Dear Fung Wah

December 13, 2009

Dear Fung Wah,

Although I generally appreciate your affordable bus service that runs constantly between New York and Boston, my recent experience was unacceptable.

The 4pm bus on Friday, December 11th from New York to Boston was an infuriating experience. Leaving New York on a Friday afternoon is already rough, as traffic between the city and Stamford is guaranteed to be horrible. Knowing this, I slipped into unconsciousness.

I woke up when the bus driver took a break from the slow-moving Norwalk area to use the restroom, or at least that is what I assume happened. Maybe he had a drug deal, an urgent phone call or a body drop. How would I know? He didn’t say anything. He just parked for three minutes and then we were back on the road. Strangely, this was not a rest stop for the entire bus even though we had already been in the bus for two hours.

A couple of hours later, when all traffic was clear, we exited before the Mass Pike for an actual rest stop. This was surprising because why would the driver forego a stop early in the trip when traffic is a hindrance to break when the roads are open? The time lost earlier could have been made up, but that was no longer true at this point in the journey.

The driver gave us a generous fifteen minutes, which is fifty percent higher than the standard time to use the bathroom, get fast food and/or smoke a cigarette/joint. Sometimes the buses don’t even stop, which is great because there is a toilet on board, time is of the essence, and no one likes fast food anyway (or at least they shouldn’t).

Unless your company is getting a commission from the makers of rubber fried chicken and microwaveable pizza, it is in Fung Wah’s best interest not to bother stopping unless the bus needs refueling. The operation needs to be run like a racing team, only making pit stops when necessary.

At the conclusion of the fifteenth minute, the driver went to find a woman missing from our bus. He returned five minutes later to ask what she looked like because he couldn’t find her. Although a spattering of us announced that the preference was to leave without her, the driver returned to being a one man search party.

The driver left the bus idling. Had I not been sitting in a window seat, I would’ve found it very difficult not to take the wheel and haul-ass out of there. I just hate asking the aisle person to get up.

Seventeen minutes after the original break time had ended, the driver returned. He was excited with news that the woman was crazy! She had her luggage on another Chinatown bus (your Lucky Star cohorts), and was going to wait at the rest stop for that bus to come in. Please note that I am not certain this is even what happened, but it’s what I concluded from his Chinegish (Chinese-English) monologue. After a Lucky Star bus pulled up next to us, prompting the driver into excitable honking and more difficult to interpret speaking, I felt pretty confident that this theory was accurate.

Nevertheless, it should be policy to never wait for passengers. If they are slow, they can warn the driver. Otherwise, if the customer can’t handle the responsibility, then screw them. Most of your passengers are New Yorkers and we’re in a hurry. If we didn’t care about time, we’d move to the South.

I appreciate your cultures inherent attempt at kindness. But you’re Chinese-American New Yorkers now. Melt into the pot please and get tough! It shouldn’t take five and a half hours to get to Boston.

Rachel L. Arbeit


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