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.
At the meeting, Stetzer said she had spoken with Greyhound representatives and DOT officials, who gave assurances that the total number of round trips would not exceed 14. Effective today, there are 8 round trips to Philadelphia and 6 round trips to Boston. DOT officials have promised to come back to CB3 if Yo! asks to go beyond the levels already approved. Stetzer also addressed complaints from residents that Yo! buses are straying from the routes Greyhound officials said they would be following on and out of the neighborhood. Officials, she said, have indicated the city does not have the authority to dictate to bus companies which streets they use.
On Tuesday, the CB3 committee approved two permits for companies operating from a single stop at 18 Allen Street. No. 1 Bus Tour Inc., operating service to Virginia, plans a total of 8 arrivals/departures daily. Eastern Coach, Inc., with service to Washington, D.C., will have 11 arrivals/departures weekly and 15 on the weekends.
Meanwhile, the community board is still waiting on the DOT to implement a new state law setting up a permit system for intercity buses. There was plenty of evidence along Allen Street Monday afternoon that the neighborhood continues to be a free-for-all for interstate bus operators.
Just a few feet from the Yo! stop, this bus attempted to navigate around another carrier on Division Street. We counted six “Chinatown buses” within a two block stretch of Allen Street.
Originally, CB3 had been scheduled to consider an application from Fung Wah Bus Company for a permit at 139 Canal Street. But given the company’s ongoing troubles with the federal government (Fung Wah was shut down due to safety violations March 1), the DOT rejected its request and the community board advised company officials to postpone their appearance. The new Yo! Boston route is meant to capitalize on Fung Wah’s demise.