Yo! Bus expansion rejected by community board membersPosted on September 12, 2013 | by Alex HuiBonHoa
The Yo! Bus’ expansion plan was rejected by the Transportation & Public Safety / Environment Committee during the Community Board 3 meeting on Tuesday night.
The bus service, which is jointly operated by Greyhound and Peter Pan, began running last December and offers bus routes from Chinatown in Manhattan to the Chinatowns in Boston and Philadelphia, making 14 round trips per day.
Yo! Bus requested to increase their daily round trips to 28, adding another service to Boston and services to new locations, add more spots in Manhattan Chinatown and expand their hours from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Greyhound’s head of operations, Michael Fleischhauer, who was present at the meeting, said the bus service has served 189,000 people, and there is a demand for more access.
“We have interests from customers to have more trips to Boston and [new trips] to D.C. and Albany,” Fleischhauer said.
CB3 member MyPhuong Chung responded that there does not appear to be a need for more trips. Chung almost always sees at least one Yo! Bus at the stop near her home on his way to work.
“Fourteen daily trips right now is a nightmare,” Chung said. “That is resulting in overcrowding, unsafe intersections and multiple buses at the same location on multiple occasions.”
Other Chinatown residents brought up concerns about pollution from the bus exhaust and the safety of children and seniors walking on the street when the buses unload.
The CB3 members concluded that there is not enough space in Chinatown for bus services to expand. They recommended that Yo! Bus seek expansion elsewhere, such as Brooklyn. They did not have a problem with the expanded hours.
But Fleischhauer said the company wants to stay in Chinatown, as that is where they have customer demand. They may consider expanding outside of Chinatown in the future.
Stern senior Kevin Lu, who has been making monthly bus trips from New York City to Philadelphia for the past three years, said there is a negative opinion about riding Chinatown buses, mainly because of the shutdown of Fung Wah in February.
“Chinatown bus services are talked about as if they’re unreliable, in the worst conditions, hiring drivers without license and drivers not knowing where they’re going,” Lu said.
Unlike some other bus services, Yo! Bus rates do not fluctuate daily. The prices range from $12 to $24.
But vice president of marketing and public relations of Coach USA and Megabus.com Mike Alvich pointed out that Yo! Bus cannot always compete with the fares of Megabus.com.
“Megabus.com popularized the ‘tickets from $1 model for the bus industry and has been the leader in the category since 2006,” Alvich said.
Lu said Yo! Bus still has a chance to compete with Megabus.com if they focus on technological improvements and customer service.
“Those are the two things that Megabus.com doesn’t do too well,” Lu said.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 12 print edition. Alex HuiBonHoa is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to district manager Susan Stetzer, when in fact it was MyPhuong Chung who described the frequency of Yo! bus trips. WSN regrets this error.