NYPIRG STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN • TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
|Embargoed for Release: |
Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 10:30 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Gene Russianoff (917) 575-9434
Paul Steely White (646) 247-6734
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 eleventh-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 34 routes. Lines were selected because they: 1) had high ridership; or 2) were historically slow Manhattan crosstown routes. (See methodology.)
The winner of the 2012 Pokey is ... a tie! The M66 and M42, which both had the slowest bus speed at 3.9 miles per hour as clocked at 12 noon on a weekday.
The M66 and M42 are excruciatingly slow, said Gene Russianoff, attorney for NYPIRGs Straphangers Campaign.
Russianoff added: The M66 and M42 would lose a race to an amusement park bumper car and be a lot less fun! A bumper car can go 4.3 miles per hour compared to the 3.9 miles of the Pokey Award winning buses. Thats according to the Modern Amusement company website at http://www.zz-modern.com/bumper-car-bct02z01.html.
The M66 and M42 are falling behind their peers because they're children of neglect. It's high time the City and State invested in making every bus the high achievers New Yorkers deserve, said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. Nearly $800 million is in the MTA's 2012 through 2014 capital plan for buying hundreds of new buses.
In 2011, the M66 moved 12,764 riders on an average weekday and ranked 61st in riders out of the 177 local bus routes. The M66 travels cross-town on 65th and 66th Streets between York and West End Avenues.
In 2011, the M42 moved 14,996 riders on an average weekday and ranked 49th in riders out of the 177 local bus routes. The M42 travels cross-town on 42nd Street between First and Twelfth Avenues.
According to the groups, the slowest bus routes in each borough are:
|B35 LTD||5.6 mph||btw Sunset Park and Brownsville, Brooklyn|
|Bx19||4.9 mph||btw NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Harlem|
|M42||3.9 mph||Crosstown on 42nd Street in Manhattan|
|M66||3.9 mph||Crosstown on 65th and 66th Streets in Manhattan|
|Q58||7.0 mph||btw Ridgewood, Queens and Flushing Main Street|
|S48||8.1 mph||btw Mariners Harbor and St. George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island|
The second award is the seventh-annual Schleppie for the citys least reliable buses and is based on official transit statistics, which measure how well buses keep to scheduled intervals.1
The Schleppie is comprised of golden lumbering elephants on a pedestal.
The winner of the 2012 Schleppie is ... the M4. Nearly thirty percent of M4s arrived with big gaps in service or bunched together. The M4 goes from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan to Penn Station on 5th and Madison Avenues and Broadway.
The M4 moved 20,352 riders on an average weekday in 2011. The M4 was ranked the 24th highest route in bus ridership in the city out of a total 177 local buses.
The most unreliable bus routes in each of four boroughs with over 20% of buses bunched together or big gaps in service are:
|B15||20.1% unreliable btwn Bedford-Stuyvesant and JFK Airport on New Lots and Marcus Garvey Aves|
|Bx41||21.8% unreliable btwn Williamsbridge and the Hub on Webster Avenue|
|M4||28.3% unreliable btwn Fort Tryon Park and Penn Station on 5th and Madison Aves and Broadway|
|S78||25.8% unreliable btwn St. George Ferry and Bricktown Mall on Hylan Boulevard|
Both the City and MTA New York City Transit have substantially implemented two Select Bus Service (SBS) routes. 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).
SBS employs a number of strategies to provide faster service, such as collecting fares before boarding buses; buses with three doors and low floors to speed up boarding; and reconfiguring bus stops and bus lanes to reduce conflicts with other traffic.
The groups found that the two SBS routes are living up to their promise.
In our survey of bus speeds for 2012, SBS on the Bx12 increased bus speeds by more than 19.6 percent over the Bx12 local. The Bx12 local was clocked by our surveyors at 6.6 mph. But the Bx12 SBS traveled at 7.9 mph 19.6 percent faster than the Bx12 local.
SBS on the M15 increased bus speeds by nearly 50 percent over the M15 local. The M15 local was clocked by our surveyors at 5.2 mph. But the M15 SBS traveled at 7.8 mph, more than 50 percent faster than the M15 local.
Additional SBS routes are being planned or completed for 34th Street in Manhattan (M34 and M34A), Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn (B44); Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island (S79); and Webster Avenue in the Bronx (Bx41).
Among bus speed improvement strategies on the Bx12 SBS and 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.
By 2013, 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, the M42 in 2009 and 2010, and the M50 in 2011.
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 criterion 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 the 2011 survey, the number of routes surveyed increased from 29 to 35. In the 2012 survey, the number of routes surveyed dropped from 35 to 34.
One route out of the 35 was dropped because of construction during the survey period. Two more routes out of the 35 were dropped because they are slated for significant upgrades as part of the Select Bus Service program. Two new routes were added, based on ridership. We rated the S79 before Select Bus Service roadwork began. We did not rate the S79 SBS as Hylan Blvd was under construction at the close of the survey period. As of the end of 2011, there were a total of 177 New York City Transit local bus routes and two Select Bus Service routes. (See: http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ridership/ridership_bus.htm.)
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, the Bx41 in 2010 and the M101/102/103 in 2011. Transits methodology for calculating this measure was changed in 2008.
1. 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).