Princeton Governing Body Postpones Discussion on Tour Bus Parking

A tour bus idles on Spring street on a Sunday morning in Feb. of 2015. Photo: Krystal Knapp.
A tour bus idles on Spring street on a Sunday morning in Feb. of 2015. Photo: Krystal Knapp.

The governing body for Princeton decided Monday to delay discussing options for dealing with tour buses that are coming to Princeton more frequently over the last few years.

The Council was scheduled to discuss options for dealing with the buses, including the possibility of bagging several parking meters on a trial basis to create bus parking zones along Nassau Street near the intersection of Witherspoon Street.

The discussion has been rescheduled for the next Princeton Council meeting at town hall at 7 p.m. on May 18.

Last year, the tour bus issue was raised by some elected officials and Princeton University representatives. Some people complained that the buses, often full of tourists from China, idle on Princeton streets while visitors tour the university. But many local merchants say the tourists spend money in town, eating at local eateries and shopping in stores in the downtown business district.

Some merchants, police officers and officials, along with the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, worked for several months to try to figure out how to best approach the tour bus issue in a way that would work for residents, merchants, and tourists alike.

Then a few weeks ago, the issue was abruptly referred by a council member to the town’s traffic and transportation committee, which put together the idea of the study that would remove eight parking spaces from Nassau Street to regulate and control tour bus movement and create a revenue stream for the town from the buses.


  1. Would the tour bus operator be able to “reserve” parking along the street for a fee-in-lieu-of-meter-payment? I only ask that the town and merchants be whole or better off by making it easier for bus groups to visit.

    Lots of visitors and commerce for those 3~4 parking spots I suppose. It’s (mostly) great to live in a town that people from around the world want to visit. Especially during the slow(er) summer months.

  2. There might be a better solution. Why can’t the tour buses discharge passengers in the NJ Transit bus area by the university gates, leave Nassau Street to wait in a more remote location, and then return when the passengers are finished with their tour? Why does a huge bus have to sit on Nassau Street and occupy metered parking spots while the occupants walk and shop? It would make more sense if these operations a) parked somewhere on university property — these tours are for the school, after all — or b) at the shopping center or c) at the CP tennis court parking lot. If they really have to stay on Nassau Street, how about they wait at the meters on that little road by the former Town Topics building that connects Mercer and University Place?

    1. The town now owns the parking lot opposite the hospital site (on Franklin). This lot could be used for such waiting buses as well as parking for those working in various Princeton businesses. Longer term off-street parking has long been a problem for all-day workers. Monetizing this lot provides income to the town.

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