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Downtown Express: Open-air buses headset law is set to go into effect next year


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Open-air buses headset law is set to go into effect next year

 

By Albert Amateau

 

Open-air sightseeing buses in the city will have to begin using headphone systems instead of loudspeakers beginning next year.

 

The City Council last Thursday passed the legislation, which Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign, that will require operators of unenclosed tourist buses to phase in headphone systems over the next five years.

 

It was welcome legislation for residents of the Village, where sightseeing buses traverse the neighborhood one after the other in summer with loudspeakers blaring.

 

“We’re very pleased and we’re grateful to Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Margaret Chin, who sponsored the legislation, and to Speaker Christine Quinn for her support,” said Barbara Backer, an organizer of Our Streets Our Lives. Backer said the loudspeaker systems on unenclosed buses create constant and pervasive noise on Bleecker St. where she lives. As well as the Village, her group advocates for Tribeca, Chinatown, Chelsea and Clinton, plus Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

The new law calls for open-air bus operators to phase in headphone systems, with at least 10 percent of their fleets equipped by July 1, 2011, at least 40 percent by July 2012, 60 percent by July 2013 and 80 percent by July 2014. By July 2015, every open-air sightseeing bus in an operator’s fleet must be equipped with a sound system audible through headphones but not otherwise.

 

In compliance with the schedule, the Department of Consumer Affairs will verify that the required number of buses have headphone systems.

 

After the new law becomes effective next month, no new licenses will be issued for open-air sightseeing buses unless they have headphone systems. The legislation calls for fines of between $200 and $750 per day for each bus not in compliance. D.C.A. may also suspend the licenses of buses not in compliance.

 

Our Streets Our Lives, organized originally as Buses off Bleecker (BOB) two years ago, supported a 2008 version of the bill introduced by then-Councilmember Alan Gerson, which called for a headphone phase-in over a 12-year period.

 

But that was too long for Our Streets members like David Gruber, a member of the Carmine St. Block Association and Community Board 2.

 

“Twelve years to phase in a system that could be low-tech and inexpensive was ridiculous,” he said last week.

 

Tour operators, however, opposed the new legislation, saying it would cost between $3 million and $5 million to install the headphone system in a fleet of buses.

 

Ellen Peterson-Lewis, a West Village resident for 50 years and a member of Our Streets, said she spent a few hours about three weeks ago taking sightseeing hop-on-hop-off rides on City Sights buses in the Village.

 

“The loudspeakers were worse than subway loudspeakers and the seats were cracked and dirty,” Peterson-Lewis said. She said a tour guide told her that he had complained to the company about the loudspeakers but nothing had been changed.

 

“We support the tour guides,” said Peterson-Lewis. “They’re proud of their knowledge of the city and they want the sightseeing clients to hear them.”

 

Negotiations involving Quinn and Consumer Affairs resulted in the new version that the Council passed last week.

 

“I think Quinn did a pretty good job,” Gruber said last week.

 

There are about 250 sightseeing buses citywide operated by 12 companies, according to D.C.A., which licenses the buses.

Is an all out ban that necessary? I mean fine, they should switch to headphones during the dead of night or when they are passing thru residential streets. But not many would travel in the dead of night and most bus lines travel on main thoroughfares. The construction noise from certain projects are hell more louder than the loudspeakers. The hell are they talking about?

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Doesn't the same principle apply to railfanning?:o

Depends if you are a railfanner yourself or a regular strappie. I am a member of this community, so I can't really look at the issue from a strappie point of view.

 

And also, I'm pretty sure we just take pictures of trains and buses and whatnot, not necessarily the people. Like we sometimes get a pic of the T/O, but most of the time we don't really mean to.

 

Tourists, though, they look like they WANT to take a pic of you. They want to take a pic of what goes on in the life of us Noo Yawkahs.

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I hate these double decker tour buses. They're so large and they pollute the air.

 

So do double sized people, when they fart.........

 

Those double deckers don't pollute anymore than any other bus (maybe except CitySight, ran by the same people who run NYAS). CoachUSA GrayLine, has up to date coaches. DATTCO now runs the same double deckers MegaBus uses. More people on shorter in lenght bus. At least it takes up air space, not street space like 60ft artics (still my fave transit buses).........

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The double deck buses I see around the Manny B don't bother me. usually they are sitting down or taking pics of the bridge than people on the streets.

However, it's the tourists walking around in Chinatown now that has to take pics of everything and one they see. Since my dad was driving there, he wanted me to bring the dog along since it would be an all day thing. So I walked him along some streets there and these tourists were like lining up to take pics of the dog. Needless to say that was the last time I brought the dog to Chinatown.

I mean christ's sakes, just take pics of the building. You tourists are in my f'ing way blocking the sidewalk.

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The double deck buses I see around the Manny B don't bother me. usually they are sitting down or taking pics of the bridge than people on the streets.

However, it's the tourists walking around in Chinatown now that has to take pics of everything and one they see. Since my dad was driving there, he wanted me to bring the dog along since it would be an all day thing. So I walked him along some streets there and these tourists were like lining up to take pics of the dog. Needless to say that was the last time I brought the dog to Chinatown.

I mean christ's sakes, just take pics of the building. You tourists are in my f'ing way blocking the sidewalk.

Those are f*cking idiots

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Indeed and they flash around heavy duty DSLR cams with like 300mm lenses too. I'm surprise they haven't been mugged or something. And I also hate them for ignoring traffic and wondering around even though there are cars trying to get past.

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Indeed and they flash around heavy duty DSLR cams with like 300mm lenses too. I'm surprise they haven't been mugged or something. And I also hate them for ignoring traffic and wondering around even though there are cars trying to get past.

It's not just Chinatown, like any other major city, it's endemic in "touristy places". Tourists are too smart to go up to the likes such as the projects or areas in the outer boroughs.

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Are you effin serious? Out of all the things to complain about, they complain about tour buses. Those speakers aren't that loud. Since I ride my bike in the city all the time, I always run into a couple of them. I barely hear the speakers at all. I hear the sounds of other peoples' car engines more than I hear the speakers.

Like DOB2RTO said, most of those buses are clean. The ones run by Circle Line (the red ones) are just as clean as a standard RTS, maybe even cleaner. The only problem I have with those is that the drivers try to drive arounf loke they're driving a car. The M15 bus stop St. Marks & 1 Av shares the same spot with a tour bus stop, and there's always a near-miss over there. One time when I was on the bus, we was driving past, and the tour bus pulled out the stop and cut across all of 1 Av like it was a yellow cab. The bus I was on almost hit it, along with other cars on the other lanes.

As for the tourists, tm and us railfanners have somewhat of a sa,e principle. We take pictures of things that some people might find weird and whatnot, but the thing that gets me mad is when they stand on the sidewalk and block the whole damn thing like there's no one else there. And they're so rude when you ask them nicely to get out of the way, and take a picture of anything. The tourism shops are wven worse. I've noticed something about tourists, they'll buy anything that has Nw York on it.

 

Just my $5.50 :cool:

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Are you effin serious? Out of all the things to complain about, they complain about tour buses. Those speakers aren't that loud. Since I ride my bike in the city all the time, I always run into a couple of them. I barely hear the speakers at all. I hear the sounds of other peoples' car engines more than I hear the speakers.

Like DOB2RTO said, most of those buses are clean. The ones run by Circle Line (the red ones) are just as clean as a standard RTS, maybe even cleaner. The only problem I have with those is that the drivers try to drive arounf loke they're driving a car. The M15 bus stop St. Marks & 1 Av shares the same spot with a tour bus stop, and there's always a near-miss over there. One time when I was on the bus, we was driving past, and the tour bus pulled out the stop and cut across all of 1 Av like it was a yellow cab. The bus I was on almost hit it, along with other cars on the other lanes.

As for the tourists, tm and us railfanners have somewhat of a sa,e principle. We take pictures of things that some people might find weird and whatnot, but the thing that gets me mad is when they stand on the sidewalk and block the whole damn thing like there's no one else there. And they're so rude when you ask them nicely to get out of the way, and take a picture of anything. The tourism shops are wven worse. I've noticed something about tourists, they'll buy anything that has Nw York on it.

 

Just my $5.50 :cool:

Someone has a mind! Like seriously, if they call those loudspeakers loud, then what do they call regular city noise?? The subway that rumbles over the Manny B is a thousand times louder than those things.

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