NEW YORK – After more than 1,000 traffic violations and millions of dollars worth of fines, New York Apple Tours was forced to surrender its license.
The troubled company that runs the red double-decker tour buses in New York City was fined millions of dollars in the past and cited for many problems resulting in more than 1,000 traffic violations, has gone out of business, according to the Monday edition of The New York Times.
The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Gov. George E. Pataki ordered the company’s operating license suspended, and called for hearings into its possible revocation shortly after 71-year-old actor Randolph S. Walker was fatally struck by an unlicensed Apple Tours bus driver in May while crossing a street near Times Square. Walker’s family filed a $20 million wrongful death suit against the company and its driver.
Even before Apple Tours returned its license Feb. 8, it began selling assets to a division of Coach USA, which owns Grayline New York Tours, the Times said.
A Grayline spokesman said that the company had acquired about a dozen double-decker buses from Apple in mid-January, as well as the company’s visitors center at Eighth Avenue and 48th Street, in Clinton. Grayline also hired several Apple Tours employees, but told the Times that the tour bus company’s owner and relatives were not included in the new hires.
Apple Tours began operation in 1992, with buses imported from England. Many of their engines did not meet United States emissions standards and violated numerous environmental regulations.
Although a court order to suspend service was overturned in June, that ruling was overruled in December 2000. The Court of Appeals dismissed the case last month, allowing the suspension to stand.
This month the Department of Consumer Affairs increased its fines against the company to more than $8 million from $2 million, and just completed a license revocation hearing.
In 1995, the company was fined $100,000 after the Department of Consumer Affairs found that it had switched license plates to avoid inspections on many of its 63 buses.