How Safe Are You With SuperShuttle? | News
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- More questions are being raised about SuperShuttle after a passenger traveling in one of the company vans from Dulles Airport was killed in a crash this week. Numerous SuperShuttle drivers have told 9 News that fatigue and long hours are big problems.
The safety of Airport SuperShuttle vans is under scrutiny after Monday's fatal accident on the Dulles Access Road. The driver not only had a recent reckless driving conviction, but was apparently recorded speeding nearly 70 times this summer. One driver, who did not want to be seen on camera, spoke only to our Peggy Fox and what he told her may make you think twice before taking a ride.
This SuperShuttle driver is speaking out because of what happened Monday on the Dulles Access Highway. A 31-year-old man from Nepal was killed when SuperShuttle Van 513 he was riding in crashed. The driver, 59-year-old Macadolf Hoffman, was charged with reckless driving after he hit the jersey barrier.
"I think something worse will happen if we keep ignoring those signs," said the driver we spoke to Tuesday.
Hoffman was still allowed to drive after being convicted of reckless driving in December. Also, using GPS monitoring, Super Shuttle apparently caught him speeding numerous times recently, according to these Speeder Reports. Several drivers confirm they've seen posted in Super Shuttle Offices.
Over two weeks in June, Hoffman's Van 513 was recorded speeding 66 times and one time going over 85 miles an hour.
"Van 513 was caught speeding many times and nothing happen[ed]," said the driver we spoke to on Tuesday.
This driver says it's not just the speeding that's a problem, but fatigue because of long shifts the drivers take on.
9 News Now's Peggy Fox asked, "You're telling me that drivers often work 24 hours straight?"
He replied, "Yes. 90 percent of them. They have their blankets and pillows in the vans and sleep there."
When drivers are waiting for a fare, they stop at gas stations. It was there where five drivers told us they regularly work 24 hour shifts. One said he "works like a slave" 100 hours a week to bring home to bring home only $700. He said the rest of it goes to pay SuperShuttle's fees.
Several drivers told us off camera that they work extremely long hours to pay the company's fees.
One told us, "I work 16 to 17 hours a day."
Another said, "I work 16 hours a day. "
The driver told us, "I think lack of sleep is the main thing. We cannot sleep, we need to pay SuperShuttle, SuperShuttle needs to keep making money."
Former passengers are coming forward telling us they are not surprised a SuperShuttle driver caused a fatal accident.
Taffene Hollingsworth described a ride she took to Dulles Airport a year ago on a SuperShuttle van as a "rollercoaster" and "unbelievable."
She told us, "We hit the highway and this guy was going like 80, 90 miles an hour."
Hollingsworth also said there was a strong smell of gasoline, which her husband complained about, but was only told to open the windows as he weaved in and out of traffic.
"It was very frightening. I'm holding on to the seats, my husband is holding on to me, holding onto the side of the van," said Hollingsworth.
Paul Conant says he had a similar experience in SuperShuttle experience three years ago. He says the driver took off before he and his wife could get their two small children into their car seats.
"My wife and I were looking at each other, getting a little angry. We asked him again, 'Do you mind pulling over so we can get the seat buckled in?' But he won't. He just kept going in and out like he was in a hurry," stated Conant.
Conant said he and his wife didn't know what to do at the time even though they knew not having them in a car seat was illegal. They just held their two children tightly on their laps.
He and Hollingsworth say they complained to SuperShuttle, but heard nothing. They say they are speaking out because of the fatal accident on Monday, in which passenger was killed and because of our story Tuesday night.
SuperShuttle spokesperson Margaret Nathan says she could not comment about Monday's incident but did say the company is very concerned about public safety and has very strict standards for its drivers who are franchisees. She is lining up an interview for us Wednesday with the national spokesperson who can answer our questions about driver safety and why a man with a reckless driving conviction was allowed to keep driving.
Wednesday, SuperShuttle released the following written statement to 9News Now:
"SuperShuttle and all of its employees and independent franchisees extends their deepest sympathies to the family of Suvahs Darnal of Nepal who died in a tragic accident Monday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and country during this grievous time.
Because the accident is under investigation, we will have no further comment about the accident until the investigation is complete.
Safety is the number one priority of SuperShuttle. SuperShuttle has an excellent safety record and safety program throughout the United States. Our safety record in all 33 airports we serve, including Washington D.C., is one of the top in the industry. We safely carry over 8 million passengers annually. We continue to look for ways to improve training and monitoring of all aspects of our operations, first and foremost for SuperShuttle passengers who rely upon safe, efficient and economical transportation."
There is much about SuperShuttle on the Internet. It seems both drivers and passengers have a good deal to say about the company. Just search "super shuttle slaves" to see what people are talking about.
If you've had an experience with Super Shuttle, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your newstips.