One company had to decommission 75 percent of its fleet after structural cracks were found.

Penny-pinching travelers may want to think twice — actually, 21 times — before hopping aboard the infamously, almost impossibly cheap network of so-called Chinatown buses, which transport passengers daily between the Chinatown neighborhoods of Manhattan, Boston, and other cities on the East Coast. The popular bus company Fung Wah decommissioned 21 of its 28 buses on Saturday after the Department of Public Utilities in Massachusetts discovered extensive cracking in some of the fleet's metal frames. Though the cracks were found only in Fung Wah's older buses — their newer ones appeared to be fine — this isn't even the worst of the company's recent safety incidents. Earlier this year, a Fung Wah bus hit two pedestrians on Canal Street in New York, sending both to a nearby hospital.

This weekend's incident throws even more light on the safety standards of Chinatown bus lines, which in the past few years been involved in a string of crashes, many of them fatal. In March 2011, a bus owned by World Wide Travel of Greater New York crashed on a stretch of I-95 in the Bronx, killing 15 passengers. (An investigation found that the driver had not slept in 3 days.) Two days later, another Chinatown bus crashed on the New Jersey turnpike, resulting in the deaths of two passengers. Two months later a bus enroute to New York careened off a highway in Virginia, ending in the death of four passengers. The carnage got so bad that the Department of Transportation ordered 26 bus companies to shut down in May 2012. So while grounding most of Fung Wah's fleet is likely devastating for the company's bottom line, it could be the new norm for Chinatown bus companies going forward.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  2. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  3. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  4. a photo of a man at a bus stop in Miami
    Transportation

    Very Bad Bus Signs and How to Make Them Better

    Clear wayfinding displays can help bus riders feel more confident, and give a whole city’s public transportation system an air of greater authority.

  5. Tents with the Honolulu skyline behind them
    Life

    Where Is the Best City to Live, Based on Salaries and Cost of Living?

    Paychecks stretch the furthest in smaller cities for most workers, but techies continue to do best in larger, more expensive cities.

×