Winter 2001, p.9

Apple Tours Ordered Off the Street For Good

Hopefully this is the final chapter in the scandalous tale of the tour company whose buses kill and injure pedestrians and spew clouds of diesel exhaust. In mid-December, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court unanimously ordered New York Apple Tours to cease operations on city streets. In June, Justice Phyllis Gangel-Jacobs of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan overruled city and state orders suspending the bus line, citing potential damage to the tourism industry. The judge also opined that letting NY Apple back on the road would "not do any harm to any public interest." Elected officials, environmentalists, and community advocates citywide decried this bogus ruling and its implicit endorsement of corporate and tourist interests over the environment and the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. This latest decision overrules Justice Gangel-Jacob's ruling and reinstates the city's suspension of the company and state sanctioning.

This decision is a long-overdue win for New Yorkers and special vindication for Hell's Kitchen residents, who had been particularly tormented and endangered by the tour bus company. Thanks are due State Senator Tom Duane, Council Member Christine Quinn, and the Clinton Special District Coalition for vigilantly pursuing the case and keeping the heat on NY Apple Tours. The City now needs to work with residents to develop a comprehensive tour bus plan that places neighborhood quality of life first.
The City must also step up enforcement and keep a vigilant eye on the remaining tour bus companies. It's incredible and appalling that it took the death of Randolph Walker in May under the wheels of a NY Apple bus to prompt the City and State into action. New York Apple Tours had built up an unparalleled record of violations, and residents had been justly complaining about the company for years. It's time for the City to clamp down, get serious about tour buses, and prevent another Apple Tours scenario from ever happening again.