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. Life

    The Future of the City Is Childless

    America’s urban rebirth is missing something key—actual births.

  2. A crowded street outside in Boston
    Life

    Surveillance Cameras Debunk the Bystander Effect

    A new study uses camera footage to track the frequency of bystander intervention in heated incidents in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England.                            

  3. Life

    Are These the Last Vape Shops in San Francisco?

    The city wants to stop the rise of teen vaping by banning the sale of Juul and other e-cigarettes. It could also mean the end of a particular kind of store.

  4. A woman wheels a suitcase on a platform toward a train.
    Transportation

    In Denmark’s Train Dream, the Next Big City Is Only an Hour Away

    A newly revived rail plan could see Denmark’s trains catch up with its reputation for other types of green transit.

  5. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

×