By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A New York-based bus carrier famously had its authority yanked in March 2013 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Under a new law, it recently obtained a gift in time for the holidays: the right to transport more passengers.
Fung Wah Bus Transportation once had a bus overturn on a highway ramp in Massachusetts – injuring 48 passengers, including some serious injuries. The company was fined for having drivers exceed the speed limit and being unable to speak English, and paid $12,900 in fines tied to the wreck.
“Effective December 11, 2014, Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc. is authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to engage in transportation as a common carrier of passengers in interstate commerce,” FMCSA wrote in the release.
FMCSA said the authority comes with strings attached.
“Safety is our highest priority and Fung Wah has put new operational safeguards in place, passed multiple bus inspections and will be subjected to extra oversight and permitted limited operations to prove they can safely transport passengers and protect the motoring public,” the statement reads. “FMCSA will aggressively and continually monitor Fung Wah’s operations and subject its vehicles and drivers to unannounced inspections to ensure that the company fully complies with all federal safety regulations.”
The company was fined for having drivers exceed the speed limit and being unable to speak English, and paid $12,900 in fines tied to the 2006 wreck. FMCSA investigated the company until Fung Wah stopped cooperating with the agency’s investigators and blocked them from looking at safety records.
For the first time in its history, FMCSA used authority under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century law (MAP-21) to revoke Fung Wah’s operating authority in March 2013. MAP-21 was signed into law by President Obama in 2012.
The bus company’s website boasts it is the “largest Chinatown” bus service provider between the two East Coast cities of New York and Boston.
Fung Wah recently accepted five requirements from FMCSA before being allowed back into the bus business. The stipulations are as follows:
Hiring qualified management staff responsible for operational safety and DOT compliance;
- Limiting service routes and numbers of trips during the company’s first 60 days of operation, in addition to requiring written petition to add routes or trips;
- Installing and using on-board recording devices to record and document driver duty status information;
- Ensuring drivers don’t exceed posted speed limits; and
- Agreeing to heightened monitoring and investigation by FMCSA during the next four years.
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