It’s a sad season for the Chinatown bus. Opportunities to visit Boston from New York City’s Chinatown on a $25 whim have been cut back as of Wednesday, when the US Department of Transportation issued an “imminent hazard out-of-service order” for the Lucky Star bus line.
“The basis for determining that Lucky Star’s motor carrier operations pose an imminent hazard to the public is Lucky Star’s widespread and serious noncompliance with Federal safety regulations,” Curtis L. Thomas, regional field administrator from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, wrote in the order.
Federal investigators found one Lucky Star bus with a 4-by-2-foot hole in the bottom, and discovered that the company’s buses had broken down 80 times in the last year alone, leaving passengers to “disembark along the highway.” The drivers were also under-tested and under-worked–according to the order, the drivers weren’t regularly tested for drugs and alcohol, and often drove more than 10 hours a day.
Some of this, though, seems attributable to the language barrier. For example, the feds placed two drivers out of service for “not being able to communicate in English,” and Lucky Star put them back to work anyway, according to the order.
“It happened so suddenly, I’m shocked,” Lucky Star owner Edward Leung told the Boston Globe.
Lucky Star still holds a licensing agreement at Boston’s South Station, according to the Globe, whereas Fung Wah, the other Chinatown bus shut down by feds earlier this year, had its license terminated.
The feds ordered that Lucky Star “drastically change” its practices in order to get back on the road. In the meantime, Megabus, BoltBus, LimoLiner, Yo Bus, and the Peter Pan lines are still rolling.
(h/t Boston Globe)