route to Kansas City, killing one passenger and wounding close to forty others. The bus was headed to Kansas City from Chicago when the driver appeared to lose control, smashing head on into a bridge support pillar in Litchfield, Illinois.
It is as yet unclear as to exactly what caused the accident, but there is speculation that a tire blow out caused the bus to swerve out of control. Eye witnesses at the scene of the accident described a horrific scene with the entire front section of the bus completely destroyed.
Megabus is a popular low fare bus company which offers travel on a number of national routes across the country. Tickets for trips to any one of the 80 or so large cities that Megabus travels to can be bought only with prices starting at only $1. Many would say that this deal sounds too good to be true, and perhaps it is. Low fare bus companies often have to cut corners in terms of safety regulations in order to make a profit, which can lead to dangerous accidents such as this one.
The problem with cheap bus operators is that they tend to pick up passengers anywhere along the route, stopping wherever they see an opportunity to gain another passenger, even if it is not at a designated bus terminal. The results of a study conducted in 2011 by the National Transportation Safety Board have shown that low cost carriers that ignore road safety regulations are more likely to be involved in accidents.
At the time of the Megabus accident, there were more than 80 passengers onboard the double-decker bus. According to passenger reports, the bus swerved off the road and into the pillar suddenly, after it appeared to hit into something on the road. The bus was not equipped with seat belts and many of the passengers were ejected from their seats.
Medical and rescue teams responded promptly to the accident, and the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals via ambulance and helicopters.
Currently Litchfield officials are investigating the cause of the accident, and it remains to be seen whether any individual or the Megabus company will be held liable for the death and injuries of the passengers. This is the 8th serious accident that a Megabus bus has been involved in in the last two years, raising serious questions as to whether this company should still be operating bus services.