New York City to Get Replacement for ‘Notorious’ Port Authority Bus Terminal

By Paul Riegler on 21 January 2021
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Greyhound ticket counter at the Port Authority Bus Terminal

New York City, which has seen the replacement of deteriorating airport and train terminals over the past two years, will get a new multi-billion-dollar bus terminal by the end of the current decade.

The operator of the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Manhattan’s West Side released plans Thursday that call for an expanded terminal that could cost up to $10 billion and take almost a decade to complete.

“The Port Authority is committed to dramatically transforming one of the region’s most notorious and out-of-date transit facilities,” said Rick Cotton, the agency’s executive director, on Thursday.

The Big Apple has seen an ambitious rebuilding of its transportation infrastructure after decades of neglect. LaGuardia Airport, one of the three major aerodromes in the city, was cited by then Vice President Joseph Biden in 2014 as an example, referring to it as an airport that belongs in a “third world country.”

The Port Authority plans to build a new terminal one block south and west of the current facility that will open in 2026.  Once that opens, all operations will shift to that location while the original building is demolished and a new one built in its place. Plans call for the two facilities to be linked with vehicular connections above and below Ninth Avenue to create a single complex.

The 223-gate Port Authority Bus Terminal, colloquially referred to as just Port Authority, opened in 1950 and is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and the busiest in the world based on traffic.  It served approximately 8,000 buses and 225,000 per day prior to the pandemic, with a total of 65 million people a year.

A statue of Jackie Gleason dressed as his most famous character, the bus driver Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners” television series, stands in front of the main entrance to the terminal’s original South Wing.

The new terminal replaced a number of small bus terminals scattered around the city, including an elegant one with a revolving bus platform in the Chanin Building on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

The driving force for the creation of the new terminal was the city’s ban on commuter buses in more congested sections of Manhattan. Following a renovation that included a new façade comprised of 27 X-shaped steel trusses, it was named one of the “World’s Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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