Feds Shut Down Fung Wah "Chinatown" Bus

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 26 2013 1:41 PM

Feds Shut Down Fung Wah "Chinatown" Bus

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Passengers prepare to load a Fung Wah bus before leaving Manhattan for Boston on Aug. 4, 2008

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

One of the most popular cheap travel options between Boston and New York—the Fung Wah "Chinatown" bus—was shut down by the feds today. But judging by what Massachusetts state inspectors found on board their fleet, that might not be such a bad thing. 

According to the Boston Globe, the notoriously unsafe bus company parked 21 of their older buses on Saturday, almost their entire fleet, after inspectors found "cracks in steering axles, motor mounts, engine cradles, and other locations." They operated a reduced schedule until federal regulators acted at the behest of the state's Department of Public Utilities, who said the company's attempts to repair their aging fleet “appear to be substandard because the welds have not been completed and/or have failed and the cracks appear to be larger than they were when the buses were initially inspected.”

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Here's the shutdown order from the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, via Boston Magazine:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Fung Wah Bus Transportation, Inc., to immediately cease passenger service and provide its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors...FMCSA’s safety investigators are continuing their examination of Fung Wah’s operations, including examining the safety records of its vehicles, drivers and other company safety performance requirements prescribed by federal regulations, and may consider additional actions against the company if warranted."

As indicated by that order, it's not just the old buses that are of concern. The Globe notes that Fung Wah's drivers, ranked in the bottom 3 percent of drivers in experience and training across the nation, have in the past decade been responsible for a number of high-profile crashes.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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