Chinatown Bus Permits Aren’t Being Properly Enforced, Town Hall Panel Admits

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 at 5:18 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

GD Tours buses on East Broadway

Quite fitting that on the night of the Chinatown bus town hall, sponsored by Community Board 3, the direct path to the venue was blocked by said intercity buses…

Nevertheless, the show went on. And honestly, it was nothing we hadn’t already heard ad nauseum already. Only this time, it was a dog-and-pony show with some big shots including, among others, Inspector Scott Hanover (NYPD CO of Traffic Operations Division), Charles Oshea (Director of External Relations for NYS DOT), 5th Precinct CO Erik Worobey, Margaret Forgione (DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner), and State Senator Daniel Squadron.

The main takeaway from the discussion was that the intercity bus permitting system elected officials worked for years to pass is pretty much being ignored by the authorities. Police from the affected areas of the 5th and 7th Precincts all but acknowledged that enforcement of the nascent law wasn’t there. Despite all the prior media-friendly assurances to the contrary. That’s really the headline here. This, of course, incensed the legislation’s champion, State Senator Squadron.

This image has been archived or removed.

5th Precinct CO Worobey rattled off some impressive stats about summonses issued year-to-date (941 violations within the jurisdiction, a quarter of which were for “no standing”). Only issue was that these numbers predominantly reflected parking tickets that rack up a measly $115 fine; a cost of doing business, really. Squadron questioned why violations weren’t issued for lack of bus permits. Enforcing the letter of the law could eventually result in revocation of the permit ($500 fine, $2,500 fine for second offense, revoked for third offense), thereby deterring the never-ending cat-and-mouse game. Response given from the panel of cops and agency brass was along the lines of improper “training,” lack of understanding of protocol, and not being properly “equipped.”

In the end, few remedies were floated. CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer was able to elicit a hollow promise that the officials do a better job of enforcing post-meeting. City Planning’s potential solution of using battery-powered buses to help solve the problem only stoked residents’ frustration at the clusterfuck; activists from the SPaCe Block Association brought up a bus depot outside the neighborhood, further to the point of customers being from without; DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Forgione hinted at cracking down on bus permit renewals and new applications from bad actors and those with an adverse reputation.

This image has been archived or removed.

Other highlights from the town hall:

  • Residents remain disillusioned. A town hall is nice, but at the end of the day, the panel isn’t going home to a curbside bus depot. One local, in particular, called out NYC DOT for double-speak, noting that the stated criteria for installing a stop contradicts what happens on the ground (i.e. Yo Bus near Seward Park). Moreover, that CB3 mentions time and again that DOT usually rubber stamps new bus permit applications regardless of the advisement at community level.
  • 311 is notorious for its limited capability to handle complaints/reports regarding Chinatown buses. So, while the authorities stress the importance of logging via 311, the system could rarely absorb the scope of the issue. We learned last night that the service can now accept more granular feedback such as lack of permits and pickup/dropoff infractions.
  • An excuse for the over-saturation was uttered several times last night; that the buses go where the customers are. This was refuted heavily by the public in attendance. How most of the bus passengers are outsiders, hailing from all corners of the Five Boroughs to Chinatown specifically to capitalize on baby fares.
  • The Chinatown Parntership under Wellington Chan will work to advertise the good carriers and to avoid the bad players. Those rogue companies are spoiling it for the rest.

What do you think would be a good starting point for a solution?

This image has been archived or removed.

Recent Stories

New Condos Teased at 15-Story ‘One Essex Crossing’

Each month brings more significant updates for Essex Crossing. On the heels of the International Center of Photography launching its new flagship, the billion-dollar Lower East Side development this week rolled out more info about the CetraRuddy-designed condo tower at 202 Broome Street (aka Site 3). Dubbed One Essex Crossing, the fifteen-story newcomer features 83 […]

Broome Street Gets an Exclusive Nightclub by Omar Hernandez

Where Happy Ending once tormented this Broome Street block, and Better Days was anything but, something uber-upscale is now replacement. Perhaps even too upscale for its own good. By now you’ve probably seen the well-placed hype pieces about the newest nightclub at 302 Broome Street, led by nightlife impresario Omar Hernandez. He converted the space […]

Ten Injured, Including Firefighters, in Massive Mulberry Street Blaze Last Night [Updated]

The three-alarm blaze that engulfed 70 Mulberry Street last night spread quickly, destroying the upper levels of the historic Public School 23. The fire started shortly after 8:45pm on the fourth floor. Firefighters from Ladder 20 and police from the 5th Precinct were the first responders. More than two hundred fire personnel ultimately arrived to […]

3-Alarm Fire Engulfs PS 23 Building on Mulberry Street

Shortly before 9pm this evening, a three-alarm fire was sparked at 70 Mulberry Street (at Bayard). Within minutes, the historic building – erected in the nineteen century as Public School 23 – was in flames. More than one hundred firefighters were called to the scene to battle the blaze which is apparently confined to the […]

The Year of the Rat Scurries In

It’s the Year of the Rat! This week marks the 21st year of New York City’s Lunar New Year celebration, and no doubt the organizers are scurrying around in preparation for a veritable smorgasbord of festivities. As in years past, the festivities will kick off with the explosive Firecracker Ceremony Saturday morning at 11:00am (January 25) […]