Protesters in front of the depot (Photo: Allan Rosen)

THE COMMUTE: Last week, I had to conduct some business at the courts in Downtown Brooklyn. The trip going there using a bus and train, and two trains and a bus to return home, including the two minutes I spent at the court, took me less than 90 minutes. That was fabulous, but mass transit is often not that quick in New York City, especially when the bus you used to rely on no longer operates and you need to find alternatives.

Today, bus riders are still reeling from the effects of 36 bus routes eliminated in June 2010. Last month, Sheepshead Bites held a Transit Town Hall, primarily to ask for restoration of the B4 cut. Last Saturday was Bensonhurst’s turn.

Colton speaks to a reporter (Photo: Allan Rosen)

Demonstrators gathered at Ulmer Park Depot, 25th Avenue near Cropsey Avenue, at 11:00 a.m. to protest the cutback of the B64 bus from Coney Island to 25th Avenue. The western terminus of the route is in Bay Ridge. The community last protested this service cut shortly after it occurred back in June 2010. Hopefully, this protest will be more successful. It had the support of Local 100 of the TWU, which promised to support restoration of all the 2010 service cuts. Approximately 50 of the demonstrators were Local 100 members. I previously wrote about the B64 just under a year ago and again when discussing the MTA’s evaluation of these service cuts last October.

The Bensonhurst West End Community Council (BWECC) and Assemblyman William Colton organized both protests. Colton spoke about churches that were inconvenienced and asked why the MTA would cut a route providing service to Coney Island at the same time the city is spending millions to rejuvenate the area. He stated that made no sense. Approximately a dozen people spoke on behalf of restoring the B64, including TWU President John Samuelson. Other elected officials speaking were Councilman Vincent Gentile, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny representing Coney Island, and Anthony Testeverde, a regular B4 rider in Sheepshead Bay, representing State Senator Martin Golden.

Gentile addresses the crowd (Photo: Allan Rosen)

Among those who spoke from the public were representatives from local schools, and seniors and the disabled, who were inconvenienced most by the B64 cutback. What is most annoying to the residents is that, although the B64 no longer operates along Harway Avenue, buses still use the street all day long as a run on and run off route to access the B36. They do not understand why these same buses could not be scheduled to operate as B64s and how operating buses not in service saves the MTA money. Many believe the MTA is not saving what they thought they would be saving by truncating the route since they did not factor in patronage losses in their cost saving projections. The assumption made was that all riders would find a mass transit alternative.

That clearly was not the case since, one year after the cut, the MTA’s own analysis showed the B64 to be 41 percent less efficient on weekdays and 38 percent less efficient on weekends due to fewer riders using the route. When I pointed this out to a senior MTA service planner last year, he told me the only thing that mattered was that they saved money, implying it could not be helped if the routes became less efficient.

Assemblyman Jim Brennan is introducing legislation that would hold the MTA accountable for their cost savings projections, which are often over-projected when making service changes by only considering operational savings ignoring other factors such as efficiency.

Todd Dobrin, who also has political aspirations, wanted to know why the MTA didn’t do a study to determine how much more they are paying for Access-A-Ride trips since the cutbacks. Those trips cost the MTA an average of about $60 per trip, far more than the cost of service for a local bus, which costs around $3 or $4 per trip to provide.

The elderly and handicapped, who often cannot climb the subway stairs, must now rely on Access-A-Ride for trips they previously made by bus. One rider confined to a wheelchair stated that seniors are now prisoners in their own homes because they can no longer access the senior center on Bay 47th Street and Harway Avenue, previously serviced by the B64.

A leader of the Asian community stated that the Asian population increased by 53 percent in Bensonhurst and the overall population of the area increased by eight percent, and questioned why the MTA was reducing bus service. The answer to that question is that the MTA only considers its own current riders when planning — not potential ridership in an area with population growth or an area undergoing revitalization such as Coney Island. Increased ridership resulting from bus service improvements are not considered either. The MTA assumes no one will ride a new service when figuring the cost to provide it. The “if you build it they will come” philosophy is a foreign concept to the MTA, who is only concerned with penny-pinching and cost savings, not efficiency or improving bus service.

Other Observations

Although B64 buses are supposed to turn around in front of the depot, while waiting I noticed several buses going beyond 25th Avenue, probably to 26th Avenue to make their turn. Even if the MTA merely formalized that turn around and allowed the buses to pick up and drop off riders on 26th Avenue, or if they just operated school specials to service the schools inconvenienced by the B64 service cut, it would help somewhat. However, the MTA’s planners and budget people have lost sight of their mission to service the people in the best manner possible within available resources. They only restore a service when the political outcry becomes too great.

Problems With The B3

I decided to take the bus to the Ulmer Park Depot rather than drive. Arriving at 25th Avenue and 86th Street on the B1, I wondered if I should gamble on waiting for a B3 on 25th Avenue or just walk the last three long blocks. Since I was feeling well and not having any difficulty walking that day, I decided to walk. Moments later, not one, not two, but three B3s passed me, one right after the other. Guess I gambled wrong.

Since the bus is supposedly operating on a 10-minute interval, that means some people are waiting 30 minutes or more for the bus. During the hour and a half the protest lasted, I decided to spend some time watching the B3. This is what I found: Two of the three B3s, which arrived at the last stop in front of the depot at same time, also left for their return trip — also at the same time. Furthermore, when I boarded the B3 to go home, another B3 passed us in service only one block from the beginning of the route. That’s two instances within 90 minutes where B3 buses were leaving the terminus already bunched!

So how can buses operate at their scheduled intervals if they are not even dispatched one at a time? I previously heard the same complaint regarding the B36. I asked the B3 driver to explain to me what was happening. All he would say was the other driver must be late. The MTA allows time where bus operators get a break at the end of each trip, called recovery time, so that they can get back on schedule if there are any delays along the route. If the driver who spoke to me was correct, the recovery time for the B3 is insufficient.

I noticed on many occasions that the B4 gets a 20-minute recovery time at Coney Island Hospital, which seems excessive. Why should the B3 recovery time be insufficient and the B4 recovery be excessive? These are issues the MTA needs to investigate because, as I often state, excessive wait times are the biggest deterrent to not using buses.

In my conversation with Senator Golden’s representative, Anthony Testeverde, who uses the B3 and the B4 to get from Marine Park to his office in Bay Ridge, the B3 often has delays of 30 minutes and, on those days, it takes him two hours to get to his office. When he would just miss several B3s in a row he would jog from Avenue U to Voorhies Avenue along Knapp Street to pick up the B4 directly instead of waiting 30 minutes for the B3 and transferring at 25th Avenue and 86th Street for the B4. Now he no longer has that option during the midday and on weekends since the B4 cutback, and has no choice but to wait for the B3.

Last month, I unveiled proposed bus route improvements such as bus service along Knapp Street, which the MTA will never provide as long as they are only interested in cutting bus service, not improving it. A few weeks ago, the MTA announced increases to L train subway service in Williamsburg, costing an additional $1.7 million a year, because subway crowding exceeds the service guidelines. However, on my return B1 trip, the bus carried about 65 people for most of the route between 25th Avenue and Manhattan Beach, with frequent turnover, when the service guidelines call for a seated load during the off-peak and there was no other bus in sight for my entire trip. The driver even bypassed one rider on Brighton Beach Avenue because the bus was so overcrowded.

Why are there no increases in summer bus service this year on beach routes in Brooklyn as was the practice in previous years? Apparently, when it comes to buses, the MTA will not consider changes that cost more money because of their bias against buses. The guidelines only come into play to justify service reductions and are ignored when additional service is warranted.

Conclusion

Sometimes the transit system works quite well. Other times it fails miserably. Politicians can protest all they want that the MTA should restore service. The truth is that restoring service costs money. Many of the state’s elected officials now calling for service restoration are the same ones responsible for cutting the MTA’s budget in the first place, necessitating these cuts. The State Assembly and State Senate must restore MTA funding to enable them to provide adequate service. However, the MTA must do its part also by making sure the resources they are allotted are spent in the most efficient way possible.

The MTA is clearly wasting money by dispatching buses two at a time, then being dishonest by blaming bus bunching on traffic congestion, which is beyond their control. They need to dedicate far more resources to road supervision. This wasting of money is one of the reasons state elected officials voted to reduce MTA funding in the first place, as Colton told me in 2010.

On June 27, he will be attending the MTA’s monthly board meeting to once again ask for the reinstatement of the B64 and to present the MTA with petitions. He promised me that he would speak to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz today in Albany about working together so they both can fight for the restoration of the B64 as well as the B4.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • TITANIUMDX

    The more things change, they usually stay the same or gets worse.
    Close all the bus lines and take car service.
    There is no need to be dealing with or riding with animals.
    The link below, is a small example of what I’m talking about:

    • Flatbush Depot

       Spam

  • Pingback: Around 120 Protesters Demand B64 Restoration In Bath Beach – Sheepshead Bites « Abolish Pest Control Serving Bath Beach, Brooklyn, New York

  • LLQBTT

    I know that you’re using the L by way of example, but it is ridiculously overcrowded, and by Bedford in the morning, many times people cannot even get on the first train.  Sometimes, when there is even a slight delay, you cannot even get on by Graham, and with development in the area continuing unabated, it’s just a matter of time before the L is overcapacity again because of poor planning.  Development in the area s no secret.  Everybody knows more and more and more people are moving into the area.  It is as crowded, if not more so at times, than the Lex.

    But in regards to S Bay, bus service has always been terrible in general and I saw the same problems the other day as I did many, many moons ago as a young fella.

    The B68 bunches like nobodies business.  There used to be a driver change at Kings Hwy that also slowed things down pretty good.  But I think that there was a dispatcher there as well, at least sometimes.

    I would take the D & M whenever possible, or if going to Bay Ridge, the D or M to the N to the R.  Sometimes I would to W 8 to get the F back up because even then the trains were much more reliable.  Pain in the butt!

    Hopefully once all the buses get GPS, they can be dispatched by 1 central dispatcher when things go afoul on the route (assuming there are still bus routes when the BusTime is rolloed out to S Bay!)

    • Allan Rosen

      Not saying the L doesn’t need the extra service. Just tat it would be a lot more difficult to get extra bus service, because the MTA wants everyone on the subways so they can further reduce bus service which they feel is too labor intensive since a train carries ten times as many people.

      • sonicboy678

        I actually find it ridiculous that the MTA wants to stay cost-neutral and avoid implementing more adequate bus service but adds trains to the L when that one route easily becomes crippled when only one train gets delayed – even when the delay isn’t just from overcrowded trains.

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    Cutting the 64 bus from going to Stillwell really hurt me, man. I hope they restore it.

    For decades we all complained about buses being bunched, 2,3 arriving at the same time. The bus drivers always told us it was due to traffic. And I took their word for it. Thanks Allan, for exposing  this lie.  There’s no way buses should be sent out together on the same line, they should change their system. It’s nonsense.

    • Allan Rosen

      As I said as much as road supervision tries, they can’t be everywhere unless there is more manpower allocated to this task. In the 1960s, every bus route had a minimum of 2 bus dispatchers, one on each end of the route. Heavy routes had as many as six dispatchers. Now all the road supervision is roving, like the way the fire department puts out fires, by running to problem areas. Some routes have no dispatchers at all. There was none at Ulmer Park when I was there although two routes, B3and B64 now start at the same bus stop. A dispatcher would have instructed the late bus to not pick up for the first mile or mile and a half to get back on schedule. A driver cannot make that decision by himself.

      • Flatbush Depot

        The nearest road dispatcher at a fixed post further out along the B3 also could have used the radio.

    • Flatbush Depot

      It is not a lie. Sometimes it happens because of traffic and typical local bus problems like people getting on/off slowly causing the bus to miss signals that it would not miss if and other times it happens because a bus arrives at a terminal so late that it ends up being late for the next trip while the dispatcher does nothing, like Allan noticed while observing the B3. Sometimes it is a combination of both. That lateness is the reason why buses leave terminals simultaneously. One bus is leaving on time, the other is leaving late. Other times it happens because one person (aka dirty worker) leaves the terminal early and the followers suffer.

      Buses leave the terminal simultaneously because of bunching due to the variables described above and lack of oversight by dispatchers when it comes to these issues. The thing that makes these problems so severe when they happen is that not only do the buses get slowed down by the physical vehicular traffic and the people problems (like getting on/off slowly), but they also get slowed down by signals that they normally (like more than half the time) would have made.

      Depending on how late the bus leaves the terminal and depending on how much recovery time there is at the other end, it is sometimes understandable that they would just let the buses go down the road without putting them in place. Although as we all know this allowance is frequently abused.

      Some lines have more running time per trip than they know what to do with, and as a result of this your leader could be on time both one trip and the second trip while you get to the end 10 minutes late on your first trip, leave 5 minutes late on the second trip (say you have like a 5- or 6-minute recovery period), and then because of the fact that you have more running time than you know what to do with, you suddenly find yourself right back on time at the middle of the route on the second trip.

      Schedules on some lines are constantly being juggled, so maybe one pick they decide to give a one-way trip 70 minutes of running time and 5 minutes of recovery time (which seems pretty ridiculous, yet there are lines that have these allowances and do alright, partially because the buses might tend to reach the end a few minutes early because there might be excessive running time) and the next pick they decide to change it to like 65 minutes running and 8 minutes recovery (note the 2-minute loss in combined running+recovery time) for whatever reason they choose in their infinite wisdom.

      That is weird that the B4 gets so much recovery time while the much busier B3 gets so little. Although the B4 has had its own bunching problems for years AFAIK. Either way I would think they could take some recovery time off the B4 and give it to the B3 as this would cost nothing since there would be no net increase in running+recovery time between the two routes. The biggest problem with the B3 has to be Kings Plaza with the parking lot of traffic on “U” around there. And *cough*dollar vans*cough*

      Needless to say the B4 needs better service levels in addition to full-time service to Knapp St. It gets more ridership in the east than in the west; a guy on NYC Transit Forums said that Bay Ridge is car country and MTA uses that as an excuse to run the B4 at such bad service levels, to the point where folks in Sheepshead get the very short end of the stick.

      You would think that given the fact that it gets more ridership in the east, it would have made much more sense to put the line in Flatbush depot rather than Gleason. The problem I believe is capacity as FB is quite a small depot. The dead mileage between Knapp/Voorhies and FB is almost one mile less one-way than that between 78/Narrows and Gleason.

      • Allan Rosen

        I stated that there was no dispatcher at the first stop. I did not state the dispatcher did nothing like you said I did.

        If passengers getting on and off slowly causes buses not to be able to meet their running time, then the running time needs to be increased. You cannot determine running time by assuming the bus will make all the traffic signals. You also have to allow time for the occasional wheelchair. Just because I bus might lose ten minutes because it has a wheelchair passenger, that is no excuse for him being late the rest of the day. Recovery time is determined by the headway and the running time. They do not want to add recovery time if it means an extra bus. They woud rather all the buses run late because it costs less on paper not to have the extra bus.

        • Flatbush Depot

          I stated that there was no dispatcher at the first stop. I did not state the dispatcher did nothing like you said I did.

          Well the buses leaving the first stop simultaneously and in service because one is on-time while one or two are late seems pretty indicative of the fact that the dispatcher probably did nothing, which is nothing new and happens every day in MTA across all five boroughs!

          Have you ridden the B3 end-to-end at busy times of day recently to pinpoint exactly what goes on with that line? If you could do that and report on it that would be helpful. Even better if you could ask some more bus operators exactly what goes on with the line. Maybe as you go along and realize that there are no buses heading the other way at certain points and then you suddenly see three bunched up, you could ask the bus operator you are riding with why that happened if it happens to those particular buses at that particular time every day.

          Or when you reach either of the two terminals you can listen to some bus operators talking to each other about what is going on on the road, if they choose to discuss that (which they often do, talking about how one guy screws everybody else on the road and he always has a half-empty bus while everybody else’s bus is packed to the gills and so on and so forth). And join in on the conversation if you can so you can really get into it and find out what is going on. Hopefully they would tell you the truth and be receptive and willing enough to answer your questions as best as possible.

          Some of them are jokers and dirty workers of course and others are level-headed folks that simply do not want to talk about the stupidity that goes on on the road with said jokers and dirty workers and want to forget about it, but hopefully the jokers and dirty workers would not be the ones answering your questions and hopefully the level-headed folks would be willing to answer your questions accurately and thoroughly enough for your liking.

          You should also do all of this with the B36 when you can.

          • Flatbush Depot

            Also the more trips you can do at a time on either line, the better. You should do at least one round trip at a time.

          • Allan Rosen

            Strange as it may seem, I am not a bus fan and do not ride buses just for the fun of it.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time before Saturday, that I even rode on the B3.  If my car was running okay, I would have driven to the depot and not even paid attention to the B3.  But I am glad I did because I learned something. Maybe you could ask your questions on one of the bus forums and some drivers would be willing to respond.

            Yes, maybe the dispatcher which you say was located somewhere else on the route did nothing, but maybe where he was stationed, there was nothing he could do or didn’t see the problem.  The late driver should have radioed for instructions.  But he might not have known that his leader was on schedule.  However, if there would have been a dispatcher at the terminal, he would have known what to do.  As I said, there needs to be more and better road supervision.  There isn’t because the MTA does not see the value in having buses run on schedule because they believe they have a captive audience who will wait indefinitely for a bus which is not true.  One bad experience influences someone’s decision the next time.

          • Flatbush Depot

            That first sentence of yours was a rather arrogant statement that really rubs people (especially the transit fans of which you speak, most of whom post on the forums, including B35 via Church who takes PLENTY of rides on buses in his neighborhood and miles away from his neighborhood just to study the ridership patterns and whatnot in case you did not know) the wrong way when they are simply providing constructive criticism that could make you a more credible reporter if you followed it. Not that you are not a credible reporter, but you still have room for improvement. I would appreciate it if you did what I suggested so you could get your hands dirty finding out all this additional information (not the stuff you put in this article, but the stuff I asked for and others would probably like to know) first-hand and reporting it as you see it.

            I do not live in Brooklyn, you do, you have much easier access to these bus lines than I do, and you are retired. I go to school. Why is it that you could not use the extra time to get your hands dirty finding things out in person (again, aside from what you have written in this article as well as others) and reporting them in gross detail? That would probably boost your popularity because as I said it would boost your credibility which, strange as it may seem (to use a bit of your language), has room for improvement. You should have a better idea as to exactly which questions you should ask on the forums since you live near these lines and know them better than I do since I hardly ever ride them when I go to Brooklyn, as I have only ridden the B3 once from Flatbush to Nostrand and have never ridden the B36. And I already made a post for you from which you benefited by reading a wealth of reasons, some of which came from train operators, as to why the (D) train cannot stop at DeKalb on the weekends.

            Rant over. Please do not be so arrogant from now on and please try to take constructive criticism better. I am not asking you to do something ridiculous, you obviously have an interest in this stuff and write about it extensively, go out there and ride the routes so you can supplement your writings with valuable and informative experiences! I would probably get better answers from B35 at this rate with you being so reluctant to associate yourself with the dreaded bus fans…

          • Allan Rosen

            Sorry if you interpreted what I wrote as an offense to bus fans. I have absolutely no problem with them. I just say to each his own. I just don’t enjoy riding buses if I am not using it to get somewhere I want to go. You know I respect B35 and admire the knowledge he attained by riding buses, so I don’t know why you interpreted my comment the way you did. You are correct I would become more knowledgable if I rode buses more and so would the MTA planners. But what makes you think just because I am retired that I have no other obligations and have plenty of pare time to do something I don’t enjoy without getting paid for it? Just writing these articles without pay takes at least one full day per week.

            And I do not remember reading a satisfactory answer why the D cannot stop at DeKalb on weekends.

          • Flatbush Depot

            I accept. You can call the matter squashed (in other words, resolved, no longer an issue, water under the bridge, etc). The DeKalb issue has to be studied in-depth to see if it could work. You would really have to get into the bowels of RTO to figure out whether it could work without delaying the (N)(R) even in cases where (D)(Q) trains are delayed before reaching the merge points in question and thus make the merges later than they are supposed to. As long as you understand the track maps on nycsubway.org and the implications of the trains making intricate merges and divergences, you can get an idea of what is going on.

            Try making train schedules for the lines keeping all the headways identical to what they are now assuming the (D) stops at DeKalb weekends, use google transit and MTA trip planner to figure out how long it takes a train to go between two particular points depending on which part of any of the lines you want to know about, and keep the train spacing as great as possible for trains using the same section of track.

            It takes HOURS and DAYS to try to figure stuff out that way though, and this is assuming MTA would hopefully remove the wheel detectors on the lightly-used switches around DeKalb. I have a bunch of things I myself want to improve and/or see improved by the least expensive means possible, mostly in Brooklyn IRT land.As far as riding buses more, that is your decision. I will leave you alone on that one. Either way, happy writing and keep it real…

          • Andrew

            @164b88b5feda652c00faa544c6ebc3f8:disqus I explained why the D doesn’t stop at DeKalb on weekends here.

  • Subway Stinker

    B36 service during the morning rush from Avenue U is a total mystery to me. The buses sit behind Brennan & Carr and the departure has no relation to either the posted schedule or reasonable intervals. Then they fill up along Nostrand Avenue so that by the time a bus gets to Avenue Z it is totally full and must by pass customers headed towards SBRoad.  I wonder what the bus drivers and/r the MTA bus system is really thinking.

    • Allan Rosen

      That was one reason I proposed to send the B44 SBS to Sheepshead Bay Station because the demand for additional service is there unlike south of Avenue Z where it woud only pick up half a dozen riders.

      • Flatbush Depot

        Because somehow people are gonna suffer so much if they cannot have all this service to the BMT when they will probably be able to reach the IRT, which serves a bunch of major destinations that the BMT does not serve, just as quickly as they can reach the BMT (or the combination of B44 SBS and IRT, even with the walking, will be just as quick as the combination of B36 and BMT).

        And what about “build it and they will come” as you wrote in your article?

        • Flatbush Depot

          That is after they make the B44 SBS. Not now since the B44 limited currently takes too long to reach the IRT for it to be worth using by SB folk to reach a subway. Hence why the crosstown lines are so crowded.

          • Flatbush Depot

            Also when I said even with the walking I was referring to the extra distance that would be walked on the SB end to access SBS stop.

          • Allan Rosen

            I was on Nostrand last week between Ave K and L, the block with all the car dealerships and there were double parked cars on both sides of the street during midday and traffic barely moving. It looked like it takes the B44 5 minutes just for that one block. Unless they plan to ban parking on both sides of the street and enforce it, which I don’t think they are planning, the SBS will never meet its 16 minute goal to the subway.

            Also you never responded when I test drove from Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons to Nostrand and back to Avenue Z and Ocean. You said 5 minutes and I said 8. I did it in 7 1/2 I believe.

          • Flatbush Depot

            You can get KCC students to patronize the B44 SBS while still having it serve Plumb Beach and without changing the B49′s physical route. Only problem is B35 would not like it since it is a super-route, but I do not disagree with what would have to be done to accomplish this.

          • Allan Rosen

            How do you do that?

          • Flatbush Depot

            As for the double-parking I will believe it when I see it in person or from photo/video evidence. If it is making the traffic that slow then that is just plain ishy. I personally never saw it that bad though, to the point where it took 5 minutes to go one long block. Also do those 5 minutes include the time that the B44 LT spent at “L” picking up/dropping off? How much time did it spend doing that? If the traffic on that block is that horrible on a semi-regular basis then everybody would divert to E 31 or E 29 and then get back on Nostrand or whatever street they want later. But if they insist on staying on Nostrand anyway then that is just weird.

            Sorry to say but I am a little suspicious of this bit of reporting since 1.5 year ago you told me that it takes 15 minutes to get from Empire to Eastern Pkwy on Nostrand Ave. I have been there at many different times of day, mostly during PM rush hour, passing through there on the B44, on bike, and on foot and have never ever seen that. Could it have been the construction at 958 Nostrand Ave, which is now finished?

          • Flatbush Depot

            I meant Eastern Pkwy to Empire. And I believe you on the double-parking; I meant to say that if the double parking causes delays around “M” and “N” (the car dealerships are between “M” and “N,” not “K” and “L” buddy) that are as long as what you said, then I will believe that the delays are that long when I see them.

          • Allan Rosen

            I was on the same block today on Nostrand between M and KH and trafic today was not nearly as bad as last week. But there was one of thos long trailers witn two levels of cars and it was double parked for a long time. It didn’t load or unload while I was there so I don’t know why it was there.

            Regarding  Eastern Parkway to Empire, I never said anything about 15 minute delays.  I was only speaking about the northbound streets during the AM rush, i.e. Rogers, NY, and also Bedford.

          • Flatbush Depot

            @164b88b5feda652c00faa544c6ebc3f8:disqus : 
            http://www.nyctransitforums.com/forums/topic/22788-b44-selectbusservice/page__st__60#entry344998  “Did you ever try to drive between Empire Blvd and Eastern Parkway during the morning rush hour? It takes about 15 minutes.”

            In any case, this is water under the bridge.

            Hopefully those car dealerships relocate to a place where they do not interfere with any buses; the way they double park the cars and have the trucks show up on Nostrand is ridiculous. At least AFAIK those car-carrying trucks only show up there middays, not rush hours.

            You get KCC students to use the B44 SBS while still having it serve PB by doing this:

            -Southbound B44 SBS runs to Knapp/Shore Pkwy South, then nonstop via Knapp and Emmons to Ocean or SB Road to transfer to the B49 to KCC.

            -Northbound B44 SBS starts at Ocean or SB Road, runs nonstop via Shore Pkwy South to Knapp, turn right on Knapp, make the stop at Knapp/Shore, and then follow planned SBS route to Williamsburg.

            Done.

          • Allan Rosen

            That quote from NYC Transit Forums. I wasn’t talking about Nostrand. If I said Nostrand, I meant NY Av.

            As for your B44SBS suggestion, I could see it for certain times or selected trips, but not for all trips. KCC traffic isn’t heavy all the time.

          • Flatbush Depot

            @164b88b5feda652c00faa544c6ebc3f8:disqus : Cool.

  • Andrew

    Assemblyman William Colton voted in 2009 to slash transit funding. In response, the MTA had little choice but to cut service, and the B64 was one of the casualties. Assemblyman Colton is personally responsible for the cut to the B64. If Bensonhurst residents would like B64 service restored to Coney Island, they should demand that their elected officials take responsibility and work towards a solution to the transit funding crisis.

    Many believe the MTA is not saving what they thought they would be saving by truncating the route since they did not factor in patronage losses in their cost saving projections. The assumption made was that all riders would find a mass transit alternative.

    Perhaps that was your assumption. It certainly wasn’t the MTA’s assumption.

    That clearly was not the case since, one year after the cut, the MTA’s own analysis showed the B64 to be 41 percent less efficient on weekdays and 38 percent less efficient on weekends due to fewer riders using the route. When I pointed this out to a senior MTA service planner last year, he told me the only thing that mattered was that they saved money, implying it could not be helped if the routes became less efficient.

    And he was correct. It may be more efficient to buy 20 rolls of paper towels for $15 than 10 for $10, but if I only have $10 available, I’m stuck with 10 rolls.

    Assemblyman Jim Brennan is introducing legislation that would hold the MTA accountable for their cost savings projections, which are often over-projected when making service changes by only considering operational savings ignoring other factors such as efficiency.

    Assemblyman Jim Brennan is pandering. The MTA has already performed a detailed evaluation of the service cuts. What Brennan suggests would be a waste of resources. If Assemblyman Brennan seriously wants to improve transit, he can identify and work to establish stable funding sources for the transit system.

    Todd Dobrin, who also has political aspirations, wanted to know why the MTA didn’t do a study to determine how much more they are paying for Access-A-Ride trips since the cutbacks. Those trips cost the MTA an average of about $60 per trip, far more than the cost of service for a local bus, which costs around $3 or $4 per trip to provide.

    Very few former B64 bus riders have been diverted to Access-A-Ride. Remember, only people physically incapable of reaching their destinations on fixed-route transit are eligible for AAR. While the shortened B64 certainly makes it more difficult for many people to reach their destinations, nearly all former B64 riders are physically capable of reaching and riding an alternative route.

    This is what I found: Two of the three B3s, which arrived at the last stop in front of the depot at same time, also left for their return trip — also at the same time. Furthermore, when I boarded the B3 to go home, another B3 passed us in service only one block from the beginning of the route. That’s two instances within 90 minutes where B3 buses were leaving the terminus already bunched!

    This is news to you? It’s been like this for decades! Bus reliability is a serious problem with no easy answers.

    A large part of the problem is that dispatchers only see what passes them directly – they don’t have a view of the entire route. Once BusTime is fully implemented, I’d suggest moving the dispatchers into a central control center where they can see the entire system and can make the appropriate service adjustments. That would improve service, reduce costs for the MTA, and improve the working environment for the dispatchers, all at once.

    The “if you build it they will come” philosophy is a foreign concept to the MTA, who is only concerned with penny-pinching and cost savings, not efficiency or improving bus service.

    If you give the MTA an unlimited budget, they’d be happy to come up with all sorts of new and improved services. We saw the tip of that iceberg in early 2008, before the economy collapsed, when they proposed a small variety of improvements across the city.

    But if you give the MTA a tight budget and then hack away at it further, there’s no room for enhancements. There’s only room for triage.

    Last month, I unveiled proposed bus route improvements such as bus service along Knapp Street, which the MTA will never provide as long as they are only interested in cutting bus service, not improving it.

    Last month, you unveiled a proposal for a 10-mile-long bus route, on a 10-minute headway, despite the tiny market for bus service between Sheepshead Bay and the Rockaways. Since the MTA does not have an unlimited budget, I certainly hope they’d reject your proposal – there are far better places for the MTA to be spending its limited funds.

    A few weeks ago, the MTA announced increases to L train subway service in Williamsburg, costing an additional $1.7 million a year, because subway crowding exceeds the service guidelines.

    That’s correct. The details are all spelled out here.

    The two additional trains on the L make room for 2,320 additional riders. That’s two thousand three hundred and twenty riders. That’s a lot of people. I wouldn’t be so quick to shrug it off.

    However, on my return B1 trip, the bus carried about 65 people for most of the route between 25th Avenue and Manhattan Beach, with frequent turnover, when the service guidelines call for a seated load during the off-peak and there was no other bus in sight for my entire trip. The driver even bypassed one rider on Brighton Beach Avenue because the bus was so overcrowded.

    Guidelines are based on average loads over many bus trips on many days. You were on one single overcrowded bus on one single day. One single overcrowded bus does not imply a systemic crowding problem, like the one the L had.

    Apparently, when it comes to buses, the MTA will not consider changes that cost more money because of their bias against buses. The guidelines only come into play to justify service reductions and are ignored when additional service is warranted.

    Nonsense. See the last three pages of the January 2012 MTA Bus Operations Committee Meeting book. On weekdays, the B7, B15, B42, B49, B61, Bx4/4A, Bx7, Bx10, Bx18, Bx28/38, M7, M11, M35, M60, Q12, Q16, Q32, Q76, Q83, and S53 had service increases in April. On Saturdays, the Bx7, Bx10, Bx16, Bx39, M5, Q17, Q30, Q59, and S79 had increases. On Sundays, the Bx7, Bx16, and Bx39 had increases.

    • Allan Rosen

      Now it’s very clear. It doesn’t matter what I write about the MTA. You just enjoy arguing, criticizing, pointing out the negative, and would never give someone a compliment whom you disagree with. On top of that, you often speak with incorrect facts and assumptions. Fact 1. I went out of my way to try to put a positive spin on how the MTA conducts its business by stating that sometimes everything works quite well. I could have just written about the demonstration. Fact 2. In the conclusion I stated that lawmakers need to restore MTA funding. But were either of those good enough for you? NO. Let me ask you some questions. If you had a child who always asked for a larger allowance, but you never saw improvement in his grades and you saw him waste his money, would you keep giving him more money or would you put you foot down one day and as “No more”. That was the position our lawmakers were in. Since the MTA was created they kept asking for more funding which they were granted. At the same time constituents complained more and more that their trips were taking longer. So as Assemblyman Colton told me last year, they stopped giving them what they wanted because they wanted the MTA to operate more efficiently which Jay Walder finally tried to do by cutting down on the managerial bureacracy. Would that have happened if Albany kept increasing its funding? Never in a million years. So quit making it seem like Colton and Cymbrowitz were totally responsible for the cuts. The MTA’s own inefficiencies like making track workers wait two hours for supply deliveries before they can begin work and not doing enough to reduce bus bunching are also responsible for their financial situation. Now for where you are outright wrong. If you read the report detailing the proposed service cuts you would have seen that except for eliminating late night service where relatively few fares were lost and there was absolutely no mass transit alternative, all other service changes assumed, riders had a bus or subway alternative even if it meant walking 8 or 9 blocks in each direction for an alternate route. The MTA clearly stated that former B71 riders could walk to Bergen Street to use the B65. Now for someone making a one mile trip say from 3 Av and Union Street to the Brooklyn Museum, would they walk 9 blocks to Dean Street and 9 blocks back to the Museum, or would they just walk the entire distance along Union Street if they could, or just not make the trip at all? No one would choose the MTA’s option to walk the same distance and then take a bus and pay a fare also. So your point with the paper towels on efficiency is that it is perfectly acceptable to reduce service and make routes less efficient rather than scrounge around to find that extra $5 you need by not spending it instead on something less important that may not be a necessity like throwing away perfectly good subway benches that do not need replacement. You say Assemblyman Brennan is pandering because the MTA already performed a detailed analysis. But that analysis was full of inaccuracies and misleading statements. for example, it assumed B4 passengers only had to walk 1/4 mile to the B36. Yes true, if they could fly, the air distance was only 1/4 mile. The truth is they could only walk at right angles and cross the Belt Parkway only at selected points. The true walking distance was between 1/2 and 3/4 mile. The analysis merely stated, here is the criteria we used and these were our conclusions. The middle part showing how the criteria were used to arrive at the conclusions was missing. Another point where you are incorrect is where you state that only people physically incapable of using fixed route transit are accessible for AAR. Many have it because they can’t walk stairs which means they can take local buses for intraborough trips but need AAR where buses can’t take them for example from Brooklyn to the Bronx. My friend has AAR just for that reason and he uses it only when absolutely necessary. The MTA even knows there is a certain amount of discretion AAR riders have which is why they will be offering free monthly passes to AAR riders to reduce AAR use. Yes there are some answers to making bus dispatchers more effective like better training. I’ve seen them make decisions that actually make the situation worse and increasing manpower strategically until Bus Time is fully implemented unless the MTA decides to cancel the program before then. There was once no buses on a line for 45 minutes and the MTA couldn’t even tell me the cause of the delay other than tell me they didn’t know where the buses were after they tried to research it going through their records. That my friend is inexcusable. Another fact where you are incorrect. You state that if the MTA had an unlimited budget, they would be glad to come up with system improvements. When they had a surplus they still would not invest in the bus system and insisted on zero cost changes. They chose instead to give managerial raises and return the remaining surplus to the riders through free rides. The 2008 proposed service improvements you speak of we’re not MTA initiated. Mayor Bloomberg was pushing for congestion pricing and ordered the MTA to develop those improvements to increase capacity for the drivers switching to mass transit who did not want to pay the fee so they came up with a few route changes that would cost the least to implement like to extend the B71 through the Battery Tunnel. They chose the 71 over all other routes because it ran the least often and required the least amount of additional service only a bus every 30 minutes. They did not even propose to increase the existing service level. So don’t make it appear that the MTA is so willing to increase service and budget constraints are the only thing stopping them from doing so. I never said the L improvement should not have been made. Don’t put words in my mouth. I once rode the old B1 all the way from 4th Avenue until nearly the last stop at Kingsborough College. The bus had a full load of standees for nearly the entire trip at 2PM. But in order to convince you I would have to ride every trip every day which clearly is not possible. You list all those routes which had service increases, but why is the list of routes with service decreases always greater or much more severe. There is usually a cost savings or it is neutral. Service hasn’t increased overall in many years and when it did the increased ridership was much more than the amount of service increases.

      I just read what you wrote about the D stopping at DeKalb on weekends. While the D would be delayed one to two minutes, I am not convinced that delays would extend to all three lines. I also disagree that we are more concerned about delays today than we were years ago. When I was a kid the Lex was super fast. Today, not so much. We have many more locations with speed restrictions so that subway peers today are slower not faster. You make it seem that there ate no locations in the system where trains have to slow down to merge. That happens all over the system and no one thinks twice about it. No one would suggest to abandon the #5 line because of the slow merge at 149th Street and ask everyone to transfer there between the 2 and the 5. I remember how they were talking 50 years ago about rebuilding Rogers Junction to eliminate delays, and it still hasn’t been done. The bottom line is that the D stopping at DeKalb on weekends should not be summarily dismissed, but should be studied in detail to determine if it would make sense or not.

      • Allan Rosen

        Sorry, I cut and pasted so it turned everything into one paragraph.  I don’t know why that happened.

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