THE COMMUTE: This is the fourth year the MTA has performed a customer satisfaction survey in this format. I criticized past surveys for faulty methodology, not asking enough questions related to service, and too many about the riding environment. Rather than summarizing statistics as I did last year, I will make a few observations since there is little change since the previous survey. You can read my past reviews from 2012, 2011 and 2010 because those criticisms still apply to this year’s survey, which is still mostly meaningless.
Archive for the tag 'the commute'
THE COMMUTE: This week we are taking another look at the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS). On Monday we discussed major problems thus far: confusion, not enough SBS stops, and inadequate service on New York Avenue. We discussed actions taken by some local elected officials. Yesterday we shared some rider and operator reviews gathered from an email, the media, and transit discussion groups on the internet. Today we will share a few more reviews and draw some conclusions.
THE COMMUTE: Yesterday, in Part 1, we provided some media coverage from NewsChannel 12 and NY 1 showing rider frustrations with the new B44 Select Bus Service (SBS). That is not to say that everyone is unhappy about it. As I predicted, those traveling long distances who can make use of the SBS stops will save time and be pleased. You can never please everybody. The question remains: Will more riders be helped or hurt by this new service?
THE COMMUTE: Select Bus Service (SBS) on the first route in Brooklyn, the B44, is now one week old. I have not yet had a chance to observe or ride the SBS or the B44 local, so at this time I can only offer second-hand information.
As to be expected, there was much confusion resulting from the elimination of the Limited service, which has been replaced with SBS; removal of some Limited stops, which became local stops only, and the rerouting of half of the buses from New York Avenue to Rogers Avenue. Bus riders were informed of the start date through automated announcements on the buses during the week prior to implementation. Not enough information was given to avoid confusion.
THE COMMUTE: After two years of delay, and five years of planning, the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) finally made its debut yesterday along Nostrand Avenue. Limited stops at Avenues L, R, S, V, W, Y and Z are no longer in effect since the Limited has been discontinued, so do not wait for one. You now either have to take the local or walk to the closest SBS stop.
Today Marks The 35th Anniversary Of The Southwest Brooklyn Bus Changes, Plus More About B1 Service Update: Part 2 Of 2
A B1 Service Update, Plus: Tomorrow Marks The 35th Anniversary Of The Southwest Brooklyn Bus Changes: Part 1 Of 2
THE COMMUTE: More about the anniversary tomorrow, but first an update regarding B1 bus service. Last Monday, I noticed a steady stream of college students, about 30 of them, walking a mile and a half from the Brighton Beach train station to Kingsborough Community College (KCC) a little past 9:00 a.m. I haven’t monitored B1 service in awhile, so I figured it was about time for an update. This past Wednesday, I decided to watch the buses arriving and leaving the station. I intended to get there for the morning peak. I know it gets very crowded just before 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. classes. However, I didn’t arrive until 9:15 a.m. Approximately eight buses left the station, just around 9:00 a.m. All of them were full or at least had a seated load. It seemed like service was running pretty well. I didn’t expect to find too many problems since it was already after 9:00 a.m. What I saw surprised me.
THE COMMUTE: I thank Dr. John Rozankowski for filling in for me last week as I enjoyed a week away from New York City and the internet in the Adirondacks. I was limited to the television for accessing the news, most of which was the usual local variety featuring the latest fires and murders. However, there was one story which interested me — Albany’s version of our Select Bus Service or Bus Rapid Transit, which they call Bus Plus. There is currently one Bus Plus route in service with plans for three more. I will explain later why we should care about this and how it affects you.
THE COMMUTE: The MTA has always denied that bus bunching is a major problem. The party line has been that it is caused by traffic, is unavoidable, and little can be done to prevent it. The truth is that bus bunching occurs even on routes with light traffic that are scheduled to operate every 20 minutes, such as the B4, increasing the wait to 40 minutes. When I designed the B4 loop around Sheepshead Bay station in 1978, it was my hope that when two buses would arrive at once, the bus that was late would transfer passengers bound for the loop to the following bus and go straight along Emmons Avenue, thereby saving 10 minutes. However, I have seen two B4 buses follow each other around the station, with no action taken to help maintain the schedule.
Riding buses in New York City is a crapshoot. When the system works, it works well. When it doesn’t, bus trips take forever. There is no in-between. It has been my experience that between one-third to one-half of the time, a bus trip will involve a major delay. Subway riders, on the other hand, experience major subway delays no more often than once a week (excluding reroutes due to track work). Much more needs to be done to increase bus reliability.
THE COMMUTE: Last week, we discussed the MTA’s recent attempts to fix problems with the local bus system such as newly-designed routes that suffer from the same problems plaguing the rest of the system. An example is the B67 extension to the Navy Yard, which is circuitous and not conducive to transferring to other bus routes since it terminates short of Williamsburg Bridge Plaza. It misses vital bus connections and operates with extremely poor headways of 30 minutes. Yet, the MTA visualizes routes such as this as a partial solution to fixing gaps in the routing structure.