NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Private bus companies are growing in popularity as more workers in the area are commuting from outside the city.
But some say curbside bus stops are adding to the congestion in the city, and one business, in particular, is racking up fines, seemingly without any consequences, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.
Like clockwork, a line sporadically forms at the corner of 39th Street and Eighth Avenue. The Carl Bieber Bus Company arrives at that spot 10 times a day.
“Now we have to be outside, no shelter. Rain and snow and the other day there was nowhere to stand here,” said Rafael Montiel of Breinigsville, Pennsylvania.
Montiel is among the many commuters who rely on the bus service to take him from Pennsylvania to New York City for work. The Bieber bus used to operate out of the Port Authority, but after racking up more than $200,000 in unpaid fees it was kicked out. The company continued operating at various curbside bus stops.
“We have been to 32nd Street, Pier 79. We were taking a ferry for a couple of months and then they got this place here,” Bieber customer Edward Capaldo said.
The Port Authority is seeking legal action to collect the more than $100,000 Bieber still owes.
Despite its debt, Bieber was granted a permit by the city for curbside pick up just a stone’s throw away.
“My brother told me this is the cheapest bus to take. It only cost me, it was $28 to take the bus for a one-way ticket,” customer Kevin Coleman said.
The city has more than tripled the number of permits it has issued to commuter bus companies for curbside pick up, as the number of workers coming from outside the region continues to grow. One issue is there’s not enough room in the Port Authority.
The agency, itself, has plans to build a new bus terminal, but construction won’t begin for years, CBS2’s Cline-Thomas reported.
During rush hour, the longer lines for commuter buses add to the growing congestion across the city. It’s a sign of the times, city leaders say, with no clear solution.
“We understand the growing concerns of Manhattan residents about how the growth of intercity bus service is contributing to congestion on our streets,” Manhattan Borough Commissioner Edward Pincar Jr. said in a statement to CBS2. “Identifying appropriate locations for stops is challenging, particularly in Midtown, which attracts more and more commuters and tourists each day. State law requires DOT to take limited criteria into account when reviewing applications, including the impact on public safety. We look forward to continuing to work with elected officials, local stakeholders, and the bus industry to improve bus operations and their effect on our communities.”
Capaldo is like so many others. He has few options and has to get to work.
“It’s just doing what I can do. It sucks. I hate it,” said Capaldo, who hails from Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
For now, there’s nothing he can do about it.
CBS2 called and emailed the Bieber company to ask about the fines multiple times, but it did not respond.