Intercity bus operator Yep Tour, Inc. is back in business on the Lower East Side, but State Sen. Daniel Squadron is continuing to speak out against a company with a long history of illegal operations.
Earlier this year, Yep filed a federal lawsuit against the City of New York after the Department of Transportation rejected an application for a bus permit on Pike Street near East Broadway. In a settlement agreement filed April 17, the Massachusetts-based firm agreed to withdraw the lawsuit, which claimed the state’s intercity bus regulation law is unconstitutional. In exchange, the city granted Yep a six-month permit.
In a letter dated today, Squadron and other local elected officials complained to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg about the reversal. “We urge the Department of Transportation to reconsider the decision o grant Yep a bus stop permit.” Community Board 3 has approved at least three resolutions, calling on the city to deny Yep a bus stop. The New York City Sheriff seized three Yep buses after the company failed to pay many thousands of dollars in fines for operating without a permit.
The state law regulating privately operated buses was sponsored by Squadron. The letter stated, “Granting Yep a designated bus stop permit undermines the enforcement of the intercity bus law…”
The settlement agreement requires Yep to pay the city nearly $28,000 in fines and to make weekly $5000 payments until a $127,000 judgment is satisfied. If the firm fails to follow city and state laws, the temporary permit can be revoked. The agreement says nothing about a permanent license. It seems clear, however, that the city will have no choice but to extend the permit if Yep stays clean during the next six months.
We have asked the Department of Transportation and the city’s Law Department for comment regarding this story. We’ll let you know if there’s a response.
You can see Squadron’s letter and the Yep Tour settlement document at the end of this post.
UPDATE 5:15 p.m. The city’s Law Department confirms that the lawsuit has been settled.