The Port Authority has eliminated several alternatives, including building a new terminal under the old one, under the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center or in New Jersey.
“They came up with a much better plan than the original,” said Thomas K. Wright, chief executive of the Regional Plan Association, an influential planning group.
Mr Wright said the replacement of the terminal was a necessity, no matter how much it cost, due to the integral role it plays in daily trips to the city. More than 250,000 people passed through it on a typical weekday before the pandemic, according to the port authority. Since March, this traffic has dropped by more than 65 percent.
The bus terminal, a brick hill at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, has long since exceeded its capacity – when it opened in the late 1950s, it was expected to serve 60,000 passengers a day. Although the station was rehabilitated in the early 1980s, it could not accommodate the crushing of travelers, mostly from New Jersey, who use it in normal times.
The port administration wants the new terminal to be able to serve 1,000 buses during the peak evening rush, compared to about 850 today. It will also be designed to provide equipment for charging electric buses, according to the plan.
Buses may be less romantic than trains, but other big cities are investing in their bus transit systems to help ease traffic and pollution from cars. More than a dozen U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Denver and Raleigh, North Carolina, have moved over the past decade to build new bus stations or create multimodal transit hubs that combine bus and rail services, said Joseph P. Schwitterman, a professor at public service at DePaul University in Chicago.