New York City to Rein in Megabus, Other Inter-City Bus Services

The phenomenal success of private, inter-city bus service over the last five years seemed to take everyone by surprise.

A Megabus stop in New York City. Local residents have complained about idling, crowds and buses blocking streets and sidewalks. Now the city is looking to regulate inter-city buses for the first time. Photo: Foursquare

It’s a testament to their sudden emergence and overwhelming popularity that cities like New York are just getting around the regulating these services, following complaints from residents about idling, crowds and other nuisances.

According to Network blog Mobilizing the Region, the Big Apple is poised to for the first time create a permitting requirement, including designated drop-off and pick-up points within city limits. Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Sam Handler has this report:

Separate bills on the topic have passed the New York State Assembly and Senate, and the legislation unveiled today bridges the gap between them.

The bill would grant municipal control over where the vehicles can load and unload and require bus operators to provide information about planned bus timetables, proposed stops, and off-duty parking locations when applying for a permit. In approving bus stop locations, the city would have to consult with community boards (and, if necessary, the MTA). The city would also be free to charge up to $275/vehicle annually for permits and could fine bus operators up to $1,000 for their first violation and up to $2,500 for further violations.

The legislation, if passed, would address concerns raised by bus riders and Manhattan neighborhoods such as rotating, overcrowded bus stops and hard to find bus arrival information.

Elsewhere on the Network today: PubliCola looks at the next steps in Seattle’s new climate action plan, which is full of good recommendations but lacking in political support. Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth endorses an incremental approach to the region’s $39 million complete streets plan. And Rails-to-Trails talks about a new app developed by “civic hackers” that will help people get around by foot and bike in Kansas City.