Inspectors arrested 38-year-old Shaked Paz, of Forest Hills, New York, and impounded the 14-passenger bus he was driving under the auspices of Sun Charter and Tour, Inc., of Brooklyn, New York.
Originally arrested for operating with a suspended driver’s license, Paz appeared on June 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Cole in the Yellowstone Justice Center at Mammoth. He pleaded guilty to “Operating a Commercial Vehicle After the Effective Date of an Unsatisfactory Rating,” because Sun Charter and Tour, Inc., had been prohibited by the U.S. Department of Transportation from interstate operation of commercial passenger vehicles due to being significantly out of compliance with safety regulations for equipment and/or drivers.
Paz was fined $235 and placed on unsupervised probation for one year, during which time he is banned from operating a motor vehicle in Yellowstone National Park.
The recent safety inspections resulted in one arrest, three drivers and four vehicles being taken out of service, and eight citations being issued. Fifty-three vehicles were inspected.
Those are some pretty high numbers. There’s no regulatory process to ensure Yellowstone bus tours are safe or legitimate: anyone with a bus and a commercial license can enter the Park and conduct business. If you’re looking to do a bus tour of Yellowstone, do some research: there are plenty of legitimate firms in the general Yellowstone area who offer high-quality, safe tours.