Chinatown bus firm slammed

BY LESLEY SUSSMAN  |  The new year got a bit worse last week for the Chinatown-based Fung Wah Bus company when, on Tuesday, Community Board 3 voted to recommend denial of an application by the troubled carrier to create a bus stop in front of 139 Canal St. outside the company’s storefront.
Although Fung Wah has for years been using this location for curbside loading and unloading for its intercity route between New York City and Boston, the carrier had wanted the city’s Department of Transportation to make it an officially licensed bus stop and sought C.B. 3 support in its effort to do so.

However, at C.B. 3 full board meeting, David Crane, chairperson of the board’s Transportation and Public Safety/Environment Committee, told board members that a vote on the application would be delayed.

“Based on what has happened to the company recently, this needs to go back to the committee,” he said. “We won’t act on this application until we can discuss these recent developments.”

The previous day, Massachusetts regulators had ordered Fung Wah to remove three-quarters of its 28-bus fleet from service after inspectors found cracks in the frames of many of the company’s aging buses.

State officials also asked federal regulators to intervene and remove the remaining seven buses in Fung Wah’s fleet from service. That action came from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Feb. 26 when the entire fleet of buses was suspended. However, the F.M.C.S.A. stopped short of shutting down Fung Wah completely, allowing the company to continue to provide passenger services with buses it is chartering from other providers.

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