Last August, Governor Cuomo signed a new law clearing the way for New York City to create a permit system for intercity buses. Many months later, the city’s Department of Transportation is still drafting rules that the bs companies must follow. Later this month, there will be a “community workshop” to solicit public opinions on the proposed system. It will be held Tuesday, April 30 at Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 7th Avenue, at 6 p.m.
Pike Street between Division Street and Canal.
On Tuesday night, Community Board 3′s transportation committee dealt with several issues related to “Chinatown bus” permits. We weren’t able to attend but spoke with CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer following the hearing.
First off, she gave committee members an update concerning Yo! Bus’s permit for a loading and unloading operation being run from Pike Street near Canal. On Monday, Yo! announced it would be adding service to Boston from the Lower East Side/Chinatown location. The company, owned by Greyhound and Peter Pan, began offering New York/Philadelphia service late last year. A Community Board 3 resolution approved in November allows Yo! to operate up to 14 round trips from Pike Street. Earlier this week, there was confusion about the new route and fears that Greyhound might be going beyond the number of trips CB3 and the city’s Department of Transportation approved. Continue reading Followup: Yo! Bus Expands Service, New Permits
28 Allen Street. Photos by Chris Castillo.
TLD reader Chris Castillo snapped some shots at 28 Allen Street, where state regulators were inspecting buses run by Eastern Shuttle, which runs discount service to Washington, Baltimore and other destinations. Continue reading State Regulators Inspect Chinatown Buses
Bowery near the Manhattan Bridge. Photo by Gigi Li.
Two pedestrians were injured last night after being struck by an intercity bus near the Manhattan Bridge. The Fung Wah bus was pulling on to the bridge on its way through Brooklyn at around 11 p.m. when the accident happened. The victims are hospitalized; a 57-year old woman is listed in stable condition; a 63-year old man is serious but stable.
Police say the driver is not expected to be charged with any criminal violation. he was given a ticket for failing to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk. No passengers were aboard the bus at the time but traffic was backed up in the area for at least a couple of hours. Continue reading Two Pedestrians Injured in Fung Wah Bus Accident Last Night
Yo! Bus began service on Pike Street December 18, 2012.
Yo! Bus, the Greyhound/Peter Pan discount service that hasn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms, began operating from Pike Street this morning. After residents rejected the company’s first proposed bus stop on Essex Street, Yo! settled on a location along Pike, just above East Broadway. There have been concerns about crowds gathering on the sidewalk and about traffic problems, but it’s safe to say all was quiet this morning at around 10:15 when we stopped by. Greyhound staffers were on site to handle crowd control but there were no crowds to control.
Yo! Bus, a service meant to capture the Chinatown discount market, has eight departures and eight arrivals to/from Philadelphia each day. The first departure is at 7 a.m. The final drop-off is at 7:45 p.m. There’s a ticket office at 98 East Broadway, which is just a few steps from the bus stop.
Bronx Bush Crash, March 2011.
On Friday a jury found driver Ophadell Williams not guilty of most charges he faced in connection with the horrific bus crash in the Bronx last year that left 15 Chinatown residents dead. City Council member Margaret Chin released a statement following last week’s verdict:
This verdict is a travesty and it sends the wrong message: that there are no consequences for long-distance bus drivers who ignore the speed limit; forgo sleep, drive recklessly; and put people’s lives in danger. The Bronx bus crash was one of the deadliest in our nation’s history. It was one of the saddest days for Chinatown; and one of the most difficult in my term as a Council Member. I am sad to say that justice has not been served in this case. This verdict does nothing to further our goal of making the low-cost tour bus industry safer… Despite this setback, we will not be deterred. We will remain steadfast in our calls for stronger regulation of the intercity tour bus industry so that we can prevent such horrific losses of life in the future.
The 2011 crash was one of several deadly accidents that helped galvanize support for an intercity bus permit system; state legislation was passed earlier this year. The NYC Department of Transportation expects to implement the new system in the next several months. Federal legislation to regulate so-called “Chinatown buses” has been languishing in Washington for many years.
Pike Street between East Broadway and Division streets.
This morning Greyhound announced that its discount Yo! Bus Service, offering service between New York and Chinatown, will begin operating December 18. Last month, Community Board 3 approved an application from the company for a bus stop on the west side of Pike Street, between East Broadway and Division Street. The Department of Transportation then made it official.
As you probably recall, the DOT was forced to back away from an earlier proposal to put the bus stop on Essex Street in front of Seward Park after residents, backed by elected officials, complained. Last week, members of Asian Americans for Equality asked the board to postpone the decision on the latest application, citing the prospect of large crowds and congestion outside their offices (located just across the street). But CB3 members said Greyhound had agreed to operating restrictions (crowd control agents, trash pick-up, anti-pollution devices) to alleviate the concerns. It’s a nine month permit; the community board will have the opportunity to review Yo! operations in six months. Continue reading Yo! Bus Begins Service From Pike Street Starting December 18
A “Chinatown” bus on Allen Street.
it’s been a few weeks since the great Essex Street bus stop debacle — in which the city approved and then rescinded a permit for Greyhound to operate an intercity bus route from a location in front of Seward Park. While residents may have beaten back this particular proposal, we can expect a lot more applications like it in the months ahead.
Coming up on November 1, the city’s Department of Transportation is holding a “community workshop” to solicit feedback concerning policies and procedures for granting so-called “Chinatown buses” permits to operate in Manhattan. The permit system was mandated by a state law signed by Governor Cuomo in August. Continue reading City Schedules Community Workshop on Intercity Bus Permits
A “Chinatown” bus on Allen Street.
It’s been a week since the city’s Department of Transportation decided to rescind a “YO! Bus” permit for Essex Street, in front of Seward Park, following strong community opposition. As previously reported, the DOT is working on alternative locations, which will be presented to Community Board 3. Susan Stetzer, CB3′s district manager, tells us the city will not appear at this month’s transportation committee meeting with a new plan but will likely be on the November agenda.
Meanwhile, the community board will take up the broader issues surrounding bus permits next week. As a result of a new state law setting up a permit system for interstate buses, the DOT is drawing up guidelines and procedures applicants will be required to follow. A week from Wednesday (Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m., 59 East 4th Street), CB3 will meet to decide what recommendations to forward to the Transportation Department about the criteria that should be used in evaluating permit applications.
In this month’s print magazine, we took an in-depth look at the “Chinatown bus,” issue. Continue reading On the LES, “Chinatown Bus” Battles Are Just Beginning
Publicity photo provided by YO! Bus/Greyhound.
It’s back to square one for YO! Bus, the new service from Greyhound/Peter Pan that was to begin service to Philadelphia from a new bus stop on Essex Street on Thursday. The Department of Transportation decided to grant the permit in front of Seward Park, in spite of strong community opposition. On Friday, local elected officials sent a letter to the DOT, urging a reversal, and today they have gotten their wish. Transportation officials have decided to rescind the permit and are now looking for alternative locations on the Lower East Side and Chinatown.
Word of the reversal comes not from the DOT, but from State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Margaret Chin. In a statement received moments ago, they write: Continue reading Breaking: City Rescinds YO! Bus Permit on Essex Street
The bus stop will be located at the southwest corner of Seward Park.
The Department of Transportation has decided to approve an application from Greyhound/Peter Pan for a new bus stop on Essex Street, alongside Seward Park. Last week, Community Board 3′s transportation committee voted to oppose the application, following a contentious meeting in which many residents spoke out against the proposal. A resolution urging the DOT to reconsider, and to come back to CB3 with alternatives, was forwarded to city officials. But today, we’ve learned, the agency has signed off on the location across from 3 Essex Street, near Canal Street. It’s a six-month permit that will be re-evaluated next spring.
Greyhound and Peter Pan are creating a new service to compete against already-existing Chinatown bus companies. “YO!” Bus will offer eight daily stops between New York and Philadelphia. The service begins operating September 27; a ticket office will be located at 98 East Broadway.
Continue reading City Approves Greyhound Peter Pan Bus Stop on Essex
Bus in front of 7 Essex Street this morning.
Tonight’s meeting of Community Board 3′s transportation committee is going to be a doozy. As of a few minutes ago, more than 1100 people have signed an online petition opposing an application from Greyhound/Peter Pan to establish a bus stop in front of Seward Park, across from 3 Essex Street. As previously reported, residents are outraged about the proposal for many reasons, including concerns about street and sidewalk congestion, pollution and loitering in front of an historic playground. The application has touched off a furious response from many different neighborhood constituencies. Here are the latest developments.
The original application called for 28 daily arrivals and departures from the proposed bus stop, which is currently used by the MTA. Community Board 3 confirms that Greyhound has now reduced its request to 16 stops. Greyhound is making the case that there’s a need for additional discount bus service in Chinatown and on the Lower East Side in the aftermath of the federal government’s decision to shut down 26 interstate operators in the past couple of months. Greyhound did not specifically request the Essex Street stop; the location was suggested by the NYC Department of Transportation. Continue reading Followup: Backlash Grows Against Essex Street Bus Stop; CB3 Meeting Tonight
You never quite know where those inter-city “Chinatown buses” are going to pop up. From time to time, police officers chase them away from congested street corners, but they just move on to some other street.
Continue reading Cat & Mouse: The Chinatown Bus Shuffle Moves to Grand Street
The State Senate has finally passed legislation that will lead to more stringent enforcement of the intercity bus business. The bill, approved yesterday, will allow the city to set up a permit system and to assign parking spaces to bus companies. In April, state lawmakers and the Department of Transportation announced they’d ended a stalemate over the issue. The Assembly already passed a version of the “Chinatown bus” bill.
The new system is meant to address safety concerns and to alleviate congestion and overcrowding on the streets and sidewalks of Chinatown and other neighborhoods. Recently, federal regulators shut down three bus companies and their affiliates for various safety violations.
In a statement, Senator Daniel Squadron (who sponsored the legislation) said, “City permits for intercity buses will help end Chinatown’s wild west atmosphere while allowing the city and state to identify problems before they become tragedies.”
The DOT has agreed to work with local community boards in deciding where interstate buses will be allowed to park.
Last year's bus crash in the Bronx killed 15 passengers, all of them Chinatown residents.
Federal regulators have shut down more than two dozen bus companies providing interstate service between Chinatown and major cities along the East Coast. The crackdown, announced this morning, was the result of an ongoing investigation that began after last year’s deadly bus crash in the Bronx that claimed the lives of 15 Chinatown residents.
The regulators targeted three companies (and their many affiliates) for safety violations. The companies impacted are: Apex Bus, I-95 Coach and New Century Travel. New Century is based in Philadelphia; the other companies are headquartered here in New York.
Among the safety shortcoming cited by the government: drivers who did not possess a valid commercial license and buses that were not regularly inspected or repaired.