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YO! Bus Wants to Double its Chinatown Business

By Serena Solomon | September 3, 2013 4:53pm
 YO! Bus is a low-cost Chinatown bus carrier that is operated and owned by Greyhound bus company.
YO! Bus is a low-cost Chinatown bus carrier that is operated and owned by Greyhound bus company.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

LOWER EAST SIDE — A Greyhound spinoff that runs low-cost buses to and from Chinatown wants to double its business and carry up to 2,800 passengers per day.

YO! Bus, which transports travelers between Boston, Philadelphia and New York for as little as $12, will request Community Board 3's support next week to increase round trips at its 2 Pike St. stop from 14 to 28 per day. 

"We are just getting a very high demand from different cities, from their Chinatowns," said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for YO! Bus. "We are at peak capacity."

The company hopes to expand to additional cities, particularly Washington, D.C., after serving more than 150,000 passengers since launching in November 2012, Daly said.

The additional 50-seat YO! buses would pick up and drop off at the same Pike Street stop as the existing buses, and customers would continue buying their tickets online, on the phone or at two nearby ticket booths on East Broadway before boarding buses, Daly said.

YO! Bus is also applying to increase its hours of operation from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., according to documents on CB3's website. The first bus would continue to leave at 7 a.m.

The curbside stop is located on a pedestrian island at Pike and Division streets, which is between a southbound lane and a right-turn lane.  A Citi Bike station is also located on the island.

CB3 will consider the application at a meeting Sept. 10, and then it will go to the city's Department of Transportation for final approval.

A spokesman for the DOT, Nicholas Mosquera, said in an email that the agency is reviewing the application and will make a decision once CB3 submits its recommendation.

Before gaining approval for its Pike Street location, YO! Bus faced aggressive opposition last year when it first applied for a stop several blocks away on Essex Street outside Seward Park.

Another bus company, Asian Express Travel, is also applying for a bus stop nearby at 30 Pike St. and would offer four round-trips daily to Bethlehem, Pa., according to letter from the DOT. A representative of Asian Express Travel, Phil Chen, said he did not want to comment before the CB3 meeting.

Major Chinatown bus operators including Lucky Star and Fung Wah were both shut down earlier this year by the federal Department of Transportation for numerous safety violations.