Ride the Chinatown bus at your own risk

Washington, D.C.

For those heading to New York for the weekend — and also watching their wallets — the “Chinatown bus” is often a tempting option, with roundtrip service starting at around $35. And there’s plenty of options to choose from: Apex, New Century Travel & Vamoose, are just three of many.

But as New York points out this week, these low fares might come at a cost. Like, your life. Let’s take a closer look at the history of Fung Wah, the first “Chinatown bus” operator that offers $25 Boston-New York trips:

  • August 2005: Bus catches fire en route to New York; 45 passengers evacuated before flames engulf bus.
  • August-September 2006: A Pittsburgh-New York bus crashes; 5 hospitalized. Thirty-four are injured when another bus flips over in Massachusetts.
  • May 2007: Chinatown-bound bus crashes in Pennsylvania; two killed, 32 injured.

As this WaPo story reports, many D.C.-based operators have become skillful at hiding their safety records. Which might be a good idea, considering the number of accidents they’ve been involved in across the East Coast the last 2 years.

Senator Chuck Schumer has pushed for legislation to create national safety standards – but, unfortunately, interest in its passage only arises following accidents.

Until then, I’m sticking with Amtrak.


  1. Georgina says:

    There are a lot of newer bus lines that are much safer than those buses. Megabus, Bolt Bus, Vamoose, DC2NY, to name just a few. You can search for tickets on the more reputable bus lines at BusJunction.

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