Jim Epstein on Why the Government Was Wrong to Shutdown the Fung Wah Bus Company


Curbside bus travel is the fastest growing form of intercity transit in the U.S., thanks to a handful of immigrants from Fujian Province, China, who started their own bus companies in New York City's Chinatown in the late 1990s. The visionary who deserves the most credit for the resurgence was Pei Lin Liang, a former noodle factory deliveryman who started an operation called Fung Wah in 1997. For travel between Boston and New York City, the company originally charged just $10—a price that drew so much business, it turned Fung Wah into a household name in those cities.

Fung Wah is now defunct. In March 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration forced the company to cease operations, claiming it was an "imminent hazard to public safety." But as Reason TV's Jim Epstein reports, regulators could have shutdown Greyhound, or practically any bus company, on the same grounds they used to force Fung Wah out of business. And if saving lives is the whole idea, regulators should more logically prohibit intercity travel in passenger cars, while mandating travel in buses run by companies like Fung Wah. In short, the government was wrong to shutter Fung Wah.