Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit officials today provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the incident involving a Bx35 bus that occurred on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Preliminary findings in the investigation show that at approximately 11:05 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, a Bx35 bus was traveling north between 17 and 26 mph on University Av when the route required it to turn onto a ramp leading to the Cross Bronx Expwy. Instead the bus passed the ramp, making its turn into a guard rail approximately 10 feet away, causing the articulated bus to be partially suspended over a roadway 50 feet below. The back section of the bus which remained on the street above held the front section, which was dangling vertically, from crashing into the pavement below. The appropriate speed for taking that turn in an articulated bus would be 3-5 mph under MTA rules.
The operator, an 11-year NYC Transit veteran with a clean safety and service record prior to this incident, was treated for injuries to his jaw and transported to the hospital. Firefighters and NYPD officers advised the operator was able to assist in helping evacuate passengers. Passengers were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment of injuries.
Following arrival at a hospital, the bus operator refused to participate in an Federal Transit Administration-mandated, MTA-administered drug and alcohol test, a violation of MTA rules.
The MTA continues its investigation into the cause of this incident.
The bus was most recently inspected on Jan. 13, when it was found to have no mechanical issues. It was removed from the scene at approximately 7:00 this morning. The bus was equipped with outward and inward facing cameras as well as a black box recorder and a GPS system. MTA officials will continue to review video and any other information in close coordination with the NYPD and FDNY.
“This is obviously a terrible tragedy and our heart goes out to the passengers on the bus and their families who had to go through this,” said Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety and Security Officer. “We will continue to provide any support we can to them. I want to thank the NYPD and FDNY for their swift action in this case; we will continue to investigate this incident fully to ensure this does not happen again.”
“This is a horrible crash and we are leaving no stone unturned in our effort to figure out what happened,” said Craig Cipriano, President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President for Buses, New York City Transit. “We have launched a full investigation into what happened in close coordination with the NYPD and FDNY.”
Bus travel is a very safe mode of transportation. Out of more than 16 million bus trips made by the MTA in 2020, there were seven fatal crashes. Further, bus collisions declined by 28% and collision injuries declined by 30%, per million miles, in 2020 compared to 2019.