Case Details

Year Initiated/Committed


Year Resolved


Settlement Amount

$7.5 million disgorgement


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Docket Number


Lead State


Participating States



Twin America, LLC; Coach USA, Inc.; International Bus Services Inc.; Citysights, LLC; City Sights Twin LLC

Case Description

The state and USDOJ filed a joint complaint alleging violations of the Sherman and Clayton Acts as well as the Donnelly Act and New York Executive Law. The complaint alleged that the parties had entered into an illegal joint venture which created a monopoly in the “hop-on, hop-off” bus tours in New York City. The complaint alleges that the dominant tour operator, Coach USA, was losing market share to City Sights and sought to raise prices and eliminate head-to-head competition by entering into a joint venture with City Sights. After the joint venture, the parties controlled 99 percent of the market and were able to sustain a 10 percent price increase. Although the state sought to investigate the joint venture at the time of its formation, the parties applied to the federal Surface Transportation Board for approval. If the approval had been granted, the transaction would have been immune from antitrust scrutiny. The STB denied the application after two years, ordering the joint venture to cease the interstate operations that gave the STB jurisdiction or dissolve the joint venture. The parties ceased the interstate operation, but continued the joint venture. For more than three years following Twin America’s formation, there was no new entry or expansion in the market. Since 2012, although several firms entered the market, they have been unable to obtain bus stop authorizations from the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) at, or sufficiently close to, top attractions and neighborhoods to meaningfully compete with Twin America. Bus stop authorizations are required for hop-on, hop-off operators legally to load and unload passengers. Both Coach and City Sights hold large portfolios of bus stop authorizations covering virtually all of Manhattan’s key attractions that the firms received from NYC DOT years ago, and before many locations were at capacity. The formation of Twin America gave them a dominant share of the competitively-meaningful bus stop authorizations in Manhattan. The settlement reached by the parties requires the defendants to relinquish approximately fifty bus stops across Manhattan controlled by City Sights, including highly coveted locations in Times Square and near the Empire State Building. The settlement also requires the defendants to disgorge $7.5 million in profits they obtained from the operation of their illegal joint venture, and as a result of their several year effort to forestall antitrust enforcement. This amount is in addition to $19 million that the defendants had already agreed to pay to a class of consumers to settle related private litigation brought after the filing of the government complaint. The New York Attorney General and the United States determined that the defendants earned profits in excess of $19 million from their unlawful monopoly and that disgorgement was particularly appropriate on the facts of this case, a consummated merger involving an anticompetitive price increase and deliberate attempts to evade antitrust enforcement.