Permitted? It's complicated.
The entire passenger fleet of Chinatown bus company Fung Wah has been ordered off the road for an immediate safety inspection.
This news comes a day after the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities found cracks in many bus frames and asked the federal government to declare the company an "imminent safety hazard."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Fung Wah - which operates between New York and Boston for about $15 each way -- must cease transporting passengers on its 28 vehicles, which must be immediately taken off the road for inspection.
But, says a DOT spokesman, "the company, if it chooses, has the prerogative to rent or lease other vehicles; the company is not shut down."
A phone call to Fung Wah's New York offices earlier Tuesday afternoon would seem to bear this out, as the woman who answered the phone said the company was still operating buses between New York and Boston every hour.
From the DOT:
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Fung Wah Bus Transportation, Inc., to immediately cease passenger service and provide its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors. Going forward, FMCSA will continue to work closely with its state law enforcement partners in Massachusetts and New York to ensure the safety of the traveling public.
FMCSA’s safety investigators are continuing their examination of Fung Wah’s operations, including examining the safety records of its vehicles, drivers and other company safety performance requirements prescribed by federal regulations, and may consider additional actions against the company if warranted.
Beau Duffy, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Transportation, said in an email: "We are working with our partners at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the state of Massachusetts to ensure Fung Wah’s buses are not put back in service until they are inspected and any deficiencies are corrected."