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Fung Wah Owner Slams Brakes on Buses' Return, City Officials Say

By Lisha Arino | July 15, 2015 6:22pm
 Passengers board a Fung Wah bus in Chinatown.
Passengers board a Fung Wah bus in Chinatown.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

CHINATOWN — Fung Wah will remain off the road, its owner told a city official last month.

Pei Lin Liang, who started the discount bus line more than a decade ago, “informed us verbally last month that he wasn’t able to continue the business,” said Paul Leonard, a spokesman for City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, whose office was helping Liang resume Fung Wah’s operations.

Liang declined to comment on the company Wednesday morning and the bus carrier’s attorney, Alexander Linzer, said he was “not able to comment on Fung Wah” in an email that afternoon.

Barry Lewis, the chief executive officer of United States Transit Funding, Inc. — a company Fung Wah hired last year to help with operations and maintain compliance with state and federal regulations — also declined to comment because the company was “breaching our contract.”

The company also left a storefront it rented at 141 Canal St. last month, said Doris Cheung from Shing Wei Corporation, the management agent for the building.

Sources said Fung Wah’s closure was likely caused by its inability to secure a bus stop in Boston.

Buses previously operated out of South Station, the Boston Globe reported in May, but Fung Wah lost its spot after the federal government shut it down two years ago.

According to Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, South Station is at capacity but Fung Wah was offered space at Alewife Station in Cambridge, Mass., and Riverside in Newton, Mass., as alternatives.

"The bus operator also has the option of petitioning the city of Boston or another municipality to request permission to pick up and drop off passengers on a municipal street," he said in a statement.

In New York, Fung Wah won Community Board 3’s support for an intercity bus permit, which is required to operate long-distance buses in and out of the city. Its application is still pending, according to the city's Department of Transportation.

Fung Wah was a pioneer in Chinatown’s low-cost bus market, which transports passengers between New York and other cities in the region. Before it was pulled off the road nearly two-and-half years ago, the company made up to two dozen daily trips between Boston and New York for $15 a ticket.

Federal officials revoked Fung Wah’s license in March 2013 over safety concerns, but gave it the green light to return earlier this year, after the company put new operation safeguards in place and passed multiple inspections.