Man, the MTA never lets anyone else get in on the fun of driving people along predetermined routes. Joel Azumah's company TransportAzumah, which has been shuttling people along a few Doomsday affected bus routes, was shut down yesterday after Manhattan Supreme Court judge signed the Law Department's request for a temporary restraining order against the entrepreneur. The Law Department said in a statement, "The operator has been running an unauthorized bus line, and safety is the city's paramount priority." What about the priority of running public transportation successfully?
Critics say that where the MTA has failed, black cabs and other private transportation businesses should take over. Former NYC Parks Department Commissioner Henry Stern wrote in the Brooklyn Eagle, "We do not believe the public should be deprived of necessary service just because the MTA cannot operate without losing money." Obviously Azumah agrees, arguing that his service is not illegal because it is a private bus charter that is not subject to city regulation—it just happens to be running along the same routes. He said of the restraining order, "My customers are very, very, very angry. They had the benefit of a service that they were enjoying...We want the city—if they are going to interfere with these services—to run the buses."
Stern says it is the city's duty to provide everyone with access to public transportation. He wrote, "The reason transit is a public service rather than a private operation is because service is assumed to be maintained as a basic civic amenity, whether it is profitable for the transit provider or not." The DOT said they just want Azumah to submit the proper documentation to show "why they believe they can operate without the required authorizations." In the meantime, nobody try to drive along an old bus route. They're watching.