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Lawmakers looking to crack down on discount bus carriers in NYC

As you traverse the streets here in New York City, you will undoubtedly encounter many familiar sights including speeding cars, taxis, bicyclists and, of course, discount bus carriers transporting people to major cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

However, as you likely noticed, these discount bus carriers are becoming something of a nuisance, as they constantly battle for choice curbside locations to pick up/drop off passengers. Now, it appears that state lawmakers are looking to put the brakes on this low-cost transport option once and for all.

This past Monday, city and state officials -- including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin -- held a press conference to announce the introduction of legislation that would require all intercity discount bus carriers to secure permits to use particular curbside pick-up and drop-off curbside locations.

"The streets of Manhattan, particularly Chinatown, have been overrun by private buses with no clear rules on how they are allowed to operate," said Speaker Silver.

The proposed legislation calls for the following:

  • Discount bus carriers would have to pay $275 per bus annually for a three-year permit; Violations would result in fines of up to $2,500 and potential loss of permits
  • Prior to granting permits, city officials would consult with local community boards and provide 45 days for public comment
  • City officials could require discount bus carriers to provide information on the buses, the number of passengers being transported, and where the buses would be parked when not in transit

It remains unclear whether the bill will pass before the end of the legislative session in June. A similar measure passed the Assembly last year but was ultimately shot down by the Senate.

Interestingly, large bus carriers such as Greyhound and Adirondack Trailways are lukewarm towards the legislation, indicating that they will continue to suffer from a competitive disadvantage as they currently pay millions of dollars a year for space in the Port Authority Bus Terminal while discount bus carriers operate curbside for far less.

"As proposed, the legislation is likely to put into overdrive the proliferation of individual bus operators moving out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and on to the streets because of the huge disparity in fees," said a released statement from a coalition of large bus carriers. "For example, Greyhound would likely pay more in a few hours to keep its service in the PABT than it would pay for an entire year if it moves its service to the street."

Stay tuned for further updates on this story from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket or traffic citation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Crain's New York, "State bill would curb 'wild west' of discount buses," Jeremy Smerd, April 23, 2012

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