Passengers stranded after feds shut down Rimrock Stages bus service


MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana bus passengers are stranded after the United States Department of Transportation shut down Montana bus line Rimrock Stages over safety concerns.

NBC Montana acquired a copy of the Imminent Hazard Out of Service Order federal regulators sent to the Billings-based company yesterday.

The order says the bus line posses an "imminent danger" to public safety, and it gives the company a limited amount of time to get its passengers to their destinations before it has to pull all Rimrock buses off the road.

NBC Montana met some passengers stranded at Rimrock's Missoula bus station Saturday afternoon.

The passengers told us they were on their way to Washington, but they said the bus employees told them early Saturday morning that Missoula is as far as they can go on the company line.

"Man, I'm just stressed out, tired, want to go home," said Rimrock ticket holder Cory Barnett. "I already missed three days of work because of this.

Jason Rief, another passenger, said he was told Greyhound buses are being re-routed to pick the passengers up, but he said he still feels helpless.

"Basically they told us the bus will get there when it gets there, and that was an exact quote off the phone," said Rief. "It just seems like they don't care, I mean really."

Rimrock Stages has been in business for more than 30 years.

Last year, a Rimrock bus accident on icy roads near Missoula killed 2 people.

The out of service order sent to the company says their buses failed safety and maintenance inspection.

On the company's website, a memo reads: "Effective 3/22/2013 all Rimrock Stages service is indefinitely suspended until further notice."