This afternoon the City Council voted in favor of a “home rule message” calling on the State Legislature to pass legislation setting up a permitting system for intercity buses. This morning, a Council committee held a hearing on the matter and unanimously recommended passage of the resolution.
A home rule message was not required for the Legislature to act but could bolster the bill’s prospects in Albany. For more details on the legislation and this morning’s hearing, see our post from earlier today.
Here’s how various elected officials reacted to today’s Council vote.
City Councilmember Margaret Chin: “Again we ask Albany to let us enact vital legislation to regulate the low-fare and discount tour industry… It is necessary that the State give New York City the authority to improve the safety and overall operation of the low-fare, inter-city bus industry. The City must be allowed to mandate that bus companies qualify for a permit to pick up passenger on our streets. This way we could root out companies with bad safety records, derelict vehicles, and repeat violations. This is essential to improving the safety of bus operations and striking a balance between the need for these buses and the quality of life of the communities in which they operate.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: “I am committed to ensuring that we do everything possible to improve safety conditions for intercity bus passengers, many of whom are my constituents in Chinatown. The recent tragic, fatal bus crashes underscore the urgent need to create real oversight of the industry and establish meaningful criteria for issuing permits to operators. This legislation is a priority for me and I look forward to seeing it enacted.”
Senator Daniel Squadron: “As last week’s tragic crash in the Bronx made clear, it is past time to impose reasonable regulations on the discount bus industry. Today’s unregulated environment is like the Wild West, and that doesn’t work for bus companies, passengers, or the community. Basic regulation at the local level would help enforce safety standards, allow legitimate bus companies to operate their businesses within the bounds of the law, and reduce noise, pollution and chronic congestion that harms the community. I will continue to work with my colleagues and New York City to create reasonable regulations that make discount bus travel safer and more compatible with the community.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn: “The intercity bus business has grown exponentially in the past few years, and with it problems with traffic congestion, sidewalk obstructions, noise and neighborhood quality of life concerns,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I support Speaker Silver, Senator Squadron, and Council member Chin in their effort to allow New York City to create standards and a process for appropriately regulating these previously unregulated businesses, to better manage when and where they make their discharges and pickups to minimize neighborhood disruptions and to require insurance, to best protect the safety and security of passengers and the public at large.”