Testimony of Glenn Every, President, BUS4NYC

Re: Intro 1557
New York City Council Committee on Transportation
June 12, 2019
Good afternoon Speaker Johnson, Chairman Rodriguez and distinguished members of the Committee on Transportation. My name is Glenn Every, and I am the President of a newly formed trade organization, BUS4NYC. I am also the owner and operator of a company that has provided bus service in New York State for more than 50 years.
BUS4NYC is a New York City-based advocacy group comprised of private bus company owners and related businesses and associations promoting the industry as a viable transportation solution and local economic driver. Our group is responsible for raising the industry’s overall profile through sustained education and public awareness campaigns, which seek out supportive public policies that will promote the growth and safety of the private bus industry. Our members include commuter, tour, charter and sightseeing bus companies including National Express, Adirondack Trailways, BigBus, Academy, West Point Tours, TTI and Hampton Jitney, among others. Our members’ operations range from interstate travel throughout the United States right down to local New York City streets – representing thousands of employees annually serving millions of daily commuters, seniors, students and visitors
We applaud the City Council for ensuring that the NYC DOT look at traffic planning through a comprehensive approach with an eye towards safety and congestion reduction. We, as BUS4NYC members, share the City Council’s goal of reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging residents and visitors to consider public transportation. We are private providers of public transportation and an important piece of the traffic mobility puzzle. As such, we are not the problem, we are an integral part of the solution. Each bus takes over 55 single occupancy cars off the road while bringing commuters to work, shoppers to small businesses, and visitors to vibrant destinations—all of which are a critical part of the fabric of New York City.
Regarding the bill’s language that is specific to our industry–for DOT to implement 150 miles of protected bus lanes–we support this approach. With the proliferation of for-hire-vehicles and the explosion of e-commerce, congestion in New York City is at an all-time high. Many of our drivers, especially those that are bringing commuters and visitors into and out of the City, are finding it increasingly difficult to comply with Hours of Service mandates set forth by the federal Department of Transportation because of the relatively recent spike in congestion that puts them at a standstill and because of the diminishing amount of areas for bus parking and layovers. These federal regulations are an important factor in keeping drivers and passengers safe and they must be adhered to and treated with the utmost importance. Again, our drivers are providing a mass transit option for workers and visitors who would instead rely on a single occupancy vehicle. Protected bus lanes would help them do their job.
Finally, one consideration that we as bus operators would like to raise regarding protected bus lanes is that DOT should ensure that barriers surrounding protected lanes are realistically positioned to accommodate the turning radius of 45-foot-long motor coaches. And we would also ask that any planning take into account suitable bus parking and layover space. We will be sure to work closely with DOT on these operational details.
In conclusion, BUS4NYC is supportive of Intro 1557 and looks forward to working with City Council and DOT on a continuing basis. While this bill’s timeline is aggressive, we applaud the Speaker and Council’s consideration of protected bus lanes and improved bus infrastructure. Not only will these measures reduce congestion, but they will also increase economic output, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to ensure that improved safety and Vision Zero goals are met.
On behalf of BUS4NYC, we thank you for your consideration.