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US puts brakes on bus firm putting people in cargo

A Michigan bus operator has been ordered to cease all commercial passenger services after the discovery that one of its buses was carrying six passengers in its luggage compartment, US officials said Saturday.

Roger Haines was driving a Haines Tours motorcoach from Roscommon, Michigan to Clyde, Ohio, a nearly five-hour trip, when Ohio State Highway Patrol in Lake Township, Ohio pulled over the bus, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Authorities discovered that six of the 62 passengers were riding in the luggage compartment, which also contained unsecured baggage.

"Peoples' lives were needlessly placed at risk," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement.

"Safety is everyone's responsibility and it begins with practicing common sense. That means not putting human beings in cargo holds," LaHood added.

When authorities discovered the passengers inside the luggage compartment on May 27, Haines said there was no room for them in the passenger area, according to the US Department of Transportation.

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared the carrier an "imminent hazard" to public safety.

In August 2010, Haines Tours was cited for using the motorcoach's luggage compartment as an unauthorized sleeper berth for drivers.


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