Thursday, February 28, 2008

China in US

If you walk across the aisle of any store in the US, it is China all over. Indeed, perhaps it is so in all parts of the world. Most things in the world ranging from electronics to toys to idols are made in China.

But this is about a lesser talked and known thing. In existence for a long time, this is the bus service operated by some local Chinese in US, mostly to NYC from a couple of places on the East coast. One is the Fung-Wah bus service that operates from Chinatown Boston to Chinatown NYC. There is a similar one from Albany to NYC. The buses are as good as the US bus services like Greyhound or Peterpan give or take a few. The difference is that the Chinese buses operate with low overheads - they have no bus stations and pretty much pick up and drop passengers on the street. Buses run ruthlessly full, there are no seat numbers and if you are going as a twosome, you can potentially get a seat at each end of the bus. There is a fixed schedule though it is mostly an on-demand service - as in they run as many buses as they sell tickets. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, it is worth stepping out of Bostons railway station to see the number of buses Fung Wah manages to send to NYC. At its price it is about half the price of competitive bus services.

Does it serve its purpose? Absolutely. Many weekend trippers prefer this "barebones" bus service over the others. It can be argued that Fung Wah does not have the overhead and hence runs these buses so cheap, but having said that, it is an innovation. Noticeably, it is tough to find anything that is barebones in the US - except perhaps domestic airlines.

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