Push to regulate discount bus companies

The News Leader

February 4, 2011 1:34:14 PM PST
They're the fastest-growing form of transportation in the country.

Many discount buses are now operating in New York City, but they are unregulated.

Now, there's a move to change that, and stop what some are calling a "wild west" kind of operation.

"Glad to hear it," said Wai Lau, one of the managers at Sky Express.

Sky Express is one of those discount bus lines. How many discount bus companies are there? Nobody knows because the whole industry is unregulated. It's chaos.

NY Sen. Daniel Squadron

"Right now there's no place for them to park. Buses are everywhere. They are double parking and idling," New York State Senator Daniel Squadron explained.

Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and City Council member Margaret Chin have just announced a new bill to tidy things up with some regulations, bus stops and permits.

"The MTA buses can't stop because they're there -- then they have to double park," Silver said.

Here's just one of the issues: there's no dedicated bus stop for them. In one case, there is just one hour parking right in front of one of the companies where buses pick up people every half hour.

"We have to move buses along then our customers run," Lau said, explaining that the customers often run down the street with their luggage trying to catch the bus.

Frank Sardins is a Knicks fan, business student and discount bus customer.

"They should be regulated," he said, even if it means the price goes up a few bucks. He says it's still a good deal.

For our story we contacted four bus companies -- they all gave the thumbs up. The bill is expected to pass soon and then get the support of the city council.