The intercity bus industry has grown significantly over the last fifteen years, becoming an increasingly popular option for people traveling into New York City from other cities. While these buses provide a useful, low-cost transportation option for New Yorkers, they can cause disruption to the local traffic network through increased sidewalk and street congestion and heavy usage of the city’s curbside space.
DOT has been authorized by the New York State Legislature to implement a permit system for intercity bus operators. This system requires intercity bus operators to apply for a permit from DOT before they can make on-street stops in the city. The permit approval process will include consultation with local communities and the MTA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where appropriate, ensuring the involvement of stakeholders in the process.
Read the City Traffic Rule on intercity bus permits Apply for an Intercity Bus Stop Permit Download a list of approved bus stop locations (pdf)
Intercity buses that operate scheduled service into or out of the city are prohibited from loading or unloading passengers on city streets except at designated locations, and must obtain a permit from the DOT in order to do so. If your company is currently operating or wishes to operate regularly scheduled bus service into or from the city from on-street bus stops, you need to apply for a permit. School buses, charter buses, buses that operate within the city, and buses providing government-contracted public transportation do not need permits.
Permit holders must follow all items set forth in the intercity bus permit, in the Intercity Bus Permit Rules and all other New York City Traffic Rules. Permit holders must also ensure to have and maintain all other required governmental authorizations and insurance.
Applying for a Permit
Intercity bus operators are required to submit an application for each proposed bus stop location. The application must include information about the operator, including:
- Contact information
- Federal and State Motor Carrier Identification Numbers for each bus
- Proposed bus stop location and two alternate locations
- Schedule of bus service to and from proposed location(s)
- Vehicle type
- Planned route into and out of New York City
- Bus layover/storage location when not in operation
The process of obtaining a permit can take up to 150 days from the time that all of the required information is provided by an applicant to DOT.
For each permit application, DOT considers criteria related to traffic and pedestrian flow, public health and safety, the preferences of the applicant, location of planned parking garage or other parking location during periods when the bus is not in operation and includes input from the Community Board and affected agencies.
Bus stop permits are issued for a period of up to three years.
Some bus operators have pre-existing letters of authorization from DOT allowing them to operate at certain bus stops. These operators must apply for an intercity bus permit by August 24th, 2013. The law allows that these operators be allowed to continue to use their authorized stops for up to three years, subject to DOT review and approval.
The annual fee to cover administrative expenses is based on the operator's typical weekly schedule. The fee is $30 per scheduled pick-up or drop-off in the typical week. For example, if a carrier has 60 arrivals and departures per week at a stop, the annual permit fee for that stop would be $30 × 60 = $1,800.
The annual fee to cover administrative expenses is based on the operator's typical weekly schedule. The fee is $30 per scheduled pick-up or drop-off in the typical week. For example, if a carrier has 60 arrivals and departures per week at a stop, the annual permit fee for that stop would be $30 × 60 = $1,800. Applicants requesting a permit for the maximum 3-year duration would submit payment for three times that amount, e.g. $30 × 60 × 3 = $5,400.
The New York Police Department enforces the intercity bus permit rules. The NYPD may issue fines of up to $500 for the first offense and up to $2,500 for subsequent offenses within two years of the first violation for the following offenses:
- a bus is stopped without proper identifying markings;
- a bus is loading/unloading without a permit
- a bus with a valid permit is stopping or standing in its assigned bus stop but is not actively engaged in the loading/unloading of passengers
- a bus with a valid permit fails to prominently display a copy of its permit
- a permit holder alters its intercity bus permit
The local community board will be consulted as part of the application process. The local Community Board will be notified of permit applications, and will have a 45-day consultation period to offer input. There is no provision for community boards to appeal decisions. Approved bus stop locations will be published online within 30 days of approval.
DOT may relocate a designated bus stop following 90 days notice to the permit holder and following consultation with the local Community Board.
DOT held a public workshop on April 30, 2013 to discuss intercity bus issues and siting criteria. Over 30 members of the public and bus operators were in attendance. Download the summary from the workshop (pdf)
DOT also held a public hearing on the Intercity Bus Rule on June 10, 2013 to gather comments on the rule.