Feds Shut Down Hazardous Hole-Filled Chinatown Bus LineS

In a move that confirmed everything you've always suspected about Chinatown bus lines, the Feds shut down the Lucky Star bus service operating between Boston and NYC today, labeling their operation as an "imminent hazard."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the USDOT) issued this out-of-service order today in considerably strong language. They used bold, caps, and underline.

Effective immediately, you must cease operating any commercial motor vehicle, specifically including the commercial motor vehicles listed in this Order.

Further down, the FMCSA continued.

LUCKY STAR MAY NOT LOAD OR TRANSPORT ANY ADDITIONAL PASSENGERS, NOR MAY LUCKY STAR OPERATE ANY COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE IN INTERSTATE OR INTRASTATE COMMERCE WHILE THIS ORDER IS IN EFFECT

Things get juicy in the 'Basis for Order' segment, outlining that Lucky Star "fails to ensure that its motor coaches are systematically and properly inspected, repaired and maintained and meet minimum safety standards." Here are some highlights of their violations.

  • One bus was found with a four by two foot hole in the floor.
  • Two inspections in May this year put four of six tested coaches out of commission, with 69 vehicle defects between them.
  • Ten of Lucky Star's 21 coaches broke down on 80 separate occasions between May 2012 and May 2013. Sometimes simultaneously.
  • Lucky Star has no systematic maintenance program for its buses.

How did Lucky Star test if its drivers were drunk, high, or overly exhausted? They didn't. They had no means of testing for controlled substances, they had no system for monitoring drivers' hours of service, and they did not review drivers' service logs. Some drivers regularly clocked 10 hours of driving in a day, one drove 12 hours in one day last December.

So yeah, it's probably a good thing that the Feds shut down Lucky Star. Lucky Star can get back to business if it "drastically change[s] its company and management philosophy regarding driver oversight and vehicle maintenance" and sets up safety systems for buses and drivers.

The Boston Herald reports that all tickets canceled by the immediate shut down of Lucky Star's operations will be refunded.

But hey, they did have WiFi!

Photo Credit: Erin Stevenson O'Connor