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BrooklynBus

Zipping Across 79th Street?

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SBS has its advantages.  I mean off-fare payment is really the biggest thing.  Other than that, it isn't that big of a deal unless you have instances where buses are benefiting from signal priority.  During the rush, buses still get stuck in traffic, but if the boarding process weren't faster, it would be much worse, so I don't look at it as a question of how much time is saved, but rather how much is lost?  

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SBS has its advantages.  I mean off-fare payment is really the biggest thing.  Other than that, it isn't that big of a deal unless you have instances where buses are benefiting from signal priority.  During the rush, buses still get stuck in traffic, but if the boarding process weren't faster, it would be much worse, so I don't look at it as a question of how much time is saved, but rather how much is lost?  

 

Sounds like double talk to me. Is the amount of time saved important or not?

 

When the 34th Street SBS was first proposed, I was a big proponent because the claim was you will be able to get across Midtown in 15 minutes. That sounded great. But the original plan was opposed by the merchants and the final plan only yields a savings of 3 minutes river to river. On 86 Street, it is about 2 minutes. How can you say it is worth it?

 

And also there is much talk about signal priority and how great it will be. But we still haven't seen it yet? Is this just another false promise? Remember, Newton's law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yes, the buses on the SBS route may gain from signal priority, but what happens to the buses and traffic on the street that gets reduced signal time? Traffic increases there because fewer vehicles get through on a signal cycle.

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Sounds like double talk to me. Is the amount of time saved important or not?

 

When the 34th Street SBS was first proposed, I was a big proponent because the claim was you will be able to get across Midtown in 15 minutes. That sounded great. But the original plan was opposed by the merchants and the final plan only yields a savings of 3 minutes river to river. On 86 Street, it is about 2 minutes. How can you say it is worth it?

 

And also there is much talk about signal priority and how great it will be. But we still haven't seen it yet? Is this just another false promise? Remember, Newton's law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yes, the buses on the SBS route may gain from signal priority, but what happens to the buses and traffic on the street that gets reduced signal time? Traffic increases there because fewer vehicles get through on a signal cycle.

Well the other factor not being taken into play is the driver. I mean I find that you really see the time savings OUTSIDE of rush hour on the M86 because some drivers will floor it.  In order for SBS or any bus to really be effective, it can't be stuck in the same traffic as usual, and that is one problem the M86 faces during rush hour, particularly going through the Transverse.  I'm not sure why they don't have a separate bus lane (may not be enough space for one), but that would be very helpful.  It can take up to four lights sometimes before you can get to Central Park West.

 

Aside from that, let's be real here.  Most people are not taking the bus from end to end, but rather in between.  On the M86, a lot of people will get on at Lex and transfer at Central Park West for the subway or at Broadway for the subway, so these buses are really more for transferring.  I'm not saying that time savings is great, but I will say that it would be A LOT worse if these buses didn't have the set up where you pay in advance.  It would likely take at least double the time to get across.   

 

As for the M34, I've been the LEAST impressed with that line.  I must have bad luck but I find that whenever I take it, it usually takes FOREVER particularly from 8th to 5th because the bus lanes are usually blocked by some idiots (like the NYPD) or somebody else.  The problem is bus lanes aren't enforced and there's too much congestion.  They should've made 34th street car free.  There is just too much congestion for SBS to be successful.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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SBS without bus Lanes? Seriously? That's no improvement to the current bus system at all other than preboarding and then getting stuck in traffic light again. This is one SBS that does nothing other than to make the people along the route feel like MTA is doing something. I will not be surprised if the buses bunch up and save no time like the M34

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SBS without bus Lanes? Seriously? That's no improvement to the current bus system at all other than preboarding and then getting stuck in traffic light again. This is one SBS that does nothing other than to make the people along the route feel like MTA is doing something. I will not be surprised if the buses bunch up and save no time like the M34

The M86 lost riders as well since SBS. It's just Select BS. DeBlasio wants to meet his quota of 20 SBS routes and the crosstown routes are the easiest to implement. It has nothing to do with improving bus service.

Edited by BrooklynBus
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That's the problem. SBS has no business being on crosstown routes and Deblasio is just another pol who has no idea how transit works. This is Why CB14 voted against SBS along woodhaven (which was stupid of them) two points that cause them to is 1)they cited the Manhattan routes as a failure that shows it won't work on woodhaven and then 2)contradicted themselves saying what works in Manhattan won't work in the putter boros forgetting that the first SBS route wasn't even in Manhattan

 

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The thing with crosstown routes is that they often have long lines at the individual stops (which means that the dwell time with standard fare payment would be a lot longer), but at the same time, the trips by their nature aren't very long (which means that if you miss a bus because you were fumbling with the ticket machine, there go your time savings).

 

But I will say....with the off-board fare payment (combined with the fact that it makes a few less stops), the M60 is a lot quicker than the M100/101 & Bx15. For example, today, I saw an M101 pull in and an M100 pull in behind it at St. Nicholas Avenue. Whenever that happens I always go for the M100 (the artic buses are a little easier to maneuver, and people tend to go for the artic bus because it has more room). Well, a decent amount of people got the idea with me, so we spent about 2 minutes loading everybody up (and we pulled out before the M101, so that took longer). If those routes had all-door boarding, it would've been a lot quicker.

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That's the problem. SBS has no business being on crosstown routes and Deblasio is just another pol who has no idea how transit works. This is Why CB14 voted against SBS along woodhaven (which was stupid of them) two points that cause them to is 1)they cited the Manhattan routes as a failure that shows it won't work on woodhaven and then 2)contradicted themselves saying what works in Manhattan won't work in the putter boros forgetting that the first SBS route wasn't even in Manhattan

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Where does it say what works in Manhattan won't work in the outer boroughs or that the first SBS route was in Manhattan?

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Trust me. Within various public forums and "advocates" I have discussions with on a weekly basis,that's what they say. Not quoting the article, I'm quoting actual people. If you actually read and comprehended my post, you would have understood that honestly

 

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Edited by Far Rock Depot

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I think SBS service is a must on crosstown buses.  The City and the (MTA) are pushing it because let's face it, what's the alternative?  It's cheaper than building crosstown shuttles (which is what we really need) and without it the dwell times would be insane.  

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Trust me. Within various public forums and "advocates" I have discussions with on a weekly basis,that's what they say. Not quoting the article, I'm quoting actual people. If you actually read and comprehended my post, you would have understood that honestly

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I reread your post and it is still confusing. You stated that the Board in Rockaway voted against SBS and wrongly so because it is not working on midtown crosstown streets. They voted it down because it will not work on Woodhaven as it is currently designed.

 

I think SBS service is a must on crosstown buses.  The City and the (MTA) are pushing it because let's face it, what's the alternative?  It's cheaper than building crosstown shuttles (which is what we really need) and without it the dwell times would be insane.

 

One of the alternatives as suggested a few years ago was to make all the crosstown buses in Manhattan free due to the huge percentage of transfers. Did they ever do analysis if that would actually be cheaper than converting all crosstown to SBS with its $2 million increase in annual operating costs per route plus initial costs?

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I reread your post and it is still confusing. You stated that the Board in Rockaway voted against SBS and wrongly so because it is not working on midtown crosstown streets. They voted it down because it will not work on Woodhaven as it is currently designed.

 

 

One of the alternatives as suggested a few years ago was to make all the crosstown buses in Manhattan free due to the huge percentage of transfers. Did they ever do analysis if that would actually be cheaper than converting all crosstown to SBS with its $2 million increase in annual operating costs per route plus initial costs?

I think the (MTA) said that such an arrangement wouldn't be fiscally feasible.

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The thing with crosstown routes is that they often have long lines at the individual stops (which means that the dwell time with standard fare payment would be a lot longer), but at the same time, the trips by their nature aren't very long (which means that if you miss a bus because you were fumbling with the ticket machine, there go your time savings).

 

But I will say....with the off-board fare payment (combined with the fact that it makes a few less stops), the M60 is a lot quicker than the M100/101 & Bx15. For example, today, I saw an M101 pull in and an M100 pull in behind it at St. Nicholas Avenue. Whenever that happens I always go for the M100 (the artic buses are a little easier to maneuver, and people tend to go for the artic bus because it has more room). Well, a decent amount of people got the idea with me, so we spent about 2 minutes loading everybody up (and we pulled out before the M101, so that took longer). If those routes had all-door boarding, it would've been a lot quicker.

 

 

The off-board payment helps greatly, along with the limited number of stops. The M100/101 stop and go too much along 125th Street for my taste. I rarely take either across 125th for my classes, I just ride them down Amsterdam Avenue from CCNY and take the M60 along 125th. 

 

 

Looking at my personal bus log, the M100/101 ride down from Amsterdam/138th to 125th/Amsterdam at around 10:30-ish through Midday usually takes 5-7 minutes, and 10-11 minutes during the peak (many people getting on and off). I don't have a lot of intra-125th M100/101 entries, but based on my M100/101 rides have included 125th Street as part of the trip, it takes 20-30 minutes to clear 125th in the off-peak.

 

 

The off-peak 10AM-2PM and 7-8PM M60 regularly does Amsterdam Avenue to Astoria Blvd in 20-25 minutes.

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One of the alternatives as suggested a few years ago was to make all the crosstown buses in Manhattan free due to the huge percentage of transfers. Did they ever do analysis if that would actually be cheaper than converting all crosstown to SBS with its $2 million increase in annual operating costs per route plus initial costs?

 

Bloomberg proposed it as an idea, but the MTA shot it down. I don't think they ever did an analysis of it; presumably, however, the MTA can tell what percentage of Metrocards being dipped into the fareboxes are transfers. Besides, anyways the MTA gives something free away the state and city pay for it at cost for a few years and then let funding stagnate. After all, that's what happened with Student Metrocards; the City has funded it consistently at $90M a year since the program's inception, even though the amount of public school students has increased and the City did that change a couple years ago where they slashed school buses and gave everyone Metrocards instead.

 

The other problem with 'free' is that the current fare is still a kind of price signal. The moment you make it free, demand will shoot through the roof and we'll be back to square one with dwell time. This is especially problematic since, according to bean-counter math, the crosstown routes are some of the few profitable ones in the system.

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I think the (MTA) said that such an arrangement wouldn't be fiscally feasible.

Bloomberg proposed it as an idea, but the MTA shot it down. I don't think they ever did an analysis of it; presumably, however, the MTA can tell what percentage of Metrocards being dipped into the fareboxes are transfers. Besides, anyways the MTA gives something free away the state and city pay for it at cost for a few years and then let funding stagnate. After all, that's what happened with Student Metrocards; the City has funded it consistently at $90M a year since the program's inception, even though the amount of public school students has increased and the City did that change a couple years ago where they slashed school buses and gave everyone Metrocards instead.

 

The other problem with 'free' is that the current fare is still a kind of price signal. The moment you make it free, demand will shoot through the roof and we'll be back to square one with dwell time. This is especially problematic since, according to bean-counter math, the crosstown routes are some of the few profitable ones in the system.

If it was studied, it wasn't weighed against the cost of making all crosstown buses free. That changes everything.

 

And yes it would encourage more travel and more fares if new trios are made on north south bus routes as well because the crosstown are quicker, assuming not paying your fare on the bus really speeds up travel which is still debatable.

 

And I thought the city shifted some of the responsibility to subsidize student and senior fares to the state. The city was supposed to totally subsidize those two. The only thing they fully subsidize are the formerly privately operated routes and who knows how long that will continue or what happens when the MTA extends a route like the Q52. Will the city still make up the entire shortfall, or insist the MTA pay for the extension?

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If it was studied, it wasn't weighed against the cost of making all crosstown buses free. That changes everything.

 

And yes it would encourage more travel and more fares if new trios are made on north south bus routes as well because the crosstown are quicker, assuming not paying your fare on the bus really speeds up travel which is still debatable.

 

And I thought the city shifted some of the responsibility to subsidize student and senior fares to the state. The city was supposed to totally subsidize those two. The only thing they fully subsidize are the formerly privately operated routes and who knows how long that will continue or what happens when the MTA extends a route like the Q52. Will the city still make up the entire shortfall, or insist the MTA pay for the extension?

 

Senior fares, I don't know. Student fares, the City pays $90M and then the MTA takes the rest on the chin. They tried getting rid of student fares shortly after the school bus cuts since the City wasn't forking up any more money to cover the new burden, but for obvious reasons that was received very negatively by the public.

 

The main issue with free crosstown buses, like I said, is that they would probably become too popular, so that the dwell time problems just resurface because too many people are trying to take buses. There is an upper limit on the amount of buses you could reasonably run on a city street, even with dedicated lanes.

 

Off board payment, without a doubt, is much faster if you also allow boarding at all doors. The Metrocards are very slow as a fare payment method, especially if the reader messes up on the first dip (not uncommon), let alone if some senile grandma is trying to count change at the front of the bus.

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There were a couple of good SBS posts on BusChat that I am copying here: one by me and be by someone else:

 

Posted by Stephen Bauman on Tue Apr 4 09:25:31 2017, in response to Re: Zipping Across 79 St?, posted by WMATAGMOAGH on Mon Apr 3 22:41:45 2017.

 

What exactly about New York makes it unlike "other places" such that these strategies to improve service wouldn't work?

 

One aspect about NYC bus riding habits is its short average passenger trip length. It's 2.1 miles. (This is derived from the NTD operator profiles. Divide the number of passenger miles by the number of unlinked trips.)

 

Houston is the current poster child for a city that reinvigorated its bus transportation. It's average passenger trip length is 5.1 miles.

 

This difference has means that in the total point-to-point trip, the actual time spent in the bus is a lower percentage than in Houston. Bus frequency and the walk to/from the origin/destination assume greater importance. Moreover, at that short distance walking becomes the principal competition. It sets an upper bound of 42 minutes for the total trip duration.

 

Both SBS and LTD buses seek to reduce the bus trip duration. They do this by reducing the number of stops from approximately 4 per mile to 2 per mile. This increases the total average walking distance to/from the bus from 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile for each trip. This 1/4 mile increase adds 5 minutes walking time to the average trip. Running times must be shortened by at least these 5 minutes over the 2.1 mile trip, for LTD or SBS to provide any benefit for the average passenger.

 

The average revenue speed for a NYCT bus is 7.1 mph. (This is derived from the NTD by dividing the number of vehicle revenue miles by the number of vehicle revenue hours.) This means the running time for that average 2.1 mile trips is 17.7 minutes. It will have to be reduced to 12.7 minutes, for the average passenger to see any gain. This means the average running speed would have to increase to 9.9 mph. Such an increase is probably impossible because these buses must also obey traffic rules and pickup/discharge passengers.

 

Local service has been maintained on many LTD and SBS routes. This usually means that waiting times have increased at local stops and just remained the same at LTD/SBS stops. As noted above, the additional walk to an LTD/SBS stop provides little or no incentive for the average passenger trip. Waiting longer for a bus to come provides even less incentive to take a bus.

 

The short average trip length does not mean that NYC residents are home bodies. They take the subway for longer trips. Approximately, 75% of all NYC residents live within 1/2 mile of a subway station. Subways operate more frequently than buses in most cases. Subways provide alternate transportation to buses that are not found in most other cities. This is another factor that makes NYC unique.

 

 

Posted by BrooklynBus on Mon Apr 3 13:01:33 2017, in response to Re: Zipping Across 79 St?, posted by r17-6599 on Mon Apr 3 00:11:40 2017.

 

I pretty much agree with your assessment. I believe SBS could succeed if it were done right. The problem is that the MTA seems to be doing everything wrong. First of all it took them too long to get the program started. The original plan in 2003 was to have five routes in five years and ten more in the next five years. So by 2013, there should have been 15 routes already. So if this plan were adhered to by next year there should have been 25 routes and the program would have been more or less complete.

 

Second, the process was supposed to be democratic. Instead, DOT and the MTA did pretty much what they wanted to do. They decided pretty much by themselves without explanation where SBS would go and where the stops would be. Yeah, there were plenty of outreach meetings, but instead of listening, changes were only made when there was widespread protest. Constructive changes were ignored.

 

Considering the Second Avenue Subway construction and the chronic traffic problems at the 59th Street bridge, the M15 never should have been chosen. It was simply because the MTA needed an excuse for never being able to complete the Second Avenue Subway. With a decline in patronage of 3 million annual riders since 2012, the M15 has been a failure as have most of the other SBS routes.

 

Next, DeBlasio has ordered 20 SBS routes before his reelection. So the MTA decided to concentrate on midtown Manhattan routes since they cost the least and can be implemented the quickest even if they do not belong there. They can also count the 14A and 14D as two routes.

 

Finally, they do not use imagination in creating new SBS routes. Instead, in most cases all they are doing is converting Limited to SBS. I might also add that the original SBS plan called for SBS to be an additional layer of service on top of Limited, not a replacement for it.

 

SBS has its greatest advantage for those making long trips. Therefore the routes should be longer than local routes stretching through two or even three boroughs as a supplement to Limited routes. That was not done.

 

Let's look at the proposal for the B82. It simply is to convert the Limited to SBS. A much better route could be designed. Kings Highway is not suitable for SBS. Putting SBS on the two lane congested portion is ridiculous. Traffic on the wide portion moves fine at all times even during rush hours so exclusive lanes are not necessary. They will have no effects on bus speeds but will slow down other traffic considerably causing congestion where none exists now.

 

On Flatlands Avenue exclusive lanes also will not work unless you ban parking. Imagine the delays with only one traffic lane each way when the Belt is backed up. Also, they never should have combined the B5 and B50 to form the B82 in the first place.

 

What they could do is the following if they want an SBS route. Truncate the eastern end of the B82 at Ralph Avenue. Make the eastern end SBS and operate it from Spring Creek Towers along its current route to Avenue P (keeping the Limited) and reroute it off Kings Highway to stay on Avenue P and continue along 65 Street stopping only at even numbered avenues where it would make all transfers. It could continue on to Shore Road passing the 59 Street station and down Shore Road until the end. Through travelers do not need a transfer to the Brighton Line which would still be available with the B82 Limited, local and B7.

 

In the future the SBS (B81) could also be extended to Gateway and JFK. That would be a very useful route but one the MTA would never do because it is out of the box thinking. I also have an idea for a B44 SBS branch to Kingsborough College which I suggested to the MTA that would fill up buses that are now operating with only six passengers and they have been ignoring my suggestion for six months now.

 

So I am not only criticizing SBS, I am also making positive suggestions how to get it to work.

Edited by BrooklynBus

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Which SBS routes have improved ridership, if any?

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I think the Bx12 and Bx41. Also the S79 if you don't count the S78 which is its Staten Island local. When you consider both, ridership is about even. The Q70 is probably up but I don't think that really counts because it is so similar to when it was a Limited and because it is such a new route and was thirty years overdue.

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Ridership on the S78 & S59 increased slightly during the first year of S79-SBS operation. (And the S79 itself had a pretty significant increase). After that, it leveled off some what but as an SI bus rider I can definitely say it's much better as an SBS/LTD. Also consider that the S93 received midday service in 2014 which took sone riders off the S53 & S79.

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Ridership on the S78 & S59 increased slightly during the first year of S79-SBS operation. (And the S79 itself had a pretty significant increase). After that, it leveled off some what but as an SI bus rider I can definitely say it's much better as an SBS/LTD. Also consider that the S93 received midday service in 2014 which took sone riders off the S53 & S79.

The S79 never benefitted me personally because my trips were relatively short, but I can see how it was an improvement for those making long trips.

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