MANHATTAN (CN) – Giant sightseeing bus companies are conspiring with hotels to squeeze a competitor out of business, the company says in a state antitrust complaint. Continental Guest Services says Gray Line and City Sights buses are merging into a joint venture called “Twin America,” to monopolize hotel concierge services that sell tickets for double-decker bus tours of New York City.
Continental claims the defendants control 90 percent or more of the New York City sightseeing bus tour market.
Continental, an “independent, family-owned and operated … company” for “over one hundred years,” says it sells tickets for tours operated by Gray Line and City Sights at concierge desks at 43 hotels around the city.
Continental says Gray Line and City Sights recently “attempted to purchase a forty-nine interest in plaintiff.” When Continental declined, says, the defendants said that “they would … force plaintiff out and steal its business so they could control the concierge desks.”
Sure enough, Continental says, its concierge contracts have been broken in 11 hotels, many of them illegally. It claims the defendants “have used their economic pressure from their monopolization of double-decker sightseeing tours and other tourist services, as well as threats, to cause and are in the process of seeking to cause other hotels to cancel their hotel concierge desk agreements with [the] plaintiff.”
Continental seeks an injunction and damages for breach of contract, tortious interference, unfair competition, monopolization and restraint of trade. It is represented in New York County Court by Steven Shore of Ganfer & Shore in Manhattan.