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Via Garibaldi 8

Express Bus Advocacy Group

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1 hour ago, trife86 said:

That picture doesn't make it look like the tour bus is the problem. The tour bus was in the correct lane to make that turn, the other bus not so much.

Could be true, but the tour buses have been a problem in general.

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27 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Could be true, but the tour buses have been a problem in general.

Yes indeed.

It's a tough one though, I don't think the tour busses are a bad thing as it is a popular thing to see a new city.

They are slow as molasses though, but semi-predictable in their movement at least.

Yellow cabs are worse IMO lol 

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1 minute ago, trife86 said:

Yes indeed.

It's a tough one though, I don't think the tour busses are a bad thing as it is a popular thing to see a new city.

They are slow as molasses though, but semi-predictable in their movement at least.

Yellow cabs are worse IMO lol 

The tour buses are a necessary evil.  I just think that they shouldn't be sharing bus stops with express buses.  Too much of a mess.  Yellow cabs are another issue since they block the bus lanes.

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I have been thinking and finalizing what I plan on addressing during tomorrow's speech and I think that since there are two board meetings this week, I can simply touch on missing scheduled buses and the bus lanes.

During our meeting last Friday, we discussed how the LIRR riders were able to sue the (MTA) for not providing service, and if we need to explore that route, I am more than happy to do so.

For tomorrow, we will be clear that we expect the agency to provide the scheduled service and we will give them time to address the problem, as we know revised schedules are coming, but we will be monitoring their progress, and if they continue to dick around with service then we'll take it to the media and elected officials to put this issue front and center. It is their job to meet scheduled service. The monies have been allocated for it, so there is no excuse to have buses missing for days.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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2 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I have been thinking and finalizing what I plan on addressing during tomorrow's speech and I think that since there are two board meetings this week, I can simply touch on missing scheduled buses and the bus lanes.

During our meeting last Friday, we discussed how the LIRR riders were able to sue the (MTA) for not providing service, and if we need to explore that route, I am more than happy to do so.

For tomorrow, we will be clear that we expect the agency to provide the scheduled service and we will give them time to address the problem, as we know revised schedules are coming, but we will be monitoring their progress, and if they continue to dick around with service then we'll take it to the media and elected officials to put this issue front and center. It is their job to meet scheduled service. The monies have been allocated for it, so there is no excuse to have buses missing for days.

I wish I could go, but tomorrow is Sukkot. I look forward to check the recordings of the meetings to hear what you have to say.

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51 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

I wish I could go, but tomorrow is Sukkot. I look forward to check the recordings of the meetings to hear what you have to say.

Yes, I plan to be there bright and early.

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We took a few trips on the express buses today checking for cleanliness, promptness of service and missing buses. The original plan was to take the X28, but instead the X27 was selected due to the weather at the time. Boarded the 12:00 bus at 79th and Shore Road. Driver was courteous and prompt despite a detour via 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. Bus was fairly clean. No visible trash at least. All express buses have been arriving the last few days though I was almost bypassed with several other passengers Friday night and that bus was about 10 minutes late despite being at the terminal (BxM2). The driver realized this and pulled over to let us board. However the real test will be coming starting tomorrow. We want to see how the agency handles the UN being in session. We want the (MTA) to do a better job with planned detours. Of late we have noticed improvement with the information provided on the website for them, with operators actually following them exactly as given on the website. It has been something that I've been adamant about getting changed for years and we intend to keep on this as well and monitor it. We have a lot of ideas and things planned for this week aside from the board meetings. We're also trying to decide on a website or some sort of social media page and several other things. More to come...

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I just discovered that the express buses (in Staten Island, at least) have a scanner above the door that counts the number of people boarding the bus. Is this a new thing or has it always been there?

I mention this because IMO the MTA should release bus ridership data. That way the public can see the exact ridership and whether it justifies any cuts to service that the MTA decides to do. And by knowing how many people are on bus trips, we (the riders, or the Express Bus Advocacy Group) can provide better suggestions on how to adjust or fix issues in the schedules. For instance if we see in the data that the SIM3C is undercrowded and the SIM4C is overcrowded, we can go to the MTA requesting an adjustment and have the concrete data to back it up. Or if the SIM2 running every 12 mins around 4:30am is empty, but every 15 mins around 6am is SRO, we can request a change. Also, just overall transparency is always good thing. @Via Garibaldi 8 If you agree maybe it’s something you can think about for a future item on the Express Bus Advocacy Group agenda.

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5 hours ago, SIMplicity said:

I just discovered that the express buses (in Staten Island, at least) have a scanner above the door that counts the number of people boarding the bus. Is this a new thing or has it always been there?

I mention this because IMO the MTA should release bus ridership data. That way the public can see the exact ridership and whether it justifies any cuts to service that the MTA decides to do. And by knowing how many people are on bus trips, we (the riders, or the Express Bus Advocacy Group) can provide better suggestions on how to adjust or fix issues in the schedules. For instance if we see in the data that the SIM3C is undercrowded and the SIM4C is overcrowded, we can go to the MTA requesting an adjustment and have the concrete data to back it up. Or if the SIM2 running every 12 mins around 4:30am is empty, but every 15 mins around 6am is SRO, we can request a change. Also, just overall transparency is always good thing. @Via Garibaldi 8 If you agree maybe it’s something you can think about for a future item on the Express Bus Advocacy Group agenda.

We have actually been providing assistance to express bus groups on Staten Island who are mounting push back on the (MTA) to address this mess of a re-design. I agreed to field feedback for the SIM2, SIM30 and SIM35. For the SIM2, we've heard about the request for there to be a transfer point in Manhattan for those who want to continue to Midtown off-peak. Additionally, yourself and a few others are interested in service to Midtown off-peak/weekends and we've made a mental note of that. There was a also a comment about there needing to be another Downtown express bus serving  the South Shore besides the SIM2. We have to prioritize, so we can't address everything at once. Our primary focus right now is to get the agency to commit to providing ALL scheduled trips. They have done a horrendous job Citywide with this this year, but especially on Staten Island. People in some cases have reported it taking THREE HOURS one way to get home while waiting 20-45 for a bus to come and then fighting to try to get on a bus and of course the SRO conditions on a daily basis. These conditions are not safe and if the (MTA) continues to provide such service we will explore all options to see that this situation is remedied. The agency claims that they want all riders to have a seat on express buses, so when we address this missing scheduled bus problem, we're going to give them some time to fix this mess, as revised schedules are coming. Once that stabilizes, we feel that we can then have a better idea of where ridership is and start working on other issues.

With regards to your questions, the agency plans on having the capability in the near future to tell riders before they board just how many seats exist on the bus that they are going to board so that they can decide to get on or wait for the next bus. We've also heard passengers livid about the fact that they are being told that there are no seats left when in fact there are. Rather than relying on manual counts, I believe this would be done via an app or some electronic system.

As for ridership data, those stats are available for the last several years. They were posted by me on this website. I can search for it if you can't find it. However, we agree. We're going to be speaking regularly at these board meetings where the agency decides to cut service and let them know that there are faces to these service cuts. It is really inexcusable to have some of these cuts when these buses run in areas without subway service, where you have people with disabilities and the elderly. Right now in my neighborhood there is one measly subway stop with ADA accessibility for several communities. So the (MTA) doesn't want to run express bus service and they don't want to make more subway stations ADA accessible so that's why we have to keep on them. Right now the subway station by Mosholu Parkway has no elevators or anything for the disabled and the station sits near several hospitals. It will likely take years before they do anything about such situations.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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9 hours ago, SIMplicity said:

I just discovered that the express buses (in Staten Island, at least) have a scanner above the door that counts the number of people boarding the bus. Is this a new thing or has it always been there?

I mention this because IMO the MTA should release bus ridership data. That way the public can see the exact ridership and whether it justifies any cuts to service that the MTA decides to do. And by knowing how many people are on bus trips, we (the riders, or the Express Bus Advocacy Group) can provide better suggestions on how to adjust or fix issues in the schedules. For instance if we see in the data that the SIM3C is undercrowded and the SIM4C is overcrowded, we can go to the MTA requesting an adjustment and have the concrete data to back it up. Or if the SIM2 running every 12 mins around 4:30am is empty, but every 15 mins around 6am is SRO, we can request a change. Also, just overall transparency is always good thing. @Via Garibaldi 8 If you agree maybe it’s something you can think about for a future item on the Express Bus Advocacy Group agenda.

Those above door scanners are very new they were installed a month or two before the SIM rollout. Not sure if it's going to be citywide.

I believe it supposed to help with real-time info as in the future you should be able to see how many seats occupied on bustime or whatever the new app or website will provide.

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We just finished speaking before the (MTA) Board this morning regarding the horrendous express bus service Citywide.  I am happy to report that we were put in contact with a Road Operations Manager who I will be interacting with in an attempt to address some of issues facing our commuters.  We are determined to get this turned around, and will continue to work until we do.  In the meantime, we will keep monitoring service daily. Please, if any of you experience large gaps in service and missing scheduled buses, post here.  We will be keeping track of these missing trips and speaking directly with the (MTA) to address them. @WonderBread @QM1to6Ave 

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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2 hours ago, trife86 said:

Those above door scanners are very new they were installed a month or two before the SIM rollout. Not sure if it's going to be citywide.

I believe it supposed to help with real-time info as in the future you should be able to see how many seats occupied on bustime or whatever the new app or website will provide.

Yes, that's the idea.  We have a laundry list of things that we're going to be pushing the agency to accelerate.  They've got 1 Billion Dollars for Fulton Street, and they'll be jacking up our fares again come next year. It's about time that they start earmarking their Capital Budget towards Express Bus Riders.  

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7 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Yes, that's the idea.  We have a laundry list of things that we're going to be pushing the agency to accelerate.  They've got 1 Billion Dollars for Fulton Street, and they'll be jacking up our fares again come next year. It's about time that they start earmarking their Capital Budget towards Express Bus Riders.  

I thought the capital budget was a separate set of books 🤣

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Something else that we have to start focusing on is who exactly is creating congestion and focusing on those groups. I made a point of addressing Polly Trottenberg today before ending my speech because she's the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. When we talk about slower bus speeds and the fact that NYC buses are the slowest in the entire nation, we should remember that it's the DOT that came in with Vision Zero and these "traffic calming" measures to mitigate the number of deaths from people being hit by cars.  They've narrowed the number of lanes down considerably.  The problem is there hasn't been any regulation until recently on the number of tour buses and Ubers and delivery trucks that are clogging up our streets, making it impossible for buses to move along.  The tour buses often times clog up both bus lanes with the ridiculous parking angles that they do. There should be a fine for doing that.  Additionally, we plan on inquiring with the DOT about where the agency stands on this study that was initiated a few years ago about having delivery trucks make deliveries at night. I believe Chicago started this and NYC needs to head in that direction.  Sometimes between the cars parked and double parked trucks, we have one lane of traffic for ALL traffic to go through. it should no surprise that traffic is so bad now.  

Then there are the placement of the bus stops, again under the control of the DOT.  They have done a HORRIBLE job of placing the new stops and in some cases, that too is creating MORE congestion.  People that used to walk to the express bus now DRIVE, causing congestion where it didn't exist before, not to mention the placement of some bus stops being in such a way that you have buses lined up and blocking intersections because we have so many buses stopping at each stop now.

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On Saturday, September 22nd, there were epic fail on Brooklyn X27/X28 and SIM buses via Lower Manhattan. I was on 5-boro pizza challenge and I was doing vegan slice challenge.

10:40am SIM4C and many others SIM and X27/X28 bus drivers weren't on detour. There was no MTA Service Alert posted at bus stop. due to street fair. Academy Bus drivers on SIM23/SIM24 buses always has to tell NYPD Traffic they're with MTA or otherwise they'll get a ticket.

 

 

 

Edited by FamousNYLover

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On 9/21/2018 at 2:19 PM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

These tour buses are becoming a real big problem, particularly for express bus riders....

Manhattan express bus accident causes commute delays

Updated Sep 20, 6:47 AM; Posted Sep 19

nws-bus-d89d5ae7e443f9a8.jpg

A SIM4 bus cancelled its trip after it got into an accident with another bus on Wednesday Sept. 19, 2018. (Courtesy: Daniel D'Alessandro)

By Paul Liotta pliotta@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Can the commute get any worse?

Staten-Island-bound express bus riders had an even longer Wednesday night trip after their bus got into an accident with a double-decker tour bus.

The driver-side mirror of the tour bus came into contact with the SIM4 bus around 6 p.m., according to commuter Daniel D'Alessandro, who was on the bus.

"Everyone was just trying to get home," the Bulls Head resident said. "People on the bus got off, and ran to the ferry."

An MTA spokesperson confirmed the bus was involved in the accident, and said one person on the bus complained about injuries. 

D'Alessandro, 23, said he let one SIM4 pass, because there was only standing room available, but got on the bus after that, which had a few seats.

"It's kind of just bad day after bad day," he said.

Source: https://www.silive.com/news/2018/09/manhattan_express_bus_accident.html?utm_campaign=statenislandadvance_sf&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

---

Aside from this it seems as if all of this congestion is creating more accidents, which is just exacerbating these commutes, especially out on Staten Island.

It not tour buses causing problem.

Mad Av-60th St-East Drive-59th St and Mad Av-5th Av-59th St are official tour bus route.

It's most likely delays caused by NYC Carriage Horse blocking traffic lane, making illegal U-turn in oncoming traffic.

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2 minutes ago, FamousNYLover said:

It not tour buses causing problem.

Mad Av-60th St-East Drive-59th St and Mad Av-5th Av-59th St are official tour bus route.

It's most likely delays caused by NYC Carriage Horse blocking traffic lane, making illegal U-turn in oncoming traffic.

Not sure I agree with that because the number of tour buses has TRIPLED in the last decade. That's why some elected officials have moved to cap them.

Quote

Council Member Chin and Borough President Brewer Announce Bill to Limit Sightseeing Tour Buses Clogging Our Streets

  Paul Leonard | April 26, 2017

Originally Posted on October 16, 2015 

Sensible limit of 225 licenses proposed that would allow tour bus industry to thrive while addressing issues of congestion, noise and air quality for residents

New York, NY – Council Member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced legislation today that would institute a sensible limit on licenses issued to sightseeing tour bus companies in an effort to stem the increase in the number of tour buses – which has more than tripled in the last decade.

“Limiting the number of tour buses is the best way to address the growing problem of double-decker buses clogging narrow and congested streets in my district and across the city,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Often nearly-empty of tourists, these tour buses serve as rolling billboards for a captive audience of New Yorkers who are negatively affected by the noise, negative air quality, and congestion the buses create. Our legislation seeks to institute a better balance between accommodating tourism and ensuring the safety and well being of residents in neighborhoods throughout our city.”

“Multiple tour buses piled up at curbs and near-empty tour buses cruising the streets have made it clear: we need to set ground rules for this industry,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Today we’re putting forward a bill that gives our city agencies the tools they need to regulate the tour bus industry and address the related congestion and nuisance issues afflicting neighborhoods throughout Manhattan.”

The legislation, Intro 950, introduced by Council Member Chin in the City Council yesterday, would limit the number of active license plates that the city Dept. of Consumer Affairs (DCA) can issue to sightseeing buses. Under the bill, the DCA could grant new sightseeing bus license plates as long as there are fewer than 225 active license plates.

Unlike many licenses issued by the city Dept. of Consumer Affairs, there currently is no limit to the number of licenses issued to sightseeing tour bus operators.

“Every day, New Yorkers are faced with excessive noise, air pollution, and traffic congestion,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “This is exacerbated by a high volume of tour buses in certain neighborhoods. Council Member Chin’s legislation will allow tour bus companies to operate profitably while prevent them from inundating our streets with half empty buses that seem to serve little purpose other than aggravating New Yorkers. This is commonsense, practical legislation that will serve our residents well. I thank Council Member Chin, Borough President Brewer, and my colleagues in City government who have pushed for this important set of regulations.”

“Ours is a complicated city and this is a welcome and important step toward finding a safe balance between accommodating tourism on the one hand and providing safe streets and livable neighborhoods on the other,” said Manhattan Community Board 2 chair Tobi Bergman. “We still need to do more to protect residents and pedestrians on narrow streets where these large buses simply can’t operate safely.”

“The streets of Community Board 1 suffer from increasing congestion and the growing number of sightseeing tour buses contribute greatly to the problem,” said Manhattan Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes. “This cap is a welcome proposal to address the issues created by tour buses piling onto our narrow streets.”

“These buses not only cause traffic problems, but many of them fail to comply with the law requiring them to have sound limiting devices,” said Leigh Behnke, a member of the Broadway Residents Coalition, a group representing residents along the Broadway corridor between Houston and Canal streets. “We need controls on this industry. The rampant excesses and lack of respect for their access to do business in a mixed-use community have shown them to be unable to regulate themselves responsibly.”

“Tourism is one of the driving forces of our economy, and it is important that we welcome visitors to our city so that they can enjoy everything our neighborhoods – especially small businesses – have to offer. Fortunately, welcoming tourists and ensuring the safety of residents is not an either/or proposition,” said Wellington Z. Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership. “This bill would allow hundreds of tour buses to continue to operate on our streets, while protecting residents and visitors alike from traffic, noise, and pollution.”

The bill cannot prevent the renewal or replacement of a previously issued license plate. Sightseeing bus licenses are required for any motor vehicle that hires and sells rides destined for special interest points and seat more than eight or more passengers.

According to the state Dept. of Transportation (NYSDOT), the number of double-decker sightseeing buses in the city more than tripled from 57 to 194 between 2003 and 2013. Today, there are approximately eight NYC sightseeing bus companies that operate a fleet of 229 – with nine plates currently pending. The number of active, registered sightseeing buses was as high as 299 in September 2014.

Complaints about noise, negative air quality, and congestion caused by tour buses have centered in Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods with a high concentration of tourist sites such as Lower Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen, and the West Village.

Posted in News

Source: https://council.nyc.gov/margaret-chin/2017/04/26/bill-to-limit-sightseeing-tour-buses-clogging-our-streets/

https://www.villagevoice.com/2016/10/11/nyc-has-a-tour-bus-problem/

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There have been several developments since I spoke at the (MTA) Board Meeting on Monday.  For starters, we have connected with more express bus riders who we hope will join our Advocacy Group from Brooklyn and Staten Island.  They have tried in vain over the years to get changes made and their stories inspire our Advocacy Group to continue to push forward to get true changes made.  We have a long journey ahead, but we hope to get some small changes made in the coming months.  We are looking to do the following:

-Get the DOT to reassess bus stops and make them more accessible for all riders, especially those who are disabled. I've been exchanging e-mails with a X27/X28 rider in Bay Ridge who is wheelchair bound and it is incredible how difficult her commutes have been on the express bus because of broken wheelchair lifts, poorly configured sidewalks at bus stops that make it nearly impossible for her to board and on and on. 

-More express bus stops with bus shelters.  Recently there have been some installed, but we need more of them in the outer boroughs and not just in Manhattan.

-Countdown clocks similar to those that you can find on the SBS routes like the M79 that show the arrival of several buses.  They are extremely helpful for those with disabilities or who aren't tech savvy or don't have cell phones.

-Better maintenance of the express bus fleet. I have personally witnessed wheelchair riders on lines like the BxM4 trying to get home in vain from Mount Sinai for THREE hours and essentially being left stranded because either the B/Os refuse to pick them up, the bus breaks down or the wheelchair lift doesn't work.

-We have a tentative meeting scheduled with Road Ops to discuss some general issues.  We are particularly interested in addressing the ongoing problem of missing scheduled trips, which has especially been horrendous on Staten Island.

More to come...

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

There have been several developments since I spoke at the (MTA) Board Meeting on Monday.  For starters, we have connected with more express bus riders who we hope will join our Advocacy Group from Brooklyn and Staten Island.  They have tried in vain over the years to get changes made and their stories inspire our Advocacy Group to continue to push forward to get true changes made.  We have a long journey ahead, but we hope to get some small changes made in the coming months.  We are looking to do the following:

-Get the DOT to reassess bus stops and make them more accessible for all riders, especially those who are disabled. I've been exchanging e-mails with a X27/X28 rider in Bay Ridge who is wheelchair bound and it is incredible how difficult her commutes have been on the express bus because of broken wheelchair lifts, poorly configured sidewalks at bus stops that make it nearly impossible for her to board and on and on. 

The sidewalks on Shore Road are atrocious with those stupid hexagonal tiles... Terrible to walk on let alone roll a wheelchair.

That absolutely should get fixed.

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6 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

The sidewalks on Shore Road are atrocious with those stupid hexagonal tiles... Terrible to walk on let alone roll a wheelchair.

That absolutely should get fixed.

Yes I was just down there last Sunday. I get on the X27 at 79th and Shore Road or further south, and I always have to either get on the street or in the dirt at that stop because of those tiles.  I had a very courteous driver, but it was annoying. When it rains, that dirt turns into mud and your shoes can become a mess trying to get on.  

In some cases, we have some stops where there are no sidewalks, so commuters risk being run over trying to reach these bus stops if they want to walk to them or there are sidewalks but they are overgrown with vegetation. This is a DOT problem, and we're going to be all over Polly Trottenberg to start addressing this.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Me and the ~35 other annoyed commuters standing here at Broadway/Liberty want to know why there haven’t been any SIM2s for over 30 minutes... (it’s 6pm)

Of course, the one that just came was just about full...

Meanwhile in that span of time there have been at least 5 SIM1s, even though they’re supposed to be on 10 minute headways, and 2 SIM4Xs, one empty, and back-to-back SIM32s, one empty...

 

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1 hour ago, SIMplicity said:

Me and the ~35 other annoyed commuters standing here at Broadway/Liberty want to know why there haven’t been any SIM2s for over 30 minutes... (it’s 6pm)

Of course, the one that just came was just about full...

Meanwhile in that span of time there have been at least 5 SIM1s, even though they’re supposed to be on 10 minute headways, and 2 SIM4Xs, one empty, and back-to-back SIM32s, one empty...

 

What else is new and someone who I won't name had the nerve to chastise me about me criticizing the (MTA) when I questioned where they got off calling this plan a "success". Disgusting. Anyone who thinks that this plan has been a success should go and stand on the long lines that are wrapping around an entire city block and get back to us, not to mention folks spending almost an ENTIRE work day commuting to and from work. This plan is a FAILURE plain and simple. We are angry and we have every right to be!! I will be speaking every damn month at these board meetings until this agency gets this sh** together. Destroying families, forcing people to spend tons of money on Ubers and on an on. It's ok no need to mention you were wrong...  Dead wrong...

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I went to the Open House at Medgar Evers yesterday and some lady said they only changed like 2% of the schedules or something. I'm like 2% ? They copy-pasted pieces of the old schedules and the result was so bad they had to do an emergency pick for October 7th after their little patches didn't work (and from what I heard, those patches didn't fix all of the issues and there will still be more changes in January to address pure scheduling issues, not even routing issues). And that's only a 2% change?

Edited by checkmatechamp13

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20 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

I went to the Open House at Medgar Evers yesterday and some lady said they only changed like 2% of the schedules or something. I'm like 2% ? They copy-pasted pieces of the old schedules and the result was so bad they had to do an emergency pick for October 7th after their little patches didn't work (and from what I heard, those patches didn't fix all of the issues and there will still be more changes in January to address pure scheduling issues, not even routing issues). And that's only a 2% change?

Wow. I really, really hope that’s not true.

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