Monday, May 07, 2012
The buses stay at the sidewalk... right in front of the bus station.
That's what New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told reporters Monday: discount bus carrier Megabus can continue to pick up passengers at the curb right outside the city's main bus terminal. "For now, they're going to stay," she said, before adding a caveat: "This is not a permanent solution."
As curbside bus ridership--including so-called Chinatown bus companies--has risen faster than any other mode of transportation, the prevalence of idling motorcoaches on city streets around the country has caused frustration. Neighbors bemoan the crowded sidewalks. Fellow drivers say the buses clog traffic and take up parking spaces. And the proprietors of bus stations, along with the companies that pay to use them, cry foul when a curbside carrier picks up passengers just a block or two away from the terminal. That's what Megabus has been doing near New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
The Port Authority of NY/NJ, the agency in charge of the terminal, is one of those complaining. Executive Director Pat Foye has called for Megabus to move to another location.
Sadik-Khan said she hadn't spoken to the Port Authority about the problem. But she explained that, "we moved [Megabus] there because of the safety and congestion concerns that we got in front of Penn Station," about 10 blocks away. "What we really need is a comprehensive solution." NYC DOT has long petitioned state legislators to allow it greater control over where curbside carriers can stop. Right now the state holds that power. It is not clear how the NYC DOT would comprehensively re-order curbside pickup locations if it had the authority, but the agency is in talks with local community boards about suggested locations.
Washington D.C. started charging a fee last year on curbside buses for using parking spaces, which are city real estate. Shortly thereafter, D.C. moved discount carriers off the curb into a special section inside the parking lot of Union Station train terminal, a few inconvenient blocks away from the city's lamented bus station. That plan has generally been well received.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
(New York, NY -- Tracey Samuelson, WNYC) The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey doesn’t want Megabus to be able to pick up passengers on the sidewalk outside the West-side bus terminal, New York City's main bus station.
The city’s Department of Transportation gave the discount carrier – known for occasional $1 fares – a three-month trial permit to operate on West 41st Street outside the terminal, which expires in early May.
“It’s a danger to people trying crossing that street, whether they’re trying to access Megabus or not,” said Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, while speaking at a Crain's New York Business forum Tuesday morning. “We're going to take a vigorous position that that pilot program not be renewed and that Megabus and other operators be moved someplace else.”
A coalition of bus operators including Greyhound Lines, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Adirondack Trailways has already made a similar request of the DOT, arguing it's unfair that they have to pay for the right to operate out of the bus terminal when Megabus can park outside for free.
City DOT spokesman Scott Gastel offered little indication of whtat the city will do. "We continue to inspect the Megabus site, and will consult with both Community Board 4 and the Port Authority next month as the 90-day period ends, taking all feedback into account as we make our evaluation," Gastel said.
TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit's Furious Bus Riders, NYC Taxis To Remove "Off-Duty" Signs, LA To Get More Bikeways
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Transit, Jobs, Construction Noise: Rockland Residents Air Worries About Swiftly Approaching Tappan Zee Bridge Project (Link)
Transit Museum Forum on Back of the Bus is TONIGHT (Link)
NY City Council Bill Would Up Electric Bike Fine (Link)
Study: Only 28 Percent of Neighborhoods Affordable (Link)
As GOP Struggles in Michigan, Obama Chortles — Says Fuel Efficient Cars Will Save $8000 (Link)
New Prospect Park Drive: Defined Lanes, Less Room for Cars (Link)
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica thinks that critics who believe Congress can pass a better transportation bill next year are “smoking the funny weed.” (Politico)
Detroit transit riders are outraged over huge bus cuts -- and the mayor's hiring of a private contractor to manage the city's troubled transportation department -- and plan to seek federal help in reversing the mayor's decisions. (Detroit Free Press)
New York Times editorial: the proposed Tappan Zee greenway "could be a splendid public attraction." (Link)
NYC cabs will have to start removing their taxi-top 'off-duty' signs to make way for the new system: available if the medallion number is lit, or unavailable if it’s dark. (New York Daily News)
Rules requiring rear-view video cameras in cars have been delayed again. (AP via Yahoo Finance)
Megabus' weighty double-decker coaches, currently being investigated by New York's Department of Transportation, have run afoul of authorities from Canada to Maryland. (DNA Info)
Worried Democrats want Obama to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices. (The Hill)
The mayor of London said some lines on the Underground would have driverless trains in two years. (Telegraph)
Commercial truck traffic on the NJ Turnpike has declined by 7.5%; high fuel prices and last month's toll hike are cited as possible reasons why. (Star-Ledger)
Nearly five months after a $50 million HOT lane project opened in metro Atlanta, drivers remain dubious, the impact on traffic is unclear, and many questions remain unanswered. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
830 miles of new bikeways have been approved for Los Angeles County. (LAist)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
NY City Council Summons Police on Traffic Crime Investigations (Link)
Transpo Bills Set Off on A Long, Bumpy Road (Link)
NY MTA Chief Apologizes for Rat Comments (Link)
DOT Head Ray LaHood Takes Another Whack At House Transpo Bill: It “Takes Us Back to the Horse and Buggy Era” (Link)
Brooklyn Bike Lane Lawsuit Rolls into 2012 (Link)
New York Senate Votes to Restore a Tax Break for Transit Riders (Link)
USDOT: On Time Airline Arrival Highest in 17 Years (Link)
Regulators Soon To Release Reports On Yellowstone River Pipeline Break And Oil Spill (Link)
New York has asked the federal government for a $2 billion loan to help finance the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. (Bloomberg)
And now transportation sits firmly atop the political agenda. (AP via Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
The Port Authority will spend half a billion dollars to renovate the George Washington Bridge. (nj.com)
Nine New York city cyclist deaths that raise questions. (MetroFocus)
A New York law cracking down on distracted driving has generated nearly 119,000 tickets statewide to motorists using their cell phones or texting while driving since July. (New York Daily News)
The green paint used in Los Angeles' bike lanes is not digitally erasable -- causing some film crews to have to relocate to bike lane-free streets. (Los Angeles Times)
Chicago's transit agency wants customers to know that its survey about "hypothetical fare scenarios" doesn't mean that it's hiking fares. (Chicago Tribune)
A group of bus companies is suing New York after the city's Department of Transportation gave Megabus a free spot outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (DNA Info)
Australia pours money into its car industry while slapping huge tariffs on used cars...but some are arguing for the New Zealand model, where second-hand cars are much cheaper. (The Global Mail)
DC's Capital Bikeshare has hit 1.5 million trips -- in less than a year and a half of operation. (TBD)
New York is phasing in new benches in its subway system. Goodbye, wood; hello stainless! (New York Daily News)
Thursday, February 09, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
US Chamber of Commerce: House transit cuts could pass (link)
Crossing Delancey Street will soon get safer (link)
LaHood says high-speed rail in California is all about jobs (link)
FTA head Peter Rogoff joins list of officials who hate the transportation bill (link)
Photo: the ugliest rat (link)
A New York Times editorial provides a "brief and by no means exhaustive list of the (transportation) bill's many defects"; calls it "uniquely terrible." (New York Times)
And: NYT critic: move Madison Square Garden to far west side to fix Penn Station. (New York Times)
Pennsylvania's governor didn't budget for transportation because its problems are too overwhelming. "This is not a budget item. It is too large for that. Transportation must be confronted as its own distinct and separate topic." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
A German carpooling website plans to enter the U.S. market. “We think all trips by car could be shared,” says the founder. “Whenever you want to go with your car, you could take people with you, and therefore reduce carbon emissions and your costs.” Everybody say Mitfahrgelegenheit! (The World)
The four consortiums picked to bid on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild include some of the world's most successful construction companies -- and some with histories of delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns. (Journal News)
Why is there an uptick of cracked rails on the DC Metro? (Washington Post)
A pair of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey are pushing legislation to roll back last summer's Port Authority toll and fare hikes. (Star-Ledger)
Manhattan's Hudson Square neighborhood sees bike boom, installs more racks. (DNA Info)
Megabus is moving its Manhattan pickup site -- and doesn't have to pay rent. (DNA Info)
A map that replaces London Underground station names with anagrams is getting second life. You can get from Arcadian Noodle to Satan Dew, and you don't even have to transfer at Mind Eel!
TN MOVING STORIES: Port Authority Toll Hike Can Stay, For Now; SF To Test Drive Electric Bike Share, and Megabus Too Heavy for NYC?
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN: The Senate gave final approval to a four-year authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. The world may be falling apart, but at least you'll be safe in your car: that was the theme of ads during the Super Bowl. And: a group of New York officials painted a doomsday scenario if a Republican plan to slash transit funding comes to pass.
More unhappiness with recent transportation legislation comes from New York Congressman Nadler, who writes an opinion piece calling the GOP bill "a dagger aimed at the hearts of urban and suburban areas across the country." (The Hill)
Megabus' fleet of double-decker buses exceed the legal weight limit for NYC streets, according to a New York State police study. (DNA Info)
Hills? No problem! San Francisco will test drive an electric bike share program. (New York Times)
Why does it take decades to build a subway system in the U.S.? Seven reasons, from Salon.
Italy has imposed emergency measures on businesses to conserve gas supplies as freezing weather continues to grip the country and much of Europe. (BBC)
A strike by French aviation workers is now in its second day. (CNN International)
Airline passengers are getting creative about how to save on baggage fees. (New York Times)
Illinois' governor signed a law that allows Chicago to use automatic speed enforcement cameras to monitor drivers around the city's parks and schools. (WBEZ)
To keep people from riding on the roofs of trains, Indonesia will swat them with "brooms drenched in putrid goop." (AP)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Unfinished subdivisions in Arizona have led urban planners to suggest "smart decline" strategies that sometimes even dismantle existing infrastructure. (NPR)
Hydrfracking moves to the suburbs. (Marketplace)
Friends don't let friends walk drunk, because "every mile walked drunk, turns out to be eight times more dangerous than the mile driven drunk."(Freakonomics)
California's plans to use Amtrak as a fallback for high-speed rail are coming under fire -- from Amtrak. (Los Angeles Times)
Megabus wants the feds to restrict--or break up--rival BoltBus. (Bloomberg via Crain's New York)
A red-light traffic camera manufacturer made a video of New Jersey intersection crashes and near-misses. (Star-Ledger; video)
Tweet of the day, from the Detroit News's David Shepardson: Ad in @BostonGlobe: Boston-area Saab dealer offering new Saab with $17,000 discount off MSRP
Monday, May 02, 2011
Robert Schwarz, Executive Vice President of Peter Phe said, “it's definitely increasing and we’re very optimistic for where it’s going to go this summer.” He added of rising gas prices, “it’s very good for the intercity bus industry” because travel is a discretionary item and habits can change with relative costs.
With gas over $4 a gallon, filling up the tank to go to Washington, D.C. can cost $60. You can get three bus tickets for that.
MegaBus has been expanding fast in the past few years, so it's hard to tell how gas prices might affect growth. Dale Moser, COO of MegaBus, said, that comparing ridership to this time last year on the same routes, the growth is "significantly greater" than projected, adding some of that "has to be somewhat related to gas." He cautioned, they do not ask riders to give the reason they choose the bus over driving when the buy a ticket.
Maureen Richmond of Bolt Bus had a slightly different report. For over a year, her company has been operating at above 95 percent capacity on weekends. So growth in ridership is difficult to identify, she says. But for weekday service, there's been a "slight uptick in passenger travel" in recent months. Bolt Bus is jointly owned by Greyhound and Peter Pan.
Overall, buses, particularly curbside pickup buses, are the fastest growing mode of intercity transportation. Professor Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University studies the industry. He says, "the evidence suggests that ridership is up at least 33 percent now versus a year ago with all the new service as well as heightened fuel prices, but exact numbers are elusive." Pittsburgh recently added a bus hub that he says also contributed to new ridership numbers overall.
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