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KeystoneRegional

MTA board member suggests off-peak bus discounts to woo back riders.

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They've got to be joking... They want more people to use buses, yet the KEEP CUTTING the damn service???? :mad: :mad: It's not rocket science (MTA)... People (aside from checkmate or maybe Amtrak 7 :P) don't want to be piled into buses like sardine cans for starters #1... #2 they don't want their routes cut and merged with other routes to make their commutes longer and #3 they want RELIABLE service. Oh and cleaner buses would be nice too... I know it's asking for a lot according to some, but that's the reality of it. I mean some folks keep saying well then "just drive" if you want reliable service and clean buses and so on, so that's what people are doing... Driving... The fact of the matter is SUBPAR service is NOT acceptable in any business and it's not different in the world that the (MTA) lives in. Period.

 

Now they're touting that every bus on Staten Island is supposed to have Bus Time and yet every week I get on a ghost bus. Last night I was going to wait for the S54 from the X12. I check Bus Time on the phone and there is no bus on the map going towards Forest Avenue. I decided to wait about 10 minutes after the bus was due before calling car service because I was not going to wait another 30 minutes for a 5 minute ride and then 4869 comes down to Victory & Manor a few minutes after it was due to arrive. B) The question is how concerned is the (MTA) about bus ridership? Seems like they're not that concerned because here they are trying to push Bus Time and get folks to use the bus more on Staten Island and we can't even get all of the buses equipped with the technology. :(

 

 

The whole idea behind Bus Time is that folks can "meet" their bus rather than waiting for it. If you can't track it then that's a bit difficult now isn't it? :(

 

I wrote to the Bus Time team a week or so ago via e-mail suggesting that they don't put out new buses until they become equipped with the tracking equipment. I don't see what the rush is to get the new buses on the road when there are plenty of older buses all around the city that are still holding up. Bus Time has worked fine. The main issue has been that too many friggin' buses don't have the equipment. :mad:

 

The Bus Time team keeps telling me they're looking to improve and I say to myself, well if that's the case then get the equipment installed on the buses! :mad: They need to be in better communication with the depots to see how many buses they are outfitting as new buses come in, as well as how many buses they are fixing that have equipment problems.

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using smaller buses? Imagine the look on people's faces if one of those pop up...

 

I personally can't stand riding those damn low floor Orions... No standing room whatsoever. Now I'll admit those Xcelsiors... Those are some BEAUTIFUL buses inside and out. Nice amount of room to stand, the bus rides incredibly smooth and the stop request buttons are nice and big. The (MTA) should dump Orion and order more Xcelsiors. :tup:

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I agree with Via.

 

Riding NICE CNG Orion V or Orin VII are very shake like roller coaster if you're SRO.

It is very difficult to stand on crowded NICE Buses, and some folks end up stepping on senior citizen/disable's foot, even thought it not folks fault.

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What bothers me about this, is the naivete attitude as to why ridership on our buses has declined....

Not tryna hear this "trend" nonsense.... riders didn't resort to using buses less *just because*.....

 

don't stab riders in the back.... and a year & a half later, come to us on some ole proverbial *with time, your wounds will heal* BS.....

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using smaller buses? Imagine the look on people's faces if one of those pop up...

 

Why would that be a problem? Westchester, Nassau and Rockland (For example) have em. It i'll look like a cute baby :P

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I think (MTA)/NICE/Bee-Line buses are not ready for off-peak/peak fare idea.

 

In order to MetroCard accepted, MTA took over seven private bus lines b/c of peak/off-peak fare on private bus lines.

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What bothers me about this, is the naivete attitude as to why ridership on our buses has declined....

Not tryna hear this "trend" nonsense.... riders didn't resort to using buses less *just because*.....

 

don't stab riders in the back.... and a year & a half later, come to us on some ole proverbial *with time, your wounds will heal* BS.....

 

Exactly... I'm sure we'll have folks saying well the cuts really weren't that bad... Or, but you still have most areas covered with service... They along with the (MTA) don't get it... The whole idea of public transportation is for it to be accessible, especially here in NYC. If they want to sit around and compare our transportation system to others in the country and then try to justify reducing service, that's fine, but don't sit here and act stupidified as to why folks aren't using buses.

 

They think forcing more folks to use the more frequent routes and forcing them to wait longer and be on crowded buses is going to "encourage" them to use it more?? They are seriously smoking something. For $2.25 people still expect to be comfortable and have a reasonably clean and quick commute on the bus and if they can't get that well there are other options out there. The (MTA) isn't the only show in town. When they get that through their thick heads, bus ridership will increase.

 

Over the years the (MTA) has consistently looked to cut service and create a more crowded situation on the buses and many folks are sick of it. It's not a coincidence that taxi ridership has increased significantly and it costs far more than the bus does. It shows you that people care about the quality of their commute. The (MTA) can compete with the taxis. The question is do they really want to??

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Wait, "smaller buses"? Maybe 30-foot buses would work, but cutaway vans definitely won't. The off-peak discount isn't a good idea either for the local buses, but I think it might work for the express ones. Look at Metro-North and LIRR, they have peak and off-peak fares, and in most off-peak cases taking one of the (MTA) railroads to Manhattan from an outer borough is much cheaper than taking an express bus, especially on the weekends with CityTicket. To me, they shouldn't be running express buses at off-peak hours to/from areas served by Metro-North or the LIRR unless the (MTA) lowers the fare for the express bus. Since the train is much faster, the express bus should cost less than the train.

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Wait, "smaller buses"? Maybe 30-foot buses would work, but cutaway vans definitely won't. The off-peak discount isn't a good idea either for the local buses, but I think it might work for the express ones. Look at Metro-North and LIRR, they have peak and off-peak fares, and in most off-peak cases taking one of the (MTA) railroads to Manhattan from an outer borough is much cheaper than taking an express bus, especially on the weekends with CityTicket. To me, they shouldn't be running express buses at off-peak hours to/from areas served by Metro-North or the LIRR unless the (MTA) lowers the fare for the express bus. Since the train is much faster, the express bus should cost less than the train.

 

That depends on where one is traveling from.... In my case, often times the express bus is as fast if not faster than the train.

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The buses are too slow. Speed up the buses, make people WANT to ride them. Treat riders as customers. Reconfigure routes as necessary, try to inter-connect routes.

 

I remember someone saying sending the Q111 to Green Acres was ridiculous. but do they realize the only other bus routes the Q113/Q111 connect to in SE Queens is the Q3? Even the Q4 close to the LI border, to get to Green Acres which is a 10 min car ride, you'd have to take the Jamaica bound Q4, to the Green Acres bound Q5. Or Q4, Q77, Q85, etc. Or Q4, to last stop, walk to Elmont Road, take N1 or N8. The only thing that's convenient to do is to get to Jamaica.

 

Also, of course ridership went down if they're cutting a lot of routes by looking at maps, and not really thinking of ridership and ridership patterns.

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Wait, "smaller buses"? Maybe 30-foot buses would work, but cutaway vans definitely won't. The off-peak discount isn't a good idea either for the local buses, but I think it might work for the express ones. Look at Metro-North and LIRR, they have peak and off-peak fares, and in most off-peak cases taking one of the (MTA) railroads to Manhattan from an outer borough is much cheaper than taking an express bus, especially on the weekends with CityTicket. To me, they shouldn't be running express buses at off-peak hours to/from areas served by Metro-North or the LIRR unless the (MTA) lowers the fare for the express bus. Since the train is much faster, the express bus should cost less than the train.

 

I don't think having 30-foot buses is a good idea. You're really not saving a whole lot in terms of fuel economy, and you still have to pay the driver the same amount of money. Plus, you lose the flexibility of interlining and things like that.

 

And then you have the issue of some lines being crowded at certain times, but empty at other times, so again, you lose flexibility with 30-foot buses.

 

As far as express bus service competing with Metro-North off-peak (CityTicket only works weekends), the only area where that's really true would be the Hudson Line with the BxM1/BxM2, and the Harlem Line at the Woodlawn station with the BxM4 and BxM11 (but only in that immediate area. Metro-North doesn't do anything for people down by say, Pelham Parkway) Even then, Riverdale is pretty hilly, and the Metro-North stops are spaced further apart (they aren't every 1/2 mile like the subway stations) so even then you can't really say it competes.

 

Plus, the express bus is cheaper if you have to make a transfer.

 

They've got to be joking... They want more people to use buses, yet the KEEP CUTTING the damn service???? :mad: :mad: It's not rocket science (MTA)... People (aside from checkmate or maybe Amtrak 7 :P) don't want to be piled into buses like sardine cans for starters #1... #2 they don't want their routes cut and merged with other routes to make their commutes longer and #3 they want RELIABLE service. Oh and cleaner buses would be nice too... I know it's asking for a lot according to some, but that's the reality of it. I mean some folks keep saying well then "just drive" if you want reliable service and clean buses and so on, so that's what people are doing... Driving... The fact of the matter is SUBPAR service is NOT acceptable in any business and it's not different in the world that the (MTA) lives in. Period.

 

 

You really think people prefer their buses to be crowded or take a longer route? No, but the point is that it's public transportation, and it should be done in a manner that serves the public most efficiently. If you have two routes that are only used by a few people, well then you have to combine them even if it makes them longer. Or if a route has alternatives and low ridership then cut it. Yes, some people may go back to their cars, and yes some people may start driving or taking taxis, but there's nothing you can do about it.

 

As far as crowded buses, again, there are limited resources and they have to be spent wisely.

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As far as express bus service competing with Metro-North off-peak (CityTicket only works weekends), the only area where that's really true would be the Hudson Line with the BxM1/BxM2, and the Harlem Line at the Woodlawn station with the BxM4 and BxM11 (but only in that immediate area. Metro-North doesn't do anything for people down by say, Pelham Parkway) Even then, Riverdale is pretty hilly, and the Metro-North stops are spaced further apart (they aren't every 1/2 mile like the subway stations) so even then you can't really say it competes.

 

Plus, the express bus is cheaper if you have to make a transfer.

 

 

Also the BxM3 competes with the Hudson Line in Yonkers at Getty Square.

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Also the BxM3 competes with the Hudson Line in Yonkers at Getty Square.

 

Yeah, but Metro-North is a lot faster. It ill just take 30min to get to/from GCT and Yonkers, which the BXM3 take more then that, since it does stops along a portion of Sedgwick.

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Also the BxM3 competes with the Hudson Line in Yonkers at Getty Square.

 

True...

 

But the thing is that the BxM3 also serves a lot of areas that aren't anywhere near Metro-North, in the eastern part of Riverdale and in the Kingsbridge area.

 

But in any case, even the BxM1 doesn't really compete with Metro-North because aside from the fact that it stops closer to the residences in Riverdale, it also makes more stops in Manhattan, whereas Metro-North goes straight from 42nd Street to 125th Street.

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True...

 

But the thing is that the BxM3 also serves a lot of areas that aren't anywhere near Metro-North, in the eastern part of Riverdale and in the Kingsbridge area.

 

But in any case, even the BxM1 doesn't really compete with Metro-North because aside from the fact that it stops closer to the residences in Riverdale, it also makes more stops in Manhattan, whereas Metro-North goes straight from 42nd Street to 125th Street.

 

Well, that is true. But in SOME way it does compete, mainly those going around GCT, 125th or any stations circling MNR. Plus people would use MNCRs Hudson Rail Line to get around Riverdale, which does passes areas the BXM1/BXM2/BXM18 passes by.

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Yeah, but Metro-North is a lot faster. It ill just take 30min to get to/from GCT and Yonkers, which the BXM3 take more then that, since it does stops along a portion of Sedgwick.

 

Not necessarily... Some BxM3s bypass that area.

 

 

You really think people prefer their buses to be crowded or take a longer route? No, but the point is that it's public transportation, and it should be done in a manner that serves the public most efficiently. If you have two routes that are only used by a few people, well then you have to combine them even if it makes them longer. Or if a route has alternatives and low ridership then cut it. Yes, some people may go back to their cars, and yes some people may start driving or taking taxis, but there's nothing you can do about it.

 

As far as crowded buses, again, there are limited resources and they have to be spent wisely.

 

Uh yeah people like you prefer their buses to be crowded for starters and apparently you and Amtrak prefer longer routes too since the both of you advocate extending routes and cutting service. :mad: As far as this BS about it being "public transportation" and having to serve the public best, the (MTA) is doing a TERRIBLE job at it. Don't try to pretend like they've just been cutting service because of the financial situation. They've been cutting bus service long before that, even when times were good and the fact of the matter is that it has DECREASED ridership.

 

It's a fact that neither you nor they want to admit, but I'm putting it out there. I've been riding buses well before you were around and I can never remember bus service being so poor in terms of frequencies. What's ridiculous is them sitting here pretending like they don't know why bus ridership has decreased. What a joke. :tdown: They do the same crap that they've been doing. Flood a route with service, then pull buses that are supposed to show up which of course makes the lines unreliable and then cut runs claiming that ridership is low. Meanwhile they're the very reason why ridership is so low on buses.

 

 

Case in point the B4... Service was always horrendous on that line with buses being MIA and this went for YEARS. It's not just a coincidence that the Sheepshead Bay portion is now cut. The reason is because folks could never depend on the bus to come, so they went to the other lines that did come like the B49 and B36 and used the B4 whenever it did come and it suited their needs.

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You really think people prefer their buses to be crowded or take a longer route? No, but the point is that it's public transportation, and it should be done in a manner that serves the public most efficiently.

See, I agree w/ the individual points....

However, I disagree w/ the intertwining of these two points....

 

as far as crowding.... If a route is as frequent as you can realistically make it (less than or equal to 5 mins), then yeah, nothin much really that can be done....

 

However, when there's a route that's underperforming at like, 10 min. headways.... that doesn't mean you go about increasing the headways to 15, or even 20 minutes.... Not with those exact numbers, but in general, this practice is what's been goin on w/ bus service.... Less buses + more riders per bus does not equal increasing ridership..... This is the formula it seems to me the MTA's tryna spoof the public with, and it's not working.... All it is, is an illusion of that notion....

 

There's a difference between realizing a route has too much service (well, I mean yeah.... you'll get some that'll say there's no such thing as too much service... I'm not one of those people) & curtailing service to cram as many people as physically possible under the highest of headways....

 

 

I've been riding buses well before you were around and I can never remember bus service being so poor in terms of frequencies.

Not for nothin... but now that I re-read this part, Neither can I....

 

I mean, when the fleet consisted of only RTS' & fishbowls... while I'm not gonna claim buses were oh so timely (down to the minute or two), I will claim that the actual waits for most routes (locals... didn't take expresses back then... lol) weren't near as bad as they are now.....

Edited by B35 via Church
add on....

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See, I agree w/ the individual points....

I disagree w/ the intertwining of these two points....

 

If a route is as frequent as you can realistically make it (less than or equal to 5 mins), then yeah, nothin much really that can be done....

 

However, when there's a route that's underperforming at like, 10 min. headways.... that doesn't mean you go about increasing the headways to 15, or even 20 minutes.... Not with those exact numbers, but in general, this is what's been goin on w/ bus service.... Less buses + more riders per bus does not equal increasing ridership..... This is the formula it seems to me the MTA's tryna spoof the riding public with, and it's not working....

 

There's a difference between realizing a route has too much service (you'll get some that'll say, there's no such thing as too much service... I'm not one of those people) & curtailing service to cram as many people as physically possible under the highest of headways....

 

The thing is though they often times don't look to do anything to understand why a run is underperforming. Instead they just CUT it. They did that with the X14 when they merged it with the X13. They added all of this service and then next thing I knew, boom, they went and made cuts immediately. What they could've done was said, okay why are certain runs underperforming? (Not that they didn't know). I mean the X14 used to only serve Midtown, so why have ALL X14s make both Downtown and Midtown stops? Some of those X14s could've been Super Expresses as a trial to keep them, but of course that makes too much sense. It's easier to just cut them rather than try to get ridership to increase on those runs. :tdown: A perfect example of why bus ridership on the North Shore along Forest Avenue continues to dwindle because they're finding ways to deter ridership in West Brighton and other parts of Forest Avenue. Meanwhile they add later runs on the X2 in the morning and they get to keep their direct Midtown service.

 

Folks on the North Shore have long complained that the (MTA) has pampered the South Shore with better express bus service while telling the North Shore to take the local bus to the ferry, essentially telling them to take a hike, as if our commutes aren't long. Yet another example of how they deter bus ridership. Meanwhile they encourage us to use the local bus, but have provided atrocious local bus service on the North Shore for years.

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Well if they really care about increasing reliability they should put more surveyors on buses. These surveyors should be high school students who are looking for community service time. By "utilizing" high school students to preform the surveys the MTA really does not have to invest that much money at all in this initiative. And on top of that it is a win win situation for both parties involved. The high school student gets community service time for his college application, and the MTA gets data that could be used to make the system better-mainly by cutting service that is not needed and adding service where it's needed.

Edited by DanTheTransitMan

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Uh yeah people like you prefer their buses to be crowded for starters and apparently you and Amtrak prefer longer routes too since the both of you advocate extending routes and cutting service. :mad: As far as this BS about it being "public transportation" and having to serve the public best, the (MTA) is doing a TERRIBLE job at it. Don't try to pretend like they've just been cutting service because of the financial situation. They've been cutting bus service long before that, even when times were good and the fact of the matter is that it has DECREASED ridership.

 

 

Well yeah, I'm not just an average rider. I'm a transit fan as well, and part of that (at least for me) is making sure the buses are running efficiently.

 

Let me make it clear: When I said "That's how I like my buses: Fast and crowded", I didn't mean "I like my buses so crowded that people are being left behind". Why? Because even if you want to look at it purely from a cost standpoint, more people means that the bus takes longer to load and unload at stops (and often that time isn't made up when the bus flags people). It's different for trippers because they're de facto drop-off only for most of their route, and also because they're full of students getting a free ride (and in case anybody else is looking, I'm a student who gets a Student MetroCard)

 

Anyway, from a passenger standpoint, it's obvious. You're not serving the public well when you're leaving behind a ton of people and making them wait a long time for the next bus (that's why B35 said that on a route already running more frequently than every 5 minutes, there isn't much you can do. At least when the passengers are flagged, there's another bus not too far behind that they can fit on)

 

As far as preferring longer routes, I'm talking from the perspective of a passenger, not a planner. Do you really think that if you asked any passenger "Do you want your route to take a direct path or a meandering path" that any passenger would honestly say "take the meandering path". Of course not. People want the best service possible, but sometimes it's not feasable to provide it, so the planner would prefer a meadering route if it meant that the route would significantly perform better.

 

Yes, it decreases ridership, but is that the worst thing in the world? Aside from the fact that the economy does have an impact on ridership, there are some things where a decline in ridership is unavoidable: If you reduce service to the bare bones in a certain area, of course ridership will drop.

 

And no, I'm not saying the MTA is perfect. I can think of a bunch of areas where there are a bunch of gaps that are unfilled, and connectivity is poor that the MTA is not addressing (and don't give me any crap of "Oh, well that's a change" because I've always felt that way and gave a ton of examples)

 

1) However, when there's a route that's underperforming at like, 10 min. headways.... that doesn't mean you go about increasing the headways to 15, or even 20 minutes.... Not with those exact numbers, but in general, this practice is what's been goin on w/ bus service.... Less buses + more riders per bus does not equal increasing ridership..... This is the formula it seems to me the MTA's tryna spoof the public with, and it's not working.... All it is, is an illusion of that notion....

 

2) There's a difference between realizing a route has too much service (well, I mean yeah.... you'll get some that'll say there's no such thing as too much service... I'm not one of those people) & curtailing service to cram as many people as physically possible under the highest of headways....

 

 

1) I don't see how anybody could think that it equals increasing ridership (maybe increased efficiency, but sometimes not even that), but I see your point. I mean, everybody knows that if you reduce service, ridership will decrease, though of course it depends how much you reduce the service by, among other factors.

 

2) Fair enough.

 

The thing is though they often times don't look to do anything to understand why a run is underperforming. Instead they just CUT it. They did that with the X14 when they merged it with the X13. They added all of this service and then next thing I knew, boom, they went and made cuts immediately. What they could've done was said, okay why are certain runs underperforming? (Not that they didn't know). I mean the X14 used to only serve Midtown, so why have ALL X14s make both Downtown and Midtown stops? Some of those X14s could've been Super Expresses as a trial to keep them, but of course that makes too much sense. It's easier to just cut them rather than try to get ridership to increase on those runs. :tdown: A perfect example of why bus ridership on the North Shore along Forest Avenue continues to dwindle because they're finding ways to deter ridership in West Brighton and other parts of Forest Avenue. Meanwhile they add later runs on the X2 in the morning and they get to keep their direct Midtown service.

 

 

I don't recall any real reduction in X14 service after the cuts were made. (I mean from immediately after service was cut vs. a few months later)

 

In any case, you're right that a certain number of X14s should've served Midtown directly. If you think about it, it increased costs because now you have extra buses making additional stops and traveling further (I believe service to Midtown was increased slightly, though obviously everybody going to Midtown would prefer the old pattern with faster service). At the height of rush hour, they should've brought back the old pattern (seperate Downtown and Midtown buses).

 

But maybe part of the reason why they added so many buses to Lower Manhattan was because they were also trying to accomodate X16 riders, so there weren't many buses left that could bypass Lower Manhattan because then the buses serving Lower Manhattan would be overcrowded.

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To me, it's the idea of smaller buses - which is part of the OP - that should actually garner more debate. Given that most riders use passes as opposed to pay-per-ride, I'm not sure how a peak pricing policy would work on local buses.

 

As for express buses, I would endorse that fully.

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To me, it's the idea of smaller buses - which is part of the OP - that should actually garner more debate. Given that most riders use passes as opposed to pay-per-ride, I'm not sure how a peak pricing policy would work on local buses.

 

As for express buses, I would endorse that fully.

 

Yeah, it would definitely work on express buses, because of their nature of heavily peaked service.

 

As far as local bus/subway riders go, the majority of rides are taken with passes, but a plurality of riders still use PPR MetroCards.

 

I wonder if they could sell some kind of special pass valid only during off-peak hours. Maybe make it $60 a month rather than $104, and have it valid all times except 06:00-10:00 and 15:00-19:00 weekdays. I could picture it shifting some riders to off-peak, and maybe attracting some new off-peak riders as well (e.g. If somebody's taking the subway to work during the late evening or overnight hours, they might say "$104 is too much for 20 minute waits for a train, but $60 is enough to get me to switch to transit to go to my overnight shift)

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