OAKLAND -- A "multiagency strike task force" descended on passenger transportation vehicles like limousines and shuttle vans Thursday morning at Oakland International Airport a day after a similar operation at San Francisco International Airport.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the lead agency, the task force's objective of the surprise inspections was to ensure that passenger carriers are operating safely and within regulatory guidelines by verifying compliance with statutes or laws that apply to them.
The inspections began at 8 a.m. and included taxis, shuttle vans, limousines and buses. They were expected to last until early afternoon.
Among other things, the agency representatives are looking to make sure the vehicles tires, steering and brakes are working properly, and that drivers have valid licenses and insurance, CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said.
Over the course of the two-day inspections, 27 buses were inspected, two of which were pulled out of service. Two bus drivers were removed from service, one for an expired drivers license and one for failing to have a medical card. In all, 238 vehicles were inspected. She said the inspections were planned before a fatal limousine fire May 4 on the San Mateo Bridge where five women were killed and four others injured.
That traffic incident, she said "does emphasize the importance of passenger safety."
The inspections are supposed to take place in the area of Ron Cowan Parkway and Airport Drive.
Besides the CHP, other agencies in the task force were the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, the state Public Utilities Commission, Port of Oakland Ground Transportation Unit, state Employment Development Department, state Department of Industrial Relations, the Air Resources Board and Department of Motor Vehicles.