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Greyhound Eyes Curbside Bus Stop on Essex Street

By Serena Solomon | August 30, 2012 5:22pm

LOWER EAST SIDE — Heavyweight bus company Greyhound is trying to muscle into the popular Chinatown bus market, with plans to create a curbside stop on Essex Street.

Greyhound, along with low cost carrier Peter Pan, want to turn the sidewalk in front of Seward Park into a stop with passengers scheduled to leave almost hourly between 7 a.m. and 9:15 p.m. daily, according to Community Board 3, which will hear the proposal next month.

"We have to balance the needs of bus companies to those of businesses and residents," said David Crane, CB3's transportation committee chair, which will discuss the proposal at the public committee meeting on Sept. 11.

Crane said the schedule of 14 pickups and drop-offs wasn’t as aggressive as other bus companies in the area.

Greyhound plans to team up with Peter Pan to ferry customers between New York City and Philadelphia, according to Community Board 3’s meeting agenda for September.

The line, which does not own Peter Pan, confirmed last month it wanted to move into the Chinatown bus market.

"We are looking forward to the community board meeting and working with the elected officials in this area to provide them with all the information for what we are proposing to do and the benefits of our services to the community," said Greyhound spokeswoman Carolyn Daly.

Another bus company, the Lucky River Transportation Company, is proposing a stop at 55 Chrystie St. with 17-21 pickups and drops each day.  A staff member at Lucky River, which also goes by the name Lucky Star, confirmed the plan.

Many of the discount companies have faced increased scrutiny following a series of accidents involving carriers with spotty safety records.

Last year 17 people died in two separate accidents involving discount bus services. Then the U.S. Department of Transportation shut down 26 bus lines in May, citing unsafe practices.

A new state law now requires intercity bus companies, which includes the myriad of low-cost Chinatown operators, to only use sidewalk bus stops that are approved by the city.

Under the new state law, all intercity bus companies will have to apply for permits and will only be allowed to park in bus stops that are designated with community input, officials said.

For the first time, the bus companies will also have to disclose information about their fleet, including schedules, where the buses park during layovers, the number and type of buses and the number of passengers each bus can carry.

Any buses that violate the new regulations will face fines of up to $2,500.