Responding to member concerns about increased bus enforcement initiatives by the City of New York to address the unprecedented number of migrants arriving in the city, ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso sent the following letter to NYC Mayor Eric Adams:
Dear Mayor Adams:
On behalf of the American Bus Association (ABA), and the entire motorcoach industry, I am reaching out to raise concerns about the new bus/motorcoach enforcement initiative the City of New York is undertaking, in an effort to address the unprecedented number of migrants arriving in the City. Although we appreciate the gravity of the situation, we note that safe, long standing bus/motorcoach operators who provide valuable transportation services to the City are inadvertently being swept up in the action and penalized unfairly. We would like to work with you to ensure this essential transportation industry is not further drawn into this national political crisis, and allow numerous safe, legally compliant bus/motorcoach operators to provide their essential services without fear of unjustified enforcement activities.
The ABA represents the private bus and motorcoach industry, along with group travel and tourism. ABA’s membership has over 800 bus and motorcoach operators as a part of its overall 3,000 members. The bus and motorcoach industry were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing unprecedented economic fallout for both operators and supporting manufacturing and supply industries. Today, we continue to face an uphill battle toward recovery, based on inflation, high fuel prices, and employee shortages.
In the New York area, the Port Authority Terminal manages over 8,000 buses/day, with 20 or more regularly scheduled operators serving the terminal facility. Other facilities and permitted spots around the City also serve thousands of buses/day. These operators provide invaluable services to the City by transporting commuters and workers on a daily basis, along with bringing tourists to the City, all while alleviating congestion. However, we are now hearing daily from our operators of unwarranted inspections to the point of harassment.
Please understand, we fully support taking all measures to ensure the safe transport of passengers. But we note, federal law limits enforcement personnel from conducting bus inspections while the vehicle is enroute, unless there is an imminent hazard or obvious safety hazard. Further, inspections are only to be conducted at bus stations, terminal or maintenance facilities, or at planned stops. From what we are hearing, these limitations are not being observed. As well, based on the citations being issued, safety does not appear to be the paramount concern. Instead, this initiative appears to be unfairly singling out the bus/motorcoach industry, putting this key mode of transportation at a competitive disadvantage to other modes of transport and embroiling it a political fire storm.
Further, we are hearing that inspections being carried out by the City’s police department are being done by individuals who do not understand how motorcoaches work and are issuing citations for items that are not safety hazards.
The bus and motorcoach industry does not deserve this treatment. As an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, that provides key transportation services in a safe and cost-effective manner to the City for daily commuters and tourists, and particularly supports underserved communities, there must be a better way.
I look forward to working with you, as expeditiously as possible, to address our concerns in this matter.