TO FUNG WAH OR NOT TO FUNG WAH: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

By:Indhira Benitez

As a NYC native now residing in Boston, I often find myself looking for the more "economically efficient" alternatives to traveling back home. For $30, Fung Wah has offered me a quick and almost always reliable trip back into the big apple when all other bus companies have been booked. In an effort to avoid any bias with this article, let me start of by saying that I have read numerous reviews prior to booking Fung Wah, and despite the outrage of its patrons on its efficiency, safety, and basic accommodations, I decided to play Russian roulette with my traveling experience. I must either be really lucky, or perhaps the Fung Wah bus operators knew I would someday be writing this article, but I have not had one negative experience to date. And yes, there have been times I question how safely I am getting to my destination when my trip is significantly cut 30-45 minutes, but why would I complain? If I can get to my parents and my dog a half hour early, I frankly do not care how safe my bus ride is.

Unfortunately for Fung Wah, my opinion on their speedy services did not mean much to the state Department of Public Utilities or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This past week, the Fung Wah bus company has taken almost its entire fleet off the road following inspections by the state Department of Public Utilities that found structural cracks in several of the company's buses.

The frame cracks, located in the drive axle, rear axle, engine cradle, and other locations, posed serious safety issues, said Ann Berwick, chairwoman of the utilities department. The DPU asked Fung Wah to pull 21 of its 28 buses from the road and has referred the matter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"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," Berwick said.

Fung Wah voluntarily took the buses out of service Saturday evening and started running charter buses in their place, reducing its service between Boston and New York from every half hour to every hour, said Stephen Squibb, manager of South Station, where Fung Wah operates.

The DPU has never pulled this many buses out of service, which could be very detrimental to their business, but most importantly, people like myself who faithfully depend on Fung Wah's modernized and adult version of the magic school bus. Fung Wah officials decline to comment. Until things get cleared up for Fung Wah, guess it's back to Mega Bus folks!

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