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Via Garibaldi 8

Express Bus Advocacy Group

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11 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

I was reading the little pieces of paper taped onto the express buses about the fare increases, and it said any old unlimited cards must be activated by Monday or they will not work after next week?! Did I read that correcly? My unlimited cycle ends on Wednesday, and I refilled my card before the hike, so will it only work for half the week? If so, I want a refund!

Go to a token booth and ask for a prepaid envelope. You can mail it in for a pro-rated refund

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One point about the fare policy that should be emphasized more is the hours a senior fare is valid on an express bus.  I was on one this afternoon and the person who boarded didn't know that it was full fare during rush hour and didn't have enough money on their card.  The driver waived him on but they really should do a better job stating it, since I barely knew the hours a senior half-fare was valid.

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23 hours ago, 7-express said:

One point about the fare policy that should be emphasized more is the hours a senior fare is valid on an express bus.  I was on one this afternoon and the person who boarded didn't know that it was full fare during rush hour and didn't have enough money on their card.  The driver waived him on but they really should do a better job stating it, since I barely knew the hours a senior half-fare was valid.

I agree and in fact we are pushing to have the hours re-instated. It was half fare 24/7 but they changed that...

- - - - - - - -

On another note, I’ve had a few people complain about how we advocate. People need to learn what advocacy is and how it’s done, and yes advocating involves COMPLAINING. There are countless subway advocacy groups out there fighting for improved service, new subway cars etc. That’s the idea... To improve the commute... If you don’t like how the group is run, LEAVE. It is a closed group for a reason. Overall people have been VERY grateful, but there are always a few @ssholes that have to ruin things. They have a lot to complain about but contribute ZERO!!!

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On 4/26/2019 at 7:29 AM, checkmatechamp13 said:

Go to a token booth and ask for a prepaid envelope. You can mail it in for a pro-rated refund

Oh good, I get to wait 8 weeks to get a check in the mail and need to get a different card to use in the meantime. goddamn MTA making things complicated as usual

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How was BM2 Ridership today? Was more people on it because of the (L) train work being done?

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23 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

Oh good, I get to wait 8 weeks to get a check in the mail and need to get a different card to use in the meantime. goddamn MTA making things complicated as usual

They've decreased the wait time for refunds. I had a few issues where they took a fare instead of a transfer and they mailed the card back in less than 2 weeks. Used to be much longer. (Andy Byford mentioned they made an effort ib that area specifically)

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20 hours ago, Lil 57 said:

How was BM2 Ridership today? Was more people on it because of the (L) train work being done?

The BM2 is way too long and slow to be a decent alternative to the (L) line even with the construction, taking the (L)  to Broadway Junction and transfer to the (A) there gets you to the city much quicker than the BM2 does.

 

The BM's are a good alternative to the (Q) and even (2) train (If you live near Newkirk or Brooklyn College) when those lines are out but the BM2 is not an good alternative to the (L) train, the route is just too damn long and the (L) line service area is near the beginning/end of the BM2. 

 

 

Buses not being able to use the Belt really hurts things as maybe if they did, there MIGHT be an market for super express to Canarsie if an bus went express non stop from the city via the BQE & Belt to the Rockaway Parkway exit, that could be time competitive with the subway...

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Between 23rd St and the last stop, the trip distance is double the (L) train commute. Plus, BM2s make a stop by the Downtown area as it's all stops on a Saturday (cannot skip lower Manhattan unless no one gets off there from Brooklyn). Only E.105 St and the last stop is the close you get for the BM2.  

Edited by Calvin

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10 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

They've decreased the wait time for refunds. I had a few issues where they took a fare instead of a transfer and they mailed the card back in less than 2 weeks. Used to be much longer. (Andy Byford mentioned they made an effort ib that area specifically)

It used to be several months.

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On 4/27/2019 at 11:37 PM, Lil 57 said:

How was BM2 Ridership today? Was more people on it because of the (L) train work being done?

 

14 hours ago, trainfan22 said:

The BM2 is way too long and slow to be a decent alternative to the (L) line even with the construction, taking the (L)  to Broadway Junction and transfer to the (A) there gets you to the city much quicker than the BM2 does.

 

The BM's are a good alternative to the (Q) and even (2) train (If you live near Newkirk or Brooklyn College) when those lines are out but the BM2 is not an good alternative to the (L) train, the route is just too damn long and the (L) line service area is near the beginning/end of the BM2. 

 

 

Buses not being able to use the Belt really hurts things as maybe if they did, there MIGHT be an market for super express to Canarsie if an bus went express non stop from the city via the BQE & Belt to the Rockaway Parkway exit, that could be time competitive with the subway...

 

 

 

 

13 hours ago, Calvin said:

Between 23rd St and the last stop, the trip distance is double the (L) train commute. Plus, BM2s make a stop by the Downtown area as it's all stops on a Saturday (cannot skip lower Manhattan unless no one gets off there from Brooklyn). Only E.105 St and the last stop is the close you get for the BM2.  

We have some BM2 riders in the group and the main complaint is unreliable service.  We have suggested perhaps having some stops eliminated to speed up the commute and there will also be some corridors that the DOT is looking at speeding up using Transit Signal Priority in the coming months. This along with clear curb should help speed up things a bit.  The BM2 serves areas not served by the (L) train so it's rather pointless to go on and compare it to the (L). If some time can be shaved off of the commute and get it down to about an hour and 15 minutes to an hour end to end, that would be great, and that's the goal, and very reasonable considering how long the trip is.  You are looking at a 40 minute commute on the (L) alone, not including getting to the subway or additional transfers, so it cane be roughly the same depending on where you are, and where you are going.  

4 hours ago, Union Tpke said:

It used to be several months.

 

14 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

They've decreased the wait time for refunds. I had a few issues where they took a fare instead of a transfer and they mailed the card back in less than 2 weeks. Used to be much longer. (Andy Byford mentioned they made an effort ib that area specifically)

Yes they have worked to expedite that and they really should.  It's bad enough having paid already and having to buy yet another card but to then have to wait several months is just ridiculous.

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Interview on the no-coins policy is out with the Riverdale Press. - See link here: 

I also had a interview the Gothamist last week as well, which will be out tomorrow.

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A couple random observations from a few morning QM20 rides.

1) Why are the SBS countdown clocks along the M34 route showing express buses arriving during the morning rush?  The stops along 34th Street are drop-off only.  And I can't see how this helps M34 riders when they see a parade of express buses flood down 34th Street taking over all lines of the countdown clock display.

2) The spacing of the morning QM20 buses seems to be pretty crappy.  I noticed several runs not leaving on time.  The late buses usually left at the same time as the following scheduled bus, leading to bad bunching and uneven distribution of passengers.  I was on a light QM20 this morning that was bunched up with its follower.  My bus caught up to the leader on the LIE and I noticed it was full with multiple standees, even though my bus had plenty of empty rows left.  So it ended up being QM20s conga lining into the city even though they're supposed to run at 6 minute headways.

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, 7-express said:

A couple random observations from a few morning QM20 rides.

1) Why are the SBS countdown clocks along the M34 route showing express buses arriving during the morning rush?  The stops along 34th Street are drop-off only.  And I can't see how this helps M34 riders when they see a parade of express buses flood down 34th Street taking over all lines of the countdown clock display.

2) The spacing of the morning QM20 buses seems to be pretty crappy.  I noticed several runs not leaving on time.  The late buses usually left at the same time as the following scheduled bus, leading to bad bunching and uneven distribution of passengers.  I was on a light QM20 this morning that was bunched up with its follower.  My bus caught up to the leader on the LIE and I noticed it was full with multiple standees, even though my bus had plenty of empty rows left.  So it ended up being QM20s conga lining into the city even though they're supposed to run at 6 minute headways.

I believe that that'st the way that the SBS countdown clocks work; they show ALL (MTA) buses coming down the corridor, including express buses. For example, I can see my BxM2 buses at Central Park West and West 81st.  The display can actually show I believe about 7 or 8 buses perhaps even more, so it can handle heavy duty and works quite well compared to the lollipop signs.

Updates on projects:

I followed up with the DOT today and received a response regarding bus stop and bus shelter requests that they are looking at them. The stops that present safety issues, we have asked for one of them to be given priority.

Additionally, we have requested that they get back to us regarding the QM2, QM3 and QM20 situation and clarify what exactly is going on and have ALL buses take 57th street across over to Madison and then over to 59th until they have a permanent solution in place.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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22 hours ago, 7-express said:

A couple random observations from a few morning QM20 rides.

1) Why are the SBS countdown clocks along the M34 route showing express buses arriving during the morning rush?  The stops along 34th Street are drop-off only.  And I can't see how this helps M34 riders when they see a parade of express buses flood down 34th Street taking over all lines of the countdown clock display.

I believe its the way the data feed parses out arrivals at each stop that causes that.

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Just wondering regarding the recent media coverage:

The Daily News runs a story or two on how the MTA still using the old RTSes is wreaking untold havoc on the city, and shames them. So, lickety-split, word goes out to get the RTSes off the road, and a massive bus-shuffle begins.

These stories about the no coins on Express Buses and the customers' reactions, and no similar seat-of-the-pants damage control happens (thus far).

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1 minute ago, DetSMART45 said:

Just wondering regarding the recent media coverage:

The Daily News runs a story or two on how the MTA still using the old RTSes is wreaking untold havoc on the city, and shames them. So, lickety-split, word goes out to get the RTSes off the road, and a massive bus-shuffle begins.

These stories about the no coins on Express Buses and the customers' reactions, and no similar seat-of-the-pants damage control happens (thus far).

It is happening behind the scenes. I have been in talks with my Assemblyman's office and they have been pressing the (MTA) for answers as to why they insist on keeping this asinine policy without having OMNY fully implemented.  Additionally, we will be speaking about it at the upcoming Board Meeting. I got coverage of this from CBS, the Gothamist and the Riverdale Press, plus they have seen the reaction both in my group and another local Staten Island express bus group that the monitor with the Staten Island Borough President.  If they don't reverse course, we'll start circulating a petition.

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29 minutes ago, DetSMART45 said:

Just wondering regarding the recent media coverage:

The Daily News runs a story or two on how the MTA still using the old RTSes is wreaking untold havoc on the city, and shames them. So, lickety-split, word goes out to get the RTSes off the road, and a massive bus-shuffle begins.

These stories about the no coins on Express Buses and the customers' reactions, and no similar seat-of-the-pants damage control happens (thus far).

I mean, RTS retirement was already happening. The coin thing with express buses just started, so it's going to be a while before we see something happen.

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The first letter written on behalf of express bus riders regarding the no coin policy...

A big thank you to Assemblyman Dinowitz... We will follow-up with other elected officials if need be and keep you posted on these developments...

59857724_10216462606090143_7771225623934

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Latest developments:

-The new schedules on Staten Island have been HORRIBLE.  The Express Bus Advocacy Group will be supporting the local Staten Island group as needed to identify issues along various routes which will then be reviewed by that group, the Staten Island Borough President and the (MTA) and hopefully changes to address various issues can be addressed and soon.

-We received confirmation earlier this week that the DOT is currently reviewing bus stop and bus shelter requests made by us. We hope to have updates on some stops in the coming weeks.

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You'd think that if only 1% of express bus riders use coins then they'd be more willing to keep the policy... but instead they use it as an argument against having coins. Really now?

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8 hours ago, MysteriousBtrain said:

I mean, RTS retirement was already happening. The coin thing with express buses just started, so it's going to be a while before we see something happen.

Just ....... STOP. And maybe this will give some clarification for those who didn't see the "hidden meaning".

@MysteriousBtrain, you're better than this. YES, the RTSes would be going into retirement anyways under the full-Cuomo -- total non-starter. Other than transit-fans, folks on any B-, Q-, M- or Bx- route couldn't give a rat's ass about what type of bus -- as long as it's theirs -- is strolling down the street towards them. Honestly, you could run ALL RTSes on the busiest routes all around MTA-town and outside the minor grumble (especially with ADA pickups, on both sides, driver and customer), 99% of customers wouldn't GAF as long as they would be receiving service on-time (or in NYC, sometime close to a 10-15 minute gap). High-floor, low-floor, CNG, DE "clean" crap or not -- if it's on-time, they're on it.

The NYDN rag does a couple stories, the MTA goes into CYA mode. Those RTSes, in the entire scheme of things, affect a MINOR amount of customers. MTA big-wigs get scurred, and bow to public "outrage" (<-- notice the quotes) -- even if it doesn't really many anything overall (once again) since it's all created by the NYDN itself -- and PUBLICLY tries to 'atone' for their 'sins'. MTA speaking: "OH, we're going to get those buses off the roads, we're sorry, we've got Cuomo-bases at the ready, everything's going to be fine. PUHLEEZE FORGIVE US." Order goes out through the ranks, the entire "retirement" process gets 'sped-up' ......... and VOILA! Got over that public perception problem -- even though the public could really CARE LESS, because they're STILL out looking for their bus, nothing's coming -- BUT! the MTA has "done the right thing" with "the people who matter" (the miniscule amount who 'side' with the NYDN, and their ilk, because a bunch of them are STILL COMPLAINING when their bus doesn't show, and at that point, they join everyone else). FICKLE, MUCH?

Then we turn to this whole Express Bus issue. Express Buses are basically the only thing in the entire NYCT/MTAB system -- outside of the "high hopes" for the Bx6/BX6SBS, and a good percentage of Queens routes -- that show any promise. So those Express Bus customers -- loyal as they are -- have limited-access to the MetroCard system, to a great extent. While it's just "par for the course" for the vast majority of the Local routes to be delayed by their customers who, irregardless of the reason why, decide to "drop coins" for fare payment (IF THEY ACTUALLY DO "OPT" TO DO SO), somehow, it's SOOOO much more of a 'problem' for the vast MINORITY of bus customers (overall) on the Express Bus routes to do the same.

NOW -- the media does some stories about this, supposedly a "few" (once again in the grand scheme of things) customers, and the MTA does ......... NOTHING. Keep in mind, it's not only the MTA, but also the NYCDOT, Cuomo-bunch and others who EXPECT those Express Bus customers to "do the right thing -- think Green, don't drive your own car (even though most of them could really opt to), and help us reduce congestion."

The vast majority of Express Bus customers already: a] don't have the same access as most Local bus customers to "full" MetroCard privileges (subways, bodegas, and the like selling/recharging their cards EXCEPT if they want to go through all the crap to avail themselves of it in Manhattan when they're there); b] either have to do some local bus or schlepping to get to their stop to begin with, and now have to go in search of the elusive MetroCard recharge-points as well; c] can't even use legal tender that local bus customers can in order to get a ride, but still are paying a PREMIUM all-around.

The MTA can atone for their "sins" of running OLD (and that's about it) buses -- which nobody really cares about overall -- by "expediting" retirement --------- through a public plea for 'forgiveness'. But at the same time, alienate a huge (yet small, again, overall) amount of customers/POTENTIAL customers for a "savings" about the same as a gnat's ass (once again, in the grand scheme of things).

Gotta pick your battles, and the MTA is pretty transparent on this, where the priorities are.

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22 minutes ago, DetSMART45 said:

@MysteriousBtrain, you're better than this.

Let me stop you right there. 1. People do notice old buses based on wear otherwise the RTS would still be here today. And do note the handful of express units in Queens and Staten Island that should of retired years ago but MTA keeps delaying the express order. And 2. I don't see why the essay had to be formed because of my one comment.

 

All I'm saying is that we just started to harass the mta on discontinuing coin use on express buses, resulting in starting to a way to at least put coins back on express units while (this order of) RTS replacement went on for nearly a year now. And it will take a while before we see anything like @Via Garibaldi 8 said. This is one of the stupidest things the MTA ever did and should be reversed asap.

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CLARIFICATION:

My long-winded response was more of an explanation of my previous observation, just in case the hypocrisy point might have been missed by anyone who read it.

No disrespect was meant to @MysteriousBtrain, and his points are still valid ones. Just disagreed a bit, and that's all.

But that's what we're all here for: a good dialogue.

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We have some foamers joining the express bus groups. We have elected officials and other important people monitoring these groups and we are not allowing any trolls or foamers to come in and wreak havoc.  My group is closed but some of the other groups are not.  However, we all talk to each other and  work together, so if I see anybody in there that I know is not an express bus rider stirring the pot, I am giving them a heads up and you will be given the boot immediately and blocked.  Do not tell us how to run our group, nor what should or shouldn't be posted by actual express bus riders. If you want to be a mod for express bus rider groups, start your own group or keep your big mouth shut!

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Posted (edited)

Not sure if any QM2/20/3 riders have noticed but they have been working on creating a new pedestrian island and a bike lane that goes straight through the 2nd Ave/59th Street area where it enters the bridge.  Looking at the DOT site, it seems that there will be some capacity lost on 59th Street entering the bridge due to the new pedestrian island, which creates a sharper turn and slower entry onto the bridge.  In the past couple weeks, congestion seems to be building a little faster than usual in the area due to the new layout and a temporary lane shift.  I'm not sure if this will improve after construction is completed but just something to note that can potentially cause a few extra minutes of delays crossing through the area.

Edited by 7-express
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