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About SIMplicity

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  1. SIMplicity

    MTA Snowmaggadon!

    Same here, 4.5 hours. (I knew it was going to take forever but I didn’t want to take the subway, ferry and train. And if something went wrong I would rather be stuck on the express bus than the SIR.) My SIM25 around 5:30 filled up at 6th and didn’t stop at 7th or 8th. It was a complete standstill and there were no buses nearby (plus moving a single block took like 20 minutes) so the people waiting at those stops were never going to get on a bus. It took us a whole hour to get from 6th to the tunnel. Then we got out of the tunnel and got stuck, so the driver slammed on the gas and smoke went everywhere outside and the whole bus reeked of burning rubber but we managed to get moving. An NJT artic was jacknifed on the helix blocking several lanes. Turnpike was insane. My friend sat on a BxM1 for 8 hours (!!!) on the Deegan. 3:00-11:00. The passengers were going insane he said. Another friend stood in a giant mob in Port Authority for 3 hours before getting on a bus. One of my teachers did the same but eventually decided to walk to the river to catch a boat. Two of my friends walked across the GW Bridge in the snow, 3 or 4 miles to their homes. Around 9:30pm I decided to check BusTime and I saw a SIM25 at 6th Ave (the last one is scheduled to leave 57th at 7:00). Those buses so incredibly late would have been so much more useful on routes where there were actually people waiting and expecting a bus (SIM1C, etc). Ridiculous. The whole express system just collapsed because buses couldn’t get to their starting points and the gridlock was so insane. Staten Island was complete gridlock partially because someone must’ve told the local buses to stop where they were. Buses just stopped, put their flashers on and were blocking one lane arterial streets like Victory Blvd all over the north shore. No one could get through, the buses didn’t pull to the curb or move to a wider portion of the street. Ambulances couldn’t even get through. Someone should be held accountable for this decision. Another friend of mine spent 5 hours (!!) on an S74 going from St. George to Arden Heights. This morning there were tons of missing trips. A friend of mine who takes the SIM23 said the SIM23 and 24 weren’t even running because Academy couldn’t get drivers (but I’m not entirely sure that’s true).
  2. SIMplicity

    BUS - Random Thoughts Thread

    Here’s something you don’t see every day: SIM1c/3c/4c and X27/28 are running down 2nd Avenue instead of 5th. (Detoured to Lexington today, but Con Ed is working on Lexington so they’re detoured to 2nd)
  3. The three hour trips yesterday would’ve happened under the old system too. It only took so long because of the falling debris on the highway. Old system or new system, it would’ve been hell either way. I think overall the south shore new routes are better than the old ones. More direct, less windy, fewer turns, more options. Except, tons of people are driving to the bus stop. I’ve seen this on Rossville Ave for the SIM25. Not sure exactly why - maybe the stop spacing is too much, or they are avoiding the Academy routes, but probably they live within walking distance but driving is faster and easier. For the north shore, what they’ve been doing is horrible. Both before and after the redesign. Cutting routes (X16/X18), removing segments in Manhattan (X31 on 42nd, X14 in Midtown, X12/X30/X42 on 57th), forcing people to drive to the SIM3/34, etc. It’s really unfair. What they did with Hylan is also a mess. For such a major corridor you can’t screw up people’s commutes like that.
  4. SIMplicity

    Express Bus Advocacy Group

    Bad weather and accidents caused a commuting hell on the SIE this afternoon. First a school bus got into an accident on the Verrazzano Bridge around 4pm. Then pieces of concrete fell from the Bradley Avenue overpass onto the westbound SIE right in time for the heart of the PM rush. They closed the highway for some time. It was a complete mess. Buses sat on the SIE for HOURS. It wasn’t the MTA’s fault, obviously, but I think they could have been proactive and sent the buses through Bayonne or something the moment they heard about the incident. On an unrelated note, to me it looks like Academy Bus has been doing whatever it wants and getting away with it. From what I’ve heard they made the decision to move the SIM23/24 back to 34th Street without consulting the MTA or the Borough President. They say that they moved the buses back because of the feedback they had been receiving from riders and that they expect the changes to be positive overall. But I’m not so sure, a friend of mine who rides the SIM23 is very upset and says 42nd had been so much faster than the X24 on 34th in the PM. This morning I overheard some people on my bus saying that the SIM23 and 24 are struggling and don’t have good ridership. They think that the MTA will probably take over the routes soon. When Academy changed the routes back to 34th St, they modified the stops along Madison and 5th Ave to be 37th St and 46th/48th St but skipped 42nd entirely. Overwhelming complaints (as expected) led them to add back stops at Madison/43rd and 5th/43rd (and 34th/8th which they also had removed for some reason). BUT that stop on 5th at 43rd St was extremely problematic when the SIM6/10/31 stopped there. So the SIM23/24 really shouldn’t stop there. I’m not sure if Academy or DOT or both are responsible for the decision. I’d say that the stop should be moved to 41st or 40th. I was thinking about the idea to have a second downtown route on the South Shore along the SIM26 and 25 (via Amboy, Bloomingdale, Woodrow, Rossville) and I’m not sure how feasible that would be. Since they split up the X22 there is a lesser frequency on each of the new routes. The SIM2, 25 and 26 run on 10 minute headways in the heart of rush hour. If you add another route to the mix, you’ll have to get those trips from the SIM2/25/26 (since people will switch over from those routes to this new route) further reducing the headways on all of them. Compared to the X22, those would be pretty long headways for the heart of rush hour. Despite this, a fair number of people who live along Rossville Ave transfer between the SIM2 and 25. I strongly support corridors having a downtown route and a midtown route (I’m definitely not a fan of what they did on the north shore with the X16 and X13/X14), but I’m just not so sure if I can see this new route happening.
  5. I can’t say for sure since I don’t ride it but by observation it seems to be doing pretty well. Lots of people are using it. When I see a SIM8X in the PM rush it’s often pretty full, and the regular SIM8s look a little less crowded than the X17J was. Later in the PM rush I’ve seen a few SIM8Xs that were pretty empty though.
  6. SIMplicity

    Express Bus Advocacy Group

    It’s taking the buses like 10-15 minutes to make that turn onto 42nd right now. Those buses bunching on 57th are still very far. This bunching, and such a huge gap in service, is awful. Maybe we need a separate turn phase, even if it’s only like 7-10 seconds, at 42/5th so the buses can turn without worrying about pedestrians. Aside from the pedestrian issue, and the issue of people turning right from 5th Ave bus lanes, here’s how I think you can easily fix the traffic at 42nd (well, at least improve it). The stop line (Stop here on red signal) on eastbound 42nd (at 5th Ave) should be moved back several yards. When the buses wait to turn right from 5th, they have to block both bus lanes. If you move the stop line on 42nd back a bit, the buses can turn from the right bus lane and leave the left one open. That will help the traffic. Could you swing this idea by DOT? @Via Garibaldi 8
  7. SIMplicity

    Express Bus Advocacy Group

    Right now at 42nd/6th, the line for the express bus is about 50 people long. It doesn’t fit at the stop so it wraps around itself. Nobody really know what’s going on. There have been no SIM30s in over 30 minutes. The next one is 8 minutes away.
  8. Actually a decent portion of peak SIM2 ridership comes from Hylan (like 8-10 people per bus) and since Hylan has a 40mph speed limit, few lights and relatively low traffic it only takes 10 minutes for the buses to get from Craig to Huguenot. Plus people in Tottenville who took the X22(A) but work downtown now take the SIM2. Off peak, though, I’m pretty sure very few people in Tottenville have been using the SIM2 (or are aware that it runs off peak and weekends). Buses are almost empty going into Manhattan in the afternoons. The problem is, on the South Shore (and SI) everyone knows the X1. This includes the people who drive everywhere (but I’m sure if you said “SIM1c” they would scratch their heads) and most have used it occasionally, or dropped family members to it. Here’s my impression: when you want to take the express bus into the city off hours (especially Friday or Saturday nights), someone drops you to the X1. That’s just part of the “culture” of the South Shore I guess. You can’t change that overnight. Few people (non express bus commuters) know about the SIM2, and frankly they don’t care, unless they’re going into the city which is not very often. I think if people knew about it (and it ran later) they would use it, but getting them to know about it is the challenge. Nevertheless, not many people are going into the city on a weekday afternoon. And the SIM2 doesn’t cover as dense areas or as many neighborhoods as the SIM1c or SIM4c. Even if people knew about it there would be periods of very low ridership. Also, when almost everybody owns a car, and an express bus that’s twice as frequent and goes to Midtown and runs 24/7 is only a ten minute drive away, well... IMO these reasons, along with the short evening span (forcing people on the South Shore who come home late to drive to the SIM1c), are why the SIM2 is failing off peak.
  9. How do you report things like that? Whenever I try to report something or give feedback, I wait two weeks then receive an automated reply... IDK how all these changes are supposedly from "rider feedback"...
  10. Agree, the abbreviations are a mess lol. I ride the SIM7/9 from Union Square sometimes and the buses reach the WFC almost empty, then at WFC tons of people get on but the buses don't fill up completely. Not sure if it gets worse later in the rush hour, or if I've just gotten lucky, but it seems to me the SIM9 has solved the problem. Right, but now they're taking away the amazingly-quicker service and leaving no service at all. (I understand that their hands are tied and they have to cut it, but it's their fault for not advertising it and for haphazardly deciding to run it off-peak to downtown at the last minute.) All these route changes will help, but the real problem is reliability. With new frequent consolidated routes it's worse. For instance the SIM10 is so frequent and busy that one little hold up causes overcrowding. Once I was on the SIM10 on a Friday around 7pm. The bus left 5 minutes late and the traffic on 5th was so bad (cars turning right don't pull into the right-most bus lane!) that we reached 23rd St 20 minutes behind schedule with no available seats. The dispatcher or whoever is in charge should have seen that there were two SIM10s DIRECTLY behind us and told my driver to skip the stops on 23rd. Instead the driver stopped and let people on without telling them the bus was full, so they had to stand. Same story at 2nd Ave. I told the standees that there were two probably-undercrowded or near-empty buses right behind us, and the driver let them off at 1st to switch. Someone needs to monitor situations like this and tell drivers to skip certain stops or sections of the route to catch up on time and avoid having people stand unnecessarily. The driver had no idea there were two buses right behind him. Also, drivers should have to answer for leaving the terminal late - they should have to give a reason. For instance the traffic was bad and they didn't reach the start point in time. It's not the driver's fault, but this information is useful and can be used to try to reduce the number of trips that leave late. Maybe the drivers need more time to get into Manhattan. Also this could reduce the number of trips where the driver sits at the terminus for a few minutes and leaves late. I've seen this a lot. And not many drivers follow the schedule time points. With the SIM25 in the AM the buses consistently reach Woodrow Road (a time point) 4 minutes early, then keep going without waiting. (This week my driver got called out for it on the radio and he was annoyed - "I can't stop any more than I'm stopping!") But occasionally a driver will intentionally leave Tottenville 4 minutes late to avoid being early at Woodrow. Then this bus gets overcrowded. The problem here is both poor scheduling and drivers' failure to stick to the schedules.
  11. I think the SIM10 is better staying on Hylan because it is more like the X1/X7/X9, since it serves 5th and 6th Av. The SIM6 is essentially the X5 since it runs on Madison and Lex, and it runs via Capodanno. The SIM10 takes on X1 riders going to/from Hylan early and late in the rush hour too. I agree with the SIM34 to 14th Street, but the SIM1 to 14th is unnecessary because you have the SIM7 and SIM9, plus the more you extend it the less reliable it is. I don’t think the SIM33C (that name is just too long) will have the X10B routing on West St, but I do agree it will probably go up Madison and end on the east side. I don’t agree with a new X3 and X4. I think it would be better to just send the SIM5 on the downtown loop.
  12. 1. Yes the SIM4C will not run on Gannon and will stop on Richmond at Morani, Lander and Lamberts before getting on the SIE. (like the X17) 2. The SIM10 wouldn’t go on Capodanno. On Hylan it would serve 5th/6th (like X1/X9) while the SIM11 would serve Madison/Lex (X2). 3. I would say yes, but that’s because I would use it, lol. I don’t know if they would do that. But it’s only like 10 more minutes from Huguenot SIR to Hylan/Craig. And if it runs on Woodrow instead of Arthur Kill and Arden, the SIM4C would be 5 mins shorter than the X17 was. So running it to Tottenville wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The SIM4C spans and headways were only ridiculous because it took on riders from both the X10 and X17. Now the SIM4C and SIM33C should theoretically have the same spans and headways as the X17 and X10, except the SIM33C should be a little less frequent than the X10 because the SIM3C takes on North Shore riders too and serves Port Richmond.
  13. Yes, what I meant was it would follow the SIM26 until Woodrow (where the SIM26 heads up to the highway) and then cut over Woodrow and follow the SIM25 along Rossville until Arthur Kill.
  14. For a second downtown South Shore route, how about the old X22 route, minus the Hylan portion? Then the SIM2 and this new route would cover most of the South Shore. Plus I've seen people transfer between the SIM2 and the SIM25/S74/84 to get to and from Rossville Ave.
  15. The SIM2 ridership is low but it's not that there aren't people on the South Shore going to Manhattan. I can think of a bunch of reasons for the low ridership: 1. People don't know about it. They are accustomed to driving to the Transit Center or Hylan, or taking the ferry. I was talking to my neighbors yesterday and I mentioned the SIM2 and they were shocked, they had no idea there was an express bus so close that ran 7 days a week. One of them said he would start using it. The MTA needed to get the word out that the new service is available. Even people who drive to the city might take the SIM2 because it's really almost as fast as driving, plus parking isn't an issue. 2. The span. Off-peak and weekends, people come home far later than 8:15. People going into the city during the day who plan to come home later in the evening park at the Transit Center. 3. It's TOO SOON! It's been just over 2 months. I remember taking the Second Avenue subway every weekday in January 2017. The trains were almost empty. (And this is despite the fact that people actually knew about the service.) Now look how crowded it is today. 4. It doesn't make a huge difference, but Downtown only. Off-peak and weekends people are going to Midtown. But at the same time tons of people on the other off-peak express buses get off Downtown. 5. Very minor, but it doesn't serve the heart of Tottenville. When people own a car they probably won't walk 10-20 minutes to the bus stop. I would have the buses terminate at Main/Amboy like the S59. And it's not "very low ridership" all the time. The buses were almost empty heading to Manhattan in the afternoon (because fewer people are going to the city in the afternoon, and those who do come home later than 8:15). But in September I took the last trip coming to SI at 8:15pm on a Sunday night and there were around 15 people on the bus. Coming home at 1:30pm on one weekday there were around 25 people on the bus. Now the SIM2 is being cut in favor of the SIM33c which overlaps with both the SIM3c and the SIM4c on Richmond Avenue, plus runs very close to the SIM3c on Victory. I'm pretty sure the SIM3c has low ridership, but the MTA wouldn't dare cut service to their beloved Watchogue Road corridor... It's not fair that the North Shore, which already has a robust local network, is getting two off-peak routes that run parallel to one another. Is the ridership demand even high enough to justify two routes? Meanwhile the South Shore will have no service, except for that short SIM4c extension. And the local service is scarce, especially on weekends. Not to mention Arden Avenue is getting completely screwed over (if the SIM4c runs on Woodrow). @Via Garibaldi 8 I hope you push them to keep service somehow but try to increase ridership in any way possible, by getting the word out, extending it to Main/Amboy and maybe extending it to Midtown. If that doesn't work I can think of two alternative options that retain the service to Tottenville/Prince's Bay while adding Midtown service: Send a SIM2c along Victory and Gannon Avenue instead of a SIM33c. Extend the SIM4c from Huguenot SIR down Hylan to Main/Amboy. It would add a mere 10 minutes to the route each way. (Not to mention some buses would deadhead to Charleston anyway). In both cases the increase to the run time would discourage potential riders on the South Shore. But at least you aren't leaving people stranded.


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