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Transportation & Environment

Request on behalf of the Academy Bus (“Applicant”) to support its application before the New York City Department of Transportation (“DOT”) for on-street bus stops at 618 8th Avenue (39th/40th)

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, March 13, 2014, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 36 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Academy Bus seeks approval from the DOT of an application to operate an intercity bus service between New York City and Washington DC from 618 8th Avenue between 39th and 40th Streets; and

WHEREAS, Port Authority currently operates at or above capacity; and

WHEREAS, In response, over the past 15 years several companies have begun offering low cost intercity bus services from on-street pick-up and drop-off locations without formal authorization from the DOT; and

WHEREAS, Without regulation, a high concentration of intercity bus services has developed in certain areas of midtown Manhattan resulting in increased sidewalk congestion, traffic gridlock, increased on-street bus parking and double parking, and safety concerns for drivers, pedestrians, local business owners, and residents; and

WHEREAS, The State Legislature adopted Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1642-a to address these concerns, empowering the DOT to create a permit system; and

WHEREAS, This law authorizes the City to:

1.      prohibit intercity buses from loading or unloading passengers on City streets, except at designated on-street bus stop locations;

2.      require intercity bus owners and/or operators to submit an application for each proposed on-street bus stop location;

3.      establish criteria for assigning on-street bus stop locations, including traffic considerations and the applicant's preferences;

4.      provide for consultation with the local Community Board and, where appropriate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;

5.      authorize the Department of Transportation to issue intercity bus permits and to charge a fee;

6.      provide for the relocation of an existing permitted on-street bus stop, upon 90-day notice to the permit holder and the local Community Board;

7.      grandfather intercity buses that currently have designated on-street bus stop locations, by granting them a permit to continue to use those locations for up to three years; and

WHEREAS, The location is currently being used by Pyramid Bus; and

WHEREAS, No members of the public commented about these applications; and

WHEREAS, There will be 4 pick-ups/4 drop offs Monday & Thursday; 2 pick-ups and 2 drop offs Tuesday & Wednesday, 8 pick-ups and 7 drops offs Friday; 4 pick-ups and 3 drop offs Saturday, and 7 pick-ups and 7 drop offs on Sunday from the hours of 8:00 AM to 6 PM. 

WHEREAS, Based on complaints and using its discretion, the DOT can revoke these permits in the future for non-compliance and in the case of bad actors; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has expressed concerns about the underlying legislation which sets the annual fee, according to the DOT website, "to cover administrative expenses based on the operator's typical weekly schedule. The fee is $30 per scheduled pick-up or drop-off in the typical week."

WHEREAS, CB5 is concerned that this fee structure doesn't generate any revenue for the City given that valuable City real estate is being used to park and load and unload these buses; and

WHEREAS, CB5 is concerned that there is a significant difference between the costs of parking at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and on-street which could potentially undercut the Port Authority's revenue stream; and

WHEREAS, CB5 believes that a market pricing mechanism which charge bus operators what they would be willing to pay rather than an arbitrary administrative fee would be more appropriate with any revenue ear-marked for transit projects and will follow up with more information in a detailed letter to NYS DOT and NYC DOT; therefore be it 

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of Academy Bus application before the New York City Department of Transportation ("DOT") for on-street bus stops at 618 8th Avenue (39th/40th).   

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