Community Warns Megabus, Don't Be a Mega Pain

By Meredith Hoffman on July 18, 2011 6:53am 

Passengers boarded the Megabus at Ninth Avenue, July 13, 2011.
Passengers boarded the Megabus at Ninth Avenue, July 13, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

CHELSEA—A community board is urging Megabus not to be a mega pain.

After complaints that the company's pickup point on Ninth Ave at 33rd Street is a mess of congested sidewalks, double parking and public urination, the transportation committee of CB4 will demand managers to clean up their act.

"We decided to send a letter...to indicate that the situation is not improving," said Christine Berthet, of the transportation committee. "We need to reconvene in September and then reassess the issue."

If Megabus hasn't improved by then, Berthet explained, the committee will either write to ask for more efforts, or for it to move elsewhere.

The committee already wrote an initial letter in June giving Megabus three months to install bathroom facilities and address sidewalk congestion and double-parking.

But James Fritzky, a neighbor and board member of the 34th Street Partnership, said the letters to Megabus are insufficient.

"At the end of the three months, if Megabus doesn't improve, ...the community board will just send a letter to the [Department of Transportation]," said Fritzky, who has been working on the issue for the past year. "People have already been writing letters to the DOT."

Fritzky said he sees Megabus' inconsideration linked to that of the company Bolt Bus, which has also frustrated Midtown residents.

"Both companies seem to be more interested in their own self interest than in working out the problems for us in the areas where they’re doing business," said Fritzky.

"It shouldn't be up to us to tell them that passengers are urinating and defecating behind buildings...or that their buses are double-parked."

Patrick Aitcheson, another vocal neighbor, said that in an "ideal world" he'd be able to walk his dog down the sidewalk without Megabus' congestion.

"New York City is a crowded place. Everyone has to do their part to get along, but Megabus doesn't seem to be doing it's part to get along with the neighbors," said Aitcheson.

"I think the community board's doing its part, but there's a limit to what they can do...The DOT needs to step up to the plate."

Thomas G. Lewis, Executive Vice President of Megabus, wrote in an email to DNAinfo that the company is in "frequent communication with the City and the Community Board" to ensure that the bus operates well.

"Although not required, we have leased space in the Edison Parking lot to move customer queuing off the sidewalk," he wrote. "We also arranged for use of a lavatory in the parking lot, and we have several dispatchers on site at all times."

Department of Transportation spokesperson Steve Gastell has also said the DOT has reached out to Megabus and is working to monitor the situation.

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