Archive for the tag 'buses'

THE COMMUTE: Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach are prominently featured in a new series of MTA public service announcements denouncing texting while walking, cycling, and riding the city’s buses. I doubt it if the MTA realizes how ironic some of the locations that were chosen are. The cyclist begins his ride just 100 feet from where my friend crashed into a cyclist about 20 years ago. He was uninjured, but just a few blocks away another cyclist was killed earlier this year. The location in the video where the girl is “hit by the bus” while texting is just 200 feet from a real bus fatality four few years ago. The messages are clear and all should take heed. Texting does not go well with walking, cycling, or even standing in a bus if you are not holding on.

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The Fulton Transit Center. Source: Wikipedia

The Fulton Transit Center. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: In answer to the question posed in the headline, it is because they don’t care enough, since they do not place themselves in the position of passengers who are making decisions. Customer service is just not a high priority. It is a theme we keep coming back to. The last time we discussed it was back in August. At the end of that article I linked to two posts from blogger David Gerber, in which he went into excruciating detail about how the MTA provides misinformation. He has since written three more posts detailing the MTA’s misinformation and / or lack of information. In part three of his series from this past August, he discusses passengers having to endure the cold because of inadequate public information regarding the MTA’s winter service plans. In September, he wrote about how track work on the M train resulted in conflicting announcements about the service change.

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A familiar sight: Next bus please! Source: afagen | Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Ever since I started riding buses more than 50 years ago, I noticed that service is erratic. I never knew the extent of the problem until I analyzed our origin and destination data as part of the study of southwest Brooklyn bus routes, which I directed for the Department of City Planning beginning in 1974. I included an open-ended question allowing bus riders to express comments. Service irregularity topped the list as the most pervasive problem with local bus routes.

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In an image from the 1950s, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line used to run from Rockaway to Rego Park. Source: The Forum Newsgroup

In an image from the 1950s, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line used to run from Rockaway to Rego Park. Source: The Forum Newsgroup

THE COMMUTE: Now that Queens College has released its year-long study of the feasibility to rebuild and reactivate the long dormant Rockaway Beach Line between Rego Park and Howard Beach, momentum to reuse the line for transit purposes is gaining traction. The New York Daily News is now a supporter. Other alternatives include the building of a High Line-style park named “Queensway,” and doing nothing. According to the study, restoration would cost between $600 and $900 million and would generate as many as 500,000 daily riders.

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Source: Flickr/haagenjerrys

Source: Flickr/haagenjerrys

Once again, the MTA has announced plans to raise fares and tolls - this time by 2 percent a year for the next two years. The 30-day MetroCard will definitely jump from $112 to $116.50, but the MTA is deliberating on whether to raise the price of the single ride MetroCard to $2.75, or keep it the same, effectively eliminating the bonus on the 30-day card.

Here’s a chart via Gothamist:

111714chart1

As you can see, both options kind of suck.

Fares on the LIRR and Metro-North will also see varying increases, as will bridge tolls – including the dreaded Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll, which may jump a dollar. You can read more about that on the MTA website. The MTA plans to make a decision in March after hearing from commuters next month.

If you’d like to tell the MTA to take their fare hikes and shove it, be at the Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College, 2900 Campus Road (near the Flatbush junction), on Thursday, December 11. Registration is open from 5pm to 9pm. The hearing begins at 6pm.

Comments can also be submitted online through the MTA website, or by letter to MTA Government Affairs, 347 Madison Ave., New York, 10017.

The famed Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, which connects Queens and Manhattan. Source: Wikipedia

The famed Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, which connects Queens and Manhattan. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, we asked if the real purpose for the new 25 MPH speed limit is increased safety or increased revenue. If the city is as concerned with increased safety as much as it claims, let us look at some traffic safety hazards the city has not been paying adequate attention to.

It took more than two years to repair the lighting on the Belt Parkway between Flatbush Avenue and Knapp Street after Superstorm Sandy. Dark dangerous stretches of highways with non-reflective exit signs were a problem long before Sandy, and will continue to be a problem.

Street markings are allowed to virtually disappear before being repainted. Lanes mysteriously merge into each other without any notice, and left and right turn lanes appear out of nowhere, forcing motorists to try to switch lanes in heavy traffic or make a turn they didn’t want to make in the first place, and risk getting lost. These are accidents just waiting to happen.

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Source: NYC.gov/DOT

Source: NYC.gov/DOT

THE COMMUTE: The 25 mile per hour (MPH) default speed limit is now the law. What proponents of this legislation fail to realize is that with a 30 MPH speed limit, the average speed limit on city streets is only 20 MPH or less. A maximum speed limit of 25 MPH will bring the average speed limit down to 12 MPH in most cases. That means that your average automobile and truck trip (yes, we forget about trucks, don’t we?) will now take almost twice as long. That is if everyone complies, and of course few will.

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Source: changeschanging / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Last week, a one-and-a-quarter-mile afternoon trip took my friend one hour and 20 minutes using two buses. He waited 28 minutes for the B68 and another 30 minutes for the B82 in Coney Island. Three B68s came at once, and he just missed the B82. BusTime obviously is not being used to regulate the buses. What the MTA is doing, however, to help buses adhere to their schedule is putting pressure on bus drivers not to be late. What other explanation could there be for the following?

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The MTA's East Side Access plan. Source: mta.info

The MTA’s East Side Access plan. Source: mta.info

THE COMMUTE: The big news headlines this week were that subway ridership reached a new record level on September 23rd, with more than 6.1 million paying swipes, and the budget shortfall in the MTA’s new capital plan. (Notice I did not say paying customers as the MTA did, because I consider a customer as someone making a round trip. The correct term for someone making a one way trip is “passenger.” However, the MTA refuses to use that term as if it were a dirty word and now considers everyone a “customer.”) The headline only refers to subway riders; bus ridership reached its peak ten years ago.

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MetroCard machine don't want your money

Heads up to anyone who might be riding the subway late tonight with a MetroCard that’s low on funds — you better have some cash on you, just in case.

All MetroCard vending machines will experience an outage because of a system upgrade on Saturday, October 25 from 2-6am, during which time no credit or debit card purchase will be accepted. You can still use cash, though.

The MTA says they expect the system to be back up and accepting cards no later than 6am.

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