The Feds Are Shutting Down Fung Wah

After the state found problems with the Chinatown bus service's vehicles, federal regulators are stepping in.


Image Credit: Filippo Diotalevi via Flickr

A division of the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered the notoriously safety-challenged Fung Wah bus line to temporarily suspend all service after failed inspections required that it remove most of its vehicles from the roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. DOT, released a statement to reporters Tuesday, reading:

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.

After state regulators with the Department of Public Utilities found cracks in the frames of several buses during surprise inspections this month, they asked Fung Wah to remove any vehicles manufactured before 2005. The company took 21 of its 28 buses off the road Saturday, but this being the latest in a string of safety run-ins for the company, the DPU also asked Federal regulators to step in. “We’re recommending that they deem this to be an imminent hazard, which would mean that they would shut down the company until the problems were addressed to the satisfaction of the federal Department of Transportation,” Ann Berwick, the chair of the state Department of Public Utilities, told the Boston Globe Tuesday.

The FMCSA’s statement said it may do more than just suspend the company’s service. The statement continued:

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.

Newsworthy headlines over the years (this Boston Globe photo slideshow is unmissable) haven’t managed to keep people from giving in to the attraction of a $15 ticket and regular service between South Station and Chinatown in New York City. The stories, coupled with peoples’ bizarre personal anecdotes, actually make it sort of a cult topic among regular riders. For a taste, you can see people sharing those stories by following the hashtag #TheLastTimeITookFungWah on Twitter. Some scary stuff, there.