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  1. I've come to the conclusion that the numbers are straight bogus. I'm supposed to believe that over the course of the past few years, and especially in 2019, all of the Bronx heavy hitters have been dropping riders like flies which doesn't pass the eyeball test based on observations of the buses in service and makes no sense based on how in demand the corridors in question are. It's just not grounded in reality. Take the Bx12 which the MTA says had average weekday ridership of 48,703 in 2014. That number 5 years later dropped to 40,2xx (don't know the exact number off the top of my head but I did see the numbers at work last week). This is similar tanking to what has happened with the infamous B41 and M101 except the Bx12 is just a mild example when considering the Bronx as a whole. The Bx35 and Bx36 lost 10%+ just in 2019 based on these numbers. There's no way those routes are losing the massive numbers the stats would indicate especially since they don't have half the factors working against them as say a B41 or M101. I see that Manhattan usage has increased based on the numbers and to be honest that's even more suspicious. Combine that with subway usage going up from 2018 (and most subway trips originating in or destined for Manhattan) and it just entrenches the idea that our transit system is Manhattan centric. It's just a slap in the face to commuters who commute in the outer boroughs. Buses in Manhattan are generally slower and more likely to be replicated by a subway trip than buses in the outer boroughs so how in the world are these no longer tanking while the Bronx and Brooklyn is? The story just doesn't add up, until you look and see the major increases are coming from SBS routes (look at how the M14, 15, 23, 34, 79 and 86 did compared with the rest of Manhattan). It makes me think they envision Manhattan SBS as an extension of the subway so they are going make those routes look as good as possible. Routes like the B6, B46, B35 can replace the Bx12 in my first paragraph and it would still apply. It's just ridiculous that the heaviest routes in two major boroughs are losing riders at 10-20% clips over the last few years while the buses on them remain crowded at low headways and are just as necessary for commuters as they were in their hey day. Something tells me that the 2014 numbers more reflect the commuting patterns in 2019 than the 2019 numbers. I find it highly ironic that routes like the Q12, B35, B38, Bx35 and Bx36 all saw sizeable declines in 2019 and they are all recent (within the last two years) artic conversions. Not going to say the presence of artics and their accompanying factors has anything to do with these losses but it doesn't speak to the desire to increase artics across the fleet. In good news, at least for folks who care about the B82, that route has now joined the top 10 in ridership club for 2019. It replaces the (wait for it.....) B35 which has now fallen out. The B35 not in the top 10 is one of the most shocking (or likely bogus) things about these numbers. To show just how bad the MTA states our ridership losses to be every route in the top 10 in 2014 had over 10 million trips over the year. Now that 10 million annual trip landmark is limited to the top 5 in the numbers. There's definitely something to be said.
  2. My hot takes on this are pretty similar to Alon Levy's so i'll post the blog post from Pedestrian Observations at the end here. There's one thing about these NYC borough redesigns that makes this a lot different then other redesign projects that are seen as recent planning successes (ala Houston). Hardly anyone took the bus in those places. You get a lot more freedom to implement changes when the group of people it's geared to aren't touching the current setup with a 10 foot pole. With, NYC you have to deal with a legacy system that is tremendously well utilized (even if at a declining rate). That means that changes now have to pass muster with the commuters who are using the current system and those people are going to compare all the changes to what is currently running. And this is where the MTA is stuck between a rock and a hard place. With usage of the current system (in all boroughs, not just queens) being as high as it is, there has to be the recognition that most of what's here is either a) uniquely benefitting many commuters and/or b) the best possible service that can be provided for some commuters under any network design. If you make wholesale changes to the degree that was done here in Queens you come off as ignoring the above and already pissing off the largest stakeholders in the project. Many of these same people though are the main ones who will complain about slow speeds, overcrowding an other nuisances with the bus that are leading to the decline in ridership that the MTA is aiming to resolve. You have to come into a network redesign project with the idea then that a) most routes in the current setup have some sort of operational problem that needs to be improved and/or b) there is money being left on the table in terms of potential trips the current system doesn't serve. It is nearly impossible to pull off a successful redesign with all four of those bolded assumptions in place. This is why I thought if any significant changes were made in the Queens project, it was going to be bashed on here. Most regular commuters and especially transitfans have adapted to the current system enough to where any major change is going to be seen as worse by default. Not making matters any better is the well earned reputation of the agency being an incompetent operator of buses in general. Who is to say that any potential opportunities introduced by new routes, or non-stop feeders would be met with the right frequencies and bus priority treatments to make them viable in real life. To end this with where I actually stand, I have two points to make. I do think the draft redesign looks better than the current system for reasons many in the "always follow best practices" school of transit planning would agree with. I will be posting a blog at the bottom of this which is a critique I agree with. I see stop consolidation on the major corridors, faster feeder service with the non-stop segments introduced on some routes and quite a few corridors where the MTA would continue it's SBS push which is the current day LTD so I'll live with it. Do I think this draft redesign should be implemented though? No, not in the slightest. It is way too much of a departure from the current model that does work for enough people to make significant changes a non-starter. There are too many people's lives that will be affected by this to afford getting anything wrong and for what I know international best practices could be "wrong" so I say scrap the whole thing. Since it won't be scrapped, I say godspeed to all those who will be voicing their complaints and speaking for the public on this. https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/12/31/queens-bus-redesign/
  3. The Manhattan numbers look a little better than expected. M15 gained in 2018 and moves back into #1. Question is whether that is a blip and the tanking will resume in 2019 or the M15 is actually performing decently enough to keep it's ridership. The outer boroughs are continuing to hemorrhage usage in a major way. If we are to believe these numbers. The numbers would tell us that the B6, which held stable in the low 40k range throughout the past few years of Brooklyn losses, just suddenly joined the tanking club in 2018 with a nearly 11% loss. I don't have any field observations of this route but I just get a vibe that the numbers for this route are suspect. Now in the Bronx, my field observations of the Bx12 suggests that ridership is still through the roof but then I look at this and see an 8% loss in usage (just in 2018). I'm not trusting that calculation one iota. They wait for the year to just about end to show the previous years ridership and then show numbers that look like they were pulled out of their ass. If these numbers are being fudged it's sure not fudging to make the MTA look good because why would you have two of the anchors of the bus network showing lower numbers on the stats then they're getting in real life on the streets. Nothing to really say beyond that since these numbers can't really be taken seriously. Automatic Passenger Counters are a necessity on our buses and should be what all planning decisions from here on in should be based on. To put the collapse (it's a collapse at this point) of the bus system in perspective here are the routes that took losses of 10% or greater in 2018 alone (so the MTA says) by borough.... Brooklyn - B6, B7, B12 (damn has this route fallen off), B14, B25, B45, B52, B60 Bronx - Bx3, Bx5, Bx11, Bx15, Bx16, Bx17, Bx18, Bx19, Bx21, Bx27, Bx30, Bx33, Bx34, Bx35, Bx36, Bx39, Bx40/42, Bx41 Manhattan - M8, M22, M35 Queens - Q11, Q21, Q26 Staten Island - S54, S57, S76/86, S89 Just about every express bus route did well, even the SI numbers are pretty good since the routes were redesigned and renumbered during the year. Some Queens MTAB locals gained as well so if there is a bright spot somewhere there you have it.
  4. - Co-op City is definitely going to be revised. While the goal here makes sense, the proposed implementation reeks of a baby walking before it crawled. Section 5 loses direct connections to anything other than the on top of the Bx30 being the sole route outside of the Bx23 for those in Sections 1 and 2. - Riverdale was the most vocal neighborhood in the public feedback (outside of Co-op) yet local bus service there was left untouched. The Bx10 staying untouched is weird given the streamlining that went on elsewhere on the map. I have a feeling that the express buses were the focal point of the commuters who were giving input from Riverdale. At least the Bx20 lives another day for those who find it useful. - I don't like the off peak BxM6/10 combo. Express buses off peak aren't exactly speed demons and this combo does add a good amount of off-highway mileage to the BxM10 which will make less appealing for folks riding from Baychester and Morris Park. - Most of the changes elsewhere make sense to me even if it's clear the goal was to streamline all around. I like what was done with the Bx40/42 in Throgs Neck and the re-route of the Bx40 along East 180th and Burnside is a pretty good idea to allow the Bx36 to take over Tremont and make that route more direct. The Bx36 is overdue for some sort of major change. - A lot of these changes work so well it's hard to tell they were made at first glance. I had to take two looks to see the Bx4A was shortened to Southern Blvd and that the Bx11 was extended to serve Parkchester. - The thing I want to see is how frequent these routes in Central and South Bronx end up being. The Bx36 is super frequent (on paper) due to the high ridership it has but some of that will get lost to the Bx40 and 11 in the redesign. The Bx36 will also gain some riders from those routes as well so it will be interesting to see how the BPH are allocated since that will be a huge factor in deciding who the winners and losers are with this revamp. - Although the infamous Bx12 SBS is not getting a routing change (none were necessary) it would have been nice to see them propose an increase in frequency. There's going to be improvements in frequency for a bunch of revised routes but not the busiest one at the moment which remains a constant rolling set of sardine cans. Goes to show they care more about making the new changes work then keeping the commuters of the established network happy. - I would end the Bx30 at Fordham Plaza heading south. Makes a lot more sense then Bronx Park East for extra connections plus you can truly cancel the demand for Bee-Line 60/61/62 within the Bronx since Fordham Plaza is the main origin/destination point for intra-Bronx riders on Bee Line. - Bx5 will see a major reduction in frequency post-revamp. That is a guarantee.
  5. Are there any routes in mind when you bring this up?
  6. The Bx12 +SBS I took on Friday Afternoon was weird in that it was empty at Fordham Plaza (probably because it ran light there) but packed heading into Co-op City. This was just after 6 pm. I can't wait to see how the Bronx bus redesign addresses this but this route gets inundated with passengers along the entire length of it which still to this day boggles my mind.
  7. As the MTA is working on their ambitious project of redesigning the Bronx bus network they have gathered all of their data and have presented us with a detailed 'Existing Conditions Report' on the current state of the bus system which is linked below. The interesting feature of this is that it goes into overwhelming detail with information that is normally not available to riders without a freedom of information request. However, you have to read into the report to see if any possible changes are being suggested by the data and the information overload makes it really difficult to cue into what agenda they may have so read away and try to see if there's anything missing. https://new.mta.info/sites/default/files/2019-02/Bronx Bus Network Redesign Existing_FINAL.pdf
  8. I don't know what version of the screens are on the 55xx buses GunHill Depot is getting but the "Please Exit Through the Rear Door" announcement is done by the same voice that announces the stops. Also, I didn't know there was a Bx12 Plus route in the bus system.
  9. When is the next new fleet of express buses coming in?
  10. I don't know what's up with the Bx12 lately but I'm a lot less than impressed. Nearly every PM Rush there's parading (the term I'm coining for bunches that exceed 3 buses) and wide ass gaps otherwise and today I go to Pelham Bay to see a sardine can SBS bus sitting at the Eastbound stop with two more SRO (or close to it) buses right behind. This is in addition to an SRO local bus pulling in to terminate (since when does the local carry this well to be terminating SRO) and two more locals close behind.
  11. As someone with a very low list number (meaning near the top of the list) I would like to know if I have to apply to online postings under the exam title to move forward with this or if I just wait to figure out the next step. P.S. I am in the top 10 of the list.
  12. I went to the Co-op City town hall and have a few comments. - A decent contingent of folks want the pre-2010 service pattern of the Bx26 and Bx28 running through all 5 sections of Co-op City. - The meeting was interactive so folks sat with planners in groups and discussed their current commutes, problems with the system and what side of different network trade offs (ridership vs coverage, direct vs indirect routes, more vs fewer stops) they fell on. - There was a request at my table to have either the BxM7 or BxM10 run trips to Lower Manhattan (a la BxM18 for the NE Bronx) - There was very little comment about the performance of the Bx12 +Select and what needs to be done there. - One lady who lives in Eastchester says she uses the Bx30 to reach the BxM10 every morning and says she would like the BxM10 to makes stops along Boston Road from the depot to Eastchester Road so she can avoid her transfer. - A lot of complaints about the current system related to things that can be resolved without redesigning the routes. There were complaints about the interiors of the buses lacking appropriate standing room and the lack of accurate real time information presented to riders at stops. Those two things among others can be done while keeping the map in tact. - Commuters don't seem to understand that there are network trade-offs that have to be worked out or have the selfish attitude that they should be ignored to preserve THEIR particular commute pattern. Folks I discussed things with wanted a network focused more on frequency than coverage but wanted more stops (so folks don't have to walk out of their section's loop to reach a bus) and also wanted as few transfers as possible. The latter two requests would suggest coverage is far more important than frequency and no one would want the pre-2010 service pattern back if coverage wasn't the dominating concern. - I come away thinking that a redesign is a solution in search of a problem. When special requests and current commutes are analyzed the MTA will be left with no choice but to design a network that is almost identical to the one that's there now. In fact one lady at my table said all she wants is for the current routes to be more frequent and reliable.
  13. I hope they are publicizing these meetings through different channels as well. Although this is framed as a redesign, I don't expect any radical changes as far as the Bronx is concerned. The current heavy hitter routes show too much potential (even with the losses in usage) for their physical routing to be altered in any way and the coverage routes are fine as well for the most part. Improvements need to be made to increase trip speed but that needs to be a DOT project improving traffic flow or what I will continue to harp on being necessary are all door boarding and stop consolidation.

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