A private Queens bus company involved in a fatal crash last year is still wreaking havoc on the roads, racking up a string of safety violations from Vermont to Pennsylvania, federal records show.
Not even the deaths of three people in a horrific Flushing crash in Sept. 2017 was enough to slow down drivers who hit the road for Kum Gang Tours, Inc.
Records show the the company committed 13 violations in several states — including citations for driving more than 15 mph above the speed limit, and falsely reporting how long its drivers had been behind the wheel.
Kum Gang Tours, operating also as Dahlia Group Inc., was the company behind a charter bus that raced through a red light and plowed into the back of a city bus — killing the charter bus driver and two other people.
The pre-dawn pileup injured 17 other passengers and pedestrians and demolished a restaurant at Northern Blvd. and Main Street in Flushing.
Bus operator Raymond Mong, a convicted drunk driver, was killed in the crash, along with pedestrians Henry Wdowiak, 68, and Gregory Liljefors, 55, both of Flushing,
The bus company’s repeated violations have prompted investigations by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration. But the company has retained its “conditional” rating, which allows it to continue to operate, according to the agency’s website.
Despite the numerous safety violations, Kum Gang Tours — which primarily shuttles customers to casinos across the East Coast — is able to operate with impunity.
While the 2017 crash sparked conversation about more regulation of the private bus industry, state legislators failed to act on proposed bills during this past session in Albany.
“We want to make sure these buses are up to standards,” said state Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents Flushing. “It’s going to take time.”
Kim proposed an Assembly bill to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to annually audit private bus companies, and provide them with a credential based on that audit, which would have to be displayed publicly when a driver is on duty.
“The riders should feel comfortable asking those questions” about bus safety, Kim said. As is, he said, passengers are willing to take risks “to get the cheapest ticket to get from point A to point B.”
The bus involved in the 2017 crash was registered to Dahlia Group Inc. and operated by Kum Gang Tours — which share addresses and owners, corporate records show.
“Sometimes, something happens that we cannot control,” Christine Chiang, the executive of both Kum Gang Tours and Dahlia, said of the crash. “We are very small potatoes, so nobody protects us.”
Other driver violations against the company included possession of alcohol while on duty, inattentive driving, and failing to use a seat belt while operating the bus, safety administration records show.
Dahlia Group had another fatal crash 15 years ago in New Jersey.
In 2003, a Dahlia bus spun off the Garden State Parkway and landed upside down in an embankment while on its way to an Atlantic City casino.