The Chinatown bus wars are back. On Thursday evening, Community Board 3’s transportation committee will be asked to support three new proposed bus stops on Canal Street. A block association in the area, SPaCE, is mobilizing to fight the applications. Here’s what’s on the agenda:
- An application from Cash World Tours for 6 arrivals and 6 departures from 50 Canal St. (on the south side of the block, near Ludlow St.). Boarding would occur between the hours of 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. 7-days-a-week. The company runs trips to Buffalo, Philadelphia and Florida.
- An application for Happy Go Travel for 1 arrival (9:45 a.m.) and 1 departure (10 p.m.) from 59 Canal St. (on the north side of the block near Allen St.) The Department of Transportation plans to extend the stop 90 feet in order to accommodate the bus company. Two other companies, Virginia Seagull and Z+D Tours, are already operating from the same location. Happy Go Travel offers service to Columbus, Ohio and New Station, Pennsylvania.
- Further to the west, Diaspora Investment Association (operating as Horizon Busline) is applying for 4 arrivals and 4 departures between midday and 7 p.m. at 139 Canal St. (north side of the block near Bowery). The company is providing service to Boston. One plus: their application states that the city has designated a layover location for their buses on 30th Street, far away from the Lower East Side.
Here’s part of an email sent out last night by Emma Culbert, a founding member of the SPaCE Block Association:
Without the consent of our community, the private bus system in Chinatown has created a de facto bus depot. Our neighborhood is already over-saturated with intercity stops and there seems to be no end in sight… The members of SPaCE and other residents and citizens of our community need to show up and let our voices be heard and our presence be seen. Please come to the meeting at the University Settlement at Houston Street Center, located at 273 Bowery from 6:30-8:30pm. You will still be highly effective if you show up at 7:30pm. It’s time to stop complaining about it and start doing something about it.
View CHINATOWN BUS STOPS in a larger map
A few months ago, another resident, Trever Holland, prepared the Google map you see above, showing the large number of approved intercity bus stops in the area. Holland is the tenant association president at Two Bridges Tower at South Street and Pike Slip. At previous community board meetings, he’s made the case that it’s unfair of the city to approve so many permits on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown, while some New York neighborhoods are mostly free of intercity bus stops.
Local resident, Jacob Cohen, has been documenting problems at a bus stop controlled by Yo! Bus on Pike Street. The photos posted above are from his photo album. Cohen’s wife, MyPhuong Chung, is a member of CB3’s transportation committee. In the past, she’s been an outspoken critic of the Chinatown bus situation.
A state law was passed implementing a permit system for interstate buses. The law requires the city to consult community boards, but so far CB3 has had little success in persuading the DOT that the area is overstaurated and can’t handle more permitted locations.
UPDATE: SPaCE has now started an online petition. You can find it here.