Our bus company friends told us that NYC Parking tickets issued in midtown have skyrocketed. And Attorney Arthur Miller, co-publisher of this site, who represents bus companies along with trucking firms at the NYC Parking Violations Bureau, says that the PVB has become quite hostile to bus companies. So we reached out to the NYPD’s Traffic Enforcement Unit, the folks that issue NYC parking tickets to get their take on the situation.
First, we appreciate Traffic Enforcement for meeting with us and opening a dialog. We learned that the Department is under enormous pressure to keep traffic moving in congested midtown. Neighborhood community boards and business improvement districts concerned about maintaining the character of their neighborhoods also demand increased enforcement. So pressure to enforce NYC DOT-issued parking rules was mounting even before September’s fatal bus crash, and now that tragedy put an even larger target on the bus industry.
Traffic Enforcement has created a beat system for the midtown agents. With morning and afternoon shifts, the agents are expected to become familiar with their assigned areas. Their prime directive: Keep traffic moving. They’re instructed to become familiar with when and where buses double park or que up to load passengers. Standing buses, those waiting for scheduled pickups, as opposed to actively picking up and dropping off passengers, are the most ticketed. The basic rules: Bus operators may not pick up or drop off passengers in a vehicle travel lane or in any zone where “No Stopping Anytime” is posted. Buses must not block access to transit or commuter bus stops. Bus operators must not leave their vehicles while passengers are loading or unloading. When dropping off or picking up passengers, it must be done expeditiously. Buses may not simply park and wait for any amount of time. Another frequent target: parking in hotel loading zones.
Bus drivers, according to the NYPD, would do well to understand the differences between the different parking signs. The City DOT’s website has a detailed description of what drivers can and cannot do at the most common signs: NYC DOT Parking Sign Legend
The following list of Dos and Don’ts is based on our conversation with traffic agents and NYPD brass and is offered in the hopes of helping bus drivers avoid parking tickets.
Dos & Don’ts
- Don’t sit idly. When agents see no activity, they assume no passengers.
- Do move when agents tell you to. Remember their prime directive: keep traffic moving.
- Don’t ask for a ticket. Agents say that many drivers ask for tickets, since they don’t pay for it, when agent tells them to circle around. Drivers should circle around when they can and take the ticket when they can’t but must be taught to use their discretion and engage the agent in better dialogue.
- Don’t disrespect agents. Many agents are cursed out, mocked, and racially harassed. This is completely unacceptable. Do remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself.
- Do remain calm and courteous if it is the agent who is being rude. Take down the agent’s information and tell management. Have management file a report with Traffic Enforcement.
- Do ask the agent for a few minutes while loading passengers.
- Do learn the signage.
- Don’t block commercial loading zones.
- Don’t hang the tail into traffic or double park.
- Do put triangles and cones out to indicate mechanical failure.
- Do carry a list of layover stops.
- Do carry trip sheet.
- Do carry proof that bus is intra-city or otherwise permitted.
- Do make sure your driver is eligible to be behind the wheel.