Why I Hate NYU Buses

The right idea.  From RichPompetti\'s Flickr
The right idea. From RichPompetti’s Flickr

NYU: even more corporate than corporations! Today when I saw that The Daily News reported that Ikea lets the hoi polloi snag rides on their corporate buses, I thought of that other private bus fleet belching its way through the city: the NYU Bus system, which runs willy nilly throughout Lower Manhattan and the eastern side of the borough. On any given weekday during the school year, you find a half dozen of the big ol’ purple things clogging up Broadway at Washington Place, and a scattered few idling nearby (often on Lafayette just below 4th). However, unlike the Ikea buses, these are reserved exclusively for NYU students – everyone must show an official NYU ID to board, no excuses.

Community members and some students hate NYU Bus system for a pretty good reason – New York City has a perfectly serviceable public transportation system that goes where NYU buses do, and running a parallel system take revenue from MTA, all the while appropriating space from the public on the streets. Considering that NYU already avoids paying property tax for its $8 billion real estate empire, and the whole bus thing just looks like another way to mooch off the city while pretending to contribute something back. Literally, this is an absurd prospect: NYU, a private university, leases to a private company (you can see the name on the sides of the different buses) to run their bus system that the public cannot access, using public roads and funneling revenue out of public transportation. Neat – NYU has managed to outstrip a multinational big box chain for self interested bullshit.

An NYU Bus Running Someone Over
An NYU Bus Running Someone Over. From tommaync’s flickr.

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24 responses to “Why I Hate NYU Buses

  1. I’m a grad student at NYU, and there are so many bad things to write about the university it’s hard to know where to start. But the buses are a particularly stupid service that makes a mockery of the “in and the city and of the city” mantra that they chant during admissions tours. You also forgot to mention what must be particularly galling for non-NYU residents of the area — most NYU buses are 90% empty most of the day.

  2. I think the idea that they could allow the public on if there was capacity may have weight. But the idea that “New York City has a perfectly serviceable public transportation system that goes where NYU buses do” is a stretch.

    There are dorms at Water and Fulton, the hospital at 30th and 1st – they are all over the place. These buses are making fast, direct trips for NYU folks needing to go between theses places. Without these buses, you would have to put all those people on the city transit system.

    And what is the number one concern for American parents sending their 17-year-old alone to New York for the first time? Probably safety. These buses run late into the night, are free, and carry students securely from the campus to the front door of their dorms without the possibility of being approached by anybody that is not part of the university and without having to take what can be a very daunting transit system for young naive students.

    Not only do I think it’s important for student safety that NYU offers such a service to their students, imagine if they didn’t have these buses and instead the students brought cars. It may be privately accessible to only the 30,000+ people affiliated with NYU, but at least it’s mass transit.

  3. Yeah, how dare a private company dare to offer a service to its customers! WTF?

  4. Pingback: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog » Blog Archive » The antithesis to Ikea’s free shuttles

  5. NYU students pay for the service through their tuition dollars. You’re entitled to use it why? Because you think you deserve to? The word for that is “stealing.”

  6. Streetsman: what you are describing is symptomatic of NYU’s attempt to manage and transform the city it takes its name from. Like I said, NYU is a private institution that already doesn’t pay taxes while putting a burden on public services, and this is a further takeover of public space by the school. As for safety… this is a contrived argument, there are plenty of schools not in New York that are safer, this is not a theme park.

    Gerg: NYU isn’t a company. It’s a school.

    Kid Twist: the point was that NYU can spend those tution dollars better. It’s not like the students get a say in the matter anyways, the administration generally acts like it hates its students and won’t listen to them on most things.

  7. S.R.: 90% of the time the buses are packed. early in the morning-packed, midday-packed, late at night-packed. It’s actually rather surprising that the buses are so packed so often. But considering that 5 bus routes have to shuttle roughly 40,000 students, thousands of faculty, staff, and etc., they should be packed. (Of course not everyone rides the bus, but you get the point)

    phydeux: it seems everyone’s a critic. Who are you to state that NYU could spend those dollars “better.”

  8. another thing. NYU isn’t funneling millions of dollars out of public transportation. Most NYU students still ride the subway and take buses. Most of my friends and myself still have unlimited metrocards (even though I don’t take the subway to campus). If anything I am alleviating the trains by taking the NYU bus, and still buying an unlimited

  9. nyustudent: I am a student. and someone concerned with a better school. more power to you for taking MTA, this is still a waste of resources. It’s not like the administration of NYU ever really consulted you in the first place about this decision (or any other) – the fact you get along with the admins is a convenience for them, not a necessity, they do as they please.

  10. You think NYU buses are bad, there are people in “cars” who drive on public roads in NYC instead of paying to use public transaportation, thereby starving the public of funds, and if you try to enter one of these “cars” in order to use the empty space, the “driver” can call the police who will arrest you. Ridiculous!

  11. “You think NYU buses are bad, there are people in “cars” who drive on public roads in NYC instead of paying to use public transaportation”

    Yes, I would be happy to see these ‘car’ contraptions removed out from in front of my bike as well.

  12. I’m really upset I just spent 2 minutes of my life reading this article. Clearly there are no good reasons for NYU buses to exist. Have you been one of these buses when classes are in session? Standing room only. Ahy should my $60,000 medical school tuition include reliable and safe transportation to Bobst library at Washington Square Park directly from the NYU hospital? How dare some of these buses run on natural gas and not pollute the environment? Try gothamist’s article on MTA bus crowding problems for more reasons why NYU buses exist…should I keep going?

  13. I used to be an NYU grad student and I tried to take those buses but they always came at the most inconvenient times, 40 minutes apart, not near the classroom buildings I had to go to. They are for undergraduates who want to be in the big city but don’t actually want to have any connection to the big city.

  14. with the $40,000 tuition I think it’s the least NYU could do. get over it!

  15. great post, thanks. I’m glad I live in Queens, Manhattan has gotten too hectic for this old man.

  16. This post was poorly researched as shown through the two previous rebuttals:

    1. MTA Transportation is NOT near all NYU dorms and locations.

    2. NYU buses during the school year are almost always packed.

    # 2 is the most important in my opinion, have you seen the huge lines for the buses on Broadway and Mercer? I question why STUDENTS would even want to take the NYU bus when there are surely faster ways of getting around (bus, subway, BIKE). Allowing non NYU students to ride free would just add to the daily chaos of the NYU bus system,

    Go right ahead, hate on NYU; its not only the cool thing to do, but very often makes sense.
    BUT, ridiculous posts like this one that seem like they were written as fast as I wrote this response (3 minutes) decrease the impact of legitimate arguments against NYU’ s increasing domination of the village and NYC.

  17. Well, as a former NYU student who still lives in the area I can tell you that with NYU over 50k a year the university better damn well offer a free transportation service. People forget that the university housing ranges from Water St. all the way up to 26th, often sticking kids with little knowledge of the city into far out areas. Moreover, why should we have to pay EVEN MORE MONEY TO THE ATTROCIOUS MTA SYSTEM? At least the NYU buses run on time and give semi-decent service. And who says the NYU bus is always empty? Not during peak class hours I’ll tell you.

  18. It’s ridiculous how much people hate NYU that they start to nit pick every single goddamn thing they see.

    Columbia has a bus service which is only for its students also. SO does CUNY, Yeshiva, Fordham, etc. In fact having a shuttle bus is extremely common for colleges and universities and most of them in the nation have it. Schools that don’t have one are usually smaller in size. Because students pay for their tuition and various school services it makes sense that a university’s bus/shuttle is limited to its students. All of the above NYC colleges/universities require their respective school’s ID to board their shuttles. Ikea isn’t good and NYU isn’t bad. Ikea is a store trying to attract more customers and NYU is a university. Why don’t you write a blog post about how Columbia or Fordham don’t let the public use their shuttle buses?
    Also, the pictures of the above NYU buses are ridiculous and play into what I said before about people making a big deal out of every little thing that has to do with NYU. The bus in the second picture is not running someone over. The lady isn’t even walking quickly she’s relaxed and taking her time. The first bus picture is of a broken NYU bus attached to the back of a tow truck. The NYU bus isn’t taking up space on the street, the tow truck is. And what is the big deal about NYU buses taking up space on the street. THAT is what cars and trucks and buses do. They drive and stop on streets, and this takes up space. Are the streets supposed to be empty? MTA buses take up streets and MTA buses break down too. Next to these NYU buses picking up kids on broadway everyday are MTA buses that also “clog” up the streets and idle waiting for passengers. That section of Broadway just happens to be busy because there are both MTA bus stops and NYU bus stops within a few feet from each other. And you’re probably saying, well why don’t you get rid of the NYU buses and make the students take the MTA buses? Well those MTA buses and the NYU buses are going to extremely different locations and have extremely different schedules. And like I said before, most schools have private buses in this city and all over the nation why don’t you talk about how Columbia’s shuttle takes up space on streets in upper Manhattan? You probably won’t ever because you probably don’t live up there and so you continue to bitch only about what you can see.

    While we are on this topic of people constantly bad mouthing or complaining about NYU in this city for no good reason, I want to talk about the “OMG NYU is so expensive, everyone that goes their is a spoiled rich kid” notion. Yes it is expensive, but it is almost the same price as Columbia, Pratt, Parsons, Fordham, Yeshiva, etc. So I don’t get why everyone in this city doesn’t go: “OMG Fordham is so expensive you’re probably a really rich silver spoon fed kid!!!1” Why don’t people bitch about those schools instead? Why do you care what other people who have nothing to do with you are paying for their education? But what is the most hilarious, is that a lot of the people who I meet in this city who say these things to my face, are in lower ranked schools yet pay almost the same tuition as I do. $5000 more dollars a year than your school doesn’t mean that you aren’t rich and spoiled and that NYU student’s are. $5000 extra a year is not the difference between middle class and wealthy. So who are they to walk around and say shit like that to every NYU student they meet when they pay the same things themselves? Why are you exempt from “probably being a rich, sheltered kid”? And just for fucks sake. I am not a rich spoiled spoon fed son/daughter of a CEO or heir to a company. Not all NYU students are. I was sheltered while growing up, but in the homeless shelter sense and not in the mentally naive, protected from the world sense. There are also these things called scholarships, financial aid and loans that many students have and use. Everyone needs to stop making this stupid judgments.

    AND Sure NYU does buy land and is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the village. But since when is buying something that you can afford to buy illegal or wrong? This is like the rent control residents of the East Village who complained about a luxury building that was built in their vicinity. Sure you may not like it, but the world does not cater to your likes and dislikes. People and businesses and universities have the right to buy whatever they want. Instead of bitching at the people/business/university for buying the property in your community why don’t you bitch at the people who are selling the property that is letting the entire thing happen? And why should they care what you want? What do you have to do with THEIR property?

  19. ‘ugh’ – disappointed you didn’t sign your manifesto, so I’m taking the liberty of posting your IP log 71.250.41.83 – how’s the view from New Jersey?

    Yes, this is like the rent controlled residents in the East Village – because New York should not be exclusively controlled by people with money. I am probably also criticizing the people you ask me to criticize. I’m really really good at complaining, often to the right people (a skill you should work on).

  20. What utter pap!

    Private institutions exist to serve their customers, not spoiled children with a webpage.

    Private bus service actually helps you by reducing demand on the public buses. And the public roads are just that: open to all.

    This post sounds like something the idiot socialists spew in “Atlas Shrugged,” it is that puerile.

  21. You go to NYU? haha typical.

    If you hate the school so much, why not go to CUNY instead? Now you’re just funneling money from public education to a private university.

  22. the sight-seeing double deckers are run by private institutions. do you suggest they allow you to ride their buses as well? Although NYU is a bit of a purple eye-sore when you enter the village, they do provide the city with lots of smart young people that contribute to the city in so many ways, from musicians to filmmakers to teachers to businessmen and women. quit bitching about a few extra buses on the street. its Manhattan for christ sake, what did you expect?

  23. Really a poor argument in this editorial – NYU’s busses go directly from their dorms to their classroom buildings. If the public were allowed on the busses, NYU students might risk being unable to get on the busses – and the NYU students are paying for the busses with their tuition. Taking a regular bus means stopping at every stop on the way to the destination, which wouldn’t take a student directly to the dorm anyway, and would take a much greater amount of time.

    ” Literally, this is an absurd prospect: NYU, a private university, leases to a private company (you can see the name on the sides of the different buses) to run their bus system that the public cannot access, using public roads and funneling revenue out of public transportation. ”

    Public roads??? Greyline and other bus companies use public roads. What about the private bus companies that take people to the airport? Should they not charge either, and allow the general public to have free trips to the airport? Or maybe people should just take busses that make many many stops on the way to the airport and take an hour to get there?

    Your logic is flawed.

  24. Jon/Smitty – glad to see that in challenging my ‘flawed’ logic, you have chosen the high ground and avoided using all logic (and spell check, I might add) whatsoever. as shown before in the comments

    John – I would, indeed, support removing most other vehicles from the road as well. I was thinking about a post on tour buses last week, you’ve inspired me to get on that – I hate those fucking things.

    Pon – nice Ayn Rand reference. You do realize that was, you know, fiction? And not actually an argument?

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