NYPIRG STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN • TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
|Embargoed for Release:
Thursday, December 1, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Gene Russianoff (917) 575-9434
Paul Steely White (646) 247-6734
Pokey Award Goes to M50; Clocked at Dismal Speed of 3.5 MPH;
“You Could Push a Lawnmower Faster Crosstown Than M50 Travels”
Schleppie Award Goes to M101/102/103, Citys Least Reliable Bus;
More Than a Quarter Arrive Bunched Together or With Major Gaps
Good News: “Select Bus Service” Providing Faster Service
New York, New York The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives today gave out two awards for poor bus service in New York City.
The first is the tenth-annual Pokey for slowest local bus route in New York City. The uncoveted Pokey award is a golden snail on a pedestal. Its based on the speed of rides taken by Straphangers Campaign staff and volunteers on 35 routes. Lines were selected because they: 1) had high ridership; or 2) were historically slow Manhattan crosstown routes. (See methodology.)
The winner of the 2011 Pokey is ... the M50, which had the slowest bus speed at 3.5 miles per hour as clocked at 12 noon on a weekday.
The M50 is slooooow, said Gene Russianoff, attorney for NYPIRGs Straphangers Campaign.
Russianoff added: You can push a lawnmower faster crosstown than it takes the M50 to go from 1st to 12th Avenue, noting that a human-powered push mower could go 4 mph compared to 3.5 mph on the M50. (See: http://www.snapper.com/push-mowers/Pivot-N-Go/)
This years Pokey goes to yet another sad example of our underfunded transit system, said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. The M50 might be slow but the bus system itself is racing toward catastrophe at full speed. New Yorkers deserve better.
White said he was troubled by official transit statistics showing that breakdowns had increased on city buses by 12% since last year. In addition, the percentage of city buses that were 12 years or older had more than doubled in the past year, from 16% of the bus fleet in 2010 to 35% in 2011. Nearly $800 million is in the MTA's 2012 through 2014 capital plan for buying hundreds of new buses, but the funding for the program is uncertain.
In 2010, the M50 move 3,905 riders on an average weekday and ranks 151st in riders out of the 191 local bus routes. The M50 travels cross-town on 49th and 50th Streets between First and Twelfth Avenues.
According to the groups, the slowest bus routes in each borough are:
|B41||6.5 mph||Between Kings Plaza and Downtown Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue|
|Bx19||5.0 mph||Between Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Harlem|
|M50||3.5 mph||Crosstown on 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan|
|Q58||7.2 mph||Between Ridgewood, Queens, and Flushing/Main Street|
|S48||8.8 mph||Between Richmond Terrace and St. George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island|
The second award is the sixth-annual Schleppie for the citys least reliable buses and is based on official transit statistics, which measures how well buses keep to scheduled intervals.1
The Schleppie is comprised of golden lumbering elephants on a pedestal.
The winner of the 2011 Schleppie is ... the M101/102/103. More than one out of four M101/102/103's arrived with big gaps in service or bunched together. The three buses share the same trunk route in Manhattan, traveling on 3rd and Lexington Avenues between the East Village and Washington Heights (M101), East Village and Harlem (M102), and City Hall and East Harlem (M103).
The three buses moved 63,538 riders on an average weekday in 2010. The M101 was ranked the 10th highest route in bus ridership in the city out of a total 191 local buses with 32,266 average weekday riders. The M102 was ranked 36th with 16,951 average weekday riders; the M103 was ranked 54th with 14,321 average weekday riders.
The most unreliable bus routes in each of four boroughs with over 20% of buses bunched together or big gaps in service are:
|B44||25.7% unreliable||btw Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg Bridge on Nostrand Avenue|
|Bx41||23.5% unreliable||btw Williamsbridge and the Hub on White Plains Rd/Webster Ave|
|M101/2/3||27.3% unreliable||btw Upper and Lower Manhattan on 3rd and Lexington Avenues|
|S78||24.0% unreliable||btw SI Ferry and Tottenville/Bricktown Mall on Hylan Boulevard|
Both the City and MTA New York City Transit have implemented two Select Bus Service routes. SBS employs a number of strategies to provide faster service, such as collecting fares before boarding buses and buses with three doors and low floors to speed up boarding.
The SBS routes are on the M15 (First and Second Avenues between lower Manhattan and Harlem) and on the Bx12 (Pelham Parkway and Fordham Road between Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and upper Manhattan).
The groups found that the two SBS routes are living up to their promise.
In our survey of bus speeds for 2011, SBS on the Bx12 increased bus speeds by more than 51 percent over the Bx12 local. The Bx12 local was clocked by our surveyors at 7.2 mph. But the Bx12 SBS traveled at 10.9 mph 51 percent faster than the Bx12 local.
SBS on the M15 increased bus speeds by nearly 43 percent over the M15 local. The M15 local was clocked by our surveyors at 4.9 mph. But the M15 SBS traveled at 7.1 mph, more than 43 percent faster than the M15 local.
Additional SBS routes are planned for the 34th Street Crosstown (M34), Nostrand Avenue (B44) and the Hylan Boulevard corridor on Staten Island.
Among bus speed improvement strategies on the M15 SBS are: exclusive bus lanes painted in terra cotta to discourage cars from entering; payment of fare before boarding the bus; buses with three doors and low floors to speed up boarding; distinctive branding and flashing blue lights to heighten rider recognition; wider subway-style spacing between stops; and enforcement of the bus lane by camera to keep the lane moving.
In 2012, features to be added to M15 SBS are: traffic signal priority for buses; and sidewalk extensions at certain bus stops to increase passenger waiting area and allow easier access to the curb for buses.
In the 2002 Pokey Awards, the groups found that the citys 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, in 2007 to the M23, the M96 in 2008 and the M42 in 2009 and 2010.
The groups cautioned that comparisons with past findings were difficult due to changes in methodology and bus routes over the years. In addition, changes in bus speeds since 2004 have generally been too small to demonstrate significant trends. (See methodology.)
The criteria for selecting buses to be evaluated for speed is largely the same as our 2010 survey. Between 2005 and 2009, bus routes to be surveyed were selected based on New York City Transit data. Specifically, we surveyed the ten slowest routes (all in Manhattan), as determined by Transit in bus profiles compiled in 2000. We also surveyed the three slowest routes in the other boroughs.
In this survey, the number of routes surveyed increased from 29 to 35. Two routes out of the 29 were dropped, while one new route was added, based on ridership. All of the crosstown routes between Houston Street and 116th Street were surveyed, adding five new routes to the survey. We also surveyed the M15 local and M15 SBS service for the first time since SBS launched in October 2010.
As of the end of 2010, there were a total of 191 New York City Transit local bus routes and two Select Bus Service routes. (See: http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ridership/index.htm#atGlance_b)
Schleppies went to any route with an average wait assessment greater than 20%. This determination is based on official wait assessments for 42 high-volume routes, chosen by Transit. Wait assessment measures how closely a line sticks to scheduled intervals for arrival. Wait assessment becomes poorer the more buses arrive in bunches or with major gaps in service.
The Schleppie went to the M1 in both 2006 and 2007, to the M101/102/103 in 2008, the B44 in 2009 and the Bx41 in 2010. Transits methodology for calculating this measure was changed in 2008.
The measure is known as wait assessment. It is measured weekdays between 7 a.m. and midnight. It is defined as the percentage of observed service intervals that are no more than the scheduled interval plus 3 minutes during the peak (7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and plus 5 during off-peak (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 p.m. to 12 p.m.) The results are presented for a sample of 42 high-volume routes (plus eight associated limited stop services and two select bus service routes).