Wednesday, July 7, 2010

City tells private bus line owner to hit the road after judge signs temporary restraining order Read more:

Drive it somewhere else.

That's the message the city sent to a young entrepreneur who started a private bus line to help out stranded riders along recently cut MTA routes.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge Tuesday signed the city Law Department's request for a temporary restraining order against Joel Azumah, shutting down his bootleg bus service.

"We are pleased that the court granted our request for a restraining order," the Law Department said in a statement. "The operator has been running an unauthorized bus line, and safety is the city's paramount priority."

Azumah called the city's actions "illegal" and vowed to fight it.

"My customers are very, very, very angry," Azumah, 27, fumed. "They had the benefit of a service that they were enjoying."

The Brooklynite said he would abide by the restraining order, which runs out July 15, when the city must make a case for a permanent injunction. In the meantime, he said the city should provide an alternative.

"We want the city - if they are going to interfere with these services - to run the buses," he said.

The city tried in the past to put the brakes on Azumah's operation. The Department of Transportation sent his company, TransportAzumah, a cease-and-desist letter on June 25, but he bucked the order and had his 10 buses and two vans hit the road.

Since June 28, his fleet has run along MTA's X25, X29, X90 and QM22 lines, which the cash-strapped agency cut that day.

Azumah charged passengers $6 to take the express buses into Manhattan. He said the X90 line, which runs from the upper East Side to lower Manhattan, transported 177 riders yesterday before he pulled the bus.

He claims he is not breaking the law because he operates private bus charters that are not subject to city regulation.

Read more:
  • Long-running QM22 route saved by private bus company - and one teenage rider
  • MTA Token Booth Workers Safe -- For Now
  • Even after cease-and-desist letter from DOT, Joel Azumah vows to motor on with private buses
  • Judge hits MTA with restraining order barring layoffs of 475 token booth clerks
  • Oksana Grigorieva files domestic violence restraining order against ex Mel Gibson

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