Arriving at the Port Authority Bus Terminal is like entering New York City through America's most depressing shopping mall. There is always a vendor selling headbands, everyone looks lost, and the aromatic carpet of Auntie Anne's pretzels is punctuated by occasional stains of urine. It is hard to find your way out, and once you do get past the heavy front doors you are immediately confronted by a strange man who is super mad at you. Welcome to New York!
Luckily, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners seems to have realized all this and have announced that $90 million be spent on an improvement program for the bus station. Dubbed "Quality of Commute," this project will provide "interim improvements to the terminal" while a long-term plan for full redevelopment is reached. The decision was discussed during a meeting on Wednesday, during which officials expressed their desire to eventually replace the terminal altogether.
"The functionally obsolete facility no longer meets the transportation needs of the hundreds of thousands of riders that pass through the terminal every day," said executive director Pat Foye and deputy executive director Deborah Gramiccioni in a joint statement. "The Port Authority is committed to identifying comprehensive improvements to within the context of its existing Capital Plan."
The Capital Plan was approved by the Port Authority board back in February. It is a $27.6 billion, ten-year blueprint mapping out spending, construction, and improvements through the year 2023.
And while the complete overhaul of the terminal may be about ten years away, the Quality of Commute project will put a patch over some of the major issues commuters face each day. According to the New York Times, the plan will include construction on leaky ceilings and a push for more fans to keep passengers cool.
The $90 million will also cover homeless outreach services, an important focus since several violent incidents have occurred in the terminal just this year. In March a homeless woman was arrested for assaulting an elderly man in the terminal, and in January a knife fight broke out.