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Bus Company is Using Division Street Triangle Illegally; 311 Operators Unprepared to Take Complaints

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143 Division St.
143 Division St.

In the last few months, the triangle at Division and Ludlow streets has been a battleground in the Chinatown bus wars.  On a daily basis, a company known as Asian Express Travel Inc. has been illegally using the area in front of 143 Division St. to load and unload passengers. On occasion, traffic cops are on hand to write tickets, but that has had little impact.

State law requires intercity bus companies to use city approved, designated bus stops. No bus company holds a permit for this particular location.  A local block association, SPaCE, has alerted Community Board 3 about the situation and members have attempted to register complaints with the city’s 311 system.

Here’s the problem. Numerous residents, upon reaching 311, have been told that the office has no way of recording complaints about intercity buses. CB3 staff have now spoken with the Department of Transportation about the problem. DOT officials are  said to be forwarding instructions to 311 about addressing bus issues.  No mechanism is in place just yet. For the time being, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer tells us, complaints about specific locations should be emailed to the community board ( info@cb3manhattan.org). The board will relay the complaints to the Transportation Department.

She also indicated that the DOT intends to address the enforcement issues on Division Street. The agency’s rules give it the authority to revoke the permit of any company failing to operate legally. A firm going by the same name, Asian Express Travel, holds a permit at 30 Pike St.


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  1. This same kind of thing happened 2 years ago. A DOT rep in one of the evening CB3 meetings said we should all email our complaints/reports to CB3 and that they then would be forwarded to DOT. So why is this new issue now?

    I don’t understand why many people still do not realize that even with a truck load of complaints , DOT does not want to do anything about enforcement, revoking permits, etc. They do not have the staff nor any interest in being bogged down by the huge intercity bus issue.

    They did not want to be involved from the start with intercity bus permitting. That is why they have done almost nothing to promulgate rules, and they pass on virtually all bus permit applications without apparently reading them.

  2. UES / UWS this wouldn’t have happened. Lawsuits! Protests! Not sending an email to CB3 which may or may not be sent to DOT which may or may not fart in our general direction. If anyone is organizing a protest, which can include physically blocking access of the buses to the sidewalk, or a lawsuit, count me in. The LES should stop being the dumping grounds for the DOT.

  3. Finally someone with the approach that will get results rather than the same old game of polite back and forth, with a little statement here, a little CB3 resolution there… All the very genteel cooperation gets the LES nowhere fast

  4. I could be wrong, but i seriously doubt that blocking access will do much more than draw attention and move things around for a couple of weeks. Then it will be right back to the way it is.

    So, I keep trying to look at other org’s, and see how they get real change — they get the laws changed! It really seems like the only way — draft legislation, get council members to sponsor, and then do the ugly lobbying that developers do to get their way. Until you change the laws, I doubt little else will change.

    But, I still think that a bus depot in Essex Crossing would be the best long-term solution.

  5. Certainly reasonable, but the new NYS bus legislation in 2012 aimed at bringing order to the Chinatown bus chaos has so far done virtually nothing to improve the situation.

    Pushing for more legislation would take a very long time, during which time almost each and every corner on the Allen Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway corridor ( and beyond) would get many new bus stops- just like now.

    Meanwhile, beyond legitimate permits, there is still plenty of illegal bus activity going on all over this area (just like this article describes about the Division St. triangle). No one is watching at night when loads of unknown large Chinatown white buses stop here and there.

    Only strong, continuing push-back with demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, etc. with media attention can ever hope to help the LES. There isn’t much time left as each month brings in more and more new bus applicants.

    Here’s hoping that one of the LES’ community leaders will take on this issue.

  6. If laws are being broken as you suggest, then your demonstrations need to take place at the precinct meetings.

    Yelling at the people who get on the buses is misdirected and only engenders sympathy for them. You and your people need to take it to the police office.

    And as for, “one of the LES’ community leaders” — that’s gotta be You.

    You’ll never beat the system. You have to change it. Beware of simple solutions to complex problems. There is no quick fix. You’ll only wear yourself, and worse your supporters, out.

  7. My my.You write: “You’ll never beat the system. You have to change it.”

    Are you unfamiliar with the long American history of demonstrations, protests, and sit-ins that led to important positive changes?

    Who said ‘yelling at the people getting on buses’?

    Finally, I’m smiling as I write this: I have no ‘people’ :)

  8. Never mind. The Chinatown bus situation on the LES is a hopeless issue anyway. Time to throw in the towel…

  9. You could not be more mistaken.

    I ‘walked-the-walk’ as the key person back in September 2012 who first sounded the alarm that Yo Bus was about to go on CB3’s agenda in 10 days. No one believed me then when I told them that we were in great danger of having Yo Bus at Seward Park’s playground. I notified local community activists who quickly got to work because we had to act fast.. People organized their buildings, put up flyers, posted petitions, harangued local leaders, etc.

    I spent night and day tirelessly working, mobilizing, obtaining media attention, pressuring local and State politicians, and most importantly – convincing people to show up in force at the CB3 Transportation meeting on September 11th.

    It was only through all of our work demonstrating that the LES community was a credible force to be reckoned with that finally pushed the recalcitrant NYC DOT to revoke Yo Bus’ newly granted license. I say this kind of grass routes pressure is needed now.

    And now, what have you personally done to help?

  10. There’s no sense in arguing over tactics if there is agreement on the actual problem. I think the solution warrants all types of action, so long as we’re all pushing for the same result. It seems to me that you’ve put your finger on one big problem in our community and that is solidarity; a clear concerted communications plan for those of us who take ownership of our neighborhood. CB3 is a part of the problem that will involve Council Members and the Borough President. We need to exert pressure at the Mayor’s office and elsewhere to move the DOT. I think we do need to work with our Precincts (7th & 5th). We need to replace Margaret Chin. This community needs a solid voting block as officials representing our community live off a very small and active constituency or at least that would seem to be evident in the very low voter participation rates in this community.

    We need to build a strong residents network on the side of the LES.

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