It’s official; Boston’s semi-beloved discount bus service has been shut down until further notice.
Just before 6 p.m. on Friday, officials said due to Fung Wah’s lack of cooperation during an ongoing investigation of the bus service’s safety standards, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revoked the company’s license using a new authority signed into law called the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.”
The act allows authorities to 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 the FMCSA using the provision to remove a transportation company from the highways.
“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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement Friday. “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.”
Officials said on Friday that Fung Wah “stopped cooperating” with safety investigators and blocked further access to company safety records.
Earlier this week, authorities told Fung Wah to remove its buses from service after officials from the state’s Department of Public Utilities found structural damages on several of the company’s vehicles.
Ann Berwick, Chairwoman of the state’s DPU, declared the Fung Wah services an “imminent hazard,” and sent a three-page letter to the FMCSA outlining safety issues on the buses, stating the Fung Wah had a “blatant disregard for federal safety regulations” and was “putting the company’s own drivers, passengers, and the motoring public at risk.”
The FMSCA quickly stepped in and ordered Fung Wah to immediately cease passenger service and provide its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for a thorough and detailed safety inspections.
The bus service was later barred from operating out of South Station, per order of the MBTA.
But on Friday, after Fung Wah representatives failed to cooperate and provide paperwork requested by federal workers, so their license was pulled.
“We will not hesitate to immediately shut down a bus or truck company that ignores safety regulations and puts innocent lives at risk,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “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.”