Statement By Jeffrey Lerner, New York Attorney General Director Of Communications, Regarding Today's Marsh Verdict
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (February 28, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced a settlement with On Trac Services, Inc., a Yonkers-based private school bus company that was forced to close down after being cited for numerous safety and licensing violations by the state.
The company’s abrupt shutdown took place at the beginning of a school year with no notice to customers, forcing many parents, who had already paid On Trac, to scramble to find alternate transportation for their children. Some families even had to pay to send their children to school by taxi cab.
“This company was shut down because it circumvented safety and licensing procedures,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Transportation companies, including those we trust to safely transport our children to and from school, must operate as safely as possible and secure all necessary licensing.”
The Attorney General’s settlement permanently bars On Trac Services from engaging in any type of transportation business in New York State. It also requires the company to pay a total of $39,000 in restitution, costs and penalties.
According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, from 2002 to September 8, 2005, the owners and operators of On Trac – Chintan Trivedi of Riverdale, Shawn Dyer of Yonkers and Tom Dorf of the Bronx – transported children while in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Laws as well as State Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation regulations. In 2004, the company charged parents $2,500 per student for transportation for the school year.
Among the actions uncovered, On Trac:
- Hired bus drivers that were never registered or licensed
- Used vans that were never inspected up to the safety standards required to transport children
- Failed to properly insure vehicles
- Falsely claimed to parents and schools that they were in compliance with all applicable laws
- Operated vehicles with “livery plates” instead of “bus plates”
- Attempted to cover up violations by photocopying and displaying another bus company’s dealer license plate on vehicles
After being ordered to shut down by the state in 2005, On Trac rented ten vehicles from another bus company and continued sporadic operations for another two days before ceasing operation. Hundreds of parents lost their deposits and many who tried calling the company found only a recorded message indicating that the company had closed.
On Trac transported children to and from the following private schools in the New York/New Jersey area:
- Frisch School in Paramus, N.J.
- Ma’ayanot School in Teaneck, N.J.
- Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck
- Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge, N.J.
- York Preparatory School in New York, N.Y.
- Beit Rabban in New York, N.Y.
- Lycee Francais in New York, N.Y.
- Kinneret Day School in the Bronx, N.Y.
- Salanter Akiba Riverdale in Riverdale, N.Y.This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Yasmin Rahman Kutty with the assistance of Investigator Ralph Dorismond under the supervision of Judith C. McCarthy, Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Westchester Regional Office.