Police target Chinatown buses in towing spree
The NYPD went on a towing spree after residents and officials made countless complaints about Chinatown bus companies using city bus stops and restricted parking areas as their personal depot.
The police towed 11 buses in the Chinatown area and doled out 63 summonses on Aug. 14, 20 and 21, authorities said. The stepped-up enforcement occurred immediately after an amNewYork cover story highlighting how the bus companies illegally clog up the city streets.
“The ultimate answer is we need to create a Lower Manhattan bus management plan,” said Councilman Alan Gerson, who represents the area and raised the problem of the often bus-packed South Street with city transportation officials two days before the crackdown.
The amNewYork story exposed a Chinatown bus company that owed the city $136,000 in parking fines, making it the city’s third largest scofflaw. Three buses from that company, New Century Travel, were towed in the recent enforcement spree, including one that owes $1,715.
It is unclear which companies own the other eight buses, and not all 63 summonses were given to the 11 buses towed, officials said.
New Century will have to pay about $485 to retrieve each bus, said company employee Bill Li. He said he did not know whether the company also would have to pay overdue parking fines to get the buses back.
“It’s way overdue...This cannot be a one-time thing,” Susan Stetzer, district manager for Manhattan’s Community Board 3, said of the towing effort.
Transportation officials vowed enforcement would continue.
“We will continue to work with the NYPD and the local community to address this issue on an ongoing basis,” a spokesman said in a statement.