Slowest Buses in NYC
October 28th, 2005

The transit advocates, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives released their annual Pokey Awards Wednesday, rating the city’s slowest buses.

Manhattan’s M34 gets the top prize at 3.4 mph. To give you a sense of how slow that is, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign notes that “The average human being walks at about 3.0 miles an hour.”

Rated by borough, the slowest buses are:

Manhattan – M34 – 3.4 mph – Cross-town on 34th Street in Manhattan,
Brooklyn – B63 – 5.2 mph – Between Bay Ridge and Cobble Hill,
Bronx – Bx19 – 4.9 mph – Between Fordham in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan,
Queens – Q58 – 6.9 mph – Between Ridgewood and Flushing,
Staten Island – S61 – 11.9 mph – Between the Staten Island Mall and Ferry Terminal.

I actually commute on the B63, and the Southbound regularly passes 2 or 3 times before a Northbound picks me up. Very frustrating.

Among the suggestions for improvements, the advocates recommend “Bus Rapid Transit” strategies :

Wider bus lanes with expanded hours.
Longer bus stops to eliminate waits for multiple buses to enter the stop.
Bus lanes with physical means to discourage other vehicles from violating bus lanes.
Pre-boarding fare payment at high-volume times and places to reduce dwell time at stops.
Bus priority signals to help late-arriving buses catch up to schedule.
Scheduling for even spacing while allowing buses to travel as fast as conditions allow.

Giving the city credit, they note that “In July 2004, the MTA awarded a $3 million contract to a team of consultants to review strategies to make buses faster. The ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ study is ongoing and is being conducted with the City Department of Transportation.

Over at the Gothamist, Jen Chung thinks the slowest bus in Staten Island would be considered speeding in Manhattan., a forum on buses, has a long thread discussing the report. A few general themes running through it are the need for better traffic enforcement, more bus doors, putting fault on passengers for time-delays.

[email protected] says Bus Operators used to “‘call in’ an out-of-synch traffic light to Console, who would in turn, notify the [Department of Transportation] who would in turn, dispatch a Welsbach maintenance truck to the location within 2 hours of the call thereby easing the flow of traffic in ‘real time’. Now, the DOT no longer takes these calls from the TA. Such issues must be submitted via letter from a depot manager (Road Control), which can take upwards of a week to remedy.”

Deaks makes an interesting comparison with England, “the bus lane has two raised bollards at the start of it – these lower when a transponder-fitted bus approaches, and raise again as soon as it’s passed. Soon after their installation, a local taxi driver proved that, no matter how closely a car driver may follow the bus through the bollards, they do raise again before” they can sneak in.

And finally, I just have to point out the Post’s headline: Wheely Slow.

By on October 28, 2005, 8:27 am
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