Gov. Cuomo Signs Intercity Bus Permit Bill Into Law
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The proverbial wild west that was the intercity bus industry is now being reigned in. Particularly the thriving Chinatown bus scene in the shadows of the Manhattan Bridge. Yup, party’s ending.
Congestion, idling, and overall safety concerns led State Senator Daniel Squadron and Speaker Sheldon Silver to pitch the first ever permitting system to both designate bus stops and increase industry oversight on the whole. Their efforts were realized last week when Governor Cuomo signed the bill into state law.
Under the new law (Chapters 402 and 410), the city also has the power to require bus companies to provide information about the buses they are using, the number of passengers they expect to carry, and parking locations when not in use. Violators face fines of up to $2,500 and the loss of their permit.
Here are some of the other stipulations outlined in the legislation:
- Require that bus permit applications include identification of the intercity bus company, identification of the specific buses to be used, identification of the bus stop location(s) being requested, the total number of buses and passengers expected to use each location, bus schedules, and identification of the places where buses would park when not in use;
- Require the city, prior to assigning an intercity bus stop, to consult with local community boards and the MTA (if an intercity bus stop would overlap with an MTA bus stop), and to consider traffic, safety, and applicant preferences;
- Require that applicants, the local community board and the MTA (if applicable) receive notification prior to an intercity bus stop being relocated;
- Require the city, prior to issuing a permit or permanently amending a permit, to consult with the local community board, including a 45 day notice and comment period;
- Authorize intercity bus stops to be temporarily changed for up to 90 days, with written notice to the local community board no more than 30 days after such temporary amendment;
- Establish that permits would be for terms of up to three years, authorize permit fees (up to $275 per vehicle annually), and require intercity buses to display permits;
- Provide for public involvement through the city’s rulemaking process (including public hearings), and through on-line posting of approved applications and all intercity bus stops;
- Provide for penalties for intercity buses that load or unload passengers on city streets either without a permit or in violation of permit requirements or restrictions (a fine of up to $1,000 for a first violation, up to $2,500 for repeat violations, and suspending or revoking a permit).