The Chinatown Bus Study (2009) examines the operations of the private interstate bus companies that load and discharge passengers throughout Chinatown in Manhattan. The bus industry began operating from Chinatown in 1997, primarily serving restaurant workers and other Chinese immigrants residing in New York City. The buses provide an affordable alternative to air travel, which may also be prohibitive for immigrants who do not have resident status. After 9/11, bus travel became even more popular since airline travel became more time consuming and cumbersome. Chinatown buses are also more convenient for the target population since they operate from Chinatown to Chinatown and they are popular because they cost less than other established commercial bus companies, such as Greyhound or Peter Pan, which have been operating for decades.
Arrival and departure locations for private interstate bus companies in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown.
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While the Chinatown Bus industry has grown exponentially since 1997, several problems have arisen as a result of this expansion and a significant strain has been placed on the surrounding community. Reported and observed problems include increased congestion, noise, pollution, litter, crime and decreased safety and security.
This study documents the many attempts by the city to ameliorate these problems. Case studies are presented to indicate how other cities have dealt with the similar problems associated with the Chinatown bus industry, and how the City has dealt with similar problems in the past.
Following a detailed examination of the bus operations, the report recommends that the City institute a permitting process to require the bus operators to pay for curbside use, just as commercial trucks are required to pay for parking.
The master plan is available as a complete document (4.3 mb) or by sections in PDF format:
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