Tue, Mar 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Bus driver dies after crashing into house

TOUR GROUP:Twenty-two Chinese visitors, who were on the bus when it crashed, were unharmed and were transferred to another vehicle to continue their holiday

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A tour bus carrying 22 Chinese tourists and a Taiwanese tour guide crashed into a house while driving past New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) yesterday morning, killing the driver and destroying half of the building.

The tourists and the tour guide were unharmed.

According to the Tourism Bureau, the tourists are from China’s Jilin Province and are clients of Taipei-based Huanyu International Travel Service (環遊國際旅行社).

They arrived on Sunday and were on the second day of their tour of Taiwan, it said.

The accident occurred at 10:05am, when the group was on its way to Keelung after visiting the Yehliu Geopark in Wanli District.

The driver, surnamed Chen (陳), crashed into a house on Gangdong Road for reasons yet unknown, the bureau said.

Chen had no vital signs when he arrived at the hospital and could not be resuscitated, the New Taipei City Fire Department said.

Tourism Bureau data showed that the tour bus belongs to Bao Tai Transport Co (寶泰通運) and was manufactured in 2014.

The bureau said the travel agency arranged for the Chinese tourists to board another bus and assigned a new tour guide following the accident, adding that the group would continue the tour until Sunday.

Chen had a valid license to operate a large passenger vehicle and was registered as a tour bus driver in January, the Directorate-General of Highways said.

Chen’s record showed he had paid all his traffic fines, the agency said, without revealing details of the violations.

The accident happened less than one month after 33 people were killed in a tour bus accident on Feb. 13 on the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) near Taipei’s Nangang District (南港).

The travel agency involved in last month’s accident was accused of overworking tour bus drivers.

Travel Quality Assurance Association chairman Hsu Chin-jui (許晉睿) said the travel agency should be held accountable when an accident happens, adding that people planning tours should remember that travel agencies are consumers too.

“Travel agencies need to find tour buses and drivers, restaurants and hotels, which are regulated by different government agencies. If these agencies have done their job in regulating various components of the tour, we would feel assured when we choose them. They cannot expect travel agencies to single-handedly improve the quality of tours,” Hsu said.

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