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Greyhound Clears Hurdle in Effort to Enter Chinatown Bus Market

By Serena Solomon | November 15, 2012 7:11am

CHINATOWN — After months of controversy, bus operator Greyhound is likely to get permission to stop in Chinatown.

Greyhound, along with co-carrier Peter Pan, expects to begin operating their budget brand YO! Bus in the neighborhood by mid-December after the transportation committee of Community Board 3 backed its plan.

The buses would stop at the median strip along Pike Street at East Broadway, offering up to 14 round trips to Philadelphia at $10 one way.

The location was Greyhound's second choice. The community aggressively shot down its initial proposal in September for a stop outside the Seward Park Playground on Essex Street.

The committee voted 3-0, with one abstention, to give Greyhound a trial period of nine months.

The full board of CB3 still needs to rubber stamp the plan, which it is likely to do at its full board meeting on Nov. 27.

Christian DiPalermo, representing Greyhound, YO! Bus and Peter Pan, said that staff would be at the stop to ensure orderly boarding and disembarking for passengers while keeping the area clean of trash.

He also said there would be staff at a nearby ticket office at 98 East Broadway where passengers would wait for their bus. There would not, however, be any public bathrooms either at the office or at the curbside bus stop.

"The bathroom will be on the bus," he said.

While Greyhound requested a three-year permit, it yielded to the committee's request for a nine-month trial period. 

Wellington Chen, who spoke on behalf of the Chinatown Partnership, called the location of Greyhound's proposal "logical" for a curbside bus stop.

He also presented the board with 1,700 signatures supporting the Chinatown low-cost buses in an attempt to redeem the tarnished industry after 17 people died in two accidents last year.

"This is a critical, critical industry for Chinatown," Chen said.

He estimated that six million riders board an intercity-bound bus in the neighborhood each year, spending about $100 million in tickets sales.

However, Chen did warn Greyhound that he wanted to see locally owned operators flourish as well.

"We welcome you for friendly competition… but I want them to survive as well," he said.