Posted on April 29, 2010
What did she just say? Carrie Bradshaw did what over there? Who ate at that Italian restaurant? If you’re planning on hopping aboard a New York City sightseeing bus for a tour, questions like that may become more commonplace in the future. The City Council is expected to vote into law today a new rule banning open-air tour bus guides from conversing with the tourists aboard with a loudspeaker. City councilwoman Gale Brewster, who represents part of the West Village, sponsored the bill, saying that the noise from the loudspeakers is so loud it can be heard inside buildings. Another supporter points out that the bus engines also contribute a huge amount of noise. Residents from a number of (largely upscale) neighborhoods have protested the noise from the buses for quite a while, saying that if you live on or near a bus route, the noise can be heard no matter what floor you live on. The noise also affects those who live near historic districts that are often pointed out on bus tours. Areas such as SoHo and the Village are among those affected. The tour bus companies, not surprisingly, are not too happy about the proposed law; some officials estimate that it will cost between three and five million dollars to install a new system in which riders would listen through headphones to the guides. New York has 250 licensed tour buses, about 150 of which have tops that are open in warm weather. Mayor Mike Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill into law; if it passes, buses will have several years in which to comply.