By Sarah Bennett

Fung Wah is in heaven now, taking Jesus to and from Boston when he's low on cash.

I first learned about the cheap Boston bus from a friend who'd spent a few years living in China, spoke Chinese, and knew more about the goings on in Chinatown than where to get the cheapest "I ♥ NY" shirt. That means this was way back, when, if you were looking to get to Boston from New York for ten bucks, Fung Wah was the only name in the game. 

At first, the service and conditions were no better or worse than what Greyhound had to offer; it was only as the years went on and the Lucky Stars and Apexes entered the picture that folding chairs entered the aisles, reservations got trumped by Black Friday-style stampedes for in-demand travel times, and, for whatever reason, every other person on the bus started eating dried fish for the entire trip and playing very loud games on their cellphones. There were stories of Fung Wah drivers confronting their competitors en route, with both buses pulling over on the Mass Pike and shooting at each other, and while these tales were probably false, the fish thing might have been worse, anyway.

Still, now that Fung Wah has been pulled off the road by the US Department of Transportation due to safety concerns, I will miss its stinky seats, scary rides, and magical technique for finding traffic where none usually exists. Because as gross and inefficient as the company became, it was the original, the one only the Chinese used to know about, and after increased popularity brought a wave of regulations and closings to Chinatown bus services last summer, it's not even the first to be shut down. For many of us New York to Boston travelers, however, it will always be the first in our hearts.