By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — New York moved closer to creating a law that would regulate intercity bus travel after the state Assembly voted Monday to pass the proposed legislation in the wake of two deadly crashes last month.
The measure, introduced by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in February, would establish a permit system to create designated curbside pickup and drop-off locations for the dozens of low-cost bus carriers that operate out of the city, mostly in Chinatown.
The measure would also assign a city agency to enforce the permit system, as well as review each operator applying for a permit, to create more accountability for individual drivers and bus companies.
Pressure to move the legislation forward increased following a pair of fatal wrecks involving Chinatown buses last month, including one that killed 15 passengers in the Bronx.
"Many of my constituents, particularly in Chinatown, rely on these low-cost buses, and we have an urgent responsibility to make sure we have a permit system that focuses on the safety and reliability of the companies that are allowed to operate in our city," Silver said in a statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is still investigating the March 12 wreck in the Bronx to determine the accident's cause, also just announced the launch of a broad investigation into the low-cost tour bus industry to review safety regulations that govern the industry.
The driver of the Chinatown-bound bus that crashed in the Bronx had his license suspended after an investigation revealed he allegedly lied about the status of his license, possibly to cover the fact that he had been using multiple aliases and had a suspension under one of those names.