Boston-NYC Chinatown Bus Fleet Safety Questioned

September 13, 2006

A company that runs a low-price bus service between Chinatowns in Boston and New York has reached an agreement with state inspectors that keeps its fleet on the road, at least for now.

The owners of the Fung Wah Bus Transportation bus line were ordered to appear before state regulators in Boston after one of their buses rolled over in Auburn, Massachusetts on Sept. 5, injuring 34 people.

Under a consent agreement with the Transportation Division of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy, Fung Wah buses will be subject to scheduled and unscheduled inspections and driver checks over the next 30 days.

The company also has agreed to steps to improve safety, including immediately ceasing to use buses that have not been maintained in a safe and sanitary condition.

Under the agreement, the company also said it would stop operating buses “without properly trained drivers who are not sufficiently able to read and speak the English language and to converse with the general public.”

The agreement was signed by Pei Lin Liang, Fung Wah’s president, and Brian F. Cristy, director of DTE’s Transportation Division.

The driver in the Sept. 5 accident was cited for driving too fast after the bus rolled over on an interstate highway off-ramp.

The bus was carrying 57 passengers; 34 were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, mostly scrapes and bruises.

The low-fare Chinatown-to-Chinatown buses, which offer one-way tickets for $15 (euro12) between Boston and New York, have become a popular alternative to trains and more expensive bus lines.

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