On a single day in 2003, over 6,500 buses carrying over 133,000 riders passed through the Lincoln Tunnel on any given weekday. Since then, the number of riders who take buses into New York City from New Jersey has increased by 30%, with no sign of stopping. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Port Authority Terminal expects ridership to increase by 51% by 2040.
Despite the increased ridership, the Port Authority Terminal has remained largely unchanged since 1950. The terminal’s décor is dreary, the facilities are leaky, and passengers claim that lines to get onto the buses are disorganized and crowded. Some comedians have gone as far as to call the bus stop the “worse place on earth,” with the Wall Street Journal noting that one comedian joked that not even the roaches wanted to stay.
According to CBS New York, a fatal accident involving a pedestrian in the Port Authority bus terminal resulted in serious delays. The man was struck by a bus on a ramp near the Port Authority Terminal. According to NJ.com, no passengers were on board the bus when the accident occurred and the driver was not injured in the bus accident. While the accident remains under investigation, public opinion seems to suggest that the Port Authority Terminal is overcrowded, chaotic, and dangerous. During rush hour, commuters might be turned away from riding buses, leading to confusion and placing some individuals—according to eyewitness accounts—in harms’ way. It isn’t clear why the pedestrian was walking on the bus ramp or what circumstances led to the accident, but it is clear that the overtaxed terminal cannot safely sustain the current passenger load it has to handle on a daily basis.
Estimates of the cost of repairing the terminal are at anywhere from $8 billion to $11 billion. Officials have also talked about adding rail lines under the Hudson. Amtrak has estimated that the cost of tunnels into New Jersey could run as high as $20 billion. Yet, despite these costs, the fact remains that the current system isn’t equipped to deal with its ridership, and may not even be safe for those who do ride. Amtrak has also reported that its two tunnels may need to be closed for repairs.
The accident draws attention to the U.S.’s ageing infrastructure. As more people move into urban areas and rely on public transportation to get to work, state and local governments will need to step up to keep citizens safe. Each year people taking the public transit like buses retain lawyers from injuries sustained from a bus that was not maintained properly or because of driver error. The Law Firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros, LLC has years of experience in the New York City area and can give you the legal representation you deserve.
Even a slight delay can also create hazardous bottlenecks. Crowd control measures often result in individuals being denied access to certain platforms and areas, which can lead to other hazardous bottlenecks elsewhere.
Following the deadly accident in the Port Authority, officials urged commuters to find other ways home. Yet, when these passengers crowd into trains, other delays and bottlenecks can occur.
It is clear that something needs to be done to protect citizens, but the solution appears to be years away. Until then, victims of bus accidents may have to seek civil remedies. For victims and families, the consequences of bus accidents are tragic, and the losses are immense.
Visit www.jaroslawiczandjaros.com if you were injured while riding one of the public transportation services in the New York area.