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US DOT Orders Fung Wah Bus To Immediately Cease Passenger Service

A Fung Wah bus rolls into Chinatown on Feb. 25, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

A Fung Wah bus rolls into Chinatown on Feb. 25, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Amid growing safety concerns over its fleet, US Department of Transportation Officials ordered Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc. to immediately suspend its service.

The budget carrier was also ordered Tuesday to provide its entire fleet of 28 motor coaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors.

Fung Wah Bus is the largest Chinatown Bus service provider between New York and Boston.

Inspectors in Boston found all sorts of problems with the carrier’s fleet, including structural cracks that have prompted a request to federal regulators to declare the carrier an imminent hazard for passengers, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Monday.

“We’re talking about a major safety concern. We’re not talking about trivial matters here. We’re talking about structural deficiencies in these buses that could cause a serious accident,” said Ann Berwick of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

The company pulled 21 of its 28 buses out of service on Saturday. Those riding Fung Wah on Monday night likely did not see the company’s logo on the side. The bus Young saw was a hired charter out of Massachusetts. Some riders seemed so enthralled by the bargain they were willing to overlook a lot.

“Yes. We’ve always known,” rider Louisa Mardrossian said when asked about the company’s reported safety issues. “I’m not that worried.”

A driver for the charter company said he’s driven Fung Wah’s equipment before and sees no pattern of problems.

“I’m sure they’ll fix whatever the issues may be, you know?” Jason Hardy said.

The state inspectors are not so certain. Fung Wah has had a history of problems, including a fatal crash four years ago in New York City. Told of the latest news, some of its riders were beginning to have second thoughts, Young reported.

“It’s not safe. I think they should be more strict with that,” passenger Renan Silva said.

“Next time we’re going to reconsider taking the Fung Wah, probably take something more safer,” Juan Mesa added.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s safety investigators are continuing their examination of Fung Wah’s operations, and may consider additional actions against the company if warranted.

Have you ever been a passenger on a Fung Wah bus? Let us know below.