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Via Garibaldi 8

Express Bus Advocacy Group

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1 hour ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

Ideally, if the buses were close to each other, the 6:50 AM could have also stayed in front, and bypass everything south of 23rd Street (while the other makes all stops). The FDR and 23rd Street are generally free-flowing at those times on Saturday, so that bus could have bypassed Lower Manhattan entirely. 

 

59 minutes ago, Lil 57 said:

Or just convert the 6:50 AM Bus into a rush hour SIM3.

Of course, the key is to make sure that people are well aware that the bus will bypass Downtown, or else some people are in for an unpleasant surprise (basically, ask everybody getting on "Are you going to Midtown?" which might slow things down a bit). I think it would be easier to just bypass the stops on the Staten Island end.

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51 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

We know about the complaints to the QM2 and QM20, and will be requesting that the QM2 and QM20 be removed from 59th and returned back to 57th street.  We have been taking a lot of QM2 trips especially and requesting that road ops give additional attention to both Bay Terrace branches.  Furthermore, we will be requesting that the 00:00 QM2 be restored, and if necessary the QM32 trips back to Bay Terrace in the morning be considered for elimination to ensure that said QM2 trip is restored. The QM2 via 6th Avenue would still run every 30 minutes as it currently does in the mornings back to Bay Terrace.

We'd also ask for one or two more QM20 Super Express trips back to Bay Terrace at night so that more people could take advantage of the 6th and 36th stop. This could be done with some tweaking to the schedule and thus be cost neutral.

Finally, we'd call for the implementation of the QM20 running on weekends.  The feedback we've received seems to indicate that a lot of QM2 riders on weekends are actually QM20 riders, but since the QM2 tends to serve the more tonier parts of Northeast Queens such as Beechhurst and Malba (Whitestone), it is understood why the (MTA) runs the QM2, aside from those areas being more isolated.  The other option we considered was just having the QM2 run every 30 minutes for part of the day on weekends, but that doesn't seem to be as popular.

 

 

I think having the QM20 on weekends would be better than half-hourly QM2 service. Even with hourly service on both, the areas that the ridership tends to come from would end up having half-hourly service. Plus, individually, the QM2 and QM20 would cover more areas. Hopefully that can boost ridership in that section of NE Queens.

Edited by BM5 via Woodhaven

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16 minutes ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

I think having the QM20 on weekends would be better than half-hourly QM2 service. Even with hourly service on both, the areas that the ridership tends to come from would end up having half-hourly service. Plus, individually, the QM2 and QM20 would cover more areas. Hopefully that can boost ridership in that section of NE Queens.

That seems to be the general consensus when I threw out the idea. 

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Weekday night northbound BxM3 trips after 10:00 always switch off with the BxM4 in which ones the MTA will send out and which ones they won't. Friday night, the 10:05PM northbound BxM3 never showed up and on Sunday afternoon, the 3:30PM southbound BxM1 never showed. Mid-late afternoon southbound trips tend to have this problem from time to time on the BxM1/2, especially on weekends.

also, outside of Rush Hour, no express buses should be going through Inwood at all unless they are making stops there. The whole process to get to the HRD can take 15-20 minutes.

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7 hours ago, 78 via Stew Leonards said:

Weekday night northbound BxM3 trips after 10:00 always switch off with the BxM4 in which ones the MTA will send out and which ones they won't. Friday night, the 10:05PM northbound BxM3 never showed up and on Sunday afternoon, the 3:30PM southbound BxM1 never showed. Mid-late afternoon southbound trips tend to have this problem from time to time on the BxM1/2, especially on weekends.

also, outside of Rush Hour, no express buses should be going through Inwood at all unless they are making stops there. The whole process to get to the HRD can take 15-20 minutes.

Weekends, we have been monitoring the BxM1 and BxM2. We’ve received a lot of complaints about poor service from Riverdalians and we have witnessed it first hand. The problem is that these trips sometimes are VERY late in Manhattan, late on the return trip to Riverdale, and thus late doing the next trip to Manhattan, and they may stay late all day. A few weekends ago, we waited over an hour for the BxM2, and then two of them came. The BxM1 was equally late. There have been various missing trips on the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18, weekly, and we strongly suspect that the following is happening:

Some trips don’t have regular drivers, and in cases where there is a filler for the trip, they simply don’t fill it, perhaps because they don’t have the manpower as was admitted yesterday for one trip we inquired about. The question then is why don’t they given all of the drivers available? It goes back to what I suspected years ago that people here said wasn’t happening, which is when fillers have to be used for trips, they aren’t filling many of them, thus saving them money, something they admitted publicly years ago after the 2010 cuts. It’s a way to save money, and since they have to have a balanced budget each year, this is one of the ways that they are doing it.... On our backs, which is not appreciated. The real problem now is that so many trips are going missing that it’s becoming quite noticeable and people are starting to complain because it’s happening more frequently during rush hour.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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11 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

We know about the complaints to the QM2 and QM20, and will be requesting that the QM2 and QM20 be removed from 59th and returned back to 57th street.  We have been taking a lot of QM2 trips especially and requesting that road ops give additional attention to both Bay Terrace branches.  Furthermore, we will be requesting that the 00:00 QM2 be restored, and if necessary the QM32 trips back to Bay Terrace in the morning be considered for elimination to ensure that said QM2 trip is restored. The QM2 via 6th Avenue would still run every 30 minutes as it currently does in the mornings back to Bay Terrace.

We'd also ask for one or two more QM20 Super Express trips back to Bay Terrace at night so that more people could take advantage of the 6th and 36th stop. This could be done with some tweaking to the schedule and thus be cost neutral.

Finally, we'd call for the implementation of the QM20 running on weekends.  The feedback we've received seems to indicate that a lot of QM2 riders on weekends are actually QM20 riders, but since the QM2 tends to serve the more tonier parts of Northeast Queens such as Beechhurst and Malba (Whitestone), it is understood why the (MTA) runs the QM2, aside from those areas being more isolated.  The other option we considered was just having the QM2 run every 30 minutes for part of the day on weekends, but that doesn't seem to be as popular.

 

 

The move back to 57th St would help traffic-wise but probably won't happen due to DOT turn restrictions along 57th.  But they should encourage more drivers to bypass CPS.  I sometimes see drivers turning onto 57th, then Madison, and then back onto 59th in order to beat out the ridiculous traffic jams that can occur outside the Plaza Hotel.  If DOT can get involved, they need to find a way to increase No Standing restrictions on 59th to get more cars moving instead of ridiculous merges for parking/standing lanes that appear and disappear.

 

Additional SX trips would be nice, though taking away some local service in Midtown would suck for those riders in order to remain cost neutral.  Maybe they can convert a QM2 trip to a SX, since there's only one lonely trip on the schedule so far.

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1 hour ago, 7-express said:

The move back to 57th St would help traffic-wise but probably won't happen due to DOT turn restrictions along 57th.  But they should encourage more drivers to bypass CPS.  I sometimes see drivers turning onto 57th, then Madison, and then back onto 59th in order to beat out the ridiculous traffic jams that can occur outside the Plaza Hotel.  If DOT can get involved, they need to find a way to increase No Standing restrictions on 59th to get more cars moving instead of ridiculous merges for parking/standing lanes that appear and disappear.

QM2, QM3, and QM20 buses can turn at Madison to avoid the heavier part of 59 Street/Central Park South. The Madison Avenue stop can be placed either on Madison Ave & 57 Street with the Q32, or with the QM10, QM12, and QM24 on 57 Street.

Edited by BM5 via Woodhaven

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Is there any reason why the QM2,3,20,32 all have to use 59 Street? I mean aside from the fact that it's a straight shot onto Northern, traffic hardly moves until you clear 31 Street and Northern... This is a bit crazy but theoretically couldn't they just run them down Queens Blvd to 39 Street or 43 Street, make a left, cross the yards, then turn onto northern. Speaking from experience, those roads hardly ever are crowded (39 street can be hit or miss) in the rush. Hell, 35 street could even work even though it'll be a single lane road for two blocks.

The only issue I see is the turning radius of the buses and their length bringing up issues of them not being able to fit underneath the subway if enough cars have already gunked up that space

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28 minutes ago, Orion6025 said:

Is there any reason why the QM2,3,20,32 all have to use 59 Street? I mean aside from the fact that it's a straight shot onto Northern, traffic hardly moves until you clear 31 Street and Northern... This is a bit crazy but theoretically couldn't they just run them down Queens Blvd to 39 Street or 43 Street, make a left, cross the yards, then turn onto northern. Speaking from experience, those roads hardly ever are crowded (39 street can be hit or miss) in the rush. Hell, 35 street could even work even though it'll be a single lane road for two blocks.

The only issue I see is the turning radius of the buses and their length bringing up issues of them not being able to fit underneath the subway if enough cars have already gunked up that space

It's only because the DOT and their stupid policies.  I've already finished a draft of my agenda for the upcoming meeting and a big portion of that is going to be going to grilling the DOT rep about a number of traffic decisions that are killing peoples' commutes.  I want specifics. I want to know what sort of studies have been done, what the results have been and if they haven't done any studies, what led them to make some of these idiotic decisions? A lot of the anger is being placed on the (MTA) and some of it justified, but the DOT has been getting free pass in all of this because a lot of commuters don't know who is responsible for what, and they just want it fixed, but I've been doing a lot of digging on measures they've taken and a lot of makes no sense. 

I also am going to be calling for an updated study on what the effects of Vision Zero have been on traffic. Mayor de Blasio loves touting how fatalities have been decreased with the Vision Zero program, but we hear nothing about the impact it has had on traffic with the reduced speeds from 30 to 25mph nor the idiotic syncing of the lights, where express buses can spend up to 4 lights before even ONE of them can make a turn!  It's ridiculous.  I'm going to be pressing hard on the DOT to start earning their keep. This is a quality of life issue that is KILLING the commutes of THOUSANDS of New Yorkers every single damn day and it's infuriating that people aren't more angry about it.  I've had enough of the long commutes and I want the level of sanity that I once had getting to and from work. We don't know when a bus will come anymore, nor when we'll get to work. It was never like this before. Even as early as I leave now, I STILL am late to work at times because of the traffic, late buses and missing buses.  Quite frankly, people at the DOT should be fired for the mess that they've created around the City.

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42 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It's only because the DOT and their stupid policies.  I've already finished a draft of my agenda for the upcoming meeting and a big portion of that is going to be going to grilling the DOT rep about a number of traffic decisions that are killing peoples' commutes.  I want specifics. I want to know what sort of studies have been done, what the results have been and if they haven't done any studies, what led them to make some of these idiotic decisions? A lot of the anger is being placed on the (MTA) and some of it justified, but the DOT has been getting free pass in all of this because a lot of commuters don't know who is responsible for what, and they just want it fixed, but I've been doing a lot of digging on measures they've taken and a lot of makes no sense. 

I also am going to be calling for an updated study on what the effects of Vision Zero have been on traffic. Mayor de Blasio loves touting how fatalities have been decreased with the Vision Zero program, but we hear nothing about the impact it has had on traffic with the reduced speeds from 30 to 25mph nor the idiotic syncing of the lights, where express buses can spend up to 4 lights before even ONE of them can make a turn!  It's ridiculous.  I'm going to be pressing hard on the DOT to start earning their keep. This is a quality of life issue that is KILLING the commutes of THOUSANDS of New Yorkers every single damn day and it's infuriating that people aren't more angry about it.  I've had enough of the long commutes and I want the level of sanity that I once had getting to and from work. We don't know when a bus will come anymore, nor when we'll get to work. It was never like this before. Even as early as I leave now, I STILL am late to work at times because of the traffic, late buses and missing buses.  Quite frankly, people at the DOT should be fired for the mess that they've created around the City.

I agree with you 100% on this. Keep pressing them. The amount of idiocy with the MTA and DOT is astounding. We certainly need some accountability. Of course they have some good people too who do care, but we need to get rid of the idiots. 

Dont know if you seen how when they introduced the B82 SBS, they fooled around with the traffic signals and there have been massive complaints that Nostrand Avenue traffic is now hardly moving at times all the way from Flatbush to Kings Highway. Of course that also screws up the B44 SBS even more. 

All politicians do is talk vaguely how new programs will make a difference, but very few ever talk about specifics of the daily commute as you are doing.

I attended the MTA's private presentation of their new Performance Dashboard and asked at least a half dozen individuals involved about specifics regarding why certain statistics are not being collected and no one could answer be single question of the dozen or so I asked. Each person told me to speak to someone else. I even spoke to the lead guy on the project whom I used to work with and respect, and all he could tell me is that they have just begun and have only been working on the project for four months. He agreed that more needs to be done. But Byford spoke as if the work is all completed. 

Right now all they collect is information that makes them look good that has very little utility. They can only discern 30 day trends giving them clues what needs further study. The data is absolutely useless for planning and schedule purposes. 

Keep up the good work. 

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16 minutes ago, BrooklynBus said:

I agree with you 100% on this. Keep pressing them. The amount of idiocy with the MTA and DOT is astounding. We certainly need some accountability. Of course they have some good people too who do care, but we need to get rid of the idiots. 

Dont know if you seen how when they introduced the B82 SBS, they fooled around with the traffic signals and there have been massive complaints that Nostrand Avenue traffic is now hardly moving at times all the way from Flatbush to Kings Highway. Of course that also screws up the B44 SBS even more. 

All politicians do is talk vaguely how new programs will make a difference, but very few ever talk about specifics of the daily commute as you are doing.

I attended the MTA's private presentation of their new Performance Dashboard and asked at least a half dozen individuals involved about specifics regarding why certain statistics are not being collected and no one could answer be single question of the dozen or so I asked. Each person told me to speak to someone else. I even spoke to the lead guy on the project whom I used to work with and respect, and all he could tell me is that they have just begun and have only been working on the project for four months. He agreed that more needs to be done. But Byford spoke as if the work is all completed. 

Right now all they collect is information that makes them look good that has very little utility. They can only discern 30 day trends giving them clues what needs further study. The data is absolutely useless for planning and schedule purposes. 

Keep up the good work. 

After I attended the workshop, one of my contacts at the (MTA) told me that another (MTA) rep would be there. That person followed up with me the day after asking what I thought of it and I was honest. I told him the workshop was lackluster, and that I had spent some two hours and thirty minutes traveling to something that I could've done online. I also told him that I found the whole process of comparing frequency to coverage misleading because most commuters don't understand the difference between the two, and that if you asked most people, they would pick frequency because after all, we all like frequent service.  I told him that having such a setup without an explanation is a bad idea because often times people make assumptions about what service would look like. For example, when discussing network vs frequency, a lady at my table picked frequency, but then she went on to note that she thought that streets would have buses only, or have bus lanes dedicated to buses, hence her decision. The problem is neither is a guarantee, and if you have bus lanes with no enforcement, they become useless, as is the case on 5th Avenue. I also asked him, how could the (MTA) ascertain where riders go based on what was done? Just because you pick one method to commute for one trip doesn't represent how you generally travel, especially these days.  For example, in Riverdale, many riders use ALL transportation options. I myself use the BxM1, BxM2, BxM3, the BxM18 and Metro-North primarily, but I occasionally use the subway too depending on where I'm going. Riverdale is a bedroom community, so many people that live here commute to Manhattan from Riverdale.  

The (MTA) folks at my table even got slightly irritated with me because my commute didn't fit into a nice little box. They asked me for example, which Metro-North station do I use, and I said both because I live in between both, so then they go, well let's use the Spuyten Duyvil station. <_< My thinking was why don't we use both since I use both? I wasn't trying to be difficult, but if we're truly trying to understand travel patterns then we need to take into account how people travel.  While a few people used the bus to the subway, others said they used all types of transportation options to see what worked best for their commute, which makes sense.  Given the state of our transportation system, people can't depend on one way of commuting. Simply too many issues with service to not be flexible and know all alternatives.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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49 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

The (MTA) folks at my table even got slightly irritated with me because my commute didn't fit into a nice little box. They asked me for example, which Metro-North station do I use, and I said both because I live in between both, so then they go, well let's use the Spuyten Duyvil station. <_< My thinking was why don't we use both since I use both? I wasn't trying to be difficult, but if we're truly trying to understand travel patterns then we need to take into account how people travel.  While a few people used the bus to the subway, others said they used all types of transportation options to see what worked best for their commute, which makes sense.  Given the state of our transportation system, people can't depend on one way of commuting. Simply too many issues with service to not be flexible and know all alternatives.

It's because that's not what they want. They want to stick to a certain formula and by using this method they can force certain cuts since the "gathered data" shows that people aren't riding this route and such. 

 

There's a fast forward meeting at Hostos Community College on November 7th starting at 6:30. Maybe you can plan some questions to ask Byford and have them addressed to the public there.

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Just now, MysteriousBtrain said:

It's because that's not what they want. They want to stick to a certain formula and by using this method they can force certain cuts since the "gathered data" shows that people aren't riding this route and such. 

 

There's a fast forward meeting at Hostos Community College on November 7th starting at 6:30. Maybe you can plan some questions to ask Byford and have them addressed to the public there.

That's exactly what it is.  It seemed like they were literally trying to steer people to one choice.  What's worse is, if you're going to give people fewer options, at least be able to make service.  They have essentially admitted to me and the people on Staten Island that I've been working with that they can't make service on a daily basis.  When you eliminate options AND you can't make service, this is what you get.  People stranded with massive overcrowding.  It's insanity, and having this spread to the other boroughs... Smh...

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4 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I told him that having such a setup without an explanation is a bad idea because often times people make assumptions about what service would look like. 

I made that same exact point at Jacobi on Monday.

3 hours ago, MysteriousBtrain said:

There's a fast forward meeting at Hostos Community College on November 7th starting at 6:30. Maybe you can plan some questions to ask Byford and have them addressed to the public there.

Source please? (I didn't see it on the Fast Forward site or maybe I missed it)

And at the Fast Forward meetings the only one where you could talk to Byford was York College. For the other ones you can only speak to the planners

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2 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

I made that same exact point at Jacobi on Monday.

Source please? (I didn't see it on the Fast Forward site or maybe I missed it)

And at the Fast Forward meetings the only one where you could talk to Byford was York College. For the other ones you can only speak to the planners

And you probably got silence because they know the deal. Actually I just said out loud, keep in mind that if you choose frequent service that if the corridor is a mess, your service will be a mess because you won't have many other options. I didn't care what they said because it's so obvious what they were trying to do. After I said that, one of the ladies said, yeah you know what you're right, and she changed over to coverage. LOL

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59 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

I made that same exact point at Jacobi on Monday.

Source please? (I didn't see it on the Fast Forward site or maybe I missed it)

And at the Fast Forward meetings the only one where you could talk to Byford was York College. For the other ones you can only speak to the planners

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17 minutes ago, 78 via Stew Leonards said:

The service also won't really be improved until you insist on the drivers hauling ass with these buses. Express buses aren't meant to be slow and many of the drivers are driving like old ladies now.

On the highway and in certain areas outside of Manhattan there is no excuse. They should be performing top speed whereever the areas are.

If you're referring to Manhattan, then honestly it's a bit harder since this city is too crowded for its own good.

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4 hours ago, 78 via Stew Leonards said:

The service also won't really be improved until you insist on the drivers hauling ass with these buses. Express buses aren't meant to be slow and many of the drivers are driving like old ladies now.

Yes, a lot of them drive like they have all the time in the world and we will be monitoring certain trips for sure. 

4 hours ago, MysteriousBtrain said:

On the highway and in certain areas outside of Manhattan there is no excuse. They should be performing top speed whereever the areas are.

If you're referring to Manhattan, then honestly it's a bit harder since this city is too crowded for its own good.

No, he has a point, and I sent a long e-mail to my contacts about this. My meeting agenda focuses heavily on on-time performance, on-time metrics and on-time goals and I'm likely going to be petitioning the Comptroller's Office to do an audit of the agency to see where they are with on-time performance going back to 2015. Before that audit, they didn't even have an on-time metric. I also spoke with one of my contacts via conference call about this and then sent an e-mail following up and he tried to slide around me pressing for better on-time performance and getting on drivers who hang around the terminal. I told him we want drivers to understand that we want them leaving the terminal on-time (not early and not late as some of them do when they arrive at the terminal on-time originally) and that these are express buses. My agenda also will be pressing the DOT on a number of traffic issues that can improve bus speeds and on-time performance because the DOT plays a big role in this. I've been assured that the DOT will be at this meeting per my request.

-----

On another note, the QM5 drivers that took the wrong detour and skipped the loop will be dealt with accordingly. We will continue to monitor trips across the system and step up our random trips to ensure that buses are meeting schedules and doing the trips as they should be and not skipping stops.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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We have finally been able to reach some City Island commuters to see just how they commute. I am surprised to learn that some of them currently drive to Metro-North because of the limited BxM8 service. We want to see how many of them would use the BxM8 if it had more extended trip from Pelham Bay.

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On 10/23/2018 at 4:56 PM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

And you probably got silence because they know the deal. Actually I just said out loud, keep in mind that if you choose frequent service that if the corridor is a mess, your service will be a mess because you won't have many other options. I didn't care what they said because it's so obvious what they were trying to do. After I said that, one of the ladies said, yeah you know what you're right, and she changed over to coverage. LOL

I was thinking more on the local bus side...most of the main corridors are already frequent (their definition was "as often as every 5-10 minutes", and it didn't specify whether it's peak or off-peak. I mean, the vast majority of Bronx routes already run every 5-10 minutes during rush hours). So for example, say you cut the Bx32 and use those buses for increased service on the Bx1/2 & Bx41 (ignoring for a second that those other lines use artics while the Bx32 uses 40-foot buses)....then either way, those lines are still "frequent" whether you added that service or not. So then the next pick (or maybe a couple of picks later if they're generous), you cut those extra buses to "adjust service to meet the loading guidelines" (especially since the Bx1/2 parallel the subway) and now you're left with two frequent routes, minus the one infrequent one (and even the Bx32 runs every 8-10 minutes during rush hour). Frequency attracts ridership only to a certain point: Once the frequency is above a certain level, people have pretty much made up their mind about whether they're going to ride or not (and the key in any case is to make sure that frequent or not, those buses run reliably)

Granted, there's a few areas in the East Bronx that are lacking in coverage (I'm thinking of corridors like Baychester Avenue & 222nd Street), but even then, if you pull buses from routes like the Bx18, Bx32, Bx33, and Bx46 to create those East Bronx routes, then all you're doing is trading coverage in one area for coverage in another.

On the express buses, I forget who else mentioned it, but yeah, like you said, if you consolidate the BxM1 & BxM2, you can run fewer buses per hour on the combined route than on the two separate routes and still get away with it. (And if the route is frequent, any gaps in service can be blamed on "traffic" as opposed to missing trips. Like you said, on some routes they just put down "Every 4-5 minutes" and hope people don't notice a 10 minute gap). 

11 hours ago, Lawrence St said:

Is this for the subway or buses?

Buses.

Edited by checkmatechamp13

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26 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

I was thinking more on the local bus side...most of the main corridors are already frequent (their definition was "as often as every 5-10 minutes", and it didn't specify whether it's peak or off-peak. I mean, the vast majority of Bronx routes already run every 5-10 minutes during rush hours). So for example, say you cut the Bx32 and use those buses for increased service on the Bx1/2 & Bx41 (ignoring for a second that those other lines use artics while the Bx32 uses 40-foot buses)....then either way, those lines are still "frequent" whether you added that service or not. So then the next pick (or maybe a couple of picks later if they're generous), you cut those extra buses to "adjust service to meet the loading guidelines" (especially since the Bx1/2 parallel the subway) and now you're left with two frequent routes, minus the one infrequent one (and even the Bx32 runs every 8-10 minutes during rush hour). Frequency attracts ridership only to a certain point: Once the frequency is above a certain level, people have pretty much made up their mind about whether they're going to ride or not (and the key in any case is to make sure that frequent or not, those buses run reliably)

Granted, there's a few areas in the East Bronx that are lacking in coverage (I'm thinking of corridors like Baychester Avenue & 222nd Street), but even then, if you pull buses from routes like the Bx18, Bx32, Bx33, and Bx46 to create those East Bronx routes, then all you're doing is trading coverage in one area for coverage in another.

On the express buses, I forget who else mentioned it, but yeah, like you said, if you consolidate the BxM1 & BxM2, you can run fewer buses per hour on the combined route than on the two separate routes and still get away with it. (And if the route is frequent, any gaps in service can be blamed on "traffic" as opposed to missing trips. Like you said, on some routes they just put down "Every 4-5 minutes" and hope people don't notice a 10 minute gap). 

That's something that they've been doing at the stops in Bay Ridge, and I spoke with Senator Golden about it yesterday at his office.  I told him we have got to get those schedules changed to reflect the exact times, and at first he didn't get it, but after I explained why he got it very quickly because as I told him, that's exactly how you can get away with not running trips. You put down that the bus is due every so many minutes, and the next thing you know, you've been waiting double that time, and you're not really sure how many buses should have come since it's an approximate time. Meanwhile the (MTA) knows very well how many buses should've come at that time, and the passengers have noticed it too because they've been noticing the long waits and overcrowding on Shore Road, practically every single morning.  After that he basically finished my comments about how buses then come in packs because he knows exactly what happens with the service given the complaints over the years.  

I was not expecting to meet him personally given my communications with his office via e-mail, but we had a great and frank conversation for about 45 minutes just going over express bus service (briefly talked about how the no right turns on 5th from 57th to 34th could even help folks in Gerritsen Beach with the BM4 and the BM3 since those buses run through his district as well), DOT issues (Gowanus, other local streets, enforcement, TSP, etc.), bus stop problems, countdown clocks and congestion issues.

He strongly believes that congestion pricing may be back on the table next year, and we both agreed that the City hasn't done a damn thing to address the big elephant in the room, which is the over saturation of Ubers, Lyfts, and trucks.  It took me almost two hours to get to Bay Ridge yesterday with the X27, and about an hour to get out of Manhattan, and this was an off-peak trip. The number of Ubers I saw was just amazing coming down Broadway.  We both think that congestion pricing is needed (moreso to fund the (MTA) regularly), but it won't deal with the amount of cars on the road, so some restrictions have to be put in place to limit the amount of Ubers.  We also talked about weekend service (something he totally gets because people want to go and have dinner or go to a show, so that's something he's going to fight for though the (MTA) has pushed hard on it), so basically I laid out some goals that we have and some of them we can perhaps work together on to achieve.  He's asked that one of his staff members be in on the upcoming meeting we're going to have with the DOT and (MTA) and I'm keeping them in the loop as well. 

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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On 10/23/2018 at 12:09 PM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

After I attended the workshop, one of my contacts at the (MTA) told me that another (MTA) rep would be there. That person followed up with me the day after asking what I thought of it and I was honest. I told him the workshop was lackluster, and that I had spent some two hours and thirty minutes traveling to something that I could've done online. I also told him that I found the whole process of comparing frequency to coverage misleading because most commuters don't understand the difference between the two, and that if you asked most people, they would pick frequency because after all, we all like frequent service.  I told him that having such a setup without an explanation is a bad idea because often times people make assumptions about what service would look like. For example, when discussing network vs frequency, a lady at my table picked frequency, but then she went on to note that she thought that streets would have buses only, or have bus lanes dedicated to buses, hence her decision. The problem is neither is a guarantee, and if you have bus lanes with no enforcement, they become useless, as is the case on 5th Avenue. I also asked him, how could the (MTA) ascertain where riders go based on what was done? Just because you pick one method to commute for one trip doesn't represent how you generally travel, especially these days.  For example, in Riverdale, many riders use ALL transportation options. I myself use the BxM1, BxM2, BxM3, the BxM18 and Metro-North primarily, but I occasionally use the subway too depending on where I'm going. Riverdale is a bedroom community, so many people that live here commute to Manhattan from Riverdale.  

The (MTA) folks at my table even got slightly irritated with me because my commute didn't fit into a nice little box. They asked me for example, which Metro-North station do I use, and I said both because I live in between both, so then they go, well let's use the Spuyten Duyvil station. <_< My thinking was why don't we use both since I use both? I wasn't trying to be difficult, but if we're truly trying to understand travel patterns then we need to take into account how people travel.  While a few people used the bus to the subway, others said they used all types of transportation options to see what worked best for their commute, which makes sense.  Given the state of our transportation system, people can't depend on one way of commuting. Simply too many issues with service to not be flexible and know all alternatives.

What you state is typical of the MTA. They mislead and they lie. Byford stated the plans will be consumer driven. If that was really the case, they would come to these sessions and ask what the problems are from the consumers viewpoint and how do they think these problems should be addressed. That doesn't mean they have to accept every suggestion that is made, but they should at least evaluate them from an objective viewpoint. 

But what you get from the MTA is illusion. They want you to think they are listening to you and you are deciding the plan, when all along they have their own ideas of what they want to do and will pursue them regardless of what they are told. Nothing has changed. 

Their plan is to eliminate parallel routes to save money. So they ask if you prefer frequency or coverage without fully explaining their plan. Then they eliminate half the bus stops and a third of the routes, but increase service on the remaining routes by 25 percent, not 33 percent, so the net result is a cut in service. Then they can say since most people chose frequency, they are only doing what most people wanted and if you oppose their plans, you are in the minority and it's your fault for not speaking up and voicing your opinion. 

I've been around long enough to be aware of their tactics. 

Just look at how they went about the B82 SBS. They promised a Southwest Brooklyn route from Bay Ridge across southern Brooklyn to increase accessibility and got federal funding for that. Without explanation, it became a B82 SBS. Did they ever ask riders for their suggestions or if they thought SBS was the solution? No. They predetermined SBS as the solution. Then they asked riders for the problems. Of course they got the predicted results: buses are unreliable, they bunch,  waits are too long, buses get stuck in traffic, buses are overcrowded, etc, Then they say that everyone supports SBS because it will make buses more reliable, more frequent and less crowded and exclusive bus lanes and longer buses will do all that. 

When the truth was that exclusive lanes on the wide portion of Kings Highway did not make buses go any faster because their own data (which you had to hunt for in several separate presentations) showed average bus speed was already exceeding 20 mph on that portion of Kings Highway. All those lanes did was tie up other traffic. 

Did they ask people if the route needed to be broken up, changed or extended to Gateway Shopping Center or JFK? No. Because they had no intention of doing any of that. When I submitted ideas to DOT because there was nothing on the MTA website, where most people would look for the plan, they only responded with a form letter but never discussed anything I wrote with me, because what I asked for did not fit any of their plans. 

I didn't attend any of the meetings for precisely the reason that I knew it would be a waste of time. 

Also, when I used to work in Downtown Brooklyn, my return trip was usually different from my going to work trip because I didn't mind it taking a little longer if I was more comfortable and got a seat. I am sure many people think this way, but as you said, they don't want to hear that because it doesn't fit into their nice neat boxes. They can't listen, because interpretation of MetroCard data assumes everyone makes the same trip both ways, and if that isn't true for many riders, that messes up all their statistics. 

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