Crews are testing the amphibious vehicles to prepare for a routine Coast Guard inspection next week, according to a company spokesman. No customers, only crew members, will be aboard for the tests.
Ride the Ducks tour vehicles are returning to Seattle streets for the first time since September’s deadly crash on the Aurora Bridge.
Crews are testing 10 amphibious vehicles in the coming days to prepare for a routine Coast Guard inspection next week, according to Ride the Ducks spokesman Mark Firmani. No customers, only crew members, will be aboard for the tests, he said.
The state suspended operations pending a full investigation of the company’s fleet following the Sept. 24 crash that killed five people and injured dozens more. Since the accident, several agencies have been investigating the company.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), which ordered the suspension, decided this month to allow half the 20-vehicle fleet to return to operations so long as the company meets a list of conditions. Specifically, the UTC said Ride the Ducks must correct some 442 violations of motor-carrier safety rules or laws, most of which are minor paperwork issues.
Ride the Ducks owner Brian Tracey previously told The Seattle Times that since the crash, his company has taken or intends to take a number of steps to boost safety. The company is adding a second crew member on the tours, allowing drivers to focus on the road, and new cameras on the vehicles to aid drivers’ views.
Earlier this month, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced its opposition toward the UTC’s latest recommendation, requesting vehicles stay off city roads until the company’s safety rating is resolved.
Firmani said the city of Seattle is aware that Ride the Ducks crews have started driving tests. There is no estimated date for when the testing phase will end, nor when operations will resume to full service, he said.