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Business Owners Speak Out At Hearing On Pickups For Inter-City Buses

Riders Love The Service, But Pedestrians Hate The Crowded Sidewalks
A BoltBus in Midtown Manhattan (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

A BoltBus in Midtown Manhattan (credit: Jim Smith / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city Department of Transportation announced new regulations Monday afternoon in an effort to help alleviate some of the street-side gridlock caused by inter-city bus pickups.

At a public hearing in lower Manhattan, Midtown business owners vented their frustrations over the current system.

Inter-city buses such as BoltBus have been a hit with passengers.

“Size of the seat, the leather seating, the Wi-Fi, the outlets,” one rider told WCBS 880′s Jim Smith.

But the growing popularity means crowded sidewalks and clogged traffic as buses pick up and drop off.

Some passengers said they don’t mind it.

“It’s New York City,” one told Smith.

But for locals, it’s another story.

“Every time you open the door, you’re banging the door into somebody,” said Glenn Harris, who runs a computer school at West 33rd Street and 7th Avenue. “It’s a madhouse. It’s really aggravating.”

People have to fight through crowds just to get to his building.

“Started with one bus and now all of a sudden, there’s like four buses and it’s like, when is this gonna stop?” he said. “It’s just ridiculous.”

Business owners like Noelle Mooney — owner of the Stout and Feile pubs — said it’s been an unregulated Wild West outside her Midtown restaurants, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“My employees cannot walk on the sidewalks to get to work,” Mooney told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman. “And if I applied for a sidewalk cafe, which would be a lot thinner than the lines, you would laugh at me.”

Others complained that travelers and their bags jam sidewalks and the idling buses block traffic.

“Why don’t they get tickets?” Blarney Rock Pub owner Tom Dwyer told Silverman. “The beeping of the horns is enough to drive anybody crazy.”

The popularity of inter-city bus service has forced the DOT to rethink its permit process, and where to allow curbside pickup.

Under the DOT’s plan, bus operators will have to pay for new permits. Stops will be moved if these sorts of issues persist, Silverman reported.

However, current stops are grandfathered in for three years under the new rules.

Some, like Dan Biederman of the 34th Street Partnership, said that provision does nothing to fix the problem going on presently.

“Punting this issue to the next administration, which we know is not the normal Bloomberg way,” Biederman told Silverman.

“[That] would not solve the problem in the very near future,” he said.

He wants the buses moved to less crowded intersections.

A statement released by MegaBus, another discount bus company, read in part: “We look forward to working with the DOT and the community.”

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