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Forest Glen

The Express Bus: A Vital Service or an Unnecessary Luxury?

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The MTA is facing a major budget deficit. The agency has proposed cutting or truncating several routes in order to save money. Many people feel that the express bus should be eliminated since all express bus routes have a low farebox recovery. I think that express buses are unfairly being scapegoated. EVEN IF EVERY EXPRESS BUS ROUTE WAS ELIMINATED THERE WOULD ONLY BE A MARGINAL SAVINGS. I started this thread in order to explain why it is beneficial to have express buses. I will be respectful to everyone who participates in this thread (meaning I won't say "incorrect", "nope", or "wrong").

 

This New York Times article talks about people who use the X68 from Floral Park to Midtown. One lady in the article lives near the (F) train, but chooses to ride the express bus due to its comfort and convenience. People can read and sleep on the bus.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/03/realestate/03comm.html?_r=1

 

This article talks about the X1 (the busiest express bus route in the system). Although people complained about the X1 being stuck in traffic, they said they preferred it over the ferry and SIR due to the fact that they have a one seat ride to Midtown.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/realestate/25comm.html

 

As you can see, most express bus riders are middle class. They're not uber-rich doctors and lawyers. That's a myth created by express bus haters

 

I used the X63 for three years while I attended City College. I would take the bus from Merrick/Farmers to 3rd/42nd. I would then switch to the (7) to 5th Avenue and then the (D). I saw the same faces everyday. It was a close-knit community. I always said "Good Morning" to the driver. On the last weekday before Christmas there was a little "party". People gave each other Christmas cards and shared donuts.

 

SN851102.jpg

 

Local buses are too slow. Most of them make every stop. The subway is too crowded. If the X90 was eliminated then riders would have to walk from York Avenue all the way to Lexington for an overcrowded (4)(5)(6). The express bus is faster and more convenient than the subway and local bus (with a few exceptions like the X29). This is a video I made last summer. It is so scenic and relaxing. You'll never see this on a local bus:

 

 

th_SN852456.jpg

 

In conclusion, express bus riders aren't evil elitists. We're simply people who want to relax while we commute from point A to point B. I have an aunt who lives in Parkchester and works on 23rd street. She used to take the (6) train but switched to the BxM6 after she hurt her knee in an accident and couldn't deal with the overcrowding on the (6). If you actually tried an express bus then you would see why it is so cool. I suggest that all of the express bus haters take a ride on the X42.

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Okay. I WISH I could ride more express buses, cause yes, they are a luxury, but I can not, as a result of being a broke college student. I feel like before free transfers, express buses would be more of a bargain but now you can get anywhere in the city for the most part on one ride $2.25 (with the exception of going from a subway less area in one borough to a subway less area of another borough, such as Bergen Beach, Brooklyn to Bayside, Queens). More people rely on local buses and the subway so as a whole, it will be more detrimental to cut those than the express buses. My main problem with express buses is the price, I do not belive it is fair considering at these times, I could purchase a $2.50 roundtrip bus ticket on Megabus to my college in Albany. Inter Manhattan routes such as the X25 and X90 never made sense to me. I can't see anyone riding them. I sure wouldn't, but if they do, all power to them. In closing, I am not anti express buses. I love the ride but I can't afford the ride, and more people are going to be affected by cutting a moderately high used local bus line than an express line. Users of express buses have other options. Users of cut local buses could find themselves stranded.

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For the record, I didn't use the X63 everyday. I only used it once or twice a week. I couldn't afford to ride it everyday. However, when I used it I was much happier then when I used the subway and local bus.

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Okay. I WISH I could ride more express buses, cause yes, they are a luxury, but I can not, as a result of being a broke college student. ....

In closing, I am not anti express buses. I love the ride but I can't afford the ride, and more people are going to be affected by cutting a moderately high used local bus line than an express line. Users of express buses have other options. Users of cut local buses could find themselves stranded.

 

You summed it up perfectly. Look I understand the need for express bus routes like the X1, but aside from the well patronized routes, they should not be kept if local options are available. And some local bus routes [that have no other options nearby] could be kept if they had the funding the express bus routes have.

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I don't believe it is a luxury it is a convenient mode of transportation lets not for get this was brought about because of neighborhoods which dont have easy access to Subway stations

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I'm not anti-express bus either. I do not advocate eliminating all express buses nor do the vast majority of busfans. I only advocate eliminating express bus routes that directly mirror subway lines, have low ridership, or have an unjustifiably low farebox recovery ratio.

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I'm not anti-express bus either. I do not advocate eliminating all express buses nor do the vast majority of busfans. I only advocate eliminating express bus routes that directly mirror subway lines, have low ridership, or have an unjustifiably low farebox recovery ratio.

 

I'll use the BxM11 as an example. The BxM11 parallels the (2) train. I think it should at least run during rush hours. The (2) train is slow and overcrowded. People have to stand by the time it reaches Pelham Parkway. The (2) makes all local stops until 96 street. From 241st to 96 street is at least 45 minutes. Even if they switched to the (5) express at East 180 street or 238/Nereid, the (5) crawls on Lexington Avenue. It also gets crowded. On the BxM11, however, you can sit and relax. There's no stress, crowding, rats, or panhandlers.

 

There are some express bus routes that are clearly a waste (X20,X25,QM22). There are other routes that should only run during rush hour (BM4,QM4, the aforementioned BxM11). Nevertheless, most express bus routes are the lifeblood for working class New Yorkers who live in the suburbs and commute to the city.

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I'm not anti-express bus either. I do not advocate eliminating all express buses nor do the vast majority of busfans. I only advocate eliminating express bus routes that directly mirror subway lines, have low ridership, or have an unjustifiably low farebox recovery ratio.

 

I agree with R32 3348 on this. If the route sees low ridership, then the route is simply more detrimental to the MTA. Express buses seem more of a luxury because it costs more to use then the subway or a local bus does. The areas where the express buses are most needed are the outer boroughs in which there is no subway. If you ask me, the subway is much faster than the express bus because in the area where the buses are subjected to traffic lights, the bus may not be needed by the commuters. I use express buses every once in a while, not just for railfanning purposes (during times when I'm in my railfan persona and not being a commuter, I take the X1 a majority of the time), but when I head to my school (did it once on the X10), and when I'm heading home (using either the X1 or the X10).

 

So Forest Glen, don't think that people have a bias against express buses. But in some cases, they simply either do not need to be used by the commuters, or may not be needed at all. If I had the money, believe me, I'd be taking the X1/X10 to and from school every single day. Until I do, I'll settle for my (C) > ferry > S61/62 and vice versa combo, and occasional X1/X10 > (C) combo.

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I never quite got why the Bronx needed so many express buses, because it is pretty well covered by the Subway system and their buses all have pretty good headways. BxM7, is important. BxM4/11, not so much. The subway may not be "clean", but it is the most effecient way of travel in the city. No traffic underground. I see some important express routes, X1, X10, BM1, BM2, QM1/A, BxM7, maybe BxM1. The debate though is not whether express buses are good or bad, the debate is when compared to the local buses, which are more important to the GENERAL population, how many people will be affected if each are cut. Local buses win in a landslide. In a perfect world, all express buses, local buses and subways would be safe, but we're in a really tough economic time, and some changes have to be made. The majority of people use local buses and the subway, and with routes being cut and diced, they will be stranded or have to come up with real creative ways to get where they have to go. Every bus route in the main 4 boroughs hits at least one subway route, and the users of those express buses will, even if they are cut, have the subway option as their long distance travel means.

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lrg, I can agree with that. I didn't say to keep every express bus route. I provided examples of when to keep them and when to get rid of them (or reduce their hours). See, I'm willing to compromise. In a perfect world where the MTA had a budget of a trillion dollars the X63 would run 24/7. In the real world, I'm content with it being a rush hour-only route.

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I'm not anti-express bus either. I do not advocate eliminating all express buses nor do the vast majority of busfans. I only advocate eliminating express bus routes that directly mirror subway lines, have low ridership, or have an unjustifiably low farebox recovery ratio.
He sums up my thoughts perfectly.

 

Of all the one- to four-bus expresses (i.e., X42 at one point, BxM7B, X32, QM23, or QM22), the ones that need to stay are the X32 school service bus and the QM23. The kids need it to get to the school in the Bronx, and there's no other better way to get there. Depending on location, the trains can take a really long time to travel to specific places.

 

The QM23 can be important, too, but it's sometimes irregular. Sometimes they can be packed, especially when traveling to Penn Station, while other times they aren't.

 

I see the X25 and X90 all the time, and they can be very crowded at times (especially the X25, as it travels to the World Financial Center today). Cutting them off completely isn't a good idea. They should be in service.

 

I wonder about this. For some expresses that have low ridership and short distances (i.e., QM22 or X25), instead of expresses, do you think that a short-run limited-stop service can work (i.e., X25 to M25 Limited or QM22 to Q52 Limited to LaGuardia)? I like to hear some thoughts.

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I would accept an express bus cut ONLY IF they brought back super-Limiteds (ie the pre-takeover B103). And that would only be for express bus routes that are closer to the city (QM4, X90). If they had a SBS corridor on 1st and 2nd Avenue, and those buses had cushioned seats then I could accept the X90 being cut. They could also have a route that ran from Kensington to lower Manhattan via the Battery Tunnel with stops in Park Slope.

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Why would it need cushioned seats? It's not an express bus.

 

Some of the express routes don't even use express buses! Some use Orion 5s with the regular hard seats, such as the X90. They also don't have the suburban-style seating either.

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I've taken express routes from all the boroughs but not all the lines, there are some that prove their worth but others are just a bloody waste of gas & money to run. Taken the x1 & x17C from Staten Island to Manhattan, x6 & x7 from Manhattan to Staten Island, BxM7A from Manhattan to The Bronx, BM2 from Manhattan to Brooklyn, The QM1, 10 and 11 from Manhattan to Queens. In my opinion, its not really worth having D4500s running on express lines because its not really needed, Orion V and RTS suburbans could easily manage all of the passengers, with the exception of a few major lines where D4500s are definitely needed.

 

I wouldnt consider Express buses to be a luxury especially if you still have old equipment running on lines like the x10, x1, x90, x63, x28/29 and so on. An express bus would be luxurious when you have things like Prevosts running on the line. Express buses get beat up just as bad as local buses or maybe even worse. But to have a one seat ride from one place to home or vice-versa, I cant see who wouldnt take advantage of that opportunity. I sure as hell would, but I live in the area where express buses of all kinds of routes are literally around my doorstep.

 

I love the service that the Express Buses & the routes they run on provide, but I wouldnt call it a luxury. Its just a time saver in my view. Just eliminate the routes that are not doing good in many ways, like the x25 and x51.

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Some of the express routes don't even use express buses! Some use Orion 5s with the regular hard seats, such as the X90. They also don't have the suburban-style seating either.

 

Lol! They aren't getting their money's worth :P But point is, they should be happy a bus shows up. I remember one time someone posted a pic [on subchat] of an O7 used on an express bus route as they were short a bus. I think it was a Queens route.

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The express buses are a great service. They are comfortable, can be relatively fast, and are generally direct.

 

Can we afford them?

Of course not. The X27 is subsidized $7.98 per rider per trip.

Do you honestly think that is the best way to spend the money?

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Some of the express routes don't even use express buses! Some use Orion 5s with the regular hard seats, such as the X90. They also don't have the suburban-style seating either.

 

The Orion Vs that were on the x90 had suburban seating. They were getting de-suburban'd because of their pending transfer to Casey Stengel.

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The Orion Vs that were on the x90 had suburban seating. They were getting de-suburban'd because of their pending transfer to Casey Stengel.

 

Okay, thanks.

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The Orion Vs that were on the x90 had suburban seating. They were getting de-suburban'd because of their pending transfer to Casey Stengel.

 

Those buses are long gone to the scrap yard.

 

x90 is 100% MCI

 

BTW. the current express buses ain't no luxury. Why, ride with ladies and guys talking on cell phone, kids playing, loud music, etc....

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]Those buses are long gone to the scrap yard.

 

x90 is 100% MCI

[/b]

BTW. the current express buses ain't no luxury. Why' date=' ride with ladies and guys talking on cell phone, kids playing, loud music, etc....[/quote']

 

Re-read what I said again, I was explaining as to why some of those x90s had hard seats before the MCI transfer...We know the x90 is 100% MCI now....

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Wow. When Mr. Wilson aka Forest Glen created this thread, I thought this was going to be a Jerry Springer free for all argument on NYC express buses LMAO.:P It suprised how calm this debate has been.:cool:

 

Seriously i think most of us on this board agree that express buses are here to stay and at least Staten Island routes like the X1 X10 and the Coop City BXM7 should have frequent 7 day a week service. These buses provide a safe and convient way to/from Manhattan for the outerboros and Staten Island that are far away from a subway line. Also, the express buses are a cheaper alternative for the ADA/Disabled and Eldery riders to Access a Ride and also to subway stations that are still not ADA accesible.

 

The debate from here is on the other lines that really service including those that run 7 days a week such as the X27/28, BXM 2, BXM 4a and BXM 11 or even all day weekdays such as the QM4 BM4 and BM5.

 

What the (MTA) has not done and should be examined is why not merge nearby routes? One example, could be merge the BXM7 Coop City line and the underused BXM7a Pelham Bay/Bruckner Blvd routes on weekdays after 8pm and all times weekends. This merger would only add maybe an extra 15 minutes at most for riders going to/from Coop City.

 

Another example could be having the BXM18 replace the X25 and make an additional stop at Grand Central. That would save money as well.

 

On the next point sadly there are too many 'express buses' especially during non-rush hours weekdays & also weekends. One instance of that service that has too much buses is the X27/28. The X27/28 does get enough ridership to warrant running on Saturdays. As someone that used to live in SW Brooklyn until 2003, i actually used the X28 alot on weekend when the Stillwell Ave closure/Manhattan Bridge Closure it was often faster than taking the slow (W) Local train.

 

With said, X27/28 Sunday service is a waste imo, even with fact most of the (D) and (R) stations in Southwest Brooklyn are not ADA accessible. So Sunday service on the X27/28 should go.

Also the BXM 2 is redudant IMO and should be only a rush hour only merged with the BXM18. Riverdale Avenue riders can use the BX7 bus to Washington Heights and transfer to the M4/M5 bus if they don't want to or can't use the (1) subway.

 

Now the rest of this thread should be finding ways for the (MTA) to 'cut the fat' on wasteful and redudant express bus lines such as the BM3=X29 QM2=X51 BXM18=BXM 1 and BXM 2. And even offering 'solutions' when the public hearings begin in March. just my takes.:confused:

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If X90 was eliminating, it going to increase more crowd on (4)(5)(6) and M15 buses.

X90 is useful because it is less crowded than M15 or subway.

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Why would it need cushioned seats? It's not an express bus.

 

I try to be reasonable and compromise and this is what I get. The B103 used to have cushioned seats.

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BTW. the current express buses ain't no luxury. Why, ride with ladies and guys talking on cell phone, kids playing, loud music, etc....

 

That's not true. In all the times I used the express bus that never happened.

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