Here’s some more information about those proposed interstate bus stop applications we mentioned yesterday.
If you’re concerned about the proliferation of “Chinatown buses,” it might not be a bad idea to drop by Community Board 3′s transportation committee meeting Tuesday, September 10. That evening, the panel will hear proposals to add a new bus stop or expand service at five locations throughout the neighborhood.
The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) held a public hearing yesterday regarding its proposed rules for a new interstate bus permit system. It’s been nearly a year since a state law authorizing the system was enacted. Last month, the DOT issued the proposed rules bus companies will be required to obey.
In brief, they spell out the process to be followed anytime an interstate bus carrier wishes to apply for a permit. The companies would not be allowed to drop off and pick up passengers in any unapproved location (that, of course, happens all the time now). If they failed to adhere to the rules or if, for example, a driver is involved in a fatal accident, the permit could be revoked. The law requires the city to “Consult” with local community boards about the locations of new stops and restrictions on the permits.
The federal government today shut down Lucky Star Bus, putting a stop to the company’s service between Boston and New York’s Chinatown. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees the interstate bus business, issued a press release that asserted, “(Lucky Star’s) vehicles and drivers pose an imminent hazard to public safety.”
More from the release:
In February, the feds shut down the Fung Wah bus company. Lucky Star operates from 59 Chrystie St. in Chinatown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.