San Francisco

PUC: License Plates on Tour Bus Involved in Union Square Crash Don't Match Vehicle

Regulators have no evidence the California Highway Patrol ever inspected the bus that crashed last week, injuring 20, a San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesperson said. The company's owner says the bus was inspected in October.

The license plates on the City Sightseeing San Francisco tour bus involved in Friday's Union Square crash that injured 20 people don't match the vehicle, a Public Utilities Commission spokesperson said Monday.

Three people remained in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital on Monday. Another two were still listed as serious.

The big blue bus that plowed into a bicyclist, several cars and finally the Apple store scaffolding on Union Square last week was carrying license plates. But a spokeswoman for the state transportation regulators said the plates don't match the bus. The license plates belong to another bus owned by City Sightseeing, according to PUC.

Perhaps more significantly, the PUC reports the agency has no evidence the California Highway Patrol ever inspected this specific bus.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the bus operators, says City Sightseeing failed to report they were putting an additional bus into service. The PUC spokeswoman added the CHP and San Francisco police are trying to determine if those plates were deliberately switched to avoid an inspection.

"City Sightseeing San Francisco inspects its vehicles every 45 days or less," CEO City Sightseeing San Francisco Christian Watts said in a statement released late Monday. "The bus which was involved in Friday's accident was last inspected on October 25, 2015. The bus is registered with the DMV. The registration expires on July 31 2016."

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said police have told her they suspect a mechanical failure was likely to blame for Friday's crash.

"This was 100 percent preventable if there was good recordkeeping and good maintenance reporting," Kim said.

Kim said she wants the city to take over regulation of the city's tour buses.

At Union Square on Monday, operators of the City Sightseeing busses would not talk with reporters, but employees of competing tour bus companies said the accident has crippled business in an already slow season.

"Everybody is kinda scared right now, worried about what happened," said Veeto Goodley, of Deluxe Sightseeing Tours.

The tour guide and the tour bus driver are among those still hospitalized at San Francisco General. Their families said they don't want to talk with reporters as long as they are there.

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