Federal transportation officials have ordered the Fung Wah bus service to cease service after inspectors found problems with several vehicles included in the discount carrier’s bus fleet, according to a breaking report from The Boston Globe.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday it has ordered Fun Wah Bus Transportation Inc. to immediately cease all passenger service, and make its entire fleet available for thorough safety inspections. The order comes just a week after the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) specifically asked the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to shut down the company until it addresses safety concerns.
Inspections by the Massachusetts agency had discovered cracks in the frames of many of the company's buses. However, the DPU did not have the authority to suspend service. Inspectors also reportedly found multiple oil leaks, faulty lights and a door with a broken latch.
The popular Chinatown, New York City-based bus service operates between Boston and Manhattan and typically charges a low $15 for a one-way ticket. The 217-mile one-way journey costs almost $55 in gas alone (calculated using New York's average $3.99 a gallon).
But the company has been plagued by a history of legal and safety troubles. As noted by the Boston Herald, in 2005 a Fung Wah bus bound for New York City erupted into flames only moments after all 45 passengers were evacuated from the vehicle.
In 2006, the company was fined $31,1000 for violating federal safety regulations linked to a rollover accident that injured dozens of passengers. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration determined the company hired drivers who could not speak English and who often exceeded speed limits.
The Fung Wah fleet is comprised of older vehicles that inspectors say have been well-worn with time. In comparison, other discount bus carriers that travel the same route -- such as BoltBus or MegaBus -- often charge similarly low rates for journeys on newer vehicles.
A Fung Wah representative could not immediately be reached for comment.