Georgia NAACP investigates bus search incident with Delaware State University : NPR


Delaware State University says it has filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday to investigate the women’s lacrosse team bus stop and search. Here, the main gate of the Delaware State University campus in Dover in September 2007.

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Delaware State University says it has filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday to investigate the women’s lacrosse team bus stop and search. Here, the main gate of the Delaware State University campus in Dover in September 2007.

Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Georgia NAACP says it is taking a look into the stop and search bus incident involving members of the Delaware State University women’s lacrosse team last month in Liberty County, Ga.

Gerald Griggs, state president of the Georgia NAACP, told NPR he was “disturbed” by what took place with the athletes on Interstate 95. He says the Georgia chapter of the NAACP is at the beginning of conducting its own investigation into what happened on April 20.

“My [initial] thoughts were, ‘I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.’ Once I watched the full bodycam , I was just disturbed by what appeared to be an unnecessary search of their belongings,” Griggs told NPR.

He says the state chapter of the NAACP was concerned to hear about the news of the team’s traffic stop in Liberty County considering the county sheriff, William Bowman, is Black.

“But this is, you know, not anything new that’s happening on I-95. That corridor is known for racial profiling,” Griggs said.

Last month, the Delaware State University women’s lacrosse team was headed northbound on Interstate 95 following games in Georgia and Florida when they were stopped in by Liberty County deputies.

In a news conference last week, Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said the team’s bus was stopped after it was traveling illegally in the left lane. During the traffic stop, several of the athletes’ bags were searched after a narcotics-sniffing K-9 dog made what officials call an “open-air alert,” authorities said.

In a video posted to YouTube by one of the lacrosse players, Sydney Anderson, a deputy is shown in the frame speaking to the students just before the search begins, telling them that the recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Georgia.

“If there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now,” the officer says in the video. “Because if we find it, guess what? We’re not going to be able to help you.”

It is unclear at this time what took place before the recording began or after the recording stopped. The deputies did not find anything illegal in the bags during their search.

Bowman told reporters during last week’s news conference that deputies stopped several vehicles the morning of the incident, finding contraband on another bus that was pulled over.

Bowman said the deputies, who were not identified during the news conference, did not know the race or gender of those inside the bus when it was pulled over.

On Wednesday, Delaware State University filed an official complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to investigate the incident, calling for an external investigation into the traffic stop.

In the five-page letter to the DOJ, the university is calling for an external investigation, saying it has “little faith” in the internal investigation by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office will be done with non-bias.

“Our students and staff deserve to know that this brazen, illegal, and discriminatory conduct will not go unchecked,” the complaint reads. “The illegal behavior exhibited by these officers, the repeated misstatements by the Sheriff (both about the law and the facts), the attempt to obscure the facts, the failure to turn over immediately all of the videos from the encounter, and the racial disparity evident to anyone who views the videos make it clear that neither the Sheriff’s Office nor local officials can be trusted to investigate this incident completely and impartially.”



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Mindchatter’s Tour Bus Playlist Featuring Moderat, The Knife, Q-Tip


If you didn’t catch one of our favorite livestreams of last year, then we want to introduce you to an artist that you’re likely to be jamming out to all summer. Mindchatter is a singer, songwriter, and producer who has been gaining recognition for his unique, genre-defying sound. The man behind the quirky pseudonym? Bryce Connolly, a New York City native.

You may have heard his hit debut single “Trippy,” which came out in 2019 and has since surpassed 2.5 million streams on Spotify. His lush productions and danceable beats caught the attention of French duo Polo & Pan, who invited him to open for them on their 2019 North American tour. After signing to Mind of a Genius records, he released his first album Imaginary Audience the following year.

Now, Mindchatter is making his own waves. This April, he released his highly anticipated sophomore LP, DREAM SOUP, a record full of irresistible tracks that would pair perfectly with a long road trip with friends.

The “Just Gonna Exist” hitmaker is currently headlining his own North American tour, playing cities like Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco. If you haven’t yet experienced his live show for yourself, they’re unmatched thanks to insane visual effects and his talents as both an incredible multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.

Bryce will be touring throughout May before hitting the stage at Electric Forest in June, so he’s curated a pretty awesome playlist to let us know what he’ll be listening to during his travels. Check it out below, then be sure to track him on Bandsintown!


“Math” – Mindchatter


Track

“Of the songs off the album this has been my personal pre-show pump-up track.”


“Moth” – Burial, Four Tet


Track

“Some of the coolest production ever – the type of song that can be on loop for days.”


“Out of Sight” – Moderat


Track

“Been listening to this one for many years and it’s never gotten old.”


“Waters of March” Art Garfunkel


Track

“A nice wholesome song, I love the lyrics in this.”


“You Make Me Like Charity” – The Knife


Track

“Not sure what’s going on in this song but it makes me laugh and dance.”


“Vitamin C” – CAN


Track

“This one has a really unique drum pattern and vocal melody. Way ahead of its time, definitely does not sound 50 years old.”


“Come On Home” – Lijadu Sisters


Track

“Makes you feel like you’re on a beach somewhere.”


“Let’s Ride” – Q-Tip


Track

“I’m a big Tribe Called Quest fan and this one is perfect for driving.”


“Switched Up” – Oliver Malcolm


Track

“Love the beat on this and this dude’s voice.”


“High On A Ledge” – Moondog


Track

“If you don’t know about Moondog, Google him. He used to be a homeless guy that would wear a viking costume in Manhattan in the ’60s… and his music is amazing.”





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The Utah Transit Authority is working in many ways to improve bus and train service.


The Utah Transit Authority is working in many ways to improve bus and train service.

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tuesday, February 1, 2022.

The Utah Transit Authority would like to respond to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article (”Here’s why some Utahns say they don’t ride public transportation,” April 9, and highlight that many Utahns are riding public transportation.

This is a great time for transit along the Wasatch Front, and UTA is engaged in multiple efforts to improve transit service and access for the communities we serve.

As the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, UTA customers are returning in greater numbers to schools, employment, entertainment and dining destinations and events. A study sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association shows there is no direct correlation between the use of public transit and the transmission of COVID-19. Nevertheless, since the start of the pandemic, UTA has proactively ensured rider safety with enhanced daily cleaning and by encouraging riders and employees to wear masks in compliance with federal requirements.

UTA is spearheading several initiatives to expand service, improve connections and reduce travel time. Our Five-year Service Plan focuses on implementing routes and schedules that increase access and streamline connections. A 2016 federal grant provided $20 million for dozens of projects which are improving pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit.

Partnering with the Utah Department of Transportation, UTA reduces travel time and improves service through transit signal prioritization along high ridership bus corridors. The Bus Network Optimization Program leverages new technology by analyzing routes and identifying problem areas where buses commonly experience delays, which ultimately increases system efficiency.

Innovative new services, like UTA On Demand, expand our coverage in many local communities. This app-based utility picks up riders anywhere within the service zone and connects them to other UTA routes or destinations in the community. UTA On Demand first launched in 2019 in southern Salt Lake County, and most recently in Salt Lake City’s Westside neighborhoods. Two more service areas – Tooele and South Davis County – launch this summer.

Affordability is important to UTA. We continue pursuing ways to make transit more accessible for all individuals. UTA’s base fare has not increased since 2013, and in the past several years we made several changes to simplify the fare structure. Monthly pass prices have decreased, the discount rate for youth has increased and new programs are available for low-income individuals.

Free Fare February was a great success. Average weekly ridership increased by 16.2%, with a 58% increase on Saturdays. In a survey of more than 5,000 people who rode during Free Fare February, more than 20% reported trying UTA for the first time. The survey responses included 3,000 open-ended comments about their experience, and more than 80% of those comments were positive!

People rode TRAX and FrontRunner to the airport for the first time, and they traveled with their families on transit to events and activities throughout the region. Free Fare February provided valuable information, and UTA is engaged with elected officials and transportation planning partners to continue studying the benefits of free fares on UTA.

Safety remains UTA’s top priority. We utilize a variety of measures to improve rider safety through engineering, education, and enforcement. UTA’s police force and vigilant operators respond to situations and assist riders every day. We have enhanced safety with cameras installed on our buses, trains, and platforms throughout the system. We encourage everyone to “See Something, Say Something” and call our tip line at 801-287-EYES at any time.

Utahns embrace transit now and will in the future as UTA continues expanding service, enhancing access for all individuals, and delivering safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible transit for Wasatch Front residents, while literally driving community and economic growth.

UTA is the answer.

Jay Fox is the executive director of the Utah Transit Authority.



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Carnival’s Agentpalooza Bus Tour Returns for Travel Advisors


Agentpalooza

Continuing to celebrate its 50th Birthday, Carnival Cruise Line’s Agentpalooza bus tour is hitting the road again visiting four cities – Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk and Charlotte – hosting birthday parties in each to thank travel advisors for their support.

According to a press release, this is taking place from June 1-4, and is Carnival’s third Agentpalooza bus tour and its first since 2018.

As part of this year’s tour, Carnival is also introducing its first-ever virtual Agentpalooza experience to all travel advisors who are unable to join one of the celebrations in person.

The virtual experience will include a livestream of the on-stage events and many of the same activities, Carnival said, in a statement. 

Carnival’s sales team will travel to each tour stop in a large Agentpalooza-themed bus emblazoned with the line’s motto that #TravelAgentsRock. The Agentpalooza bus tour schedule will include visits to:

• June 1 – Philadelphia (10 a.m.; Penn’s Landing Waterfront Park); Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy will make a special appearance at the first stop, also her hometown, to help officially kick off Agentpalooza.
• June 2 – Baltimore (10 a.m.; Baltimore Museum of Industry)
• June 3 – Norfolk (10 a.m.; The Perry Pavilion)
• June 4 – Charlotte (10 a.m.; Symphony Park)

The Agentpalooza 50th birthday parties will be outdoor festival-style celebrations created especially for travel advisors and hosted by Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Trade Marketing Adolfo Perez and Carnival Cruise Director Christian De La Rosa who was most recently aboard Carnival Panorama.

The events will include activities inspired by Carnival’s onboard experiences and the line’s 50th birthday, fun interactive learning games, one-on-one time with the line’s sales leadership and team, and snacks and light refreshments from local food trucks, in a nod to Carnival’s Street Eats dining venue on Mardi Gras and coming soon to Carnival Celebration.

“This year’s Agentpalooza bus tour is particularly special as it gives us the opportunity to bring the fun that Carnival is known for to the communities where our travel advisors reside, and thank them for their support throughout the years in a fun, interactive way,” said Perez. “It’s also important to us that all of our travel advisor partners both near and far take part, so we are so excited that thanks to our new virtual Agentpalooza experience, our community can tap into the same Carnival fun from anywhere.”



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I-85 SWAT standoff with armed man in Greyhound bus ends with no injuries – The Atlanta Journal Constitution



I-85 SWAT standoff with armed man in Greyhound bus ends with no injuries   The Atlanta Journal Constitution



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Columbus-area man missing after boarding COTA bus outside hospital


It’s been two weeks since Scott Federer walked out of Mount Carmel East hospital, boarded a No. 10 bus and disappeared.

Since then, the days passed, worries increased and Central Ohio Transit Authority officials took the unusual step of reviewing frame after frame after frame of surveillance footage  — all to no avail.

>>Read More: Omicron forces nursing homes to freeze admissions, strands more Ohioans at hospitals

Columbus police are investigating and released a bulletin describing Federer as 5 feet, 9 inches tall and150 pounds. He was last seen Jan. 12 wearing gray sweatpants and a green hooded jersey.

His husband, Stephen Lydick, said that Federer, 52, of Canal Winchester, was at Mount Carmel East when he decided to leave against the advice of doctors. Lydick said Federer was a recovering alcoholic and that they had both been treated at the hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Lydick said he had ordered a ride for Federer via Uber, but his husband was released two hours earlier than expected. The two spoke on the phone, and Lydick said Federer seemed confused and may have been lost in the hospital. Federer called Lydick back and told him someone from Mount Carmel’s security staff would take him home.

When Federer didn’t arrive home that afternoon, Lydick said he called the hospital and found out that someone in security gave his husband a bus pass and put him on a bus.

Mount Carmel declined to comment directly on Federer, citing privacy laws that prevent the health system from speaking about the care provided to a patient.

>>Read More: At war with COVID: What medical workers can learn from veterans about PTSD

“We have provided information to local authorities as part of their investigation and will continue to help them in any way we can,” Mount Carmel spokeswoman Samantha Irons said via email. “Occasionally, we are asked by patients to help with their transportation needs, and we work to assist with those requests as we are able,”

Surveillance footage from COTA shows Federer sitting on a westbound No. 10 bus on Jan. 12.

It also shows Federer talking with the bus driver and exiting the bus at 4:07 p.m. at a stop along West Broad Street near a Giant Eagle store and the Lincoln Village Shopping Center. Federer was seen sitting at the same stop on another COTA surveillance camera at 4:18 p.m.

Each COTA bus has anywhere from seven to 10 surveillance cameras, said COTA spokesman Jeff Pullin.

Pullin said COTA officials speculated that Federer may have eventually boarded the No. 5 bus after departing the No. 10. The No. 5 is the bus Federer would have needed to take if he were attempting to travel east toward his home in Canal Winchester.

But, Pullin said that COTA searched through every frame of surveillance video from the No. 5 bus that day and didn’t see Federer.

COTA routinely provides camera footage to Columbus police or other law enforcement agency when an automobile crash occurs and there’s a chance that an external camera on a bus captured it, Pullin said. But it’s rare for COTA to participate in a missing person investigation.

“There are obviously missing persons cases very regularly in central Ohio but very rarely does it involve someone getting on a bus,” Pullin said. “We’re willing to help if we can. If there’s any tip that says he got in another vehicle, we’ll check it out immediately.”

>>Read More: More Ohio children infected with COVID in December than any month since pandemic began

Although days have already turned into weeks, Federer’s husband and friends are determined to bring him home.

Around 20 friends and family gathered Sunday for a vigil near the bus stop where Federer departed the No. 10 bus on West Broad Street before going missing.

They held signs that read “Bring Scotty Home” and posted a sign in the bus stop that read “We Love You Scott.” Balloons were tied to a nearby trash can marking the spot where Federer was last seen.

In the 13 days since he vanished, Federer missed his 24th wedding anniversary with his husband, who was at the vigil.

“He knows he’s got a family that loves him,” Lydick told The Dispatch. “We’re just trying to get the word out to find him.”

Federer’s story has been shared dozens of times on social media since he went missing. Friends like Jennifer Howell, 54, of German Village appreciate the support and hope it makes a difference.

“At this point, we’re really, really, really worried,” Howell said. “He’s a wonderful human being. Any human should be found. … He’s clearly not purposefully gone. … He’s in trouble.”

Howell said she considers Federer to be family and said it’s unlike him to just disappear. Federer’s cell phone seems to be dead and his credit card hasn’t been used since he disappeared, she said.

Lydick hopes this is the only wedding anniversary he and Federer will spend apart.

“He’s a great person,” Lydick said. “He’s always been a good husband, and we’ve had a great life together.”

mfilby@dispatch.com

@MaxFilby



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The Jet bus offers an alternative to Amtrak for trips from D.C. to New York


For now, during the initial launch, The Jet only offers direct service between New York City’s Hudson Yards development and Washington D.C.’s Metro Center. Over the next couple of years, the company plans to expand with pickup and drop-off points in Arlington, Va., Tysons, Va., Hoboken, N.J., and Brooklyn.



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This bus won’t get you out of Hong Kong, but it might get you to sleep


HONG KONG — Almost two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Charles and Jenny Chung long for a getaway from their home in Hong Kong. But with overseas travel stymied by the Chinese territory’s strict quarantine requirements, the couple found a different way to relax and recharge: five hours on a public bus. 

The “Bus Sleeping Tour,” organized by local company Ulu Travel, is billed as the longest bus route in Hong Kong at 83 kilometers (51 miles). Narrated by a guide in Cantonese, it includes stops at a number of Instagram-friendly spots far from the skyscrapers of downtown. But passengers can also use it to get the shut-eye that in Hong Kong can be so elusive. 

Nearly 70 percent of Hong Kong residents have trouble sleeping, according to a telephone survey conducted last year by the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Wing Yun-kwok, a professor and director of the university’s Sleep Assessment Unit, said Hong Kong’s population is among the most sleep-deprived in the world. 

“Hong Kongers tend to sleep very late, mostly after 12 a.m. or 1 a.m., but wake up very early in the morning,” he said. “That’s why Hong Kongers have a relatively short sleep duration compared to people from other parts of Asia.” 

A passenger sleeping on the 51-mile bus tour.BERTHA WANG / AFP via Getty Images

The city’s achievement-oriented culture downplays the importance of sleep, Wing said, adding that light pollution and late-night dining may also contribute to local sleep deprivation. As in other cities, Hong Kong’s public transportation is often filled with dozing commuters as a result.

“Everyone in Hong Kong has done it at least once,” Charles Chung said. “I nap on the bus for 15 minutes and feel refreshed, and I probably sleep better on the bus than at home.”On a Sunday in November, the Chungs and about 40 other passengers gathered at a restaurant in Hong Kong’s New Territories, where they were first served a “food coma” lunch. As they boarded the double-decker bus — all wearing masks in line with local pandemic rules — each one was provided with earplugs and a sleep mask. The bus then set off along a highway that winds along the coast, looking out on the South China Sea.

Charles and Jenny Chung before boarding the “Bus Sleeping Tour.” Natsuki Arita

That particular highway is well known for its soporific effects, Charles Chung said: “When I drive the car through this road, all my friends fall asleep.”

The couple didn’t get as much sleep as they expected, however, since the bus stopped about once an hour: first at the Hong Kong container port, one of the busiest in the world; then at a popular vantage point near the airport, where wistful travelers can still see flights coming in and out, though much less frequently than before the pandemic. 

The bus also stopped at Butterfly Beach, Hong Kong’s closest beach to mainland China, before making a final stop at the artificial Inspiration Lake next to Hong Kong Disneyland. 

The bus tour stops at sightseeing spots around the city. Natsuki Arita

“Every time the bus makes a stop, I have to wake up again to get off,” Charles said. 

Carol Mak, 39, was unsure about the bus tour before buying tickets, which start at 129 Hong Kong dollars ($16.50), compared with more typical bus fare that rarely exceeds more than a few dollars. 

“If I wanted to nap on a bus, I can just find a relatively long bus lane and sleep,” she said. 

But her 6-year-old son, Dickson, is a budding transport enthusiast who loves to take long bus rides just for the fun of it. 

By the end of the tour, Mak said she could see why it would appeal to people like her son. 

Compared with a more traditional tour bus, she said, “the time spent at a scenic spot is shorter but the time we spend on the bus is much longer, so I think it’s great for people who like to ride the bus itself.” 

An Ulu Travel employee said he came up with the idea when a Facebook friend said he slept well on the bus after work.Bertha Wang / AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong residents love to travel — according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization, in 2019 the territory ranked 12th in the world for spending on outbound tourism, and places such as Japan, Taiwan and Thailand are a short flight away. 

But they have had to get creative during the pandemic, which prompted Hong Kong officials to close the border and impose strict quarantine requirements on residents arriving from overseas. Confined to one place, they are exploring Hong Kong’s outlying islands and crowding its hundreds of miles of hiking trails; the sleeping bus tour is sold out.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics 

Those local adventures are possible in part because the border closure and compulsory quarantine — up to 21 days, among the longest periods in the world — have kept Hong Kong virtually Covid-free. The city of 7 million people has recorded fewer than 13,000 cases and 213 deaths. 

But as the rest of the world accepts the coronavirus as endemic and eases restrictions, Hong Kong is following mainland China in sticking with its “zero-Covid” approach, drawing criticism from multinational companies with local offices who say it is stifling the economy. The crucial tourism sector has been hit especially hard, with visitor arrivals from January to September down more than 98 percent from the same period last year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Frankie Chow, the founder of Ulu Travel, posing in front of one of his buses in Hong Kong on Nov. 14, 2021. Bertha Wang / AFP via Getty Images

Companies like Ulu Travel have had to innovate as a result, focusing on domestic tourism in an area less than the size of Los Angeles. Founder Frankie Chow said his local offerings include an LGBT-focused tour, a tour for meeting fellow divorcees and a dog-friendly bus tour.

“We didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,” he said. “I wanted to do something special, so we got to discussing.” 

Kenneth Kong, one of Ulu Travel’s employees, came up with the idea when he saw a friend say on Facebook that he had insomnia at home but slept well on the bus after work.

“We had to try just once,” Kong said. “We can watch people’s reactions to see if it’s really worth it, and it was.”  



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Bus traffic to Mexico is bustling despite omicron fears


Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases and heightened fears of the newer omicron variant, Dallas residents are filling Mexico-bound buses for their traditional Christmas season trip that last year was interrupted by the pandemic.

Last year at this time, relatively few people had been vaccinated and virus-related border travel restrictions were still in place. The U.S, Department of Transportation estimated that business was down 48% compared to previous years.

Now, business is hopping for dozens of bus lines serving border cities and destinations deep within Mexico. Most run through Laredo and El Paso.

“Yes, we have more people than last year,” said José Rafael Ramírez, who works for Dallas-based Autobuses Pegaso. “A year ago buses were not full (and) we had fewer runs. But now buses are leaving full again”.

He said last winter his company trimmed schedules to one or two daily runs, compared to five or six full buses leaving their East Dallas terminal this year.

“People are relaxing (and) they feel more confident traveling,” said Ramírez, despite warnings from health officials about rising numbers of positive coronavirus cases.

Karisa Ocampo, 33, was traveling on a Dec. 18 Pegaso bus with her two children to spend the holidays with extended family in Guanajuato.

“When the pandemic started, I avoided traveling. But now, with the vaccine, I feel more safe,” said Ocampo.

The Texas Department of Transportation says bus companies provide service to Mexico for about 30,000 people during the holiday season.

The traditional annual journey is part of what colloquially is known as the Guadalupe-Reyes holiday, a period spanning from the Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration to the Jan. 6 Kings Day.

Under a federal mandate, all bus passengers must wear a mask at all times at terminals and during the trip.

Although Pegaso staff ask passengers to wear masks during the trip, not everyone complies and the bus driver can’t supervise travelers to make sure they all follow instructions.

“For me, COVID is as if it wasn’t there at all. (My health is) normal. I haven’t even gotten vaccinated and I won’t (get vaccinated),” said Víctor Gómez, 61, who was traveling from Dallas to Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, to spend the holidays with his parents.

Dallas-based Greyhound Lines, Inc. serves border cities where it connects with it’s Mexican buses from its subsidiary Greyhound Lines México and Grupo Estrella Blanca. Greyhound has three daily runs from their downtown Dallas terminal to Monterrey.

“All customers, including those who have been vaccinated, are still required under federal law to wear a mask while in the buses, at our terminals and while boarding, even if boarding outdoors”, the company said in a statement.

Autobuses Tornado, another Dallas-based bus company, said it has seen an increase in passengers this holiday season compared to December of 2020.

“Tornado and El Expreso continue to implement sanitation procedures in all our buses,” the company’s website says. “Tornado and El Expreso Bus Company reserve the right to deny service to any customer showing (OVID-19) symptoms”.

Tornado also has routes within the U.S. to destinations like Nashville, Atlanta and Chicago.



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