Scenes like this one – passengers swarming around tour buses, waiting to board – are commonplace on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown. From time to time, the NYPD conducts enforcement sweeps of the neighborhood, which are designed to keep bus operators on their toes. Recently Mayor Bloomberg’s community liaison, Lolita Jackson, reported to Community Board 3 about a joint operation by the 5th and 7th precincts.
Since September, she said, police have written almost a thousand tickets to bus drivers, including 26 moving violations. 47 criminal summonses have been issued. Jackson told CB3 32 buses have been towed in the last few months.
Meanwhile, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Margaret Chin are apparently moving closer to introducing legislation that would give police more power to deal with the situation. The proposed legislation (to be introduced in both Albany and in the City Council) would set up a permitting system, requiring licensed operators to adhere to certain parking and passenger pick-up/drop-off rules. The lawmakers have been working on the proposal for months. They’re hopeful it can be enacted in the new legislative session.