Chinatown Bus Operator, Yep Tours, Under Fire After Deadly Hit-and-Run in Philadelphia

Surveillance image/Philadelphia Police Department.

Surveillance image/Philadelphia Police Department.
Surveillance image/Philadelphia Police Department.

An intercity bus company operating illegally in Chinatown is facing new scrutiny, after a deadly hit-and-run accident in Philadelphia yesterday.

The driver of a Yep Tours bus struck 46-year-old Joseph Heard, who was in a crosswalk near police department headquarters yesterday morning. He was dragged about 50 feet. The bus continued on it’s scheduled trip to Washington D.C. Heard did not survive his injuries.

Police are interviewing the driver. They say it’s possible he did not realize the pedestrian had been hit. According to a television reporter in Philadelphia, an employee of Yep Tours called the driver after cops arrived at the scene. The driver said he was unaware anything had gone wrong.

A passenger captured images of a Yep driver using his phone while on the road.
A passenger captured images of a Yep driver using his phone while on the road.

Yep faced questions in June after a passenger caught a driver using his phone while behind the wheel of a bus. That employee was fired.

In Manhattan’s Chinatown, Yep has been using a spot on Pike Street between East Broadway and Division streets to load and unload passengers. State law requires intercity bus companies to obtain permits from the city’s Department of Transportation and to use only designated bus stops. The firm has no permit for this or any other location in Chinatown. Last month, Community Board 3 urged the DOT to reject a new request from Yep for a stop on Madison Street, saying the firm has repeatedly ignored the law. Residents have complained loudly about the glut of buses in the area and the potential danger they pose to pedestrians.

According to Channel 10 in Philadelphia, Yep Tours has collected 25 unsafe driving violations in the past two years.