NYPIRG STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN • TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
|Embargoed for Release:
Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 10:30 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Gene Russianoff at 212-349-6460
Paul Steely White (212) 629-8080
“Pokey” Award for Slowest City Bus Goes to M96, Clocked at 3.7 MPH;
Slower Than a Walking Elephant or a Running Chicken or Mouse
“Schleppie” Award Goes to M101/2/3, City’s Least Reliable BusGroups Optimistic of Progress on Bus Rapid Transit
The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives today presented two awards for poor bus service in New York City.
The first is the seventh-annual “Pokey” for the slowest local bus routes in New York City. The Pokey award is a golden snail on a pedestal. It is awarded based on rides taken on 22 slow bus routes.
The second is the third-annual “Schleppie” for the city’s least reliable buses and is based on official transit statistics. The Schleppie is comprised of lumbering elephants mounted on a pedestal.
The winner of the 2008 Pokey is … the M96 crosstown. The M96 had the slowest bus speed at 3.7 miles per hour as clocked at 12:00 noon on a weekday. This is not much faster than the walking speed of the average person (3.0 mph) or slower than an elephant walking (4.5 mph). It is also slower than a running house mouse (8 mph) or chicken (9 mph). Last year’s winner was the M23 crosstown.
The winner of the 2008 Schleppie is … the M101/2/3 3rd/Lexington/Amsterdam/Lenox Avenue bus from Upper to Lower Manhattan. More than one in four of its buses bunched together or had big gaps in service. That’s the worst reliability record for 42 “high-volume” local routes surveyed by MTA New York City Transit.
Weekday noontime speeds for the Pokey were found by individuals riding 22 of the city’s slowest bus routes. Reliability was measured for the Schleppie by using performance statistics kept by MTA New York City Transit on how well buses kept to scheduled times and intervals. (See methodology.)
“Riders know from bitter daily experience that it can often be faster to walk than to take the bus,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. “Or hop on board a strolling elephant.”
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said: “But hope is around the corner with the coming of faster service with ‘Bus Rapid Transit.’”
White noted that “Bus Rapid Transit” (BRT) had brought better transit to many cities around the world and that a version known as “Select Bus Service” (SBS) is being tested here. The first SBS routes have started on Pelham Parkway and Fordham Road in the Bronx (Bx12) and on 34th Street in Manhattan (M34). SBS routes are planned for Nostrand Avenue (B44), First and Second Avenues in Manhattan (M15) and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island (S79).
Among Bus Rapid Transit strategies now being reviewed in New York are:
• Tougher enforcement of exclusive bus lanes with barriers to discourage cars from entering;
• Pre-boarding fare payment;
• Reconfigured bus stops to speed boarding and reduce conflicts with other vehicles; and
• Bus priority signals to help buses stick to schedule.
According to the groups, the slowest bus routes in each borough are:
|B63||4.9 mph||Between Bay Ridge and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn|
|Bx19||5.3 mph||Between Botanic Garden in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan|
|M96||3.7 mph||Crosstown on 96th Street in Manhattan|
|Q56||6.1 mph||Between Jamaica, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn|
|S42||11.4 mph||Between New Brighton and St. George Ferry Terminal|
The most unreliable bus routes with the greatest bunching together or big gaps in service in four boroughs are:
|B44||24.0% unreliable||Between Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg on Nostrand Avenue|
|Bx41||20.7% unreliable||Between Wakefield and the Hub on White Plains Rd/Webster Avenue|
|M101/2/3||26.1% unreliable||Between Upper and Lower Manhattan on 3rd/Lexington/Amsterdam/Lenox Avenues|
|S74||22.1% unreliable||Between Ferry Terminal and Tottenville on Richmond/Arthur Kill Rds|
Full tables of bus speeds and reliability are attached. Schleppies went to any route with an average of unreliability greater than 20%. As a result, no Queens bus route received a Schleppie.
In the 2002 Pokey Awards, the groups found that the city’s slowest bus route was the M96. In 2003, the groups awarded the Pokey to the M23, in 2004 and 2005 to the M34, in 2006 to the M14A, and in 2007 to the M23. The groups cautioned that comparisons with some past findings were difficult due to changes in methodology over the years. In addition, changes in bus speeds since 2004 have generally been too minor to demonstrate significant trends.The Schleppie went to the M1 in both 2006 and 2007. The official methodology for determining this measure was changed in 2008 by transit officials.