After a year that was filled with fatal accidents involving discount buses, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Friday shut down Boston-based Fung Wah Bus Transportation, which runs discount buses from Boston to New York.
The action was taken by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) using new authorities given to it under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), transportation officials said in a press release .
“Bus companies that jeopardize public safety and refuse to cooperate with our investigators have no place on the road, and now, thanks to our additional authority, we can take them off,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Safety is our highest priority, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that unsafe bus companies are not on our roads.”
Earlier Friday, Fung Wah stopped cooperating with FMCSA safety investigators and blocked further access to company safety records.
Under provisions contained in MAP-21, signed into law by President Obama last July, FMCSA may revoke the operating authority registration of a motor carrier that fails to comply with an administrative subpoena or a letter demanding release of company safety records. This is the first case of FMCSA exercising this new provision to revoke a motor carrier’s federal operating authority.
“We will not hesitate to immediately shut down a bus or truck company that ignores safety regulations and puts innocent lives at risk,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in a statement. “We will employ every tool we have to take unsafe commercial drivers, vehicles and entire companies off the road anywhere in the county at any time.”
On Tuesday, FMCSA ordered Fung Wah to immediately provide its entire fleet of 28 motor coaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors, DOT said in its press release. FMCSA’s safety investigators had continued their examination of Fung Wah’s operations through the rest of the week in order to consider further action against the company as a whole in addition to ordering its buses out of service.
Fung Wah has a history safety violations and fines, according to the Associated Press.
The bus company posted a message about DOT’s actions on its website.
“Fung Wah Bus is suspending all buses service to compliances a requested by US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for inspections and repair services,” the post said.
“Fung Wah bus will resume buses service soon after an inspection and repair service is complete by inspectors. Please call us at 212-925-8889 or email us at email@example.com if you have any questions. All e-ticket will be refund.”
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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