About 100 people were told today that they were losing their job. That includes drivers, mechanics and even the receptionists. It is a punishment the company president says they didn't deserve.
"These employees, I have to tell you, are very saddened today. It is Christmas time," said Robert Frazier. He is the president of LEX Express. Today he got the news he was dreading.
"We're gonna lose a valuable service in my opinion," said Frazier.
LEX Express offered daily bus rides from Champaign to places like Chicago, St. Louis and Bloomington but federal inspectors found those trips weren't being taken safely. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cited LEX for several violations. Among them, falsely reporting maintenance records and driver logs.
Another violation, letting unlicensed drivers get behind the wheel.
"It was a mechanic who drove a bus out front here for a driver to get in. You can kind of get the feeling that they're getting a little bit picky and choosy about what they're trying to do," said Frazier.
Frazier says his company is being targeted.
"We got a direct federal action against us because they feel that they have to find somebody out there to prove that they are doing their job," said Frazier.
He says mistakes made by bigger bus companies are being pinned on him. He argues he is being treated unfairly because of widely publicized accidents like the one that involved a mega bus.
"I've never killed anybody. I've not done that. I've never had a major accident. We've had some fender benders but that's as far as it goes," said Frazier.
He filed for an appeal but says the information never made it to Washington. The next step was filing a report with inspectors, outlining their plans to fix the problems. The agency has thirty days to review it. Frazier says the clock is ticking and he's not sure how long he can hold on.
"They know that I have bus payments. I have insurance payments. I have all kinds of payments and I cannot stop those payments," said Frazier.
Frazier still has LEX's sister company in service. Illini Tours is a charter bus company and wasn't targeted in the investigation so he kept a handful of employees to run it.
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