New York City tour bus companies reach antitrust settlement

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2015 11:31 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Two double-decker tour bus companies accused of monopolizing the New York City market have reached an antitrust settlement that includes paying $7.5 million and giving up 50 bus stops in high-profile locations, state and federal officials announced Monday.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the U.S. Department of Justice said Coach USA, CitySights and their joint venture, Twin America, essentially controlled all of the most competitively meaningful bus stops for hop-on, hop-off tours and increased prices for riders by 10 percent since coming together in 2009.

"By eliminating the competition between them, the largest operators of New York City's iconic double-decker tour buses were able to raise prices and deprive city visitors of the benefits of a free and fair market," Schneiderman said.

Officials said since the companies had so many high-profile bus stops, it was difficult for companies entering the market to get space in the same areas and compete.

The stops that are required to be turned over are at locations including Times Square and the Empire State Building.

Schneiderman said if the settlement is approved by a court it also would resolve claims alleged in a complaint filed by him and the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in Manhattan federal court.

Coach USA spokesman Sean Hughes said the companies "have engaged constructively" with federal and state officials and "we are pleased at the continuing progress towards an agreed settlement."