Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.
Sign in to follow this  
Via Garibaldi 8

New York City bus operating costs: an analysis

Recommended Posts

MTA

New York City bus operating costs: an analysis

Why NYC’s operating costs are so high, and what can be done to improve them

By Alon Levy  Jan 30, 2018, 4:30pm EST

busservice.0.jpg

Shutterstock.com

In October, Curbed covered New York’s subway operating costs, which are among the highest in the United States. As we reported at the time, “New York City Transit’s subway operating costs are high by both domestic and international standards—about 60 percent higher than those of the largest European systems, and 90 percent higher than in Chicago.”

But less talked about are the city’s bus operating costs, which are the highest in the country. The following table compares all major and most medium-size bus networks in the country on three metrics: operating costs per mile, operating costs per hour, and the percent of operating costs covered by fares, which the industry calls the operating ratio.

It’s plain to see: New York has, by far, the highest operating costs per mile.

Bus system operating costs

Bus network                                                      Cost per mile                                         Cost per hour                                Operating Ratio

New York City Transit                                      $30.40                                                     $215                                                33%

San Francisco Muni                                         $24.60                                                      $195                                                28%

Boston MBTA                                                    $18.50                                                     $180                                                24%

WMATA (Washington D.C.)                             $16.20                                                     $160                                                23%

SEPTA (Philadelphia)                                       $15.60                                                      $160                                                29%

Chicago Transit Authority                              $15.20                                                       $140                                               37%

Pittsburgh Port Authority                              $14.10                                                      $185                                                28%

Seattle Metro Transit                                     $13.90                                                      $160                                               30%

Los Angeles MTA                                            $13.20                                                      $145                                               27%

Minneapolis Metro Transit                           $12.30                                                       $145                                              24%

Miami-Dade Transit                                       $12.00                                                       $140                                              26%

Portland Tri-Met                                             $11.70                                                       $135                                              29%

New Jersey Transit                                          $10.90                                                      $150                                               42%

MARTA (Atlanta)                                                $9.40                                                       $115                                              29%

Houston Metro                                                  $9.20                                                       $120                                              10%

Phoenix Valley Metro                                        $8.80                                                       $115                                              23%

Denver RTD                                                        $8.70                                                       $115                                              25%

Dallas Area Rapid Transit                                 $8.50                                                       $110                                             13%

San Diego MTS                                                   $8.00                                                         $90                                              36%

Charlotte Area Transit System                         $7.40                                                       $100                                             26%

Alon Levy

Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office recently released a report, “The Other Transit Crisis,” detailing the problems of the city’s bus system, which it calls “the workhorse of New York City public transit.” The report found that “the MTA bus system has lost 100 million passenger trips in the last eight years, according to Stringer’s report. Manhattan saw the greatest decline with ridership down 16 percent since 2011.”

The comptroller’s report looks at operating costs per passenger, where New York is about average—but in light of the heavy bus usage in the city, this is not flattering. New York’s buses are so crowded that if its operating costs were in line with the nationwide average, it would have the best farebox recovery ratio and the lowest operating costs per passenger; instead, it’s behind Chicago and even behind San Diego, a car-oriented Sunbelt city whose busiest bus would rank 70th on New York City Transit.

Why are New York’s bus operating costs so high?

The high costs come from two distinct issues. The first is that traffic is so heavy that buses only average seven miles per hour. (Elsewhere among mature industrial cities, such as Chicago, the average speed is closer to 10 miles per hour.) In a dense city like New York, the bus spends very little time at cruise speed—it has to stop at red lights, in traffic, and at bus stops, with the engine still running. These starts and stops consume fuel and stress the systems, requiring more maintenance.

But the high costs are not just about slowness. The city is also first in the nation in operating expenses per hour, just by a smaller margin than in operating costs per mile. Here, there are several reasons, one of which is labor; the biggest single cost on buses is the driver, who is paid by the hour. (The other major costs are fuel consumption and maintenance.)

Most of the costs of bus operations are based on time rather than distance. In New York, labor arrangements call for eight-hour days. Moreover, the MTA pays drivers by the day: if they work five hours, they still get paid for a full day. As a result, bus drivers do not always work full days, leading to some inefficiency in bus scheduling. The average bus driver on New York City Transit spends about 1,150 hours behind the wheel per year. This is higher than the average for a subway train driver, which is 550 hours, but still far from a normal full-time schedule.

In Chicago, the situation is different. Adam Rahbee, a former manager at Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the MTA, Boston’s MBTA, and Transport for London, explained to Curbed that CTA gives its workers a fixed number of hours per week, which may vary from day to day. Thus, bus drivers in Chicago are paid only for hours actually worked. Full-time drivers average 1,425 hours a year behind the wheel, 24 percent higher than in New York.

Chicago is a union town, like New York; yet its operating costs per mile are half as high as New York’s, leading to the lowest subsidy per rider of the major bus networks in the country. The MTA could learn from Chicago’s labor and maintenance arrangements to further cut costs per hour.

The other issue is bus purchasing and maintenance. Adam Forman, of Comptroller Stringer’s office, told Curbed that New York City Transit has 3,683 workers doing bus maintenance. In Chicago, according to publicly-available CTA data, there are only 1,100 maintenance workers. CTA has 50 percent more service-hours per maintenance worker than New York.

Forman suggested one explanation for Chicago’s greater efficiency: It purchases buses on a regular annual cycle. Buses last 12 years, and CTA replaces 1/12 of its bus fleet every year. This means that the fleet’s average age, six years, is consistent from year to year, and so are maintenance needs.

In New York, bus purchasing is more haphazard, which leads to spikes in maintenance: six years after every major purchase, the city needs a large number of workers to perform mid-life refurbishment, while at other times, the workforce is relatively idle.

How can New York increase bus efficiency?

Andy Byford, the new head of New York City Transit, has promised to improve bus service in an effort to increase ridership—and there are some concrete ways that can be done.

Let’s tackle the slowness first. New York’s Select Bus Service (SBS) program has helped increase bus speed; dedicated bus lanes have helped reduce the amount of time buses spend stuck in traffic. On key corridors, the city could install higher-quality bus infrastructure to speed up buses further. At some intersections, the city could also install bus signal priority, which would turn the light green as the bus approaches, to prevent a crowded bus from sitting still at a red light.

19667315725_351a74efd1_o.jpg

MTA New York City Transit

Reducing the amount of time buses spend at stations has particular value. Off-board fare collection on SBS has helped passengers board the bus faster, resulting in 17 percent improvement in bus speeds on the M15 bus on First and Second Avenues in Manhattan. If New York City Transit could run buses at 10 miles per hour rather than seven, it would be able to provide 40 percent more service at the same cost.

The higher speed and frequency of service would encourage more people to ride the bus; it would also provide more capacity on the busiest and most crowded routes. Even though costs would remain the same, more passengers would ride and provide the MTA with more revenue, which would reduce the subsidy per rider, the figure most relevant to the state budget and to the taxpayers.

Moreover, the New York-based thinktank TransitCenter has recently proposed reducing the number of bus stops to one stop every quarter mile. Each stop slows a local bus by 30 to 40 seconds, and consolidating bus stops could speed up a route that averages seven miles per hour today to nine miles per hour.

The TWU Local 100, which represents bus drivers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, supports reforms that would speed up buses. Marron Institute researcher Eric Goldwyn explains that the TWU is interested in bus reforms in order to entice more passengers to ride the bus. New York’s bus ridership has been decreasing for about ten years, and the TWU fears that this could threaten bus driver jobs unless the MTA figures out how to get people to ride the bus again.

In the face of declining bus ridership, the MTA needs to make sure it is not wasting money. It could rely on innovations and best practices to speed up buses, which would not only reduce costs but also help stave off ridership losses. Faster, more frequent buses would offer better value for money than the buses today, some of which are as slow as walking.

Saving money means the MTA could have more money for other priorities: it could run more service on either the buses or the subway, or it could invest in the system’s long-term capital needs. MTA management can and should focus on improving cost efficiency, for the system’s long-term health.

Alon Levy grew up in Tel Aviv and Singapore. He spent ten years in math academia and has blogged at Pedestrian Observations since 2011, covering public transit, urbanism, and development. Now based in Paris, he writes for a variety of publications, including Vox, Streetsblog, Voice of San Diego, PlanPhilly, Urbanize.LA, Railway Gazette, and the Bay City Beacon. You can find him on Twitter @alon_levy.

Source: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/1/30/16946476/mta-new-york-city-bus-operating-costs-analysis

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really don't understand why we've had all these bus purchases since 2015 versus doing like Chi and staggering bus purchases - if not 1/12th of the fleet per year, 1/4th of the fleet every 4 years.

But I think NYC's traffic issue - aside from practically EVERY DAMN SURFACE STREET being a two-lane road (with parking) is that you have so few intersections that aren't signalized that speeds slow and trip times elongate because one can go through a green and end up at a red a block later.

NYC needs to rationalize intersection signaling. Some of these need to go to speed up traffic, and some intersections should be redone to force turns like Toronto did with that one block with the streetcar on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Levy talks about SBS speeding bus service. But the Comptroller's report showed speeds under SBS have also increased only marginally.  He says bus speeds on the M15 increased 17 percent. If so why has the M15 lost 3 million annual passengers in the past five years (before the Second Avenue Subway opened? Are they not paying the fare or are there really  fewer riders?

He also talks about making bus stops every five blocks. When I went to school, I was taught that people will walk a half mile to a subway and only a quarter mile to a local bus. So with stops every five blocks, everyone would have to live on the street where the bus operates.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, BrooklynBus said:

He also talks about making bus stops every five blocks. When I went to school, I was taught that people will walk a half mile to a subway and only a quarter mile to a local bus. So with stops every five blocks, everyone would have to live on the street where the bus operates.

If stops are spaced every 5 blocks, the largest distance you would walk to a stop (once you reach the street) would be 2.5 blocks, half the distance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, BrooklynBus said:

Levy talks about SBS speeding bus service. But the Comptroller's report showed speeds under SBS have also increased only marginally.  He says bus speeds on the M15 increased 17 percent. If so why has the M15 lost 3 million annual passengers in the past five years (before the Second Avenue Subway opened? Are they not paying the fare or are there really  fewer riders?

Wasn't local bus service a big thing with those riders? I remember reading either some news article or peoples commentaries to it on some blog, that pointed out the outrage of M15 riders & what was going on w/ the lack of locals showing up & the SBS' that was skipping so many stops (paraphrasing)....

2 hours ago, BrooklynBus said:

...When I went to school, I was taught that people will walk a half mile to a subway and only a quarter mile to a local bus.....

Half a mile to the subway, as in, your average person... Ouch :mellow:

Those days are gone.... I hate to make this type of an argument, but people have gotten more entitled & more lazy.... I remember people used to walk from Flatbush (or even E. 18th) to Nostrand like it was going out of style during the 80's/90's... Don't see near as much walking along Church as you used to nowadays... Same can be said for the commercial stretch of Flatbush av around Church/Flatbush & making their way to/from the Brighton line (the stores along that part of F'bush leave nothing much to be desired though, but still)....

One thing I will say about bus usage over the years, is that it does seem like there's a bit of an influx of (not just the elderly, which is expected, but younger) folks as well taking buses for less than a handful of local stops & what not... This is something I used to get very agitated with (say about 10-15 yrs or so ago) - to the point where I would get off & walk the rest of the way.... But now that it's as commonplace as it is, I'm like, ehh whatever.... Particularly love the ones that farebeat, to then get off 2 or 3 local stops afterwards....

As for stops every 5 blocks, I don't have too much of a problem with that..... A bus making stops every 2 "street" blocks in Manhattan (for example) though, can get rather irritating....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Deucey said:

Really don't understand why we've had all these bus purchases since 2015 versus doing like Chi and staggering bus purchases - if not 1/12th of the fleet per year, 1/4th of the fleet every 4 years.

But I think NYC's traffic issue - aside from practically EVERY DAMN SURFACE STREET being a two-lane road (with parking) is that you have so few intersections that aren't signalized that speeds slow and trip times elongate because one can go through a green and end up at a red a block later.

NYC needs to rationalize intersection signaling. Some of these need to go to speed up traffic, and some intersections should be redone to force turns like Toronto did with that one block with the streetcar on it.

I think I was responding to this in my office yesterday but got busy with something else, but this has been how the (MTA) has operated. There are still buses rolling around that first started when I was a teenager. Now I suppose we can excuse them in part because they also took over several private bus companies and had to overhaul the run down fleet from those companies, but my biggest pet peeve is the lack of consistency in terms of maintenance from depot to depot. That surely must increase operating costs. Additionally, what I find extremely alarming is this whole we can't do anything about traffic stance. Everytime the (MTA) receives criticism about poor bus service, they immediately push back the schedules to allow MORE run time. That means each trip becomes more expensive (think about it. You're paying drivers by the HOUR and in some cases paying them for time not worked which is even more egregious). Let's say that they can't control paying a B/O 8 hours while he or she only works 5 due to the deal they have with the union. You keep making those trips longer the operator keeps leaving later and later to avoid being written up, and the trips keep taking longer and longer, so the cycle NEVER ends. Each bus I tracked last night when trying to get home was late, despite having their schedules adjusted to allow for more run time, and they never got back on-time. To me this is infuriating because it says we don't value your time. If schedules are not followed, that's the message you send to your passengers which is one main reason why ridership is tanking. You need your buses MOVING and doing so ON-TIME. 

This in my opinion is what has been the most noticeable in terms of the deterioration in service.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, BrooklynBus said:

Levy talks about SBS speeding bus service. But the Comptroller's report showed speeds under SBS have also increased only marginally.  He says bus speeds on the M15 increased 17 percent. If so why has the M15 lost 3 million annual passengers in the past five years (before the Second Avenue Subway opened? Are they not paying the fare or are there really  fewer riders?

He also talks about making bus stops every five blocks. When I went to school, I was taught that people will walk a half mile to a subway and only a quarter mile to a local bus. So with stops every five blocks, everyone would have to live on the street where the bus operates.

 

 

Buses are making too many stops, and not only that, there's this sense that the bus is supposed to wait for EVERYONE running to get it. When the doors close the driver can't keep opening and closing the doors. There needs to be some sort of medium reached on that end. The next thing you know, you're now at another red light and your bus is slammed. It may be a good idea to reconfigure some of the locations of stops to avoid this problem. I think if buses were more frequent, you would see fewer people going crazy for buses. Several lines have packs of buses at a time and then nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Buses are making too many stops, and not only that, there's this sense that the bus is supposed to wait for EVERYONE running to get it. When the doors close the driver can't keep opening and closing the doors. There needs to be some sort of medium reached on that end. The next thing you know, you're now at another red light and your bus is slammed. It may be a good idea to reconfigure some of the locations of stops to avoid this problem. I think if buses were more frequent, you would see fewer people going crazy for buses. Several lines have packs of buses at a time and then nothing.

Exactly that entitlement a lot of folks have that I'm talking about.... I understand that nobody wants to get left in the dust, but at the same time, if b/o's are too nice with the whole waiting too long at some bus stop, you get this situation.... Nowadays, I don't bother running for a bus anymore - esp. if I have to cross the street to catch it.... Not worth it to a] almost get hit by a car & b] get to the stop at the same time the bus does, or a little after the bus does, for a 50/50 chance at getting left behind.... Never mind doing all that hustling & bustling, to catch up to a bus, that you can't even get on! That sort of thing irks me more than having just missed a bus....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get that traffic is bad and there are other little things that brings up the operating cost but I also think SBS contributes to that as well.

I get why the MTA is so quick to push out SBS service on several routes. To the average person it sounds nice. Offboard payment, nicer looking buses, and I can save time too. They know that it will draw people’s attention and where they get ya. And I admit it did catch my eye too when I was younger and when Queens got the Q44 SBS I was really interested in seeing how much better SBS really was. When I rode the Q44 SBS it really wasn’t that much faster then when it was a limited. Select bus is simply a band aid to a problem that still exist. SBS in my opinion is basically a way to shut the mouths of the people. The offboard payment is a huge plus to me only because I can get right on the bus and not have to wait on a line for people to dip their cards or even wait behind those who wait to get on the bus to then get their Metrocards out. There has been several times where I’ve rode on the Q44, the M23, M34 and even the new Q53/52 SBS routes and some of the machines are out of order. So basically that’s a free ride especially if you didn’t have to transfer. Most people do follow the rules and get the Sbs slip but I still see people farebeating more so at night and weekends when they know NYPD or Eagle Team is far less likely to be searching. The MTA of course is losing money and if these bus lanes aren’t being enforced then what’s the point? People don’t respect the bus lanes especially in Flushing on the Q44. So many trucks and cars double park in the bus lane causing the Q44 to be stuck in traffic and people still flock to SBS routes like crazy. Defeats the purpose of this better “faster” service. Meanwhile the local service gets cut and people will even pass up local service just to get on the SBS which may not even be near. Taking it back to Queens the amount of people that will pass of the Q20 local is crazy and the sad thing about it is yes the Q44 may get you to the stop fast but 95% of the time as soon as I cross the street the Q20 is pulling up right behind the Q44 so how much time do you really save. I think SBS is blowing tons of money. Some routes should have received better enforcement of the bus lanes and once a better system other than the Metrocard is found I’m sure boarding times will decrease and payment will be easier making service faster anyway. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, B35 via Church said:

Exactly that entitlement a lot of folks have that I'm talking about.... I understand that nobody wants to get left in the dust, but at the same time, if b/o's are too nice with the whole waiting too long at some bus stop, you get this situation.... Nowadays, I don't bother running for a bus anymore - esp. if I have to cross the street to catch it.... Not worth it to a] almost get hit by a car & b] get to the stop at the same time the bus does, or a little after the bus does, for a 50/50 chance at getting left behind.... Never mind doing all that hustling & bustling, to catch up to a bus, that you can't even get on! That sort of thing irks me more than having just missed a bus....

I have a pet peeve when a impending passenger sees my bus, they walk/run in the path of my bus when I'm trying to exit a bus stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, XBht26 said:

I have a pet peeve when a impending passenger sees my bus, they walk/run in the path of my bus when I'm trying to exit a bus stop.

I don't blame you.... If I were a b/o, I would too.... Accident waiting to happen....

As a motorist, I absolutely can't stand when I'm the lead car at the light, bad boy turns green, THEN people decide they want to start crossing the street... Then have the nerve to stand in front of your car hurling obscenities, or the usual "....hit me and I'mma sue" BS....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

If stops are spaced every 5 blocks, the largest distance you would walk to a stop (once you reach the street) would be 2.5 blocks, half the distance.

I realized my mistake five minutes after posting but figured it was too late to correct. But the point remains the same. Unless bus routes are spaced every avenue block as in Manhattan, elsewhere many would be beyond the quarter-mile walking guideline which is in effect in NYC except for outer Staten Island, although this guideline is more or less ignored today.  

In Manhattan where there are multiple local routes as on Fifth Avenue, I believe only half the local routes stop at every bus stop every  two blocks. So that leaves only avenues where a single route operates where the stops are located every two blocks and you have SBS on First and Second Avenues anyway so it doesn't matter unless you believe the local should just be eliminated.  So if stops are changed to every quarter mile where the walking guideline is not exceeded, it only would only apply to a handful of north south Manhattan routes out of the over 200 local city bus routes.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, B35 via Church said:

Wasn't local bus service a big thing with those riders? I remember reading either some news article or peoples commentaries to it on some blog, that pointed out the outrage of M15 riders & what was going on w/ the lack of locals showing up & the SBS' that was skipping so many stops (paraphrasing)....

Half a mile to the subway, as in, your average person... Ouch :mellow:

Those days are gone.... I hate to make this type of an argument, but people have gotten more entitled & more lazy.... I remember people used to walk from Flatbush (or even E. 18th) to Nostrand like it was going out of style during the 80's/90's... Don't see near as much walking along Church as you used to nowadays... Same can be said for the commercial stretch of Flatbush av around Church/Flatbush & making their way to/from the Brighton line (the stores along that part of F'bush leave nothing much to be desired though, but still)....

One thing I will say about bus usage over the years, is that it does seem like there's a bit of an influx of (not just the elderly, which is expected, but younger) folks as well taking buses for less than a handful of local stops & what not... This is something I used to get very agitated with (say about 10-15 yrs or so ago) - to the point where I would get off & walk the rest of the way.... But now that it's as commonplace as it is, I'm like, ehh whatever.... Particularly love the ones that farebeat, to then get off 2 or 3 local stops afterwards....

As for stops every 5 blocks, I don't have too much of a problem with that..... A bus making stops every 2 "street" blocks in Manhattan (for example) though, can get rather irritating....

 

Yes, before bus subway transfers and monthly passes, many walked three quarters of a mile to the subway. Since now for many of them a short bus trip costs them nothing more, they have become lazier. Anyway, I don't think there are many routes in Manhattan that stop every other city block anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Buses are making too many stops, and not only that, there's this sense that the bus is supposed to wait for EVERYONE running to get it. When the doors close the driver can't keep opening and closing the doors. There needs to be some sort of medium reached on that end. The next thing you know, you're now at another red light and your bus is slammed. It may be a good idea to reconfigure some of the locations of stops to avoid this problem. I think if buses were more frequent, you would see fewer people going crazy for buses. Several lines have packs of buses at a time and then nothing.

When you say "too many" stops. Exactly what are you talking about? Do you believe crosstown buses should stop at every other avenue block? That would be ridiculous.

As for buses on the avenues, which routes are stopping every other block except for perhaps the M15? I see buses stop every four or five blocks in most cases with only half the routes stopping at one stop and the other half stopping two blocks later.  Then you have all the express bus stops. So just because you see a bus stop every other block, that doesn't necessarily mean a bus stops every other block.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, BrooklynBus said:

When you say "too many" stops. Exactly what are you talking about? Do you believe crosstown buses should stop at every other avenue block? That would be ridiculous.

As for buses on the avenues, which routes are stopping every other block except for perhaps the M15? I see buses stop every four or five blocks in most cases with only half the routes stopping at one stop and the other half stopping two blocks later.  Then you have all the express bus stops. So just because you see a bus stop every other block, that doesn't necessarily mean a bus stops every other block.

I'm not talking about "seeing a bus stop every other block". I'm talking about PHYSICAL stops every other block. Then there are the people that want to be dropped off practically in front of their destination. We have a guy like this on the express bus who wants to be let off in front of his building, and then files complaints against the drivers when they refuse because it isn't safe to do so. Buses are NOT cabs. They are buses. The sooner people get that, the better the service will be.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/31/2018 at 11:14 PM, B35 via Church said:

One thing I will say about bus usage over the years, is that it does seem like there's a bit of an influx of (not just the elderly, which is expected, but younger) folks as well taking buses for less than a handful of local stops & what not...

That's true that super-short distance riding has increased, but at the same time a lot of younger people are getting fed up with waiting for buses to traverse a walkable distance. For example, when I have an unlimited, I prefer to take the M100/101 to the IND at 125th, as opposed to walking to 145th, but most of my friends prefer to walk if they need the IND. (For the (1) there's obviously no other option besides walking) And on the other end, walking from areas like Halsey on the (L) to the B38 Seneca  terminal as opposed to taking the Q55. Then there's the people who advocate biking everywhere (I remember in an economics class a few years ago, we had to debate congestion pricing, and somebody said for intra-Manhattan trips everyone should just bike)

Edited by checkmatechamp13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

That's true that super-short distance riding has increased, but at the same time a lot of younger people are getting fed up with waiting for buses to traverse a walkable distance. For example, when I have an unlimited, I prefer to take the M100/101 to the IND at 125th, as opposed to walking to 145th, but most of my friends prefer to walk if they need the IND. (For the (1) there's obviously no other option besides walking) And on the other end, walking from areas like Halsey on the (L) to the B38 Seneca  terminal as opposed to taking the Q55. Then there's the people who advocate biking everywhere (I remember in an economics class a few years ago, we had to debate congestion pricing, and somebody said for intra-Manhattan trips everyone should just bike)

Speaking of biking, I've been noticing something strange as far as the citi-bikes go.... Just being out & about, I've been seeing the vast majority of docks I pass by, about as empty as anything.... However, I'm not seeing the reciprocation of as many citi-bikes that are being used.... In laymens, where the heck are all these bikes? Lol.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

Speaking of biking, I've been noticing something strange as far as the citi-bikes go.... Just being out & about, I've been seeing the vast majority of docks I pass by, about as empty as anything.... However, I'm not seeing the reciprocation of as many citi-bikes that are being used.... In laymens, where the heck are all these bikes? Lol.....

They're not always stocked in some areas or they are taken out of a lot of areas by users.  I see a lot of riders in Midtown.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

They're not always stocked in some areas or they are taken out of a lot of areas by users.  I see a lot of riders in Midtown.

News to me, as I've never used em (and flat out refuse to ever ride a bike of any sort ever again)..... I was under the impression that with the installation of all the docks, came with a full house of bicycles in each slot along with it....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

News to me, as I've never used em (and flat out refuse to ever ride a bike of any sort ever again)..... I was under the impression that with the installation of all the docks, came with a full house of bicycles in each slot along with it....

I think there's an app that tells the users where the stations are and if there are bikes available (docked there). I imagine that the CitiBike vans go around and "re-stock" the stations with bikes. For example, stations on the Upper East can be empty in the morning with riders biking to their offices, which I've seen a few times.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 2/1/2018 at 3:21 PM, BrooklynBus said:

Yes, before bus subway transfers and monthly passes, many walked three quarters of a mile to the subway. Since now for many of them a short bus trip costs them nothing more, they have become lazier. Anyway, I don't think there are many routes in Manhattan that stop every other city block anyway.

Which begs the question, is ridership simply returning to pre free transfer numbers because the novelty wore off? I prefer to walk than to sit in traffic or red traffic signals most of the trip

Edited by N6 Limited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, N6 Limited said:

Which begs the question, is ridership simply returning to pre free transfer numbers because the novelty wore off? I prefer to walk than to sit in traffic or red traffic signals most of the trip

1

I would say it's a mix of things. A lot of lines that primarily run parallel to subway lines (meaning a relatively small percentage of riders use them to transfer to the subway) saw the largest decreases. Some say it's because the subways have become safer and all, but I think we're way past that era where it would be a significant issue (this is just talking 2011-2016 ridership, not back from the 1980s and 1990s). You have hipsters who continue to move to areas like Williamsburg who generally shun the bus, but that doesn't explain the huge drops in ridership all over Manhattan (if anything, the LES is one of the few areas in Manhattan where ridership grew a bit). 

The lines that primarily serve to feed the subway or run perpendicular to them generally held steady, or in some cases saw nice increases (skimming through the comptroller's report , the Bx6, Bx35, Bx41, B13, B100, B103, M106, M116, Q25, Q50, Q72, and Q103 all saw decent-sized increases in ridership over the past 5 years. I didn't feel like sorting them with Excel, though I might do that another time). Some of that is probably due to development (Gateway Mall on the B13, the waterfront development on the Q103, etc). But I would imagine that on those routes, a higher percentage are using the bus strictly for crosstown travel compared to prior years (e.g. Subway-bound ridership remains relatively flat, but more people are using those routes to travel to areas like Fordham, Washington Heights, Gateway Mall, etc, but that's just a hunch)

There were a few exceptions (the routes in the Flatbush/East Flatbush area saw large decreases, probably in part due to competition from dollar vans, though it seems the B12 has managed to drive away riders with crummy service). The Bx5 also saw a decent-sized loss considering it serves isolated sections of Soundview.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/1/2018 at 7:40 AM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Buses are making too many stops, and not only that, there's this sense that the bus is supposed to wait for EVERYONE running to get it. When the doors close the driver can't keep opening and closing the doors. There needs to be some sort of medium reached on that end. The next thing you know, you're now at another red light and your bus is slammed. It may be a good idea to reconfigure some of the locations of stops to avoid this problem. I think if buses were more frequent, you would see fewer people going crazy for buses. Several lines have packs of buses at a time and then nothing.

I would say that perhaps in the outer boroughs, perhaps stops should be lengthened to every 750-1000 feet, unless there is something locally present that makes such not viable.

On 1/31/2018 at 5:00 PM, Deucey said:

Really don't understand why we've had all these bus purchases since 2015 versus doing like Chi and staggering bus purchases - if not 1/12th of the fleet per year, 1/4th of the fleet every 4 years.

But I think NYC's traffic issue - aside from practically EVERY DAMN SURFACE STREET being a two-lane road (with parking) is that you have so few intersections that aren't signalized that speeds slow and trip times elongate because one can go through a green and end up at a red a block later.

NYC needs to rationalize intersection signaling. Some of these need to go to speed up traffic, and some intersections should be redone to force turns like Toronto did with that one block with the streetcar on it.

In terms of bus procurements, however, the sheer size of the MTA's fleet makes replacing 1/12th of the fleet not feasible. Also consider:

1. CNG buses need to be replaced absolutely sooner than diesel buses when the CNG fleet had 15-year tanks on them (those buses arriving since 2010 have 20-year tanks on them)

2. The Orion V buses had frame rot problems that most RTS buses have not had, forcing the MTA to dispose of those buses sooner than similarly-aged RTS buses.

In something that largely applies only to the New York MTA, the Los Angeles MTA, and New Jersey Transit, (less so for the LACMTA because it's a CNG fleet), replacing 1/12 or even 1/15 of the fleet every year isn't practical. Hence why buses run in NYC basically until they're no longer roadworthy, and are then scrapped, which is why the MTA has 22-year old buses in service while most agencies are replacing buses 10 years newer this year.

 

Something else I will add for consideration...except for a bus here and there, the entire local/limited/SBS fleet has been speed limited to a top speed of 40 mph. While this is rarely an issue except for certain routes, primarily in Staten Island Division and for routes with long distances between stops, such as the B103 on the Prospect Expressway M60, Q50, and Woodhaven/X-Bay SBS, I have to wonder if increasing the top speed on the local fleet by 5 mph (to a top speed of 45 mph) might help, which would also help with climbing suspension bridges or long hills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

I would say it's a mix of things. A lot of lines that primarily run parallel to subway lines (meaning a relatively small percentage of riders use them to transfer to the subway) saw the largest decreases. Some say it's because the subways have become safer and all, but I think we're way past that era where it would be a significant issue (this is just talking 2011-2016 ridership, not back from the 1980s and 1990s). You have hipsters who continue to move to areas like Williamsburg who generally shun the bus, but that doesn't explain the huge drops in ridership all over Manhattan (if anything, the LES is one of the few areas in Manhattan where ridership grew a bit). 

The lines that primarily serve to feed the subway or run perpendicular to them generally held steady, or in some cases saw nice increases (skimming through the comptroller's report , the Bx6, Bx35, Bx41, B13, B100, B103, M106, M116, Q25, Q50, Q72, and Q103 all saw decent-sized increases in ridership over the past 5 years. I didn't feel like sorting them with Excel, though I might do that another time). Some of that is probably due to development (Gateway Mall on the B13, the waterfront development on the Q103, etc). But I would imagine that on those routes, a higher percentage are using the bus strictly for crosstown travel compared to prior years (e.g. Subway-bound ridership remains relatively flat, but more people are using those routes to travel to areas like Fordham, Washington Heights, Gateway Mall, etc, but that's just a hunch)

There were a few exceptions (the routes in the Flatbush/East Flatbush area saw large decreases, probably in part due to competition from dollar vans, though it seems the B12 has managed to drive away riders with crummy service). The Bx5 also saw a decent-sized loss considering it serves isolated sections of Soundview.

So initially, the whole thing was driven by the subways increasing in safety. Since the subways (with maybe the exception of super slow lines like the (J) ) have generally been faster than the buses, the initial ridership change was just a correction accounting for the relative speeds.

However, as reliability on buses has fallen apart, that increases the natural speed differential with the subway. So that encourages even more ridership. People have also become more tolerant of walking and biking as we've upgraded pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure throughout the city. A bike ride today outpaces even the buses of the past.

I think that as time goes on, we'll have to re-orient the speed hierarchy of non-motorized transfers, to reflect that buses should probably be faster than bikes except for very short trips. This will involve stop eliminations and TSP and targeted bus lanes, but it'll have to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

 

Which begs the question, is ridership simply returning to pre free transfer numbers because the novelty wore off? I prefer to walk than to sit in traffic or red traffic signals most of the trip

I don't think getting a ride for free verses paying for it is a novelty. Ridership went down because of unreliability, bus slowness and increased traffic congestion. I also think that bus lanes, bike lanes, increased construction, and lower speed limits all contributed to increased traffic congestion and the lack of bus lane enforcement contributed to decreases in bus speeds. Also, as times goes by, stagnant bus routes make them less useful. Increased illegal liveries competing with buses, more people cycling, people walking more to keep fit, all contributed to lower bus ridership. Even Bus Time lowers ridership. If you know beforehand that a bus is 45 minutes away, why bother wait for it when you walk there faster? I really don't know to what degree it increased ridership. If someone was going to drive, would knowing a bus is two minutes away get him to change his mind? I doubt that it would. 

Edited by BrooklynBus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.