Streams

The Port Authority Bus Terminal: "If Hell Had a Hell"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 04:00 AM

WNYC

"Functionally obsolete."

That's how Port Authority executive director Pat Foye recently described the agency's over-crowded Midtown bus terminal. TV comedian John Oliver has another name for it: "The single worst place on Planet Earth."

Of course Oliver is exaggerating — but not by much.

The problems begin as soon as you walk in. There's no arrivals or departures boards for the buses. The information booth looks abandoned, and the signage is sparse and bewildering. There are mystery leaks, cell phone dead zones and harsh lighting.

Hoboken resident Adam Wade, who's been commuting on NJ Transit for 16 years, said the Port Authority Bus Terminal has just about worn him down, especially when he works all day and arrives at the station to confront a seemingly endless line to board his bus. "The line moves and then it stops — it could stop for 10, 15 minutes," he said. "It could stop for 25 to 30 minutes."

Rich Barone, transportation director of the Regional Plan Association, is an expert in the terminal's dysfunction. "There's so many people, the gates themselves just can't hold them all," he said. "So you see it all the time: people streaming all the way down the concourse, the lines going on forever."

Wade said the wait can be even worse than it sounds. "No matter what, I will get stuck for at least 10 minutes in front of the Men's Room," he said. "The last place in New York you want to be is standing in front of the Men's Room at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. If hell had a hell, that would be it." 

Barone says the terminal is overtaxed with 7,500 buses competing each weekday for not enough gates. So the buses circle, clogging the streets while spewing pollution. And it's going to get worse: with the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel, which would have doubled train capacity under the Hudson River, the main way to get more commuters between New Jersey and Manhattan is by bus.

The bus terminal opened in 1950 and expanded in the 1970s. Since then, the facility has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, in part by subsidizing NJ transit with artificially low gate fees. The building has been stagnating as ridership has been rising: a third of all New Jersey commuters now herd themselves through the place.

The Port Authority once had plans to lessen the crowding by building a bigger terminal. But Governor Christie's team — the same appointees who cooked up Bridgegate — decided to fund other projects, such as extending the PATH train to Newark Airport and rebuilding the Pulaski Skyway.

But since Christie's first team at the Port Authority resigned in the wake of Bridgegate, there's been a growing sense of outrage over the terminal.  Facing an outcry, the board finally voted to spend $90 million on basic improvements, including upgraded air condition and ventilation, and less dismal rest rooms.

New authority chairman John Degnan put it this way at last month's meeting: "People ought to arrive at work not hot and dirty and tired and frustrated by an everyday experience that doesn't meet normal standards."

But even that admittedly low threshold is a long way off.

The authority is working on a master plan for the terminal's next incarnation, whatever that will be. The plan is due in the fall and is expected to include the option of selling air rights to a developer who'd put up a tower with a new terminal at its base. But that's a decade or more away. So sorry, New Jersey bus commuters. What you have now, with some planned improvements, is what you get for the near future.

Editors:

Andrea Bernstein

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Comments [52]

Commuter from NORTHERN MANHATTAN

Great comments. I would like to see Chris Christy & Andrew Cuomo play commuter for a couple of days. These two seem very clueless to the economic engine which could be if we had a state of the art bus terminals in NYC. Has either of these Governors ever taken the bus or had to use the toilet facilities in the PA facilities. Get off your thrown Cuomo & Christy and witness what the poor middle class have to do daily. Cuomo only hangs with the 1%.

Aug. 16 2014 08:18 PM
Interstate Vom from Boulevard East

Stop the 3x daily shuffle to new gates for the same bus. Each bus should only go to one gate all day long.

The basement of the Port Authority is hideous, unsafe and needs to be monitored more closely. I stepped on a syringe there once.

Aug. 14 2014 02:46 PM
Lynn from New Jersey

Great story. Thank you.
I think that the safety issues at PABT need to be addressed though. Surely there are many!
And if you'd like to make a series of this, please do one on Penn Station. The platforms are hellacious and very unsafe when two trains come into the station at the same time in the morning. I have been in communication with Sens. Melendez and Booker and my congressman Scott Garrett. About 1500 people at one time on the platform...not enough egress to main floor. It is so unsafe.
With Amtrak acting as a slumlord over NJ Transit, the whole thing is a travesty.

Aug. 13 2014 10:06 AM
Washington Heights Resident from Washington Heights

Put a market like the New Amsterdam market in the facility on 179th Street. This is beyond the ugliest building with the most unfriendly staff inside. Port Authority needs to address their hiring practices when it comes to staff with hospitality skills at the kiosks. Then again, HR is a hot mess at the Port Authority on many levels starting with it's leader Pat Foye.

Aug. 13 2014 09:31 AM
Judy Kurland from Pomona, NY

I often use the express bus to get from Rockland County to see Broadway and off-Broadway matinees. Of course, I catch a bus at 11:15 am and I'm in Manhattan in 55 minutes with no problems. Going home is also easy - so I really love the bus and the place- but I'm not commuting when everyone else is going to work. And the senior rate is $5.85 so a real bargain.

Aug. 13 2014 08:29 AM
jet0001 from NYC

You didn't mention that the funds Christie had moved from the Port Authority to the Pulaski Skyway went to a bridge that is OWNED by New Jersey and is NOT under the Port Authority jurisdiction -- and that he did this so that gasoline taxes in NJ, which are the second lowest in the country, would not have to be raised to pay for Jersey's crumbling bridge. As a New Yorker paying increased Port Authority expenses I am outraged to subsidize NJ's infrastructure via Christie's illegal three-card monte dealing.

Some governance – what is it with Christie and bridges? He obviously has no sense of fairness. It's grab what you can to massage your funders and to placate a few under your jurisdiction. That's not leadership – it's brinkmanship. With no regard for the greater good clearly Christie's ship is sinking.

Aug. 13 2014 02:23 AM
atl1

@Victor Sasson from Hackensack, N.J.

No PATH doesn't go to Newark EWR. NJTransit already does, as you pointed out. Which is why it's odd that Christie had his people at the PA secure a PATH extension to EWR, estimated to cost 1.5 billion dollars.

Aug. 13 2014 01:47 AM
Helen Highwater from Baltimore

The Amtrak gates at Penn Station aren’t great either. Maybe not hell, but sometimes I wonder when someone is going to get knocked over and trampled when they announce a train as everyone goes rushing toward the top of the escalator with their luggage, where a few hundred people jostle for the next 15 minutes as if being sucked through a funnel one at a time.

Aug. 12 2014 11:46 PM
Steve from New York

r.e. the bathrooms. For starters, how about putting the dryers at a normal American level! They purposely mounted them SO low as to accommodate people in wheelchairs, but they did this for ALL the dryers so you have to bend down like an idiot. Unbelievable!

Aug. 12 2014 11:42 PM
Mike from Vero beach Fl.

Companies in NY and NJ and create an AM/PM work force that would lessen the commuter foot print

Aug. 12 2014 09:06 PM
Daily Hell Rider from Garden state

I gave up on PABT a few years ago. Too many mornings waiting for the X bus which was always full yet the drivers didn't even stop to see if we wanted to stand. Getting out of PABT is what ended it for me. Besides being late for work every morning, getting home was much worse. The terminal is a hell hole. I used Gate 222 and I tell you, it's an accident waiting to happen. First, you have to navigate around many long wrapping lines of people waiting for other gates. Then at Gate 222 there's only one way up, it's a tall escalator which is turned off most of the time. Reason being, there's way more people that can fit in the vestibule waiting area. The escapolator being off slows the arrival of passengers and it's a bitch of a climb and then, you are squeezed in amongst hundreds of other commuters. I'm now a daily commuter through NY Penn Station, it sucks equally but for different reasons. I hope I retire before they both implode, it's only a matter of time before disaster strikes. And for this, we prepay hundreds of dollars every month. There has got to be a better way.

Aug. 12 2014 08:10 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Honestly, I don't see how selling the air rights to place a building over improves the bus terminal. Unless this will help the PANYNJ make money from the sales, I see this as a bad idea. If you think the traffic around the PABT is bad now, just wait when they are building on top of it. Also, will the place still serve as a bus terminal if the project does occur?

Aug. 12 2014 07:22 PM
Chris from Teaneck

Short term fix: The single most important change is to increase the evening capacity out of PABT. We could have a dedicated bus lane out, limit single occupancy vehicles, banning cars from one tunnel, reduce the number of empty buses out by changing schedules, and limit long haul buses during rush hour. Or move long haul buses to a new terminal (175th st).

Long term fix: None. States are terrible at regional issues. The closest we might get is to have the MTA run NJ transit like they do for Connecticut and merge with the port authority. The politicians would really have to work hard a regulatory oversight. yeah right.

Aug. 12 2014 06:54 PM
MATILDA from Valley Stream NY

In 1954, we lived at 344 West 39th street and would go to the Port Authority during cold winter Sundays to keep warm and or to keep cool on hot summer days. The first Dunkin Doughnuts was there I believe facing the 8th Ave side. It was our place to go when funds were lower than usual. So sad to see it become what it is now.

Aug. 12 2014 06:42 PM
Dave Johnson from Tudor City

To avoid the hell of Port Authority (or the equally torturous Penn Station), move to CT, Westchester or any place that brings you to the heaven of Grand Central Terminal.

Aug. 12 2014 06:37 PM
Diane

Why would anyone put themselves through the PABT from Hoboken when there's the PATH?

Aug. 12 2014 06:05 PM
Susan Marx from New Jersey

I came in from New Jersey to take the Academy bus to Atlantic City from Port Authority on Sunday. (buses no longer go to casinos from New Jersey, how strange is that !!) There was no place to sit and we had to stand on line for the bus for TWO HOURS. There were so many people that we did not get on the 9:00 bus and had to wait for the 10:00. Suggestion: put on more buses. It's a no brainer. More buses means more business. Plus: Give us places to sit as we wait on line or give out numbers.

Aug. 12 2014 06:05 PM
Herb Ouida from Twitter

The Port Authority is a most important economic developent agency for our region. It operates the airports and seaports as well as the World Trade Center. Sad that the ony facility bearing its name deflects from its many achievements.

Aug. 12 2014 05:36 PM
Pwrnyc from Midtown Manhattan

I just made my annual trip upstate via Short Line bus from the PA Terminal and again was reminded that it is the worst, hardest to use, transportation hub I have seen throughout the world. It is easier to navigate and find directions in countries where I do not know the language than to find a sign or directions at the PA. And Short Line does not take credit cards...only cash or debit. One has to get on the long lines a half hour early to be sure of a place on the bus; if you find someone to hold your place you find that for the hundreds of people there are two stalls in the Ladies Room. I will say that the workers I asked for directions were always helpful.
Listening to your report, I realized how lucky I am that I don't go there regularly to commute. What a fate that would be!

Aug. 12 2014 05:34 PM
mmcg from nyc ny

So true...and not to mention the "hustles" that go on by those who are their to help you for a price, or else! It's dangerous. No body that works there seems happy!

Aug. 12 2014 05:16 PM

The women's bathroom on the lower level has been closed "for repairs" for more than two years! And the dryers in the the 3rd floor restroom blow a lot less hot air than any one who works at the PA.

Aug. 12 2014 05:05 PM
linda from les

I don't call it Port Authority, I call it Fort of Poverty.
Lots of homeless were taking refuge there when i moved yo NYC.

Aug. 12 2014 04:35 PM
Victor Sasson from Hackensack, N.J.

Your report mistakenly said PATH was extended to Newark airport; NJ Transit serves the airport. Instead of relying on some so-called comedian from Hoboken, why not just put yourself in the shoes of a commuter trying to get home to Teaneck or Hackensack or another town and get in line for the bus. I am not a commuter, but an occasional user of the terminal on the way to have lunch or see a show in the city. Even commuters want to spend as little time there as possible. And the men's room, which I used in the past 10 days, is adequate. You also forgot to mention new touch-screen terminals that help you find your departure gate, a big improvement.

Aug. 12 2014 04:33 PM

"That means removing the Ralph Kramden statute"- Never! "moving" perhaps. I have to agree, the NJ commuters have it bad because of overcrowding. The building itself is not so bad regards creature comforts. It is clean and brightly lit and plenty of places to eat and drink.

Aug. 12 2014 04:31 PM
Anibal from Norwood, NJ

And what ever happened to the project to renovate the GWB bus station, another entry/exit point for northern NJ commuters? Why was it emptied out and left to fall apart? You want disgrace? Take a walk on the wildside. Head over to the GWB bus station. Good luck.

Aug. 12 2014 02:20 PM
PA still better than Penn from New York, NY

Here here to bus only lanes at the tunnels. Also this:

Rapidly extend the 7 train to the far west side
Build a new terminal on the far west side to house Bolt Bus, Megabus, Greyhound, etc
Use all the basement gates in the north building which are currently used by Greyhound for more commuter buses

Aug. 12 2014 01:36 PM
Harvey Wachtel from Kew Gardens, NY

Haven't been in the PABT in a decade or two, but I use Penn Station (LIRR) twice a day. It's not paradise, but I can't say I see anything hellish about it. Non-ticket-holders are kept out of the waiting room and there are always seats. The men's room is tolerable and is kept clean. Sure I'd rather be in GCT, or Berlin Hauptbahnhof, but hell this is not.

Aug. 12 2014 01:12 PM
Boots

Another thing that causes PABT delays: there is NO dedicated bus lane anywhere around the Lincoln Tunnel. Every time I would be stuck in tunnel traffic on the way from to PABT from Secaucus, I would just look around at all the cars, vast majority were single-occupant vehicles. Then I would see the buses, all packed with people. That way, it becomes pretty clear what one of the major problems is with traffic in NYC: it's still not expensive enough to disincentivize driving into the Island of Manhattan.

Aug. 12 2014 12:59 PM
Commuter from Mt.Kisco

have you ever seen Cuomo or Christy commuting or going near either of the PA bus terminals. They have no clue. Get the ppl from the 2nd floor to be aware of how ppl in the tri-state commute. This is what happens when you are driven around in privledge all your life like Cuomo who doesn't even know where the train station is in his own town of mt. kisco.

Aug. 12 2014 12:40 PM
Melissa from Hoboken

Have you checked out Penn Station recently? Just as bad as PA, except they actually have announcements for trains and a board letting you know if the train is canceled or delayed!

Aug. 12 2014 11:51 AM
Sonja from Teaneck, NJ

Love how your guest describes all the tips and tricks you accumulate going in and out of the PA every day - they're necessary!

Aug. 12 2014 11:34 AM
Geralyn Abinader from Weehawken

Oh please. I go in and out of PA 5 days a week. Yes, it could use improvements - certainly not as nice as Grand Central. But really - do you remember the 70's??? I wouldn't go near the place then. It was terrifying. The worst part about PA is the rude commuters. They do not make it any easier for sure.

Aug. 12 2014 11:26 AM
Jolene from NYC Metro

Has everyone forgotten what a sh*thole it was in the mid '80s? It's The Plaza compared to what it once was!

Aug. 12 2014 11:11 AM
David Bensman from West Orange

The Port Authority manages the ports in Newark, Elizabeth, Bayonne, Jersey City, Brooklyn and Staten Island as poorly as it manages the Bus Terminal. The traffic congestion is terrible, and slows down the movement of freight into and out of the ports. There is no commitment to traffic safety. The diesel pollution takes its toll on longshoremen, truck drivers, and residents of nearby neighborhoods. There is no access to decent bathrooms for truck drivers, so they are forced to urinate on public land. Trucks wait on line for hours without getting paid. Shippers despair of efficient logistics and relocate to other ports, like Virginia, Baltimore,
Savannah. The Port Authority has too many responsibilities, and shaky governance. Talk to the truck drivers trying to make a living driving to and from the ports.

Aug. 12 2014 10:41 AM
Judy Negron from 10036

Not to mention the Port Authority-owned old Project Find building on Ninth Ave. it's disgusting, filthy, reeking of urine, and home to vagrants who often harass passers-by. The PA has warehoused it for years, ignoring request from Hells Kitchen organizations to open it up to a sorely needed supermarket.it is a hideous eyesore in an otherwise newly gentrified neighborhood. The only reason for this callous disregard toward the neighborhood must be the hope of renting it to a high price renter. It's a shame and disgrace, and the new management if the PA should do something about it, since any alternative to a supermarket won't be patronized by those fighting for Hells Kitchens needs.

Aug. 12 2014 10:36 AM
Edna St. Vincent Millay from New York, NY

I think the congestion of the PA might also stimulate questions about bus travel vs. train travel. Buses are always limited to a certain number of passengers. They are subject to traffic delays since they don't have their own right of ways. Should we think strategically about how we can make the PA better by limiting the number of single buses entering the city. Could a more "people mover" system bring thousands and thousands of people into Manhattan more effectively and more pleasantly.

Aug. 12 2014 10:03 AM
Brian from Brooklyn

One thing that would help: more windows. As is, you can be on the second floor and feel like you're in a sub-basement from the '70s.

Aug. 12 2014 09:58 AM
Cathy from Hoboken, NJ

Thank you! Thank you! I called it the hellhole as well. Adam Wade's experience is exactly accurate--mine exactly. I have been commuting from Hoboken for 20 years. Not only are you stuck in an endless , confusing snaking line for your bus in the evening, but it is a cellphone dead zone. You can't text or read on your phone. And he didn't mention the morning commute when after crawling through the Lincoln Tunnel, you are often stuck on the ramps into the Port Authority for up to 15 minutes before you can disembark. Did I mention array of buckets and trash cans and towels on the floor catching water when it rains? This has not gotten the attention it deserves! Thank you!

Aug. 12 2014 09:50 AM
dennis ruckel from Jersey City

when the federal government de funded SRO's (Single Room Occupancy), I remember the Port Authority to be a terrifying place, a place filled with
psychotic people, especially after 8 PM.

The day in the sixties used to be fine. Even the seventies. Then came the defunding and perhaps for other reasons the Port Authority became the haven for
a new phenomenon, the homeless.
I had an uncle who worked hard until he was 65 and would meet us at lunch in dthe sixties, the late sixties. I was a kid. We ate in the only restaurant there. That closed down. I was with a from once, taking a bus, around 1980, and saw my uncle, in declining psychological and physical health, walking with The Living Dead , aimlessly, seeding the past, from 8th to 9th Avenue on the main level. The restaurant had long closed down.
It is true to say that after 8 PM in the early 80's, with the defunding and the new homelessness , a term unknown before, the PA became a terrifying place, not necessarily dangerous , but scary, considering you didn't know if you were in a mental ward or a bus station. It can't be that bad now.

Aug. 12 2014 09:44 AM
Get rid of Pat Foye from Washington Heights

Issue is that the Port Authority refuses to hire professional staff. When will Pat Foye get das boot. 179th Street bus terminal could be a food hub, a place for local businesses - but, run by the fools and incompetent staff at Port Authority where they only hire ppl if you are friends with Christie or Cuomo. Now you got Tutor Perini, Skanska in the mix for future development and these people never ask for community input.

Aug. 12 2014 09:14 AM
Barbara Edelman from New Paltz, NY

Perhaps I'd feel differently if I were a daily commuter -- nowadays I'm only an occasional visitor from the mid Hudson Valley. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I hadn't commuted from Brooklyn & Queens via subway during the 80s and via Conrail (yes, Conrail) during the late 70s. But what's the big deal about the PA? The ladies' rooms are clean. There's coffee. It feels safe at night. Once upon a time -- according to Jersey commuter friends from those days -- it was a drug & prostitute central. You wait for a bus indoors and out of the weather. You get on a bus & get a seat. The seats are comfortable. You go home. Repeat & get over it.

Aug. 12 2014 09:07 AM
Chris from Clifton, NJ

The John Degnan quote proves that he's just as clueless as his predecessor. The problem isn't arriving, it’s departing. It's the vast snaking lines that you often can't find the end of, or which get tangled up in the telephone game of "which bus is this?" so that part of the line ends up at the wrong gate. It's buses that don't arrive in the order they are supposed to, or end up at the wrong door, or just go mysteriously missing. It's NJT's byzantine system of bus routes, and routes within routes via here and there. For travelers new to the terminal, just finding the right gate and door is a substantial challenge. The general decrepitude of the facility is only a minor factor. In fact, the place is in much better shape than it was only a few years ago -- Penn Station is far more of a pit. If customers didn't have to spend so much time waiting for buses, they wouldn't even notice how much of a dump it is. We'd all be better off if the PA would spend some money on managing crowds and traffic instead of wasting it on cosmetics. alanwright's comments in this thread are right on target.

Aug. 12 2014 09:07 AM
Barbara Edelman from New Paltz, NY

Perhaps I'd feel differently if I were a daily commuter -- nowadays I'm only an occasional visitor from the mid Hudson Valley. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I hadn't commuted from Brooklyn & Queens via subway during the 80s and via Conrail (yes, Conrail) during the late 70s. But what's the big deal about the PA? The ladies' rooms are clean. There's coffee. It feels safe at night. Once upon a time -- according to Jersey commuter friends from those days -- it was a drug & prostitute central. You wait for a bus indoors and out of the weather. You get on a bus & get a seat. The seats are comfortable. You go home. Repeat & get over it.

Aug. 12 2014 09:06 AM
La Quifa from Harlem

If this Bus Terminal were located in New Jersey, instead of New York, it would be a paradise.

Aug. 12 2014 09:00 AM
Martha from Hoboken, but Port Authority every working day, baby

Yeah, the Port Authority is pretty terrible, but it is far from Hell. And it is far from where it was in the 80s. Maybe that's why I have trouble with these headlines. I try not to say this too often, but if you didn't visit/live in NYC in the 1970s and 80s, you don't really have a clue about how hellish public spaces could get. Sometimes I just sit in Bryant Park and rub my eyes with my fists like a little kid: am I dreaming? Are the Greenmarket vendors at Union Square all actors? Did Will Smith just buy Washington Square Park and turn it into a movie set? Is this real life?

I have big fantasies about taking a crew of my favorite civic hackers in there, and just data/physically improve the building in a long weekend. Cardboard signs! Putting somebody on the second floor to answer questions! QR codes people could scan to get more information! Tweaks! Just to give a tiny vision of what the Port Authority could be doing NOW.

Here's what the Port Authority also is: There's a great blood donation center there (don't mock, there is) with cheerful staff and cheerful donors. And as crazy as their Au Bon Pain can be at commuter rush times, their wi-fi has been a life saver when I've had to do a quick online meeting. I've had a wonderful conversation with a postal worker (yes, there's a post office there, too) about Shirley Chisholm. And if you slow down, notice the rotating art gallery on the first floor of the south building, which has included art by two artists on the autism spectrum for the past two years.

Still, kudos to the lovely funny Adam Wade for brightening up this article. You are the best.

Aug. 12 2014 08:58 AM
Sherrie

Accept offer of a porter (unofficial) to get you ticket window and correct door for the bus.

Aug. 12 2014 08:34 AM

The most important problems are related: (a) bus delays as they're caught in the tunnel on approach or in the PABT itself; (b) long lines waiting for both commuter and long-haul buses; (c) crowds/ challenges to passage in hallways.

The most important problems are getting commuters IN, THROUGH, and OUT.

Put simply, throughput is the most important factor to improve the PABT. To focus on throughput means:

* improving tunnel traffic flow which prioritizes mass-transit over single car drivers. Buses might move 30-50 people per bus, so this transit should be encouraged by the easiest possible means: increasing tolls on cars. Simple as that.

* speedy arrival and departures. Much of that turns on tunnel traffic.

* management of hallway flow by removing obstructions: misplaced garbage cans and recycling bins placed in walkways; vendor kiosks and carts which are poorly-placed; vendor displays which push into the walkway; public art; maintenance carts, mops, buckets; heavy doors which are closed when they should be kept open (or are they smoke doors?). Most of the doors are heavier than they need to be. Adjust the hydraulics or hinges.

* slow walkers should keep right in hallways, sidewalks, and escalators. Most of us want to get out of the PABT asap. Help us do that.

* management of lines preparing to board. Use conventional crowd-control techniques, such as snaking retractable rope-lines seen as airport security. Use signage at the head and tail of these lines to indicate which line the patron is entering. I understand gates handle multiple bus lines with different routes, so this process may require intervention.

* shorter lines at ticket windows. That means either more electronic ticketing booths or more human beings behind the glass. Use retractable rope-lines (like even the US Postal Services uses!) to provide ONE line for everyone to use. The customer at the front gets the next available window. They are not stuck on the line they joined.

* communicate about delays with large electronic signs. Do not rely on drivers of PABT staff to communicate to crowds (without megaphones), because their messages are not relayed to the back of the crowd.

* change internal policy to keep broken escalators in-service (as stairs) until after 10am and before 4pm. Or fix overnight. Do not take escalators out of service when they can be used as stairs.

* remove or relocate sidewalk obstructions to the east of Port Authority. That means removing the Ralph Kramden statute, which is nostalgic but is a poorly-placed. It also means the throngs of people waiting in that area, many of whom are homeless or addicted, need to have points of intervention and somewhere to go. Blocking the sidewalk doesn't make sense. If necessary, add seats (not benches) to encourage them to the edges of the sidewalk.

Aug. 12 2014 08:19 AM

* more Citibike stations to the south and west of Port Authority (away from Times Square).

* better signage or maps indicating where gates can be found. Modernize these maps to make them more user-friendly. I can think of 5 problems right away. First, where are the other floors? Top and basement floors are not on this map. Second, the color scheme is confusing. Streets should be gray to indicate the north-south geography. Third, the map print and size is too small. Make them bigger and the corridors appear wider, shops smaller. Four, make them into JIF or PDF. Five, the map is insufficient in communicate points of entry and egress. It is non-functional as a fire-safety plan, much less as a guide to passage.

http://www.panynj.gov/bus-terminals/pabt-terminal-map.html

* add creature comforts: HVAC, charging stations, more seating area for ticket-holders (for long-haul like Greyhound, Peter Pan) etc.

* how profitable is PABT rooftop parking? Should it be used for buses and customers instead of as a revenue model (or by employees)? Can it be?

* new facitilies on the West Side.

Aug. 12 2014 08:18 AM
David Morris from Manhattan

Have you checked out the experience of LIRR commuters. Disgraceful.

Aug. 12 2014 07:44 AM
Lenna Nepomnyaschy from New York

Compared to Penn Station, Port Authority is paradise!!

Aug. 12 2014 07:41 AM
Magee from NYC

2nd worst:

The Penn Station Abomination!

Aug. 12 2014 07:39 AM
art525 from Park Slope

So your definition of hell is a place with bad cell reception and harsh lighting?

Aug. 12 2014 07:07 AM

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