If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to travel, consider Megabus. You can go from Minneapolis to Chicago or New York to Baltimore for around $20 dollars if you buy your ticket on the correct day. It’s a service favored by college students and others who are short on cash and willing to be flexible about where the bus drops them off. The buses usually stops near a city center, but not in a bus terminal. Rather, passengers are loaded and unloaded on the sidewalk – no ticket counter, no restrooms, no snacks.
However, in New York City, the drop-off and pick-up spots for Megabus are right outside the Port Authority bus terminal, on West 41st Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. This has several groups up in arms. Other bus companies are protesting bitterly, saying that they are paying millions for the use of the terminal, while Megabus gets a free ride. Neighborhood groups, such as the Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety, have raised concerns about traffic and pedestrian accidents.
A group of bus companies that include Greyhound Lines, Peter Pan and Adirondack Trailways, sued the city, charging that the city’s action in allowing Megabus to conduct business right outside of Port Authority gave it an unfair advantage. However, a judge recently dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the plaintiffs did not show how they would be harmed by having Megabus park on West 41st Street.
The neighborhood around West 41st Street is also concerned. Last month, police cited a Megabus vehicle for being 5,000 overweight in the Lincoln Tunnel. The double-decker buses used by the low-cost carrier are typically bigger and heavier than most intercity buses and thus harder to stop and turn. Moreover, the increased traffic – both vehicular and pedestrian – has raised additional concerns.
Megabus formerly operated at 33rd Street and 9th Avenue. The Department of Transportation said that it moved the stopping point for the carrier because of property development taking place near the former location. It has not said why it chose 41st Street.
The coalition of bus companies reports that it collectively pays $6 million annually to the right to use Port Authority bus terminal. Megabus pays nothing to stop right outside.
Source:Crainsnewyorkbusiness.com. “Bus battle hits the streets,” by Daniel massey, Apr. 22, 2012.