Intercity Bus Permit System Rules
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE
The Commissioner of Transportation is authorized to promulgate rules regarding bus parking and traffic operations in the City pursuant to §2903(a) of the New York City Charter and pursuant to New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law §1642-a, which authorizes the City to establish an intercity bus permit system. In accordance with §1642-a, the Mayor designated the Department of Transportation to promulgate rules to implement the intercity bus permit system.
The intercity bus industry has grown significantly over the last fifteen years, particularly as the rates of fare have dropped for travel between cities. Consequently, many bus companies have opted to operate from on-street bus stop locations, whether authorized by the City or not. This has created a concentration of on-street bus operations in particular areas of the City.
While intercity buses provide a useful service, their on-street operations can cause serious disruption to the local traffic network and risks to public safety. The proliferation of these buses in certain communities within the City has led to an increase in traffic and sidewalk congestion, a higher concentration of on-street bus parking in particular areas of the City, double parking or blocking of travel lanes, and the creation of traffic and safety concerns for drivers, travelers, pedestrians and residents.
In an effort to help address these concerns, the State Legislature adopted Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1642-a. Section 1642-a authorizes the City to establish an intercity bus permit system that would, among other things:
· prohibit intercity buses from loading or unloading passengers on City streets, except at designated on-street bus stop locations;
· require intercity bus owners and/or operators to submit an application for each proposed on-street bus stop location;
· establish criteria for assigning on-street bus stop locations, including traffic considerations and the applicant’s preferences;
· provide for consultation with the local Community Board and, where appropriate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;
· authorize the Department of Transportation to issue intercity bus permits and to charge a fee;
· provide for the relocation of an existing permitted on-street bus stop, upon 90-day notice to the permit holder and the local Community Board;
· grandfather intercity buses that currently have designated on-street bus stop locations, by granting them a permit to continue to use those locations for up to three years;
These amendments to the traffic rules (Chapter 4 of Title 34 of the Official Compilation of the Rules of the City of New York) are being proposed to implement this permit system. The proposed rules would amend the definition of “bus” and “charter bus” in §4-01 of the traffic rules and add definitions for “chartered party,” “intercity bus,” and “public transportation” based on Vehicle and Traffic Law §1642-a.
Section 4-10 of the traffic rules, which governs buses, would be amended to:
· clarify that bus operators are only allowed to pick up and discharge passengers at on-street bus stops designated by the Commissioner for that operator and to provide that intercity buses do not fall into an exception to that provision;
· amend subdivision d of §4-10 to establish the intercity bus permit system, in accordance with §1642-a. The existing text of subdivision d, which prohibits the operation of buses on streets except from a terminal, would be deleted to reflect the establishment of the permit system; and
· clarify that bus owners/operators that have been granted authorized on-street bus stops before the effective date of these amendments have a grace period of 30 days to submit an application for an intercity bus permit while continuing to use their current assigned on-street bus stop for a total period of up to 90 days while the permit application is processed.