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scary things

Fung Wah Was Even Scarier Than Anyone Thought

Passengers prepare to load a Fung Wah bus before leaving Manhattan for Boston August 4, 2008 in New York.  With fuel prices skyrocking, bus services have seen an increase in ridership in recent months.

It's easy to get nostalgic about the Fung Wah bus line because it was such a wacky-yet-lovable institution, and cheap. But as a second shutdown order handed down on Thursday shows, it was one dangerous way to travel — even more dangerous than we already knew. For better or worse (better, really), the buses won't run again for quite some time, if ever. The U.S. Department of Transportation's latest order, which Transportation Nation describes as a more permanent version of its previous shutdown order, says the company had virtually no maintenance program, and gave "fraudulent or intentionally false entries" on its maintenance and inspection records.

The company reported buses had been inspected by mechanics who were not working on the days of the supposed inspections. It also failed to test drivers for drugs or alcohol, or keep track of how much time they spent behind the wheel, DOT found. In order to get its buses back on the road, Fung Wah must get them up to code, and "drastically chang[e] its maintenance posture, philosophy and infrastructure."

The drawback: Without Fung Wah setting unrealistically low prices, other companies don't have to compete with them. "It's hard when you have one bus line bottoming out the price," Alex Bottiglio, marketing coordinator for GotoBus.com, told NBC's Ben Popken. That's the one thing we'll miss. That and the mid-trip buffet.

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Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images2008 Getty Images