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Via Garibaldi 8

MTA holds out hope for more buses

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MTA holds out hope for more buses

Posted  January 26, 2017
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Women wait for a bus at a stop on Riverdale Avenue on a rainy afternoon on Jan. 24. Commuters complain bus service is unreliable, but the MTA has been reluctant to improve it.
Anna Dolgov
 
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By Lisa Herndon

The MTA might consider expanding Bx10 bus service, but no changes to the Bx20 line are likely, officials said, after local residents urged improvements to the lines commuters say are marred by long waits, overcrowding and a lack of seats.

 

The Bx10 line saw a 5-percent increase in its average daily ridership to 11,040 in 2015 from 10,500 in 2011, Deirdre Parker, a community relations official at the MTA, told a meeting of Community Board 8’s traffic and transportation committee on Jan. 17. The slight increase might warrant an expansion—although it would not happen right away, she said.

 

“We have reviewed the route again in the last quarter of 2016,” she said. “The results are being analyzed right now. If there is a need for more buses on the route, that is something that would go into effect in fall of 2017. There may be an increase, but right now we don’t have access to that data yet.”

 

The Bx20, meanwhile, saw its ridership decline 15 percent to 804 in 2015 from 948 in 2011, according to MTA figures. Parker said she would ask MTA experts if adding more buses to the line might be possible, but she added it would be unlikely.

 

“At this point… there is no plan to change that [bx20 service],” Parker told the meeting.

The remarks came after community board’s traffic and transportation committee chairman Michael Heller invited MTA officials to address residents’ concerns about the buses’ service, following months of complaints of long waits and other problems.

 

A petition by local activists to improve bus service has garnered more than 1,000 signatures, said Deborah Wallace, who together with her husband, Roderick, helped organize the drive.

 

Wait times can reach up to 20 minutes, and buses sometimes skip stops because of overcrowding, she said. The petition, calling on the MTA to increase the number of buses on the Bx10 and Bx20 lines and to introduce better-designed buses that could accommodate more people, received support from residents of local housing co-ops, such as The Knolls, River Point Towers and The Whitehall, she said.

 

“The move for this drive was under service resulting in long erratic waits and overcrowding on buses sometimes to dangerous levels that threatened the elderly, the infirmed, small children and even the driver,” she said.

 

Another problem, according to the traffic and transportation committee chairman, is that the limited service of the Bx20 forced riders to rely on alternate routes and pay separate fares in what is known as a “two-fare zone.” Adding more buses along the line would allow commuters to ride the A train more often, which would help alleviate the crowding on the No. 1 train, Heller said.

 

Councilman Andrew Cohen attended the meeting and spoke out in support of increasing the number of buses on both lines.

“I would often get pictures tweeted at me of people crammed into the bus—and the bus goes right by my office,” he said. “I see people packed to the gills. And the bus service coming home in the evenings, there has to be a better way. The signatures, the community board. I think that we are all begging for some relief.”

 

Wallace said her group had initially sent its petition in November to the offices of Cohen, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Senator Jeffrey Klein, as well as to the MTA.

 

The city will be adding newer buses, and older ones will eventually be phased out, the MTA’s Parker told the community board meeting.

 

The Bx20 runs from Broadway and Isham Street in Inwood to 246th Street and Henry Hudson Parkway and the Bx10 goes from 206th Street and Bainbridge Avenue to 263rd Street and Riverdale Avenue.

 

Wallace and her fellow activists will continue trying to muster support for their call to increase service, she said in an email after the meeting. The group plans to appeal to parent teacher associations, seniors, merchants and realtors, she said.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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A few comments regarding this on-going situation.  I've been following this situation closely and also observing ridership on both routes, and on occasion use both of them as an alternative to the Hudson Rail Link Shuttle in the mornings when it too can be erratic.  The Bx10 is usually fine in the mornings heading Southbound, but Northbound, buses can get backed up leading to long waits.  I check out the buses as I'm on the express bus at times too and see the packed Bx10 buses coming up the hill to Kappock Street.  The (MTA) could really solve this problem by simply running more buses to and from 231st and Broadway up the hill.  There just aren't enough buses to meet the demand that comes from Kingsbridge and the subway.  More and more kids are coming from down the hill to attend our schools in Riverdale.  They could look into running shuttle buses for them instead of having them pack on to the Bx10 and Bx20.  

 

I also don't understand Parker's point about "newer buses"? Both the Bx10 and Bx20 use 40 footers, and they are fairly new buses, so unless the (MTA) is considering artics for the line, I don't understand her point at all.  How exactly is newer buses going to help the situation?  Breakdowns have not been an issue.  Just erratic service, even with a dispatcher at 231st and Broadway.  It's also interesting that there is no mention of the Bx7 needing more service.  It could certainly get a bump up too or more artics.  The other thing that appears to be happening is more usage of these lines within Riverdale, so you don't just have people going to and from the subway but to places within Riverdale.  This is important to note because the neighborhood is a bedroom community, which means that you don't usually have such ridership, but I've been noticing this more and more of late.  People waiting at stops at times where previously you would never see anyone.  

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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They probably mean "newer buses" like the XD60s on the Q113/114 that the MTA touted last year. I don't know why they think they're not getting new buses either. KB has Novas and NGs for Bx10 and they're fairly young, the NGs are what, 7 years old at least?

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But I doubt the BX10 can really handle artics, those are some steep hills with sharp turns.

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They probably mean "newer buses" like the XD60s on the Q113/114 that the MTA touted last year. I don't know why they think they're not getting new buses either. KB has Novas and NGs for Bx10 and they're fairly young, the NGs are what, 7 years old at least?

Well they can only mean artics because Kingsbridge just received new 40 footer buses last year that seem to be fine.  God forbid they run artics on the Bx10, Bx20 or the Bx7, which is what they should do.  That would certainly alleviate the problem, but they don't want to run more buses or run the artics.  I'm glad the community (particuarly the folks down in Spuyten Duyvil (South Riverdale)) are continuing with the push because the Bx10 gets slammed.  Between the residents of all of the co-ops and condos down there, students traveling from the Bronx and workers coming up to work here, it can be a real mess.  In the mornings, a lot of people using the subway will simply walk down the hill, but at night you will have more people taking the buses because of the hills.  I happen to be very lucky because I have a TON of options at my disposal living in Central Riverdale.  

But I doubt the BX10 can really handle artics, those are some steep hills with sharp turns.

They've used artics on the Bx7, and the only way to get to upstairs Riverdale is via the hills, either going up to Kappock Street, or the other hill going up Riverdale Avenue, and they're both equally steep though going up Irwin and Johnson the roadway meanders and is a bit narrower but still.  There are three express buses that travel that way each and every day of the week (BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18) and two of them on weekends (BxM1 and BxM2).  Aside from that they use artics on the Bx9, which traverses through hilly parts of North Riverdale along Broadway, not to mention Fordham Road.  I usually don't attend too many community board meetings save a few here and there, but I may start to just to see what sort of BS the (MTA) is stating at these transportation meetings.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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But I doubt the BX10 can really handle artics, those are some steep hills with sharp turns.

That "artics can't handle sharp turns" thing is a myth, and the newer buses have better engines that can get them up the hills, especially the XD60s.

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That "artics can't handle sharp turns" thing is a myth, and the newer buses have better engines that can get them up the hills, especially the XD60s.

I know about the turn radius being the same, however, I'm thinking about he overhand getting caught on the sidewalk. Specifically on this one turn where the bus almost makes a 180 degree turn.

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That "artics can't handle sharp turns" thing is a myth, and the newer buses have better engines that can get them up the hills, especially the XD60s.

Additionally, I don't see why they can't run more artics now? Do they really have to wait until another pick just to roll those out? I'm assuming so because of the pay difference, but even so.  They haven't been that wild about running those either, even before this.  Something doesn't add up as far as I'm concerned.  

 

There is no way that they can really believe that all of those people getting off of the subway and coming from elsewhere can all pack on to one bus or even two, especially with the headways of the (1) during the rush.  I have sat and watched at times. You'll have say two buses come to handle the crowds, but while they're loading up, another (1) train will come and dump more people.  There just isn't enough buses for the crowds, especially Northbound.  If the concern is cost, then they should adjust the schedules.

 

They have an adequate amount of buses running Southbound at times in the mornings just to 231st, but not enough Northbound buses when people have fewer options, since fewer people will bother walking up the hills at night.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I dont see how running artics is a problem. Bx10 is so crushloaded with people n/b in the mornings. They could even interline schedules with the Bx9 since their terminals are so close to each other. What bugs me is I see bronx science kids hop on the n/b Bx10 bus in the mornings and its already crushloaded. They couldve easily walked the .2 mile to school but no, srsly selfish and inconsiderate.

 

 

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I dont see how running artics is a problem. Bx10 is so crushloaded with people n/b in the mornings. They could even interline schedules with the Bx9 since their terminals are so close to each other. What bugs me is I see bronx science kids hop on the n/b Bx10 bus in the mornings and its already crushloaded. They couldve easily walked the .2 mile to school but no, srsly selfish and inconsiderate.

 

 

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What they should do is have shuttle buses for those kids.  I took a Bx20 one morning last week from the Marble Hill MNRR station and there were only a handful of people on that bus that weren't school kids. I got off and just walked up the hill.  Just insanely crowded.

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The thing is I read a local Bronx newspaper a few years ago and I am surprised nothing has changed. The leas they could do is add artics, the Bx28 sees more artics than this line regardless, they are school trippers but the Bx10 sees loads more ridership. The Bx20 is basically a Q26, not much to say there but there was a pilot program a few years back with Bx7 having artics in the evening rush, what happened with that?

 

 

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The thing is I read a local Bronx newspaper a few years ago and I am surprised nothing has changed. The leas they could do is add artics, the Bx28 sees more artics than this line regardless, they are school trippers but the Bx10 sees loads more ridership. The Bx20 is basically a Q26, not much to say there but there was a pilot program a few years back with Bx7 having artics in the evening rush, what happened with that?

 

 

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I'm not sure, but I've never seen a Bx7 artic running up Riverdale Avenue with my own eyes, though I admit I'm along Henry Hudson Parkway moreso than Riverdale Avenue.  They could also make the Bx20 more useful by running it more frequently to 207th street as some have suggested, which would take some strain off of the (1)

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What they should do is have shuttle buses for those kids.  I took a Bx20 one morning last week from the Marble Hill MNRR station and there were only a handful of people on that bus that weren't school kids. I got off and just walked up the hill.  Just insanely crowded.

 

So if there were only a few people on the bus that weren't schoolkids, that would mean that the Bx20 would've been fairly empty without them....which means the MTA would want to cut it altogether instead of adding service.

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So if there were only a few people on the bus that weren't schoolkids, that would mean that the Bx20 would've been fairly empty without them....which means the MTA would want to cut it altogether instead of adding service.

Not necessarily.  It just so happened that this bus had mainly school kids.  Plenty of people use whatever comes first at 231st and Broadway (Bx10 or Bx20).

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I know about the turn radius being the same, however, I'm thinking about he overhand getting caught on the sidewalk. Specifically on this one turn where the bus almost makes a 180 degree turn.

If the MCIs can do it (which has a larger turning radius and overhang), then artics can do it.
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They did use some articulated D60s a few times in PM rush on the Bx7 a few months ago, but apparently artics aren't placed on the Bx7 anymore.

The point being made in the article about 'small buses' has more to do with interior layout; Orion 7s and NewFlyer LFS 40-footers have a less efficient interior layout than the RTS, Orion V or even D40LF for that matter.  Downright chaotic compared to the older buses, actually.  I wouldn't bet on the MTA buying more used O5s from BeeLines though lmao...

The Bx10 has had underlying service problems going back at least to the turn of the millennium, but those problems were exacerbated when the RTSes and Orion Vs were replaced with the Orion VIIs, from what I've heard anyway.  (On a map, the route takes more twists and turns than it should, but let's not forget that the O7s are pretty mediocre compared to their predecessors.)

 

As for the Bx20, the reason ridership appears to be dropping is because of the MTA's reluctant attitude toward that line.  When they first proposed the service cuts a few years back, they wanted to get rid of the Bx20 entirely.  The only reason they kept the Bx20 was because of community opposition, which was enough to prevent wholesale elimination, but didn't stop the MTA from reducing the Bx20 to what is basically a rush-hour shuttle that makes barely a handful of trips.  The MTA has made the 20 largely dependent on the 7 in terms of schedule and equipment (occasional Bx7 short-turns at Isham become Bx20 put-ins northbound), and the scheduled runs are so spotty that most of them don't even show up on BusTime.

Pre-2010, the line had a lot more riders: people do want to get from the Bronx to 207th on the  (A), but not if it means waiting 20+ minutes for a bus that might not even show up anyway.  Maybe when the MTA stops deliberately sabotaging the line, things will improve.  The current Bx20 makes the Q39 look reliable...

Edited by R10 2952
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I dont see how running artics is a problem. Bx10 is so crushloaded with people n/b in the mornings. They could even interline schedules with the Bx9 since their terminals are so close to each other. What bugs me is I see bronx science kids hop on the n/b Bx10 bus in the mornings and its already crushloaded. They couldve easily walked the .2 mile to school but no, srsly selfish and inconsiderate.

 

 

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This makes me realize how bad I miss the X32...

 

What they should do is realign the Bx10/28/38 through the Befrord Park area, and maybe extend the 38 towards Bedford Park. The 10 literally makes a loop around the Bedford Park area, and it gets so bad sometimes that you can walk across Mosholu Parkway and get the Bx10 that was running ahead of your original bus on the other side.

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A Facebook friend of mine was at this meeting. He said one idea floated by the MTA people was to extend the BxM 3 from 238 "into North Riverdale." I have no idea what route they have in mind, but someone there mentioned Mosholu Ave. Now, I have always thought it would be useful to have a North Riverdale bus route that would deposit you at 242 St. station instead of 231st. The only route I can come up with is, northbound, Broadway to Mosholu to 256th, then up Riverfale Ave. Southbound, down Riverdale Ave. to 254th to Mosholu to Broadway and south. This avoids have buses run two ways on a narrow street like 254 or 256 to get from Mosholu to Riverdale.

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A Facebook friend of mine was at this meeting. He said one idea floated by the MTA people was to extend the BxM 3 from 238 "into North Riverdale." I have no idea what route they have in mind, but someone there mentioned Mosholu Ave. Now, I have always thought it would be useful to have a North Riverdale bus route that would deposit you at 242 St. station instead of 231st. The only route I can come up with is, northbound, Broadway to Mosholu to 256th, then up Riverfale Ave. Southbound, down Riverdale Ave. to 254th to Mosholu to Broadway and south. This avoids have buses run two ways on a narrow street like 254 or 256 to get from Mosholu to Riverdale.

What would extending the BxM3 do exactly to alleviate overcrowding on the local buses? The only route that would make sense is via Broadway and then up Mosholu Avenue, but it would then have to continue via Riverdale Avenue with the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18. The folks along Broadway need their express bus service too. Maybe you mean the Bx3?? Still makes no sense. Northbound, the Bx10's usage in Riverdale is down in Spuyten Duyvil and along Henry Hudson Parkway. After it hits Central Riverdale, most of the riders are off. Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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What would extending the BxM3 do exactly to alleviate overcrowding on the local buses? The only route that would make sense is via Broadway and then up Mosholu Avenue, but it would then have to continue via Riverdale Avenue with the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18. The folks along Broadway need their express bus service too. Maybe you mean the Bx3?? Still makes no sense. Northbound, the Bx10's usage in Riverdale is down in Spuyten Duyvil and along Henry Hudson Parkway. After it hits Central Riverdale, most of the riders are off.

What about the BX9 I think it can handle split service north of 241st or just extend the current short turned buses

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What about the BX9 I think it can handle split service north of 241st or just extend the current short turned buses

I don't see the point. I don't know if you're familiar with the area, but Broadway runs on a hill, and west of Broadway are massive hills leading up to Henry Hudson Parkway and then Riverdale Avenue. Riverdale has the highest elevation in New York City so that limits what streets can be used, in addition to Fieldston being a private neighborhood of Riverdale (similar to Forest Hills Gardens in Queens). The issue here is how to get more service to South Riverdale (Spuyten Duyvil). If the neighborhood weren't so hilly you could get rid of the Bx20. I would be inclined to extend some Bx1 buses up to 246th and Henry Hudson Parkway. They could turn around with the Bx20 where Fieldston (another subsection of Riverdale) begins. Really, the best solution is to put artics on some Bx10's and have more Northbound buses start at 231st. The Bx1 used to run up the hill, but was cut back, and I understand why. It can be pretty unreliable.

 

Anything running through Fieldston is out. It's the wealthiest part of Riverdale, and they would raise hell and block any buses running through there.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I don't see the point. I don't know if you're familiar with the area, but Broadway runs on a hill, and west of Broadway are massive hills leading up to Henry Hudson Parkway and then Riverdale Avenue. Riverdale has the highest elevation in New York City so that limits what streets can be used, in addition to Fieldston being a private neighborhood of Riverdale (similar to Forest Hills Gardens in Queens). The issue here is how to get more service to South Riverdale (Spuyten Duyvil). If the neighborhood weren't so hilly you could get rid of the Bx20. I would be inclined to extend some Bx1 buses up to 246th and Henry Hudson Parkway. They could turn around with the Bx20 where Fieldston (another subsection of Riverdale) begins. Really, the best solution is to put artics on some Bx10's and have more Northbound buses start at 231st. The Bx1 used to run up the hill, but was cut back, and I understand why. It can be pretty unreliable.

 

Anything running through Fieldston is out. It's the wealthiest part of Riverdale, and they would raise hell and block any buses running through there.

 

I'm pretty sure Todt Hill has the highest elevation in NYC (from what I recall, it's the highest point on the eastern seaboard, at 410 feet elevation).

 

In any case, for Spuyten Duyvil, I would tend to say the best solution is to run more Bx20 service (since running more Bx10 short-turns would result in excess service north of 246th Street, since the Bx7 is quicker to reach North Riverdale).

 

I can see the logic in having say, a branch of the Bx9 serve North Riverdale via Mosholu Avenue as an alternative to the Bx7. If ridership north of 242nd Street is generally fairly light, and it's only like 3 stops north of Mosholu Avenue anyway, it might not be too bad.

 

Another idea (if Bee Line would cooperate) is to extend the BL-8 down that route, so Riverdale Avenue residents (in Yonkers) don't have to make their way to Broadway to catch a bus to the (1).

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I'm pretty sure Todt Hill has the highest elevation in NYC (from what I recall, it's the highest point on the eastern seaboard, at 410 feet elevation).

 

In any case, for Spuyten Duyvil, I would tend to say the best solution is to run more Bx20 service (since running more Bx10 short-turns would result in excess service north of 246th Street, since the Bx7 is quicker to reach North Riverdale).

 

I can see the logic in having say, a branch of the Bx9 serve North Riverdale via Mosholu Avenue as an alternative to the Bx7. If ridership north of 242nd Street is generally fairly light, and it's only like 3 stops north of Mosholu Avenue anyway, it might not be too bad.

 

Another idea (if Bee Line would cooperate) is to extend the BL-8 down that route, so Riverdale Avenue residents (in Yonkers) don't have to make their way to Broadway to catch a bus to the (1).

Staten Island might as well be in NJ anyway, but sure if you consider it part of NYC. Having an entire neighborhood sit on high elevation creates challenges. For the sake of this discussion, people are using public transit in Riverdale in some cases because of the steep hills, not in Todt Hill proper.

 

As for the Bx10, your analysis is wrong. I said it empties out, meaning from the crushloaded sardine can that it is, but it wouldn't be completely empty either. There are people within Riverdale that would benefit which I noted earlier. Aside from that it's a roughly 5 minute ride from 246th to 263rd. Not that big of a deal... If buses are late they already short turn them at 246th, be it a Bx7 or a Bx10, and some will use whatever comes first (Bx7 or Bx10, since the Bx7's time savings is marginal anyway). If you're waiting 20 minutes for the next bus, some will just take the Bx10.

 

Now more Bx20 could be an option, but I don't agree with your reasoning for it.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Staten Island might as well be in NJ anyway, but sure if you consider it part of NYC. Having an entire neighborhood sit on high elevation creates challenges. For the sake of this discussion, people are using public transit in Riverdale in some cases because of the steep hills, not in Todt Hill proper.

 

As for the Bx10, your analysis is wrong. I said it empties out, meaning from the crushloaded sardine can that it is, but it wouldn't be completely empty either. There are people within Riverdale that would benefit which I noted earlier. Aside from that it's a roughly 5 minute ride from 246th to 263rd. Not that big of a deal... If buses are late they already short turn them at 246th, be it a Bx7 or a Bx10, and some will use whatever comes first (Bx7 or Bx10, since the Bx7's time savings is marginal anyway). If you're waiting 20 minutes for the next bus, some will just take the Bx10.

 

Now more Bx20 could be an option, but I don't agree with your reasoning for it.

 

Grymes Hill is also higher in elevation than Riverdale, and people do use the S66 for the purpose of going up and down the hill. Contrary to what you think, Riverdale isn't the biggest neighborhood in every category. 

 

As far as more Bx20 service goes, it connects to the (A), which the Bx10 doesn't do. I mean, basically, with a similar amount of buses, do you want the extra service between 231st & 207th so that Spuyten Duyvil residents have access to the (A), or between 246th & 263rd? I really don't see the MTA going for both. 

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