Archive for the tag 'b49'

THE COMMUTE: I asked if that was the case back in 2010 when I documented 14 buses in a row bypassing bus stops after loading up at Kingsborough Community College. Since then I have done numerous B1 updates documenting service problems. I have written many times to the last two directors of Bus Operations over the past five years. Each time, I promptly received courteous replies and have met with a half dozen operating personnel on about four occasions, assured that the problem would be addressed and Manhattan and Brighton Beach passengers would not be ignored . Yet the problem persists.

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The D train rumbles over the Manhattan Bridge. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: English is a funny language. If we don’t like someone we might say we don’t like them because they are “stubborn” and that’s bad. If we like them, we say that same person is “persistent” and that’s a good quality, when it’s really the same thing. Similarly, the MTA may want to get rid of a bus route because it’s “duplicative,” meaning a nearby route serves the same function and it is not necessary. If they want to retain two duplicative routes, then the routes are no longer considered “duplicative.” Then they are called “parallel.” In essence we still are talking about the same thing.

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Kingsborough Community College administrators have moved the drop-off location of the yellow school bus that shuttles students from campus to subway station and back, no longer allowing it on the school’s property. The new location has a local civic group fuming that the school is piling on more traffic problems along the problem-prone Oriental Boulevard.

The school made a decision approximately five years weeks ago barring the Safe Coach bus from entering the campus out of a concern for safety, said Ruby Ryles, the school’s spokesperson.

“Public Safety feels they can scrutinize students and others entering the campus on foot better than on the bus,” Ryles told Sheepshead Bites.

The solution they came up with was to begin dropping students off in the same turnaround the MTA uses at Mackenzie Street for its B1 and B49 buses. The problem is, they never asked the MTA’s permission, and the Manhattan Beach Community Group said they feel like the school snubbed them by not asking their opinion.

“They just do things without telling us,” said the group’s president, Ira Zalcman. “They’re in our community, but they never bother listening to our concerns. This has been going on for years.”

Zalcman said he notified the MTA to find if the agency okay’d the co-location. The MTA said absolutely not.

“MTA New York City Transit runs very frequent service out of that loop,” MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker told Sheepshead Bites. “We feel there is not enough room to accommodate Safe Coach in addition to NYCT buses at that location.  We are looking into our options which includes restricting the stop to Transit buses only.”

The school today agreed to move the location again – this time to Oriental Boulevard just outside of the gates. But they still won’t enter.

“The matter is now resolved,” Ryles said.

Not to the Manhattan Beach Community Group, though.

“Kingsborough almost capitulated. Almost,” Zalcman said when he heard the news. He pointed out that there No Stopping Anytime signs all along that stretch of Oriental Boulevard, which the DOT defines as “you may not wait, stop to load/unload packages or merchandise at curbside, or drop off or pick up passengers at this location.”

“We’re going to call the police station and we expect them to enforce all existing laws. They can’t stand there,” Zalcman said.

The problem, he claims is that it adds to traffic and safety concerns to have a large vehicle there, and to be unnecessarily dumping Kingsborough students into the community. He wants the school bus – and the MTA buses, for that matter – to drop off students on campus.

“It’s enough that we have cars sitting there all day waiting for students. We think they should have a waiting area that should also be on campus. The MTA turnaround should be on campus, the waiting area should be on campus, the yellow bus should be on campus” he said. “We have enough car safety issues in the community, and they just don’t want to listen to our concerns.”

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the decision to discharge students off campus was made five years ago. It was five weeks ago, and the article has been corrected.

All photos by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: The DOT gets an ‘Incomplete.’

Reason One: As of January 10, the Ocean Avenue Footbridge still has not reopened, although the scheduled completion date for repairs was the end of 2012.

Reason Two: Although new bus stops and signage for the restored B4 were in place by January 6, the first date of operation, the old signs for bus stops formerly located on Avenue Z between Ocean Parkway and East 14th Street were still not removed as of January 10.

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Why is this B49 only going so far as Church Avenue? Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Although buses are scheduled at 10 minutes intervals, if you were trying to get home from Manhattan Beach on the evening of July 4, there is a good chance that you would have had to wait for an hour for a B49. Two weeks ago I reported long waits on both the B1 and B49 buses on a hot summer weeknight during the rush hour, and how service is disrupted on an entire route because the MTA does not pay attention to heavy beach loadings. I decided to return on July 4 to see if conditions would be better or worse.

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Source: MTA

THE COMMUTE: As the second anniversary of the largest service cutbacks in New York City History quietly passed on June 27th, the MTA hinted at its monthly board meeting for the first time that they were considering the restoration of some cuts. The New York Times has the story. No specific mention was made as to which cutbacks were considered for restoration, but it does not hurt to be optimistic that restoration of the B4 and B64 are being considered.

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Students walking two extra blocks to Kingsborough Community College. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Yesterday I discussed service irregularities on the B1 and B49 last Thursday afternoon, a day when the temperature reached the mid-90s and passengers were trying to get home from the beach. Today we look at other service irregularities and measures that can be taken, which the MTA resists.

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A crowd waiting 20 minutes for a bus on Falmouth Street at 5:09 p.m. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Regular readers of this column know that my favorite subject is bus service, especially in Brooklyn. I particularly like to focus on subjects that virtually no one else pays attention to such as service to the area’s beaches. I’ve written about this subject several times before. Having ridden the B49 since the 1960s to go to Manhattan Beach, and constantly witnessing service irregularities dating back to then, I first attempted to get the MTA to pay attention to this problem in 1982 when I was director of the Brooklyn Transit Service Sufficiency Study, since irregular or poor service not only affects beachgoers, but it disrupts service along the entire route for all passengers.

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Screenshot from NY1 report.

The Kingsborough Community College yellow buses that have been shuttling students from the campus to the Brighton Beach subway station is now in jeopardy, as school officials threaten to cut the program following complaints that students are using the rear emergency exit to disembark.

NY 1 reports that locals are complaining about students dangerously jumping from the rear door in the packed shuttle buses, rather than make their way to the front when the buses arrive at the station.

The school launched the shuttle program several years ago to alleviate crowding on the B1 and B49, by providing an alternate way for students to get to the station. A cancellation of the program would put hundreds of students back on city buses.

But the school isn’t giving the ax to the shuttle buses, operated by SAFE Coach Bus Company, just yet. In the face of complaints, they’ve placed school safety officers on the buses and are warning students of the risks of using the back door.

The bus company, though, is also coming under fire from the MTA, which claims that the yellow buses are pulling into city bus stops, forcing the B1 to pull two car’s widths away from the curb, discharging passengers and disabled riders into the street rather than the sidewalk. The school said SAFE is now working with the MTA and the NYPD to find a better place to let passengers out.

The MTA said they’re also adding more B1 and B49 buses to the route, beginning next week.

THE COMMUTE: According to the Manhattan Beach Community Group, the MTA has agreed to station a dispatcher at the bus terminal in Manhattan Beach on summer weekends that will have the ability to summon extra drivers from the depot in case of any change in weather.

That is exactly what I recommended last April.  They did not agree to operate shuttle buses to the subway, as suggested by the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association. I agreed with the MTA that that measure was not necessary. Now if they would only rewrite the B49 schedule so that deadheading buses are placed in revenue service, perhaps on busy days, non-beachgoers would be able to board the first bus that arrives.

Neither of the community groups have ever addressed that issue or the fact that some B1 riders frequently have to wait an hour or more for a bus on weekday afternoons when school is open, except on Fridays.  I have been requesting that situation be remedied for several years now.  The MTA has met with me on at least three occasions and has added several buses at my request.  They have also taken other measures such as allowing buses to leave Kingsborough Community College with enough space so that there is room for additional passengers. I have also noticed that bus drivers are now making announcements for passengers to move to the rear.  While some improvements have been made in this regard, the problem still exists.

I will be watching this summer to see how effective that bus dispatcher is.

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).

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