Inspectors find violations with Fung Wah buses

February 25, 2013 8:15:55 PM PST
State investigators are calling it a blatant disregard for federal safety regulations, claiming the bus company is putting drivers, passengers and the public at risk.

Federal inspectors filled out paperwork in the lobby of Fung Wah Bus Company Monday night, following up on allegations of serious safety problems with Chinatown's largest bus company.

State investigators are asking the Feds to declare an "imminent hazard," essentially shutting down the operation which runs between Manhattan and Boston.

"We're not shutting down," said Sam Kwang, an employee.

Sam Kwang works for the company and says the problems are being resolved.

Inspectors looked at nine buses and found serious problems with eight, including cracks in the frames.

So the state negotiated an agreement with the company to take all 21 of their older buses off the road.

"The buses have no problem really. They just need to be repaired. It's not big problem," Kwang said.

The bus company has a history of safety violations, including fatigued driving and lax maintenance.

In 2006, it was fined more than $30,000 for violating federal safety regulations linked to a rollover that injured dozens of passengers traveling from New York to Boston.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration said Fung Wah improperly hired drivers who couldn't speak English and who regularly exceeded speed limits.

"I've been taking it for a while. This causes some alarm. I may need to take another form of transportation," said Joseph Buchanan, a customer.

"Chinese bus fare is lower than main stream bus fare, taking away business from them," said Jimmy Tsang, a resident.

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