Passenger Transport Archive
New York MTA to Take Over Seven Private Bus Lines
May 3, 2004
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that it will assume operation of seven private bus lines in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx by July 1. The lines, which serve some 390,000 residents daily, are Command Bus Co., Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Queens Surface Corp., Liberty Lines Express, New York Bus Service, and Triboro Coach.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York Gov. George E. Pataki, and MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow made the announcement April 19.
The MTA explained that it will assume all responsibility for the operation of the private lines. New York City will subsidize the MTA by financing the costs of operating the service beyond the revenue generated by state subsidies, fares, and advertising.
According to MTA, the transfer will ensure that the formerly private bus service is fully integrated with the transit service it currently provides, resulting in a higher quality of service and more efficient operations.
"Although the city will continue to fully subsidize the bus service, it will get a better bang for its buck," the mayor said. "New Yorkers will benefit from the efficiencies generated by this consolidation, including the elimination of management and incentives fees paid to the private operators, reduced maintenance costs, insurance savings, and the consolidation of fuel purchases." Bloomberg also said nearly a third of the buses being operated by the seven private bus lines are 17 or more years old, and many buses in the private fleets are not accessible by persons with disabilities.
Under the agreement, the city will lease all its bus-related assets to the MTA, including approximately 450 new buses that are currently being purchased and the two bus depots owned by the city. At the city's request, the MTA will propose an amendment to its 2000-2004 Capital Plan to set aside a $322.5 million reserve that will be funded from resources originally allocated to the LaGuardia Airport subway extension, but no longer slated for that project. This reserve will be used for additional fleet replacement, facilities, and other necessary capital improvements.
The MTA will assume all union employees, and will honor existing collective bargaining agreements and collective bargaining obligations until new agreements are negotiated. To affect this, the parties plan to meet with the unions in the near future.
To ensure a seamless transition of service between the MTA and the private operators, the city will also begin immediate efforts to negotiate agreements that address owners' concerns quickly and fairly.
As part of this overall agreement, the city will support the MTA Capital Plan Amendments, including the accelerated purchase of new MTA Metro-North Railroad cars. In exchange, the MTA has agreed to address MTA New York City Transit's traditional capital plan funding in its next capital program.
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