Yep Tour Intercity Bus Operator Owes $300K in Fines, Denied Permit by CB3

Posted on: November 16th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
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The years-long battle against intercity buses is gaining more traction.

Yep Tour, a Chinatown bus operator that’s elicited vehement local opposition, was again denied a permit to operate by Community Board 3. The company had applied to legitimately operate on Pike Street and East Broadway (former Yo! Bus stop). This was the second denial in as many years in their bid to legitimize the illegal business.

Yep Tour president Jeremy Walker, vis-a-vis his counsel, tried to kill with kindness, as it were. The team intimated a renewed “commitment” to the community, and wanted to create a “dialog” to ensure they have a “home” in the neighborhood. That they’re growing and changing their sordid past of non-compliance. Walker promised to be more “hands-on.” He spoke about “strict monitoring” of drivers and forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for any tickets (plus suspension); how the tickets-are-part-of-doing-business mentality is in the past; and that the number of routes was reduced to approximately fifteen buses, so not as visible.

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Long lines for Yep buses on Pike St.Pretty much everyone called bullshit, though. Board member/activist Trever Holland noted how Yep has “terrorized the neighborhood” for years with illegal pickups/dropoffs, idling, parking in non-designated areas, and the like. There were questions as to why these improvements weren’t implemented two years ago, when things were so out of control. It was clear that Walker was simply pandering to get the green light, as these alleged improvements started happening right when the application was first submitted.

And then there is the issue of outstanding violations totaling more than $300K. Unpaid to date, according to the NYC Department of Finance. However, because Yep is incorporated in Massachusetts, they’re exploiting a loophole whereby fines are not as easily collected (i.e. bureaucracy).

Even District Manager Susan Stetzer was opposed to the permit, revealing the magnitude of resources currently going into resolution. Apparently, the 5th Precinct (which says Yep is impossible to work with and has no regard for the community), Senator Squadron’s office, Stetzer, and the Department of Finance have been working endlessly to close the loophole. The next step is heading up to Massachusetts. Yep Tour will certainly be the example for future problem buses.

Several neighbors also provided opposition testimony, and the SPaCE Block Association collected 231 petition signatures against the applicant.

In the end, the CB3 Transportation subcommittee seemed to realize that rewarding a bad actor would set a dangerous precedent for other unchecked bus companies. The motion to deny a permit carried, alongside strongly-worded recommendation to the Department of Transportation to that effect.

Yep Tour nevertheless admitted that they’d continue to operate even if a permit remained elusive.

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