Under new regulations passed by Albany last month, curbside bus companies must now go before community boards before receiving a permit from DOT. Greyhound and Peter Pan, jointly launching service to Philadelphia from Chinatown, are among the first to navigate the new process. The bus companies are facing stiff opposition from neighbors before a community board committee vote next week.
The expansion of intercity transit wouldn’t come down to community-level fights if capacity limitations at the city’s transportation hubs were addressed. In the meantime, buses will continue to be kicked to the curbs.
Growing demand for commuter and intercity transit has pushed NYC’s existing terminals and tunnels to their limits. The problem is especially problematic for travelers who cross the Hudson River.
Penn Station is connected to the rest of the country by just two tracks, and in the wake of Chris Christie’s cancellation of the ARC tunnel, any expansion will be a very long time coming.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal, where commuter buses have shouldered the demand that the rail system cannot, is operating beyond its capacity, with riders facing mounting delays that show no sign of dissipating.
Now that the Port Authority has filled up, New Jersey Transit is considering using Midtown streets as loading zones for its commuter buses. Chinatown-based intercity bus operators have long offered curbside service; competitors owned by major carriers have joined them in recent years.
A new state law allows the city to regulate curbside pickups, giving the practice some added legitimacy. Instead of expanding capacity at existing hubs, New York has converted its streets into its latest bus terminal.