State seeks ‘imminent hazard’ over Fung Wah buses
You knew this was coming didn’t you, Boston college students?
The state is asking the federal Department of Transportation to declare an “imminent hazard” and shut down the Fung Wah bus company after multiple inspections found dangers in the physical structure of various buses.
Nearly two dozen of the company’s buses have been taken out of service after inspections.
Ann Berwick, chair of the Department of Public Utilities, said that the agency’s Transportation Oversight Division conducted random inspections earlier this month and of nine Fung Wah buses looked at, eight had cracks in their frames. Those buses were ordered off of the road.
State officials met with the bus company’s owner who agreed to take all buses manufactured before 2005 off of the road. As of Saturday, 21 of 28 buses were taken out of service.
“When eight of the nine buses inspected have serious safety problems you have to worry that when there’s smoke there’s fire, so we became concerned with all of the older buses,” Berwick said. “We’re not talking blown parking lights here. These are problems that threaten safety.”
Calls placed to the Fung Wah Boston office were referred to the New York City office. A woman who answered the phone at the New York City office declined to give her name, but said the company is still operating and that the owner was not there.
Berwick said the department did all it could within its authority. She said she sent the inspection findings and a letter to the federal DOT and requested an “imminent hazard” be declared and that the interstate bus company be shut down until they take corrective action deemed appropriate by the federal agency.
The discount bus line has for years been popular among college students who travel between Boston and New York City. It has also had a history of problems including a fatal crash in 2008 in New York City, another crash in Massachusetts in 2009 and last month in New York City where two pedestrians were hit.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.