Fung Wah Is Never, Ever, Ever Coming Back
Fung Wah, the New York-to-Boston bus service equally known for its dirt-cheap fares and occasionally flambéed shuttles, is reportedly done for good.
NY1 reports that Fung Wah’s founder has informed New York City officials that the company is unable to resume operations after federal regulators temporarily shut it down in March 2013, citing a number of safety violations. Though Fung Wah spent more than $400,000 taking steps in the right direction—improving driving standards, buying new buses, and hiring a safety manager—the damage was already done. The company had lost its South South terminal, and faced mounting difficulty finding a new pickup spot.
“If I can’t get the Boston stop back, then I’ll have to close down for good,” Pei Lin Liang, president of Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc., prophetically told Chinese-language paper World Journal in May. Liang, a former noodle factory deliveryman, founded Fung Wah in New York as a local van service in the 1990s. Its superlatively cheap fares ($10-15 from Boston to New York) and innovative curbside pickup gave rise to competitors like Megabus and Bolt, which has experienced its own host of problems.
The apparent death of Fung Wah once again raises questions about the intervention of federal regulators. As Reason magazine reported in 2013, not only was inspectors Steve Boleyn and Dyann Prouty’s evaluation of Fung Wah fundamentally flawed, but there was no evidence suggesting Fung Wah experienced a higher accident rate than other bus companies.
Whether you consider it a case of the American dream snuffed out by federal bureaucrats, or a notorious safety hazard finally brought down by its own recklessness, it’s undeniable that for 12 years, Fung Wah was a Boston icon. Farewell Fung Wah.