The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: As a result of the efforts of Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Jumaane Williams, as well as pressure from North Brooklyn residents, the MTA announced on Friday that beginning in the spring, SBS stops at Avenue L and Gates Avenue will be added to the B44 route. The news came via an email from Jacobs’ office and in an article from the New York Post.

Additionally, as first reported by a B44 bus driver (Post 1045) in NYC Transit Forums last week, on February 2, service was increased on the local. Therefore, my article on February 3, which stated that the only modification made by the MTA was to place public information posters in the buses, was inaccurate. The MTA officially gave no prior indication that changes would be made to the local schedule on February 2. It was only a rumor, as I previously reported.

Jacobs additionally reported that the MTA informed her that the new schedules will include SBS buses making the entire trip to Sheepshead Bay from Williamsburg. The complete trip will be possible without a transfer. Those schedules have not yet been made public. Presumably the new schedules mean that some Williamsburg buses will now terminate at Knapp Street instead of all of them terminating at Avenue U. We do not know at this time if the SBS, the local, or both will operate the entire length of the route.

So let this be a lesson to all you skeptics: Complaining does do some good.

The added stops primarily aid transferring passengers who previously had access to the faster Limited route but were required to use the slower local once the Limited was replaced by the SBS. Their trip times were unnecessarily lengthened by the SBS skipping their stops.

The MTA chose not to add a new SBS stop at Avenue R, although some requested it. I suspect that there were not enough transferring passengers to warrant it since few passengers transfer to the B44 from the eastbound direction. That is because both the B2 and B31 terminate at the Brighton Beach train station and do not venture further into Brooklyn, as I proposed here.

The B44 changes that were and will be made should address most riders’ concerns. Ridership on the SBS should reduce the strain on the local bus service and the added local service should improve reliability. The additional stops cannot be made until the spring since some of the bus stops will now have to be lengthened before the changes can take effect.

I am not taking a position as to whether Myrtle Avenue and Avenue R also need to be added as SBS stops since I have not seen data regarding passengers boarding at those stops. If local buses are being extended to Williamsburg Plaza, the number of passengers now required to pay a double fare due to the SBS will be reduced and extra local service may ease problems at Avenue R.

What Still Needs To Be Done

Passengers transferring at Avenue R and Myrtle Avenue should not be deprived of taking advantage of the SBS by having to first take a local, and then transfer to the SBS, by being required to pay an additional fare (unless they have an unlimited pass). The fare policy regarding SBS and Limited buses needs to be rationalized, as I have previously suggested.

There needs to be better utilization of buses south of Avenue X. The MTA’s goal for current B36 and B4 passengers who use the Sheepshead Bay train station to shift to the B44 SBS to transfer to trains at the Flatbush / Nostrand Junction instead has not happened. They were hoping that additional B44 service south of Avenue X would be so attractive that passengers would alter their travel patterns.

Their plan failed, as I predicted here. That failure is evidenced by B44 buses operating south of Avenue X all day long with fewer than 10 passengers in both directions, except for when nurses change shifts at the numerous health facilities along Emmons Avenue. Those health care workers greatly benefit from the SBS.

It is inefficient and foolish to provide underutilized B44 service south of Avenue X all day long when the level of service provided is only needed a few times during the day. This is especially true when the B36 is so overcrowded along Avenue Z during the morning rush hour that buses regularly bypass passengers (as reported by one Sheepshead Bites reader), while empty and frequent B44 buses are operating in the same area.

I previously suggested two different ways to better utilize off-peak direction excess B44 SBS capacity. First, by rerouting the SBS to the Sheepshead Bay Road train station (leaving the few buses serving Knapp Street during the nurses’ change of shifts), or by operating alternate SBS buses to Kingsborough Community College during school hours. Ted Orosz, the MTA lead person in charge of the project, personally promised me to study that idea and report his findings back to me within three months. As of this writing, he has not.

The second alternative would be simpler to implement, whereas the first one would require a study to ensure that physical space is available near the station to accommodate the articulated buses. It would also require re-striping, new traffic regulations, and perhaps some minor reconstruction. The improvements the MTA has agreed to make and has already made will be a great help. However, more needs to be done.

There is no word from the MTA with regard to how much it will cost to add the new stops, rewrite schedules, and distribute new public information notices via new signage, maps, and on the internet. Of course, those costs could have been avoided and the route could operate much more efficiently if the route had been properly planned in the first place, and integrating it into the current system, instead of planning it in isolation without consideration to modifying other existing routes.

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.

Related posts

  • Subway Stinker

    I don’t use the B44 or SBS but it is usually a good sign when the MTA is willing to adapt and revise routes. In this case, Kudos to the Transit Authority. As for the woebegone B-36, maybe an audit by the State Comptroller D’Napoli is in order to find out just how this route in managed. I am surprised that Avenue Z Stranded Rider Brigade is so quiet on this matter. I guess LIONEL is right when he calls us ‘Sheeple’.

    • Allan Rosen

      Unfortunately too many accept poor service as the norm and do not complain. And that does not only apply to transit. Most people are just too lazy to speak up. Lionel is correct.

  • Allan Rosen

    I have just received notice from the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President that in April the schedule will be modified again incorporating local buses that will travel the entire length of the route for most of the day. That will prevent Myrtle Avenue B54 riders from paying a second fare to get to Williamsburg Plaza when the service will be in operation. It’s still crazy that a double fare will still be required when the locals will be terminating at Flushing Avenue and a change to the SBS is required to access points north.

    • Kriston Lewis

      I’m confused, if local service will be going all the way to the bridge, how will double fares be required?

      Am I missing something?

      • Allan Rosen

        The local service will be operating to the bridge during most times. If you transfer from the B54 when all locals terminate at Flushing Av, you will still have to change for the SBS to get to the plaza and pay another fare. Most likely this will only occur for a few hours during the day since the SBS does not operate overnight.

  • SheepsheadBay_native

    I for one am annoyed they put Ave L back on the route. It has one of the longest lights, and is generally filled with bratty kids, or people who are just plain annoying about getting on the bus. Getting from Ave X, to brooklyn college used to take 45 minutes during the morning rush, and now it takes 22 minutes at most. Plus there will now be the added delay of people being confused about the new stops. What really needs to be done is having more select buses operate south of Ave U. There are times when there is 30 or minute wait for any bus that will travel south of Ave U, which is a nightmare in this weather. I have actually spoken to the dispatcher, and his reasoning for this reduced service was, “most of the people drive down there”. This coming on the heels of multiple times where he switched a knapp street bus, after passengers get on at the junction to terminating at ave U.

    • Allan Rosen

      Sorry, but those bratty kids ave just as much right to take advantage of the SBS as you do.

      And you want more SBS’s south of Avenue U? Are you nuts? There are SBS buses scheduled every 5 minutes south of Avenue U during the rush hours, and from every 8 to 15 minutes at other times, and they are not well utilized south of Avenue X.

      If there is a 30 minute wait at times, that is a separate issue. Yes two buses coming at the same time every 30 minutes, equals a 15 minute headway. The MTA needs to get their buses to more closely meet scheduled headways, but providing more empty buses at extra cost is not the answer when there are other routes in the area with not enough scheduled service.

      • sonicboy678

        Personally, I feel that B44 SBS is scheduled too frequently in one direction, period. This morning I saw a bunch of people getting on the bus in the back and I thought it had a lot of people. As it turns out, it was only about half-full; however, the buses should be more like this and not just a few people on a bus emptier than a new pocket.

      • Andrew

        How dare you tell him what complaints he’s allowed to make!

        As I have been saying all along, many bus riders very much want faster service, and this poster was apparently getting significantly faster service with SBS.

        And if he thinks there should be more SBS service south of Avenue U, he’s entitled to that opinion.

        • guest

          Shut up hipster.

          • Andrew

            Still upset that the world doesn’t revolve around motorists? Deal with it.

        • Allan Rosen

          So here you are sticking up for the MTA again. The MTA schedules service for every 5 to 15 minutes and he complains that it arrives every 30 minutes, so instead of criticizing the MTA, DOT, or the NYPD, why the buses can’t keep to schedule, your solution is to just schedule more buses! Which as you say he has every right to suggest. How totally ridiculous. You are just unbelievable! You just gave everyone in Sheepshead Bay one big laugh. The MTA is paying you how much to defend them?

          • SheepsheadBay_Native

            The big difference lies in the fact you are going by the published schedules and not what actually happens. I ride this bus 5 days a week during peek hours. There is a huge problem with service being provided past avenue U. The dispatcher doesn’t follow the actual schedule. He has on many occasions, after people have waited upwards of 20 minutes for a bus, boarded said bus, had the driver change to terminate at avenue U. This is not something made up or imagined, this has been occurring for the past 6 years I have been a frequent rider. If you notice, you’ll tend to see them coming in bunches, which points to the fact it is a real time issue. It doesn’t make sense for people who pay for a full fare to have to walk from avenue U, because less people live there, or the population living there is not liked by the community.

            As for the kids, many of them are very rude. You do not have to sit on the route as much as I do and deal with minors not having their student cards and holding the bus up even more. Such a short ride should not take 45 minutes, and once the school kids were stuck on the local the bus substantially moved faster. As a tax paying citizen I do feel kids are entitled to the bus, and don’t mind paying their fares, but it’s very annoying when they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

          • Allan Rosen

            I am not going by published schedules when I draw my conclusions. I am quite aware that published schedules bare little resemblance to the real world. I am also aware of the racket that school students can make and how disruptive they can be. However, the answer isn’t to blanketly increase service because it may not make a difference when the problem is not the levels of service but buses getting delayed.

            You clearly mention that these reliability problems have been going on for 20 years. So we are not talking about new problems because of SBS but long standing problems that have not been dealt with adequately. The MTA insisted that SBS would result in more reliable service. Apparently that has not happened yet.

            I believe the way you increase reliability is to schedule more short overlapping trips rather than very long trips, but the MTA is reluctant to do this because on paper, it is more expensive to operate. By this I mean, tey should operate some trips for example between the Junction and Knapp Street and perhaps some trips between Kings Highway and

          • Allan Rosen

            Fulton Street or Flushing Avenue instead of having all buses operate the entire length of the route or nearly the whole route. Instead of buses running every 5 minutes on paper, but every 15 minutes in reality, it would be better to have more short trips where te headway is 7 minutes on paper, but the buses actually run more like every 10 minutes.

            I doubt if there are any statistics where they account for all those trips they cut short at Avenue U because the buses are late. You are correct. It is not fair to make people walk extra. It is a multi-faceted approach that is necessary including better enforcement and better scheduling, not simply adding buses. Also, before the NYCT police merged with the city police, you would actually see a policeman occasionally on City buses especially the ones with rowdy school students on them.

          • Andrew

            Actually, I’m sticking up for SheepsheadBay_Native, since you seem to find his complaint objectionable. People are allowed to make suggestions that don’t fit your agenda, you know.

            I didn’t say that there should be more buses south of Avenue U. I said that SheepsheadBay_Native is entitled to suggest that there be more buses south of Avenue U. (By the way, perhaps you’re unaware of this, but most bus lines that aren’t anchored by major traffic generators or busy transfer points have relatively low ridership at their extremities, and the B44 is no exception.)

            As you know, bus bunching isn’t a problem confined to the B44, or even to New York.

          • Allan Rosen

            In other words you are just trying to be obstinate by sticking up for SheepheadBay_Native. Tell me something I don’t know.

            Yes, ridership is usually low at the extremities, but when I suggested two ways of remedying tat, you quickly dismissed them because they weren’t thought of by your friends at Operations Planning.

            And I guess since bus bunching isn’t confined to the B44, I guess that means we shoud just live with it, according to your logic. And didn’t you once claim that SBS reduces instances of bus bunching? Must be my error.

          • Andrew

            No, I’m merely pointing out that SheepsheadBay_Native’s comments are no less worthy of dismissal than anybody else’s, even though he says that SBS saves him significant time.

            Ridership is low at the extremities of most bus lines. It’s not something that necessarily needs to be remedied at all. But if there is a desire to reduce service at the south end of the line, there’s an obvious way to accomplish that that doesn’t deprive riders at the south end of SBS service. Why are you so intent on ensuring that riders at the south end of the B44 are deprived of fast service along the Nostrand Avenue corridor?

            I never said that we should just live with bunching. I’m all in favor of measures, like SBS, to reduce it. But it’s never going to be eliminated entirely. Maintaining reliability during and after snowstorms, of which we’ve had quite a few lately, is especially challenging.

          • sonicboy678

            Ridership should certainly be lower at the extremities, but B44 SBS is problematic in that ridership is low around one extremity and low halfway along the route in one direction until it loops back around far enough in the other. It’s been like that for about three months now, and I seriously doubt that will change much.

          • Andrew

            Sorry, I’m not sure what you’re saying. That there are multiple peaks in loading? Or that one direction carries heavier loads than the other? Neither is unusual.

          • Allan Rosen

            From what I’ve seen on the S79 in SI and from what I have heard about the B44, I am not convinced that SBS has done anything to reduce bunching. Hopefully Bus Trek will change that when it gets up and running.

            Low ridership at the ends does not have to be remedied when there is nothing that can be done about it. However when there are ways to significantly increase ridership at an end without while only negatively impacting a very few, that certainly needs to be investigated and not automatically dismissed simply because it wasn’t thought of by someone at Operations Planning.

          • Andrew

            From what I’ve seen on the S79 in SI and from what I have heard about the B44, I am not convinced that SBS has done anything to reduce bunching. Hopefully Bus Trek will change that when it gets up and running.

            Neither what you’ve seen on the S79 (still only one ride?) and what you’ve heard on the B44 (you still haven’t ridden it, I see) is not data. (But I do give you credit for stating that you are “not convinced” rather than for making an outright conclusion about bus service.

            it’s been an unusually snowy winter. I don’t think anyone can say that their bus or subway service has been as reliable as usual the past two months.

            Low ridership at the ends does not have to be remedied when there is nothing that can be done about it. However when there are ways to significantly increase ridership at an end without while only negatively impacting a very few, that certainly needs to be investigated and not automatically dismissed simply because it wasn’t thought of by someone at Operations Planning.

            Both of your proposals deprive the southern end of Nostrand Avenue of all SBS service. Again, I ask, why are you so intent on ensuring that bus riders from Knapp Street cannot possibly have fast bus service up Nostrand Avenue? If you had suggested terminating the local at Avenue U or Avenue X, I would have easily gone along with that. But only running the local to the south end of the line is absurd.

            By your own admission, there is only a 7% increase in service at the south end of the line. Your proposal would leave Knapp Street with far less, and slower, service than it had before SBS started. Meanwhile, between 7 and 9 AM, when a lot of people are traveling to the subway and to Kingsborough College, it would provide them with lots and lots of northbound B44 service going in the wrong direction!

          • BrooklynBus

            “S79 (still only one ride?)… is not data).”

            No about four rides by now. Yes, I always need data to make any statement, but your anecdotes are perfectly permissible.

            “it’s been an unusually snowy winter. I don’t think anyone can say that
            their bus or subway service has been as reliable as usual the past two
            months.”

            Quit blaming the weather. We had good weather for the first six weeks until the end of the year. In the second six weeks, we’ve had bad weather. Service has been irregular for the entire 12 weeks, not only during the snowy weather.

            “Both of your proposals deprive the southern end of Nostrand Avenue of all SBS service.”

            Totally untrue. Quit spreading lies. The first proposal provided SBS service until Avenue Z which accounts for virtually all the current SBS passengers. Less than 10 passengers per bus ride south of that point. The second proposal continued to provide SBS service to Knapp Street with alternating buses branching off from Emmons Avenue to Kingsborough College, only two very lightly used SBS stops would see reduced service.

            “why are you so intent on ensuring that bus riders from Knapp Street
            cannot possibly have fast bus service up Nostrand Avenue? If you had
            suggested terminating the local at Avenue U or Avenue X, I would have easily gone along with that.”

            Aside from the change of shifts at the health care facilities, only two or three passengers board at the first two stops. Does that merit special SBS service? I think not. (You could always run the SBS for the change of shifts, much like the school specials.) Even so, only the first proposal eliminated SBS from Knapp Street, in exchange for helping many more B36 passengers.

            And I did first suggest terminating the SBS at Avenue X, but you were against that also. I proposed running only the local to Knapp only because the MTA did not want additional fare machines at each stop for the SBS, which would have made much more sense.

            “By your own admission, there is only a 7% increase in service at the
            south end of the line. Your proposal would leave Knapp Street with far
            less, and slower, service than it had before SBS started.”

            What are you talking about? The 7% weekday increase was not justified. So that has nothing to do with my proposal. The first proposal would reduce Knapp Street service by about 50%. Since there are less than 10 people per bus south of Avenue Z, what is the problem? Buses would not be overcrowded with 20 passengers per bus and the service would still be more frequent than existing B4 service. And more importantly, hundreds of Avenue Z B36 passengers would benefit during the morning rush hour alone. I think that is a pretty good trade-off since every proposal cannot help everyone.

            As for the second proposal, adequate SBS service to Knapp Street would be maintained and thousands of Kingsborough students would benefit, some of whom currently coming from Canarsie and elsewhere might choose to leave their cars home if they had a faster trip to school with the B44SBS. That’s also a great trade-off for a few less nearly empty buses going to Knapp Street.

            “Meanwhile, between 7 and 9 AM, when a lot of people are traveling to the subway and to Kingsborough College, it would provide them with lots and lots of northbound B44 service going in the wrong direction!”

            What in the world are you trying to say because you are making zero sense.

    • Kriston Lewis

      I think the MTA runs special school trips from that middle school during the dismissal hours. That should put a dent in the disruptions.

  • Andrew

    I am not taking a position as to whether Myrtle Avenue and Avenue R also need to be added as SBS stops since I have not seen data regarding passengers boarding at those stops.

    You have not seen data regarding passengers boarding at any stops either! None of your comments about the B44 have been based on data. What’s so special about these two stops?

    If local buses are being extended to Williamsburg Plaza, the number of passengers now required to pay a double fare due to the SBS will be reduced and extra local service may ease problems at Avenue R.

    You’ve written many times about the number of passengers required to pay a double fare. Presumably you know what that number is. Care to share?

    Passengers transferring at Avenue R and Myrtle Avenue should not be deprived of taking advantage of the SBS by having to first take a local, and then transfer to the SBS, by being required to pay an additional fare (unless they have an unlimited pass).

    Among users of unlimited cards (who aren’t penalized for two or even twenty transfers), do you have any evidence of a significant number of riders who transfer between local and SBS? If not, then perhaps you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    And do you realize that, since SBS tickets are accepted on locals, the issue in practice only exists in one direction?

    The fare policy regarding SBS and Limited buses needs to be rationalized, as I have previously suggested.

    And as I responded: “I’d love to see unlimited transfers, but they’d obviously result in lost fare revenue as multiple trips would be covered by a single fare. What do you propose to replace that lost fare revenue?” Were you at the Problem Solvers event at the Transit Museum last week? The speaker briefly discussed this proposal – it’s been raised internally as well – and pointed out that the revenue loss would be large enough to require a significant increase in the base fare.

    The MTA’s goal for current B36 and B4 passengers who use the Sheepshead Bay train station to shift to the B44 SBS to transfer to trains at the Flatbush / Nostrand Junction instead has not happened.

    This “goal” is your own pure speculation. Use whichever subway station you choose. The goal of the B44 SBS was to improve mobility along the Nostrand Avenue corridor, including mobility between Emmons Avenue and the Flatbush Avenue subway station for those who might find it useful. Service on the B36 and B4 hasn’t been reduced, and nobody’s telling people who want to use the Sheepshead Bay station not to use it.

    The service hasn’t even been running for three months yet and you’re looking for major changes in ridership patterns?

    The SBS runs south of Avenue X for the same reason that the former limited ran south of Avenue X: it would make no sense to provide longer-distance riders with only local service. If you’re wondering why the local was extended south of Avenue X, it was probably simply to reduce the number of fare machines required. There’s nothing stopping NYCT from adding three SBS stops at a later date and going back to the old pattern of terminating locals at X.

    (as reported by one Sheepshead Bites reader)

    Anecdotes, not data.

    I previously suggested two different ways to better utilize off-peak direction excess B44 SBS capacity. First, by rerouting the SBS to the Sheepshead Bay Road train station (leaving the few buses serving Knapp Street during the nurses’ change of shifts), or by operating alternate SBS buses to Kingsborough Community College during school hours. Ted Orosz, the MTA lead person in charge of the project, personally promised me to study that idea and report his findings back to me within three months. As of this writing, he has not.

    If the goal is to reduce service south of Avenue X, the obvious way to do it, as I said above, is to terminate the local at X and add three SBS stops south of that point. Providing riders at the south end of the line with only local service is absurd, and it suggests that your goal is to suppress B44 ridership in that area.

    And, by the way, much as you wish he did, Ted Orosz does not report to you.

    • Allan Rosen

      There you go again. You can make any subjective statement or give any anecdote you want. But I can’t make any statement unless I can quote survey results or take my own survey. Your double standard at work.

      Less than half the riders have unlimited cards. It stands to reason that double fares are now required for B54 riders to access Williamsburg. They are either walking further to avoid them, or are now paying them.

      For the fourth time SBS tickets are not officially accepted on locals. Your personal anecdote of the receipt always being accepted on a local is just tat your experience and only an anecdote. Others have had drivers refuse to accept them as evidenced by the complaints received by the Assemblywoman.

      Service would not have been doubled south of Avenue X based on the already low ridership there if the goal had not been to shift ridership patterns to transfer at the Junction. Adding three fare machines would be much cheaper than providing unnecessary service. The MTA may wake up in several years and do exactly that. Orosz is a public employee who is responsible to the taxpayer. When he makes a promise to study something, he has an obligation to keep that promise and not BS te people. And how much is the MTA paying you to defend them again?

      • Allan Rosen

        And in the MTA’s discussion of lost revenue if there were universal free transfers, did the gentleman happen to give an estimate of how many additional trips would be generated that would help to offset the estimated loss of revenue. Or did he even bother to throw out a gross number? Or did he just dismiss it out of hand saying it was just too much. After all how much could it be, when there are so any with unlimited cards anyway which you always point to. I bet they never even did the analysis of estimating additional revenue generated. After all, they never expected so many additional riders when bus subway free transfers were added either. Remember how only about 5% of the bus riders were using MetroCard Blue before they added bus subway transfers? The amount lost with a universal timed fare woud e nowhere as high as they predict. Care to share what the projected loss of revenue woud be with universal transfers?

        • Andrew

          “The MTA’s discussion”? It was a single individual, speaking on his own time, at a Transit Museum event. His “discussion” about unlimited transfers lasted about 30 seconds, in response to a question about what other fare policies had been considered.

          I strongly suspect that the number of additional trips due to true multiple transfers would be tiny, since very few people actually take bus-bus-bus or bus-subway-bus or bus-bus-subway trips (and I say this as someone who used to have a bus-subway-bus commute). The vast majority of additional trips taken would include stopovers, and even then, I think the number would be small.

          But let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say that, in response to the lower fare for some trip types, ridership increases significantly. Then service needs to be increased as well. And since the system by and large loses money on each rider, the cost to provide the additional service would almost certainly exceed the additional fare revenue.

          That’s exactly what happened with MetroCard free transfers. From 1996 to 2004, ridership went up by 36.9%, operating expenses increased by 45.9% to carry the additional riders, yet fare revenues only went up by 5.2%. Unless somebody is offering to cover the difference (permanently, not just as a one-shot), it’s not a sustainable model.

          • Allan Rosen

            Even though he was speaking on his own time, he needed MTA approval, and by getting it, he represented the MTA and it’s positions. Therefore it was an MTA discussion. He woud have not used his title if he was speaking as a private citizen.

            Of course you didn’t answer the question if they considered additional ridership as part of their analysis that they can’t afford universal free transfers. Didn’t think you would.

            But the rest of what you say is very interesting and explains the MTA’s reluctance to really improve the system, which is why they go for the illusion of improving the system by offerring ridiculous new routes at 30 minute headways which probably don’t even run on schedule like all the other routes. They have no intention of creating any real demand to make those routes successful. You just said that.

            If they make real improvements, it would just increae their deficit

          • Andrew

            Even though he was speaking on his own time, he needed MTA approval, and by getting it, he represented the MTA and it’s positions. Therefore it was an MTA discussion. He woud have not used his title if he was speaking as a private citizen.

            He wasn’t citing anybody’s position. He was responding to a question about what changes to the fare system were under consideration for the future. Of his examples, only distance-based subway fares, which would violate state law, had been ruled out. Unlimited transfers are still an option, but he gave the caveat that they’d drive up the base fare and risk reducing the system’s affordability for those who have difficulty affording it now.

            Of course you didn’t answer the question if they considered additional ridership as part of their analysis that they can’t afford universal free transfers. Didn’t think you would.

            I said that he discussed the topic in about 30 seconds. No, he didn’t explicitly address in that brief time to what extent it would increase ridership, nor did he explicitly address to what extent the increased ridership would increase operating costs. Maybe you should ask him yourself.

            But the rest of what you say is very interesting and explains the MTA’s reluctance to really improve the system, which is why they go for the illusion of improving the system by offerring ridiculous new routes at 30 minute headways which probably don’t even run on schedule like all the other routes. They have no intention of creating any real demand to make those routes successful. You just said that.

            The MTA has to live within its means. Perhaps ignoring operating costs was an option in 1981 (although I doubt it), but it certainly isn’t an option in 2014.

            Despite the challenges of tight budgets, the MTA has managed to generate huge ridership growth on some of the city’s busiest bus lines – and of course subway ridership keeps growing and growing. Somebody’s apparently doing something right.

          • Allan Rosen

            It depends how you define unlimited transfers. I was proposing a time based fare where very long trips from say southern Brooklyn to the Northern Bronx might cost more to offset the additional cost of assuring that no intraborough trips require a double fare. To just assume te base fare woud have to go up is wrong.

            Yes the MTA has to live within its means but there is something called penny-wise and pound foolish which is what the MTA has been guilty of four too long. You do not design a new route that falls a block or two short of major connections. You try to increase connections like I did in 1978 by extending the B3 three blocks to make a new connection with the B64 to replace the eliminated B4 and B34 on 25 Avenue. The MTA if it was up to them would have left the B3 terminus at 25 Av and 86 Street. It’s little things like that that make a big difference in the utility of bus routes.

            Much of the ridership increases are due to an upswing in the economy, not to the brilliant changes made by the MTA.

          • Andrew

            It depends how you define unlimited transfers. I was proposing a time based fare where very long trips from say southern Brooklyn to the Northern Bronx might cost more to offset the additional cost of assuring that no intraborough trips require a double fare. To just assume te base fare woud have to go up is wrong.

            So you’d double the fare for some people in order to reduce it for others? Go and run that by everybody who’d be disadvantaged and tell us how they respond. Reducing the transfer period from two hours to, say, 90 minutes would affect not only people making trips between southern Brooklyn and the northern Bronx but also people making trips merely from Midtown Manhattan to Staten Island, or transferring from the subway to any infrequent bus line, who encounter slight subway delays or have a bit of bad luck with connections.

            On the flip side, most of the beneficiaries, as I’ve said, would be people making multiple short trips rather than single trips requiring multiple transfers.

            I’m actually a proponent of unlimited free transfers. I’ve mentioned that I used to have a bus-subway-bus commute, and I would have benefited from a double transfer, even in only 90 minutes (although I almost always used an unlimited MetroCard at the time). And I personally would be happy to pay a higher base fare in order to not be restricted to a single transfer, even though I rarely need more than one anymore. But it’s not clear to me that most others would agree, and it is very clear to me that doubling the fare for those who are unfortunate enough to miss a bus or ferry connection on a long commute will simply not fly.

            Yes the MTA has to live within its means but there is something called penny-wise and pound foolish which is what the MTA has been guilty of four too long. You do not design a new route that falls a block or two short of major connections. You try to increase connections like I did in 1978 by extending the B3 three blocks to make a new connection with the B64 to replace the eliminated B4 and B34 on 25 Avenue. The MTA if it was up to them would have left the B3 terminus at 25 Av and 86 Street. It’s little things like that that make a big difference in the utility of bus routes.

            You’re still harping on the B67? As you may recall, the original plan was to run the extension 7 days a week, terminating at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At the request of the community, a budget-neutral swap was made: the extension would not operate on weekends, but on weekdays it would operate past the BNY to Division and Wythe. Extending the line further would have required greater funding.

            I’m glad the funding was found in 1978 to extend the B3. Perhaps in 2014 or 2015, if there is interest, the funding will be found to extend the B67 to the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza.

            Much of the ridership increases are due to an upswing in the economy, not to the brilliant changes made by the MTA.

            That would make sense if bus ridership were increasing overall. But, in fact, NYCT bus ridership has been on a steady decline, having dropped 10% from 2008 to 2012. Yet the first four SBS corridors have seen significant ridership growth against this backdrop of ridership decline (the fifth and sixth haven’t been running for a year yet, so it’s too soon to say how their ridership has been changing).

          • Allan Rosen

            “So you’d double the fare for some people in order to reduce it for others?”

            Yes, sort of. But you are taking what I said out of context. You are of the belief that allowing more free transfers would have a very negative effect on the revenue stream. I on the other hand believe that so many new trips would be generated that the effect would be minimal and eventually over time, there would be a positive effect on revenue and that the fear of revenue loss is greatly overestimated. As history has shown we could afford free transfers between most bus routes and between buses and trains which has greatly increased ridership and revenue, not reduced it. It has also had a positive effect on real estate values in previous two fare zones which were previously shunned and greatly increased mobility and improved travel by saving passengers’ time by not bypassing the closest route to walk to one with a free transfer.

            I do acknowledge the potential for a small decrease in revenue and for that reason and that reason only mentioned the possibility of lowering the transfer period to 90 minutes, causing a few making very long trips to pay an extra fare. I did not state that the 90 minute transfer would have to be across the board.

            Exceptions could be made for Staten Island because of the ferry to keep the 2 hour limit for them. Also, at night, when bus headways are long, the two hour time period would be maintained. It’s still fairer for someone traveling from one end of the city to pay two fares than someone traveling in his own borough to do that which is currently the case.

            Also, a 90 minute transfer period does not mean the trip has to be completed within 90 minutes, just that the final transfer has to be made within 90 minutes of boarding he system. So with a 90 minute transfer, it still would be possible to make a 2 hour or 2 1/2 hour trip for one fare. We are certainly talking about fewer riders having to pay double fare than today, and I believe the loss of those double fares for long trips would be made up by more people taking new shorter trips that presently cost two fares.

            “On the flip side, most of the beneficiaries, as I’ve said, would be
            people making multiple short trips rather than single trips requiring
            multiple transfers.”

            I actually agree with you and don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. People try to combine their trips now by doing business at transfer points and there are certainly many opportunities now to make a round trip for one fare, so why just not make it legal? Think of all the additional trips that would be generated? And these would not be work trips. They would be discretionary trips during hours when most likely there is existing capacity available which would offset or partially offset the loss of revenue.

            And as you mentioned, many would benefit from the potential of a double transfer of bus-subway-bus. Right now, there are some trips that would be quicker by bus-subway-bus, than by bus-bus, but people ride longer on slower buses because it costs half as much. It is not only in the interests of the passenger for those trips to be bus-subway-bus, than bus-bus, but it is also in the interests of the MTA, since bus requirements would be reduced without necessitating any increase in subway service. Those savings would also offset the potential loss of revenue.

            I disagree however, that the base fare should be raised to accomplish this, because that greatly discourages short trips of under a mile and would result in loss of revenue there. The MTA traditionally overestimates revenue gain from a fare increase because they underestimate the lower number of trips made.

            Also, under my plan, those who would have to pay double fare may not have to pay it everyday, but only on those days when they can’t make their final transfer within the allotted time period, so some may actually have to pay an average of 1 1/2 fare, unlike the current system where some always require double fare or make a longer indirect trip to save a fare which benefits no one.

            “Extending the line (B67) further would have required greater funding.”

            Only when you assume that making the route more useful by connecting it to a half dozen or so additional routes would have a zero affect on ridership and revenue. Did the MTA ever do a revenue analysis to estimate how many additional riders and trips they would get if the route were extended by a few blocks or did they only look at the cost for that additional bus? If you claim they did do the analysis, I am afraid you are gong to have to show me the proof with data.

            “That would make sense (that ridership increases were due to the upswing in the economy) if bus ridership were increasing overall. But, in
            fact, NYCT bus ridership has been on a steady decline, having dropped
            10% from 2008 to 2012. Yet the first four SBS corridors have seen
            significant ridership growth against this backdrop of ridership decline ”

            And why has it been on that steady decline? It’s because ridership needs are continually changing due to land use changes and job shifts, yet the bus system remains stagnant except for some meager new routes with 30 minute headways.

            I am not taking away from the increases in ridership on SBS routes. That shows that if you speed some trips, ridership will be attracted even if some are coming from other routes and not having an effect of the revenue stream.

            I am saying you can do the same with local bus routes and even have a greater impact on ridership if you make real improvements in local service. Just because buses on those routes travel slowly, doesn’t mean you abandon making substantial changes where they no longer serve the public efficiently.

            Small changes like moving or adding a bus stop can save someone five or ten minutes in his trip, as much as the average passenger saves by the B44 SBS.

            Straightening a bus route like the B16 to serve Maimonides Hospital and restructuring service on 13th Avenue, can have a huge impact on ridership like increasing a route’s patronage by 30 percent and saving riders 15 minutes or more with more direct service. But if those changes are never made, that never happens.

            We need pilot changes and more experimentation with bus routes like was done in the 1930s when buses were new and routes were frequently changed, not like today when they are stagnant.

            One of the reason buses were cited in the early days as being superior to trolleys is that they would not be a slave to a fixed track system, and routes could be changed whenever the need arose. However, that never happened, bus routes actually became less flexible than trolley route which changed much more often than bus routes change today.

            Any business knows that in order to succeed and expand, you need to make investments. That’s what improving the bus system on a large scale is–making an investment. The MTA’s insistence on zero cost improvements is insane and will result in more deterioration to the bus system. And if it wasn’t for the feferal funding, we never would even have SBS. Yes, there is living within your means, but there is also being penny-wise and pound foolish which describes the MTA to a T.

            When we were trying to get the Southwest Brooklyn changes accomplished, the MTA questioned why we need to combine the B34 and B1 and reroute it to Brighton Beach. They wanted to know how many traveled between from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to Brighton Beach, claiming that ridership was low.

            Well, it was low. no one was doing it by bus because from 4th Avenue and 86 St it required you to take the B64 to 13th Avenue, the B34 to 25 Avenue, the B1 to West End Avenue and Oriental Blvd and the B21 to Brighton Beach. That was four buses and three fares. People were more likely making a very indirect trip by taking the R to Atlantic Avenue or Borough Hall, transferring to the Brighton Line and then transferring to a bus.

            Today because of my efforts, that is a one bus trip for one fare and the B1 is among the most successful Brooklyn bus routes. Incidentally, If someone started that trip at Shore Road, it would have been five buses and three fares. Now it’s two buses and one fare, but trip also would have been a one bus trip if my entire proposal was accepted.

            Mind you that logic never convinced the MTA to make those Southwest Brooklyn changes. They argued with us for four years that they could not afford to make any changes. That it would just cost too much and they didn’t have the funding. It was a lawsuit that convinced them to give it a try. And no one, not even the MTA has regretted it.

            They are just as short-sighted and penny-wise and pound foolish today as they were in 1978. All it takes is some will to make positive changes. Lack of funding is just an excuse to do nothing.

      • Andrew

        There you go again. You can make any subjective statement or give any anecdote you want. But I can’t make any statement unless I can quote survey results or take my own survey. Your double standard at work.

        I’m sorry? In your own words, you declined to take a position on two stops since you “have not seen data regarding passengers boarding at those stops” – as if you’ve seen data regarding passengers boarding anywhere else! Any double standard here is your own.

        Less than half the riders have unlimited cards. It stands to reason that double fares are now required for B54 riders to access Williamsburg. They are either walking further to avoid them, or are now paying them.

        I suspect that most people who could use the B54 to the B44 local to the B44 SBS to reach Williamsburg are actually taking other routes entirely. From the west, the B62 takes a more direct path to Williamsburg anyway. From the east, the M train and the B60 and the B46 are all more direct, and riders coming from the area around Throop can take the B43 up to Broadway and transfer (once) there.

        In other words, not many people have a reason to transfer from the B54 to the northbound B44 to reach Williamsburg, and I suspect the MetroCard records show relatively few transfers between the two lines for that reason.

        For the fourth time SBS tickets are not officially accepted on locals. Your personal anecdote of the receipt always being accepted on a local is just tat your experience and only an anecdote. Others have had drivers refuse to accept them as evidenced by the complaints received by the Assemblywoman.

        My personal anecdote? SBS receipts have been accepted on local buses since October 2010, over three years before SBS reached the B44!

        On the very first day of B44 SBS service, some of the local drivers hadn’t been informed that they were supposed to be accepting SBS receipts. By the second or third day, as far as I could tell, they had gotten the message. But I can certainly imagine that a few people who were turned away from the local on the first day might have complained to their elected officials.

        Service would not have been doubled south of Avenue X based on the already low ridership there if the goal had not been to shift ridership patterns to transfer at the Junction.

        Service wasn’t doubled south of Avenue X. As I said on December 19: “Unless I miscounted, the current schedule has 87 locals and 91 SBS’s originating south of Avenue X, while the old (pre-SBS) schedule had 35 locals and 138 limiteds originating south of Avenue X. That’s a whopping 3% increase. (I didn’t bother to count southbound, but I assume the numbers are pretty similar.)”

        Adding three fare machines would be much cheaper than providing unnecessary service.

        I’m amused that, while your claim on other lines is that, if only the MTA would provide more service, more people would ride, you seem to be taking the opposite position uniquely here. It’s almost as if you explicitly don’t want people to have a quick route from Knapp Street to the Junction! You’ve gone so far as to suggest that the south end of the line be only served by the local, which is downright absurd.

        Orosz is a public employee who is responsible to the taxpayer. When he makes a promise to study something, he has an obligation to keep that promise and not BS te people. And how much is the MTA paying you to defend them again?

        Orosz’s only mistake was in giving you any indication that he was taking you seriously. Your sour grapes are getting old.

        • Allan Rosen

          “I’m sorry? In your own words, you declined to take a position on
          two stops since you “have not seen data regarding passengers boarding at
          those stops” – as if you’ve seen data regarding passengers boarding
          anywhere else! Any double standard here is your own.”

          And if I would have taken a position on those two stops, you would have asked on what data am I basing my decision on? If I don’t take a position based on lack of data, I am accused of a double standard. Looks like there is no winning with you.

          I took a position on Avenue L because it was obvious from the dozens and dozens of complaints, that the stop was needed. But you dismiss complaints as not being data, but support any decision the MTA makes. If they add Avenue L, it is needed. If they don’t, it isn’t needed.

          Regardless of what you say, you are the one with the double standard, using anecdotes as evidence, while requiring data from me, when you yourself do not have to present any.

          “I suspect that most people who could use the B54 to the B44 local to the B44 SBS to reach Williamsburg are actually taking other routes entirely.”

          People take the routes that are most convenient for them. If the addition of the SBS without providing needed transfers caused them to change their travel patterns, you can be assured that the alternative is less convenient because they would have used that alternative in the first place. As to your guess that not many were using the transfer before, it is only a guess. Where is your data?

          “On the very first day of B44 SBS service, some of the local
          drivers hadn’t been informed that they were supposed to be accepting SBS
          receipts. By the second or third day, as far as I could tell, they had
          gotten the message….”

          And where is your proof that the MTA even informed them to accept receipts when it is not official MTA policy for them to accept them? How do you know the drivers didn’t decide to accept them on their own or on the advice of the union to avoid conflicts with passengers?

          And you rode so many SBS buses during the first three days that you could definitely conclude by the third day, all the drivers were accepting them? If that were the case, the Assemblywoman would not have been receiving complaints two months later.

          I suppose there is no more confusion after two months as to the prepayment of fare? Well, my friend rode the SBS a few days ago and told me at virtually every stop, there were passengers who were still confused about the need to prepay. Of course there can’t be a problem with the signage or location of kiosks. That wouldn’t be possible. The passengers just have to be dumb.

          “Service wasn’t doubled south of Avenue X.”

          You are correct. It wasn’t doubled. But it didn’t increase by 3% either. For the 24 hour weekday schedule before SBS, there were 138 trips beginning south of Ave U and 155 trips in the southern direction. That equals 293. There were 35 northbound locals and 63 southbound to south of Avenue U. However only 21 of those trips began or ended at Knapp. So the total for both directions equals 391 trips to south of Avenue U and 314 to or from Knapp. Street.

          After SBS, I get 91 northbound SBS and 104 southbound, 92 local northbound and 117 south, but only 70 north and 72 south all the way to or from Knapp.

          That’s a total of 404 south of Avenue U (as compared to 391 before SBS) and 337 to or from Knapp (as compared to 314 before SBS.)

          That’s a 7% increase in service to Knapp Street..

          However, if you just look northbound service from Knapp Street between 7 and 9 AM, which is how i based my statement that service was doubled, the actual service increase is 45%, a little more than 3% you stated.

          But the important thing to remember is that the service increase was not justified (according to the service planning guidelines you constantly refer to) because the buses carry under 10 passengers per bus in each direction, with perhaps a seated load when health care workers shift change on the bus that arrives at Knapp Street at that time.

          “It’s almost as if you explicitly don’t want people to have a
          quick route from Knapp Street to the Junction! You’ve gone so far as to
          suggest that the south end of the line be only served by the local, which is downright absurd.”

          Apparently, they don’t have a quick enough ride even with the SBS because they are not using it. Except when health care workers are changing shifts, the buses are nearly empty which is just what I predicted. More are riding the inferior service on the B36 and B4 because the riders still prefer Sheepshead Bay Station. You do not provide frequent service where it is not utilized. You provide it on crowded routes to make them less crowded. That is called efficiency and effectiveness which was the topic of my Masters Thesis in Urban Planning. What are your credentials again?.

          “Orosz’s only mistake was in giving you any indication that he was taking you seriously. ”

          As I stated, he reports to the taxpayers and should not make promises he has no intention of keeping. And for your information, many support both of the suggestions I made. But in your world and the MTA’s world, no suggestions from the public have any merit and none need be taken seriously. Because no one can plan as well as the MTA.

          Planning that didn’t foresee the initial and still ongoing confusion, planning that underestimated demand on the local, planning that didn’t see problems with traffic congestion, planning that eliminated stops that should have been retained, planning that allows nearly empty buses at the end of the route with service that is too frequent while other routes in the area are severely overcrowded. Yes that type of planning.

          All problems that I was able to foresee and warn them about two years ago. Warnings they ignored because they always know what is best for the rider. Larry Fleischer of MTA Planning said it himself at the Borough President’s Office in 2006. That we have our own planners, and no one tells us how to plan.

          Yes, you can call it sour grapes if you want. I call it MTA arrogance.

          • Andrew

            And if I would have taken a position on those two stops, you would have asked on what data am I basing my decision on? If I don’t take a position based on lack of data, I am accused of a double standard. Looks like there is no winning with you.

            I am asking why you are taking a position on any stops without data. You’ve explicitly declined to comment on two stops due to lack of data, as if you had data at any other stops!

            I took a position on Avenue L because it was obvious from the dozens and dozens of complaints, that the stop was needed. But you dismiss complaints as not being data, but support any decision the MTA makes. If they add Avenue L, it is needed. If they don’t, it isn’t needed.

            I never said that it was or wasn’t needed. Nice attempt at putting words in my mouth, though.

            Regardless of what you say, you are the one with the double standard, using anecdotes as evidence, while requiring data from me, when you yourself do not have to present any.

            What anecdotes have I used as evidence?

            People take the routes that are most convenient for them. If the addition of the SBS without providing needed transfers caused them to change their travel patterns, you can be assured that the alternative is less convenient because they would have used that alternative in the first place.

            This is circular reasoning. You’re assuming that this was a popular transfer in the first place. I’m suggesting that it probably was never a popular transfer, because there are better ways to make the sorts of trips that could be made with this transfer.

            (Besides, I’ve never claimed that SBS doesn’t inconvenience anyone at all. It skips a bunch of stops, which by definition inconveniences people who use those stops. So, for that matter, does any express train.)

            As to your guess that not many were using the transfer before, it is only a guess. Where is your data?

            I never claimed to have data, hence the language “I suspect.”

            And where is your proof that the MTA even informed them to accept receipts when it is not official MTA policy for them to accept them?

            I asked a driver and a dispatcher about a week into the service.

            Where is your proof that it is not official MTA policy to accept them?

            How do you know the drivers didn’t decide to accept them on their own or on the advice of the union to avoid conflicts with passengers?

            Because the Daily News reported way back in 2010 that MTA officials announced that M15 SBS receipts would be accepted on the M15 local.

            And you rode so many SBS buses during the first three days that you could definitely conclude by the third day, all the drivers were accepting them? If that were the case, the Assemblywoman would not have been receiving complaints two months later.

            Who says that the Assemblywoman was receiving complaints two months later? (As I said, I suspect she got a bunch of complaints on the first day or two, and nobody had told her that the problem had been resolved.) And who says that all complaints are well informed? The same Assemblywoman was receiving complaints about supposedly eliminated limited stops that had never been limited stops in the first place!

            I suppose there is no more confusion after two months as to the prepayment of fare? Well, my friend rode the SBS a few days ago and told me at virtually every stop, there were passengers who were still confused about the need to prepay. Of course there can’t be a problem with the signage or location of kiosks. That wouldn’t be possible. The passengers just have to be dumb.

            I never claimed that there is no confusion. I also never claimed that anybody was dumb. Why are you putting words in my mouth?

            Despite the occasional confused rider, the service is much faster than it used to be, and that’s what really matters.

            You are correct. It wasn’t doubled. But it didn’t increase by 3% either. For the 24 hour weekday schedule before SBS, there were 138 trips beginning south of Ave U and 155 trips in the southern direction. That equals 293. There were 35 northbound locals and 63 southbound to south of Avenue U. However only 21 of those trips began or ended at Knapp. So the total for both directions equals 391 trips to south of Avenue U and 314 to or from Knapp. Street.

            After SBS, I get 91 northbound SBS and 104 southbound, 92 local northbound and 117 south, but only 70 north and 72 south all the way to or from Knapp.

            That’s a total of 404 south of Avenue U (as compared to 391 before SBS) and 337 to or from Knapp (as compared to 314 before SBS.)

            That’s a 7% increase in service to Knapp Street..

            Congratulations, maybe it’s a 7% increase, not a 3% increase. It’s still nowhere near the 50% increase that you’ve been repeatedly claiming.

            However, if you just look northbound service from Knapp Street between 7 and 9 AM, which is how i based my statement that service was doubled, the actual service increase is 45%, a little more than 3% you stated.

            Why would I only look at a two-hour period in one direction?

            But the important thing to remember is that the service increase was not justified (according to the service planning guidelines you constantly refer to) because the buses carry under 10 passengers per bus in each direction, with perhaps a seated load when health care workers shift change on the bus that arrives at Knapp Street at that time.

            Loading guidelines are applied at the peak load point. (By definition, buses will not be carrying their peak loads anywhere other than at the peak load point.) Do you still not understand what loading guidelines are?

            Apparently, they don’t have a quick enough ride even with the SBS because they are not using it. Except when health care workers are changing shifts, the buses are nearly empty which is just what I predicted.

            Nobody ever expected the B44 to be crowded at the southern end of the line. It’s the end of the line!

            By the way, where are you getting your data from? And do you not realize that it takes more than three months for new ridership patterns to develop?

            I will ask again: If you were to reduce service, why on earth would you eliminate the faster service rather than the slower service to the end of the line, where riders are likely to have longer trips? As I’ve said, if there is a desire to reduce service south of Avenue U, it should be the local, not the SBS, that is dropped. Why are you so adamant about taking the SBS specifically away from the southern end of the line?

            More are riding the inferior service on the B36 and B4 because the riders still prefer Sheepshead Bay Station.

            The B36 and the B4 go to completely different places from the B44!

            You do not provide frequent service where it is not utilized. You provide it on crowded routes to make them less crowded. That is called efficiency and effectiveness which was the topic of my Masters Thesis in Urban Planning. What are your credentials again?.

            You’re pointing to a four-decade-old credential. Congratulations, you’re the best!

            As I stated, he reports to the taxpayers and should not make promises he has no intention of keeping. And for your information, many support both of the suggestions I made. But in your world and the MTA’s world, no suggestions from the public have any merit and none need be taken seriously. Because no one can plan as well as the MTA.

            I’ve seen many good suggestions from the public. Removing SBS service from the southern end of Nostrand Avenue is not among them.

            Planning that didn’t foresee the initial and still ongoing confusion, planning that underestimated demand on the local, planning that didn’t see problems with traffic congestion, planning that eliminated stops that should have been retained, planning that allows nearly empty buses at the end of the route with service that is too frequent while other routes in the area are severely overcrowded. Yes that type of planning.

            Planning that resulted in off-the-charts ridership growth on some of the city’s busiest bus lines.

            As I’ve said many times over the years, I see nothing wrong with making tweaks after a service has started. Worrying incessantly about details only ensures that nothing gets done.

            All problems that I was able to foresee and warn them about two years ago. Warnings they ignored because they always know what is best for the rider. Larry Fleischer of MTA Planning said it himself at the Borough President’s Office in 2006. That we have our own planners, and no one tells us how to plan.

            Good for him. Somebody needs to focus on the big picture.

            Yes, you can call it sour grapes if you want. I call it MTA arrogance.

            If it takes arrogance to yield the sorts of ridership growth SBS has brought, then I’m all in favor of arrogance.

            It’s been over three decades since you lost your planning job. Get over it.

          • Allan Rosen

            “I am asking why you are taking a position on any stops without data. You’ve explicitly declined to comment on two stops due to lack of data, as if you had data at any other stops!”

            And exactly what type of data would you be looking for to determine if Avenue L should be added as an SBS stop?
            The number of people boarding the local?
            The number of people transferring from the
            B9? From the high number of complaints received and the distance between Flatbush Avenue and Kings Highway which is over one mile, not to mention that a connecting bus feeding from two directions, made it
            fairly obvious that the stop was needed.

            You really cannot expect those living near Avenue L to walk three-quarters of a mile to the SBS (1/4 mile to Nostrand and then another 1/2 mile to the closest stop) especially in bad weather. Yet that is exactly what the MTA expected. It was obvious to me, it was obvious to the community. It only wasn’t obvious to Operations Planning.

            You never said the stop wasn’t needed. But you never said that it was needed either. You just put your faith in Operations Planning that whatever they decide must be correct because they are such experts although they couldn’t realize a year in advance like I did, that the locals would be too overcrowded which they were, and the crowds didn’t disappear in two weeks like you predicted once everyone realizes the SBS is on Rogers Avenue.

            “What anecdotes have I used as evidence?”

            For one, since you never had a problem with local bus drivers refusing to accept SBS receipts, no one else could have had that problem, despite numerous complaints to that effect and you have no proof that it was only during the first two days.

            “This is circular reasoning. You’re assuming that this was a popular transfer in the first place.”

            It is not circular reasoning and I never made that assumption at all or even implied it. Even if only one person was inconvenienced by having to switch travel patterns for something that was more inconvenient because of a change now requiring a double fare, that is one too many.

            There is a reason the MTA. TA, and private companies before had a policy for over 70 years that any change in service will not require the payment of an additional fare.
            Because it was a fair policy that made sense.

            “nobody had told her that the problem had been resolved.”

            The problem still is not resolved. It will be when and if the MTA clarifies its official policy. If people are waiting 20
            extra minutes for an SBS that doesn’t come when they are able to take a local that is waiting and arrive at their destination quicker, but don’t take that bus because they do not know they can use the receipt as payment, there is still a problem. And you still do not know if every local driver accepts an SBS pass. You are just speculating.

            “Because the Daily News reported way back in 2010 that MTA officials announced that M15 SBS receipts would be accepted on the M15 local.”

            Well, if that is the case, there is absolutely no reason why the MTA should not make that clear on its website, or do they expect riders to refer to carry that Daily News article with them to show to a driver who may not not be aware of that policy. (Of course he could respond that if it accepted on the M15, that doesn’t mean it is policy on the B44.) But we know, the MTA is always correct.

            “I also never claimed that anybody was dumb.”

            You once stated that it wouldn’t matter if there were signs in the buses because no one would read them anyway. That implies the riders are at fault when you have no proof that would be the case. You have made many other comments questioning the intelligence of bus riders, like if you asked them how long their trip took, they wouldn’t be able to give accurate information without a stopwatch. Most people know how long they waited for a bus and how long they were on it, although they may be off by five minutes. You are underestimating the intelligence of riders.

            According to you, that information is useless without a stopwatch. You have the attitude that the MTA always knows best, and communities are just a pain in the neck because they don’t know what is best for them, which coincidentally is the attitude of the MTA.

            “the service is much faster than it used to be, and that’s what really matters.”

            Again, you don’t know that. Just because the bus travels faster, that does not necessarily mean that most people’s trips are faster. Walking distance and waiting time matter and can’t just be ignored as you and the MTA are doing when evaluating SBS services. You also have to factor in lengthened travel times of non-bus users also, which is also being ignored.

            “Congratulations, maybe it’s a 7% increase, not a 3% increase. It’s still nowhere near the 50% increase that you’ve been repeatedly claiming….Why would I only look at a two-hour period in one direction?””

            Because my comment that a 45% increase in northbound service referred to that two hour period between the hours of 7 and 9 AM which was my original statement in the article. You were the one who claimed I said the increase applied to service all day long which I never stated.

            “Loading guidelines are applied at the peak load point.”

            So it is okay to add buses outside the peak load point if buses already run nearly empty. Sounds like sound planning to me.

            “The B36 and the B4 go to completely different places from the B44!”

            Not exactly. If your destination is the subway to get to Downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan, the three routes are in competition with each other for your patronage. And I would surmise at least half the passengers boarding south of Avenue X where the other buses are available, are destined for a subway. Even some going to the Upper East Side might prefer the B or Q than the 5.

            “You’re pointing to a four-decade-old credential. Congratulations, you’re the best!”

            And the only credentials you have are friends at Operations Planning. You have never worked for the agency or dealt with them in an official capacity which I did for seven years. So you have no idea what their thinking is behind the scenes or why they behave the way they do. All you know is what your friends are willing to share with you. I didn’t realize that credentials expired after 40 years. Thanks for enlightening me. I will have to inform my doctor of that. I will take my credentials over yours any day of the week.

            “I’ve seen many good suggestions from the public. Removing SBS service from the southern end of Nostrand Avenue is not among them.”

            Does 10 passengers per bus south of Avenue X merit SBS service? I think not, And I was not adamant about eliminating the faster service south of Avenue U. I merely
            stated that if the reason SBS buses did not make all local stops south of Avenue U because the MTA didn’t want to install additional fare machines at all stops,
            then the SBS should terminate around Avenue X and passengers south of that point should transfer and not be penalized with an extra fare to change again to the
            subway or another bus. (I never suggested Avenue U.)

            However, but I made two later proposals which would not do that. One was to send buses south of Avenue Z to Sheepshead Bay Station and the other was to send alternate SBS buses during school hours from Avenue Z to Kingsborough College, both of which you automatically dismissed as being ridiculous in your eyes, only because it wasn’t proposed by your friends at Operations Planning. Both of which would result in greater efficient use of now empty buses.

            “Planning that resulted in off-the-charts ridership growth on some of the city’s busiest bus lines.”

            That hasn’t been shown yet for the B44. And I see you have no answer to the points I raised. Thank you. And why was I able to forsee all those problems when the MTA could not if they are such superior planners?

            “Good for him. Somebody needs to focus on the big picture.”

            You are actually defending that inexcusable arrogant comment that no one should tell the MTA how to plan when another agency recommended changed bus routes to them. You call that focusing on the big picture? Unbelievable. The MTA really can’t do anything wrong in your eyes.

            “If it takes arrogance to yield the sorts of ridership growth SBS has brought, then I’m all in favor of arrogance.

            It’s been over three decades since you lost your planning job. Get over it.”

            Ridership growth that has been exaggerated because some of it came from the subways which was conveniently ignored, as well as passenger trip times, etc. so we don’t know the true effect of how successful these routes are.

            The MTA is in favor of arrogance also. That’s what makes them one of the most beloved agencies/authorities in the city and why they have so much difficulty in getting their proposals accepted by the public.

            By contrast, my ideas at City Planning were accepted without any difficulty because they were superior to anything the MTA ever thought of on their own and we weren’t arrogant about them. The MTA even hired me because of those ideas. I already explained to you why I couldn’t keep my job, but you seem to believe it was okay that the MTA could not care less about the health of their employees. As my boss told me, “I’m transferring you because it is easier to do that than fix the health problems at the depot.” The MTA always takes the easy way out rather than solving the real problem. You don’t get over injustice.

          • Andrew

            And exactly what type of data would you be looking for to determine if Avenue L should be added as an SBS stop?
            The number of people boarding the local?
            The number of people transferring from the
            B9? From the high number of complaints received and the distance between Flatbush Avenue and Kings Highway which is over one mile, not to mention that a connecting bus feeding from two directions, made it
            fairly obvious that the stop was needed.

            Off the top of my head:

            The number of people boarding and exiting the local and the limited before SBS started, and the number of people boarding and exiting the local after SBS started.

            Transfer volumes to and from the B9 before and after SBS started.

            Average distance that riders boarding at Avenue L remain on the bus, compared to the average distance for people boarding elsewhere. (An SBS stop at Avenue L is a lot more valuable if a large segment of the riders boarding there remain on the bus for long distances than if almost all get off at the Junction.)

            Ridership past Avenue L – i.e., the number of people negatively affected if the stop is added.

            An estimate of the time saved bypassing the stop.

            But the number of complaints is most emphatically not germaine to the analysis itself. Complaints indicate the potential presence of a problem, but they only very roughly give an indication of its magnitude, and they certainly do not indicate the best solution.

            You really cannot expect those living near Avenue L to walk three-quarters of a mile to the SBS (1/4 mile to Nostrand and then another 1/2 mile to the closest stop) especially in bad weather. Yet that is exactly what the MTA expected. It was obvious to me, it was obvious to the community. It only wasn’t obvious to Operations Planning.

            Who expected those living near Avenue L to walk three-quarters of a mile to the SBS (1/4 mile to Nostrand and then another 1/2 mile to the closest stop) especially in bad weather? The local is still running, is it not?

            You never said the stop wasn’t needed. But you never said that it was needed either. You just put your faith in Operations Planning that whatever they decide must be correct because they are such experts although they couldn’t realize a year in advance like I did, that the locals would be too overcrowded which they were, and the crowds didn’t disappear in two weeks like you predicted once everyone realizes the SBS is on Rogers Avenue.

            I didn’t put my faith in anyone. Unlike you, I see nothing wrong with making changes to a service after it has begun.

            Nobody claimed that all the problems would solve themselves in two weeks. When you complained as soon as the service started that it wasn’t perfect, I suggested waiting for the initial confusion to die down and for ridership to stabilize a bit and to then take a look at what problems remained. It’s called being responsive to conditions, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

            For one, since you never had a problem with local bus drivers refusing to accept SBS receipts, no one else could have had that problem, despite numerous complaints to that effect and you have no proof that it was only during the first two days.

            I’m sorry, maybe you don’t know what an anecdote is. I didn’t say that I personally didn’t have any problems with local bus drivers refusing to accept SBS receipts. (I have an unlimited, so the issue doesn’t even affect me personally.) I said that it took a few days for the message to reach all of the drivers that they were supposed to accept receipts on the local. It was a communications failure that was rectified within the first week.

            It is not circular reasoning and I never made that assumption at all or even implied it. Even if only one person was inconvenienced by having to switch travel patterns for something that was more inconvenient because of a change now requiring a double fare, that is one too many.

            It’s plainly obvious that any service change that isn’t a pure addition by necessity inconveniences at least one person. The restoration of Brighton express service following the station reconstruction project inconvenienced thousands of riders every day, but that doesn’t mean that Brighton express service shouldn’t have been restored.

            As I’ve said, I doubt that a significant number of people transfer from the B54 to the northbound B44 to reach Williamsburg, before or after SBS, for the simple reason that almost the entire length of the B54 has other ways to reach Williamsburg that are more direct. If you think that a significant number of people now, with SBS, have to choose between paying two fares or taking an less convenient route, feel free to make your case.

            The problem still is not resolved. It will be when and if the MTA clarifies its official policy. If people are waiting 20
            extra minutes for an SBS that doesn’t come when they are able to take a local that is waiting and arrive at their destination quicker, but don’t take that bus because they do not know they can use the receipt as payment, there is still a problem. And you still do not know if every local driver accepts an SBS pass. You are just speculating.

            Until now the supposed problem was that local bus drivers didn’t accept SBS receipts. Now you’re complaining instead that the website is bad. I agree, the website is bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that SBS receipts are valid on locals.

            I am not speculating. I have spoken to drivers and dispatchers. Have you?

            Well, if that is the case, there is absolutely no reason why the MTA should not make that clear on its website, or do they expect riders to refer to carry that Daily News article with them to show to a driver who may not not be aware of that policy. (Of course he could respond that if it accepted on the M15, that doesn’t mean it is policy on the B44.) But we know, the MTA is always correct.

            Why do you keep insisting that there are still drivers who are unaware of the policy? Do you have any evidence whatsoever of that claim? (Jacobs’ initial letter to the MTA was dated November 19, 2014, the third day of the service.)

            You once stated that it wouldn’t matter if there were signs in the buses because no one would read them anyway. That implies the riders are at fault when you have no proof that would be the case. You have made many other comments questioning the intelligence of bus riders, like if you asked them how long their trip took, they wouldn’t be able to give accurate information without a stopwatch. Most people know how long they waited for a bus and how long they were on it, although they may be off by five minutes. You are underestimating the intelligence of riders.

            According to you, that information is useless without a stopwatch. You have the attitude that the MTA always knows best, and communities are just a pain in the neck because they don’t know what is best for them, which coincidentally is the attitude of the MTA.

            Sigh. As I already told you on December 1 and on December 10 and on December 22, I didn’t call anyone dumb. Intelligence does not measure accuracy of perception of the passage of time.

            Again, you don’t know that. Just because the bus travels faster, that does not necessarily mean that most people’s trips are faster.

            Most former limited stops are still SBS stops. The only riders who lose out with SBS – by having to either walk further or ride the local – are former limited riders who start or end their bus rides at non-SBS stops. Nobody is denying the existence of people who are worse off with SBS, but most former riders of the B44 Limited can ride the SBS with no additional walking.

            Walking distance and waiting time matter and can’t just be ignored as you and the MTA are doing when evaluating SBS services.

            Nobody ignores walking distance or waiting time.

            You also have to factor in lengthened travel times of non-bus users also, which is also being ignored.

            What gives you idea that impacts on driving time are being ignored? (By “non-bus users” you presumably mean motorists, correct?)

            Because my comment that a 45% increase in northbound service referred to that two hour period between the hours of 7 and 9 AM which was my original statement in the article. You were the one who claimed I said the increase applied to service all day long which I never stated.

            You’ve claimed repeatedly that service at the south end of the line was doubled. By your own admission, it was only increased by 7%. Perhaps you should drop your earlier claim.

            So it is okay to add buses outside the peak load point if buses already run nearly empty. Sounds like sound planning to me.

            As I asked before: “By the way, where are you getting your data from? And do you not realize that it takes more than three months for new ridership patterns to develop?”

            Not exactly. If your destination is the subway to get to Downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan, the three routes are in competition with each other for your patronage. And I would surmise at least half the passengers boarding south of Avenue X where the other buses are available, are destined for a subway. Even some going to the Upper East Side might prefer the B or Q than the 5.

            Your point?

            And the only credentials you have are friends at Operations Planning. You have never worked for the agency or dealt with them in an official capacity which I did for seven years. So you have no idea what their thinking is behind the scenes or why they behave the way they do. All you know is what your friends are willing to share with you. I didn’t realize that credentials expired after 40 years. Thanks for enlightening me. I will have to inform my doctor of that. I will take my credentials over yours any day of the week.

            I’ve never claimed to have credentials. I’ve never claimed to be an expert.

            If you don’t think credentials go stale over time, I suggest you apply for a job using a resume with no experience shown more recent than 40 years. It won’t get you very far.

            Does 10 passengers per bus south of Avenue X merit SBS service? I think not,

            As I asked before: “If you were to reduce service, why on earth would you eliminate the faster service rather than the slower service to the end of the line, where riders are likely to have longer trips?”

            As I said before: “If you had suggested terminating the local at Avenue U or Avenue X, I would have easily gone along with that. But only running the local to the south end of the line is absurd.”

            And I was not adamant about eliminating the faster service south of Avenue U.

            You’ve repeatedly suggested that the SBS, rather than the local, be diverted away from the south end of the line.

            However, but I made two later proposals which would not do that. One was to send buses south of Avenue Z to Sheepshead Bay Station and the other was to send alternate SBS buses during school hours from Avenue Z to Kingsborough College, both of which you automatically dismissed as being ridiculous in your eyes, only because it wasn’t proposed by your friends at Operations Planning. Both of which would result in greater efficient use of now empty buses.

            Actually, I dismissed them as being ridiculous because they are ridiculous. If at some point there is a desire to scale back on the service at the south end of the line, the locals can easily be cut back.

            That hasn’t been shown yet for the B44.

            Of course it hasn’t been. SBS has only been running on the B44 for three months.

            Ridership growth that has been exaggerated because some of it came from the subways which was conveniently ignored, as well as passenger trip times, etc. so we don’t know the true effect of how successful these routes are.

            Yes, some M15 SBS riders have shifted from the Lexington Avenue subway, because the M15 SBS gets them where they’re going in less time. I don’t see the problem with that – especially given that the Lex express is consistently overcrowded.

            Nothing was ignored.

            By contrast, my ideas at City Planning were accepted without any difficulty because they were superior to anything the MTA ever thought of on their own and we weren’t arrogant about them. The MTA even hired me because of those ideas. I already explained to you why I couldn’t keep my job, but you seem to believe it was okay that the MTA could not care less about the health of their employees. As my boss told me, “I’m transferring you because it is easier to do that than fix the health problems at the depot.” The MTA always takes the easy way out rather than solving the real problem. You don’t get over injustice.

            Actually, I was hinting that there might have been an entirely different reason that you were transferred. That reason might not have been explicitly revealed.

          • Allan Rosen

            Off the top of my head:

            “The number of people boarding and exiting the local and the limited
            before SBS started, and the number of people boarding and exiting the
            local after SBS started….”

            Just looking at this one bit of data, we have three possibilities, that the total passengers getting on and off at Avenue L increased after the change (very unlikely) the number of passengers significantly decreased, (because people altered their trip patterns) or it remained more or less unchanged. Would any of those three possibilities cause you to further investigate the need to add an SBS stop?

            “When you complained as soon as the service started that it wasn’t perfect…”

            No, I first complained two years before the service started that it was far from perfect predicting all the problems that would occur that the MTA could not predict in advance.

            “I’m sorry, maybe you don’t know what an anecdote is. I didn’t say that I personally didn’t have any problems with local bus drivers refusing to
            accept SBS receipts. (I have an unlimited, so the issue doesn’t even affect me personally.) I said that it took a few days for the message to reach all of the drivers that they were supposed to accept receipts on the local. It was a communications failure that was rectified within the first week.”

            My wording was a little off. I should have said that you didn’t see anyone having a problem with it, not that you personally didn’t have a problem. My point is still the same.that you drew conclusions that no one else was having a problem when in fact they were. You also have no proof that the problem was rectified within the first week.

            As I previously stated, the problem is not solved as long as the public does not know what the official policy is since they have not made it clear on their website or through any signage anywhere. People who have paid for the SBS and want the local instead because the SBS is intolerably late, will continue to wait for the SBS when they could have arrived quicker at their destination with the local because they do not realize they can take the local, if they actually can, and that is a problem.

            “It’s plainly obvious that any service change that isn’t a pure addition by necessity inconveniences at least one person. The restoration of Brighton express service following the station reconstruction project inconvenienced thousands of riders every day, but
            that doesn’t mean that Brighton express service shouldn’t have been restored.”

            Totally irrelevant.”

            “As I’ve said, I doubt that a significant number of people transfer from the B54 to the northbound B44 to reach Williamsburg, before or after SBS, for the simple reason that almost the entire length of the B54 has other ways to reach Williamsburg that are more direct. If you think that a significant number of people now, with SBS, have to choose between paying two fares or taking an less convenient
            route, feel free to make your case.”

            As I previously stated, if those other ways were more direct, passengers would have been using those ways before and are therefore unaffected. And I never said the number had to be significant to be important. Quit changing what I say and asking me to prove things I never alleged. I was talking about a significant policy change that never should have been made because of the unfairness it created and that you are refusing to address.

            “Until now the supposed problem was that local bus drivers didn’t accept SBS receipts. Now you’re complaining instead that the website is bad. I agree, the website is bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that SBS receipts are valid on locals.

            I am not speculating. I have spoken to drivers and dispatchers. Have you?”

            No, I have not changed my position at all. I am not complaining that the website is bad. I am complaining that you believe that an unofficial policy that was in one newspaper article corrected a problem and that the problem no longer exists. I am saying the problem still exists because some riders still may not know what the policy is and the MTA has done nothing (either through signage or on their website) to clarify the situation.

            It is also unclear if every driver is now following what is still an unofficial policy until the MTA makes it official which they need to do. One newspaper article several years ago stating that M15 local drivers were directed to accept SBS receipts is not the same as an official policy stating that SBS drivers on all routes need to accept those receipts.

            “Why do you keep insisting that there are still drivers who are unaware of the policy? Do you have any evidence whatsoever of that claim? (Jacobs’ initial letter to the MTA was dated November 19, 2014, the
            third day of the service.)”

            Why does the date of the initial letter matter? Jacobs received a response to that email on January 3rd, and subsequently responded (over six weeks after implementation) that it was still a problem. (I already provided the link to that email.) That would suggest the problem existed longer than two days and may in fact still exist today.

            “Nobody is denying the existence of people who are worse off with SBS, but most former riders of the B44 Limited can ride the SBS with no additional walking.”

            That skirts the question. Since you can’t quantify the numbers of riders affected by all the circumstances you mentioned whereby someone may be inconvenienced, you don’t know for sure that “most former riders of the B44 Limited can ride the SBS with no additional walking.” It is pure subjecture.

            “Nobody ignores walking distance or waiting time.”

            What am I missing? What MTA report discussed this as they relate to SBS? Please do share.

            “What gives you idea that impacts on driving time are being ignored?”

            You don’t get the true effects of driving time by just looking at the immediate streets eg. Nostrand and, Rogers. You have to look at traffic changes on Flatbush, Bedford, New York, even Franklin and Brooklyn Avenues because drivers change their routes when there is congestion.

            If traffic during peak hours was already at capacity before SBS, the street really cannot get anymore congested. That means the increased congestion spills over onto neighboring streets or to streets not even in the area if someone entirely changes his route. How much do you want to bet when DOT published their B44 traffic effects, they will only provide data for Nostrand and Rogers ignoring any spillover onto other streets?

            “You’ve claimed repeatedly that service at the south end of the line was doubled.”

            I was only talking about the AM peak of 7 to 9. I never investigated any other time periods so I couldn’t have made that general claim you are accusing me of. In fact I think I saw that Sunday service at the south end was even reduced, but I am not going to check that now.

            “As I asked before: ‘By the way, where are you getting your data from? And do you not realize that it takes more than three months for new ridership patterns to develop?’ ”

            Everyone I spoke to and heard from claims the buses south of Avenue X are nearly empty at all times. As soon as the weather gets warmer, I will verify that myself. You can look forward to more articles. And I wouldn’t hold my breath that all of a sudden B36 and B4 riders will suddenly switch to the B44.

            “Your point?”

            You stated that the three routes (B4, B36 and B44) serve completely different destinations and are therefore not in competition for the same clientele. I was showing you how in some instances they are competing for the same clientele. I think I made my point perfectly clearly. Are you playing dumb?

            “I suggest you apply for a job using a resume with no experience shown more recent than 40 years. It won’t get you very far.”

            If you think paid experience is the only thing that qualifies as “experience”, you are certainly wrong. I have been continually active in the planning field for that length of time and very aware of what is going on. That length of time only makes me more experienced and qualified than those a third of my age with no actual experience other than what they read in a textbook or heard from their teachers.

            And further more I have the track record to back up my credentials by being responsible for the most substantive and successful bus routing changes in NYC history and other changes at the MTA which I wish could have been more.

            I eliminated unnecessarily complex routing, improved connectivity, and made the routes easier to understand. If not for me, the crosstown bus routes in Manhattan would never have been renumbered. I did not add to the connectivity problems that already exist by creating new routes that fall short of connecting to other bus routes minimizing their usefulness as the MTA did when creating new routes.

            “As I asked before: “If you were to reduce service, why on earth would you eliminate the faster service rather than the slower service to the end of the line, where riders are likely to have longer trips?”

            “As I said before: “If you had suggested terminating the local at Avenue U or Avenue X, I would have easily gone along with that. But only running the local to the south end of the line is absurd.”

            And I answered you before and am not going to repeat myself. I never suggested terminating the local at Avenue U. Just because you didn’t like my answer does not give you the right to change what I said and then argue with something I never stated. Go reread what I wrote and argue sensibly or I will not continue this discussion.

            “You’ve repeatedly suggested that the SBS, rather than the local, be diverted away from the south end of the line.”

            Yes, because that is what makes sense to utilize underutilized buses in the reverse direction south of Avenue Z. And the second proposal only diverted half the SBS buses on school days only. (For that proposal on non-school days, I would terminate those buses at Avenue X.) In no case did I suggest terminating the SBS at Avenue U.

            I would only reduce service south of Avenue Z (where it is not needed) and along Emmons Avenue without affecting Nostrand service in the second proposal. And for the last time, quit changing my proposal then disagreeing with something I never said.

            You are doing exactly what the MTA did when reviewing my suggestions. When they could not come up with a response, they just changed my suggestion and responded to that. Who taught you that technique, your friends at Operations Planning?

            “Actually, I dismissed them as being ridiculous because they are ridiculous”

            You dismissed them out of hand as ridiculous without a single shred of justification, just as the MTA dismisses all proposals from the public. Something else you learned from Operations Planning?

            And don’t even think of responding that my proposals are the only ones they dismiss because I can provide you with a list of people who have also made sensible suggestions to the MTA which they just dismissed for no other reason than they didn’t think of it themselves.

            If they really like a suggestion though, they just wait three to five years and introduce it as their own suggestion sometimes with a slight modification so they can’t be accused of copying anyone. But you support MTA arrogance as a good thing. You said so yourself.

            “I don’t see the problem with that – especially given that the Lex express is consistently overcrowded. Nothing was ignored.”

            The only problem is when you imply that ridership growth means revenue growth since that is exactly what the MTA implied by not stating where some of the M15 ridership growth came from. They implied the ridership was new even if they didn’t explicitly state so.

            If they recognized that some of the ridership came from existing routes they could have mentioned that like you did, that those riders switched because they were saving time. I did not see passenger time savings addressed anywhere. The misleading implication was that since the buses travel faster, the passengers must be saving time also, which could be true but is not necessarily the case. Much was ignored.

            “Actually, I was hinting that there might have been an entirely different reason that you were transferred. That reason might not have been explicitly revealed.”

            So since you have no answer for the truth the only way for you to stick up for the MTA is to call me a liar and raise doubts as to my qualifications trying to imply I lost my job because I wasn’t qualified. Since you admit to having no planning qualifications yourself, no one can really take you seriously here. Can they?

            So why did the MTA repeatedly ignore those health issues affecting their employees that was brought to their attention? Excuse me I didn’t hear your answer? Did I mention that my boss called in OSHA to measure the air quality to prove to me there was no problem? Not only did OSHA find a problem, they found the air extremely hazardous and unhealthy. I am sure my boss told them that their concerns would be addressed. Yet they chose to transfer me, rather than address the problem.

            And when are you going to answer the question how much the MTA is paying you to constantly defend them?

          • sonicboy678

            Actually, I can even confirm that Andrew’s claim about the “reduced walking” is off the mark. With the former B44 Limited, anyone taking a northbound bus to Fulton Street to catch the A or C would be dropped right next to the station; with SBS, you now have to hightail it two blocks east to Nostrand Avenue. This isn’t the only instance, either. While it’s easier on people that are heading somewhere west of Nostrand Avenue or somewhere along Fulton Street near Bedford Avenue, it’s worse for people east of Nostrand Avenue or along Fulton Street near Nostrand Avenue. I’ve done the B44 to A/C connection before; the trip is artificially faster and requires more walking to make the same connection, which doesn’t exactly make it easier to catch the train. All it does is shift the problem around rather than target it.

  • Supporter of LeftHand Rule

    I am pleased to report that ‘new’ Brooklyn Bus Maps are available for pick up on the B3 bus, in the folder holder near the Rear Door. By ‘new’ I mean they are dated November 2013, but this is very helpful. Look for them.

    • sonicboy678

      Oh, the same currently outdated map online. About time they got around to that.

      • Andrew

        The online map looks up-to-date (November 2013) to me – if you’re still seeing an older one, maybe a refresh will help?

        • sonicboy678

          I called it outdated because there were some route changes made since that map was put out.

          • Allan Rosen

            Also, the B44 local schedule changed on February 2nd.

          • Supporter of LeftHand Rule

            If the local schedule changed on Feb 2nd,then an updated map is in order.

          • Allan Rosen

            They might be following a schedule like updates no more frequent than every three months. While I can understand that for printed schedules and maps, it really would not make sense for publishing info on-line.

          • Andrew

            What route changes?

          • sonicboy678

            Route changes like the “permanent” B57/B61 reroute onto alternate streets, for one. The map’s additional information on each route may have to be updated, as well, due to some other recent changes.

          • Andrew

            Good catch.