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City Seizes Three More Chinatown Buses, Demands $127,000 in Fines

By Allegra Hobbs | February 3, 2017 1:37pm | Updated on February 6, 2017 8:45am
 The sheriff seized three buses operated by YEP Tour Inc. on Thursday.
The sheriff seized three buses operated by YEP Tour Inc. on Thursday.
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Courtesy of NYC Department of Finance

CHINATOWN — The city has seized another three Chinatown buses run by YEP Tour Inc. and demanded the company pays $127,000 in fines.

It brings the number of YEP buses taken by the city for illegal operation in the past month to six.

The company had applied for a city permit last year to load and unload at the corner of Pike Street and East Broadway, which was vehemently opposed by the local community board, but has continued to operate without the permit. The Department of Transportation on Friday confirmed the permit has been denied. 

In total, the rogue bus company has accrued roughly $300,000 in fines for parking and loading and unloading passengers without permits in Chinatown, according to State Sen. Daniel Squadron's office.

The city's sheriff in January began seizing the buses to collect the money, aggressively cracking down on the company that's known for illegally clogging intersections. 

“We take the enforcement of these court orders seriously and will continue to work collaboratively with the NYPD to ensure public well-being and safe travel," said Sheriff Joseph Fucito in a statement. 

The three recent seizures happened on Thursday afternoon and evening — one was seized at 35 Division St. at 3:21 p.m., another at 104 E. Broadway at 6:10 p.m. and the last was seized at 75 E. Broadway at 6:32 p.m, according to the city Department of Finance.

YEP must pay $127,051.26 plus towing and storage fees in order to reclaim the buses, according to the finance department. It was unclear as of Friday morning whether it had paid the fines.

The sheriff first seized two YEP buses on Jan. 11, collecting around $11,000 in fines plus administrative fees, then seized one more on Jan. 26, collecting $3,700 plus administrative fees.

Community members praised the aggressive action. YEP had continually flaunted local laws as it parked and loaded and unloaded passengers on crowded Chinatown streets without a permit from the Department of Transportation, often blocking intersections and limiting neighbors' mobility, according to the local community board which last year passed a resolution asking the DOT to withhold its permit.

The string of seizures come years after Squadron penned a law mandating that bus companies must apply for permits to use designated bus stops. 

A representative for YEP could not immediately be reached.