NYPIRG STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN • TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
|Embargoed for Release: |
December 19, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Gene Russianoff (917) 575-9434
Paul Steely White (646) 247-6734
Pokey Award Goes to M42 and M50;
Clocked at “Dreadful Crawl” of 3.4 MPH
A Wooden Row Boat Goes Faster!
Schleppie Award Goes to M101/2/3, City’s Least Reliable Bus;
More Than 30% Arrive Bunched Together or With Major Gaps
But “Help is on the Way” Say Groups,
Noting de Blasio Pledge of Faster, More Reliable Buses
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 twelfth-annual “Pokey” for slowest local bus route in New York City.
The uncoveted Pokey award is a golden snail on a pedestal. The award is 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 2013 Pokey is ... It’s a tie! The M42 and M50 which both had the slowest bus speed at 3.4 miles per hour as clocked at 12 noon on a weekday.
“Our advice to the M42 and M50: Don’t challenge a row boat to race around the Central Park Reservoir,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. “These crosstown buses are losers.”
“Thankfully help is on its way,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has pledged to build a rapid network of buses with the goal of greatly improving transit in the boroughs outside Manhattan’s Central Business District.”2
Six faster bus routes - known as "Select Bus Service" - were opened during Mayor Bloomberg's Administration, with a seventh due out in spring 2014.
In 2012, the M42 moved 14,829 riders on an average weekday and ranked 50th in riders out of 177 local bus routes. The M42 travels crosstown on 42nd Street between FDR Drive and Twelfth Avenue.
In 2012, the M50 moved 3,383 riders on an average weekday and ranked 150th in riders out of 177 local bus routes. The M50 travels crosstown on 49th and 50th Streets between First and Twelfth Avenues.
According to the groups, the slowest bus routes in each borough are:
|B41LTD||5.7 mph||btwn Downtown Brooklyn and Kings Plaza/Bergen Beach|
|Bx19||4.9 mph||btwn NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Harlem|
|M42||3.4 mph||Crosstown on 42nd Street in Manhattan|
|M50||3.4 mph||Crosstown on 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan|
|Q58||7.0 mph||btwn Ridgewood, Queens and Flushing Main Street|
|S48||7.7 mph||btwn Mariners Harbor and St. George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island|
The second award is the eight-annual “Schleppie” for the city’s least reliable buses and is based on official transit statistics, which measure how well buses keep to scheduled intervals.
The Schleppie is comprised of golden lumbering elephants on a pedestal.
The M101/2/3 goes from Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan to the East Village on 3rd and Lexington Avenues. The three routes share the “trunk route” of 3rd and Lexington Avenues. The M101 moved 29,341 riders on an average weekday in 2012 and was ranked the 13th highest route in bus ridership in the city out of a total 177 local buses. The M102 moved 15,284 riders and was ranked 46th. The M103 moved 12,548 riders and was ranked 66th.
The most unreliable bus routes in each borough with over 20% of buses bunched together or big gaps in service are:
|B44||25.1% unreliable btwn Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg Bridge|
|Bx55||28.3% unreliable btwn Williamsbridge and the Hub on Webster Avenue4|
|M101/2/3||31.6% unreliable btwn Washington Heights and East Village on 3rd and Lexington Aves|
|Q85||21.0% unreliable btwn Jamaica, Queens and Valley Stream, Nassau County|
|S74||25.8% unreliable btwn St. George Ferry Terminal and Bricktown Mall|
Both the City and MTA New York City Transit have substantially implemented six faster and more reliable “Select Bus Service” routes. These are:
A seventh SBS route, the M60 SBS on 125th Street in Harlem to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, is due in the Spring of 2014.
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 alighting; reconfiguring bus stops and bus lanes to reduce conflicts with other traffic; wider subway-style spacing between stops; and enforcement of the bus lane by camera to keep the lane moving.
The groups found that three of the SBS routes – those that can be fairly compared to local service on the route – are living up to their promise.
For example, SBS on the Bx12 increased bus speeds by more than half over the Bx12 local. The Bx12 local was clocked by our surveyors at 6.6 mph. But the Bx12 SBS traveled at 10.1 mph — 53 percent faster than the Bx12 local.
SBS on the Bx41 increased bus speeds by 23 percent over the Bx41 local. The Bx41 local was clocked by our surveyors at 6.8 mph. But the Bx41 SBS traveled at 8.4 mph, 23 percent faster than the Bx41 local.
SBS on the M15 increased bus speeds by nearly 28 percent over the M15 local. The M15 local was clocked by our surveyors at 5.5 mph. But the M15 SBS traveled at 7.0 mph, 28 percent faster than the M15 local.
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, in 2007 to the M23, the M96 in 2008, the M42 in 2009 and 2010, the M50 in 2011 and the M42 tied the M66 in 2012.
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 in 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.
In this survey, the total number or routes stayed at 34. Two routes were dropped because of construction during the survey period. Three more routes out of the 34 were dropped because they are slated for significant upgrades as part of the Select Bus Service program. Three new routes were added because of current or future inclusion in the Select Bus Service program.
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 M101/2/3 in 2008, the B44 in 2009, the Bx41 in 2010, the M101/2/3 in 2011 and to the M4 in 2012. Transit’s methodology for calculating this measure was changed in 2008.
1 See http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?145940-Average-Rowing-Speeds for a discussion of row boat speeds from which the 3.5 mph figure was derived.
2 “Bill de Blasio will work to phase in the creation of a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network with more than 20 lines, linking communities underserved by transit to the city’s primary transportation and employment hubs. De Blasio will allocate funding from the city’s capital budget to accelerate implementation—at a fraction of the cost of major subway projects. Bus Rapid Transit has the potential to save outer-borough commuters hours off their commute times every week and stimulate economic activity in neighborhoods the subway system doesn’t reach.” http://www.billdeblasio.com/issues/transportation
3 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.”
4 The Bx55 has been replaced by the Bx15 Limited Stop Service. The current schedule has been in effect since September 8, 2013.