It will soon be up to the city’s Department of Transportation to decide whether Yep Tours’ will get its way on the Lower East Side.
We’ve been telling you about this Massachusetts-based intercity bus operator for a few years now. The company illegally uses spaces on both sides of Pike Street at East Broadway to load and unload passengers. Earlier this week, Yep went before Community Board 3’s transportation committee, which rejected an application for a permit on the west side of Pike Street. The full board is expected to back the committee’s decision this coming Tuesday evening.
We reached out to State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who pushed through legislation a few years ago meant to regulate the Chinatown bus industry. Here’s what he had to say:
Unfortunately, after thumbing its nose at the community for years, ‘Yep Tours’ showed up with a presentation that was long on obfuscation, and short on commitments to protect the community. ‘Yep’ is another example of the need for stronger enforcement of my law that mandates permits for intercity buses, passed in 2012, with the support of CB3, the City, and colleagues. That’s why I formed a working group with CB3, the NYPD including the 5th and 7th Precincts, the Department of Finance and Sheriff’s Office, and Department of Transportation to solve enforcement issues. I thank the agencies for their ongoing commitment.
The draft resolution to be considered by CB3 next week notes that Yep was denied for a license last year, “for reasons including but not limited to operating contrary to New York City regulations for at least two years.” It also states that Yep has collected $300,000 in fines, which it has not paid. The resolution adds, “The Fifth Precinct has communicated to CB3 that it is concerned the authorization of the Pike Street stop for Yep Tours, Inc. would create additional issues for the community’s quality of life.”
The community board will issue a recommendation next week. It is up to the NYC Transportation Department to approve or deny the permit.