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NY Officials Push To Regulate ‘Wild West Atmosphere’ Surrounding Intercity Buses

Proposed Legislation Would Create Permit System, Impose Stiff Fines
Passengers wait to get onto a discount bus headed to Boston in New York City. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Passengers wait to get onto a discount bus headed to Boston in New York City. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They specialize in getting you from the Big Apple to other major cities, but lawmakers want take control of what some call a “wild west atmosphere” created by congestion, pollution and crowded sidewalks.

City and state lawmakers announced Monday that an agreement had been reached on what they hope will be the first-ever permit system to regulate intercity buses.

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Council Member Margaret Chin and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan want set to up designated pick-up and drop-off locations as well as require companies to provide information about buses they are using, the number of passengers they are carrying and where the vehicles would be parked when not in use.

Sen. Daniel Squadron has co-sponsored legislation that would impose stiff fines for those who violate the proposed regulations in the bill. He said the legislation would help bring order to the chaotic “wild west atmosphere,” particularly in Chinatown, created by the low-cost buses.

“Too long the streets of Lower Manhattan — particularly Chinatown – have been overrun by private, intercity buses, which have no clear rules for where and how they are allowed to operate,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.

Lawmakers and officials have criticized problems and dangerous conditions for pedestrians that they say result from the intercity buses.

One of the most devastating incidents in recent years involving such buses was a crash on the Bronx-Westchester border that occurred in March of 2011, which killed 15 people. The bus was headed to Chinatown from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

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“This legislation will eliminate the legal blind spot that we’ve had up to now and bring order to the free-for-all that’s existed with buses that transverse from city streets,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

The legislation would also require bus companies to get permits from the city as to where they could specifically load and unload passengers. Violators would be fined $1,000 for the first violation and up to $2,500 for repeat violations and even could have their permits suspended or revoked.

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