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Regulators sue NY tour buses for alleged monopoly

Former competitors Coach Bus USA and City Sights LLC joined forces to hike prices for riders, say the DOJ and New York Attorney General

Visiting New York City may have just gotten a little cheaper, after state and federal regulators charged two tour bus companies for allegedly running an illegal monopoly that hiked prices for tourists.

Before 2009, Coach Bus USA Inc. and City Sights LLC were competitors in the hop-on, hop-off bus tour market, in which open-topped buses shuttle tourists to New York landmarks for a fee. In March of that year, the two companies reportedly created a joint venture, Twin America, under which they divided the profits 60-40 in Coach’s favor. In the absence of any real competition, both companies increased their prices from $49 to $54, the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and the New York Attorney General alleges.

“The iconic double-decker Gray Line and City Sights buses are seen all over New York City but few people know they are a monopoly that has led to higher prices and less competition. Visitors to New York deserve better,” New York Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement.

According to the attorney general’s office, roughly 2 million visitors to New York City use the double-decker buses a year, generating more than $100 million in profits.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

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Alanna Byrne

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