|Denver Coach service back on the road|
|December 19, 2013 Jerry Purvis|
Denver Coach bus service to and from Denver International Airport is running again while Gering-based Ameristar waits for vindication from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Kevin Stocker, CEO and owner of Ameristar/Denver Coach, said he’s arranged for a colleague, Arrow Stage Lines of Norfolk, to drive the Denver route until the issue with DOT is resolved.
Stocker said that last May, he received a surprise intensive compliance review from two agents with the DOT office in Lincoln.
“They came in unannounced and wanted immediate access to all our records,” Stocker said. “Over the next five days, they turned up some deficiencies in missing log sheets and vehicle inspection sheets. All of those were very minor violations that we plan to remedy.”
But DOT said Stocker had used an ineligible driver because he didn’t have a current medical certificate.
“The driver did have a current medical certificate issued by a local physician,” Stocker said. “We’re not required to have the whole medical report, just the card the doctor issued.”
He investigated further before hiring the driver, who has “an impeccable safety record.”
DOT agents examined the full medical report and found one of the driver’s eyes to be out of compliance with federal regulations. Stocker then filed an appeal, saying they did nothing wrong. This Monday, DOT ordered Ameristar/Denver Coach to cease operations.
“This was all from May to the week before Christmas, our busiest season,” Stocker said. “In my opinion, this is just one of several government agencies that try to inflict the most pain for the most political gain. Just look at the IRS.”
Stocker said they will still book reservations on Denver Coach but Arrow Stage Lines will handle the driving. Ameristar, the motor coach business, will be on hiatus until the issue is resolved. “We’ve only had to cancel one of our runs to Prairie Wind Casino, as business is slow this time of year.”
Stocker said he’s already contacted Congressman Adrian Smith and Senators Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns to see if they can get the DOT to move forward on the compliance review.
“We’re standing on our reputation that we will be vindicated,” he said. “We believe the situation will be rectified and both companies reinstated before we lose any more business.”
Stocker also complimented the local community for their ongoing support of his business.